Mind Your Language

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Jul 062019

“DCI Huntley has the right to be questioned by an officer at least one rank senior”

Fans of the TV show Line of Duty will recognise that as the show’s de facto catchphrase and one of the many recurring soundbites that are embedded in the scripts and form the skeleton around which the hit show is built. What I find remarkable is that these noises and phrases are not the catchphrases of the characters or running jokes or puns, but rather procedural language that reflects the setting and adds to the authenticity of the show. This got me thinking about other instances where procedural language is embedded in the presentation of the media that inspires our games, and how can we use it to our advantage.

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 Posted by at 8:43 am

“What’s a Grognard?”

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Feb 142018

gameplay-grognardI’ve recently just turned 47, which means I’m into my 35th year of gaming. Just thinking about that is mind-boggling really as some of the memories I have about those early games are as fresh and vivid as the ones I have about my Symbaroum game last night. I remember our epic ‘Summer of WFRP’, my first ever game of Runequest and that sodding 18% language skill, and complex games of DC Heroes, Golden Heroes and Superworld; we loved our superhero games! I also remember some of the less great moments – the persecution of one player with character death over and over again in the same scenario, people character suiciding to get a re-roll of poor stats, Cthulhu games that were all about shotguns and dynamite and, of course, many many great games that crashed and burned after one session.

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 Posted by at 11:07 pm

Enough with the Awesome!

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Jan 142018

In our gaming group, like so many gaming groups, we have a number of in-jokes. One of which involves the players turning to the GM just before the game starts and telling them to ‘bring the awesome’ followed by cries of ‘yes, entertain me!’ etc – with tongue firmly rammed into cheek, may I add. My oft-stated credo that the GM is a player too and that the state of the game is as much the responsibility of the players as it is the GM was borne from the highly egalitarian nature of my own home gaming environment. However, it is not always so – especially in the world of convention gaming, and this time of year convention gaming comes into mind a lot!

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 Posted by at 11:03 am

The Joy of the Unknown

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Jan 062018


[Note: As well as posting about Duty & Honour development here, I’m also going to be writing about gaming matters in general.]

“Nothing is more frightening than a fear you cannot name.”
― Cornelia Funke, Inkheart

In my home group, we have been playing through the introductory campaign – the Copper Crown – for Symbaroum, and having a very good time with it. This is the first time we have played the system and we have settled into it well enough but the real take away has been the joy that we have taken from playing a game, and a setting, within which we have almost no frame of reference. The monsters are wholly alien, the spells are totally unexpected, the abilities are still unpredictable and the setting throws up a real sense of mistrust and shifting alliances.

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 Posted by at 6:39 pm