Show your work

edited August 2010 in Story Games
Every game that implies some preparation needs tools to do that. Sometimes it's just a notebook and a few words. Sometimes it's a map -- maybe geographical, maybe relationships, maybe conflicts. So show me your work! I want to see a scan of you half page from your Moleskine, your mind maps, your sketches, and your Unknown Territories. There are no wrong answers.

Here's a mind map for my current fantasy game. The map keeps growing (the red elements are new material for the next session). I won't explain because maps are designed to explore, but I'll answer questions. I'm asking you to do the same!
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  • edited August 2010
    I'm MCing Apocalypse World, and one of the tools I find helpful is a Relationship Map (even though the book doesn't mention it at all). It helps organize NPCs and makes it so much easier for a visual learner (me) to plan for PC-NPC-PC triangles. The Fronts sheets are fantastic, and really do all the organizing I need; like I said, though, the R-Map helps me physically position NPCs between two different PCs, which totally helps me conceptually position the NPC there, which leads to the triangles. I had a hard time with PC-NPC-PC triangles until I did this.

    Following is the map I made before our last session. I'm making new ones before every session, which is nice because it refreshes my memory (we play every other week), accounts for new NPCs, and will be a sweet record of what happened in the game once it's all done. I have a feeling it'll be really fun to look back on these in a year or so.

    The player characters are the three colored edges of the triangle.
    image

    I already need to move to a bigger page.
  • Damn that's the kind of awesome mess I was hoping to see! :) Thank you!
  • edited August 2010
    oh read the first post better does work on your own game still apply?

    pict7091.jpg

    this is what it looks like when i need to re-balance the numbers in my project, the best part is i don't know if it's good until I PLAY TEST IT ALLOVER AGAIN! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA
  • edited August 2010
    I was aiming mostly at real prep for real play, but every single productive mess is interesting to me. :D But I don't draw a whole lot of distinction between game design and game prep -- and sometimes game play -- anyway. So thanks for your mess! It's beautiful and reminds me of this:

    image
  • Here are my notes from a recent session of Mouse Guard:

    image

    For me, the prep I do for Mouse Guard is critical to my fun when I GM. When I first tried to GM it I tried to be really flexible and scale the mission on the fly. I was miserable because I felt like I was responsible for the success or failure of the mission and whether or not the session was fun. Now, I pretty rigidly prep the scenario up front and I feel like an impartial referee who can be an appreciative audience while the players try to tackle the challenge and prove that their guardmice are heroes. I have a lot more fun with the game using this approach.
  • For me, the prep I do for Mouse Guard is critical to my fun when I GM.

    Just wanted to bold that and repeat it because, well, HELL YEAH!
  • edited August 2010
    I want to see more of that screen there. no reason we should not examine the lovely digital mess
    Is the blank space on the cover so i can draw an awesome portait of my character while the gm prattles on about something i don't care about?

    speaking of digital mess
    cosmicdust.png

    i would like to thank my friend Jim for giving me his old computer parts, these files would make my old stuff crash
  • edited August 2010
    Damn, I love whatever the hell you're doing with Illustrator there. Makes me want to go make some cards and mess with Illustrator to make it do some of what you're doing! I had no idea you could make symbols like that so I just tried it and it did what I hoped with my first guess (select some stuff, click "add symbol", tadah, symbol). Thank you!
  • WAIT!

    the symbols menu is a total pain in the but! it's actually MUCH better to make each symbol a linked file and use a hierarchical file format. using the symbols menu has tied my whole project into THAT ONE FILE (look at all the pages in the nav). when i re-build this game it will all be hierarchical, meaning if i change one file all my other files with that content will update, this is not quite possible with the symbol's menu as i understand.

    but for messing around with stuff inside of one file it's fairly helpful. just use it to figure out your layouts and such, dont start iteration until you have a hierarchical format figured out.

    BTW: I'm glad it inspired you! maybe i should do a process tutorial for my blog?
  • edited August 2010
    We kept this relationship map around for everyone to see and draw on throughout a Burning Wheel campaign a few years ago. Then we hung it over the mantle as a sort of a joke at the end of the campaign. Now it's still there and awesome.

    image
    image

    Stan was friggin' off the hook.
  • Posted By: TylerT
    BTW: I'm glad it inspired you! maybe i should do a process tutorial for my blog?
    I'd read it, for sure, especially if you go through pitfall to solution like you just did for me there.
  • Posted By: Guy SrinivasanWe kept this relationship map around for everyone to see and draw on throughout a Burning Wheel campaign a few years ago. Then we hung it over the mantle as a sort of a joke at the end of the campaign. Now it's still there and awesome.
    [pics elided]
    Stan was friggin' off the hook.
    "Wool Traitor" is the kind of wordplay we'd see at my table, too. I love him.
  • Posted By: Halfjack

    Here's a mind map for my current fantasy game. The map keeps growing (the red elements are new material for the next session). I won't explain because maps are designed to explore, but I'll answer questions. I'm asking you to do the same!
    What program did you use for that?
  • edited August 2010
    Here are some pictures of the Ganakagok maps from the game I ran at Gencon this year. We found an empty room after hours at the Embassy Suites and used the whiteboard there. Anna Kreider drew the ogre you see there; he made only a brief appearance in the game.

    The map being made in play:

    image

    image

    We are ready to begin the game!

    image

    The map gets crowded with loves and hates:

    image

    Dawn comes to the island of ice:

    image
  • edited August 2010
    Here's a relationship map I did for a campaign of Reign we'll be starting up tonight. I based it on the GMs 3-page intro to the world. He gave us maps and a brief description of the various kingdoms and counties within our kingdom. There was a lot of little connections buried in the text and this is going to be a game of political intrigue with heavy emphasis on the Company rules, so I thought it would be helpful for me to map it out. I hope to keep it updated once the campaign gets moving.

    image

    I used OmniGraffle to do it.
  • edited August 2010
    My Gallery of Apocalypse World NPCS

    A Pile of Printed Stuff
    image

    A Closeup of my Notebook - where I make rough notes before moving them to a Front sheet.
    image

    My AW Relationship Map - made in Gliffy
    image
  • Posted By: walkerpWhat program did you use for that?
    It looks like output from Freemind.
  • Posted By: walkerpPosted By: Halfjack

    Here's a mind map for my current fantasy game. The map keeps growing (the red elements are new material for the next session). I won't explain because maps are designed to explore, but I'll answer questions. I'm asking you to do the same!
    What program did you use for that?

    iThoughts HD, iPad.
  • edited August 2010
    Posted By: HalfjackiThoughts HD, iPad.
    I stand corrected. I use Freemind for many of my game-related mindmaps, so it springs to mind quickly. The output looks very similar to yours, save that cool graph paper backing that I was going to ask you how you got it to make...now I know (wink).
  • Here's a page from my composition notebook - various ramblings for a chambara RPG I've been working on for a while...

    image
  • edited August 2010
    Our Starblazer Adventures map for Plasma Burn:

    image
  • Here's a very nice map courtesy Brad's talents for a Chimaera game back in April. Instrumental to my prep.

    community%20diagram.png
  • Posted By: musashi74Here's a page from my composition notebook - various ramblings for achambara RPGI've been working on for a while...
    [image elided]
    Alex I just had to say that I adore your handwriting. :D
  • Adam: Did you make that Front sheet with the cover? Because that is rad, and I want the pdf, please!
  • Hans, you can download the front book from the AW main page, it is after all the character playbooks:

    http://apocalypse-world.com/ApocalypseWorld-playbooks.pdf

    - Colin
  • Posted By: HalfjackPosted By: musashi74Here's a page from my composition notebook - various ramblings for a chambara RPGI've been working on for a while...
    [image elided]
    Alex I just had to say that I adore your handwriting. :D

    Hah - most people tell me they find it maddening to decipher...even I think so at times.
  • Posted By: musashi74
    Hah - most people tell me they find it maddening to decipher...even I think so at times.
    It is both hard to read and beautiful. :D
  • I just wanted to say that I love seeing how other people write. My handwriting is total shit.

    The other day I tried writing in cursive, maybe the first time in like 17 years. My moleskine caught on fire and exploded.
  • Posted By: HalfjackI want to see a scan of you half page from your Moleskine, your mind maps, your sketches, and your Unknown Territories. There are no wrong answers.
    ....I do page layout first, and write directly to it. An unfinished idea typically looks like this:
    XXXX
    Blah blah blah.
    Campaign notes are typically a series of initials and numbers down the side of one of my situation design forms.
  • Posted By: Levi Kornelsen

    Campaign notes are typically a series of initials and numbers down the side of one of my situation design forms.
    So let's see a "situation design form"! Filled in would be awesome.
  • edited August 2010
    Posted By: HalfjackSo let's see a "situation design form"! Filled in would be awesome.
    They're the ones up on Amagi... I'll see if I can grab a used one to scan later.
  • Posted By: SteerpikeHans, you can download the front book from the AW main page, it is after all the character playbooks:

    http://apocalypse-world.com/ApocalypseWorld-playbooks.pdf

    - Colin
    Thanks. I've been using Harper's sheets & stuff, and I don't always keep up that Vincent puts new stuff there.
  • Brad,
    I haven't done anything by hand since 1003 or so, here are some cool samples of stuff did electronically (usually on PDAs, smart phones, etc.)
    Old school:
    http://www.mvlan.net/~davidm/
    New Millennium
    https://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=0AoGF0nJQdKAOcEpzRExleTNoLTJtX3FzT3QyLVNXUmc&hl=en&output=html
    New School
    https://docs.google.com/drawings/pub?id=144QewL4tYsDIMrv9X1HpYjoejOYFIrWeC3xF8bM6xQg&w=1004&h=720
    I like to work electronically whenpossible, because sometimes I can't read my own writing, lol
    Dave M
  • edited September 2010
    Me preparing for 4E. (WARNING: SPOILERS)

    In the middle distance are the quest tents I set out for all our declared quests. We have a Fallout-style campaign where lots of quests are declared and are tracked in full view of everyone. Underneath it all is my vinyl battlemat, which has a map on it that dates from last winter -- a map which was never used in anger but which I really like and I swear it will be used this fall...

    image

    Note the Sharpies loitering on the battlemat, waiting for the sweet day when they will be mistaken for wet-erase pens...

    I originally also posted a closeup scan of the notebook, but it's got spoilers going out at least a few weeks so I want to keep it obscured for now.
  • Oh my god, that's terrifyingly organized looking, John!
  • Posted By: Jason Morningstar*snip picture*
    Is that from your "stray dogs of Moscow" Archipelago game, Jason?
  • Man, I want to play 4e with Johnzo.
  • What does Karnak XP do?
  • edited September 2010
    Posted By: KripplerWhat does Karnak XP do?
    Karnak (and Valok) are PCs in our game.

    Their named front-row quests have personal stakes as opposed to group stakes. Karnak's is about his paragon path choice; Valok's is about some family awkwardness. These quests are subplots that I'm proposing based on the characters' flags and backgrounds. The players also sometimes propose these quests: the leftmost card in the back row was originated by a player in-game vow.

    XP for quests with personal stakes are split 50/50 between the character with the stakes and the group. This is to encourage creation and buy-in while tipping the rest of the party for their participation. The points awards are calibrated so they're a nice bonus and not a required element to play. They can be freely rejected.

    On the other hand, the front-and-centre "Slay Ghesh!" quest is a group objective, a normal D&D quest. There is consensus within the party that Ghesh needs to be gotten, and the party will split the XP evenly when he is gotten.
    Posted By: HalfjackOh my god, that's terrifyingly organized looking, John!
    We also have a wiki ... but I can't show it off publicly unless I upgrade our account to 'professional' level. Man, I wish I'd realized that before I'd spent all those hours building it out.
  • Prep for today's "Legends of Anglerre" game (should be full of plot, as a reconciliation for last unprepared combat-only fiasco).
    loa01scaledb.jpg
  • Wow, Marcin. Your art is great.
  • A map from a post-apocalyptic game I never quite got to run:

    image
  • edited September 2010
    Posted By: RogerA map from a post-apocalyptic game I never quite got to run:
    BEWAREcherish CULTISTS OF IRON MAIDEN.
    Posted By: John HarperWow, Marcin. Your art is great.
    x2. I wish I could draw like that.

    I've gamed with several awesome game doodlers. Seth Johnson, Tony Dowler, Kevin Perrine.

    I bet that Brendan Adkins D&D game in Portland with all the comics artists is heavy on the doodle cool too.

    The Danger Patrol text should encourage little character illos on the PC markers, although maybe that just goes without saying.
  • Posted By: John HarperWow, Marcin. Your art is great.
    Uh, for serious. Do you have a website with more examples of your supersweet art? I want to copy err, study your stuff.
  • edited September 2010
    Thank you. Unfortunately, my small website went down with googlepages, and I never found strength to rebuild it somewhere else.

    My errr... art "aptitude" has a dark side - it's far easier for me to doodle a portrait or sketch a location rather then make a solid write-up of npc or generate simple and usable map :-/

    I wonder if rpg exists that "promotes" this kind of prep ... ;-)
  • edited September 2010
    From our long-running "Iron Coast" game of Apocalypse World.

    Map of the Iron Coast (built up as we played):
    image

    The relationship map for one of the groups (two groups played this setting in parallel):
    image

    ... and then updated when the two groups merged later on:
    image
  • edited September 2010
    The map of the firefight on Prospekt island (aka "cannibal island") in which Clarion, Tum Tum and Jackabacka lost their lives and Li lost her mind.
    image

    The shaded building is the old cannery, which burned down during the battle (along with the "preparation room" inside).
  • edited September 2010
    Some notebook pages from that AW series.

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    It's amazing how much is in there, and also how much is missing.
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