The typical inhabitant of the Dying Earth speaks and behaves differently from characters in other fantasy series or people in real life. He is arrogant, greedy, indolent, and rakish. He loves fine food to excess and can’t resist the urge to correct others on obscure points of fact. Your character will differ from the norm only if you spend creation points on Resistance ratings. A Resistance rating allows the character to disregard one of these universal temptations. Each of the six major temptations requires its own rating.
This is the roleplaying game scenario I wrote for the anthology The Empire, which ran at Fastaval 2009, now in the language that Oscar Wilde was able to play in.
I accidentally hit the Publish To Blog button. I will now remove the fulltext from here, so that I can control the updates to the text, from a single location.
The Butterforger – fulltext, under a CC license (Attribution).
This translation was a labor of love, and it was done within the amazing Gnavpotveksler project, which has more translation projects for you to read and participate in.
I loved it. This Easter I spent smiling almost all the time. People noticed, and told me. It was that great.
My scenario got played, and people loved playing it. Currently, it is only available in Danish. But, Luisa’s started a project to fix all that.
Her project Gnavpotveksler will translate roleplaying scenarios to new languages, which right now means letting the world know about the awesomeness that is the Danish scenario tradition. She also has a list of the Otto winners.
During the two last days of the con, my creative wheels turned faster, and I’m now in planning with two very different scenarios, with co-conspirators.
Update: I posted images.
I have been to Solmukohta.
I’m at the airport. Internet connection for a day: 8 EUR, and it was simple to find a place to sit with an electrical outlet.
I sat down for typing this, and Bjarke and the-other-nice-Danish-guy walked past, and stopped to chat. Just when they arrived, Firefox 3 Beta 5 was released, so we discussed that. Foxmarks.com syncs bookmarks between Firefoxes on the many terminals you work at.
Random pieces: Danish joker asking banquet staff: “Is there Muumi-bacon?”. The Finnish bar was excellent.
Folks I talked to: Staffan, and his 2 Swedish friends (subjects: Swedish freeform scenarios and their publishing culture). We came up with a mini-project to make some “micro-apps” related to Knutepunkt.
Things I learnt: audiences are very co-creative.
The Friday was “lost”, due to all jeeps landing late in the day in Helsinki. Which was fine, I got to meet up with my Java consultant/roleplayer friend Verneri, have talk-lunch, and pick up Frederik. We saw some of the city, took care of some travel details out to the rural conference hotel we were heading to (read: we completely botched the bus trip).
When Tobias and ThorbiÃ¶rn finally came, I’d bought return tickets for all of (unnecessarily, it would turn out), and we headed to the buses. Some nervousness was added when communication with the driver was shaky, and I’d bought too short a trip. But, after a nerve-wracking change to a bus with a zero-English-speaking driver, we got to the hotel in the forest. At night! I was elated to be there, just being in the right place. We celebrated. Me and ThorbiÃ¶rn had been placed in the same room, and retired last of our gang.
Saturday, the day of our planned session, Tobias wakes up hearing ThorbiÃ¶rn singing “Till havs” in the shower, and Tobias, thinking we never slept, goes “Nooo!”. He’d have to run the whole session by hisself, without support from over-celebrated friends. This confusion holds, until we come into his room, clean-shaven, showered, and raring to go – way ahead of him.
The night to Sunday was long, very long. After the banquet – which featured a steampunk robot musical/mime performance, Jiituomas becoming Jeeptuomas, and great conversation – me and Tobias sat down to finish our drinks. At some point, we’re joined by two airline hostesses – this is a costume party – who start singing Norwegian folk songs, in harmonies. Tobias knew the lyrics in English (of course). This was just like when we had a singing duel in Denmark, at Fastaval, a few years ago. Singing random weird songs like En sliten grimma is just joy. A German named Patrick (!) joined us, and was able to do The rattling bog at breakneck speed. Johnny MacEldoo was also performed at nuclear-fission tempo. Hanna Koverola joined the session a little later. Her longhaired redhead partner slept on a chair behind her. Much fun was had, until the very wee hours.
On Sunday, the closing ceremony was held in a large hall, with a speaker’s podium up front, it felt very Battlestar Galactica, in a toned-down way. Main event coordinator Hakkis held a dead-pan speech, which the crowd loved. He’s just getting better at it. He thanked folks, and also, the staff at the conference hotel. Applause was ringing. Then Hakkis left the stage, so the next Knutepunkt staff could come on-stage. They did so in a way that made me think of BSG: by chanting mystically, resembling the weird religious people from that world. To the crowd, though, the chanting was a reference to the rituals somewhat traditionally held at Norwegian Knutepunkts.
Oh, that roleplaying game convention is just amazing. Even though I underscheduled this year, to have more time to meet with people, I had things to be done all the time, it seemed.
Schmoozed with amazing folks. All the folks were wonderful, but Claus J (and his media student friend), and Frederik J (who works at a company with 100+ APL programmers, imagine that) are people that I will phone and force to come and play games. Fredrik (of Jeepen and NBH) said that we will now congregate every Wednesday, to play games. I hope I can make good on that, this time.
Me and Tobias railed against awards (if not the ceremonial dinners that accompany them). It was interesting then, that Tobias & Frax’s Tvivl won 2 Otto awards (Best Story & The Jury Special Prize).
A serious story about love. About that a shared look can stop time. About daring to love and daring to go forward.
Doubt is two stories, that are about each other. A life, and a theatre play. Tom and Juliet love each other. Both on stage and in private. It is about temptations. About the meaning of loving and being loved. About choosing each day. About becoming one with another person, but dreaming about others at the same time.
In Doubt, the players will take responsibility for the story. Decide Tom and Juliet’s future. Play the play to the end. Two players play Tom, and two players play Juliet. And supporting cast. And extras. And lovers.
A fine little love scenario.
I game-mastered Tvivl, and I sucked. I was so nervous and useless that I had to break. Then I had some water and ran the game. (My nervousness had made the game late, but a John-TV shoot that had started in our room made us 10 minutes later. Irritating.) My players were amazing, and kept getting better, and I was shocked back to leading the game. They were stunning.
When we were done, the players gave some great feedback on how to make the start sequence simpler and more intuitive.
Read more about other Fastaval-goers’ experiences at Alexandria’s page for blog feeds from the Danish RPG scene.
[Robert Paterson](http://smartpei.typepad.com/) writes about [the food of his just-post-war British childhood](http://smartpei.typepad.com/robert_patersons_weblog/2006/06/recalled_to_lif.html), in a lovely voice.
*This* is how roleplaying game texts should read.
And, at the end of it, a simple axiom for how to play.
(Is it < 800 words? Danish rpg convention Fastaval had a "daily magazine" this year, with a less-than-800-words scenario in each issue. This reduced form called for Other Techniques of cramming in 2-3 hours entertainment. Some of the techniques could be called **axiomatic**.)
A Danish school with a very cross-disciplinary approach to education, [Ã˜sterskov Efterskole](http://www.osterskov.dk/), will open its doors this fall. [Malik Hyltoft](http://alexandria.dk/data?person=66), winner of this year’s Honorary Otto Award is part of the staff.
The school needs materials, and have assembled a wish-list. If you have anything you wish to donate to the school, send an email to “osterskov” at their domain “osterskov.dk” with the subject “Donation”, and they’ll contact you to make out the details. All donated materials will be labelled, and the benefactor will be named, unless otherwise is specifically noted.
This is a chance for you to get rid of a load of “perhaps-useful stuff” (aka useless junk) from your library, and your games collection. Here is a translation of the wish-list in bulletpoint shape.
* Danish fiction
* Books on history
* Encyclopedias, old and new
* Thesaurus (in plural)
* Works of popular science
* School books for grades 9 and 10
* Fantasy literature
* Science Fiction
* Roleplaying game books (rules, scenarios, compendiums, source books)
* Volumes of Illustrated science, National Geographic, and such
* Comics: albums in good condition
* Books in English in all of the above categories
* Easy-to-read books in German, Swedish and Norwegian
Role-playing games now have their own [pattern language](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pattern_language) (Wikipedia’s defintion is great) book. Fascinating stuff!
In computer science there is a book called [Design Patterns](http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0201633612/104-0265062-8435910?v=glance), which is a spin-off of the architecture book A Pattern Language. Both are classics.
Now a person called **Whitson John Kirk III** has written 250+ pages in a CC-licensed PDF on the parts that make up roleplaying games.
He covers ground from Rolemaster to My Life With Master, so no lack of breadth there.
There are diagrams that condense ideas The pattern *Class Hierarchy* has a picture on how character careers lock into each other in games that support characters that advance in their chosen trade.
I am just amazed by this, so please read this, or parts of it. Christopher Alexander’s book on architecture has a lot of talk about how important it is to not read the whole thing in one go, eat it piecemeal. Otherwise you’ll get bogged down in details. So, one pattern a day. No more.
**Download** it here: Design Patterns of Successful Roleplaying Games (.zip) by Whitson John Kirk III. (CC license!)
Via: [Jason Morningstar](http://www.meekmok.com/sassy/archives/002916.html).
Games designer Greg Costikyan has resigned from his position at Nokia, and started a new company, [Manifesto Games](http://manifestogames.com/). It aims to provide “a viable path to market for independent developers, and a more effective way of marketing and distributing niche PC game styles to gamers.”
A fine motto:
> “PC Gamers of the World Unite! You Have Nothing to Lose But Your Retail Chains!”
He needs people, so if you’re unemployed:
* You have **excellent web development skills** (PHP, Linux, Apache, mySQL, HTML – some or all) or graphic design skills, and are willing to work on something like this for, in essence, equity and air.
* You are an independent developer and/or publisher of games aimed at niche audiences, or the operator of a niche MMO, and are willing to offer a non-binding LOI announcing your willingness to work with Manifesto Games.
* You have strong game industry and/or e-commerce credentials, and are interested in helping us achieve our goals.
* And, of course, you think you might be interested in investing.
The comments people made to the article are nuggets:
> This is gonna go. This is the beginning! Godspeed Greg!
> Your intent is admirable. I have hope for your faith. I will be watching this blog as you outline the plan in detail …
Dogs in the Vineyard, the Vision is a story about how the game “DitV” came into its own: became itself.
Oh, I am moved. Take a load of this
> I have wanted to contact you ever since I bought the game. As a member of the LDS faith, an avid role-player, a student of history, a lover of fantastic fiction, and a fan of westerns, I believe that I am your ultimate target audience.
> I loved reading this game and I got a bunch of my LDS gaming buddies together and even invited my father, himself a convert to the church who doesn’t do pen and paper role-playing, but is a gun nut and historian in his own right who started the Utah chapter of the Single Action Shooting Society ([SASS](http://www.sassnet.com/)). He expressed some anxiety to me about playing a game with me and my friends, and I scoffed at him. The SASS is an organization of western shooters, who meet and have shooting matches in full period costume, using only period weapons, and who all go by period aliases.
> Compared to Dad, my friends and I are all couch potato posers!