Thinking About the Unthinkable
If a biological armageddon hits the United States, how do vaccines reach Americans quickly? In the event of a nuclear war, who gets the word out about who is in charge and what laws are being enacted?
If you’re planning backstory for a post-apocalypse campaign, these little details can add to the verisimilitude you’re trying to invoke. They’re even more useful if you’re planning a near-future apocalypse-in-progress campaign. For example, when the zombies take over, where’s the President of the United States hiding out? As the GM it’d be good to know, right? Read more
What’s a One-Shot?
A one-shot session is a stand-alone game session not meant to be part of a larger campaign. It’s a low-risk way to give a new game a spin without the investment of a campaign. If the group doesn’t like the rules or the setting, it’s no big deal; you’ve learned more about your group’s preferences, which is a good thing. Read more
Yes, Florence is often referred to as the birthplace of the Renaissance. Yes, it’s the home of the Medicis. Yes, it’s littered with epic works of art, from Michelangelo’s David to Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus. Yes, you’ll walk under the Duomo and across the Ponte Vecchio, you’ll stroll down narrow cobblestone alleys and through marble-tiled museums.
But that’s really not why you should visit Florence. Read more
Solo: A Star Wars Story didn’t grab me at first, but as it progressed I found myself sucked into the story. It’s not my favorite Star Wars movie by a long shot, but I grade it a solid B.
As an Edge of the Empire veteran, I was struck by how much the movie felt like the first few sessions of an EotE campaign. If you ever thought about playing EotE but weren’t sure what it would be like, watch Solo. It demonstrates what EotE is all about.
Here are a few examples (don’t worry, I’ll avoid spoilers): Read more
The Door is Open
If you’re coming to tabletop roleplaying by way of Critical Role, Maze Arcana, or another streaming web series, welcome! Read more
I have this odd relationship with Fate Core. The premise excites me, but I’ve never been able to really make it sing as a player or as a GM. Oddly, my best Fate Core experience occurred recently when I ran a one-shot Eclipse Phase scenario using Fate Core rules by way of the Transhumanity’s Fate conversion guide.
Man Out of Time
Yesterday I had the privilege of playtesting a Dungeon Crawl Classics level 0 adventure under development by my friend Steve Bean, the man behind Steve Bean Games. It was my first time playing DCC. We all had fun with the adventure, and as with so many of Steve’s creations, it’s gonzo and thought-provoking at the same time. I won’t reveal anything about it except to say it’s tailored to the Umerica setting first seen in Reid San Filippo’s Crawling Under A Broken Moon blog & ’zine.
Though I’d played with three of the four folks at the table before, this wasn’t my normal weekly group. As fate would have it, the house we played in was a stone’s throw from the house where I played The Arduin Grimoire way back in 1982 as a high school freshman. I found myself thinking back to Saturday afternoons of long ago and how playing Dungeon Crawl Classics echoes the feel of those sessions. Read more
Just as Kleenex has become shorthand for facial tissue, Dungeons & Dragons is the name everyone associates with tabletop roleplaying. But it’s not always the first RPG people play. In fact, an unscientific online poll I ran three years ago suggests that about 40% of gamers are introduced via other games, and it looks like that trend is increasing.
Of those, many come into the hobby by way of games based on and licensed from specific books, TV shows, or movies. This trend may also be on the rise, as the ongoing sales success of Fantasy Flight Games’ Star Wars beginner boxed sets suggests. Read more
The Giant at the Table: Dungeons & Dragons
D&D casts a long shadow in the tabletop roleplaying world. It’s the original RPG, it’s been around for over 40 years, and it’s the most popular. On top of all that, the OGL (Open Game License) introduced in 2000, gave rise to a huge number of games built around the core D&D mechanics, and eventually gave rise to the OSR movement. These underpinnings are usually referred to as d20, because a twenty-sided die (d20) is rolled to determine success or failure, but they also share other features such as character attributes and use of classes and levels.
There are many advantages to sticking with d20 mechanics: You’ll always be able to find players for a d20 game, because so many gamers are familiar with them. Aside from D&D you can delve into 13th Age and Pathfinder, as well as Swords & Wizardry and many other retro clones. Learn one and understanding others is straightforward.
But what if you’re looking for something beyond D&D and its kin? Where do you start? Read more
In what has become an annual tradition, I offer a year in review analysis of Unpossible Journeys and thoughts on what’s coming in the next year. Read more