I have to admit I HATE the number of casual magic items that appear in the average fantasy game, D20 being the worst. The amount of magic is being reinforced by the rules and the treasure chart. They are just “power ups” of the video game nature. They don’t add anything to the game except requiring bigger and badder bad guys.
A fight scene should be more than just rolling dice and counting numbers. It should be a chance for you to roleplay.
After reading a MoonHunter campaign write up, Captain Penguin Says, "THIS IS MADNESS! MADNESS!
Say, MoonHunter, have any packs to give to a character to make them actually roleplay instead of just dictating their character’s actions? The majority of my players just do this.
ME:“You see a grizzled old knight with a scar over his face. He walks up to you and greets you with an ancient Cardomian salute, though he is unfamiliar to your eye.”
THEM:“I say “Hi.”
THEM:“Yes. Now, I walk around him and open the door.”
ME:“But, but, he’s an important story character!”
THEM:“F**k the story! I want gold and XP, dammit!”
ME:“I hate you more than you’ll ever know.”
Action sequences in movies are fast, furious, and over all to fast. They are exciting moments that most gamers are looking forward to. Yet combat in most games is slow, ponderous, and takes up much game time. Gamers tend to blame the game systems. It is not the System, it is the group.
This one of many articles I am posting up about game design. It explains some of the minimum requirements for a product to be produced or even be “good”. This is also useful for posts as well.
When my first born came into the world, my gaming life skidded to a halt. However, in a strange way, my gaming life continued.
I am not a normal fantasy GM. If a player is delving through a dark tomb searching for loot in my campaign, he is probably on a fruitless quest. I dislike the dungeon crawl. I have since the earliest years of DnD. I mean where in Tolkein did they really crawl through a dungeon or other tomb/ place of mystery?
The world is full of different measurement systems. Some are old, some new, some obvious, some obscure. Each one is important enough to some group of people to be codified and passed down through the years. These are the ones that might be useful for gamers.
Of all the published roleplaying games, we have a huge number of fantasy games, a good number of sci-fi games, a smattering of modern and modern variation games, but very few of anything else. The Western is an Epic Genre in the bookstore. There are shelves and shelves of them, nearly as many as the science fiction section (minus Star Trek and Star Wars books). You would think it would be popular. There are only a piddling number of western games, and none are very successful.
This is a list of laws, axioms, and strong recomendations from published and/or famous game designers/ writers I have recently collected. If you find them, add them. Please do not just add “any old” gamer’s axions, laws, etc.
Do you ever give ice ages a thought?
Religions. Sigh. Can’t live with them, can’t live without them. They have been such an intergral part of Human existance, that ignoring them is something you do at your own peril. A lack of religion (even hidden away in the background) can completely destroy the verisimiltude that a world designer desperately works so hard to achieve. So here is brief outline of various kinds of theisms.
Yesterday, new magic appeared upon your world. What happens next.
Magic should be just another form of technology, a means to do things. In most games, it is nothing more than another weapon. Others utilize it as a tool of everyday life.
Imagine a blight that killed off the grasses and grains. This is not an unheard off event. Mutant spores, molds, and diseases have killed off a wide variety, even who classes, of plants in the real world. Something that kills off grasses, sounds like science fiction (and the premise has been used in many “end of the world” movies and stories), but it is very applicable to a fantasy world… especially because they are mostly agrarian.
“Mass Produced Books” was one of the most important shift points in history. This one invention profoundly effected all aspects of life, not only locally, but eventually the entire world.
What would my world be if…. This is a question that many GMs should ask. It will help them flesh out their world. This is a series of articles to expand upon the idea.
The weather is something that everyone always notices and talks about, but can’t do anything about. It is an important part of everyone’s life, yet it seems to be ignored in games. And everything important in a game is best thought of as a character of some sort.
But I don’t have that book! Have you heard this before? You want to run this great new game (new setting) but your players are balking partly because they don’t want to buy the game you are so enchanted with “this week”. There is a solution.
Nine times out of ten, it’s the undead that do the running.
Not strictly animal or vegetable, the Corpse bud is a peculiar individual that shares characteristics from multiple kingdoms and species. In appearance, all corpse buds bear a shape of a large rounded top bud divided into four lateral segments, and a much longer, narrower bottom bud, also divided into four segments. Between the two halves are a set of four radial limbs, rounded on top and flat on the bottom, covered with tiny serrated hooks facing towards the body. In overall size, it’s limbs reach as wide as a spread hand, with the body being as thick as a fist. It is as long as a human hand from top to bottom.
Internally, the top bud of the corpse bud contains a bacteria filled membrane that produces the hydrogen that the corpse bud uses to stay aloft, and a series of fungal gills for the dispersal of spores for reproduction. The lower half of the bud contains a number of fine filaments, as well as a sharp barbed stinger containing a powerful local anaesthesia.
The Corpse Bud mobilizes by inflating its top bud, and steers by rotating its arms rapidly about its body. The corpse bud ordinarily drifts with the wind, orienting towards the scent of recent decay and death. It preys on the recently dead, burrowing the lower bud into the victim, using the anaesthesia in case the victim is dying, and not truly deceased. Once embedded, it releases its filaments into the body, replacing the current nervous system. This gives it full animation of the body, and allows the corpse bud to direct it.
Corpse buds are not a malevolent species, being primarily concerned with breaking down the host body for food, and infecting the reproductive cycle with spores in order to mate with other corpse-bud bodies. To preserve the corpse for this purpose, Corpse buds will seek out dry locations to prevent bacteria from destroying the corpses. This often causes a large number of corpse buds to gather in a single location.
In culture, Corpse buds are used to repair broken spines or degenerative diseases, as the sentient mind will easily overcome the mind of the non-sentient corpse bud. Once infected by a corpse bud, however, removal is usually fatal, and the infected individual cannot reproduce, or risk infecting another. Thus, it is a technique often reserved for the elderly, or a last resort.
Necromancers and other dark sorcerers will often preserve the corpses of their victims magically, and infect them with corpse buds, creating traditional undead as well, so as to seed their lairs with undead both offensive and non, in order to throw their enemies off balance. They will also enslave the rudimentary minds of the corpse buds, and transform the docile things into a plague. There have also been accounts of magically transformed corpse buds with stronger minds and a taste for living flesh, but thus far all accounts are unproven rumors.