Links: story hour and theory

24 April, 2009 at 7:22 pm (game design, rpg theory) ()

Usually I have little patience for what I call “D&D fiction”, unless I am involved in creating it when playing. There’s an exception, which is a story hour on Enworld. The relevant threads are indexed and PDFified at League of imaginary heroes. They are actually well-written to the point of being engaging. There’s the occasional bit of 3rd edition D&D spell name cascade, since high level D&D includes mages with plenty of spells. Bruce recommended the story hour as a contrasting opinion on my piece regarding war being boring to roleplay through. About that: Most of the story focuses on characters that are, in some way, above war; the fights are nasty, brutish and short (to the extent that is possible with modern D&D), at least from descriptions.

Vincent Baker has been writing about rpg theory; what I get out of it is a new perspective on fiction affecting play. A perspective from the Forge theory point of view, to be more precise. Threads, in order: Fistfight, 3 resolution systems, scale, depth, clouds dice, cloud-to-cloud, moment of judgement, dice and cloud and finally GM fiat. Callan also posted something related. The conversation may continue there or elsewhere; it is supposedly related to old school gaming in some way. The latest linked Baker’s post shows some of that. Almost. Edit: Another post by Vincent and Callan, both of them highly recommended. Second edit: A podcast and a post at Deeper in the Game.

Kalle Bergman has also been writing on rpg theory (series is titled Towards a new paradigm for rpg design), but in Swedish, which is somewhat inconvenient (I can read and write a bit of Swedish, but Kalle does not use elementary vocabulary). The Google translations to English are not completely abysmal, although it understands leken (play, definitive form) as deck and makes the text awkward to read, as naive translations always do. By “not completely abysmal” I mean that even the English text is sort of readable most of the time.  The first post references Huizinga’s Homo ludens and reminds me of something I’ve written before. Links: Första (and English translation for convenience), andra, tredje post. I might comment on them later, should I manage to understand all of them. (The first one I’ve read, and it certainly is interesting).


  1. Karl Bergman said,

    I’m impressed that you make the effort to try to read something in a language you only barely know. It does you honor, I think, even though you choose to waste your efforts at my self-indulgent ramblings :) It makes me want to translate it for you (and anyone else that might be interested) — perhaps I can find the time some of these upcoming days.

  2. Bruce said,

    Hi Tommi, glad you’re enjoying Sepulchrave’s story hour and thanks for the RPG theory links. I’d missed a lot of the discussion surrounding Vincent’s posts and would never have found Kalle’s without you directing me there. Interesting stuff.



  3. Tommi said,

    Hello Karl. (Or do you prefer Kalle?)

    I should be taking some token Swedish courses anyway; dealing with your blog is a fair bit more interesting and hence actually motivates me to learn the language. I would of course appreciate a translation; I might also write English summaries/commentaries, if I find the time.

    By the way, do you know any dedicated Swedish rpg blogs of quality?

    Hello Bruce.

    I’m interested in seeing where Vincent takes those ideas of his. The old school revival is among the most interesting thing going on right now and new perspectives on it definitely enhance the discussions.

  4. Karl Bergman said,

    Kalle is good.

    As for blogs, I don’t really follow that many, but perhaps you’d find Den raljerande anoapan interesting. It is a blog for reviews of rpgs with a questionable ontological status.

  5. Callan said,

    Well, I think writing up a chess session, for example, would be a bit boring. It’s far more exciting in the moment.

    But if it’s not competitive play, then (and perhaps this is simply my default) it aught to have some sort of story to it, or atleast a series of events that stirs the heart (his lover died, the family home was burnt down, whatever). If they weren’t interesting enough to write down even briefly afterward, are they worth playing through to begin with?

  6. Callan said,

    Oh and I should say that can include crunching down alot of events. “X felt like killing his brother because of Y reason. In the tumult of events, he eventually did go through with it” is crunching it down to the essential. I don’t think AP reports have to include every fence climbed, every gate guard bribed. Sorry for the double post, Tommi.

  7. Tommi said,

    First, I edited two more links to the second paragraph above. They are well worth reading.

    Hello Callan.

    I’m not quite sure what you are responding to, or how I am supposed to react. No problem with double posts.

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