More on the interactive story

There's a trend in the "indie RPG scene" embracing narrative mechanics ~ that is, a game rule that gives the player control over the game beyond what their character is immediately capable of influencing. Most character skills or abilities can be summed up as: you have something written on your character sheet; something happens in... Continue Reading →


On the interactive nature of the RPG’s story structure

Often, the ability to impact a game world is fairly illusory, but player agency is a primary distinction between narrative and character in a linear medium and ludonarrative and ludocharacter in video games. (The "ludo-" prefix indicates an element of game theory fused with traditional literary or artistic structures.) -- Liana Kerzner, WHY FEMINIST FREQUENCY ALMOST... Continue Reading →

On the appropriate rules for the Public Game

I will admit, I struggled to write this post. I wanted to discuss the classification of rules ~ making categories like Character Creation and Combat and Exploration ~ a technique that I use to organize my rules, identify gaps and prepare myself to publish online (for my players, not necessarily the general public, though that... Continue Reading →

On the needs of the social spheres of play

I've defined three spheres of play regarding RPGs (D&D specifically): the Public Game, the Club Game and the Home Game. These are delineated by the level of intimacy between the players, where intimacy refers to how well each player knows the other; or more importantly, how well the DM knows the players. My last post was... Continue Reading →

On impotence

I will admit ~ I'm torn on the topic of "save or die" effects. A single casting incapacitates the target for the spell's duration and that duration is long enough to effectively remove it from the fight. In the worst cases, that effect is the death of the character because the fight ends, the effect... Continue Reading →

On the problem of the fantasy language

I use Birthright as the basis for my world. It has a strong resemblance to our own world in terms of culture and language, and it's one of the reasons I like the setting. Interesting fact: Birthright started when Lorraine Williams (a manager at TSR) requested a setting based on Czarist Russia (she had a... Continue Reading →


Seriously, does anyone actually use this mechanic? . . . the entire mechanic comes down to being a device to encourage the players to play the way the DM wants. Yeah. That sums it up. And that's the general feeling I get about 5e as a whole ~ here's a bunch of rules that you can... Continue Reading →

The Problem with Role-Playing

Maybe this is the tide turning: It's taken as a given that in most hobbies you do the hobby to enjoy it, and that you'll try your best to enjoy the process. Upon the foundation of that given, the hobbyists then talk about technique and finesse. ... in tabletop RPGs, I feel like there's a certain pushback (especially when... Continue Reading →

The Real Session Zero

If you're sitting at my table, it's because I invited you. There are many reasons for that invite, many factors I had to consider, not the least of which is the existing dynamic among the other players. Please understand that what I'm about to say to you, I said to them when they sat down... Continue Reading →

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