I have been enjoying Wil Wheaton's Titansgrave: Ashes of Valkana over the last few weeks. Generally I do not enjoy watching, or listening to, actual plays. Watching other people play games is no where near as fun as playing them yourself, and so much is lost in not being there. I get more enjoyment from reading a gaming book than I do from actual plays.
The differences with Titansgrave are that the campaign was designed with being viewed in mind, all of the players are actors, it is professionally shot, and it is well edited. The first and the last are probably the most important, The campaign is paced with an audience in mind and all of the boring stuff is edited out. I think that this series could do for RPGs what Tabletop is doing for board games. It gives people an idea of how the games work, and takes a lot of the intimidation factor out of getting started. It helps that the have followed the show up with a solid, and easy RPG in Fantasy AGE. I picked up the basic rule book at GenCon and I am impressed. It is not 500 pages long, and it is very easy to understand. I think the combination of a well produced video and a strong, affordable, basic rule book could be the new boxed set for RPGs.
One thing Wheaton does that I really like is the way he asks his players questions. When they do something, or even say something out of character (like "I wonder where this guy is."), he immediately follows up with a therapist type questions. "I am wondering why you are so curious about that," he will as, or something similar. This immediately forces an in character, or at least character oriented response, from the player. I think this is a very effective method for encouraging role-playing.
2 days ago