A while back I commented on the state of online tabletop roleplaying. At the time I wrote it I had tried to experience GMing using the tools available to me, it was pretty disastrous. Viz, from White Haired Man took pity upon me, decided that I hadn’t given VTT a good shake down, and invited me to participate in an upcoming play test for Seal the Rift! The result of which moved me from hatred to general tolerance of VTT, Fantasy Grounds specifically. Like all programs it has room for growth but lends itself nicely to posts such as these, where I get on my soap box and preach about “how things should be.”
The amount of response we have received from the Innovate or Die articles has surprised and delighted me. Comments have been plentiful and insightful, but there seems to be some confusion about my point.
Let me make something clear: I am not trying to replace the face-to-face tabletop experience with a digital one. The in-person game will always be superior to the digital experience; players like to look their NPCs, and each other, in the eye. However, life rarely respects my gaming habit these days. As such, I would like tools that replicate the face-to-face experience online in order to get my fix.
Many of our dear readers have pointed to MapTools and Fantasy Grounds II as ways to get this done. Wizards of the Coast currently has a virtual tabletop in development, but since I neither have a D&D Insider subscription, nor am I currently playing D&D, I’m not in a position to comment on it. In the future, it will at least be worth some study. I’ve personally tried to use MapTools and Fantasy Grounds II and found the experience to be headache inducing. The learning curve for these programs is steep, and leaves much to be desired.
The roleplaying industry is stagnant, and it’s causing people to quit the hobby. When I first wrote Why We Need to Innovate or Go Home last week, it came out of a growing frustration I have with the stagnation of the community. I find myself, and many others, turning away from roleplaying games and looking for other forms of interactive entertainment. Looking around I see most everyone I play with being far enough away that it’s inconvenient to get together on a regular basis to play. Nowadays I’m more likely to pick up a controller then dice; opting to spend time in a virtual world instead of my imagintion. So what steps can we take to start moving our hobby towards being able to break down the barriers of play?
In the war on our attention, what are we doing to truly innovate in our community? Not only bring new people to the table, but new ideas?
“Innovate or Die.” I read this poster almost daily at a client’s offices; it features some dead animal carcasses in the middle of a desert road. I think the constant exposure to the image makes it less gruesome then it sounds, but the words are burned into my skull none the less. I see innovation everywhere, the internet makes seeing the new trends as easy as turning on my computer. Every industry is experiencing a revolution, newspapers are making way to blogs, big R&D firms are turning to the masses to solve problems, and Twitter birthed a political revolution.
Okay, it may not be true that every product needs an index. If it’s a one-sheet adventure or a three page monster supplement, you don’t need one. But most gaming books do. They’re meant to be referenced, and you reference a work through its index.
Wrathofzombie noted a while back that America’s history seems to leak into gaming, noting that everything goes except slavery. His post went on to point out three different settings where slavery was illegal but everything else was perfectly normal and just “A-OK.” Murder, theft, and mayhem were the norm, but slavery? That was out of the question, sir. Now, of course I disagree with slavery, I’m American and carry that guilt (more on that in a bit), but I have to wonder why we have such a blind spot when it comes to slavery? Why is everything including taking a human life part of our games but slavery is a hot button issue?
As of late I’ve been spending some time in New Austin, a fictional state in Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption. Like most Grand Theft Auto styled games game play is a series of mission that break up wondering around, and the mini games. Unlike every other GTA game I’ve played, I actually find the story and [...]
There are three basic types of actions a character would take. There are basic actions that characters plan to take. They plan an attack, or move to heal a teammate. Then there are the emergency actions, taken in reaction to events. Finally, there are the really special, really powerful actions saved for a time when they’re really needed.
I am not an MMO guy. I also believe that tabletop RPGs and videogame RPGs are completely different beasts, but with striking similarities. It is with these two thoughts in mind that I have decided to give World of Warcraft another chance.