Showing posts from December, 2023

2023 Year in Review

Happy Holidays! Tomorrow, the next year will begin and we'll get the chance to reflect upon and renovate different aspects of our lives. I wanted to take the opportunity to do that here. Enough preambling! Out With The Old My yassified 1974 facsimile Fantastic Medieval Campaigns , besides some stray typos and me still wanting to make a four-volume version, is complete and out of the way. More than or rather than being a retroclone, I think of it as an exhaustive counterpoint to the old-school conception of role-play and its supposed history of D&D . So many readers messaged me, confused or angry, about things being missing or out of order, so I consider this project a success! I hope people continue to read FMC and, being less likely to fill in the gaps with their memories, continue to reveal to themselves the real nature of the first D&D . I also made FMC Basic to make it easier for me to play (not even run!) older D&D how I like. What distinguishes it from other l

FIVEY: Character Aspects

After play-testing , I want to combine titles and skills into one category called aspects . The difference between titles and skills was kind of confusing, especially when skills seemed to naturally derive from one's title (at least, their background or origin). Combining the two simplifies the character structure and also opens the door to greater player interpretation. There is already a basis for this in Whitehack , but since skills don't have as much as an impact on the die roll, I'm happy to not attach skills/aspects to specific abilities which feels both arbitrary and punishing. What got me thinking about this even more was two posts: one by If Our Lives Be Short about character backgrounds coding weapon proficiencies , and another by Lich Van Winkle about character backgrounds coding linguistic fluency . Both of these things should be obvious from real life, but we tend to treat them and other things as arbitrarily granted by characters' attributes like their a

Sharing Thoughts on Neo-Trad (OC) Play

User The-Magic-Sword on EN World published a fantastic post about neo-traditional (OC) role-playing games and the role that mechanics play in facilitating this play-style, as well as the relationship between forum role-play and this new kind of tabletop role-play. Here’s the link, and below is a selection: I never had the problem a lot of people had with 4e not being conducive to roleplaying, my games in 4e were absolutely lush with roleplaying . We just did it, and whenever we needed to play out a fight, or even pick a lock or whatever, we turned to the ruleset—we reverse engineered powers to figure out what our characters could do in the fictional space (my swordmage, could in fact, teleport every six seconds, and did so frequently). The key I think, was that my background had primed me to not use mechanics to anchor my roleplay, and instead the system fit neatly to emulate physical space and conflict and answer the question of “should my character be able to do the thing.” But

Ezra Koenig's Neo Yokio: An Informal Review

Every Christmas season, and in July if I’m feeling nasty, I watch Neo Yokio . It’s an animated show from 2017 about a young demon hunter trying to find the balance between working his family business and participating in high society, realizing his own shortsighted selfishness along the way. No one likes Neo Yokio like I do. I think the first I heard of it was when people were complaining about it on Twitter, about Kaz Khan being stupid and indistinguishable from (his voice actor) Jaden Smith’s pretentious posts on social media. I must have watched it expecting something different, but ended up loving it to the extent that I consider it formative to my taste in fiction and sense of humor. Why not share this with y’all, in hopes of finding another freak like me out there? The show kicks off when Kaz saves his colleague and former hookup Helena St. Tessero from a demonic possession. For reasons unknown to Kaz, Helena becomes a woke hikikomori in protest of Neo Yokio. Once a famous fas

FMC Basic: Final Fighters Revision

JWMillwright left this really cool comment on my previous post about fighters : I’ve more or less adopted these rules but allow Fighters to use this bonus as one of the following; to-hit bonus, a damage bonus, or make an extra attack with no bonus. And only now something just clicked: it should be really simple to introduce the same framework as simple skirmishes if you just allow fighters to split their bonus between multiple attacks (if their bonus is +2 or greater). So I've removed the rule that fighters attack until they miss, and replaced it with fighters being able to split or combine their attack bonus into multiple small attacks or one big attack. Monsters can now also do the same thing. This increases the continuity between FMC Basic and FMC proper, so it really feels like a simplified version of how I run the latter. You could give experts +1 prowess every second level and mages every third level, but that feels more appropriate for how I run FMC proper where hi

Fashion Dreamer: An Informal Review

I’m not a gamer. I had friends in high school that were, and sometimes I would play with them, but I’m not very literate about video games in general. Minecraft is fun! Pokémon is cute. I like Story of Seasons and Rune Factory . That last one was got me in a bit of a bind. My partner watches video game streamers to sleep, so when we sleep together she’ll ask me to play something for her. So one night, I was playing Rune Factory 3 , and it fundamentally bothered her that all the characters I was shrieking about looked just like Precious Moments figurines. Actually embarrassing. There is really no difference. So she gave me $20 for me to buy another game we were looking at, but was sort of expensive ($50) for what it was: Fashion Dreamer , more a toy than a game, where you dress up digital avatars belonging to yourself or to other players. You acquire new items just by “liking” them on the game’s social network, and any item you use to dress up someone’s avatar can be liked and used

FAQ U: What is Plagiarism?

For a while, I’ve had a big theoretical post about art in my drafts—not that I think my own thoughts are that important, but that it was something I wanted to explore for myself. This post anticipates that draft, but it’s also a response to people who were confused by my dual position from that article a few weeks ago: (a) that I’m a communist and don’t respect copyright or intellectual property, and (b) that I think plagiarism is both disrespectful and unethical. If I oppose intellectual property, why does it matter if someone violated someone else’s intellectual property? The short answer is that it’s not a question of intellectual property, but one of creative integrity and appropriation. I often pirate game materials and other things, to read and share with others. No one thinks I wrote any of it, and I’m making no money. The opposite is true when it comes to commercial plagiarism like the case study from earlier this month: the author printed other people’s work as her own, and

ITO Bound Stat Generation

Have posted math similar to this, but now it's (1) specifically in the context of Odd-like rulesets and (2) comparable to stats that would be generated using 3d6. Suppose three saves: {X, Y, Z}. Set each to 10, and roll 3d6: +2 X, –2 Y –2 X, +2 Y +2 Y, –2 Z –2 Y, +2 Z +2 Z, –2 X –2 Z, +2 X The outcomes: Random but bound. Range from 4 to 16, like 4d4 but not annoying. Always add up to 30 and average to 10. Always even numbers, every 2 pips being 10%. Very rarely a boring, default array of [10, 10, 10]. If I were doing a game with four ability scores, I would set the character's "main stat" equal to 16 and randomize the remaining three using the above process. That's because I think games that rely heavily on both classes and stats can be kind of annoying, where if you get a mid main stat that kinda sucks.

FAQ U: What is a Blorbo? This is a friendly response to my friend Sandro's post about blorb vs blorbos ! Since people caught wind of the latter term in the TTRPG scene, there has been some confusion about what "blorbo" means—especially in how it relates to another term, "original character". Let me define both and try to go over the nuance between them. Original Character: A character someone makes up. Originally, it was in the context of fan fiction or forum role-play where the character is original with respect to the media property. However, in more recent usage, the characters could be detached from any property whatsoever and are just conceptually fun characters that the creator likes to imagine. Blorbo: Someone’s absolute favorite character from a work of media, that is, one over which they’re completely obsessed. The original phrase “ blorbo from my shows ” is about a hy

FMC Basic: Experts & Arcane Foci

Niosis and I were talking about the expert class in FMC Basic , as well as the one that appears in Lamentations of the Flame Princess or the more general (yet specific, lol) thief class. Here's kind of my take: they are the structural analogue of clerics from the 74 game, being able to use magic weapons or cast spells, and also being able to improve at combat or magic in their own particular way. Something more interesting: if fighters specialize at the combat subsystem and mages specialize at the magic subsystem, then I think of experts as specializing in the worker-placement subsystem . This is something thieves sort of accomplish, as I've talked about before , but by having their own weird mismatch of dice rolls executed separately (and on an individual basis) from the existing worker placement game. Finally, I think that experts could also just as well be the classless class in FMC Basic . Like I said, they can use the items associated with fighters and mages, but just do

Followup: Plagiarism in Unconquered (2022)

Answering some questions about my last post ! But first, I wanted to say that I've confirmed that Jarrett Crader and Fiona Geist were not involved with Unconquered in a developmental capacity. Also wanted to say that I have updated the post with more instances of plagiarism, including from another book, thanks to some readers who reached out. Something else I wanted to say: please don't ungender Noora Rose. She is a woman, and I refer to her as such throughout the original post. You know her pronouns. Have you ever posted call-out posts on burner blogs? Nope. The blog I was referring to is specifically a joke blog full of AI-generated posts, which is why my original plan was to publish that post there (since it was originally translated into AI Gygaxian speech). The whole point is that, as this became more serious, it would have seemed unethical to do so. Why would I have been doing that all this time, but have a change of heart for this? Have you ever seen an anonymous call-

Plagiarism in Unconquered (2022)

Ultimately [UVG2E], like UVG1E, are books [sic] that long to be cut to pieces, chopped & screwed and re-arranged and re-organized and repurposed into the collected loose-leaf notes of a GM binder, to be pulled out and smoothly interjected into a Something Else. Noora Rose, “ UVG, UVG2E, and Me ” (2023-06-30) I was originally going to put this post (at least, the commentary parts) through an AI Gary Gygax translator and publish it on a friend's burner blog. However, this is too serious to be treated like a joke, so here it is instead. Staking my name on it, lol. A Something Else Unconquered (2022) is an OSR-style science-fantasy adventure game and setting by Noora Rose of Monkey's Paw Games. Originally intended to have been based on Knave , according to the 2020 Kickstarter campaign , Rose refactored it to be based on Into the Odd instead—although with significant influence from Jared Sinclair's The Vanilla Game . I previously threw Unconquered into my big OSR