"The Right to Dream", game preparation, reward system, and my experience

Started by Mael, March 16, 2012, 10:31:40 PM

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Hello all,

First, I need to warn you : I am French, so while I will do my best with my poor English to be clear, I may fail. If you don't understand something, please ask me, I will try to reformulate.

Now, let me introduce myself.

I began roleplaying about ten years ago (I was 22), with the infamous White Wolf games (Vampire - The Dark Ages precisely).
We were then three regular players, two beginners (including myself), and one with strong experience in "old school RPGs" (D&D, Shadowrun, Ars Magica, and so on ...).
Our GM was also an experienced player, very passionate and knowledgeable about the White Wolf setting (I believe Ron Edwards called this "the colour").
He decided to start the "Chronica Transylvania" campaign (big story, occurring mainly in old Romania, starting at 1200 and supposed to end dramatically at current days, featuring many NPCs and a lot of world shaking events).

We created characters without any idea of what was waiting for us, as the plot was supposed to be kept a secret.
The campaign included a prophecy thing, supposed to keep us involved in the story.

We played it for about six years. The campaign was endless, partly due to the fact that the GM had many other interests (like old Japanese / Chinese history) he used in "fillers" sessions (meaning, not related to the main, White Wolf written, story), played with the same characters.
Eventually, as the scenarios (fillers or main plot) had no real relation to our characters background and motivations, we ended with really different concepts, somewhat opposed (like the other former "beginner"'s character fanatically devoting himself to his Mage clan, regularly at the detriment of our team, and mine secretly becoming a member of an assassin sect judging corrupted vampires, opposed to the Mage clan).

One thing important to notice, not surprising to anyone familiar with White Wolf, most of the stories did not allow the players to have any impact on the flow of events - they are supposed to be amazed witnesses of that incredible plot, not actors.
I have to confess that, for a long time, I did believe in the "One Impossible Thing to Believe Before Breakfast", as stated by Ron (I think) : I was really waiting for the moment where my actions during play would have created story, even knowing that everything was already decided.
Guess what : it never happened.

The other players progressively adopted a passive attitude during sessions, the most experienced one being fully satisfied with the illusion, the other one dedicating himself to his character improvement.
My position was different - during play, I was not really playing my character (could not do so as he would not have fit), but mainly assisted the GM to tell his story (voluntarily, but without suspecting it could have been different).
Meanwhile, I involved myself in my character background and history (writing pages and pages), in his plots and secret agendas, none being related to the story nor with the other players, but strongly supported by the GM.

As the show was going on, I began to appreciate more and more this "between sessions" play, less and less the actual play.

Then another regular player joined the team. One that I care of (my girlfriend indeed), and whose opinions I highly value.
She had previous experience with that White Wolf game, with a different GM, in an one-on-one play style, without attachment to the rules (she doesn't like complex systems, and that GM usually doesn't mind ignoring rules during play if they bother him).

Soon, she tried to involve her character in the main plot, having her investigate about the prophecy thing.
It appeared that the GM could not reward her with anything. Indeed, providing this kind of information was incompatible with the campaign system, in which the players are supposed to discover the story as it happens, not before.
So that player also stopped involving in play, but she did not found any other source of gratification.

After many discussion with her, with the GM, and some character tuning, we both arrived to the conclusion that the whole thing was dysfunctional, and stopped playing.
We had several years later another experience (White Wolf Exalted), with the same GM and other players (younger and less "experienced"), but it quickly ended the same way.

About one or two years ago, I discovered The Forge, and Ron's essays.
I immediately recognized some of its dysfunctional play descriptions, and after thought, I decided that I would like to test some "Story Now!".
Sadly, I couldn't convince any of my former players to try one of these "non conventional, strange, almost heretic" systems (at this time I suggested Heroquest, InSpectres and Sorcerer).
The oldest players did not understand the interest of the concept, or even thought it was not functional ("give power to the players implies you need to trust the players", "the players can't work on the setting or the story with the GM, it would kill fun", ...).
The newest players, used to illusionism (and MMORPGs), were afraid of the improvisational part.

So, because I really like these guys, I decided to make a functional system for "The Right to Dream", and test it with them.
To do that, I simplified the new White Wolf "World of Darkness" 10D system, keeping some attributes (like, physical, social & mental), introduced a skill creation system loosely based on Heroquest (players name their skills as they wish, but they have to fit with the "color" of the setting).

That done, I proposed them to play, using the White Wolf setting we all were familiar with (and maybe that was an error).
I separated the oldest players (my old team at Vampire) from the newest (from our Exalted game).
The first team never really grab the skills naming system, going back to old school systems skills.
The second team immediately understood the trick, and more important, liked it.

During play, same story : the old school players wanted to play experienced characters, and ended with PCs without personality or colour, while the newest really gave interesting traits to theirs, and had fun playing.

That said, as a GM, I really find it exhausting to prepare a scenario for "The Right to Dream", and to keep players involved.
You have to think about anything before that happens, and almost all the responsibility for the party's fun falls upon your shoulders.

Finally, the questions

My first question to you all is, as a GM, how do you prepare yourself for a game ?
I think that "The Right to Dream" implies more preparation that "Story Now!", as you have to work alone to prepare the story, setting, NPCs and scenes, but I recognize my lack of experience with the later (and probably the former either !).
I tend to first build a "story map" (concept taken from one of Ron's Sorcerer books), including numerous NPCs and the PCs, to clarify relationships.
Then I try to come up with a story, related to the PCs background and relations. The point is, I noticed that the players (at least the ones I know) don't want to be involved in that part, and so they often create characters having little to share, making my task a difficult one.
The main reason behind that, according to them, is that they don't want to know too much about the setting or the other characters, they want to be surprised. I'm not quite sure this is even compatible with "The Right to Dream" ...

The second question is, what kind of reward system do you use for "The Right to Dream" ?
I had the idea that the reward system can be a useful tool to facilitate the implementation of a Creative Agenda among a player group. For "The Right to Dream", I thought that an interesting system could favor :
- coherency of the setting (PC actions rewarded when Exploring setting, character, or colour)
- advancement of the story (PC actions rewarded when related to the main story)

Thank you for reading.
If anything comes to your mind (related to the questions or not) please post it, I would be glad have different points of view.


Moreno R.

Hi Mael Welcome to the Forge!

Some of your questions are about game design, and I will leave them to people with more experience than me in that matter. I will try to answer the questions about playing and GMing.

But first, I would like to address something in your tale. To do so, I will have to make assumptions about your group, play experience and motivations, based on my own experiences. But they could be completely wrong. Only you can say for sure, so please don't take these assumptions as any sort of judgment about the way you tried to raise the interest of these players:  I am simply trying to guess.

I accept your judgment about the kind of play you had with that GM in the past. From the way you describe it, it was dysfunctional, you say it was dysfunctional, so let's take as a given that it was dysfunctional.   But Dysfunctional is not the same as "right to dream". What made you think that these players would be interested in that way of playing, when they never experienced it?

Then, you start to make other assumptions about eight to dream play, that are simply not necessary. It's not necessary to have a pre-plotted "story". It's not necessary to do a lot of preparations before. It's not even necessary to have a GM.

The impression I get is that you equate "right to dream" with your old play experience... "but done better". But I see nothing in your tale that would let me arrive to that conclusion. Dysfunctional play is simply dysfunctional, period.  A game where the players can't offer their creativity to the game, in any way, is not a "dream": is a nightmare (or a rather dull radio drama)

"Right to dream" play is based on interest, celebration, LOVE of something.  It's not the easiest to obtain in a group: it's the hardest 

Maybe you have very good reasons to believe that your friends would love a "right to dream" game, and so all what I am saying doesn't apply to you. As I said, I am making assumptions here: because I see very, very ofter, this error made by people who read about the Big Model: a lot of old gaming manuals give a lot of lip-service to some ideal way to "simulate" or "live" a setting (even if there is nothing in their rules that help doing so), so it's natural to believe them, and believe that they are simply badly done "right to dream" games.  But why should you believe them? You already did see how their rules "work". Why believe what they say?

In practice, most of the people I know that played functional World of Darkness games, played gamist.  Remember: the game text give advices that, if followed, rob the players of the chance to make any thematic choice. And the "dream" is forced upon them, not a common creation.  What it's left, if there is something left? To fight and to win against what the GM put on the way to your "mission". Or, with other people, it's the intrigue, the back-stabbing between player characters:

It's not a foregone conclusion. It's not a law of nature, something like "if you play these games in a functional way, you are playing them gamist".  It's simply that to play these games in a functional way you have to drift the system, and the easiest change is to gamism.   So, I am not saying that you should try a gamist game with them, what I am saying is simply that dysfunctional play is not "right to dream badly dome",  and real "right to dream" play is rather uncommon.

So, if you recognize your situation in what I said, what I am suggesting is simply to stop trying to get a Right to Dream game, for the moment.  Because what you need (at least in my opinion, for what it's worth) now is actual play with different games. You need to play these "new" games, because theory goes hand-in-hand with real, concrete play experience:  trying to learn forge theory without playing is like trying to learn algebra without solving an equation or making any other exercise, ever.

You don't need to find a group interested.  There are a lot of rpgs playable with two players these days, and you can start playing them with your girlfriend, or with even one person interested.   This will help you to understand not only theory, but, more important... what you really want from role-playing.

And, when you do, my advice would be to stop trying to find a game that your old group would like, and find instead someone interested in playing the same things you want to play.

OK, after this long-winded (and rather preachy, I know...) introduction, let's go to your questions.

QuoteMy first question to you all is, as a GM, how do you prepare yourself for a game ?

I don't.  I really hate any sort of "game preparation" that require from me more that (1) learn the rules, (2) think idly about the game during work, or in the bus, without having to write anything, and (3) having to work more than 10 minutes before the game.

This is not something that require me to play only GM-less "story now" games: as I said, it's perfectly possible to play any Creative Agenda without any game preparation or even without any GM: these are simply techniques, the "how" you play, Creative Agenda is "why" you play (obviously they are tied, but not in a clumsy direct rapport with one technique = one CA)

I don't know if you share with me this loathing of game preparations, or if you simply want to do a little less of it. I know people who love game preparations and would miss it. What I am saying is that you don't have to do anything you don't want to do.  You don't have to prepare "a story" if you don't want, even with right to dream play. 

My advice is, again, to try different games, different techniques, and see what you like more. (for example, for a long time I believed that I hated "being the GM" because I didn't know that you don't have to be always the same kind of GM...)

QuoteI think that "The Right to Dream" implies more preparation that "Story Now!", as you have to work alone to prepare the story, setting, NPCs and scenes, but I recognize my lack of experience with the later (and probably the former either !).
I tend to first build a "story map" (concept taken from one of Ron's Sorcerer books), including numerous NPCs and the PCs, to clarify relationships.
Then I try to come up with a story, related to the PCs background and relations. The point is, I noticed that the players (at least the ones I know) don't want to be involved in that part, and so they often create characters having little to share, making my task a difficult one.
The main reason behind that, according to them, is that they don't want to know too much about the setting or the other characters, they want to be surprised. I'm not quite sure this is even compatible with "The Right to Dream" ...

I think you are setting yourself for a fall here. You are falling again into the "impossible thing before breakfast" to follow the talk of players that, simply put... don't know what they are talking about!

What these players are saying there is simply "why do you want to push us out of our zone of comfort, you big meanie? We want to play as we had always played". And, because the way they played in the past was a long, boring forced march in a fixed path, and the only thing that did liven that chore was, sometimes, a fleeting moment when something happened that they didn't see a mile before, they have begin to worship "surprise" as the axis of  "gaming fun", and are scared to lose that single spark of joy in the middle of boredom.

To be blunt: do you really need to play with them?  It can be done, but it will be difficult. You will have to fight them to even make them believe that it's possible to play in another way. They will fight you like a drowning man fight against the people that say to him to stop clinging to a heavy floating door to let them raise him out of the water.  They are probably scarred by years of dysfunctional play.  You will save yourself a lot of grief and disappointments if you simply find other people to play, people who never played before and don't have these kind of hang-ups. 

At this moment, play with the people you don't have to convince that "this is fun" (if they are convinced that it can't be fun, it will not be fun even for you). With your girlfriend, with a friend, at a Indie gaming convention (In Italy there are more every year). Just play.

(Excuse my errors, English is not my native language. I'm Italian.)


Hi Moreno, thank you for your answer !

You are almost right for everything, and your way to put things is really helpful.

dysfunctional play vs "the Right to Dream"
You're right to point out that my old dysfunctional play was not "The Right to Dream" badly done - that was indeed a mistake of mine, not really based on anything from the system or the players attitude, but I think I unconsciously associated that Creative Agenda with that GM's desire to share and celebrate his passion for the setting with us.
In fact, I realize I do not know any system favoring "Right to Dream" CA.

the players
Well, I was aware that they could not be interested in "the Right to Dream". As I said, I first tried to suggest "Story Now!" systems I wanted to try, but they ran away :)
That last game (and I now realize  I was wrong to call that "the Right to Dream") was really an experiment, to see if I could create a system close enough to something they are familiar with, simple enough to be used even by new players (or system haters), and that has some weird features requiring the player to use some creative skills (during character creation), and rewarding it when it does Explore character, setting or colour during play.

About your point with the "players want to be surprised" thing, well that time I did not believe them, nor did they believe me when I told them that it could be fun in a another way.
So I just wanted to try to show them during play, and maybe it was meaningless, but I wanted to try. To follow your metaphor I don't want to fight them so they can get out the water (after all, if they are fine where they are, why not ?), but at least I wanted to throw them a life-belt.

It didn't work with my old group of players, I know that. But with the new ones, it kind of works ... and most importantly, they enjoyed creating skills from scratch, and are full of imagination and creativity during play, so I will soon try some "Story Now!" with them - they seem to be more receptive now (and I asked them, not decided that alone this time).

the preparation
About the preparation, honestly I don't like it. More precisely, I don't like to do that alone, without sharing with the players.
I'm relieved to hear that you can play
I already tried to play with almost no preparation (like you said, 10 minutes before play), but it sometimes

my questions
Damn, I realize I did not understand "the Right to Dream" ... well, I always had difficulties with that one. You explained in few words, and again that really helped me :
Quote from: Moreno R. on March 17, 2012, 03:24:13 AM
"Right to dream" play is based on interest, celebration, LOVE of something.
You also said it was the hardest to obtain in a group, well I do believe you.

One lesson I have to learn is that it is useless to hope play a game if all misunderstandings between what players really expect from play have not been exposed and discussed - if that cannot be done, well maybe the group is already dead.
The other thing I need, as you said, is to play games, with people that won't fight me - well, I'm gonna do that and see.

One complementary question : do you know some games you like favoring "the Right to Dream" ?
I don't think I really want to play following this CA, but I'm really curious about it, and really would like to understand it better (I'm also gonna read again Ron's essays, it's been some time after all).



Oops, I realize that I have missed some text from my text editor - next time, I'll double check from preview before posting ...

Here is the complete paragraph :

the preparation
About the preparation, honestly I don't like it. More precisely, I don't like to do that alone, without sharing with the players.
I'm relieved to hear that you can play differently, but for "the Right to Dream" I confess that for now, I can't see how. I was under the impression that you could compare "Story Now!" to improvisational jazz play, while "the Right to Dream" would be classical orchestra, when everyone follow the maestro guidance - I can't see how to realize that without heavy preparation, meaning my comparison must be inaccurate.
I already tried to play with almost no preparation (like you said, 10 minutes before play), but it sometimes ended badly, maybe because all the improvisational part was on my side alone, while the players were either waiting, or having their characters just wandering around.


Moreno R.

Hi Miel!

"Bass playing" is a good metaphor for the kind of mastering techniques to use to play some "Story Now" games, as for example Sorcerer and other similar games.

Other games give the GM a more oppositional role (The Rustbelt, and in a sense even Dogs in the Vineyard), other "story now" games don't even have a GM!  Don't equate a technique with a creative agenda.

"Playing with no prep" is possible, but only if the game is built to allow it. In particular, the system has to be playable without having to prepare PNG stats or other work-intensive preparation.  If you try to play a game that is not build like that without preparation, what you get is a game where you are always missing some information that you need, improvising everything by the seat of your pants. Stressful and almost always turn into illusionism.

Some story now games playable with no solitary preparation (some of them have some kind of preparation, but the entire group do it at the table) are
With a GM: Primetime Adventures, My life With Master, etc.
With no GM (GM-full): Shock:, Annalise, S/Lay w/Me, etc.

Some games have very little preparation time, even if not zero:  Dogs in the Vineyard need a 10-15 minutes preparation time (I like to do it right before playing, so I don't have to memorize it and it's still fresh in memory). Trollbabe needs 10-15 minutes for every player, etc.

These are all "story now" games. The two I listed last (Dogs in the Vineyard and Trollbabe) in my opinion are the best practical teaching text for Story Now play.

About "Right to Dream" games, it is a creative agenda that already had examples of coherent games for a lot of years (Pendragon, for example, or Feng Shui) but they are all of the "story before" kind, where the GM has to prepare a lot of situations before the game, so they are not what you are searching for.

A problem in saying "that game support right to Dream play" is that a game can't force someone to play with a specific Creative Agenda: they can only "push" in that direction, and many games don't push very strongly.  So you can say "that game is simulationist" and someone could say "no, I played with that game with a Story Now CA" and both could be right. So remember that playing a game that push a specific CA doesn't guarantee that you will play with that CA.  For Story Now play there are very good teaching texts that explain not only the rules but how the game is to be played (like the two I cited above) but I don't know any similar teaching text for Right to Dream play.

With that caveat, in my opinion the games "It's Complicated" and "A taste for Murder" are good "right to dream" games playable with no preparation at all. They are both based on genre emulation (and both contain a bit of parody of their respective genre) and with players that know these genres they can be very fun.

Genre emulation, by itself, doesn't make a game a Right to Dream one.  But in these games, in my experience,  the homage/parody/fun of playing a deranged soap opera or a darkly humoristic  Agatha Christie mystery take precedence over any thematic content.

How they work without preparations? By creating their backstory during play. For example, in "A taste for murder", the murder is, at the beginning, without any motive, and there is no real "killer" because, really... nobody at the table is playing one, at the moment. But during the game, the players discover (create) new facts about their characters and other's, until one of them is uncovered as the killer, with some (usually very sordid) motive.  And it's usually very fun to "confess", in character, to the other players... even if you "discovered" only a few seconds before that the murderer was your character.
Why it doesn't support gamist play, instead?Well, maybe it could, if a group want to play it in a competitive way. But in my experience, the game doesn't encourage or reward that kind of play: every time I play I hope to be "discovered" as the murderer: that player is the player that get most "screen time" and usually the best lines. You don't get any reward at all, instead, if you solve the case discovering another character as the "real killer".

Something to remember, is that nobody, really, likes "right to dream " play as if it was a single way to play. And nobody likes Story Now or Step on up, either: Peolple like a game for it's color, the situations, the techniques, the kind of play you get with it, the fun moments (ephemera)... Creative Agenda is the nail that tie all these things you like (or not) together, but you can't say that you will like a game only by looking at the kind of nail. If you like one game with a CA there is no guarantee that you will like every game with that CA: so don't take these game examples as "representative" in any way of all the RtD games.    "A taste for murder" for example is for people who like to "show off", to play emotional characters,  over-the-top situation, acting in character even with the body. It often become a sort of "table LARP" with people that stand up to talk with other characters, to be able to move more freely.  You get dices by laughing, crying, showing contempt, desperation, etc, all in character.  If you like impro you probably will love that game, but a player that doesn't enjoy at all to play "in character" could be uncomfortable playing it.

Another game that I have heard described as a very good Right to Dream game is Fiasco, for the same motives, but in this case I don't have the play experience with the game to confirm it.

(Excuse my errors, English is not my native language. I'm Italian.)

David Berg

Hi Mael,

1) If you're interested in figuring out what system to use in a game where the GM preps the plot before play, you might find my recent "SBP" threads here interesting.  Here's one.  Your ideas about rewarding players for advancing the story or aiding setting coherence would fit in well in some of those discussions.

2) If you're interested in supporting players who want to explore and discover secrets, but you do not want the GM to need to pre-plan the plot, I think the tools you need depend on what the GM is unable to improvise. 

One extreme:
If the GM can improvise everything and consistently confront the players with cool discoveries, then you don't really need much help, though maybe some inspirational material might be nice.  The GM can roll on tables or lists of moods, names, objects, or events, to help come up with ideas on the spot.

The opposite extreme:
If the GM is no good at appropriate improv, or doesn't like doing it, then I can imagine 3 solutions:
a) Do the preparation.
b) Use a pre-made plot.
c) Roll or choose between pre-made elements that have been designed to assemble themselves into a plot.

I suspect most GMs fall in between these two extremes, and can benefit from a mix of tools, some allowing pure improv, some requiring guided and constrained improv, and some delivering pre-made content.

Here's an idea:
The GM writes down a list of cool plot developments that could happen.
The GM keeps this list in front of them during play.  Whenever they feel that the plot needs to move forward, they pick from the list whatever seems best to them at that moment.

Hope this helps,
here's my blog, discussing Delve, my game in development


You're right about the techniques being different from CAs - I knew that, but it's really hard not to fall in this trap when just theorizing - again, I should do more actual play, try other techniques.
Oh, and thanks for reminding me the "bass player" metaphor, I'm pretty sure I read once about that in Ron's essays or on "Sorcerer" book, or even on one topic around here, but I'd completely forget about it.

About prep, yes I think the system has to back you up if you want to go without any. Well, in my case, my own Frankenstein's monster was not much help - on the contrary, I had even more prep than ever (main plot, sub-plots, NPCs, relationships, objectives for PCs, and so on ...). That totally burned me out in the end.
So for now, I've decided to put my creature at rest, and playtest other games, as you kindly suggested (I'm not giving up writing down my own game one of these days, but I'll be waiting to see how much playing something else will change me).
Anyway, I'll definitively have a look for the games you suggested (in fact, I already had : "Trollbabe", "Dogs in the Vineyard" and "A taste for Murder" really seem amazing, in different styles).

I also agree that no system can force a player into a specific CA, and that's for the best - as a player, I would prefer to choose freely. I realize that the main point is the agreement between the players about what we are going to play (could be tacit, but I don't read mind yet).
What I really would like to do, is have the players read a properly written game book (like the ones mentioned above), and then decide ... sadly, most of the players I know dislike reading game books, especially English ones, so I do my best to explain it with my words.

Another thought : while reading what you wrote about "A taste for Murder" vs. "Step on up", I was thinking that maybe there is still some place for competition : it seems to be greatly rewarding to be discovered as the killer, so couldn't the players fight each other to be that one ? That said, I haven't get that game for now, so I'm not sure this is even under player's control.

PS : Oh, by the way you typo-ed my first name, it's Mael, not Miel ... but it's a funny typo - "miel" means literally "honey" in French ;)

@David Berg
Hi David, and welcome to this thread !

1) I'll be sure to check your link, thanks !

2) Well, that's interesting.
I also suspect I will fall between the two extremes you mentioned. At this point, as my former experiences without prep ended badly, so I tend to rely on heavy prep - afraid of personal failure and player's disappointment I guess.
That said, as a player I used to rely a lot on improvisation, frequently using Actor's or Director's Stances (that is, as far as the system and GM allowed me), so I believe I could manage some unexpected events.
But I believe your list idea is great - it reminds me the Bangs from "Sorcerer".
I'll definitively do that : light, "just in case", prep (and maybe some NPCs names, I know I'm bad at creating one on the fly).

Last Saturday, I had a rapid meeting with players (the newest ones from my OP), we discussed about the last game issues, and decided to move on something else.
InSpectres may be an extreme game (big improvisation skills required from players, as they build story by themselves), but one of the players was really enthusiastic about it and the other ones agreed that it could be fun go a little bit wild, for once.
We'll play next weekend, I'll probably post the outcome here (maybe on another topic if it's more appropriate).
I'll go check some InSpectres threads on the forum, but if someone wants to share his thoughts about playing that game new players here, he obviously is welcome.


Marshall Burns

The big things about InSpectres that I didn't get at first:

1) If you're GMing, you need to have a working theory as to what's going on, and play it accordingly. But be ready to scrap it as soon as a player makes an investigation roll.
2) Don't be shy about calling for Stress rolls. I can't stress (heh) this enough; the engine doesn't really start rolling until Stress and Cool start flowing through.


@Marshall Burns
Hi, and thanks for the tips !
I'll be sure to stress the PCs, but I don't want the players to run away either if their character becomes useless from the start ... I think I'll start smoothly for the start of their first Job, and progressively increase the pressure so they have to rely on each other.

@David Berg
I began reading your threads about SBP ... in fact, that is exactly what I tried to do with my system for the Vampire game : Story Before, Participationism, a whole setting based on intrigues and conspiracy, and much color on the top.
I will read further and hopefully I will participate if anything useful comes to my mind.


David Berg

Unfortunately I got busy with other projects before moving onto the most important SBP topic: reward system options.  I do think Frank T. illustrated one suitable option in discussing his game Danger Zone here.
here's my blog, discussing Delve, my game in development