Breaking D&D 2: Electric Bugaloo


The risk inherent in mentioning optimization, rules complexity, and story vs. rules in a discussion is great. People may fall back into entrenched positions on all sides. So I want to quickly clarify some points that will also frame my discussion going forward.

D&D: Breaking (is) Bad


The game has to be about the story if the hobby as a whole is going to flourish. This means that the ultra-optimizing, breaking the game with its own rules because they are there, intentionally ignoring the spirit of the rules to mangle the game into something it isn’t, has to stop.

A D&D Lover’s Guide to Other RPGs: “Dungeon World”


It is no secret that Dungeon World was created as an homage to the earliest versions of D&D. From the six standard ability scores that range from 3-18, to the races and classes of the grand old game, Dungeon World makes no pretense at being anything but a hack of D&D.

Review: “Shadow of the Winter King”


Shadow of the Winter King takes place in a world brimming with possibilities as it slowly sputters to its end. The story chronicles a retired assassin and a disgraced knight tied together by past duties and choices. The world’s end is inevitable, and it is that same sad conclusion that permeates the characters as they struggle to stay true to what sliver of them remains in the face of near-certain futility.

Stealing From Games (And A Game About Stealing)


I see this a lot among game designers of all kinds, both new and experienced: “I really want to use [game mechanism X] but I worry it’ll be too much like [popular game].” I am here to set you free and tell you not to worry about that.

Chatty’s 13th Age: The Lich King’s Curse and Reactive Bosses


What if a character granted the curse of the Lich King could no longer die? And what if a monster had powers that triggered on the players’ rolls or special attacks?

Project Paradigm: Making Magic


In a game where everyone uses magic, magic becomes the cornerstone of design. This is one of the big areas that makes Mage: the Ascension different from Sorcerer from a Harry Potter RPG.

Samurai Swan Song: A “Seven Samurai”-Inspired “Fiasco”


This playset is meant to create a Fiasco inspired by, or at least paying homage to, the classic story of the Seven Samurai. The players depict Samurai protecting a village from a bandit attack, though they may be little better than thieves themselves. A few more supernatural options have been included towards the ‘6’ roles, though they can easily be avoided if the playgroup decides they want to eschew such influences.

Project Paradigm: Some Thoughts on a Mage-Inspired Fate Game


I’ve written before about my love of Mage: the Ascension. I even went and hacked another game system to play it in a way I really enjoyed, and have run it that way multiple times now. I’m not the only one who wanted to bring Mage back with a modern system. Ryan Macklin also wrote up the hack he was playing with. Now we’re joining forces on it.

Chatty’s “13th Age”: The Story So Far, Part 2

The Emperor

In Part 1, I started sharing a summary of my 13th Age campaign. In this post, I’ll catch up to current events and tell you a bit more about my players and table dynamics. If you’ve been reading my recent 13th Age posts, you should know that the next chapter is what inspired me to write the 13th Age hack about dealing with PC vs NPC contests.