I Woke Up Today and Chose Violence: Combat's Omnipresence in Design

Date: Oct 23, 2021 5:10 pm (PST)
Duration: 0:50
James Mendez Hodes, Mary Rose Valentine, Quinn Murphy, Ash Kreider, Sen-Foong Lim
Speaker headshots
We can make roleplaying games about anything and everything. Why, then, do we so often make them about combat? This panel discusses combat’s presence and predominance as an element of game design. What makes play-fighting so perennially appealing? How does combat in games relate to real-world martial experience? What kinds of social dynamics arise within gaming culture as a result of combat systems? Most importantly, how can we design and play responsibly around violence while still enjoying cool fight scenes?

  • Ash Kreider (they/them) is a queer trans game designer, publisher, and sometimes-blogger living in the wilds of Canada with a child, a spouse, two slightly broken cats, and a snake. They have been designing and publishing roleplaying games since 2008 - including Our Traveling Home, The Watch, and The Straights Are Not Okay. Ash is also the former author of Go Make Me a Sandwich, a once-popular feminist gaming blog.

  • In the yawning gulf between words, truth and meaning lurk, mercurial and ineffable. Who are we? What are we meant to do? Are orcs racist? James Mendez Hodes (he/him) has devoted his life to answering pretty much just the third question. After graduating Swarthmore College with a Religion major and Dance and English Literature minors, Mendez failed to learn from his mistakes and got a master's degree from St John's Graduate Institute in Eastern Classics. A career in game writing and design was thus his only recourse, focusing on such topics as martial arts, hip hop, samurai betrayal, and capturing the Avatar to regain one's honor. He's also a pioneering cultural consultant who's worked on properties like Magic: the Gathering, Frosthaven, and Jackbox Games. He desperately wants to fight each and every one of you, either unarmed or with weapons, up to you. Find him on Twitter @LulaVampiro and on the Internet at jamesmendezhodes.com.

  • Allie Bustion (she/they) is a Black queer femme game designer and writer with a deep love of video games, pro wrestling, mechanical keyboards, and pop culture and analysis. Their work has ranged from companies like Paizo and Wizards of the Coast to Kickstarters like Thirsty Sword Lesbians and Unfettered Hexes to games they really need to finish around all this freelancing like HEIST and Misbehavin'. More of their work can be found on Patreon, itch.io, and their site. Catch them chattering about pro wrestling and esports with pictures of their cat on Twitter.

  • Quinn Murphy (he/him) has done freelance game design for over a decade for a wide range of different RPG systems, including but not limited to  Marvel Heroic, D&D 4th edition, Trinity Continuum:Aeon, Pathfinder, and Starfinder. Since 11 he's dreamed up imaginary worlds with friends, and he has no plans to stop. His latest adventure was Spoken on the Song Wind, part of the Strength of Thousands adventure path for Pathfinder.

  • Sen-Foong Lim (he/him) is constantly dreaming, even when he’s awake. He is passionate about helping other people lose track of time in ways that they find meaningful and looks forward to putting  interesting and engaging games on your table. Cutting his teeth on the board and card game side of the table co-designing titles like Belfort, Akrotiri, Junk Art, The Legend of Korra: Pro Bending Arena, Kingdom Rush: Rift in Time, Scooby-Doo: Escape from the Haunted Manor, MINDMGMT: The Psychic Espionage “Game”, and Rat Queens: To the Slaughter, Sen recently started to explore the RPG side of the table. He has written for Kids on Bikes, The North Sea Epilogues, Gears of Defiance, Never Going Home, The Curse of the House of Rookwood, and co-authored Jiangshi: Blood in the Banquet Hall. When he’s not designing or developing games, you can find him rolling around, trying to cuddle people to death while wearing pyjamas or co-hosting the Meeple Syrup Show and the Ludology podcast. Born and raised in Northern Ontario, Sen now resides in the undisputed second-best London in the world with his lovely family. You can discover more about Sen at https://senfoonglim.carrd.co and follow him on Twitter at @senfoonglim.

Panel Video

Illustrations by Eden Parkinson
Website by Colin Fahrion

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