Archive for the ‘Combat’ Category

Swell And Lull – Emotional Pacing in RPGs Part 2

I didn’t want to split this article in two. You really need to have read part one before you can get full value from what’s below. So I’m going to assume that you’ve done just that, and don’t need a synopsis to refresh your memory, and just dive straight in… Transitions & Global Emotional Flow […]

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Swell And Lull – Emotional Pacing in RPGs Part 1

Swing Swing Dodge Swing Scurry Duck Scurry Scurry Dodge Kick Swing Leap Swing Parry Swing Duck Swing Scurry Dodge Swing… …it gets a bit dull and repetitive after a while, doesn’t it? Every adventure, every combat, heck, every campaign needs to have its highs and its lows, its frantic periods and its lulls of inactivity. […]

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The Application Of Time and Motion to RPG Game Mechanics

How do you tell a good House Rule from a Bad? I know, I promised something short. As long-time readers will know, I don’t do “short” very well… “Time and motion studies” used to be the favorite tool of “efficiency” experts who optimized a process for speed. They quickly became the butts of a lot […]

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Superhero combat on steroids – pt 2 of 2: Moving with a purpose

Hero Game’s Policy on publishing house rules is both enlightened and occasionally maddening. They have no problem with people posting their own characters, or discussing their rules, or publishing house rules – provided that you don’t quote directly from their rulebooks and your rules don’t exceed 5,000 words in length. You can’t publish variations on […]

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Superhero combat on steroids – pt 1 of 2: Taking the initiative with the Hero System

Hero Game’s Policy on publishing house rules is both enlightened and occasionally maddening. They have no problem with people posting their own characters, or discussing their rules, or publishing house rules – provided that you don’t quote directly from their rulebooks and your rules don’t exceed 5,000 words in length. You can’t publish variations on […]

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All wounds are not alike, part 3b: The Healing Imperative (cont)

On Monday, I attempted to post the third part of the current series on alternate damage-handling systems for 3.x. Unfortunately, time ran out when I was only half-done… A quick refresher on where we stand. There are flaws in the system of progression for healing spells that result in an unacceptable degree of overlap, especially […]

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All wounds are not alike, part 3a: The Healing Imperative (Now Updated!)

In the first two parts of this series we examined alternative approaches to the simulation of injuries that were written cold, without the benefit of actual use in play. In this third and final part, I will describe a third – but this is an update on a variation that I have actually used (and […]

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All Wounds Are Not Alike Part 2: Bone-breaking damage for 3.x

The alternative damage-handling subsystem proposed in last week’s article suffers from one major flaw, as some of our commentators have pointed out – it involves additional processes and bookkeeping that can adversely impact the flow of combat. This flaw is present to a much smaller extent in this proposal. Once again, this is not a […]

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All Wounds Are Not Alike – Part 1: Alternative Damage rules for 3.x

What are hit points? The most obvious answer is that hit points are a numeric index between healthy and imminent death, but there are other interpretations of the significance of this ubiquitous character statistic, and some of them lead the GM down interesting paths. This article will examine the first of these options, while parts […]

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On The Edge: Implications of the D&DNext Advantage mechanic

Only a short article this week (at least in terms of word count) because there is easily five times as much work beneath the surface! A few weeks ago, I read a really interesting analysis of the mathematics of the D&DNext advantage mechanic by the Online DM. And yet, there was a disconnect between that […]

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11 Table Rules For Speed

Slow combats kill games. This hard truth frustrates you and I because, as GMs, we feel it’s our responsibility to facilitate fast, sleek and exciting sessions. When combat grinds, you end up with fewer encounters in a session. Fewer encounters means less story told, less adventure and less fun. Combat grind also saps your players’ […]

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An Empty Death, An Empty Life: Making PC Death Matter

An empty Death is a terrible thing When Tasha Yar (Denise Crosby) died in Star Trek: The Next Generation, there was an outcry amongst fans. Not because the character had been killed off so much as because she died what was later described even within the series as “an empty death” – a death without […]

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