Game Dream #10

Mitch Evans has posted Game Dream #10

During games, how do you keep track of the various plot hooks, hints, and people? Are you a master of the arcane memory arts and keep them in your head? Or, are you a mere mortal who must put them to paper? How much notekeeping is too much? Do you find you are more or less organized in game than in real life?
As a player I try not to take notes. I have a pretty good memory and I find I remember more than the character generally should anyway.

A few game dreams ago you talked about time travel. I really only take notes to make sure that important continuity is maintained. At times I will have as many as 8 to 10 plot lines going at once. When this happens I usually make a little chart to keep the plot lines synchronized at certain points.

I think that note taking is too much when it starts to interfere with the flow of the game. Players should also take into account the character when they are making notes. A long time ago I posted an article about mapping in games. The idea was that players make flawless maps even if their characters are illiterate oafs. I came up with a scheme that would make mapping more and more difficult for players whose characters are less and less capable of mapping. The same could be said of note taking. I can see a nerdy Mage taking copious notes and cross referencing entries. Even a smart rogue might make notes on poisons or locks, people(potential targets) and traps. A woodsman might make notes on particular plants, animals, monsters, etc. I would draw the line as a GM when a player wanted to take lots of notes for a brain dead thug.

Usually, if the character is such that he should have remembered a meeting or event I will tell him such and give him enough details. If the character is not I will remind them that they have met before, but nothing else. If the character is completely dense I will not only remind the player that the character would not remember any of the previous meeting I will also occasionally change the "facts" from the previous meeting, either subtly or obviously, so the player can not grant the character an unfair advantage.

I am way more organized as a GM than in real life. Although I am working on that, I am starting to use the "Harvard" time tracking system, and I have to admit I am starting to use it in game as well as out of game.


Solve the Mystery type plots

I have always liked plot lines that revolve around solving the mystery. The plots can be very intricate and details like in a solve the murder plot, or very simple like in a room puzzle.

The DM Design Kit, although very old and based on an older version of the Dungeons and Dragons rules is a fantastic resource for designing these types of adventures. It was the tool I used to define Mystanamyr's Cat. I think it is a great tool and at Only $4.95 USD (6.46 CAD) it is very affordable.

The product is made up of three books (all in the same PDF), the first book is the "Adventure Design Rulebook". This is the guts of the book, it steps through in detail the steps required to build a good adventure. Although this is based on the D&D ruleset, it is very easy to adjust the concepts to other rule sets. This is the place where you can read about how to build your plot, describe your featured villain, build traps, and my favorite a really neat way to define a chase scene. This is the valuable book for me, I learned a great deal about adventure hooks, planning, and plot layout. I also like some of the interesting documentation ideas presented.

The second book comprises a series of forms that you can use to construct your adventure. These are still based on D&D, and have a lot of info that other systems don't need. It is still pretty simple to adapt to other systems. There is a completed adventure used as a example through out the book.

Finally is the adventure cookbook. I have not really used this book that much, it is a create an adventure book for when you don't have a plot line in mind. By stepping through the process it will help you create a pretty cool adventure form nothing. I usually have too many plot ideas rather than too few so I don't get a lot of use out of it.

The only thing I really dislike about the product is the horrid scanning job. Every page has the text of the next page showing through the scan, and te pages are not scanned square.

Over all I really like the product and I am very glad I bought it. I would recommend picking it up (and I don't recieve any kick backs if you go and purchase it).


Game Dream #9

Mitch Evans has posted Game Dream #9

What is the most positive thing you have gained from your gaming experiences? How have games helped you with personal growth? How do you feel about your children (if any, now or in the future) eventually playing role playing games?
I think roleplaying has been a very beneficial activity in my life. I have met so many really cool people at the game table. The 'networking' that is available to me from that experience is invaluable. I can not think that I would be friends with many of the people I know if it were not for gaming. Gaming has been a largely a escapism activity but I honestly have learned some things from the process.

I think the 'deepest' thing that I associate with roleplaying is the benefit of objective self evaluation. As a player you can disassociate from the character and evaluate the characters personality, actions, etc. In the same way I have benefited from objectively looking at myself. It gives me the insight to make changes about myself (I am now a non-smoker for example). I have also witness that a radical change needs to be worked at. I am sure we have all witnessed a character switch personalities or moralities in mid game. What I have noticed though is that the player has to work at a new personality or the character or the old personality will creep back in. In the same way when you make a change in your life you need to work at it continuously.

I will most certainly introduce roleplaying to my daughter when she is older. I hope she enjoys gaming as much as I do.


Etger Finch

Etger was a sick a lot as a child. Growing up in the sprawl he never really got a chance to flourish. He spent a lot of time alone, looking at things, figuring out how they work.

Once he saved enough for a dermal jack, he started spending every available minute inside the net. This was home to him. He started designing components, then entire rigs. Soon he was getting offers from corps, to join the security teams.

Etger wanted no part of the Corps, he wanted the net all to himself. He started to build more and more sophisticated net constructs until he was ready. Then Feb 12, 2154 he did it. He permanently injected himself into the net. Etger wasn't as smart as he thought though, the transfer wasn't complete. Etger Finch, free roaming AI, lost his personal will. Now he exists only to help other hacks in the net.

When you encounter Etger he will initially appear to be a standard web construct but will have particularly avian features. Etger will not communicate, and will make no aggressive moves, simply attaching himself to the hack. Once attached he will follow the hack through the net until the hack gets into trouble, then he will attempt to help the hack out of any problems she might encounter. Etger might even wait around a entry point for the hack to return if they jack out.

Etger is in search of his lost bits of personality. As a construct he sees the missing parts as applications or programs and will not take it lightly if anyone points out that his personality dies with his meatspace body.

Etger was very good as a hack, he is even better as a construct. Etger has no physical stats in the real world (meatspace) but in the net (cyberspace) Etger is very formidable. He has Great body. Good Strength, and Legendary Agility. He has 4 basic intrusion programs: Great Stealth/Deceive, Great Block, Good Attack, and Great Repair. He has 6 utility programs: Legendary Crypt/Decrypt, Superb Evaluate, Great Search, Legendary Trace, Good Virii/Corrupt, and Good Deploy.

Once his chosen hack starts to attempt an action Etger will assist. Either by competing the action for the hack or assisting the hack, depending on the task and the hacks skills.

Usually Etger appears as an avian (finch) construct. He will take on the colors of his chosen hack also mimicking them in size. If Etger attached\s to a Corp security hack he will turn on the hack once he discovers that the hack is from a Corp security team.

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