Tag Archives: house rules

The Nth Level Of Abstraction

During the last week, the RPG Bloggers Network brought an interesting post to my attention: “Discussion: Time Gaps” at Reality Refracted . This got me to thinking about the hierarchy of abstraction, and how often we (GMs) move from one level to another in the course of a typical game session, and how we can use a seemingly inappropriate level of …

Experience for the ordinary person

Johnn’s recent mention of the Ostrich-GM approach he sometimes takes to the question of how Administrators and Nobles get their character levels (comments, City Government Power Bases – Class and Level ) struck a chord. There are really only two answers besides the close-you-eyes-and-hope-it-goes-away approach, and adopting one of them has some interesting implications for the rest of the game…

Too Much Life for The Living: March 2011 Blog Carnival

One more article for the Blog Carnival! Next time, I’ll get back to the series on Pulp Genre Conventions, if everything goes according to plan… A Variant Combat System for D&D 3.x Is healing too easy in D&D? Sometimes it seems like Clerics are little more than magical drip bottles, especially in more tactically oriented campaigns and adventures, like the typical dungeon. Only when adventures …

Wham! Clang! Kapow! Character Conventions In Pulp

The Story So Far… This article is being co-written by Blair Ramage, with whom I co-referee a Pulp Hero campaign. Although it started as a single item, it has grew so substantially that it became necessary to split it into multiple parts. The first part dealt with the relationship of genre to other aspects of a roleplaying game, …

Bam! Zap! Crunch! World Conventions In Pulp

This article is being co-written by Blair Ramage, with whom I co-referee a Pulp Hero campaign. Although it started as a single item, it has grown so substantially that it has become necessary to split it into multiple parts. World Conventions In researching this article, a couple of other websites came to our attention, one of which divided the genre conventions for pulp fiction into three …

Rules Mastery For Dummies & Busy GMs Part 5: Rules Touchstones – Combat

In the course of part 2 of this series, which was all about overcoming a resistance to studying rules for their own sake, I suggested that the GM learning a new set of rules should watch for patterns, and use them to make understanding the rules a little easier. Starting in this part of the series, I’m going to start explaining some of those patterns. and how…

Rules Mastery For Dummies & Busy GMs Part 4: The Quality of Rules

A lot of blogs and articles talk about “realism” (or verisimilitude) in RPGs and how to achieve it. Campaign Mastery is no different in this respect, a number of my articles having dealt with the subject. Over the last few weeks, as I write this, I’ve been spending time thinking about a fundamental question that a lot of these articles …

D&D BITs: Updated sheet

A couple weeks ago I wrote about the house rules I’ve been using to add Burning Wheel style Beliefs, Instincts, and Traits to my 4th edition D&D game. I’ve now updated the sheet I’ve been using (which includes all the rules needed). These rules work with any version of D&D (or Pathfinder RPG) although you might need to tweak the…

4E AP: Osirion Session #9 (Lost Empires)

We picked up our game right where we left off last session with Fea’ma’reth and Amaruq clinging on for dear life and the others rushing to their aide. Session Summary As Uno and Shai Hud rushed back to retrieve the remainder of the rope the group had left by the entryway, Amaruq did a balancing act on the narrow beam …

Ask The GMs: How to set up a fun fishing mini game

Campaign Mastery reader Andy S. asks, “I want to set up a fishing mini game, and I have all the fish and weight/length charts. I just want a better challenge then a STR vs. STR(strength) one for them to haul the fish in. Any suggestions on how to do it?” Johnn’s answer: Andy, I have just spent…

Like Sand through the Klein Bottle: Time Travel in RPGs, Part 3

Hopefully, this will wrap up the article on Time Travel! Part 1 looked at the problems of Time Travel in RPGs, and reached the conclusion that the GM had to have some understanding of the nature of time in his campaign before he could adjudicate the complexities that could result. Part Two comprised excerpts relating to the Nature of Time from…

A Journey Of 1,000 Years: Time Travel in RPGs, Part 2

.| Spiral |. by Clix The first part of this article looked at two simplistic solutions to the question of how to handle time travel in RPGs, and found that as they stood, neither was satisfactory. A number of readers were kind enough to write in, suggesting additions that could be made to these two solutions to make them more practical for game purposes. This…

When Inspiration Is Not Enough: Time Travel in RPGs, Part 1

Extract from ‘The Persistence Of Memory’ by Salvadore Dali When writing my submission to the June 2010 Blog Carnival , A Medley Of Inspiring Media , I said that Time Travel was a special case. This article started off as just another section of that Blog Post, but quickly showed signs of growing into another of those monster subjects requiring a multiple-part post to completely contain the discussion. Rather than…

The Critical Threshold: A brief debate on the Merits of Extreme Results

This is not the post that I expected to make this week. I simply ran out of time and could not finish either the article I had intended to post this week [about time travel] or the one for next week [the long-awaited followup to last year’s Pillars of Architecture article], in time. Instead, I have had to reach into my …