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Independent Game Forums => Adept Press => Topic started by: Ron Edwards on September 25, 2008, 03:52:31 PM

Title: Trollbabe website - ideas solicited
Post by: Ron Edwards on September 25, 2008, 03:52:31 PM
First, the news you're interested in: I've really hammered out some new stuff for the new version of Trollbabe. I'm really happy with it, and have passed it about to very few readers at this stage. Rest assured that a solid shorty version will be made publicly available in advance of the book.

In related news, a number of artists have returned and some new ones have been busy too. Anna Kreider's first sketches may be seen at her blog, Building Rome in a Day ( (All together now: "She will fuck you up!" Go read the blog, you'll see what I mean)

Now for the purpose of this thread. See, I had a bunch of ideas long ago, like in 2002, for the Trollbabe site, and they didn't happen. One of them was to have a big map of the world, and you could click on a spot and read summaries of all the Trollbabe adventures people had played there. Meaning that you could input them yourself. Another was to have some kind of artists' gallery and even a way to get your own trollbabe's portrait drawn. Anyway, that was a while ago.

As far as I'm concerned, if a game or publisher is to have a website, then you should be able to go there for a unique purpose you can't find anywhere else, and you should have a reason to re-visit periodically. I realize that I need to conceive a Trollbabe website for the ground up, period. (Yes, and revise the seven-year-old Sorcerer site, and one for Mutual Decision, blah blah. Let's do Trollbabe first.)

So!! Ideas, thoughts, notions? What if you'd just played Trollbabe? What would you like to do at the homepage?

Best, Ron

Title: Re: Trollbabe website - ideas solicited
Post by: jburneko on September 25, 2008, 04:56:35 PM
Read lots and lots of Tha porn?

More seriously a tool for making your own Trollbabe portraits alla Heromachine would be awesome but probably a lot of work.

Related but not quite web-site specific, I'd still like a poster sized Trollbabe map.  Possibly laminated for repeat usage.


Title: Re: Trollbabe website - ideas solicited
Post by: Larry L. on September 25, 2008, 05:03:56 PM

You got the Trollbabe comics archived somewhere? Get those back up. Those were a pretty cool way to figure out what the game was actually about. The indie-comic sensibility help a lot, too.

Title: Re: Trollbabe website - ideas solicited
Post by: greyorm on September 25, 2008, 07:56:34 PM
You know, I still have that full-color poster-sized map sitting on my hard drive gathering electronic dust from 2002. I think it's mostly done...hrm, yep. A completed version and an almost completed DoinItBetter version.

Title: Re: Trollbabe website - ideas solicited
Post by: Eero Tuovinen on September 25, 2008, 10:31:39 PM
Another vote for Trollbabe porn here.

I also like the geographical arranging of play reports. The technologically simplest way of doing it is to just serve the map and location links from your own server and let each individual adventure report be a link to wherever it is published, whether that be the Forge, an individual's own website or some other solution. That way you don't need a dedicated database solution like a Wiki or some such.

Title: Re: Trollbabe website - ideas solicited
Post by: James_Nostack on September 26, 2008, 06:02:49 AM
Ron, one idea might be a Trollbabe "non-canonical setting" wiki or soemthing, if there's a way to frame such a thing as to ensure that players don't take it as any kind of official setting.  Reading some of the AP was really cool just to see the various bits of color that each player was throwing out there.  Clinton's thing where trolls hatch from hardening lava-eggs in the middle of an Icelandic wasteland, for example, was pretty cool, and (based on my sole experience as a Trollbabe player) I'd love to learn more about the Sisterhood of the Blessed Crook and the Spider Nuns.  I realize that part of the deal with Trollbabe is that it's meant to be wide-open, but sometimes it's fun to jam, too.

Title: Re: Trollbabe website - ideas solicited
Post by: skatay on September 26, 2008, 06:21:32 AM
new trollbabe strips!

Title: Re: Trollbabe website - ideas solicited
Post by: rafial on September 26, 2008, 09:07:47 AM
Excellent news!  I'm very glad to hear that a new edition of Trollbabe is on the way.

As far as the website goes, I think the coolest and most original thing Trollbabe ever had was the strips.  While it would be awesome to have an archive of all the old strips, I can understand that there might be significant obstacles to pulling that together.  But new strips for sure!  The strips were both unique and also evocative of the kind of stories that you can tell using Trollbabe.

I also think it would be neat to have a section where people can contribute situation kernels.  Not everyone is skilled at coming up compelling stakes off the top of their head, so having a library of situation suggestions to complement the example that are sure to be in the book would be golden.

Title: Re: Trollbabe website - ideas solicited
Post by: Finarvyn on September 27, 2008, 06:29:20 AM
Yeah, if we can't have Trollbabe porn the next best thing would be the comic strips. I think that part of what makes Trollbabe so unique is also what makes it a bit hard to convey to others -- the whole idea of what a Trollbabe does and why. The comic strips show this in action and would be a nice thing to use to intro newcomers to the entire concept.

Of course, the map would be nice as well. While I know that the intent isn't to have an "official" world, Trollbabe seems like the kind of game where a collaborative world would be really neat. Having links to adventures that others have had is a neat idea because it builds on the "collaborative world" concept and a GM could use those ideas as adventure hooks in those same places in the world for his own players.

A couple of character sheet designs would be nice. Having a dozen or so Trollbabe icons that could be copied-and-pasted onto a character sheet would be pretty cool, or character sheets with pictures already on them so you could pick a character sheet, roll a 'babe, and play.

Title: Re: Trollbabe website - ideas solicited
Post by: James_Nostack on September 28, 2008, 06:34:38 AM
Ron, it's not my area of expertise by any means, but I've heard that the trick with websites is to
  • frequently added stuff from the top-down
  • frequently added stuff from the bottom-up

The latter is a lot easier once you get going.  So I'd think about way to facilitate/encourage users to add their own content: maybe by breaking down the game design, allowing people to hack the rules; maybe set up some PBP forums (or come up with a version of the rules to work better with PBP), etc.

I know I've said this before, but part of me thinks that Trollbabe could be an almost perfect introductory table-top RPG for 12-14 year old kids, particularly girls, if it were marketed in those channels and if that fits with your vision of the game.

I also think that the last 15-20 years of escapist fiction has generally dealt with strong, heroic women in a very superficial way; sort of like kick-ass hot chicks who are, like, strong 'n stuff, which is a qualification for being the male hero's love interest.  So it might be good to include a bibliography of books/movies that get this right, definitely including Salmonson and C.L. Moore.

Title: Re: Trollbabe website - ideas solicited
Post by: Moreno R. on September 28, 2008, 08:18:24 PM
Just the first two things I though, I don't know if they are feasible or even useful...

A gallery section where women players could send photoshop-altered or drawn horned portraits of them as their character?

A point-of-contact for organizing play by e-mail / chat / skype?

Title: Re: Trollbabe website - ideas solicited
Post by: GreatWolf on October 01, 2008, 10:29:57 AM
I also think it would be neat to have a section where people can contribute situation kernels.  Not everyone is skilled at coming up compelling stakes off the top of their head, so having a library of situation suggestions to complement the example that are sure to be in the book would be golden.

This is about the first thing I thought of. Something like the example situations on p.36-37 of the current edition. Specifically, they should not be tied to a location, but rather sorted by Scale.

Even cooler would be a randomizer that would let the user select a Scale and number of situation seeds to be provided. That way, I could just go to the website and say, "Gimme my adventure for the night." And boom! There it would be.

Of course, we both know that the work really isn't done at this point. However, this gives the GM a good place to start.

Title: Re: Trollbabe website - ideas solicited
Post by: James_Nostack on October 01, 2008, 12:07:42 PM
Actually, an Oracle type of thing, like "In a Wicked Age," would be pretty cool, assuming the entries were as evocative as Vincent's.  One of the random elements would have to be whatever's in that scale (so: a caravan, several villagers, a merchant ship, an outlaw band, a thespian troupe, a troll feast-hall, etc.)  This would also inject a lot of color into the game.  I think Trollbabe is going after something pretty damn specific, color-wise, so it would be good to have prompts and guidance.

Title: Re: Trollbabe website - ideas solicited
Post by: Markus on October 06, 2008, 02:53:03 AM
A new version of my favorite game? Good news. So, what could prompt me to visit a Trollbabe website regularly? My short answer is so short that it's a single word actually: maps. One of the many many things I like of trollbabe is the celebration of the 'cool fantasy map' it contains. But, my point is that the merit of this resides in the idea itself - not necessarily in *the* map that is/will be included in the game text.

For instance, I like to draw fantasy maps. One year ago I prepared a map that was a lot more 'zoomed in' than the one in the book. I've drawn a promontory with cliffs, an human village with a wooden palisade, some hills with funny holes in it, a set of ruins, a wood with a large spider in the middle, obviously-inhabited caves on the shore, and a pirate ship in the middle of the sea. That's the map I shown to my friends in the first session. My reasoning was that with a more zoomed-in map those personal level stakes would feel more 'real', but I know this is a vague notion (and not the point of the present discussion).

The bottom line is, I'd like to visit the website and download maps uploaded by other players. People could still link AP reports to specific places in a map - but there would be lots of different maps. Maps could maybe even suggest slighlty alternative 'flavors' (I'm reluctant to call these 'settings') for the game. I'm thinking about maps with an oriental look, or entirely sea-based, or showing nothing else than the top of giant trees, you got the idea.


Title: Re: Trollbabe website - ideas solicited
Post by: Peter Nordstrand on October 06, 2008, 03:59:19 AM
Babe me up! I want a page where people can send in pictures of themselves dressed up/re-touched/electronically altered to make them look like troll babes. This may or may not be the same as the porn-page. ;-)

I want to make my own trollbabe comics, and you ought to publish them on site!

I want to do a trollbabe comic with other people. Like this: Eero starts it off by making the first row of strips. Then, after having read Eero's, Marc does the second row. Then it is my turn, etc. Wouldn't that be cool?

Title: Re: Trollbabe website - ideas solicited
Post by: sirogit on October 11, 2008, 07:03:02 PM
I'd like micro-actual-play snippets. For example, you could have a list of mechanical processes - Gaining a relationship, losing a relationship, being discombobulated, being injured, etc - And for each item on the last, a compilation of 3-5 paragraph descriptions of what that looks like in play, with the ability to add your own.

- Sean Musgrave

Title: Re: Trollbabe website - ideas solicited
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 18, 2008, 11:04:05 AM
Thanks to everyone for your input. I'll clarify a little bit of my perspective on the game and what the site might be able to do.

Part of the aesthetic is the idea that you make stuff up that floats your own boat using only those components in the book as a starting point. Everything else like the local communities, local geography, the Stakes and the tension surrounding them, and any magic tweaks if present, is properly yours. To put it in a less-friendly way, Trollbabe is for people who want to make stuff up, and whose minds are always steaming up with things like what I just listed. I want my examples to be only exemplary, and in fact not to be adopted by others into their games. Using them as a first-time, stepping-stone aid, sure, that's OK, but I don't want to publish a smorgasbord of fantasy-game elements that you can choose off a list, and then present as a dish to impress your friends.

As an example, I do not regard highly the use of pre-made towns for Dogs in the Vineyard, based on my observations of the effect on our own game, although I do like seeing towns that were made up and used be available for discussion and inspiration. I really should get around to posting about that.

That applies to user-created materials as well. The site should be recording what we do to celebrate it, not presenting or accumulating resources to use. I totally agree with you, Markus, about the local maps, and in fact, the new rules make that an explicit step - I'd love to have a feature that allows people to post what they've used, but the trouble is the nigh-inevitable interpretation that this is what, say, the Blood Gate looks like up close, when it's a crucial part of prep and play for that precise level of detail to be made up. If such presentation and accumulation were the direction I was going, then I might as well publish a line of fucking sourcebooks and canned adventures.

I'm really struggling to find a way to make my real goal work for a website, and if you can help, I'd really like that.

Now for the comics. Ideally, I'd really like to have them all up there. The problem is that I'm missing some of the strips - one from "We All Have Issues" and about half of "The Naked Helpless Sacrifice Scene." I'd like to find them, but am currently stuck.

As far as more comics are concerned, I'm a little surprised to see posts about how much people liked them and how well they communicated anything about the game (which incidentally wasn't a priority in writing them). Responses when I was posting them were considerably, significantly less pleased about them, and the "friendly advice" only demonstrated that I was not reaching the audience I wanted. Not to put too fine a point on it, I didn't get a lot of positive indication that there was any point to doing more of them. It's nice to read more positive views now, but the fact is, comics are a fuck of a lot of work for everyone involved.

One file that sits on my hard drive is the collected annotations and reflections on doing the comics. Maybe if I can scrape all the strips together one day, it'd be worth publishing in book form.

Best, Ron

Title: Re: Trollbabe website - ideas solicited
Post by: rafial on October 18, 2008, 11:37:40 AM
Ron, I appreciate your desire to avoid any wiff of "canon" in the interpretation of the Trollbabe world, but I have to say for my own part, my creativity seems to be mostly about elaboration and implementation rather than core insight. Give me a situation kernel, and I can go for days, but I have the devil of a time arriving at those situation kernels myself.  So those kernels are what I personally would be looking for.  I have no interest in finding out what the Black Gate looks like in somebody elses wold, but a nice tight, emotionally resonant conflict situation is gold to me.  Fortunately I now have IAWA Oracles to pillage ;)

I'm sorry to hear that your experience with the comics was a negative one for you.  I certainly appreciate the amount of work that goes into them, and I suspect that you ran afoul of the classic feedback dilemma which is that people are who are dissatisfied are all to happy to carp at length, while those who are pleased typically smile and move on.  I know that's what I did.

Eagerly awaiting the new edition, no matter what form it takes.

Title: Re: Trollbabe website - ideas solicited
Post by: ejh on October 21, 2008, 10:51:57 AM
Ron, drop me email about what missing strips you need.  I downloaded a ton of them a while back; perhaps even all of them; I'm pretty sure I have all of both "we all have issues" and "the naked helpess sacrifice one" (I have 8 strips of each).

I have absolutely no comment whatsoever on the topic of Trollbabe porn.

Title: Re: Trollbabe website - ideas solicited
Post by: Markus on October 22, 2008, 02:36:18 AM
Aha! I just have to post this. Warning: it could seem like madness at first glance. Maybe it is.

OK: the website should try to communicate, and matbe help or promote, the joy you'll experience while *creating* stuff for your TB sessions. That is, actively, personally crating, as opposed to "choose from the smorgasbord" approach that Ron does not favor. And, yes, now I can see his point, and also why in long term such a palette of elements could detract from the whole TB experience.

Rafial, I don't know if you know that game, but It's a bit like the Over the Edge book... You read the first chapter, and you're all excited about this wonderful setting; then you read the 100+ pages of detailed places, npgs, etc... and you fall asleep. Because that richness robbed you from creating *your* stuff. (Now that I think of it, this is something I really understood only after reading Sorcerer & Sword).

So the conundrum seems to be, how can you present the activity of creation without showing the result of this creation? My answer is: present your stuff on the website, but change the communication medium. Create maps, but post *text* about creating maps. Create npgs but post *drawings* of them. Create stakes, but post *comics* about those. In this way, you could still take advantage of what Rafial is describing, but this would *inevitably* involve direct, personal creation on your part.

Btw, and it's not an original idea, it's good old Hermann Hesse speaking here really: "Just as madness is the start of any wisdom, schizophrenia is the start of any art, any fantasy". (From "der Steppenwolf". The pathetic translation in english is mine)



Title: Re: Trollbabe website - ideas solicited
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 22, 2008, 05:59:17 AM
Yes, that is what I want!

I'm talking with a cunning web-making person about how exactly to do it, but with the right text, the right "what to do to play" aids, and so on, I think the section about sharing your Trollbabe creations through uploads could work really well.

Best, Ron