Friday, September 29, 2006

Going for the Throat and the Social Contract

I was recently listening to episode 16 of the Durham 3 and they briefly mentioned that when they play they know that they can really go for throat and there are no hard feelings. From experience I know that this is not always the case.

The Social Contract (in Forge Parlance) is defined as - "All interactions and relationships among the role-playing group, including emotional connections, logistic arrangements, and expectations. All role-playing is a subset of the Social Contract."

In regular life most people know what is acceptable behavior and what is not in a particular setting. You know what is expected at work and what is expected at home. In many cases, common sense and social morays can be used to guide you if you are not sure.

When playing an RPG, it is not that simple, especially if you are playing with people who are not close friends. This all comes up because we are just starting a Burning Empires game and we have burned the world. The process has like 11 steps and breaks out each aspect of the world into High Level topics and then generally between 2 and 4 choices. We are about to start the game and while I have stated that everything is fair game, is it really?

My thought is that it might be useful to come up with a Social Contract Burner (tips hat to Luke) that allows a group to lay down on the table what is generally expected and acceptable. I would like to hear if people like this idea, and if so, what sorts of High Level Topics should be included. Some quick examples would include:

Character Death (Choices are: Yes. Yes - Dramatically Appropriate. No - except with player's permission. No.)
PC Cooperation
Offensive Language ("Swear" Words, In Character - Bigotry, In Character Direct Threats spoken in the first person - "I will kill you."

I don't want to go overboard, but I think it could be useful.


Monday, September 18, 2006

In This RPG...

In This RPG... the random RPG situation creator.
In this RPG... The PCs are avant-garde missionaries (and former lovers) who, with snarky blog entries, fight off unwanted advances for control of the town in a story ripped from today's headlines.

In this RPG... The PCs are a bloodthirsty mob of caped crusaders living in this very town who, with wire-assisted martial arts, fight treehugging hippies for reasons of their own, all in rhyming couplets.

Just hit refresh.


Sunday, September 03, 2006

Will Wright Talks about Gaming, Art, and the Scientific Method

Here's a very cool summry of a Will Wright Talk at BAFTA--very interesting and to the point.
In other art forms, we find deep expression (Illustrative slides of important works in other media), but games are kind of like this (Slide of big Conan style dude with giant blade, luridly titled DEATH SWORD) (Laughter). They're kind of a popcorn experience, disposable entertainment. I'm not saying that's wrong, I watch action films sometimes, but games could do more.

Also, I could not resist adding this little tidbit from the Q&A session:
Q: What’s your favorite game? (Laughter from cynical bunch of game developers)
A: My favorite game is an old Chinese board game called Go. It has only two rules, but really deep strategy. Games are meant to have simple rule sets that generate maximum possibility space. Go seems to have the best ratio in that respect.