Stealing From Games (And A Game About Stealing)

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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.

Project Paradigm: Making Magic

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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.

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

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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.

Metatopia 2013 Schedule

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Metatopia is a unique convention, added to the roster of Double Exposure conventions. Metatopia covers games of all kinds, from board/card/party games to roleplaying games to live action games. As someone who has interests in all those areas, I’ve been happy to be at Metatopia every time they’ve put the convention on, including this year.

“Neverwinter Campaign Setting” Icons for “13th Age”

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I’ve played (and run) a few more sessions of 13th Age since I wrote my first preview, as the rules became more solid and filled out from those first playtests. I was initially more guarded, but since then, my opinion of 13th Age has only gone up. The actual books are making their way into […]

Preview: “Odyssey: The Complete Game Master’s Guide to Campaign Management”

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Engine Publishing, the book publishing arm of our blog rivals/friends at Gnome Stew, has tackled all kinds of subjects before: from NPCs, to plots, to adventure preparation. Their newest book, Odyssey, takes the long view that encompasses aspects of all of these in macro, looking at the campaign as a whole and strategies to deal […]

Cortex Plus Hacker’s Guide and Fantasy Heroic Roleplaying

As you might know, Phil and I have been D&D fans for decades. Here on Critical Hits, we’ve spent a lot of time writing about, musing about, and generally playing with D&D and games like it.

My Year in Gaming Kickstarters

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As 2012 wraps up, I wanted to take a look at the Kickstarters I supported this year, and ultimately focusing on the games, particularly the RPGs, my most-supported category.

2012: A Good Year for Cooperative Gaming

This year has been a great one for new games of all kinds. As I look back at the ones I’ve put the most time into and been most excited about, I was surprised to pick up on a pattern: most of them are cooperative games. While cooperative games are often a mixed bag for me, this year has produced some that I’ve gotten lots of mileage out of. Presented here are five of my very favorites that I encourage you to check out.

Too Many Pillars: Background and Specialties in D&D Next

I was reminded of this when playing the newest version of the playtest packet for D&D Next at Gen Con, and also clicked even more when thinking about themes and how they work in 4e (of which I just had an article posted with new ones, obvious plug) and also how 13th Age tackles it. Here’s my conclusion: I’m not a fan of the Race/Class/Background/Specialty system as implemented in D&D Next.