So. Last night's game...the players leveled up to 9 and then they did their first shadow walk!

Shadow walk is such a cool campaign changing spell that I felt compelled to cover the details on how the formula came to our illusionist and also how everyone experienced the walk.
Our barrister monk who deals with infernal contract laws and already has her foot in infernal business felt like a rubber band pulled in two directions and suddenly let go toanap back in on itself. She uh... spent a bit of time puking.
Our gnome alchemist who had just gotten faerie fire and invisibility (first world adept ancestry feat) actually uncovered them in the walk! He came to the shadow realm not able to see himself, panicked...and triggered faerie fire! He eventually calmed down and gained control.
Our ancient elf cleric of Cayden Cailean was at first taken aback, but after a moment was just there to see the sights, mug in hand.

Our wizard who cast it didn't really think of how difficult it was going to be, so instead of being impressed was very matter of fact....
"Of course it worked! Let's go."

And last...our dhampir swashbuckling shadowdancer. Our wee little goth lad who never smiles, wears a scarf over his mouth...

The scarf is down and everyone can see him grinning from ear to ear, truly and deeply happy:

"This feels like home!"
We took about twenty minutes to cover that one spell and to experience it, and it was worth it.

Shortly upon arriving they hear screams.

They run over to the sounds...
...and see a bunch of teenage Sumbreiva dragging back the souls of...regular citizens.

Sumbreiva are normally about finding worthy souls as trophies, so this is...weird! (Also, these sumbreiva are leveled waaaaaay down)
The players fight these whining, cringey sumbreiva until they hear a huge mighty roar. The teenage sumbreiva scatter upon hearing it ("let's go find easier souls!").

The players come face to face with a fully grown adult Sumbreiva with the head of a hawk.

"We must talk."
And that was the session!

It was fun subverting my own monster (that was one of my bestiary 3 contributions) and it was fun going deep into the shadow walk spell.

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More from @qh_murphy

22 Jul
A fun technique I like to use in my games is something I call "inside out". You can use it in anything, and IME is a really great way to pause and get a look at what characters are feeling and most importantly, how they express what they feel.

Also it's pretty simple!
In the downtime of some crazy event or in the middle of something out of the ordinary, ask a player: "what is your character feeling right now?"

Feel free to be curious and ask is sort of like an in game interview.
You can make those questions leading and use them to worldbuild. One of my favorites:

"When was the last time you experienced something like this?"

That often gets some wild answers.

After you get a look at what the character feels, ask:

"How do you express that feeling?"
Read 13 tweets
21 Jul
A thing I want to talk about real quick:

A couple of years ago I was pretty sure I wouldn't design anything again, and was just playing RPGs here and there with friends.

I was tired and spent, feeling like nothing I had done mattered, and that TTRPGs had no place for me.
I was going through family stuff, and dealing with a lot of stress on top of that.

So I'm at my local comic store getting gunpla and I see that Pathfinder 2e was out. I hadn't followed any of the playtest, so knew really nothing about it.
I did remember that @loganbonner was working on it. I resepect Logan a lot as a person and a game designer so I decided to pick up the core rulebook and the Lost Omens World Guide.

I expected a good game that I'd maybe play and move on from.
Read 10 tweets
20 Jul
So me and my buddy Ryven are casually building this cortex mecha game in discord, and the fun experiment in method is that, after we built a sample mech, we outlined an adventure and are building our pregen characters and mechs for that...
...the adventure is becoming the spec to which we are building the characters and mechs, but also informs what mods and rules we are going to use.

The adventure is a bit like our testing framework, where we can easily try something new and test it in the frame...
...with the advantage that building the game also means building the first adventure and demo for it.

Anyway, the adventure is called "Armada Waltz"'s straight fire so far.

I don't know if I can do anything with it , so I am unsure if you will see it...
Read 4 tweets
20 Jul
Pathfinder tonight! Excited for some new twists and turns in the story, and also interested in seeing the characters at level 9.
Getting close to two years I've been running this game! It has gone from biweekly fall of plaguestone to weekly custom adventures. There are occasional pauses but we play way more weeks than not. When life is funky, it is a welcome distraction... is also just a great way to practice design and adventure building regularly. Along the way I've gotten real good at prepping and running very regularly. Combine this with my steampunk game and this is the longest I've been running multiple campaigns ever!
Read 5 tweets
4 Sep 20
OK, morning writing session done, before I get my work on, I wanna talk about...balance in TTRPGs.

<throws grenade into hall, ducks>
This is how I've experienced balance in play and in design, and how I've witnessed balance in gamer culture.

<takes a breath...>

A lot of what gets said about balance in TTRPGs is nonsensical bullshit IMO.
I feel this way bc most talk of balance a) speak of it as an objective thing and not a perceptual, subjective thing b) talk of it in terms of equity and not in terms of expressiveness.
Read 14 tweets
14 Aug 20
OK, a thing has been bubbling in my head re TTRPG design lately:

Narrative drive vs narrative opportunism.

First: disclaimers!

I get, uhm...really fatigued with "grand unified theories" in TTRPg design - diff games, diff brains - so I deal with lenses...
If it helps you see, dope! If not, darn, but I accept that.

I wont be spending a lot of time arguing about the validity of the lens, but happy to talk about the particulars of the lens. I am OK if you don't "get it"....maybe next time!

OK, disclaimers done.
So: Narrative drive and narrative opportunism!

Narrative drive: the systems and rewards that encourage a player to move towards and create certain situations and events.

Narrative opportunism: systems and rewards that encourage you to wait for specific events/situations.
Read 22 tweets

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