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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Comedy Relief In Role Playing Games

The idea of using role-playing games for comic relief applies not just to games that are already intended for comic relief, either the system itself (such as Paranoia, HOL, etc), but to more standard (usually "serious") game systems where the players all agree to give comedy a run - playing for comic relief can even be done on a per-character basis, even within a game that is NOT geared toward comedy, though the style, content and intensity of this type of play is best kept within the players' overall tolerance for "shenanigans" - this is not something one should do at every game, but an opportunity which may present itself from time to time.

While rules-lite game systems tend to lend themselves to comedic role-playing a bit better than heavier number-crunching games, due to the freer narrative without the accompanying requirement for dice rolls to perform every action, even game systems heavy in the mechanics department can provide an entertaining venue for the rpg comedian, or as some internet rpg humor lists refer to them, zanies or loonies.

Using the general theme of the scenario or adventure itself, the fairly-universal semi-insurance that the DM isn't going to outright kill you if you're being entertaining (even if not necessarily wise), and the typical probability of the game system's success/failure mechanics, consistent methods of comedic playing, usually of the "incompetent, bumbling, sidekick" slapstick variety, can be played right alongside the swarthy mercenary and the mysterious elven sorceress. Endearing fumblers have long accompanied more serious and heroic protagonists in novels and movies, and so too it can be in role-playing games.

In the case of a more densely-concentrated rules system, for example 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons, the urge for comedy can spring as inspiration, as much from happenstance or even frustration, as much as genuine premeditated comedic intent. As a practical example, a player in a four-person adventuring party was of a more "cinematic" bent, play-style wise, and felt he was constantly being penalized by the game system used, for his attempted over-the-top heroic actions, possibly more suited to a swashbuckling or buddy-cop martial arts movie, than a gritty fantasy dungeon crawl.

Deciding to make the system work in his favor (or die in the process, most likely), the player's fairly generic, gruff Dwarf Paladin, evolved into the cluelessly overconfident Dwarf Paladin who saw himself as a righteous crusader, protected and blessed by his faith, hailed by all as a shining icon of heroism and bravery. The ancient drawbridge leading over the bubbling black water to the tower proper, looks weathered and unsteady - this naturally then would be the time for the plate-mail clad Dwarf to make a prodigious leap to the tower. Failing that, as he did, this would instead be the time for him to crash bodily through the rotten timbers and plummet dozens of feet into the rancid murk below, requiring his companions to lower a rope to pull him out, as he patted himself on the back for taking the risk and sparing his friends the danger.

No longer would this holy warrior skulk around in dark corners, giving Evil the satisfaction of waiting for someone to "check for traps", this warrior strode bravely into darkened corridors, hundreds of feet below ground, heedlessly kicking in thick doors leading to unknown chambers, filled with chittering and slithering noises. An inspired tumble between the legs of the ogre, and a failed roll accompanying the action, would find the Paladin played like a croquet ball by the hulking ogre as he slammed the short-statured hero into the next room with his massive gnarled two-handed club. Granite hammer in one hand, shield in the other, crossbow bolts sticking out of his breastplate, the Paladin would charge zealously into teeming masses of kobolds and gnolls, plate armor glinting in flickering torchlight - sometimes he would even emerge from these battles still conscious (though not often).

But there are more ways than bumbling, to get a bit of comedy relief in a game. Sometimes it just takes a quirk for an otherwise competent character, even if the quirk is not-so realistic to the setting. The keen-eyed Elven Archeress, respected among the party for her skill with a bow, when asked if she was ready for the upcoming battle, replied in a bubbly tone, "Like, duh - fer sure!" Some players consider it a mark of success for their fellow players to beg, or better yet, threaten them, to NOT play "so much" in character. The Valley Girl Elf Archer was surely one such time that would count toward this end.

"Mama Cici" proved that you could be both competent AND a bumbler AND realistic, and still provide some comic relief, in the way of pure normalcy. The overweight middle-aged cook and mother of four joined the adventuring party, armed only with her good dishes (including her trusty iron skillet), determination and homespun wisdom handed down to her from her Grandmammy. Borrowing a little from 90s telephone psychic "Miss Cleo", Touched by an Angel's Della Reese, Martin Lawrence's "Big Mama" and Nell Carter, Mama Cici could dispense cautionary tales and advice at the drop of a hat, but her lack of skills in "Ride Horse" and "Fight" really proved to be disadvantages on a cross-country adventure.

As for the Halfling Pit-Fighter and seven foot tall barbarian professional wrestler, perhaps they would be best left forgotten...

Caution, restraint and good judgment should be used by players attempting to "liven up" a game with comic relief, especially if the other players are obviously hoping for a more serious game, and especially when you get lots of frowns, frustrated sighs and even more especially, threats of bodily harm. Sometimes one must put away the whoopie cushions and cream pies for the sake of the gaming group and continuity. You wouldn't want a deranged psycho-killer to suddenly go rampaging through a forest of big-eyed chittering animal characters any more than the tactician and the gunslinger want to be thrown off their timing by the clown next to them priming his water-squirting flower.

Jason J. Patterson - June 29, 1973 - Small town in northeast Oklahoma on Hwy. 66, U.S.A.


In my teens, I began writing short stories and home-made "choose-your-own-adventure" type "books" (really just a few pieces of typed paper stapled together), and personal thoughts on philosophy and metaphysics and culture, as well as personal and dream journals

I have also written a number of informal, freely released supplements, rules errata, resources and scenarios for tabletop role-playing games, as well as a simple board game and a couple of dice game rules sets.

As a child and young adult, I was an avid reader, mostly of fantasy and some horror and science fiction novels (Dean R. Koontz, Piers Anthony, David Eddings, Dragonlance, etc.), as well as books related to language, the paranormal, philosophy and various other references, with boxes of literally hundreds of books - this lead to an interest in developing my own writing skills, and I also have some ability at freehand sketching/cartooning - with examples online at Elfwood and Deviantart.

TES V: Skyrim Will Be Officially Moddable

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

A Bethesda community representative has just confirmed that the creation engine for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim will be released to the public. "We've always been impressed with what the community has done with our tools. Like the Elder Scrolls Construction Set for Morrowind and Oblivion, we plan to release the Creation Kit so you guys can mod Skyrim," stated the rep on the official forums.

PC gamers can now prepare for the inevitable release of several hundred Nude Nords mods, along with neat weird projects (Ice Climbers mod, anyone?) and amazing full world conversions by the most talented project designers. Skyrim's release will be on November 11, but the creation engine may not come out at the same time as the game.

View the original article here

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Creativity Through Role-Playing Games

There are a number of ways to get inspiration for fiction writing. Actually, I don't even think they have a name for that number. We're surrounded by inspiration constantly, no matter what our conditions are. The problem is, for many people, they get some inspiration, jot down a few notes, and it ends there. Maybe there is a lack of ambition or the inevitable doubts begin to pour into the conscious mind about difficulties and challenges in making it as a writer (there are challenges in everything, so don't let that stop you). There can be something else too. The potential writer may have no idea how to assemble a story.

Yes, we all have to take English classes in High School and anyone who goes to college usually has to take a writing course. Having the ability to write does not necessarily yield the ability to tell a story however. Unfortunately, a number of potentially good stories (that could have been great novels), fall away to nothingness because the author decided that they couldn't tell a story. Maybe others decide to pay some money and sign up for a writing class or purchase books on creative writing and story telling. These methods are more formal.

There is an informal way that you can develop your ability as a storyteller and have some serious fun doing it: Role-Playing Games (RPGs). I'm not talking about putting Final Fantasy XIII in your game console. I'm talking about the good old-fashioned dice, pen, and paper games like Dungeons and Dragons, Rifts, Vampire, Cyberpunk, and a whole host of others. So you may be asking why. Why the pen and paper games? Don't you have to imagine all of the action instead of seeing it on a screen? Yes, and the second question answered the first question. That's the point. You can roll dice and write numbers all you want, but these games require imagination and creativity to weave those dice rolls and numbers into a fluid, moving story that keeps everyone engrossed.

In order to have lasting interest in a gaming campaign (which is an ongoing story that is built on session after session), the Dungeon Master (or Game Master), who is the overall "storyteller", must keep things interesting and allow for a good balance of character development, plot movement, and action. Even as a player, you would be responsible for the development of your own character, having them grow and change with their experiences. These are all important aspects to creating a good short story or novel.

From personal experience, I can say that Role-Playing games were a big help in developing my own ability to tell stories. When I was first a Game Master, many years ago, I had trouble keeping everyone's interest, including my own. My content was typically nothing more than rehashed TV or movies. As time went on and I watched other people as Game Masters (and later Dungeon Masters in Dungeons and Dragons), I began picking up on how to weave that creative web, first with my own player characters, and then with my own worlds and stories as I worked up the confidence to once again delve into being the overall storyteller. I had actually developed so well, that none of the other players wanted to be the Dungeon Master or Game Master, they didn't feel that they could maintain an intricate storyline like I could. They even suggested that I become an author.

The key to opening your ability as a creative writer is to engage in activities that require creativity. No matter your raw talent, taking time to develop and nurture that skill will pay off with the ability to really draw in an audience. Who knows? If you put your mind to it, you could even become a bestselling author!

Mike Saxton

Make Video Games - Creating Hot Role Playing Games

Giving enthusiasts the ability to make video games gives this industry yet another arsenal for keeping interests high in an already most preferred form of indoors entertainment since?this technology first hit the circuit. Of the many different types of video game formats RPG, short for role playing games, is very popular. It's technology enables users direct interaction with all aspects of creation including but not limited to mapping, selection of events, control over game intensity, graphics, and a host of many other interactive features. After making a map or the pinnacle from which to stage your adventures you would then create the parts of the (rpg) that make up the characters, good or bad. Events are then created and placed within the map completing your rpg. In working with maps you have access within the program to select graphics, good or bad, for villains, heroes, even monsters and enemies you simply name them and give them stats. Not to worry the bark is worse than the bite. An easy to use?system tutorial is available for references and queries.

Having the ability to make video games, with an RPG maker, stories can be told in many different surroundings, in this case, events. Events anywhere from simple text and graphic displays to variable-wrangling technical tricks for creating intense RPG story lines are possible and unlimited. Quality RPG makers have grand features like interaction capabilities, some of which, allow the user to edit battle animations with full control of graphical special effects to multiple?rpg characters during creation as well as spectacular battle scene layouts, customizable character graphics, and script editing options. That's right! Script editing capabilities. That puts you right in the drivers seat and gives you complete control of the entire engine's inner workings while you create your masterpieces. A chance at script editing to make video games unique to you.

No programming Experience? No Problem. One of the best features of a quality RPG maker is that you don't need to know anything at all about how to make video games. A quality RPG maker can have you building maps, houses, stores, characters and more with behaviors to match in no time because the easy to use user friendly interface! There is what they call a Ruby Game Scripting System (RGSS) in each RPG maker and the sole reason for it is to give the user complete control for adding customized actions to the game. No worries though. If you don't know how it's done there are reference materials included. So while building maps by working with tiles,? setting events, configuring triggers, and learning script language may seem intense, but (RPG)? makers actually makes learning how to make video games very easy and lots of fun!

Donald Whitehead:
Did you know that you could make video games and sell them? How much could you earn? Discover how to make video games unique to you....Sell them, give them away, start your own collection! Learn More At: Make_Video_Games

The Role of the Cleric in Role Playing Games

The Cleric is one of the most long standing playable character classes in many role-playing games. This role is also one of the most expansive and potentially powerful characters usable, depending on the edition of the game that one is playing.

Typical attributes of the Cleric have one well-skilled in both combat and the use of divine magic. They can also be quite powerful healing agents, due to the large number of healing magic which is available to them. Some version of the Cleric even have power over the dead, having the ability to either manipulate or repel the presence of the un-dead in the game. Owing to this, most campaigns are very well suited with having a Cleric in their presence.

Initially, Clerics were used almost as a combination of a soldier and a wizard, giving them both skills in combat as well as spell-casting power, although not that of a magician. The first edition version of the Cleric, however, was not a particularly exciting character and while most teams considered having a Cleric for the purposes of needing a healer on the team, most players did not find much excitement in being assigned this role. This was something which was addressed in later editions of role-playing games, however.

The second edition of the game gave the Cleric a bit more to fill out their characters, as anyone creating the character of a Cleric was required to choose a specific religion to which the Cleric belonged. This religion also influenced and governed the Cleric's powers, making the types of spells unique to the religion of which the Cleric was devoted.

Players could either be on the side of Lawful Good or Chaotic Evil, making the types of spells possible range between Death and Tyranny or Healing and Life. The power of the Clerics was a divine power, being drawn from the specific god or gods which the Cleric was devoted to, allowing a great number of different Clerics to populate any game.

In the third edition of these games, the idea of devotion was taken a step further and the Clerics were forced to choose a particular patron to devote themselves to before aligning themselves within one step of that devotion. For example, if a Cleric devoted themselves to a patron of Lawful Good, the Cleric themselves must either be affiliated with Lawful Good, Neutral Good, or Lawful Neutral.

This would direct the types of spells available to the Cleric into being even more specific and focused, making nearly each Cleric made individual and unique. This character class then becomes more useful and exciting to the members of a group compared to the first edition's simple task of being the requisite healer.

Players are more apt to become a cleric now, with so much detail and choice available to anyone who chooses to become a Cleric. In this manner, these games have only expanded on the richness that they provide their players and, when making each subsequent edition more rich, they will continue to keep and draw more fans in.

Victor Epand is an expert consultant for board games, chess boards, and dungeons and dragons miniatures. You will find all these things and more if you visit used board games, chess boards.

Fantasy Role Playing Games and Fairy Tales About Fairies - Powell, Prince of Dyfed

One of the more interesting fairy tales involving the land of fairy Powell, Prince of Dyfed is one of many early fantasy stories from the land of Arthur (Wales). There are a number of stories regarding the exploits of Powell; however the one which introduces him is perhaps of the most interest for those who play fantasy role playing games. In this story Powell is out hunting when he meets and befriends a fairy king. The fairy king is having trouble with an enemy he can't defeat, so he and Powell switch places so that Powell may continue the war with the other fairy princes and defeat their leader.

It is interesting how human many of the fairies seem in this fairy tale, very different from much of what we currently think of fairies as being. Fairies it would seem from this and a number of other stories gained their abilities primarily through knowledge, their ability to know almost anything. For like Powell the fairy king too enjoys hunting and holds court, similarly enough that they could pass for each other.

The idea behind what made a hero in the eyes of the Welsh is also interesting to take note of. For it was said of Powell that;

"He could ride a horse, draw a bow, and speak the truth. He was always honored by men, and he kept his faith and his promises to women. The children loved him, for he loved them. In the castle hall, he could tell the best stories. No man, bard, or warrior, foot

holder or commoner, could excel him in gaining and keeping the attention of his hearers."

One must of course realize that this story was indeed edited by those who wrote it down and so some of this description may have been based on the thinking of the 1800s. However this description of a hero is useful for anyone trying to create an RPG or fantasy character which will have to deal with fairies, for fairies believe very firmly in honesty, and admire greatly the skills of story telling and music. Indeed Powell would not have done so well in fairy land if he had not had these traits.

Another quality Powell had was politeness, for in his discussion with the king of the fairies it was how polite he was that allowed him to become friends with the king of the fairy. This theme is repeated over and over throughout the stories of fairies that no matter how rude they are one must be very polite to them. For in politeness a person will be rewarded by fairies and in rudeness they will cursed.

In fantasy stories it would be easy to use the idea of politeness and fairy curses and blessings as an element to add interest to the story. For with this element the characters gain unique powers, or interestingly horrible curses. For temporary lapses of rudeness a person could become horribly cursed, and may need to go on a quest to find the fairy who laid the curse on them, or to prove themselves worthy of getting it removed.

The story of Powell is of interest also because it shows a mortal entering the world of fairy to help a fairy king. One could easily see how a story that followed the exploits of someone who switched places with a fairy could be very interesting. Or of someone who entered fairy land and had to return home to grow bored. For in Powell's later exploits he is constantly entering realms of the fairy because he misses the excitement of living within this realm.

Ty Hulse is helping to develop dragonsmeet.net as center for role playing games, where you can learn about the impact of fantasy role playing games He is also the creator of Zeluna.net for fairy tale stories

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What Indiana Jones May Teach You About Writing Role Playing Games

One of the reasons that the fellow with the whip was so popular were all the traps protecting the treasures.

Most role playing games involve finding a single treasure, and so in the Indiana tradition they need to be protected by traps. The one everyone knows about is the giant ball, and that can be played in special ways-can it roll uphill? Will it force people down a certain tunnel or pit? Does it seem to be being controlled by an unknown force?

A lesser known one is the IEHOVAH trap from The Last Crusade. The premise is this:

You need to step on the correct stones in order to cross the gorge and collect the treasure. But instead of the code word being 'Jehovah' its the old spelling 'Iehovah'.

A variant of this may be spelling goddess as 'goddeff'. Using the first version may make you end up in the pit...

But how did Dr Jones know about the code word in the first place? Answer: a book found beforehand. Something else you might use-a clue which isn't the complete solution.

Something else from the Last Crusade is that it is impossible to take the treasure-the Holy Grail in this case-away from the dungeon. This may annoy the players, after all they do all the work and get no treasure, but it's only a game after all.

It is important not to copy the plot of an Indiana Jones film completely, but to come up with your own spin on it, After all, that way is far more entertaining.

Paul Wimsett is an ebay seller, has a Auctiva shop and has also self published work on Createspace and http://Lulu.com