Posts

What If I Had to Run a Campaign?

Image
i’m so sorry for making this image I don’t want to run campaigns anymore . But if I had to, what system would I choose? I know a lot of people run extended campaigns using OSR systems, or even using lighter systems like Cairn or Into the Odd . Honestly, assuming several months of weekly play, I think I would get pretty bored. These are systems that, to my mind, are very focused on one style or, perhaps more accurately, structure of play. You’re “crawling” through something—dungeon rooms, hexes, points. There are things that drain your resources. You can only afford to lose so many resources before you die and have to make a new character. It’s a fun structure! I’m literally designing two whole games around dungeon crawls. But, I’m impatient. I want something new or exciting to happen every session. I get bored doing the same thing, playing through the same kind of scenario over and over again. With Goblets & Grues , I hope that I will be able to get a lot of excitement out of run

W.I.P.: The Goblets & Grues Virtual Box Set

Image
I recently decided that I want to release all my little D&D-a-like projects as part of one package. I’m calling it a Virtual Box Set because I listened to Chris McDowall’s interview of Chris Bissette and I thought: “Oh, huh, box sets sound nice.” Here’s what I’m currently planning to include. A Pair of Games Goblets & Grues , an FKR-inspired game. There is a real-time limit to recover a treasure, after which your lantern goes out and you are likely to be... well, you know. Based largely on Adventure Hour . Advanced Goblets & Grues , a more OSR game. No time limit; instead, there is a simplified random encounter procedure and you have a limited number of heals. Based largely on Into the Odd / Electric Bastionland . You can view the current (untested) drafts of both games at the links above. I will probably keep them updated as I tweak things; the only thing missing is the starting equipment table. (The icons are by Delapouite from game-icons.net.) EDIT 5/7/21 : The latest d

Falling out of love with the dedicated table

As far as I can tell, there are three structures for running a D&D-like game: Mini-Campaign . A small, temporary group runs through a single adventure over one or two sessions. Maybe six at most. Dedicated Table . A small, dedicated group explores a wide-open sandbox at a regular meeting time for a few months to a few years. Open Table . A large group of players explore either a megadungeon or a hexcrawl (“West Marches”), joining sessions as they are available. No one is expected to join every session. I have a few thoughts. Thought #1: On Levelling I would rather have three separate games for each of these structures than trying to bend a single game to serve all three. OD&D was designed for the open table. I think character levelling is the key example. In a large, community game, it helps a lot to have a “score” that instantly communicates how long you’ve been playing, how long you’ve survived, and how powerful your character is. The same principle is at work in MMORPGs. Wha

A Game to Serve the Setting

Image
Part I: A World Where Everyone Gets to be Conan In “ d&d is anti-medieval ,” Paul over at Blog of Holding argues that Original D&D from 1974 does not represent a medieval, European society on either a fundamental or a superficial level. Unlike a medieval or even a capitalist society, the bulk of the land is free and unclaimed. You can wander the wilderness killing monsters and looting tombs without attracting the concern of a nobility that might fear violent and wealthy peasants. Paul refers to the setting as both social-classless and stateless, but “classless” would properly describe a setting without wealth disparity. OD&D is merely stateless, an anarchist or libertarian society absent modern technology. Paul concludes that this unique social model is “an American fantasy of empowerment and upward mobility,” either a subconscious or deliberate attempt by Gary Gygax to give his fantasy a Wild West or “New World spin.” I’d like to propose a more concrete explanation. Conan

The OSR needs a new approach to classes and this is it (maybe???)

Image
There is no reason that players cannot be allowed to play as virtually anything , provided they begin relatively weak and work up to the top, i.e., a player wishing to be a Dragon would have to begin as let us say, a “young” one and progress upwards in the usual manner, steps being predetermined by the campaign referee. -Original Dungeons & Dragons , 1974, emphasis mine I have just had an exciting thought and I want to try to explain it without getting too in-my-head about editing it into a coherent essay that will convince everyone of my genius, so bear with me. In cooperative, multiplayer game design, it is common wisdom that differentiating roles and assigning them to different players is a good way to increase player engagement and sense of teamwork. Everyone has a role to play, no one feels simply along for the ride or that they have nothing to do. Everyone feels like they have a unique reason to be in the game. That’s the ideal, anyway. Character cards in Forbidden Island