Showing posts from November, 2021

On Knave and Old-School Rulebooks

Knave  by Ben Milton was my first light-weight old-school D&D sort of game that I ran for my friends. I suggested using it because although some of them were familiar with Fifth Edition , many of them just weren’t. I could tell that they would be overwhelmed with the rules of character creation and of the game itself. I also wanted to run our little campaign more like a party game where they could just get onto the Zoom call, generate their characters, and start playing. This casual approach lends itself more to an “old school” style of game, which at that time I had been interested in playing for a while. For me, Fifth Edition didn’t just have baggage with respect to its huge amount of rules, but also with how it was expected to be played. The play culture expects you to create a whole character with a background and a motivation, and then the dungeon master creates a story with which to challenge the characters enough to show their respective strengths and advance their charact

Point-Based Approach to Exploration & Combat

I played Valiant Quest [1] with some friends this weekend and it was a blast! We all had a great time constantly tripping and falling over ourselves and getting pushed around by rude goblins. Some of us, myself included, came away from the experience immediately wanting to take bits and pieces from it into something that aligns more with our own preferences in role-playing games. That being said, here's what I took from the whole experience combined with my time playing the board game Pandemic  which also relies on a core spend-X-points-per-turn loop. At least one of my friends is also working on something along similar lines (i.e. inspired by playing VQ ), so you can look forward to that too.

Abilities versus Skills

In this post, I'm going to offer one view on the difference between abilities and skills as they are often defined in tabletop role-playing games. This is informed by previous posts I've made on the difference between open and closed systems of interactions, and the difference between kinetic and potential abilities. This isn't going to be very long, and it's just for my own reference (and to get some thoughts down).

Critique of the Conversation Surrounding Lyric Games

"What is a lyric game?" Wouldn't we all like to know! There might not be much use in trying to define something that, for many, is best left undefined. In their recent article for Dicebreaker  [1], Linda H. Codega offers the following heuristic for how to determine if a work might be considered a lyric game: While the genre often defies definition, typically lyric games embody one or more of the following aspects: a removal of the distance between the ‘player’ and the ‘character’, the gamification of everyday experiences, and the reversal of assumptions to impact play . “Lyric games” as a term was coined by John R. Harness in late 2019 but, as it was a definition meant to encompass an emergent genre, many games published before 2019 are now considered lyric. Many lyric games are sold and distributed with anti-capitalist and community-forward priorities - often there will be community copies (copies donated by the author for those experiencing marginalisation or hardship

Brainstorming How I'd Rather Play D&D

Gus L just wrote a post about treasure with respect to encumbrance ( link ), and I know he's going to write a sequel that gets into more theoretical depth (and incorporate it into one of his adventures). So, this post is probably going to be a little redundant even if I beat him at posting about it. This is more for my sake anyway, to brainstorm about how I'd like best to play my very own special  Dragons & Dungeons  game given my admittedly casual experiences. You think I have time to play year-long campaigns when I have one too many pretentious French theorists to read?

Effects of Armor Class on Character Longevity

I don't see this being a very long blog post, but I wanted to make it as a companion to one I wrote this past August ( link ) about comparing different combat systems. This time, I'd like to show how armor class as treated in typical D&D  (originally in 1974 as the 'alternate combat system' to Chainmail ) prolongs the life of a defending character, but not in a way that you'd expect. Ava Islam says in her blog post ( link ) [1] that armor class is "a 'hidden' pool of hit points that every monster has which fluctuates depending on the to-hit bonus of the character they are going up against". This is because armor class determines the accuracy of an attacker's hit, such that the lower the attacker's accuracy (i.e. the lower the chance to hit), the more virtual hit points that a defender has. I've talked about this in my previous blog post in the following terms: How many rounds it will take to defeat a target. How likely a target will