A Significant Difference

A Significant Difference

Stumbled into this comment recently made by Alexander Macris, creator of ACKs, was asked to describe the difference between ACKS and 5e: 5E vs. ACKS: 5E offers your character more abilities in a game, ACKS offers your character more power in a world. 5E does not assume that there's a world that exists that follows the rules of 5E. ACKS assumes there is a world that exists that follows the rules of ACKS. The reason 5E's realms aren't overrun with a demographically-appropriate number of 20th level wizards with armies of dragons is that those wizards simply don't exist, and the…

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Catching Up

Catching Up

People forget that Car Wars was pretty much an RPG where the car was your character. Jeffro brings out Car Wars to show that, if you are worried about the plot of your adventure, you're doing it wrong. The question is asked, “What are your favorite ways of coming up with an engaging campaign plot line for role playing games?” My answer to this is that it’s an inherently wrongheaded question: If your campaign has a plot line, you are not just doing it wrong. You have repudiated the very concept of fantasy role-playing games! The most common structure…

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Cepheus/Traveller : Hard Space

Cepheus/Traveller : Hard Space

Omer G Joel over at spacecockroach.blogspot.com has been posting about his new background for the Cepheus Engine (a kindof Traveller retroclone mostly compatible with Mongoose Traveller), and it sounds fun, especially the aspects that lend themselves to aliens/outland style horror. I’ll note that it’s not the only project to do “weird shit man was not meant to know in space” of the gritty variety, there’s also a project called “Hostile” From his latest posting on interstellar travel: Interstellar travel uses the Jump Drive. The jump drive is a complex contraption manipulating an Antediluvian artifact…

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For Every Action

For Every Action

Today as a GM I got a valuable lesson in the craziness of reaction rolls and how it can cause some utterly unique moments in gaming. This is the kind of thing that happens when you run a “decision loop” as Bradford Walker has laid out, and the world is a simulation with the GM being the arbiter instead of the narrator of a “story” game. Background. We’ve got a 1HP cleric in the party, “Three Steps”. His stated goal is to “advance the candle into the darkness.” In the past encounters with orcs, some interesting reaction rolls to…

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Lending Meaning to Choice

Lending Meaning to Choice

A drum I’ve beaten over and over again with my game group – I want the choices my characters make to mean something other than “I get through the adventure, I gain XP”. It’s one reason that, if I’m running a game, I’m running ACKs, though I’m looking forward to some Traveller (book) play at some point as well. It’s why, as I alluded to earlier, I also prefer modules to “adventures” and “adventure paths”. So, someone going by “Raging Owlbear” posted that, after the game expectations were set, as they were rolling up characters,…

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You're DM'ing Wrong

You're DM'ing Wrong

First, They’re Called Modules for a Reason. So the moral of the story is this: Modules are better than adventures.  They force the players to play like grown ups.  They force the players to make decisions and direct the play.  The give the DM infinite amounts of flexibility.  Go ahead and try dropping your average Dungeon adventure or Pathfinder movie-script – er, I mean ‘adventure’, yeah right – into an ongoing campaign without doing more work than you would have if you just wrote your own damn adventure. For our purposes, a module is something like *Keep on the Borderlands*, or…

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How Different Is It?

How Different Is It?

Chris Jones over at Classic RPG Realms writes how D&D and AD&D were two different games. Looking around at what I’ve heard and seen of 5e (no, have not played it), what I’d played of the original basic (mostly Keep on the Borderlands) and AD&D (a fair bit including some heavy home-ruling) and Pathfinder, I think he has a point that other games evolved more from original D&D. I think AD&D evolved from the other more than he believes, it needs some distilling, but even ACKs, which I…

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