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Showing posts with the label Players

The Mission Will Be Very Safe and Fun for Everyone: Some Thoughtcrimes on Running Paranoia

  I'm sorry citizen, but the question "why hasn't there been a Paranoia post in over fifteen months" cannot be processed. Records indicate that the previous post, " [Backstory Redacted] - Getting Ready to Run Paranoia " was activated in the Year 214 of the Computer, and, as this is currently Year 214 of the Computer, your internal chronometer must be malfunctioning. Rumors that is has always been Year 214 of the Computer are treason. Please report to Internal Security for cerebral re-adjustment. Have a nice daycycle. So, why hasn't there been a post about Paranoia in fifteen months, anyway? The previous two have been quite popular , and, as I'm fond of saying, I've put more thought into this game than nearly anything else in my life, formal education included. As time went on, I found myself procrastinating on the follow-up. I didn't have enough time to work out everything I'd want to cover, I'd tell myself, or that some other top

The Matt Mercer Effect

Roleplaying games have been around for quite a long time even before the first edition of  Dungeons & Dragons was published in 1974. You can go back into the history of Commedia dell’arte (improvisational theatre) in 16th century Europe and see this form of storytelling (and, if you want to read about similar, but more recent, traditions, take a look at our posts on the Maryland Renaissance Festival .) Even before that, there were ancient historical re-enactments and storytelling in many different cultures. Modern tabletop roleplaying games are quite different, even from their 1974 form, but commonality is shared across all these. After all, we’re still just playing playground games with the assistance of rules and dice. In recent years, there's been a boom in roleplaying games due to a number of factors: The internet making it easier to find new players and even run play sessions online. General dissatisfaction with our own realities, shared or personal. One force driving th

Pak Chooie Unf: Something Awful and Communicative Identity

There's a good chance you've seen the name "Something Awful" somewhere in the past few days following the recent death of the site's founder Richard "Lowtax" Kyanka. While some coverage will certainly be about  the bizarre, "butterfly effect" story of the way a number of banned SA forum users would set the stage for the modern alt-right (as described in the rather exploitative book It Came from Something Awful: How a Toxic Troll Army Accidentally Memed Donald Trump into Office ), little seems to be about the site itself, which is, frankly rather bizarre and speaks to the relative absence of Millennial voices in the current media landscape. Not only has the site been a solid fixed point on the ever-shifting internet for over twenty years, many creators and media figures around the ages of your humble Never Say Dicers credit Something Awful for developing their identities, viewpoints, and senses of humor, from journalists to authors to comics art

...Spins a Web? Any Size?

Spider-Man, Spider-Man, Does whatever a spider can Spins a web, any size, Catches thieves just like flies Look Out! Here comes the Spider-Man. Spider-Man has been a pop culture stalwart since the early 60s, with no signs of that slowing down. He's had numerous comic series, spin-offs, cartoons, blockbuster movies and, of course, video games. His appeal is unquestionable, as most people can relate to his dilemma of power and moral responsibility. The Atari 2600 Spider-Man from 1982 may not have been a masterpiece, but electronic gaming has come a long way over the years. After a break from video games since the PS2 generation, Marvel's Spider-man seemed a perfect fit for Captain Jumpy Andy's return to consoles. Little did he know when he picked up a PS4 and the game early in the 2020 pandemic just how appropriate the game's plotline would be... Prophetic or not, what does Never Say Dice have to say about this incarnation of the world’s favorite web-slinger, and how

Don't Watch the Monsters! (Don't Watch Them...)

It's no secret that we at Never Say Dice have been... strongly influenced by The Simpsons over the years, as we've mentioned before . The two of us can (and have) hold entire conversations with nothing but classic Simpsons quotes, something that's probably not too uncommon for our generation. (And portrayed in Rebecca Sugar's heartbreaking short comic Don't Cry for Me, I'm Already Dead .) And, while we both drifted away from the current run of the series, we still enjoy reminiscing about the older episodes we grew up with. This time of year in particular always turns our thoughts to the "Treehouse of Horror" Halloween specials and their numerous inspirations. In particular, one segment that often crops up in our conversations is "Attack of the 50-Foot Eyesores" from Treehouse of Horror VI. While it may not be our favorite "Treehouse" segments (that would be "Time and Punishment" for me and "Dial Z for Zombies" f

There's Not Enough Time... One-Shots to the Rescue!

Over the last few years, the “story-driven” campaign has seen a rise in popularity. It would be difficult to deny the appeal of long character development arcs: comedy, romance, drama - it can be like an interactive version of your favorite movie, book, or TV series. It’s no wonder people enjoy this style of play, as long as they aren't looking for something purely strategic or simple hack-and-slash. But who always has the time for all that? Between scheduling issues, the pressures and responsibilities of day-to-day life, and the plain amount of planning and writing required, it can sometimes be amazing that anyone has the chance to run story-driven campaigns. A few hours spent every week around a ( virtual or physical) table with your friends playing a game can sometimes feel (dare I say it) inconceivable ! All of these issues might preclude many of us from even attempting a game, or only playing vicariously by jamming in live-play recording listening sessions . However, with a li

Greyhawk: Monsters & Treasure

A while back, I was on an expedition in my attic to find some Bill & Ted items in my collection, when I found a different treasure. It was an old roleplaying artifact : Dungeons and Dragons, Supplement 1: Greyhawk (9th printing). A 68-page pamphlet-like book filled with relics of a bygone age. The rules have changed over the years, but a dungeon delve into a piece of history can still inform us today. We’ve already looked at the “ Men & Magic ” section in a previous post and discussed percent chances, titles, and prismatic walls. Now it's time to take on a different section of the book, this one entitled “Monsters & Treasure,” to find more bits of bardic inspiration and explore the history of one of our favorite games. What will we uncover this time? An ancient magic item lost to history? Monsters better left to our nightmares? Time to turn to page 33 (including the cover, there are only 70 pages! It seems so short.) and find out. Druids and Giant Slugs The very first

Fun With Murder: The Narrative Ethics of Assassination Games

It's funny. As someone who views "detective" as an integral part of their personality , I sure have a lot of crime games. Well, crime media in general, especially movies, but games have certain... implications. You're the one committing the crimes , not watching other characters do them or following a protagonist as they piece together criminal events through evidence and investigation. You're right there, doing all the bad stuff yourself. Recently, in the ongoing quest to tackle my massive game backlog, I've been playing the first Tenchu game, released in 1998. I bought it because the creators would later go on to make my beloved Way of the Samurai series, but if one looked at my shelves, they could easily assume I chose it thematically, as Tenchu 's neighbors include numerous Hitman , Assassin's Creed , and Dishonored games - a subgenre we'll call "assassination games." I've seen it remarked that there's an irony that, while

You're Dead! What Do You Do Next?

The spiked mace crashes through the warrior’s helm, the fully charged energy rifle burns a hole right through the smuggler’s chest, the vampire detective lost in the desert, unable to escape the deadly sun, is consumed by flames… if there’s one thing tabletop roleplaying games are good at, it’s finding ways to kill characters. But how often should that actually happen? We’ve talked before about dealing with bad rolls and how you can use to them to advance the story , but sometimes killing a Player Character is the right thing to do. How do you know when that should happen, and what happens after that? In worlds where resurrection is just a roadside temple or replacement clone body away, what implications should character death have, and when should a character be killed off for good? - B   A: Death is a tricky enough subject to deal with in our regular lives, not to mention including it in what are supposed to be our games. If you’re playing a lot of roleplaying games though, characte