How to Run an Online RPG Convention

  Indie+, an online RPG convention on Google+, finished today. I was one of the four sponsors who co-ordinated and ran the whole thing: 21 games and  7 panels scheduled for all hours of the week, including integration with YouTube, Google+, and a wiki. A few weeks ago, we put out a call for potential hosts, asking them to add potential games or panels to our wiki. Once the new Event functionality appeared on Google+, we switched … Continue reading »

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What are Gaming Cons Good For?

I attended my first convention twelve years ago. I’ve been going to cons off and on ever since, but the reasons have changed almost every year. Initially, cons were great opportunities to see screenings and merchandise I couldn’t find anywhere else. Back then, streaming video meant two frames per second in a window half an … Continue reading »

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The Perfect Light RPG? Dread.

  Role-playing games exist in a problematic black hole. Existing role-players play RPGs, but the hobby isn’t attracting a lot of new players (though D&D 4th Edition appears to be changing that somewhat). So how to attract new players to the hobby? Well, last Sunday, I had the chance to run a game of Dread, and it was a revelatory experience. It might be the answer, or at least point the way towards the answer. Dread … Continue reading »

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3 Dice Dungeon, A Solitaire Dungeon Crawl Game

Nearly a year ago, Greywulf posted RPG Solitaire Challenge: 3 Dice, a simple solitaire game of dungeon exploration. In his game, you roll 3 dice for your adventurer’s stats, then for each room in the dungeon, roll 1 die to determine the room’s type, 1 die for a monster, and 1 die for a treasure. I played the game a couple of times, and while I had fun, I found two major issues: The game is very swingy. I played … Continue reading »

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One Little Tweak

I ran a game of Searchers of the Unknown, a simplified and free original D&D rule set, at RyvenCon a while ago. \’Twas fun, and the system worked well, but we agreed that it could use one little tweak. This way, madness lies. It\’s so tempting to house-rule a system because it\’s \”not perfect.\” Soon, a rules-light system grows into a rules-moderate system. Well, this is a minor issue, but a significant … Continue reading »

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Exploring The Lost Kingdoms

Michael Garcia’s The Lost Kingdoms is a GM aid, meant to provide a ready-to-use framework for a typical fantasy kingdom. And that is its biggest problem. On the one hand, The Lost Kingdoms may be useful for new GMs who want a generic fantasy town with the barest bones of backstory. The setting’s background–wild kingdoms locked away behind a gate, recently re-opened for adventurers–is a great idea. The document lists a few common locations–a tavern, a weapons shop, … Continue reading »

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Upcoming Project: Voidjumpers of Space

I’m careful to avoid announcing new products until they’re evolved enough that I’m sure I’ll be able to release them. I have 38 pages and over 10,000 words in this one, so I’m confident now. I’m working on a SpelljammerTM adaptation for Dungeons & DragonsTM 4th Edition. Its working title: Voidjumpers of Space. First, a few definitions: Spelljammer was a D&D 2nd Edition supplement for running D&D … Continue reading »

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An All-Digital RPG: The Flip Side

I wrote a little while ago about a model for an RPG handled entirely via apps and software, in which all the mechanics are run by computers and the humans just see the results. This is conceptually elegant; let computers handle the number-crunching they’re good at. But there are problems. For one, the system has to have apps for many different devices. In the current market, that’s a lot of work. This means, at minimum, an iPhone app, … Continue reading »

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An All-Digital RPG System

Imagine an RPG system that’s handled completely with digital tools. Not only is your character sheet displayed on a screen, the mechanics are handled there, too. Imagine this: a group sits around a table, each participant holding a smartphone, PDA, or tablet. The GM touches “Moderate difficulty” on his tablet and asks Maria for a Perception test. She touches her Perception stat; it immediately rolls and flashes the result, “19,” … Continue reading »

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What Do You Want Your Fights to Feel Like?

This applies to GMs and to designers. For GMs: What fights do you want? Take a moment to imagine the feel of those fights. A big, roaring monster? Swarms of mooks rushing at the heroes? A cackling, insulting controller with a bunch of minions? A squad of enemies, each with its own attack patterns? Choose monsters that fit that theme. For designers, this gets more interesting. What sort of conflict do you want in your … Continue reading »

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