Author Archives: Frameworker

About Frameworker

Lead designer and owner of Frameworks Games.

Don’t Categorize Players

(But do cater to their secret desires.)

There was a time when cutting edge game master technique involved carefully figuring out what general category each of your players fell into, then rating them like a monster so you could understand their vulnerabilities and desires. There’s actually value in that, but on the whole I think its a terrible idea. The value from the notion was it got into what players desired, and admitted that those desires could all be different but still valid, and possibly all fulfilled at the same time in different ways. Continue reading

Hard Vacuum Ships (with available miniatures)

When I run demo games of Hard Vacuum at conventions the most common question I get asked is: are those awesome ships specifically for Hard Vacuum, and if so where do I buy them?

Sadly, we never did a miniatures line for Hard Vacuum. Sierra Madre used to sell sets of plastic ships that worked okay, but they weren’t anything specific to the setting. But most of the designs were based roughly on whatever minis I already had available, or could convert with minimal effort. So for those who asked, here’s what I used for my own conversions, and where they are still available. Continue reading


Modes are what I call it when you have different layers of rules to deal with different kinds of situations. This is not a new concept. Early D&D had an exploration mode as well as a combat mode. Champions broke it down into simply Non-Combat Time (a narration mode) and Combat Time (a combat mode). Savage Worlds did some really cool stuff here with a chase mode and a downtime mode that got you bennies for telling campfire stories. And I can’t help but consider Skill Challenges from D&D 4ed a failed attempt at adding a framework for other modes to that game. Continue reading

Total Party Kills

The “Total Party Kill” (TPK for short) is the sometimes controversial and always abrupt end of the game when everyone’s character is slaughtered at once. There is an understandable backlash against this sort of thing, especially in heavy story games, because this just isn’t a satisfying way to end a story! People invest a lot in their characters, the relationships between them, and their connections to the story and game world. To have all that snuffed out in an a few terrifying moments is off-putting.

I also think it’s crucial…within limits. Continue reading

Getting set up

The site is now live, and I’ll be adding actual content over the course of 2014. You’re invited to register and post on the message board or wiki in the meantime as both are functional. Updates will be sparse at first, but will gain momentum over time.