Archive for the ‘Zenith-3 (Original system based on Hero System 4th Ed)’ Category

To Module Or Not?: A legacy article

This article grew out of discussions between Johnn and myself concerning the Q&A in issue #300 of Roleplaying Tips. Johnn happened to mention that he was currently running a campaign based on published modules, and I was interested in comparing the approaches to handling them to best effect in terms of the difference to a […]

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Leaving Things Out: Negative Space in RPGs

“Negative Space” sounds like the sort of thing that pretentious art critics fill the air with when they have nothing of substance to contribute. It’s not some antimatter or “mirror, mirror” universe, either – though it can be either or both those things if you want. It may come as some surprise to those with […]

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Breaking Through Writer’s Block Pt 3: Action and Personality Blocks

This entry is part 3 in the series Breaking Through Writer's Block

This entry is part 3 in the series Breaking Through Writer’s Block There are four more primary types of Writer’s Block that I identified in part one of this series, and this article is going to tackle two more of them, and offer 17 solutions to those specific varieties of problem. The types of Writer’s […]

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The Seven Strata Of Story

A well-crafted campaign – or video game, novel, TV Show, movie, or short story – is composed of multiple layers acting in harmony and in concert. This is a simple point that is often overlooked, especially by novices or those focusing too intensively on a single medium, and not looking at the wider world around […]

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Creating The World Of Tomorrow: Putting the SF into Sci-Fi Pt 2

This entry is part 2 in the series Putting The SF Into Sci-Fi

This entry is part 2 in the series Putting The SF Into Sci-Fi In part one, I looked at techniques for extrapolating from the world of today into a future world where technology has changed. These techniques have served me well in both fiction writing and developing sci-fi oriented game settings. In this second part, […]

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Creating The World Of Tomorrow: Putting the SF into Sci-Fi games pt 1

This entry is part 1 in the series Putting The SF Into Sci-Fi

This entry is part 1 in the series Putting The SF Into Sci-Fi When you get right down to it, there are only three sources you can use when creating the world of tomorrow in a game: Copy something you’ve seen elsewhere, filing off serial numbers as necessary; Get it from the game setting; or […]

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The Gap In Reality: Immersion in an RPG Environment

Our special effects gurus get better all the time, and at the same time, their product becomes more affordable with improving technology, making it more ubiquitous in entertainments. I first wrote about the impact of this phenomenon back in 2009, when I asked Are Special Effects Killing Hollywood?, a question which shed a new light […]

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Refloating The Shipwreck: When Players Make A Mistake

Preamble This Month’s Blog Carnival was proposed more or less as follows: People love it when player characters do great heroic deeds and win fame and fortune in a campaign. But how about when things horribly wrong go… and it’s all the fault of some foolhardy decision by some Player Character? Those can be either […]

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I Got A Plot Device and I know how to use it: Bluffing in the Hero System

While there are a lot of things the Hero System does well, there are a few things that it does exceedingly poorly, and one of those is the Bluff. This article offers a system to correct that.

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The Tactical Masterclass – Preparing a player to lead on the battlefield

In any modern-day team environment, there is usually one member of the team who focuses on the tactical situation. Characters that each go their own way tend, sooner or later to get in each other’s way, or make the mistake of two going for the same target while another target is left uncovered; the team […]

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Splitting Hairs: Exploring nuance as a source of game ideas

I’ve always found that I can get a lot of mileage out of exploring nuances, fine shades of differentiation between synonyms, when I’m looking for adventure ideas and character concepts. Sometimes I will introduce a character to do nothing but that, especially when the PCs are in the other camp – even if they don’t […]

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What matters to your character: the value of the shameful secret

We’ve all made mistakes, done things that we regret, mourn missed opportunities. We all have shameful little secrets that we would not want to have exposed, usually deriving from our childhood or youth – but sometimes from later in life. This is actually a sign of maturity and moral growth in the individual by virtue […]

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