New Troubles, a simple RPG that thinks (a little) beyond success/failure

In an earlier post, I designed a simple RPG in which players can choose an Easy roll for a good chance at success, or a Hard roll for a low chance plus a coupon for automatic success later. But success and failure are boring. Let’s re-think success and failure in the context of a tabletop … Continue reading »

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The Dungeon Delvers card contest

A few months ago, I published Dungeon Delvers, a retroclone that simplifies classic D&D down to just ability scores and a single d6 roll. The system is so straightforward, in fact, that I’ve put it onto a deck of cards. There’s a card for each class, each condition (stunned, immobilized, constitution drain, etc.), and spell. There … Continue reading »

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A generic RPG system based on ability scores

This is a simple RPG system based on the classic D&D ability scores. The Basics To resolve a difficult action, roll 2d6 and add the relevant ability score modifier. Roll Result 2 or less Disastrous failure 3-5 Regular failure 6-8 Failure with a benefit 9-11 Regular success 12 or more Spectacular success To determine an … Continue reading »

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How to Schedule and Run a Google+ Hangout Game

There are several pieces to running a tabletop RPG game on Google: Getting people to sign up Setting up the event Running the game Getting people to sign up Before you start, post on Google+ once or twice, asking for people to comment if they’re interested in playing with you. Add them to a Circle … Continue reading »

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Dungeon Delvers: D&D on one page

This is the story of a snowball. Earlier this week, Deeds & Doers appeared on various social networks. It was a simple D&D retroclone packed into one page, complete with art. Unfortunately, it confused a lot of its readers. The rules were vague and interspersed with odd phrases. So I wrote Dungeon Delvers, an ultra-portable D&D … Continue reading »

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How Naming Affects a World

As I finish up work on the Shattered World setting (more on that in a few weeks, assuming the rest of the art and editing comes through), I’m part into playtesting of a tabletop RPG set in a world of savages. Literally, even the players are naked jungle villagers. And names matter, as you’ll see … Continue reading »

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DROP Session Log: The Horror of the Desert Isle

My sci-fi storytelling game, DROP, is intended for tales of starship crew members descending to a planet, exploring a strange structure, then running for their lives. Turns out this works just as well in the past. This session log is taken from a game of DROP in which we wanted to combine an Indiana Jones-like … Continue reading »

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DROP Session Log

In my tabletop game DROP (pay-what-you-want on DriveThruRPG), you play the crew of a starship on a doomed mission. The players all write down their characters’ actions on a shared piece paper. What does that look like? I, historicula, and historicula’s brother wrote the following story: Phase 1: Preparation The basic scenario will be a … Continue reading »

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Bounty Hunter Blues: a Cowboy Bebop Fiasco playset

(Time for a special announcement and a temporary detour from my Shattered World posts.) The anime Cowboy Bebop exists in a futuristic setting of spaceships, bounty hunters, mafia, and crime. It’s a Hong Kong crime drama in space. It’s a John Woo movie with spaceships. It’s a setting ripe for a Fiasco. Bounty Hunter Blues … Continue reading »

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Why you should care about D&D Next

The designers of D&D Next announced several audacious design goals for that iteration of the game. Next is built as a modular system, where players can choose lightweight or heavyweight approaches to the game. I could play a character with simple, First Edition-era stats, while the player next to me could play a crunchier, Third Edition-style character. To … Continue reading »

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