Friday, 8 July 2011

Coveting the Fat Miniatures

In The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal Lecter had a great exchange with Clarice Starling about Buffalo Bill.
Hannibal Lecter: First principles, Clarice. Simplicity. Read Marcus Aurelius. Of each particular thing ask: what is it in itself? What is its nature? What does he do, this man you seek?
Clarice Starling: He kills women...
Hannibal Lecter: No. That is incidental. What is the first and principal thing he does? What needs does he serve by killing?
Clarice Starling: Anger, um, social acceptance, and, huh, sexual frustrations, sir...
Hannibal Lecter: No! He covets. That is his nature. And how do we begin to covet, Clarice? Do we seek out things to covet? Make an effort to answer now.
Clarice Starling: No. We just...
Hannibal Lecter: No. We begin by coveting what we see every day. Don't you feel eyes moving over your body, Clarice? And don't your eyes seek out the things you want?

My trouble is that every couple of days I see an ad for Fat Dragon Games products appear in my inbox. Those little photos look amazing. If I were a miniatures gamer, I'd be all over them, I think.

All those ads are starting to make me covet, Doctor Lecter. They make me covet.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Fiasco from the Floating Vagabond

A game I bought many years ago was Tales From The Floating Vagabond. It was a funny little game; perhaps more funny to read than to play at the time. While at RPGNow today (buying some Greeks paper miniatures from Arion Games) I searched for it whimsically - and found it! Jubilant news! It's available in PDF!

I only searched for it because this morning I listened to The Walking Eye recording of Fiasco and thought, "This would be a great game system for Vagabond."

Have you seen it anywhere? Fiasco At The Floating Vagabond? Oh lordy, I'd play that this weekend if I had it.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Make Failure Ironic

I've heard the GM advice to make failure interesting. I've even given that advice to people. It's good advice and worth adding to your game. I'd like to refine it, though, based on the most interesting failure stories I've heard. Sorry, I won't recount them now. You don't get my raw data, just my conclusions.

So, the old dictionary on my shelf says that irony is the expression of meaning using words which normally have the opposite meaning. I've also seen it defined as something that comes from an opposite or extremely unlikely source.

And that's what the most interesting play examples of "make failure interesting" are. A failed Circles test actually finds the contact, but they're hostile to you. The expectation is a good and useful contact, but it turns out to be a bad and (potentially) useful contact. A failed lockpick roll unlocks the door to - not the treasure - a room full of guards! The expectation is opposite to what happens.

There are plenty of examples outside these, some are ironic. Another substitute for interesting is complicating. Make failure complicating. Failed detective rolls succeed in identifying the villain, but at the cost of revealing your sister's identity to the villain. (FYI: Don't call around the crime world from her phone.)

"Interesting" is a broad term. I think it's more fun to make it complicating, and even more fun to make it ironic. It might wear thin after a while, so don't be a one-trick-pony about it. But try and make failure ironic.