Under the Hood – Improvised Design…?

Improvised Design…? By The Warden Roleplaying has a deep connection with improv theatre, perhaps even with game design itself. Oh, jealousy. Such a vicious and biting emotion. Some consider it a sin, that’s how vile it can be. I think of it as an ulcer; left untreated, it will eat at your insides and scar you for the rest of your life. What’s been causing this jealousy has been racing...

Under the Hood – A Party Without A Host?

A Party Without A Host? By The Warden Let’s cut straight to the chase, shall we? This week’s instalment of the Hood deals with a highly debatable topic (though I wouldn’t go so far as to say it incites flame wars). It’s about the values of roleplaying traditions versus the fresh exploration of modern design. There’s a minority of a belief that has swayed many a traditionalist...

Under the Hood – The Single Bullet Theory

The Single Bullet Theory By The Warden Be forewarned, fair reader, this week’s edition may be shorter than normal. Why? What else gets in the way of gaming fun? Real life. It’s the perplexing dilemma of growing up and remaining attached to the games of our childhood/teenage years. We can’t play them like we used to in our youth. The time simply isn’t there to invest in the...

Under the Hood – Borrowed Parts: The Lone Gunman

Borrowed Parts: The Lone Gunman By The Warden Drumroll, roleplayers, because it’s time to reach the inevitable conclusion of the trilogy. Dark forces have conspired against our intrepid game designer. None of the existing systems have what it takes to make her concept of an intergalactic combat sports league leap from the table. Nothing in its entirety or even the scattered pieces of other...

Under the Hood – Borrowing Parts: Related Borrowing

Borrowing Parts: Related Borrowing By The Warden Before picking up where we left off, let’s talk about inspiration for a bit. Writing is all about working with inspiration and drawing from the works of your predecessors. Not matter how much you try, something typed onto the computer will be influenced by books you’ve read, games you’ve played, and systems you adore. Even your choice...

Under the Hood – Borrowing Parts: Licensed Borrowing

Borrowing Parts: Licensed Borrowing By The Warden You may want to use an existing engine, but that doesn’t mean you have to use it for the same purpose. The same goes with choosing to work with an existing RPG system. One of the perks I’ve been able to enjoy over the past year is talking game design with other game designers. Online and locally, it’s been great to have some one-on-one-on-one...

Review: Pen & Forge Productions – Discovery and Deliverance (Lost City of the Dwarves)

Discovery (Part 1) | Deliverance (Part 2) Discovery and Deliverance are parts 1 and 2 of the new gamebook series Lost City of the Dwarves, written by Christopher J.A. Young and published by Pen & Forge Productions. By The Warden Learn more about Lost City of the Dwarves here Purchase Lost City of the Dwarves here Find other Lost City of the Dwarves products here No one has heard from the Dwarves...

Under the Hood – A Unified Whole

A Unified Whole By The Warden How a game handles combat sets the tone for how its handles all task resolution… doesn’t it? This is the 78th instalment of Under the Hood. In that time, there a few things I’ve learned working on this column. One, I can’t stop spelling “instalment” without putting an extra “l” in the middle. Two, repetition is always a risk. Not because...

Under the Hood – A Guiding Hand

A Guiding Hand By The Warden I don’t know about you, but I’ve never actually crawled through a dungeon, piloted a space shuttle, fired a pulse rifle, or wrestled with a dinosaur. And I’m pretty sure you haven’t either. Actually, there’s quite a few common activities I’ve never done before. Fired a regular gun, been in a high speed chase, or even swam with a full...

Under the Hood – Come for the Mechanics, Stay for the Story

Come for the Mechanics, Stay for the Story By The Warden Why do you play roleplaying games? It’s a simple yet incredibly diverse answer, akin to asking the world why they like a genre of novels or why they watch NASCAR and it’s because there is no one right answer. It’s also contentious because many answers are in conflict with each other and lead to heavy doses of nerd rage. For...

Under the Hood – The Year of the Independents

The Year of the Independents By The Warden Sage Kobold Productions accepts their 2013 Gold ENnies Award for Best Rules. By this time this week’s edition of the Hood goes live, Gen Con will be wrapping up and there will be thousands of worn and exhausted roleplayers, designers, publishers, and die-hard fans straggling to get home and make it back to work by Tuesday (at least). This past weekend...

Under the Hood – Shortcuts

Shortcuts By The Warden Understanding the world around us requires a certain amount of basic assumptions. It’s these assumptions that allow our brains to perform repetitive functions automatically and leave our conscious minds free to focus on unique problems and solutions. They could be personal experiences (getting hit by a car really hurt, so let’s not run out in front of traffic),...

Under the Hood – Baseline Physics, Part 2

Baseline Physics, Part 2 By The Warden Establishing your baseline physics sets the tone for the entire game. Space travel games assume an advanced level of technology and account for the impact of gravity, for example. Every RPG provides its own interpretation of its universe and how living creatures affect and are affected by it, something I call the game’s baseline physics. Last week, we...

Under the Hood – Baseline Physics

Baseline Physics By The Warden For the next paragraph, I need you to imagine it spoken in the words of the immortal voiceover master, Don LaFontaine. If you don’t exactly know who that is, it’ll make sense once you start reading. In a world where the laws of reality play by no one’s rules, where right and wrong are more than constructs of the system, one man struggles to overcome...

Under the Hood – Presenting for the Future

Presenting for the Future By The Warden OK, things went a little astray from the original topic last week, but I got all of that out of my system. Now we can return to our original programming. Two weeks ago, I wrote about the role original artwork plays in the interpretation and initial impact of a roleplaying game, but the visual arts goes far beyond pencil strokes and full-colour cover paintings....

Under the Hood – The Need to be Governed

The Need to be Governed By The Warden Here I was all ready and set to start writing today’s post about player responsibility in RPGs when I came across a very recent post by Steve Kenson (creator and current publisher of the ICONS superhero RPG) and we’ll have to delay that topic for another time because there’s something in Senor Kenson’s post that got me thinking (and that’s...

Under the Hood – Window Shopping

Window Shopping By The Warden All creatures find themselves lured towards another based on physical attraction. A long tail, colourful feathers, or a shiny coat are exaggerated and flaunted by birds, beasts, and bipeds the world over. Some of these features may stand out among some creatures than others and everyone has their own personal tastes defined by cultural and genetic needs. Myself, I’m...

Under the Hood – Setting the Baseline

Setting the Baseline By The Warden Last week, as you may remember, I talked about getting back to basics using the classic dueling game, Rock, Paper, Scissors, and made a quick effort to draft up initial and official rules for the game. Why? To understand how oversights and expectations of our rules manipulate not only how designers create games, but how players understand them. In theory, there...

Under the Hood – Rock Crushes Scissors: A Return to Basics

Rock Crushes Scissors: A Return to Basics By The Warden Earlier this week, Fantasy Flight Games announced their search for an Associate Game Designer in their Minnesota office and while I knew there was no way I was relocating to any of the fifty states any time soon, curiosity prompted me to poke around and check it out. What caught my eye was the test used by FFG to gauge an applicant’s...

Under the Hood – Pay What You Want

Pay What You Want By The Warden Civilized society has lead us to believe there’s only one decent way to conduct business. A business creates a new product or service and makes it available to the general public at a specific price. Business markets that product at the chosen price, maybe even knocks it down by a few points to make it appear as a bigger bargain. Consumer pays the listed price...
Verified by MonsterInsights