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Bits and Bobs: PTA3, Dungeonomics, Loops and more

First, a bit of sad news. A great tool for visiting lots of RPG blogs has announced that the RPG Blog Alliance network is ending [1] at the end of April. The RPGBA homepage [2] is a great place to discover new blogs. If you’re looking to add more roleplaying blogs to your RSS feed, swing by while the great content is still easily available.

If you’ve ever wondered what happens to game worlds (particularly D&D derived worlds) when you apply real world economic theories, you’ll love Emily Dresner’s column (newly relocating to Critical Hits) called Dungeonomics! [3] It’s a fascinating source of complexity… though, for that very reason, I’d be reluctant to apply the principles to my own games. For a classic post, How the Identify Spell Destroys the World [4] is a great example–and, dire though it is, it’s less devastating to high fantasy assumptions than many of her other articles. Sometimes a brilliant, totally unique plot emerges from following these lines of thought… like the great Modron March in Fiat Magic Reagents, the God of the Market, and Modrons [5]. I could see the march ending or transforming a long running campaign.

The Third Edition of Primetime Adventures [6] books has reached DED headquarters. Once the backers get their books, I’m looking forward to getting this great game back on the shelves. If you missed the kickstarter, let your friendly local gamestore know that you’d appreciate it if they kept an eye out for it. (Sophie’s suggestion [7], to use Hillfolk as prebuilt series pitches is intriguing… I may need to thumb through Hillfolk [8] again.

If you like organizing your game books and accessories, particularly for travel, check out Rob Donoghue’s recent find [9].

I found Chris Chinn’s recent Loops vs. Grind [10] theory post provocative. I particularly liked the following:

The difference between a loop and a grind is fun vs. boredom. When a loop is kicking off fast enough, and in the right way, you have a great reward loop.

I know that there are a number of games I’ve run, and a few more that I’ve played, where it was fun… but not fun enough to be excited when the next session rolls around. Paying attention to rewards and making sure that they’re frequent enough to keep players engaged–seems well worth keeping in mind. Read the post–it’s not particularly long, and might encourage you to accelerate your next game.

I’ve enjoyed the Kingdom one-shots that I’ve played [11]–enjoyed them enough to run another in April. I’m also a big fan of Katherine Kurtz’s Deyrni books. She just released the last book of her Childe Morgan [12] trilogy… and that prompted a reread. While there’s a FUDGE version of her world, I’d be very interested in trying to use Gwynedd as a setting for Kingdom. Unfortunately, I suspect it’d take a table of fans to really unlock the awesome. Still, I wouldn’t mind trying out a strongly medieval inspired short Kingdom series, with the magic/bend negotiated at the table instead of relying on twenty five years of cool books. It’s nice if you’re a long time fan, but 15 novels of research is probably too much.

While game designer contest season seems to be drawing to an end, Wizard’s open call for Adventurer Designers [13] still has a few days left.

The world of roleplaying is a lot wider than I can keep up with. Share cool finds with us in comments!