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Tobias Strauss
Musician, Gamer, Linguist, Writer
Musician, Gamer, Linguist, Writer

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Ooh, game setting porn!

Thought for the day:

Action denial is a lazy game mechanic and it isn’t terribly fun to play.

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+Stephanie Bryant is playing in a campaign of clerics going to GodCon in Ravenloft and asked for my expertise, as a theologian, in wacky ephemera. Here's what I came up with:

- Keynote speaker: Pelor--he's not just for morning people anymore!
- Panel: Genuflecting with Disabilities: Accessibility in Divine Spellcasting
- Workshop: Convincing the Adventurers NOT to Kill Everyone
- Panel: Where Was Bahamut When We TPK'd? When Bad Things Happen to Just People
- GodCon Pluralistic Mixer, with grog/ blood/ tepid water, depending on your oaths
- Workshop: Divine Entrepreneurs, or 'I Wanna Worship a NEW Deity'

Any other ideas? :D

I am looking for an artist who has a retro, 70s-80s cartoon style. If you are such an artist, or you know one, let's touch base so I can check out portfolios.


New game news:

President's Day weekend, I will be running Jinkies!, my PbtA Scooby Doo inspired RPG. The game is getting close to its kickstarter and is getting really exciting.

What that means for you:
1) If you are interested in news about Jinkies!, post here and I'll add you to my new collection for the game.
2) If you are in LA for Orccon 2018, go sign up for one of my games!
3) I will be running bigger playtests soon, including online ones. If you'd like to be involved, either as a GM or as a player, post here and I will get you involved when this start to happen.

Exciting stuff!

Cynical game idea:

+Stephanie Bryant has been reading "Ryuutama" and based on her description, it sounds like a role playing game about 1) encumberance, 2) resource management, and 3) granular decisions (like what foods to pack).

I giggled because it sounded like "Emotional Labor: The Game" but then I thought "why not make an EL game?"

The premise is that you're in your favorite fantasy role playing setting. There are a handful of heroes: Krunk Murderkill, the Barbarian. Lord Clericwand, the holy. Swift, the pickpocket. Barry, the wizard. They sally forth into battle and bring back riches and glory.

...but someone has to wash the blood out of their clothes. And that "someone" is you, the players.

Gameplay starts when the heroes leave. Heroes rarely leave town better than they found it. Mrs. Murderkill (who regrets changing her last name) spends her days settling up with the tavern for the damage Krunk caused. Lord Clericwand's butler, Tim, researches for his holiness's upcoming case on the divine right of lords. Tina, Swift's "gang mom," must mend 20 black thieves guild uniforms so her crew is taken seriously. And John, Barry's husband, fights with the caravans to get rare components for Barry's next adventure.

All isn't tedium though. Heroes make enemies, and heroes never stay behind to defend their homes. When the people of town see an orc hoard approach, they know two things. 1) These guys are here to break stuff, not make friends, and 2) the 'heroes' probably started it.

Can the Emotional Laborers keep up their chores and ward off the assault, all while keeping town tidy for the next heroic return?

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NOTE: I put this in game design because game designers need to hear it--not my echo chamber. If you don't like it, I suggest using the uncircle button.

I fired up G+ to catch up on late BBC write ups and saw a quixotic post about harassment. And before I saw the attached, I had a pretty good guess about the story: guy and girl have professional relationship, guy got creepy, she said something, all the dudes backed him up.

This shit isn't just "not ok."

Not ok is for one off bad behavior. Professional dudes harassing professional ladies is becoming such a trend that a bystander can guess at what happened without 1) knowing the players, or 2) reading an account of what happened.

This is sickening and its making me wonder if this is a community that I want to be a part of.

To the involved (and that includes everyone since silence communicates complicity), I offer the following.

Its time to stop treating abuse claims among friends like you're the jury or a reporter. Assholes get away with shit because decent people--who only want to act fairly--defend them.

Friendship isn't about due process, its about the sort of people you choose to associate with. I'd rather hang with people who've made mistakes but who are gracious when someone speaks up than with anyone who gets aggressive over misunderstanding.

You can choose to distance yourself from a creep without a DNA test. Dump these turds and move on with your (now happier) life.

I'm sorry this happens to you so much, and that it happened now. So many of you on here are ridiculously talented--moreso than me, anyhow--and I've considered it an honor to work with you. I hope you continue making and, when bad shit happens, I hope you'll continue to talk knowing there are people who have your back.

Everyone else:
People outside the binary have the same choices about friendship and support as people inside the binary. Its easy to be scared when you feel like you are in a pack of 2, but that doesn't change what our company says about us.


People who’ve made stuff in the Star Wars universe!

I am making a thing and don’t want Disney to sue me. Any words of wisdom from experience?

I'm playing with a new mechanic idea for Jinkies!, and I don't know if it is inspired or awful. Looking for thoughts (using PbtA math).

In social interactions, sometimes things don't go well. Example: I ask to borrow your coat, you say no. That would be a miss and a soft GM move (I don't get what I want).

What if I wanted to press the matter? So, say, I then give a speech about why you really should let me borrow your coat, you aren't wearing it, and you know I'll give it back. On a miss, you still say no AND there is a hard move--you're annoyed at me and all rolls with you get -1.

So I keep at it. Maybe I tell you that you're being a jerk for hanging onto a coat you aren't going to wear. On a miss, you tell me no AND there's a new hard move--we have a bond, "You don't like me." And I get -2s to all interactions.

In other words, continuing to try at failed social interactions means you get to keep trying for the hit you want, but it also means you are swimming against a death spiral.

Would this play well for gamblers, or would the death spiral frustrate players? Does it feel realistic? What could I change to make this better?
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