August 16th, 2021


RPG-a-Day 16: Move

Today’s prompt for RPG-a-Day is ‘Move’.

I’m going to riff off Paulo’s entry on ‘Move’ over on his blog where he compares boardgame moves with player agency in RPGs. I’ve been reading quite a few Japanese RPGs (currently I’m going through Floria) and there’s a trend in those games that is shaped by the RPG culture in Japan.
In Japan, it’s uncommon to invite people over to your home, and people lead busy lives. This means that most games of ‘table-talk RPGs’ are played in some kind of public/communal space. Long-form campaigns are rare, and most sessions are one-shots that are played with rotating GMs and players. Floria and Ryuutama have rules for making sure that your character has indeed ‘earned’ the XP that is on the sheet, etcetera — like the rules for D&D’s organised play programme, except not centrally managed.
In a long-form campaign, it’s not that bad if your character doesn’t get to shine this session, because their time will certainly come in the next. But in this ‘serial one-shot’ format, every character has to have their equal time in the spotlight. This means that the structure of the session is quite codified. For instance, in Floria, there’s an abstracted map of the forest you’re investigating, and characters take their Move in turns. During their turn, they can move a few spaces and undertake one of a list of possible actions, and then your turn is up and the next character goes.
This is also a lot like a boardgame, but to me it’s different from the way that Torchbearer was like a boardgame. I think that is because Torchbearer emphasizes the individual character, whereas Floria emphasizes the collective experience of everyone at the table. Torchbearer characters are encouraged to be unique and have beliefs and goals that might not align entirely with the rest of the group, whereas Floria basically tells you in the rules that you should make a character who is motivated to join today’s scenario and to coordinate your magic types with the other players because you really need all three in a party. In a ‘character collective’, it is much more palatable for me to take defined turns — maybe that’s a personal quirk and it’s just me?

Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.

Bicycle trip planning

Apparently we’ve reached the age at which going for a ride on our bicycles seems like a great idea to spend a weekend afternoon. And with the excellent bicycle infrastructure in the Netherlands, it’s actually an enjoyable experience. One of the ways that the infrastructure supports cycling for pleasure is the network of cycling ‘junctions’,which are all numbered. The routes between them are touristy and well-signed, and most junctions have a map with all of the junctions. Planning a route then means simply writing a list of numbers and riding from one junction to the next.
I like to plan ahead, so I use the Fietsknoop website (which is a brilliant name for the website, which you will recognise if you speak Dutch). We live quite close to a junction, and by clicking from junction to junction, I can create a route and see the total length.
But I also would like to have a navigation app running along on my phone while we’re riding. Because if you miss a sign, who knows where you’ll end up? I experimented with pre-configuring routes in Google Maps, but there is no way to activate that route while you are on the road. Someone tipped us for RideWithGPS, which has a great web interface for planning a route — but following that route on your phone requires a subscription that is more expensive than what we are prepared to pay for that functionality, especially over time.
And then I found Osmand. It uses the OpenStreetMap data, which it downloads (not that I have to be concerned about data use within the EU, but still) and it can also do routing. The free version is limited to seven maps (I think), and as every province in the Netherlands is a single map, we’re quite fine with that limitation for some time. The cool thing is that Fietsknoop allows you to export the route as a GPX file, and if you open that type of file on your phone, Osmand will happily open it and let you start the routing almost right away.
We tested it out last Saturday, and it works quite well. I did turn off the voice navigation (didn’t want a talking phone to distract me from the ride), but that did mean I almost missed a few turns — that will take a bit getting used to. But the result is really good, and I’m quite happy with it.

Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.