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Narrative Control


Mar 12, 2009

This episode Justin and I talk about what we’ve learned from video games and how we can draw inspiration from them and learn from their pitfalls.

Hosts: Sean Nittner and Justin Evans

Length: 29:49

Show Notes
[00:28] Introduction to the show – Inspiration from video games
[00:40] Some great discussion on our boards about conflict resolution here and here.
[01:05] Format of the show, inspiration, pitfalls and some personal stories.
[01:29] RPGPodcasts.com Promo
[01:37] Justin’s thrilling adventure.
[02:52] Sean’s protest. Video games don’t have the story or role-playing that tabletop RPGs do.
[04:00] Sean’s use of images, lore, etc from World of Warcraft in his Burning Warcraft game.
[05:00] Erik Woodbury’s LARP: Peace at Arathi Basin.  Video game setting, using the strengths of a LARP.
[06:15] Comparing the guessed budget of Feng Shui and Grand Theft Auto. 
[07:34] Level design as an analog for quests.
[08:17] Set pieces in games, the main encounters.
[08:56] The boss fight.  A spotlighted encounter that required fighting with different tactics.
[10:11] How this can backfire.  Make sure the character’s matter.
[12:53] Save points. Logical places to stop a session. Ending the story on a high point.
[14:30] Mouseguard session structures encapsulates the mission goals and makes sure they are resolved by the end of the session.
[15:15] A warning: avoid the grind.  Examples of the grind in video games and then in popular role-playing game.
[18:30] Justin’s fresh can of hate.  The Keep on Shadowfell.
[20:21] Some advice from Dungeons and Dragons insider: Every encounter should be meaningful to the story and have stakes the characters care about.
[22:04] A question of scaling.  Does the opposition scale with you?
[22:57] Different systems scale in different ways.  In some systems this isn’t an issue. Examples of Burning Wheel, Dungeons and Dragons and Scion.
[25:19] Justin’s story playing Oblivion.  A Minotaur in the inn?
[26:40] Fallout 3, how scaling has changed in video games.
[27:28] Sean’s analog in a D&D game where his character DID become more powerful than the status quo.  “Oh crap, it’s Sadric!”
 

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