Lore and RPGs

Lore and RPGs

Bradford Walker recently penned an article titled "You Suck at Using Lore in Your Games." In it, he excoriates infodumps and dwelling on the background the GM created: Let me tell a truth born of 36 years in gaming: common gamers don't give a fuck about lore. They don't care because those responsible for communicating relevant information to the player(s) routinely fail to do so, and then get surprised when said player(s) get mad at missing information that suddenly is relevant to their situation. Why? Because they tuned out the GM while he droned on about something instead…

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Traveller 5 - Why So Serious?

Traveller 5 - Why So Serious?

The other day I delved deeper into the T5 rules by showing how to develop a character. Yes, it came out complicated. Or is it? Let's step back a bit. The original classic Traveller character rules came from the era of Moldvay Basic and AD&D, but they had a different focus. D&D is class-based: you rolled your stats, chose a class compatible with those stats, and noted down the associated bonuses. You only had a few significant choices - mostly class and equipment - and there were only a few points of randomization: your base stats,…

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Traveller 5

Traveller 5

As I slid back into playing in an AD&D campaign as well as running a twice-a-month Dimmermount-based campaign, I poked my nose back into Traveller. Namely - I had a few years back purchased the Classic Traveller CD-ROM from FFE which included the complete LBB's of the original edition as well as the consolidated "Traveller Book" edition, and all of the expansion books: High Guard for more advanced ship design and naval character skills, as well as expansions for scouts, ground forces, merchants, various adventures and deckplans, as well as many of the original boardgames from that era…

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RPGs - Shared Power

RPGs - Shared Power

Over the last decade, I've run and played Pathfinder (I know...), played Dungeon World, and run ACKs and Classic (1st gen) Traveller. I've also had a fair bit of exposure to FATE, the recent version of Paranoia, and the world of darkness vampire setting. The less said about the latter, the better. So what did Pathfinder get right? Mostly, a lavishly filled out game world and background, with solid art and production values, as the core system was "d20," a reskinned open-source D&D 3.5 which took off as Wizards of the Coast completely - in the opinion…

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Dungeon World

Dungeon World

I recently got to take a break from running my own ACKs game to try out a game soneone else was running. We'd previously worked with Blades and Black Magic, an a game inspired by TFT by Steve Jackson Games, but deecided, for an additional change of pace, to go with something more narrative that didn't end up taking hours just to resolve a combat or two. Thus, Dungeon World. The SRD is here, and prefab character sheets are here. it's a 2D6 based fantasy RPG with 3D6 stats, and a much fuzzier roll resolution system. Generally, anything under a…

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Gimme Three Steps

Gimme Three Steps

I've mentioned the Dwimmermount / ACKs campain we run before, and in both cases I mentioned the cleric Three Steps. What follows is a perfect example of both how players can gloriously throw total monkey wrenches into a beautifully configured set piece, and how this is made possible by a rules structure that encourages players to tell the GM what they're actually going to do instead of what skills and proficiencies they're going to employ. Last we heard, the party, which includes not only the requisite mage (alchemist) and a paladin carrying a sentient sword that keeps wanting to kill said…

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More Fun and Gaming

More Fun and Gaming

I've long enjoyed the rather.... colorful.... posts over at gamingwhileconservative. The man has a way with words, and an opinion on gaming that anyone who lives the phrases "git gud" and likes the brutal difficulty curve of your typical roguelike would recognize and take to heart. You can't avoid the meta - embrace it. Find ways to lampshade it on occasion as needed. Your character may be better than average, but he's not world famous yet - so why do you have a backstory/origin that's more than one brief line of text? Also - part of the fun is…

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Something Funny Happened on the Way to the Dungeon

Something Funny Happened on the Way to the Dungeon

I'd mentioned before that I'm running an ACKs campaign. For those not familiar, ACKs - Adventurer, Conqueror, King system - by Alexander Macris was an answer to the question "what if we took Basic, Moldvay-style D&D/OSR, and gave it a slightly more coherent set of rules, incorporated economics that make sense without requiring a ton of math, and used that to expand the rules all the way to "domain play" - kingdoms, armies, and so forth. While we're at it, we're neither running in the default Auran Empire (think late magical Roman Empire) setting,…

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