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The State of the Art

Before we can get back into a serious discussion of game design, I think it's important to get on the same page in terms of the state of the art in RPG design today. In my opinion, the most important work in RPG critical thinking is embodied in one guy, namely Vincent Baker (aka lumpley).

Vincent's game Dogs in the Vineyard is the current bleeding edge of RPG design, and it represents a lot of very important theoretical work presented in an accessible, attractive package that is meant -- first and foremost -- to be played. Not simply read and collected like far too many other game books.

To get up to speed on many significant areas of RPG theory, I highly recommend a serious read of Vincent's blog, Anyway. In particular these links:

How RPG Rules Work
Roleplaying Theory Open House
The State of the Art

Go. Read. If things like "FitM Conflict Resolution" don't make sense to you, keep reading.

Oh, and Roger? To answer your post from December 2002: A resounding NO. It has most certainly not all been done. Not by a long shot.

Wow. That's like a complete education in about 1000 words. Everyone should read it.

Okay, where's the damn glossary? I've come across the second article referencing "FitM" and I still have no idea what it means. Yes, yes, I'm going to keep reading, but now this means I'll have to go back and re-read half of everything to make sense of it.

"Frappacino in the Milkshake"


FitM is Fortune in the Middle. It means, basically, that you don't explicitly describe everything being attempted to the last detail before you roll the dice. You roll, and then use the results to narrate what actually happened.

A lot of people adapt their games to this sort of play without knowing what it's called. It's not necessarily a brand new approach. It's just more conducive to good storytelling, and it's rarely explained in rulebooks.

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