One of the hardest lessons for me to internalize as a game designer is that most people aren’t game designers. And as a corollary, most people don’t really want to be game designers. When I was young a game that had more rules was just better. Oh sure, I could make something up for a situation if I had to, but why should I have to? I paid good money for this game, don’t tell me that now I have to finish writing it for you! However as I’ve gotten older I have less and less patience for layers of rules that I’m never going to remember, and will probably just irritate me when I do. And it’s not just me, everyone I know is getting older too, and the farther we get from college the less anyone seems to care about spending 2 hours meticulously going through options. Let’s just roll the damned dice and get moving. Continue reading
An element I’ve been adding to many games I run lately is localization: trying to work in history, culture, and real locations from where I live into the game. This doesn’t really apply to every game, but when I can manage it it’s been rewarding. Here are a few examples: Continue reading
So just the question alone probably will probably cause most people really involved in RPG’s to check out. But I have to wonder…is story really that important? Conventional wisdom seems to be that it is, that anything that supports story-telling is good, and anything that doesn’t is at best extraneous. Continue reading
I had an interesting conversation with a gamer who thought that skills were the devil. His point was that just by existing the skills were artificially limiting your options and forcing you into boxes that a new gamer with clean perspective wouldn’t actually want. And I get that, but I still think they do more good than harm. Let me try to make the case for skills, and why I approached them the way I did. Continue reading
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
Ages ago I ran a GURPs Cliffhangers game. Of my gaming group at the time I was the only one who knew much about pulp at all, and really I was the blind leading the blind. Our first problem to overcome was literally everyone had only one idea for a character: Indiana Jones. I threw a few suggestions out, and who we ended up with was: Continue reading
There’s a crisis brewing in our group right now between longer campaigns and shorter game series. I’ve been favoring the shorter runs lately for reasons that fall into a few categories. Continue reading