Exploring the various means of encouraging proactive play in role playing games.
  rpg     podcast  

My friend Jon and I spend a lot of time thinking about, and talking about role playing games. We recently dove into the topic of encouraging players to take the wheel more often in various role playing games. We ended up talking for a very long time! If this sounds like something that would tickle your fancy, have a listen right here!

Discussion Notes

It's important to provide players with a firm understanding of the boundaries of both the fiction and the mechanics. The more familiar players are in the space, the more empowered they will be to drive the game in the direction they want. Understanding the rules and boundaries lends itself to knowing what is special, and what stands out against the backdrops which the game explores.

Encourage players to share their thoughts more often. Players can often get stuck in trying to find the perfect answer before sharing with the rest of the table, but if they can be encouraged to share their thought process aloud the GM can help keep them on track in pursuit of their goals.

Create space during sessions for players to reaffirm their characters. Establish rituals for beginning the session and diving into the shared imagination of the table. Have players speak aloud what their characters are trying to accomplish, even if it's as simple as just going along with the adventure. A consistent approach to this will form habits that can smooth out the otherwise bumpy parts of a session, which open up more time and energy able to be devoted to proactive play overall.

Consider that the longer it takes for players to see the results of their choices, the more unclear the impact of those choices become. In situations like encounters, or combat, players are able to see the outcome of their choices almost immediately. However in longer form scenarios that stretch across an entire session or longer, it's harder to determine what exactly drove each outcome. Make full use of game systems that reveal the inner workings of long term effects from player actions, such as reputation points or influence systems.

Allow players to be the arbiters of truth more often than not. In many situations the GM can pass the torch of narrative authority to the acting player, and make adjustments to their contributions as necessary. If the overall goal is to facilitate a collaborative storytelling environment, passing narrative authority around the table will ultimately guide players toward taking a more active role at the table as they are given direct responsibility over their actions.

More Details?!

The full recording goes into a lot more detail with some examples from both of our experiences running and playing games. Give it a listen!!

  blog     web  

I'm back! Again! Wow!

I've shed all of the weight of all of the various content management systems I've tried over the past year. I really thought that using something built for managing a website would be really cool and make everything easier, but I was so very very wrong.

Everything that I tried just sucked in different ways. Either it was too involved, or it was designed for nothing like what I wanted to do. I've even given up on using databases for storing content. We're all flat files now, bucko. I'm really disappointed at how complex even the most simple web things are! I understand that maybe they're designed for people to create sites with that they can hand off to clients, but even still the amount of things that can break from the slightest misstep even in the simplest content management systems is unreal.

I've been thinking a lot about a lot of stuff over the past year or so, so I want to make sure that I have a good lookin' website again to write on. I still don't know how to end blog posts. So this is it. The end of the post.

  life     blog     web  

Okay so I know I was supposed to get back to posting stuff here but... I'm still not happy with the system I have set up. I tried out this thing called Pico CMS which is like the lightest weight blog whatever system that I could find, but it's still super complex and annoying. To customize any part of it I still have to dig through a bunch of files and configs and the php code running it all is a gigantic nightmare.

So I think I'm just going to scrap it and go back to some super simple php thing I write myself but make it as simple as possible and just parse markdown files for all the entries which is essentially but Pico does but there's a lot of weird snags that I'm having trouble navigating for my use cases.

I know that I don't really get a lot of, or any, comments on my posts usually, but it would be nice to have some sort of comment system set up that wasn't relying on hacking through Pico's code, or some super bloated commenting service like Disqus or whatever. It's pretty wild how even the most simple things on the web are still convoluted nightmares. Now I'm off to google search some php questions that were answered on stack overflow 15 years ago!

  life     blog     web  

There are a lot of things to still figure out. I guess that is always the case.

I get into a habit of thinking way too much about what to write here. I still think of it as some sort of super official presentation of myself, so I tend to be very careful about what to share, but then I get stuck in an infinite loop of thinking about something, but then it never important enough to write about! I must break the cycle of despair.

Obviously my online presence has changed a lot in the past few years. I used to be very active on my blog and trying to write about what I was up to at least three times a week, but after a very long time of doing that it became very exhausting. I also came to dread the feeling of being behind on my posts, and frantically always trying to catch up. I know that this kept me somewhat productive and "on task" but it was also a big contributor to anxiety and feeling like I was never doing enough.

After I started treating my anxiety and ADHD issues, a lot of my perspectives changed. I pretty much gave up on the multiple posts a week thing, but then over time I eventually decided to retire the concept of my blog entirely. I came to a realization that things like updating my blog all the time and maintaining a strong-ish online presence was a form of managing my mental illnesses. Not to say that I was exclusively behaving in certain ways as coping mechanisms, but there has definitely been a significant change since starting on focused therapy and medication.

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I'm Kyle Pulver and this is my current home on the internet. I spend a lot of time working on Super Meat Boy: Forever. I also draw stuff, create tools and applications for tabletop role playing games, tinker with web development, as well as design and develop games of both the tabletop and digital variety.

I'm a cis bi boy currently residing in Seattle with my partner Corey. I have adhd and anxiety but I make it work most of the time. I'm usually down to talk about whatever so feel free to send me a message over email or twitter if you have any questions, concerns, comments, or accolades. I am not accepting criticism at this time.

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