RPGaDay 2018: Week 2

6. How can players make a world seem real?
I'd expect a typical answer to this to be something along the lines of making an unnecessarily in-depth character, with a big backstory, goals, desires, quirks, and all that nonsense, whether or not you know what everyone else, including the GM, has planned.

Personally I think all that just gets in the way: I didn't feel less invested in, say, Jurassic Park because I didn't know Grants history, family members, friends, and so on. Same goes for Harry Dresden in The Dresden Files and everything to do with Firefly.

Generally it's the GM that's supposed to make the world seem as real as reasonably possible, but I think one way players can contribute is by not making decisions purely based on their knowledge of the rules and the fact that, ultimately, they are playing a game. Also, to a lesser extent, doing stuff based on what they know about their GM.

Of course some games can get in the way of this, such as by allowing the player to control the outcome of something whether or not the character has any capacity to, or keeping equipment vague and mutable so you don't have to plan in advance. But then if you're playing such a game and enjoying it, then maintaining that degree of realism probably isn't that important.

7. How can a GM make the stakes important?
Not sure I understand this question. It sounds very vague and, I dunno, pretentious? I normally run dungeon crawler type stuff, so the PCs get a hook, go to the dungeon, and explore. Or they start at the dungeon and we kind of reverse engineer later why they went there (or we sum up a basic reason, because that's a better use of time than spending 2+ hours trying to get everyone there).

Anyway, they explore, find stuff and people, explore some more, find more stuff and people, etc. A lot of times they have to fight things, and in that case I guess "the stakes" are their lives, which I'd assume is important to them. Other times there's a door, and they don't know what's on the other side, but they want to know so they'll do whatever is necessary to get through.

Wanting to know the answer is usually important enough. Does that count? I don't really have to "make the stakes important". I don't even think in terms of, "What are the stakes, here, and are they important enough for the PCs to care?" I don't even consciously think of stakes when I'm playing: I just write/design the things I want, and the players do with it what they will.

So, I guess my answer is not to worry about consciously determining the stakes and their overall importance. It's probably just going to be a waste of time and make things feel more artificial. Just put things in place, have things happen, and let the players sort it out: if it's important enough they will, and if it's not they won't, and that's fine.

8. How can we get more people playing?
I think that everyone that can play, is playing. There's probably a group of people out there that really, really want to play, but legitimately cannot find a group playing the game they want to play and/or playing at a time when they can play, and for them that sucks.

There's also probably a group of people that want to play, but are afraid to due to other people constantly writing willfully misleading clickbait articles demonizing the gaming populace in general in an effort to push an agenda.

To them I say ignore the authors writing those willfully misleading clickbait articles and play anyway, because gamers are generally kind, patient, and just want to have fun: frankly it's those authors you should be watching out for.

Sure some gamers are awkward, and some are dicks, and some are awkward dicks, but then those types exist in everything and running into and dealing with them is part of life.

For the minority of people actually interested in making even halfway decent games, because their primary goal is the publication of a halfway decent game and not attention and/or money, focus on games that emphasize fun over identity politics.

9. How has a game surprised you?
Numenera surprised with how needlessly convoluted its core mechanic is, and how boring its setting was. It reminded me of Inverse World just with more and better art.

Both were among the most disappointing Kickstarters I'd ever backed, though that was only surprising in the case of the latter, and I got almost all of my money back pawning the former's books off on ebay.

10. How has gaming changed you?
I'm more aware of how games are made (professional and, ahem, otherwise) and the people behind them, which has caused me to be more wary and cynical in regards to them.

But it also pushed me to make my own stuff and improve my art quite a bit, so that's good.

11. Wildest character name?
I rarely get to play, but as best I can remember I played a kytheran chronomancer in a short A Sundered World campaign named Mister Tock. Not really wild, but then I don't deliberately try for "wild", so by default it would probably qualify as the most wild.

12. Wildest character concept?
After I picked up Savage Species, whenever that came out, the GM said we could do whatever for a one-shot, so I ended up rolling a half-blink dog, half-blue dragon named Sparky. It sucked, because most things in 3rd Edition just didn't work as expected and probably not as intended.

You can now get a physical copy of Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book in whatever format you want! We've also released the first big supplement for it, Appendix D, so pick that up if you want more of everything.

Our latest Dungeon World class, The Apothecary, is now available.

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

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