Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Red Box Agendas

When I don't get immediate fawning attention for a post on Story Games, I take it to my blog.

Here's a thing I said about how I run red box D&D*, expressed as Apocalypse World agendas and principles.

Make the world seem real
Play to find out who survives
Show off the thing you've made

Do this by saying:

What your prep demands
What the rules demand
What honesty requires
What the principles require, namely:

Principles (not exhaustive):
Look at the player's characters through crosshairs (and your own monsters even more so)
Jump forward with quirky and memorable characters
Interpret the characters' actions charitably - give them a chance to reconsider
Digress occasionally - describe the mushrooms on a cave-wall or the stonework on an archway
Treat your monsters as real, living beings.
Look to the fiction first, and the rules second - roll as a last resort, but always roll when it's called for
Think offscreen (especially about adjacent rooms)
Revel in violence and gore - describe the terrible results of an axe-blow, the screams of dying goblins, the sound of arrows hitting flesh.

Principles for Prep (i.e. dungeon design):
Design an interconnected dungeon (see here for advice)
Include unbeatable threats
Make opportunities for experimentation and exploration
Make your dungeon part of the natural world
But also make it fantastical and weird
Include non-combatants, neutrals, and possible allies

*Mentzer, mostly. Moldvay is for RPG hipsters.

Monday, October 4, 2010

World of Conan

I'm having just about the most fun possible noodling away on a Conan hack for Apocalypse World. Mostly I'm just reconfiguring and rewriting the regular classes, but check it out:

For the Tyrant:

When you send your armies to do battle, roll +army. On a 10+, you drive your enemies before you. You can:
- Capture territory along your border
- Quell rebellion and crush dissent
- Secure contested territory
- Loot and pillage an area, extracting slaves, food, and wealth
On a 7-9, choose one of the above, but:
- You must face your enemy on the battlefield
- You take heavy losses (take -1army forward)
- You incite rebellion and dissent
On a miss, you are exiled, besieged, or face a coup or assasination attempts.

Now I'm working on a replacement for open your brain. I'm thinking "when you give yourself over to the inexorable urgings of your blood..."