'Design Discussion' Category

What the Morning Brings

Friday, May 5th, 2017

 

Appropriately enough, I woke up this morning thinking about At the Dawn. Specifically, I’ve always worried the penalties are too harsh (they’re not, they’re brutal, and that’s good because, in this case, it drives the narrative conflict), but my brain was whispering to me “Why not change the penalties into an increased Threshold?”

Which is not half-bad as an idea: it still ramps up the difficulty and removes the (appearance of the) penalty death spiral, might make those precious additional dice more important, and doesn’t require quite as much record keeping for a player.

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You Only Roll When…

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

 

A blog post about the skill system in Traveler recently helped me better concretely conceptualize the “only roll dice when people are going to die or things are going to explode” method I’d originally attempted to detail in the rules for my abandoned dark military sci-fi RPG, eXpendable.

I’ve always been really fond of that bit of design work, and am happy I was finally able to expound on it in a clearer fashion. Since eXpendable is highly unlikely to see the light of publication–it just never came together as a whole–this is the clarified method, minus rule-specific bits, for those who may find it or the reasoning underlying it useful to their own approach to play.

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The Primordial Age of Demons

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

 

I’ve been playing Tony Dowler’s How to Host a Dungeon the last few nights, and realized it would be interesting to record my results for each Age in terms of a potential campaign setting, beginning with the Primordial.

I rolled a river with multiple waterfalls, some mithril deposits, ancient beasts near to the surface, and a demon civilization deep under the earth–which lasted only one season before erupting upwards without interacting with anything else. At the end of the Age, earthquakes caused multiple rifts intersecting the river.

Then I spent some time thinking about what all that meant for the developing dungeon, eventually moving away from the idea I was just developing a single dungeon here. At least in this portion. This felt more like a chance for world creation.

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RPG Blog Carnival — Fantastic Creations

Saturday, June 1st, 2013

 

Keith J. Davies was running the RPG Blog Carnival again about a month ago and invited me to toss my hat into the ring, but I ended up waffling on writing an entry because I’d been unable to decide what makes a creation “fantastic” when one of D&D’s basic tomes is full of examples of “fantastic” creations: swords, rings, books, potions, dusts, oils and paints, even machines, and so forth. All of which have amazing effects and powers. (Referring, of course, to the Dungeon Master’s Guides and their treasure lists, particularly in 1st Edition.)

Perhaps what we are looking for is, instead, a solution to +1 swords and [things] of [spell effects]; that is, to the problem of magic items being perceived and treated like eminently disposable accoutrements.

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RPG Blog Carnival — Fantastic Locations

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

 

My friend, Keith J. Davies, is hosting the RPG blog carnival this month and invited me to participate. I figured it was as good a thing as any to dip my toes back into game design and hobby writing with.

Normally, I have a stock of specific worlds I develop content for, one of which I have detailed fairly extensively. But I wasn’t sure I wanted to go that route here and throw something together for any of those, so I thought I’d ruminate instead and see what develops:

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