29 September 2023

Where Does Experience Point?

Question: If one chooses to use a form of character advancement wherein all player characters are granted an equal meta-rule improvement (such as experience points, attribute boosts, luck points, etc.) whenever they reach a benchmark (such as completing an adventure, accomplishing a mission, surviving a session, etc.), does it undermine the concept of rewarding player characters for clever play?

Answer: No. The meta-rule award satisfies the player for playing the character. The character's reward arises from the fictional setting itself as a result of the character's interaction with it. The player gets to see the benefits of levelling up, improving a skill, or gaining more ability to improve the odds, but the character gets to see the benefits of in-character choices based on whatever definition of success is important to the character, whether it's accruing wealth, building a reputation, gaining followers, attaining a position, solving a problem, promoting a social movement, exploring the unknown, telling new tales, or any other goal. The character's reward is what the character can perceive, not what only the player can perceive. Therefore, it is perfectly justifiable to allow player characters to improve at an equal rate with regard to meta-rule improvement, whilst basing their in-character advancement on their interactions with non-player characters and circumstances within the setting. Three characters who divide a treasure hoard three ways will be regarded very differently if one is a miser, one is a spendthrift, and one is philanthropist. This is where experience points.

23 September 2023

Luck and the Dice Chain

I think it would be an interesting experiment to alter the Luck rules for Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG as follows: Instead of a Luck point giving the player character a +1 modifier to an action, it grants a +1d. After all, if Luck is Chance (and it is), shouldn't it have a random element itself instead of a direct modifier that subverts the very concept? Besides, the dice chain is one of the best ideas in DCC RPG and it is woefully underused.

I think I'll try it the next time I judge. A report will be forthcoming.

31 August 2023

RPGaDay 2023: Day 31

31. FAVOURITE RPG of all time

Everyone's favorite role-playing game of all time is All Time Fave: A Role-Playing Game.

Someone ought to design that...

Or not.

This is certainly one of my least favorite RPGaDay questions...

And this concludes RPGaDay 2023. How did you do?

[For more information on #RPGaDay (or #RPGaDay2023 specifically), read this.]

30 August 2023

RPGaDay 2023: Day 30

30. OBSCURE RPG you've played

I think there ought to be a role-playing game entitled Obscure Role-Playing Game, and I think I am the person who ought to create it. The title is always the most difficult part of the game design process for me, and here it is! It's perfect really. All I need are millions of fans to purchase it ironically.

[For more information on #RPGaDay (or #RPGaDay2023 specifically), read this.]

29 August 2023

RPGaDay 2023: Day 29

29. Most memorable ENCOUNTER

This question doesn't interest me, so I'll just focus on the featured word, "encounter," precede it with "random," and follow it with "table."

Random ENCOUNTER Table (RPGaDay 2023 Edition)

Roll 1d6

1. A fully clothed centaur (with briefcase).
2. An enigmatic macroplanarian.
3. A Floating Head of Lettuce (of Doom).
4. A gourdian angel (primarily protects gourds).
5. An octopus piloting a mecha.
6. The Aquabats!

[For more information on #RPGaDay (or #RPGaDay2023 specifically), read this.]

28 August 2023

RPGaDay 2023: Day 28

28. SCARIEST RPG you've played

I can't think of a single role-playing game I have played that was consistently scary, but I can think of plenty of instances in many different games—as a player or as a GM—that were startling and/or eerie. But too much of any one thing in a game becomes a bore. In any role-playing game there ought to be humor as well as drama, action as well as horror (or suspense). What the ratios are depends on the situation, but there's no reason a comedy RPG can't have dramatic stakes, or a dramatic RPG can't have moments of slapstick. Likewise, sometimes the greatest terror happens in fantasy adventure RPGs, and sometimes the horror RPGs inspire resourcefulness and heroism. It's all based on the circumstances. And the players. And the GM.

But the role-playing game that I hope is the scariest in the best possible way is Ghostbusters: A Frightfully Cheerful Roleplaying Game (although Og and Paranoia are contenders).

[For more information on #RPGaDay (or #RPGaDay2023 specifically), read this.]

27 August 2023

RPGaDay 2023: Day 27

27. RPG you'd like a new EDITION of

I think I would like to see a new edition of Men in Black adapted to The D6 System 2nd edition. (I would like to see a lot of things adapted to The D6 System 2nd edition.)

I would also very much like to see a new edition of the Science Fiction Companion for Savage Worlds (SWADE) as soon as possible. (It ought to have been the first companion to get a new edition after the publication of SWADE, in my opinion.)

Some new editions that are in progress (and that I am eager to acquire and play) are Scales and Tales 2nd edition and Knave 2nd edition. I am usually disappointed by newer editions of role-playing games, but I am feeling optimistic about these two.

[For more information on #RPGaDay (or #RPGaDay2023 specifically), read this.]

26 August 2023

RPGaDay 2023: Day 26


Honestly, my favorite character sheet nowadays is the humble note card. I don't like clutter; I don't like small fonts; I don't like small spaces in which to record my information; and I don't like background images—all of which rules out most character sheets. Just give me note cards. It's one of the oldest methods of recording character information and it's still the most efficient.

One caveat, though: If you are the GM, make an example note card of primary character information for the sake of consistency. It's especially important for new players who may need help locating information. If the information is located in the same place for every player, they can help each other more quickly.

[For more information on #RPGaDay (or #RPGaDay2023 specifically), read this.]

25 August 2023

RPGaDay 2023: Day 25

25. UNPLAYED RPG you own

I have many unplayed role-playing games. (I might be a collector.) One of the many unplayed role-playing games in my collection I would like to play is Scales & Tales by Kevin Sherry. Available here, a new edition is expected to be released in early 2024. See the scalesandtalesrpg Instagram account for a wealth of Scales & Tales art.

[For more information on #RPGaDay (or #RPGaDay2023 specifically), read this.]

24 August 2023

RPGaDay 2023: Day 24


The most complex role-playing game I am willing to play would be Savage Worlds or one of the classic Basic Role-Playing games from Chaosium (e.g., Stormbringer, Ringworld, etc.). Anything more complex is counterproductive to the kind of role-playing I enjoy. Life is too short for unnecessary complexity in gaming.

The simplest role-playing game I am willing to play would be almost anything as long as there is a random element and everyone gets to roll (or use whatever randomizer is used instead of dice). I want no part of "only the players roll" or "only the referee rolls." Both extremes are boring.

[For more information on #RPGaDay (or #RPGaDay2023 specifically), read this.]