Rewards: Status

We can offer status to our players (and the influence that comes with it). We can reward them with a title and a piece of land, or maybe a fixed income, though there should be an implied responsibility that goes with it. We can hand out knighthoods and membership in guilds. And we can generally... Continue Reading →


Pulling the Goalie

Gladwell's latest Revisionist History podcast. As always, you should listen to the whole thing. For our purposes, the following points are the most relevant: In hockey, you pull the goalie when you're certain that it's worth the risk to leave your goal undefended, in order to increase you chances of scoring and winning the game.... Continue Reading →

Rewards: Power

I swear, these are coming up at random. This question was added just today (as I'm writing) and it's already got three answers. And the next day, that number jumped to seven, including the one I wrote. That will probably change again by the time I post this, so take it with a grain of... Continue Reading →

the Advanced Game

What am I after? What is the purpose of this blog? What do I hope to accomplish with my writing? I had hoped that my goals were easily identified by simply reading what's written here. However, I've had this question asked of me ~ on various forums and platforms ~ several times and I think... Continue Reading →

What You Know

One of the skills from the Tao's sage abilities system is Sharp Practice. Briefly, it is "theĀ art of identifying the layout of a building or the probable background of an individual." Since Alexis hasn't put his notes online yet (quite possibly because he doesn't know exactly how the skill will work), I've been writing down... Continue Reading →

Memory Charm

Malcolm Gladwell has a podcast titled Revisionist History. It's an examination of "something misunderstood or overlooked." Like most of Gladwell's work, it's worth its weight in gold. If you haven't heard of it before now, you need to take a moment and listen. I recommend starting with the episode about McDonald's French fries. I recently... Continue Reading →

Rewards: Gold

This is a great question. I wrote an answer but it was a short one. Other people have weighed in and I didn't want to repeat the points already made. But there's a bit of a disconnect in these answers. The answers seem to cluster around a few key ideas. The first of these, and... Continue Reading →


I've been keeping an eye out for games with interesting mechanics. I generally find they provide the equivalent of a low calorie snack ~ not much substance but they help to take the edge off of mental hunger, especially when my mind is too fried to do more serious work. Occasionally, I find something useful,... Continue Reading →

What are Dungeons For?

What is a dungeon? (Apart from the obvious answer, of course.) Dungeons are the places where we find adventure. They are the Castle Greyhawk, Mines of Moria and Tomb of Horrors in our worlds. They are dragon lairs; ancient temples; sunken cities; goblin warrens; and deep, dark recesses of the earth. Truly, in dungeons, there... Continue Reading →

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