Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #pbta

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Good morning!

I have an #RPGTheory thread for you.

I'm kind of serious about it, but I want to offer it for what it's worth, not to convince you, just for your consideration. Maybe you'll find it useful or interesting too.
It's about #PbtA, but PbtA games don't have any kind of lock or monopoly on it, at all. Take this idea and use it in every way that serves your own games, PbtA, non-PbtA, or anti-PbtA!

Here goes.
A normal roleplaying game models objects and entities in the game world. Sometimes in significant detail.

For example: Here's my dude, he's x-much strong, he's x-much skilled, he's got x-many hit points. He owns a sword that's x-much sharp and armor that's x-much hard.
Read 21 tweets
#PbtA #RPGTheory #RPGTheoryJuly

Apocalypse World says "play to find out what happens."
What it means is, play to find out what the characters make of their world. Both what they choose to make of their world, and, because Apocalypse World is a game of compromises, what they're able to make of their world.
This appears, more or less explicitly, on the back cover of the game.
Read 16 tweets
People ask me on the regular, what is it in Apocalypse World that I attribute the boom of PbtA games to? Why did this happen, do I think?

I have an answer!

#RPGTheory #PbtA
It starts with this particular moment that we're all familiar with, the moment of transition from "we're not playing a game" to "now we're playing the game." Every single time anybody plays a game, they have to go through this moment of transition.
As game designers, we all have to understand this moment and consider it. When I design a game*, this moment is its first test, the first crucial barrier that the design has to address itself to.

If my game can't see its players to and through this moment, they won't play it.
Read 8 tweets
the day after our session of home again at breakout con, @oh_theogony mentioned he thought i did some cool things to make failure interesting, and that maybe i should codify those things so that they may be useful to other gm's. i'll try to sketch some of that out. THREAD 1+
note, this is largely pbta-focussed, because home again is pbta, but it should be widely applicable. and this may be remedial to many folks, but hopefully my specific example can still provide insight to both new and experienced gm's. 2+
"failure" in pbta generally means, on a 6-, you don't get what you want and the gm takes control of the narrative - usually to do something bad. but thinking of it as a failure state can tend to shut down the momentum of the action, and action is crucial to storytelling. 3+
Read 12 tweets
We're snowed in today! Now I get to talk about some of the moves in #UnderHollowHills.

In Under Hollow Hills, they're called plays. The vocabulary is "what's your play here? How do you want to play them? Are you making a play for this?"
You might recall Charnel Tom the Troll. There was banter about who would be the new ringmaster, and everyone casually dismissed Charnel Tom's idea that it could be him, and that would have been fine.

But I leaned over and said to Charnel Tom's player, "are you just talking, or are you making a play for it?"

And a big grin came over his face.
Read 18 tweets
I'm picking up from yestermorn's #PbtA #RPGtheory thread! Wish me luck.

Yesterday I talked a little about rules that the playgroup can reach out for, in moments of uncertainty and potential awkwardness in their conversation, for support and relief.
This morning I want to talk a little about rules that offer a benefit to a given player or players when the playgroup chooses to reach out and use them.
Take for example, from Apocalypse World, the Maestro D's move "just give me a motive." Whenever you want, you name a character who could conceivably eat something that you've handled, and maybe you've poisoned them! Ha!
Read 14 tweets
A #PbtA #RPGtheory thread!

So you have a whole bunch of stuff in a game's design. Characters, fictional setting, dice, rules, abilities on character sheets, player roles like "player" and "GM"...
...And you have the moment of play, four friends talking together, live, right now.

It's tempting to say that the design-stuff "constrains" the moment of play, that the moment of play "enacts" the design-stuff. But I think that's backwards.
In the moment of play, you reach into the design-stuff and choose what of it you'll bring to bear. Better to say that the moment of play draws on the design-stuff, that the design-stuff is there as a resource for the playgroup to use.
Read 11 tweets
Let's talk about the #PbtA games. In particular: mechanical design that leans prescriptive or suggestive. Neither term is probably as precise as it should be but are useful for discussing the trends in this design space.
All of the games have mechanics and have moves that reflect both of these trends. Prescriptive moves are usually extremely precise and specific. Therefore, they are also less open to interpretation from the player.
Suggestive moves are more nebulous; often more flavorful, too. These moves are similar to Defy Danger and Act Under Fire, in that they are less precise and are used to cover a wider range of possible variables and goal post where the fiction should be headed.
Read 24 tweets

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