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Eric Simon
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We've had the PBJ discussion, but what else (other than chocolate) is good with peanut butter? I'll start:

Peanut butter and celery (with raisins or without) - a classic

Peanut butter and bananas - I do this as an open faced sandwich with peanut butter and then sliced bananas. Half a banana is usually good for one slice.

What else do you mix with peanut butter?

So here's a question to distract us from that other annoying discussion on social media. It is actually something I've thought about for a while, and Chris started voicing some of my exact thoughts in the side discussion about hacking at the end of the last episode. So here's my pitch:

Game designers need dramaturgs.

Or rather, they need the game design equivalent of dramaturgs, which doesn't exist yet but should.

One aspect of this is the "I just came up with this cool mechanic" - except that the idea has actually been around for a while and refined in ways that would help you a lot if you would read the appropriate games.

The other is the "I want to do this great setting or theme" - except that the person only has a narrow experience with that theme or subject matter, and their design would be immensely enriched by being exposed to appropriate inspirational media.

As an example of that second version, I was listening to an interview a few weeks ago with someone working on a magical girl RPG (don't worry +Senda Linaugh, it wasn't you), and this person's only experience with the magical girl genre was Sailor Moon. Now, Sailor Moon is iconic, but (for instance) this person made a reference to a "Magic Knight" archetype but had clearly never heard of let alone watched Magic Knight Rayearth.

In that moment, I experienced a strong desire to reach through my headphones, sit that person down, and have them start watching a curated selection of anime that would make their game so much more fulfilling.

When I was designing Rockalypse, I watched dozens of movies and listened to an incredibly broad range of music, and I STILL get people telling me that the game reminds them about things that I've never heard of. I love that, and I embrace that. I don't think I could ever cover every possible bit of source material that exists for that game, but I feel like I did a decent job of covering enough.

And that's all I really want for others. The role of the dramaturg is to make sure we've covered enough in our thinking about a play. We'll never cover everything, but we should do something. And I want that to exist for game designers.

In many ways, I think Misdirected Mark does this, but it's more of an acquired-over-time knowledge rather than a focused "here's what you need" knowledge. I think game designers more often need the latter.

What do you folks think?

ps - Yes, I am willing to hire myself out for this. ;)

Minor rant:

I am super happy with the Fate Core episode of Tabletop, except for one thing - the moment at the beginning when Wil says that Fate is an example of a system that "gets out of the way" of the story.

I contend that this statement is neither accurate nor desirable.

I think that Fate is an example of a system that works WITH the story. The mechanics are front and center at all times, and in fact the players in this episode engage with the various mechanics (aspects, skills, dice, fate points, etc.) much more often than the players do in a normal episode of Titansgrave or Critical Role.

The difference is that every mechanical element in Fate contributes to storytelling. And that's why "getting out of the way" isn't actually desirable. What we should be seeking are systems that ADD to story, and then we should try to engage those mechanics as often as possible. That's what makes an RPG better than just sitting around imagining.

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I was lucky enough to get to play an early version of this a while back. It has some of the best asynchronous GM-sharing mechanics I've ever seen. Highly recommended.

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Hey look! I'm a stretch goal!

I really enjoyed working with Wheel Tree Press to create a variety of historical setting primers for Time Cellist, and I am very much looking forward to the chance to bring some non-Western fantasy and folklore into SCUP!

Go check out their Kickstarter!

Hey folks! I just wanted to say - Thanks for all the mentions last night! I wasn't necessarily trying to push my book, but I have a LOT of thoughts about this topic so it's hard to avoid talking about what I've done.

And while it's true that I was looking more at historical martial arts with my design, I was definitely concerned with the flow and feel of combat, particularly in terms of interruptions. That's something that did exist in a small sense in Savage Worlds, but I magnified it quite a bit.

But the other issue that I was looking at - something you sort of touched on without addressing specifically - is trying to make sure it doesn't feel mechanically same-y. Even Savage Worlds, with all its combat edges, tends to lead players to making similar choices about build. I worked hard to encourage players to build very different fighters depending on their style, and I think it works well at the table.

However, I don't want to just talk about myself. In the chat room last night I brought up two games that also do a great job of making martial arts styles feel mechanically different: Feng Shui and Shinobigami. Feng Shui's shot clock handles the action economy problem better than any game I know of, and Shinobigami is one of the best representations of anime-style fighting powers that I've seen. The mechanics for that are unlike anything else out there, but they really evoke the genre.

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Oh look! I'm on there twice...
A fay chock full of RPGs. All for you. Details coming tomorrow or so. 

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If you missed the Kickstarter, here's news about the digital release of Rockalypse.
Rockalypse is now available on DriveThruRPG!

Get the full version for all the beautiful art, as well as rules for both Fate Core and Fate Accelerated, or Pay-What-You-Want for the trimmed-down Accelerated version.

Check it out now!

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Rockalypse is now available on DriveThruRPG!

Get the full version for all the beautiful art, as well as rules for both Fate Core and Fate Accelerated, or Pay-What-You-Want for the trimmed-down Accelerated version.

Check it out now!

So, I need to run a practice session of The Dark Eye before I do my first con game at Gamicon. Anyone in the Chicago area interested and available this Saturday?

+Daniel Harkins, I know you were interested, but I couldn't remember if Saturdays were possible for you.
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