On economic relationships

I have this idea in my head about how my economic model works. The linked article is the long(er) description; a (very) brief summary might be: Map a region. Assign resources, references and markets. Record data into a spreadsheet that calculates relative value for a given product. Run [the program] to produce an output in... Continue Reading →


The Philosophy of Magic: Anatomy of a Spell

As a detour on my (literally) years long journey to record all entries from the Wizard's Spell Compendium, I find myself repeatedly drawn to an old debate: how should I treat spell components? The other details of a spell are fairly trivial. Casting time will generally be two action points per spell level. Range can... Continue Reading →

On the fantasy race as “other”

Plot Points brings up an interesting question in their episode about drow elves: "Are the Drow too weighted down by racist associations to be a part of D&D in the 21st century?" I recommend listening to the episode to get their full take. For myself, the short answer is, "No." A slightly longer answer is,... Continue Reading →

On the utility of realism in the game

In this podcast, the hosts make a . . . less than compelling argument against realism in role-playing. Wait, hold on . . . that's not fair. Dungeon Master of None isn't saying that we should not have realism in RPGs. They're saying we shouldn't accept realism as an argument when it promotes shitty behavior and... Continue Reading →

On the purpose of role-playing games

I wrote a definition for role-playing games, focusing on early versions and emphasizing the idea that "role" pertains to an individual's job or function within the group. While I feel that that's a good definition, I recognize that it doesn't apply to a lot of games that people would otherwise consider RPGs. C'est la vie, perhaps,... Continue Reading →

On developing your character

This is not an uncommon question online: How do I fully develop a Dungeons and Dragons character so their actions are in character? And the answers aren't necessarily bad. Choose a personality. Give your character a quirk. Know your character's motivation. Try to pick things that are distinct from yourself. Write a backstory. Answer a... Continue Reading →

On how to write a good RPG

In no particular order . . . Know your audience. The RPG industry is so diverse that it's critical you understand who you're writing your game for. If you assume your audience has never played an RPG before, you need an introduction. If your game does something that no other RPG has done before, you also... Continue Reading →

On the new dungeon ecology

Bear with me on this one. It will take a moment to organize my thoughts, but I can assure the reader, I am going somewhere with all of this. I wanted to write about using real-world data to develop a system for populating a particular type of dungeon. We have a lot of information about... Continue Reading →

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