Articles from August 2012



Why I Should Probably Stay Well Away From D&D Games

Let’s face it, some people’s playstyle just doesn’t work well with some games—and D&D, or at least 3.x, is for lack of a better term my bugbear. It’s not that it wasn’t my first system. It’s just that I’ve gotten far too used to a certain flexibility of mechanics, and tend to attack my problems [...]

Reprise: The Six Year Old Child Principle of War and International Relations

This was originally an RPG Blog Carnival riff from March 13, 2009, posted as a follow-up to a post on who might be backing a war.
To understand most of the causes of war, you must understand one fact: Countries, kingdoms and the various other entities of governance will, as a unit, behave [...]

Reprise: The Generic Villain: Some Not Born to the Dark

The Management originally posted on this on October 3, 2010. I think it’s worth repeating.

You hear a lot about the people who join our ranks who, from the beginning, knew they were somehow different. The ones who wanted to kick the kitten rather than snuggle it, or who went out of [...]

Reprise: Impractical Applications (Five More Minutes?)

Originally posted on October 23, 2010.

If there’s one thing I’ve discovered in my game, it’s that sleeping or barely-waking characters can make for some really interesting comments, regardless of whether it’s me or one of the players providing the dialogue. What sorts of odd things did they come up with?
Kes came in two [...]

Reprise: What Neuromarketing Can Teach Us About Memorable Characters

Originally published on November 24, 2009. Blame the server issues.
I hadn’t been going to post this one for a while, but then I blundered onto ChattyDM’s riff about managerial skills and GMing, and he asked for it in the comments. Never let it be said that I turn down perfectly good requests.
The fun thing about [...]

A Different Sort of Recap

I started a new game recently. There’s a lot that’s different about it from normal: it’s not in a style I usually play, the system and I aren’t near as compatible as I’d like, the players are multitasking their characters… and most importantly, it’s a playtest, so I need to be able to recount what [...]

Your Secondary CAN Be “Not Awesome Enough”

It’s a natural thing for a creator to worry about the secondary characters stealing too much of the spotlight. It’s happened in fiction of all stripes, particularly when the main character is left fuzzy for audience insertion purposes; it’s a common risk in RPGs, and likely to end with a bunch of very annoyed players. [...]

Reprise: Impractical Applications (Conflict Without Combat)

Originally posted May 15, 2010.
As you’ve probably guessed, conflict without combat is one of my favorite story elements to play with (probably in part because creating characters whose primary skills are in combat, and fight scenes in general, just don’t appeal to me. It’s hard for me to visualize them without [...]

Reprise: When Players Choose the Battleground

Originally posted on September 8, 2009.
There are some patterns I tend to see in RPG combat, particularly regarding enemy behavior. In fact, it seems like most GMs are following a simple algorithm: “If the PCs know about the enemies, the enemies make the PCs come to them. If the PCs don’t know [...]