On RPG Theory: C

Oh, I hate myself for these endless alphabet posts. Reading my blog roll is becoming an exercise in tedium. (B is for, um berries. Here's some rambling about fruit. Do you like fruit?)

But I'm committed. Todays post brought to you by the letter C and the cultural artifact of a number being required to go along with the letter sponsoring the post. Today's number is eleventy-two.

My analysis of the RPG Theory Glossary continues.

Calvinball: So I'm not understanding how a term that already existed was coined by someone. However, for a(nother) fictional example of Calvinball see Dragon Poker. For a real world codefied version that will cause you to mortgage your house, see Magic: The Gathering.

Challenge: Because the word 'encounter' or 'game' just wasn't specific enough.

Character Components: What makes up a PC in a game. FUDGE handles this gloriously. Also: it's free.

Coherence: A term used to describe a game in harmony, i.e. "We're here to play Monopoly Bobby, not model housing economics in the 1930's!" Another example, "We're here to play Monopoly Susan, not tell the story of the destitute maid, as she is fired from her job by the nefarious hotel owner." Important for Monopoly because it has no mechanics that model stock market fluctuation, nor personality characteristics of hotel owners - hence it is a very coherent game.

Color: Hey! Let's come up with another word for Fluff! (Ad infinitum)

Conflict Resolution: Useful term for a mechanic that is not dependent on the task. Old school games in particular are filled with these. Granted, most of these mechanics are made up on the spot - it's still a huge improvement over the endless 'check for traps/roll a d20' monotony of newer editions.

Congruence: "We're going to run a game simulating medieval economics and have a passion filled tale of intrigue and deception!"
"Don't you have a copy of Carcassonne sitting around somewhere we could play instead?"
Its sustainable nature is up for debate.

Creative Agenda: The "aesthetic priorities and any matters of imaginative interest regarding role-playing". Uh, I guess they mean besides fun. Risky ground, unless you like being second fiddle to the epic DMPC. (Other examples include such classic hits as, "Why won't they stop talking, I just want to kill some orcs already," and "That doesn't make any f&*king sense? No one could survive a fall from that height!")

Credibility: Cathy: I run around behind the rock and shoot it in the eyes!
DM: No you don't.
Marvin: I use my laser to shoot it.
DM: It explodes in a gruesome display of blood and guts.
Cathy: I loot it's corpse discovering valueables.
DM: No you don't. You fall off the rock and lose a turn.
Marvin: Is it dead?
DM: While you're checking to see if it's alive, you see a giant diamond in its head.
Cathy: Fine! I piss on Marvin and the Monster.
DM: Haha. You are lying down, so you pee yourself instead.

Doesn't have to be divided up into a player / DM dichotomy. Could be divide up any number of entertaining ways - see above.

Crunch: See Color and imagine the opposite.

Crunchy Bits: Robin's excellent observation that if I were to go shopping, I'd buy a six pack, a huge honkin' sword and the ability to lift cars over my head.

Currency: A term involving the exchange rate of character capabilities. i.e. you spend the gold and time on new spells, while the fighters continue into the dungeon.

Again, no disrespect to John H. Kim and his work. It's not that the Forge or Edwards are particularly good - it's that, is there anywhere else people are looking at our hobby through the lens of theory and categorization?


  1. I'm really enjoying your series, but I feel you on the blog roll. Yesterday was such a welcome break.

  2. It could be worse; it could be sexy hot elf chicks again. :)

  3. Yep, the blogs are all looking very much the same, and it's dreary. And we're only a few days in... I've been actively avoiding most of the alphabet-type posts, to be honest. I just am not interested in the gimmick, though some of the individual topics may be interesting despite that.


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