Tag: gaming

Hacking XP part two: applications

In part one of this post I discussed experience and its uses in gaming. In particular, I brought up the ideas of:

  • Tailored triggers, in which different characters gain XP in different ways, allowing everyone different goals in play.
  • Pre-meditated experience, in which you choose which mechanical thing to advance (in whole or in part) before you set out to gain experience.
  • Combining these, the idea of advancement tailoring triggers, in which your triggers are determined by your choice of advance.

Hacking XP for a more meaningful life

Experience and advancement are a pretty common feature of a bunch of roleplaying systems. In general, they follow this formula:

  1. Your character performs one of a number of pre-specified actions (a trigger)
  2. You get some form of immaterial, mechanical token or point
  3. Either now or later you “spend” a number of these tokens to alter or improve your character in some intrinsic way.

Society of Dreamers: Randomness through mad-libs

Society of Dreamers is an “indie” roleplaying/storytelling game by Matthijs Holter, author of Archipelago amongst others. In some ways it’s closer to improv, in the same way that Cleopatra’s reign is closer to the moon landings than the building of the Pyramid of Giza1. I’ve been running/playing it with a group of friends for the past few weeks: while Holter suggests that you can run the whole thing in one session, we’re now up to our third.

The premise of the game is this: at some point, in Europe in the 19th century, a group of people form a society whose goal is to hunt down one or more mnemosites: creatures that live in peoples’ dreams. The number and nature of the mnemosites is unknown, and much of the game is dedicated to finding out more about them. The Society also knows of a mnemosite host, and can participate in dream diving: a form of lucid dreaming in which the diver experiences the host’s dreams. The setting has elements of Victorian-era adventure, supernatural horror, and suspense.

Random NPC generation in Trunk Notes

This week on the Story Games roleplaying forum, there’s been a thread entitled: Dealing with Bad GMing Habits: Better NPCs. It’s been an interesting read, mainly because of the tips and tricks that people let slip for how they make NPCs generated on the fly more interesting.

One of the things I noticed was that a lot of people have random X roll as their means for generating interesting NPCs. To be honest, I think random rolls for NPCs are good, because:

Programming in Lua for Trunk Notes

Here’s a thing I’ve been working on:

I’ve got all my GMing notes in Trunk Notes for iPad, which is still awesome1. I have pages for different plot threads and factions, people linked off of those, and their relationships with one another all mapped out. Tagging helps a heap - being able to just dump a list of everything tagged “Front” or “Faction” means I don’t forget about this one thing off to the side.

My gaming workflow

Time to switch tracks completely, once again.

In my spare time, I do a bit of roleplaying. Because being a Ph.D. student and coding in my spare time isn’t geeky enough. I’m a fan of a number of games, but my current game is a campaign of Apocalypse World.


So this weekend I was supposed to finally get around to doing hobby work. I’ve just upgraded to Lion, which means a major version upgrade of XCode, and that means that my current “learn how to code in Cocoa” project won’t compile, and that will need some in-depth analysis. (Or at least, in-depth for me, which may be cursory and obvious once you’ve had a few months’ worth of Cocoa programming under your belt.) Plus every other project I’m supposed to work on, committee I got drafted onto, and also tidying up various bits and bobs from this “day job” thing you’re supposed to care about.

Unfortunately this all got derailed because on Saturday morning I acquired two things:

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