Not-So-Crystal Ball: Ennies Predictions and Weirdness

Following last year, when I reviewed the announced Ennies nominees to predict winners and generally snark, I thought it would be fun to make things more challenging for me this year and try and predict the nominees for the year’s most prestigious roleplaying awards show. Seemed like a fun/dumb enough idea for a blog post.

Putting this together led to some kind of weird places. Continue reading

“This Goes Right When…”: Philosophy of Aspect Invocation in Fate

Fate is one of my all-time favourite RPG systems, but after a hundred or so games, there are plenty of things I’ve learned to dislike. Perhaps the thing I dislike about GM’ing it the most is how often you’re required to say “No” to players. There are so many calls to be made in Fate – stunt balance, compel penalties, the legitimacy of invoking an aspect – that the book gives a little guidance for, but mostly leaves for each gaming group to work out on their own. And whilst table consensus is usually the best way to make those calls, the players have a conflict of interest, because they always want their characters to be awesome. That pitches the GM into the position of naysayer, if any semblance of balance is to be preserved.

Antagonistic GM’ing isn’t my thing. I’d far rather manage storytelling collaboratively. So rather than shutting down players with a “No” over and over again, I’d far rather teach them how to get me to say “Yes” – to approach the distinct elements of Fate with the same mindset that I do. That way, everyone is on the same page, which makes telling a story together that much easier. Continue reading

Mini-Review: Dungeon World

Dungeon World is not a fantasy adaptation of Apocalypse World. Key elements of the fantasy genre, such as mass battles or courtly dramas, go entirely unaddressed within its pages. Instead, Dungeon World is a D&D adaptation of Apocalypse World, meaning it’s about adventurers going on dungeon crawls and not a lot else. That’s hard for me to review, because whilst I love Apocalypse World, I don’t love D&D… and I suspect that the bits of Dungeon World I find most obnoxious will be the bits most celebrated by its intended market. Continue reading

Person of Interest: A Fate Core Hack

A year and a half ago, I had an upsetting breakup, and got over it by crashing my friends’ house every few days whilst they breezed through Person of Interest. I couldn’t honestly call myself a fan of the show – I’ve seen no more than a dozen or so episodes, and have never felt motivated to go back and watch the rest. But I enjoyed it, and felt that the show was formulaic enough that I got the gist of what it was about. Well enough to half-arse a Fate adaptation anyway. Continue reading

The Middle Way: Another Go at Star Wars Morality

After playing some more Force and Destiny, I’ve come to realise that whilst I stand by all the criticisms I had of the rulebook’s Morality system, I don’t like the rules hack I suggested last month much better. Too complicated, too time consuming, too pedantic… and too unbalanced. Balance issues could be resolved by spending the next few months of play tweaking, until I work out exactly how many Evil Points stealing is really worth, but I have zero enthusiasm for doing that. So I decided to start from scratch. Continue reading

Ethical Mathematics: New Rules for Morality in Force and Destiny

EDIT (April 2018): It turns out this is one of the most popular blog posts I’ve ever written! So I should probably say that, when I playtested this, my gaming group rejected it after a single session. It’s not all bad though, because I created another morality system, which we liked much better and used for the rest of our campaign (40+ sessions). Find it here!

I recently started running a Force and Destiny game, which seems to be going quite well. However, even though we’re only two sessions in, we’re already struggling with the most controversial element of any Star Wars RPG: Morality, how the game measures a character’s alignment to the Light and Dark Sides of the Force. Continue reading

Review Policy

Just a short update. I’ve done some tidying up on the site, which has included updating my review policy, for people who wonder where I derive the justification to pass judgement on other people’s games (nowhere, really). If you want a neater list of the reviews I’ve done so far, or are interested in submitting your games for me to review, you can check out that review policy here.

Hope to have something more substantial next week!