Episode 36

by Brian on August 24, 2008

Lacking GenCon tickets and vacation time, Brian sits down with game designers Chris Bennett and Bruce Harlick. We discover Brian’s kitchen is somewhat echoey, and  chat some computer game / rpg industry connections, The Believers short form rpg, Microlite20, retrogaming, Fred Hicks, taco trucks and more.


Liner Notes

[0:37] Introductions

[6:15] Player Types and DMG 4th ed

[13:50] Bennett’s “The Believers” game and play 

[21:26] GoPlay NorthWest Ad Hoc Bennett-style

[30:30] Pacificon, Microlite20 and Retrogaming

[42:23] Everyone loves Carl Rigney

[43:00] The Fred Hicks (and Julian Murdoch) Experience

[49:23] “Unbalanced encounters” and the art of running away

[1:05:27] Foodies and Gamers

[1:10:30] We wrap up



The Believers

The Role-Playing Poem Competition

Con Report from MiniGPNW/HarperCon

Quick Primer for Old School Gaming

Pacificon 8/29 – 9/1/08


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike Montesa August 29, 2008 at 9:16 pm

Dudes! Your discussion about the retro-gaming thing really struck some chords with me. About 3 years ago I started actively pulling old stuff off my shelves, running and playing them, and it was very eye-opening. We played stuff like Ghostbusters, James Bond, 2300AD, et al. We found some great stuff in all of them and it really made me think about what those designs did and how they pushed their agendas at the time. I also agree a lot of what we took for awesomeness was in spite of the systems rather than because of them (yeah I played the hell out of the old Top Secret too, and no I never did get the HTH system – so the characters always just shot each other…)

Anyway, good show!

Bruce Baugh August 30, 2008 at 11:43 pm

So here I am, tidying up my second podcasts review for Tor with an endorsement of you guys, and listening to the episode I hadn’t yet…and a few seconds after I click Save in Tor’s content management thingie, I hear my own name.

I am very amused.

Sean Nittner September 4, 2008 at 8:00 am

Some great topics came up here.

1. I downloaded the Believers and it looks awesome. Your comments about using it as an icebreaker has made me think about other games that could do the same. A single objective from Sons of Liberty. Once upon a time. A single story from 1001 nights. All could be very cool, even more so the more they related to the “main” game.

2. Dealing with characters being outmatched/defeated. Presenting a threatening challenge is always tough as a GM, but getting players to accept that their characters are defeated can be brutal. You guys have some really good stuff here. I really like the “Consider Yes” player scenario Brian brought up. Failure -> Rescue Scenario = Win!

3. Bruce’s trial lawyer reference. While I don’t want to script out my game like one big “choose your own adventure” story, I do think it is the responsibility of a GM to make failure as interesting as success. And further, as you guys mentioned, allowing the story progression to hinge on a die roll is a recipe for failure.

Great stuff. Just to give you guys a little crap though, at [43:00] when Brian was talking about hanging out with all the cool kids at the Fred Hicks signing with Fred, Chris, Ryan and some other guy. Yeah, that other guy has a name, and I know it’s hard to pronounce. Say it like this: Knit – ner (like nerd without the d). -;

Sean Nittner September 4, 2008 at 5:23 pm

I picked up a copy of Where the Deep Ones are at Pacificon. My five year old read it with me and said with a smile “That’s just like Where the Wild Things are.” I’m not sure she’s sold on the book yet, it will take a few more reads before she falls in love with it.

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