Posts Tagged ‘Tools & Techniques’

The Premise Of Falsehoods – Luck Vs Skill in RPGs

There’s a debate that has been fought ever since man invented games that have an element of chance has been, “Is it better to be lucky or skilled?” It’s a debate that has a number of unique resonances within the sphere of an RPG. How should a player or GM simulate a character who relies […]

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Inversions Attract: Another Quick NPC Generator

You can never have too many quick NPC generators. Choice means that you can pull out the weapon most suited to the needs of the moment, achieving better solutions in less time and with less wasted effort. This article describes one that I often use when I need the NPC to have one specific character […]

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Ten Million Stories: Breathing life into an urban population

The sheer scale of a modern urban environment is something that we all tend to take for granted. It’s so hard to grasp it, because we only ever see the very tip of a very large iceberg – with far more than nine-tenths of it removed from our sight. In any city there are the […]

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Strangers sharing ideas: RPG writings in a Collaborative World

A guest article by G.F. Pace Additional contributions & Editing by Mike Bourke I recently moved to London from Italy. After a good beer (or several) in a London pub, I can easily imagine the environment in which Tolkien and Lewis (and so many of the other Gods of the fantasy genre) began to perceive […]

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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 Pillars Of Assumption: A Source of Plot Ideas

There are things that we all take for granted. Any expectation of this sort can be a great basis for an adventure.

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The Envelope Is Ticking: Insanity In RPGs

“Your shoelace is untied.” By the end of this article, you’ll understand the significance and meaning of that phrase. Mentioning Call Of Cthulhu in Monday’s article reminded me of a discussion that I once had with Dennis Ashelford, still probably the best CoC GM that I’ve ever seen in operation, about how best to convey […]

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I See It But I Don’t Believe It – Convincingly Unconvincing in RPGs

Verisimilitude is critical in a role playing game in order to facilitate the suspension of disbelief and players (and GMs) getting into character instead of viewing events from a meta-perspective. Believability is hard-won at the gaming table and subject to constant attack by game mechanics and real-world distractions like side-conversations. More difficult still is the […]

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Straightening a bent line: Measuring complex distances on a map

Exhaustion has gotten the better of me, I’m afraid, and has prevented me from making enough progress with the next part of the Orcs & Elves series. I always knew it was likely that sooner or later I would run into deadline trouble, and planned accordingly. So here’s an article that I prepared earlier and […]

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Top-Down Design, Domino Theory, and Iteration: The Magic Bullets of Creation

There are three tricks that I use all the time when designing adventures, characters, races, campaigns, cultures, NPCs and Villainous Plans for RPGs, and for rebooting tired old characters. I call them the magic bullets of design, and I’ve written about most of them several times before – but there is always something new to […]

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A Zocolo Premise: AetherCon is coming!

(As any viewer of Babylon-5 knows, a Zocolo is a marketplace or gathering place). The unusually observant may have noticed a new link in our right-hand Navigation. AetherCon is an idea that has arrived at exactly the right time – just as the required technologies and their distribution intersect with the realm of possibility that […]

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