One of the most interesting parts about GMing is that, unlike when writing a story, your characters are truly independent agents. The unpredictability of the players makes writing a tabletop campaign require a certain flexibility that writing most novels does not.
This is why, while important for any writer, it’s doubly vital for a GM to decide on the proper consequences for the character’s decisions. If a character’s choices are to have any meaning at all, there must be real and lasting effects on them or the people and world around them, or else the players get a somewhat shallow story that runs on rails, where no one’s choices seem important in retrospect, and characters don’t get a chance to grow from past mistakes or triumphs. Read more
In the first part of this article, I got to compare the process of writing to flying, walking down a cobbled road, and playing Sonic. More pragmatically, I discussed two of the unique challenges and decisions in turning your tabletop game into a novel: handling loose plot threads, and establishing character consistency. In this article we’ll examine the choice of Perspective, the pros and cons of each type, and the pitfalls to avoid in order to improve your story. Read more
Today we sat down with Jasn Painter and Athena Cagle, the Game Designer/Artist duo behind Loot Corps.
Their first game, DrunkQuest, is up on Kickstarter with 10 days remaining. It ends on Friday September 7th, so make sure to back their project before then! They’re currently working on stretch goals and they’ve got a ton of nice Drunk Quest swag up for grabs.
DrunkQuest is a fast paced, fantasy themed card game that’s based around a drinking mechanic. (Or, alternatively, a fantasy themed drinking game with cards and strategy.) It’s been described by playtesters as “Munchkin with booze.”
We asked Jasn and Athena about what inspired them to make DrunkQuest, their experience on Kickstarter and how to get feedback from drunken playtesters. Below you will see Mark (Perseus), Amelia (Ophelia), Jasn, and Athena.
Writing stories is hard. Everyone who has ever taken the running leap off the cliff of imagination to try and fly quickly learns that. When the thermals are good, you’ve got smooth sailing; the words pour out, and everything seems to flow. You can coast for pages on a good burst of inspiration, struggling here and there, but overall making good time. When that lifting force fades though, as it eventually does, it’s just you and your arms, flapping harder and harder to try and stay up.
One of the biggest causes of that dead air is a breakdown in plot. When your plot starts to drift or show its holes, then everything starts to fall apart. You can stall for days, weeks, months, until a burst of insight and motivation hits you to fix things or get them back on track. Having a solid plot is like having a map of thermals to ensure that you can always avoid the biggest pockets of dead air.
And that’s the greatest advantage that using a tabletop campaign as inspiration for a novel provides. The plot has already been completed, by the hard work of the GM and the capricious whims of the players. There’s an established beginning, a satisfying (or depressing) end, and all the major events that lead from one to the other is sitting there waiting like checkpoints in a side-scroller.
The second great advantage provided by writing a story based off a game is the characters. Their relationships are fleshed out, their motivation and personalities more or less made clear. All the tagonists are lined up, pro and an, waiting for you to breathe life into them.
So if those are the main advantages of writing a story based on a game, what are the unique challenges? Here are a few of the main things to look out for while worldcrafting: Read more
Last week we interviewed R.A Salvatore about his new book Charon’s Claw. The book is releasing today, and if you haven’t gotten the chance to order it, then you definitely should. It’s a great read.
For those of you who don’t know who R.A Salvatore is, he’s probably most famous in gaming circles for the creation of everyone’s favorite drow, Drizzt Do’ Urden. Truthfully though, he’s published over 50 books and you should check out his website to get the full list.
Past the cut you will see three names: Amelia (Ophelia), Doug (A friend of ours and a huge R.A Salvatore fan), and Bob (Mr. Salvatore). If you’re just beginning to read the Neverwinter Saga, I warn you that the following interview will contain spoilers. If you’re looking for spoilers though, you should check out our review of “The Last Threshold,” the final book in the Neverwinter Saga.