venerdì 14 dicembre 2012


Well, months of silence passed again and Beyond the Mirror is in its layout stage, thanks to the great help of Marco Valtriani. I think I should be able to publish the game by the quarter of the next year, hopefully. I hope there'll still be people interested in this project by then.
The many incidents and delays in the realization of the game gave me time to adjust the mechanics and the writing further, and also to do some additional artwork, so I hope that will result in a better product!

giovedì 16 agosto 2012

:Eternal Contenders!

Soon Joe J Prince's Eternal Contenders will be ready for its publication, and what a pleasure for me, I must say, as I had the honor of taking care of the artwork, including the cover. A dream come true for me, to be able to provide artwork for an author whose games I've been loving. You may know Joe for his Contenders. This new game expands on the concept and sets the game in a dark fantasy world.
More about the game here!

mercoledì 11 luglio 2012

:Beyond the Mirror Update

Thanks to Isabel Kunkle who kindly took care of the editing process, Beyond the Mirror is currently in its layout phase! The day is coming near and I feel like sharing something here as well: some of the art of this game!

The above images are (C) Tazio Bettin, all rights reserved. For use please contact me!

giovedì 26 aprile 2012


I remember having had a conversation with Vincent Baker, Gregor Vuga, Daniel Berg and other people about this technical term, and I'd like to keep track of it for future use, so here's basically what was told in that thread on Story Games.

From The Forge's provisional glossary.
A Character Component. Behavioral, social, and contextual statements about a character. Formerly (and confusingly) called Metagame.

So what are we talking about.
Vincent replied to me in a nanosecond:

"From Shock:Human Contact character creation last night: I wrote on my character sheet "I'm a child soldier in Kumeh Hydraulics' assault force." This is a piece of my character's positioning - a behavioral, social, and/or contextual statement about my character's position in the setting"

So why  is this important and how can it be a problem? And more specifically, why are traditional roleplayers obsessed with avoiding what they call metagaming but, according to Ron Edwards should be called 'positioning'? Because the problem arises when 'what the character knows' and 'what the player knows' clash causing a shortcircuit.
Again, Vincent saved the day with a perfectly clear explanation.

Here's sort of the typical setup with positioning and effectiveness:

I'm a knight. Knights get +2 to hit. I get +2 to hit!

"Knights get +2 to hit" is a currency rule: it establishes a relationship between one component of a character ("I'm a knight," positioning) and another ("I get +2 to hit," effectiveness).

Here's how knowing something can work, and can cause problems:

My knight knows that the beast of Dunford Ridge is vulnerable to silver, so he loads his musket with a silver ball. He inflicts double damage!

"My knight knows that the beast of Dunford Ridge is vulnerable to silver, so he loads his musket with a silver ball" is, yes, positioning. There's a currency rule in play - "if you attack something with a material it's vulnerable to, you do double damage" - so this small detail of positioning becomes increased effectiveness, the double damage. So far so good.

But what about this?

As a player, I know that the beast of Dunford Ridge is vulnerable to silver, but my knight character doesn't. Nevertheless, he loads his musket with a silver ball. He inflicts double damage!

Here I've short-circuited the currency rule, which is supposed to turn character knowledge into increased effectiveness. All my friends shout at me that I'm cheating!

The real culprit isn't "metagaming," but the combination of two factors. Factor 1 is the currency rule, "if you attack something with a material it's vulnerable to, you do double damage." Factor 2 is the circumstance where I, as a player, happen to already know that the beast of Dunford Ridge is vulnerable to silver, before my character knows it. Together, they create a conflict of interest for me as a player: I want to do double damage, and I want to have my character act with internal integrity, but now I have to choose between the two.

You can attack the problem two ways, then: you can take on the problem of player's vs character's knowledge, or you can take on the problem of the currency rule. There's no single ideal solution; there are a million solutions (one per game design) and you choose the one that best suits your precise needs. The fights start when someone takes one solution, like "make sure that the player doesn't know anything the character doesn't know," and insists that it IS the single ideal solution, or else that it's NEVER a suitable solution. 

One further interesting thought comes from David Berg:

I'm guessing Vincent covered your quandary. For thoroughness' sake, though, I'll add that Positioning covers some in-game stuff that never makes it to the level of interacting with any currencies, such as:

A noble NPC tells the characters he'd be grateful to them for ridding his lands of a monster.
They do it.
Now they've got a rich dude who likes them. Depending on how the GM interprets that relationship, that could mean they have access to all sorts of cool stuff like maps, writs, money, horses, armor, and other rich dudes.
It may seem a little odd to think of "friends with noble" as a character component, but that's Positioning to a tee.

(Nerdy aside: That example still affects currencies, they're just in-fiction currencies like "influence in the gameworld", rather than capital-C game Currencies, which effect mechanical adjustments. And if you invent a stat for "influence in the gameworld", then the former just became the latter!) 

Yet more insight on Vincent's site here:

The original discussion on Story Games: