I only have a quick post for today. I was inspired by the NewbieDM to rework my initiative tracking. As you can see, I have the barest bones of Player Character information on the main tab, along with the initiative grid.
When players announce their initiative score, I will simply enter the name in the appropriate square. If they hold, or if the order is otherwise changed, I can lift and drop. It should be simple enough.
Today I present the “Calvinball, Violent Riots, DMV, Dungeons and Dragons” mental model. It mostly speaks for itself, though I have a few things to add:
Many of the plotted items are admittedly subjective. Family traditions are not always enjoyable; not every dictatorial marriage is a bad marriage, and good marriages don’t all require a balance of freedom with restriction. The intent was to illustrate the model.
As I plotted the examples, I found that complete freedom rarely leads to fun or rewarding experiences. Most often, the greatest fun comes with an alignment of the possible with the desirable. In gaming terms, Dungeons and Dragons is very restrictive in many ways. You have a finite number of options any given time; however, those who love the game love it because the limited number of choices are more pleasurable than too many choices. We roll D20s because we want to lose some control of the narrative; otherwise we’d be storytelling and even in there we have better ways and worse ways. The task of all gamers is to find the balance of restriction that leads to the most fun.
If this graph was interesting to you, please check out my take on Regret, Hobbies, Chores and Oppression.
I love the creative space that role-playing games encourage. If it’s well designed, a game provides the structure that can cause creativity to flourish. In Dungeons and Dragons fourth edition, player character (and encounter) creation allows for vast creativity involving both design and artistry. Design, because the mechanics are engineered within specific parameters: a player group works best with a controller, defender, leader and striker, and each is best when created to perform certain functions. Within that framework there is infinite creative space with name choice alone, and it expands from there.
As I previously wrote, I’m creating a new PC for my weekly game. During this process, both design and art come into focus clearly. I tend to start with the artistic element, especially for longer campaigns. Sometimes, however, I do start with the design. In a game like 4e, what your character can do is very important. It ain’t called the ‘heroic’ tier because it’s a discussion group, after all.