Profile

Cover photo
Nathan Dowdell
Works at Modiphius Entertainment
58 followers|21,927 views
AboutPostsPhotosVideos+1's

Stream

Nathan Dowdell

Shared publicly  - 
 
RPG discussion time. The subject this time around: metagaming.
To set things up, let's get a definition in place. For the purposes of this discussion, metagaming is the use of player knowledge to make decisions for their character that the character wouldn't otherwise make (because the player knows things the character doesn't).
Traditional wisdom says "metagaming is bad, always", and a lot of traditional style RPGs tend to assume this - character knowledge and player knowledge is separate, and the player shouldn't use his own knowledge to get an advantage.

Thing is, original D&D didn't take such a stance - from my research into the subject. It was a wargame (as RPGs didn't really exist at that point as a discrete medium), and the character was a playing piece, little different to the models in a wargame army. Player knowledge - and player skill - was important, because knowing what to expect had a huge impact on success, and learning the risks the hard way (through dead characters) was an assumed part of the game.

On a more modern side of things, there's an increasing trend of games that handle players more as authors than actors. An actor-stance game is the traditional style, where player and character are synonymous, and the player doesn't make any decision that couldn't be viewed as a character decision. An author-stance game has the player in control of the character, but the player is 'external' to the character, making decisions as if writing about the character. Author-stance games often pass a degree of the world-creation and narrative editing power from the GM to the players, and often give the players some benefit for making decisions that aren't in the characters' best interests.

Over the last few years, my tastes in RPGs have shifted more towards the author-stance, where the game acknowledges a difference between the player and the character, and metagaming isn't such a taboo because they're built around the idea that players will make decisions for out-of-character reasons.
1
Add a comment...

Nathan Dowdell

Shared publicly  - 
 
 
Help shape the future of this great sci-fi RPG by filling in the survey about what you want to see in the Infinity RPG Kickstarter. www.modiphius.com/surveys 
View original post
1
Add a comment...

Nathan Dowdell

Discussion  - 
 
RPG brainstorming for a moment. Many - even most - RPGs work with a principle of resource management, where a character starts at full power and depletes his abilities (health, ammo, limited-use powers) throughout the course of an adventure, at which point you rest and everything comes back (partly or entirely).

Fair enough - you can see the wargame roots there. But why is that the presumed default? 13th Age changes things up with the Escalation Die, which empowers characters and monsters during a fight scene as things go on, but the idea of an RPG system where you build towards power on a per-encounter basis rather than expend a limited resource seems like relatively unexplored territory... even when that sort of escalating power seems quite indicative of a lot of the kinds of media that RPGs try to emulate. 
1
Jennifer Fuss's profile photoTodd Rokely's profile photoEric Simon's profile photo
3 comments
 
It's a question of what you are trying to model. If the experience you want to emulate employs a slow build towards a culminating strike, that's fine. Certainly there are plenty of anime that could follow such a model. Just make sure that the buildup is either fairly quick or inherently interesting on its own.
Add a comment...

Nathan Dowdell

Shared publicly  - 
 
RPG brainstorming for a moment. Many - even most - RPGs work with a principle of resource management, where a character starts at full power and depletes his abilities (health, ammo, limited-use powers) throughout the course of an adventure, at which point you rest and everything comes back (partly or entirely).

Fair enough - you can see the wargame roots there. But why is that the presumed default? 13th Age changes things up with the Escalation Die, which empowers characters and monsters during a fight scene as things go on, but the idea of an RPG system where you build towards power on a per-encounter basis rather than expend a limited resource seems like relatively unexplored territory... even when that sort of escalating power seems quite indicative of a lot of the kinds of media that RPGs try to emulate. 
1
Add a comment...

Nathan Dowdell

Discussion  - 
 
Fighters vs Wizards. This is a gaming subject that I've been discussing and thinking about a fair bit recently, what with the release of D&D 5th Edition. It's a subject that has run roughshod over many threads on RPG.net recently with one question recurring in many forms - how does a high-level fighter stand a chance of remaining meaningful when the Wizard in the group can fly, become invisible, see the future, and generally bend reality? Is the fighter empowered by destiny or legacy into something beyond mortal, like Aragorn or Hercules? Or are non-magical characters more akin to Lara Croft or John McClane - all grit and determination but otherwise normal?
1
Nathan Dowdell's profile photoMichael Schmidt's profile photo
24 comments
 
I have not played or read 13th Age yet, so I am not familiar with One Unique Thing. I will need to look it up.
Add a comment...

Nathan Dowdell

General Discussion  - 
 
Fighters vs Wizards. This is a gaming subject that I've been discussing and thinking about a fair bit recently, what with the release of D&D 5th Edition. It's a subject that has run roughshod over many threads on RPG.net recently with one question recurring in many forms - how does a high-level fighter stand a chance of remaining meaningful when the Wizard in the group can fly, become invisible, see the future, and generally bend reality? Is the fighter empowered by destiny or legacy into something beyond mortal, like Aragorn or Hercules? Or are non-magical characters more akin to Lara Croft or John McClane - all grit and determination but otherwise normal?
2
Kai Poh's profile photoLawrence Augustine Mingoa's profile photoGryle Gamer's profile photoNathan Dowdell's profile photo
11 comments
 
Personally speaking, I tend to use Fighter as shorthand for "martial classes" and Wizard as shorthand for "primary casters".

Beyond that, any ability is just special effects - but I want fighters to get more mo-cap and complex stunt work to accompany all the pyrotechnics, lighting effects and CGI the Wizards throw around.
Add a comment...

Nathan Dowdell

Shared publicly  - 
 
So... I started writing professionally in 2009, and produced material for four of the 40k RPGs between then and 2012. This was good, solid work, and I tested the limits of what I thought I could do from the very first book. It was all very compartmentalised, though - all the big design and development work had already been done, so it was mainly a matter of filling out the chapters with the necessary content, built upon that framework.

As much as I look back on my work on those books with pride and satisfaction, they're nothing compared to what I'm doing now in terms of challenge and involvement. Joining the team working on Mutant Chronicles when I did, I've found myself not merely doing a bit of writing for a couple of chapters, but getting involved in the development of whole sections of the game from scratch - I'm a whole lot deeper into this than I was with 40k a couple of years back, and it feels great, if somewhat exhausting at times, as I balance my freelancing and my full-time job.

For a while after I stopped writing for FFG, writing work seemed to be something in my past - a proud accomplishment I could point to. I wasn't in the best frame of mind, I'll admit. I had spent just over a year away from writing, telling myself that I needed the time to properly settle into life as a croupier. That was a convenient excuse: I didn't know if I'd get back to it or not, and it wasn't until the New Year that I decided that I wouldn't forgive myself if I didn't try. I'd barely started searching for people and companies to submit to, when along comes Ross Watson, who first recruited me to write for FFG in 2009, with an opportunity to return to the industry.

The end result - I'm back. I lament the problems and mistakes that led to me parting ways with FFG, but I got where I am now, doing exciting work with Modiphius, because of the good choices and the bad ones in equal measure. I'm a writer and games developer, and will continue to be for as long as I can.

The moral of this story is this: anything worth achieving comes with a mixture of luck, timing, effort, the people around you, and the patience to accept that the bad choices and bad times can still lead to good places.
1
Add a comment...
In his circles
83 people
Have him in circles
58 people
Chris Birch's profile photo
This is Football's profile photo
Murray Wilson's profile photo
Tarald Røste's profile photo
Andrea Castellow's profile photo
Luke gleave ijebor's profile photo
Jason Marker's profile photo
Chris Lites's profile photo
Aric Wieder's profile photo

Nathan Dowdell

Discussion  - 
 
A short interview I did on Modiphius' behalf at UK Games Expo 2015. Brief discussion on Achtung! Cthulhu, Mutant Chronicles, Infinity, and Thunderbirds.
6
Add a comment...

Nathan Dowdell

General Discussion  - 
 
RPG brainstorming for a moment. Many - even most - RPGs work with a principle of resource management, where a character starts at full power and depletes his abilities (health, ammo, limited-use powers) throughout the course of an adventure, at which point you rest and everything comes back (partly or entirely).

Fair enough - you can see the wargame roots there. But why is that the presumed default? 13th Age changes things up with the Escalation Die, which empowers characters and monsters during a fight scene as things go on, but the idea of an RPG system where you build towards power on a per-encounter basis rather than expend a limited resource seems like relatively unexplored territory... even when that sort of escalating power seems quite indicative of a lot of the kinds of media that RPGs try to emulate. 
3
Moe “Gilvan Blight” Tousignant's profile photoJeremy Downey's profile photoNathan Dowdell's profile photoColin Fahrion's profile photo
5 comments
 
Lacuna builds towards power in the middle of the game and then arches back down with its Heart BPM
Add a comment...

Nathan Dowdell

Discussion  - 
 
So... I'm looking at running a One-Shot or mini-series at the end of the month to celebrate the releases of Daredevil and Avengers: Age of Ultron this month (I'm UK-based, we get Age of Ultron on the 23rd).

I'm looking over plot ideas - I want an Avengers-style game, with medium-to-high levels of power, and while I've got a few ideas, I'm always open for more.

The idea that I'm working with at the moment is borrowing the recent Amazo Virus arc from Justice League and translating it over to Marvel - a virus based on the Super-Adaptoid where one of the symptoms give people super-powers. I quite like the idea of borrowing Justice League plotlines and retooling them for Marvel, so suggestions along those lines are particularly welcome...
3
Helgi Már Friðgeirsson's profile photoNathan Dowdell's profile photo
2 comments
 
Nice one. I re-read that story recently, yet somehow completely forgot it when brainstorming this adventure...
Add a comment...

Nathan Dowdell

Discussion  - 
 
Fighters vs Wizards. This is a gaming subject that I've been discussing and thinking about a fair bit recently, what with the release of D&D 5th Edition. It's a subject that has run roughshod over many threads on RPG.net recently with one question recurring in many forms - how does a high-level fighter stand a chance of remaining meaningful when the Wizard in the group can fly, become invisible, see the future, and generally bend reality? Is the fighter empowered by destiny or legacy into something beyond mortal, like Aragorn or Hercules? Or are non-magical characters more akin to Lara Croft or John McClane - all grit and determination but otherwise normal?
1
Benjamin Davis's profile photoglenn griswold's profile photoNathan Dowdell's profile photoKirk Foote's profile photo
9 comments
 
I had an argument with people over realism in DnD once that had people claiming that DnD was realistic, becuase a halfling fighting a dragon was the same thing as a real life little person could wrestle a komodo dragon.  I walked away after that.
Add a comment...

Nathan Dowdell

Shared publicly  - 
 
Latest addition to my library... #dnd
1
Add a comment...
People
In his circles
83 people
Have him in circles
58 people
Chris Birch's profile photo
This is Football's profile photo
Murray Wilson's profile photo
Tarald Røste's profile photo
Andrea Castellow's profile photo
Luke gleave ijebor's profile photo
Jason Marker's profile photo
Chris Lites's profile photo
Aric Wieder's profile photo
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Story
Tagline
Professional geek - writer and RPG game developer
Bragging rights
Contributed to twelve Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay books, including Black Crusade and Only War. Developer on Mutant Chronicles 3rd Edition, Infinity RPG, and Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of.
Work
Occupation
Games developer, croupier
Employment
  • Modiphius Entertainment
    Game developer, 2014 - present
  • Grosvenor Casinos
    Croupier, 2013 - 2015
    Blackjack, Roulette
Nathan Dowdell's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
The Electoral Reform Society | Campaigning to make politics better
action.electoral-reform.org.uk

I've signed this petition for a fairer local voting system. Join me? http://bit.ly/1rfOXTp @electoralreform

Iron Man Reator On Hand - Apps on Android Market
market.android.com

App from Brazil. Move your android correctly and generates the sound of reator Stark.

T-Mobile TopApps
market.android.com

Great apps from the Android Market are selected for you by T-Mobile. Place the TopApps widget directly on your homescreen for weekly updates