2015-04-27 : Followup Questions from Owen
Owen Briggs asked me some followup questions to his original five. I've been so busy with other projects that I couldn't get to them until this morning!
From which non-RPG medium do you draw the most inspiration?
It used to be the obvious one, the FX- or HBO-style sex-and-violence ensemble drama. In Apocalypse World you can pretty clearly see Oz, Sons of Anarchy, maybe The Shield, conceivably some Spartacus, frickin Battlestar Galactica, and I forget what else I was watching while I worked on it. These kinds of shows had a lot more influence on the game than the obvious in-genre movies did. They really gave the game its structure.
These days, though, I don't know. Post Apocalypse World, I've been designing games mostly in response to other RPGs, not other media. I think that RPGs take too narrowly entrenched forms, and I'm grappling with that instead.
How do you think RPGs comment on other media? (On this and the previous question: I've found PBTA games are really fantastic at getting the structure of TV and movies.)
A thoughtfully designed RPG pairs systems of interaction with genre or subject matter in a way that gives you immediate, effortless access to its hidden underpinnings. Like, the way that Murderous Ghosts uses Blackjack in service of suspense allows you to effortlessly create suspenseful ghost stories. If you choose to, you can take this insight away with you, and next time you watch a murderous ghost movie, you'll see how it builds suspense in a Blackjack-like way.
Or the way that Epidiah Ravachol's game Wolfspell uses Apocalypse World-style read a sitch moves to put you effortlessly into a wolf's headspace, or the way that Ben Lehman's game Beloved pits your current imagination against your past imagination to show you how you've let your thinking about romance ossify.
I have no idea if I'm making any sense here! Ask me more questions, anybody, if you have them.
What do you hope to achieve with the games that you make, and how often do you achieve it?
It always depends on the game.
For instance, with The Vengeful Demon of the Ring, I hoped to resolve an outstanding argument in game thinkery, and I achieved it with maybe 1 person. Rock of Tahamaat, Space Tyrant was much more successful in this regard, but then, the argument in game thinkery that I hoped it would resolve was a much less contentious one.
For many of my games I have both gameplay goals and market goals. I hoped that my game Midsummer Wood would get played by at least 10 people out in the world, for instance, and it achieved that. It may have achieved it twice over!
Which emotions do you tend to want to evoke with your games?
When I look back at my games, they make me seem unkind. I want people to feel trapped, betrayed, sold out, suborned, bound by honor and justice to do bad things, led by ambition to do bad things.
I'm pretty kind in real life. My games just don't reflect it.
Which RPG makes use of emotional ambiguity in the most engaging way, and how? (Put simply, emotional ambiguity is not knowing how you're supposed to feel about something.)
Of my games, Dogs in the Vineyard is the only one that makes much use of emotional ambiguity at all. Of others', I don't really know! I'm personally more drawn to games where how you feel about something is or can be perfectly clear, unambiguous.
Thanks for asking!
1. On 2015-04-27, Vincent said:
2. On 2015-04-27, Caitie said:
3. On 2015-04-27, Disco said:
4. On 2015-04-28, Owen said:
5. On 2015-04-28, Alex D. said:
6. On 2015-04-28, Vincent said:
7. On 2015-04-29, Vincent said:
8. On 2015-04-29, Vincent said:
9. On 2015-05-01, Ben Lehman said:
10. On 2015-05-15, Marhault said:
11. On 2015-05-15, Marhault said:
12. On 2015-05-20, Gordon said:
13. On 2015-05-21, Vincent said:
14. On 2015-05-22, Marhault said:
15. On 2015-05-26, Gordon said:
16. On 2015-05-26, Marhault said: