RPG Link Roundup, Dissociated Mechanics Edition

  • Steve Winter is rapidly heading to the upper echelon of my favorite RPG bloggers’ list, with articles about game design like this one: Effects vs. Meanings. Do we design from a desired effect to a cause, or do we design a cause and then figure out what effects it has?
  • His post was inspired by this one, On The Failure of Tactical Combat. The writer raises the concept of the “dissociated/disassociated mechanic”, pointing out that when you design an ability from the effect side you have a very narrow tool with little practical application outside of combat.
  • Justin Alexander, another favorite blogger-designer and fellow Minnesotan, first talked about dissociated mechanics back in ’08 prior to the launch of 4th edition – his critique forms a continued basis of criticism for the system four years later. Taken together, the three articles are worth serious consideration by any game designer.
  • Also, a hat tip to the Stormwind fallacy, a term mentioned in the Steve Winter piece that I wasn’t familiar with. The fallacy is that building an optimized character necessarily implies poor roleplaying skill, or building a deliberately suboptimal character necessarily implies good roleplaying skill.
  • Somewhat related, as a critique of the kind of game that 4E rules inspire: How a Blind Player Improved Our Game. “GM as if your players are blind” is an intriguing axiom to consider for future games. ‘Ware the battlemat!
  • Pathfinder is becoming an MMO
  • An AMA with Pathfinder author/writer James L. Sutter – All of these cool people live in Seattle!
  • A kickstarter by Steven Long, Hero Games product lead for the past decade, for a Mythic Hero RPG supplement
  • And another kickstarter for an interesting-looking set of “brainstorming cards for storytellers“, Story Forge – might be worth picking up a set once they’re released

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