Tag Archives: role playing

If you want to write games for everyone, game with everyone

In the 80s into the 90s, I would see convention panels or magazine interviews where game professionals said that their game writing left them no time for game playing. Those writers might admit to an occasional session of Call of … Continue reading

Posted in Role-playing game design | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Create better encounters by considering what your monsters want

Sometimes Dungeons & Dragons worlds seem split in two. In the towns and hamlets, players exercise charm and guile. In dungeons and lairs, every creature attacks on sight and battles continue to the death. When TSR printed Dungeon magazine, the … Continue reading

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4 popular beliefs Dungeons & Dragons defied in the 70s

The media keeps telling us how we, the geeks, have won popular culture. Golfers chat about Game of Thrones at the country club. A minister I know boasted that she was a member of her high school Dungeons & Dragons … Continue reading

Posted in Role-playing game history | Tagged , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

My first impression of inspiration proved wrong

In an earlier post, I leveled criticism toward the inspiration mechanic based on Mike Mearls’s preview in “Roleplaying in D&D Next.” I listed two gripes: Awarding inspiration seemed to put the dungeon master in an uncomfortable role. Mearls wrote about … Continue reading

Posted in D&D fifth edition | Tagged , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

The D&D fifth edition Basic Rules Introduction

The toughest part of writing the core rules for a role-playing game comes on page one, when duty and tradition force the author to describe how to play a role-playing game. When you sit at a table and see a … Continue reading

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Actions players always take and choices players never make, part 2

This post continues a list I started in part 1. Players will not mix and mingle. Adventure authors come from a secret coterie of role players who enter a tavern or a royal ball and then spend the evening mixing and … Continue reading

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What Murder In Balur’s gate taught me about engaging players in role playing

As a dungeon master, I’m still learning. When I ran the Murder in Baldur’s Gate launch adventure at Gen Con, I had an ah-ha moment (more of a well-duh moment) and a lesson. At the convention, Wizards of the Coast … Continue reading

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Two reasons D&D Next’s inspiration mechanic fails to inspire me (and why the designers don’t mind)

From what we have seem so far, the Dungeons & Dragons Next design sticks close the game’s tradition. This makes the inspiration mechanic the design’s biggest surprise so far. D&D’s top dog, Mike Mearls, revealed the mechanic in “Roleplaying in … Continue reading

Posted in D&D fourth edition, Role-playing game design | Tagged , , , , , | 11 Comments

A priest, a warlock, and a dwarf walk into a bar and…nothing happens

Some rare number of groups can stroll into a tavern populated with lovingly crafted and colorful characters, and then spontaneously mingle for a night of role playing. I personally have never seen this happen, but I know it’s possible, because … Continue reading

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Group scenes and mass confusion

In Dungeons & Dragons, the dungeon master assumes the role of every non-player character. As a DM, when I must portray two NPCs at once, I often see the players grow confused about who is talking. Certainly if I were … Continue reading

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