Recent blog posts
08
Dec

THRESHOLD episode 12: D&D Wedding

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02
Dec

THRESHOLD episode 11: The Clash at Cold Iron

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Tagged in: THRESHOLD
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25
Nov

After Words: Behind the Screen of THRESHOLD episode 10

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25
Nov

THRESHOLD episode 10: The Red Wizards of Olengrad

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22
Nov

Best collection of Original Trilogy model photos ever

Posted by on in Tabletop Miniatures

The awesome facebook group The Replica Prop Forum has posted a collection of some SUPER DETAILED photos of the process of Industrial Light and Magic building all of the spaceship models from the original Star Wars trilogy. They really give you a sense of scale and just how BIG these models were. Also the level of detail is insane and the fiber optic lights inside that Star Destroyer? So awesome. 

 b2ap3_thumbnail_M3OwqTV.jpg

Check out the full gallery here.

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19
Nov

After Words: Behind the story of THRESHOLD episode 9

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19
Nov

THRESHOLD episode 9: Livin' Large with Rasper Hawkborne

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11
Nov

How I Planned the Story of THRESHOLD: the reddit Comment that Became an Essay

Posted by on in THRESHOLD

This started as a response to a question posed to me by /u/lotu on reddit's /r/dndnext:

 

I love you and your players style. I've decided to adopt a lot of thematic roll playing you've done, like having everyone order breakfast, having an arm-wrestling contest or just chatting with the cart driver.

It is very clear that each of the characters have some secret from the reset of the party. Did all the players know secrets or did you develop them individually with the players? I also get the feeling that you planed a bit of a narrative like how Rasper's past was connect to the Eastertons and the Black Arrow Syndicate. How did you manage to weave all this together?

 

I started responding and I just found myself writing and writing and writing so I thought I'd add those musings here for anyone interested in my process.

 

The Weave is my favorite part of storytelling, especially in the RPG medium. THRESHOLD is the result of one part planning and two parts making it up as I go along.

In the case of THRESHOLD, it actually started with several, unaired, episodes that we shot while trying to figure out how best to make D&D interesting to watch. We started playing the LMoP starter game, with Pamela playing the fighter that would become Christine, so when we transitioned into our own world, the background stayed (her quest to reclaim her family's lands). From there, everyone made their character and I sat down with each player and we essentially negotiated their backstories. Rasper, who had no backstory to begin with, ended up having the best story of everyone once Josh and I hashed it all out. He wanted to have grown up in a big city in an orphanage. I said: "Great! How about Easterton?" Then he talked about his criminal background, which will get more exposited in next week's episode by an old friend of his, and I was able to give him detail that would work in the world, and could be easily woven in with the other players.

I did this with each player, just after the pilot episode, IIRC. The players are all cognizant of each other's backstories because I've had trouble in the past of players having secret backstories that they want to keep close to their chest, but still want to have an effect of their character and the world. This creates scenes that go like this:

Player: So I quietly go out the inn while everyone's asleep, and I go see... you know. GM: Okay you go... there. Player 2: Where is he going? GM: Can I tell him? Player: No, I want it to be a secret. GM: Okay. So you go to the place and do the thing? Player: Yeah. but I want to play it out.

Then all the other players want to do is try and solve this mystery and I'm stuck as reffing PVP-Super-Sleuths for the better part of the hour, trying to decide if I give them the info they want or let the player have their secret. I wanted to avoid that in THRESHOLD and told my players as such, so everyone knows almost everything back-story-wise about the other PCs and we just trust that we'll all let the histories come out when the narrative requires them.

In an interesting sense, it's the performative aspects of THRESHOLD that help curb the Metas the most. Being on film forces our players/actors to be in the moment and remember that we are telling a story together, not trying to win a game, or make our character look better than everyone else's. Because of this, no one presses Jamie too hard for the source of his power, trusting that it will be a much greater moment when revealed, if we let it happen at an awesome moment (two weeks from yesterday, if I can weave it all correctly).

But all this planning can go out the window if someone makes a choice I didn't predict. I have an awesome end to this first arch planned, but it could all go out the window if a certain character makes a choice different than what I'm anticipating, but the resulting change to the narrative will be, in some ways, EVEN COOLER that what I have right now. So that's the other half to the coin: being flexible and see the awesome implications of the new story when your old story goes of the rails. That or figure out the best way to get them back on track without removing player agency.

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24
Oct

The World of THRESHOLD - Gods of Humanity

Posted by on in THRESHOLD

Human Religions

I wanted to write up a little bit about the different Human Religions of Threshold. I'm sure I'll add more gods and faiths and cults, but enjoy this for now!

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23
Oct

The World of THRESHOLD - A Brief History of Easterton

Posted by on in THRESHOLD

To prepare for the arrival of our heroes in Easterton in a couple of weeks, I've prepared a quick history lesson about the city of Waterfalls. Enjoy!

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17
Oct

The World of THRESHOLD - Telling Time

Posted by on in THRESHOLD

Overview: 

Most of the Aeron continent tells time by the Elven Emperica Calendarium, a hold over from the Elven Empericam that streched across the world.

 The Year is marked by the solar eclipse, with a lunar eclipse at the Mid year. Each year is divided into 12 month, dictated by the new and full moon. Each month has 30 days.

 Years are counted from the first death from age of elvenkind, “Anno Lapsum” or The Fall.

 The current year is estimated at 10,014 AL. Time before the Fall is denoted as “Quitas Aetas,” or The Time of Life, counted backwards. It should be noted that seasons and months are not linked, creating a slipping calendar. This was not a proplem for the empire, given the Emperium’s tropical climate, but great care of seasonal prediction would have to be taken for planting and harvesting for colonies in more temperate zones.

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17
Oct

The World of THRESHOLD - Marinton to Easterton

Posted by on in THRESHOLD

I've had some people asking about the world of THRESHOLD. I'm going to start a series of entries that give a little bigger picture of what's going on: details about the world that would take up too much time to really discuss in the show. First off: a map of the Aero Woods region of the Aeron continent. This shows a good idea of where the party has been thus far, and where they're going. I haven't filled in all the details yet, but that's how I like it. Enjoy!

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17
Oct

What’s to Be Done About Player Agency in Pen & Paper RPGs?

Posted by on in Pen & Paper

This article began as a player conflict at a Fate table. We were just practicing, learning the rules and teaching a new player for an upcoming RPG show we’re trying to develop, when something interesting happened. The Fate system is built upon the idea of applying descriptive “aspects” to things using your skills: an aspect being something that is true about the game. We were having a pretend fight between our characters and it was two vs. myself, which was fine, but there was still one player that hadn’t taken sides. One of my combatants, a fast-talking TV show host decided to use his Fast-talk skill to try and create the aspect of “believes Stephen’s gone crazy” on the hacker who hadn’t decided which side to take. Of course he succeeded because his character is built to be a fast-talker and created the aspect.  This irked Kevin, the affected character’s player, however because this was the second time in recent games that his character had been manipulated into believing something that he did not necessarily want to.  This turned into a rules discussion, (and we determined that we were playing the game very very wrong,) but it nonetheless left us with an interesting thought: how do we both preserve verisimilitude and player agency in RPG Storytelling? 

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28
Aug

Fantasy Flight Games gen con 2014 mega interview

Posted by on in Videos

Behold! Our mega interview with Anton Torres from Fantasy Flight Games. We talk all their new announcements from Gen Con 2014 and believe me there are a lot. 

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27
Aug

Dead of Winter interview Gen Con 2014

Posted by on in Videos

Our interview with Plaid Hat Games about their super popular zombie survival game Dead of Winter.

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27
Aug

Golem Arcana gen con interview

Posted by on in Videos

We talk to Hare Brained Schemes about their new high tech wargame Golem Arcana. 

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26
Aug

D&D Attack Wing at Gen Con 2014

Posted by on in Videos

We interview Wiz Kids Games and talk about aerial dragon miniatures game Dungeons and Dragons Attack Wing.

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21
Aug

Tour of Castle Molds booth at GenCon 2014

Posted by on in Videos

We took a tour of the Hirst Arts Castle Molds booth at GenCon this year. They make some of the most beautiful and detailed gaming terrain I've ever seen. You buy their silicon molds and you can make whatever you want. 

You can check out their products at Castlemolds.com and Hirstarts.com

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19
Aug

X-COM board game video playthrough

Posted by on in Videos

COMMANDER: We hung out with Fantasy Flight Games at Gen Con and shot the full demo of their upcoming X-COM board game.

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Hits: 890
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19
Aug

Star Wars Imperial Assault Full Video Demo

Posted by on in Videos

We stopped by Fantasy Flight Games at Gen Con 2014 and shot a full video demo of their upcoming game Star Wars Imperial Assault.

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