Caleb is back discussing his progress on Red Markets. After a recent gaming retreat, Caleb developed a theory he wanted to discuss in this episode, about the obscene and the scene. The scene represents the public, socially acceptable aspects of a given object or activity. The obscene refers to the hidden, taboo aspects. In RPGs, the scene is what we say about our games but the obscene is how we actually engage with them. “I hate this game. I’ve run a hundred sessions of it.” There’s the promised version of a game during its Kickstarter campaign, the version delivered, and the version actually played. We discuss these weighty topics and how it is affecting the development of Red Markets.
Check out Hebanon Open Game Design to keep track of Red Markets development!
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 1:04:32 — 44.5MB)
Some various thoughts that came into my head listening to this episode
Hearing you talk about reaching outside the hardcore community for advice reminded me of like a constant thing on the red markets discord.
Everyone is baffled that the majority of discussion of the game is how bleak it seems because they all got into the game via rppr.
Like I intentionally did my first playtests without listening to the APs and yeah I can remember that the book felt pretty bleak and the games I wrote matched that quality.
And probably the majority of the discussion is from people who have not and probably will never listen to rppr.
When the brutalists and later fallen flag came out it gave me a pretty good idea of what Caleb’s intention for the game was.
The brutalists was on a clock of every npc making more demands of the players and generally just disliking them more as time went on and the lions thing including Caleb making puncturing the scene (I think I’m using that correctly) by outright saying that no matter what the players did he was going to find some way that an expired job would screw the party over.
Fallen flag he’s playing a disfigured divorced dad who is not really fondly regarded by his wife or child or the dad who stepped up and ultimately asked Ross to leave the ending to a coin flip regardless of his own decision.
But I guess like the best analogy is most people play it as romanticized pirates (cool swashbuckling badassess living free and making their own future) and Caleb was playing real pirates (impoverished people who turn to a life of constant danger because they have nothing else)