RPPR Episode 98: I GM Therefore I Am

Guangzhou: 1980s Cyberpunk Dystopia today!News: Caleb and I will be at Fear the Con this year! We will both be running games and attending events there. I will be at PAX East this year, as part of Pixelscopic, showing off their new game, Delver’s Drop. (Have I mentioned I’m working on it? I totally am!) Also, check out No Security, Caleb’s new book. I’ve also released 2 new short PDFs for Base Raiders: The Hedge Wizard and Agent Grayson.Ā  Also, I’m back from China. You can check the RPPR Tumblr for photos (scroll down).

Synopsis: After reading the Angry DM’s article on the 8 types of fun, I thought it would be interesting to discuss our philosophies towards running games and what kind of fun we get out of it. We each give our own unique perspectives on the topic, including our GM bucket lists. We also have shout outs and an anecdote or two.

Shout Outs

  • Snakehead: A fascinating book about the complexities of human smuggling from China to the United States.
  • True Detective: This. Fucking. Show.
  • The Massive: A post-apocalyptic naval adventure and mystery. A group of environmental activists search for their missing comrades in a world falling apart.
  • Black Mirror: The Twilight Zone meets the Internet and social media.
  • Eco-comics: Economic analysis of superhero tropes. I’ve linked to a good post from the blog.
  • Sojourn: New sci-fi anthology featuring authors like Matt Forbeck and Dan Repperger
  • Shock Doctrine: A controversial expose of global politics and economics.
  • Illustrated Guide to Criminal Law: Want to learn about the law? Like comics? ‘Nuff said!
  • One Punch Man: This. Fucking. Manga.
  • Dragonfall: An incredible campaign for Shadowrun Returns.

Song: Load Bearing Fungus by Salkovich.

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  1. is that Load-Bearing Fungus?!

    so I was reading a bunch about Unknown Armies again lately because it really is the best thing ever and I spotted and saw other people express the sentiment that in a big way it’s riffing on the absolute stagnation and “gonowhereness” of the World of Darkness, which at the time as a gameline had been promising these eschaton-level events for a decade and gone absolutely nowhere except for a convoluted metaplot everyone kind of hated. players had no real agency in the world, and the “end states” of the game, like actually manipulating the Consensus in Mage or attaining Golconda in Vampire, were so abstract and underdeveloped as to be meaningless. the sheer literalism and mechanical accessibility of the Statosphere are a direct jab at the WoD’s “you have godlike characters! but Reed Richards is useless and you can’t really accomplish anything and it’s all in the hands of even-more-godlike NPCs who don’t really follow the game rules when they’re offscreen doing all the important shit.” WoD did kind of eventually shake things up a little by ending their first line and going much more local in the sequel games, but that was at the cost of a sense of cosmic import and global conspiracy. so I think it’s fair to say that UA is derivative of WoD concepts in some ways, at least in that it’s urban fantasy and kind of horror-y (I think Stolze calls it an “absurd tragedy”), but it subverts them so thoroughly that it feels like a very unique beast.

    possibly my favorite line in any RPG book ever is that UA ritual that shows you the face and name of the last person who cast a spell on you. if no one’s ever done one to you personally, it shows a woman’s face an a name in heiroglyphics, who, a very long time ago, must have cast a spell on…-everyone.- that kind of spine-tinglingness is just top tier. the World of Darkness equivalent would’ve been “the spell fails.”

    I’ve said before that zombies generally make me roll all of my eyes but that, yeah, it doesn’t sound like Red Market is really -about- the zombies. finally read World War Z and was stunned at how good it was, because it was really about -pandemic,- not about “lol walking dead shoot tehm in heds.” Red Markets being about poverty has got the potential to be just as powerful.

  2. I really enjoyed the discussion in this episode. I often have players who will say they would NEVER GM because of the responsibility and the time commitment, but I always tell them that being a good GM is often just focusing on what you enjoy about role – playing and making sure the players are the ones driving the experience. My own philosophy is to set an interesting scene and see what the players do, and I have yet to be disappointed. I like to take myself out of the game as much as possible, and the fun for me is often watching the players create their own whacky narrative.

  3. Ross. Please tell us about Asia. Can we see the slides?

  4. Ross, can you please tell us about Asia? Could we see the slides? šŸ™‚

  5. When you talked about ways that the RPPR group is unusual in its pacing (chasing after plots hard, not wanting wanting to spend an hour talking to NPCs), it made me think about how play style might be related to podcasting. I find your APs to be a lot more listenable than some other AP podcasts, and a lot of that is due to your pacing.

    For a listener, the ability to partake of a lot of the types of fun is diminished. We don’t really get sensory pleasure at all, and most of the other types we only get vicariously. But narrative and discovery can still be really strong.

    Maybe that can explain some of the difference between a successful RPG session, and a successful podcast AP session.

  6. I would love to play Breaking Bad with the Pangloss Formula in Baseraiders.

  7. Okay, important question: are their spoilers for episodes 6,7, or 8 of true detective in this episode?

  8. This is excellent news. I shall listen sooner rather than later then šŸ˜€

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