Tag Archives: the end of the rainbow

Top-Down Plug-in Game Design: The Perfect Recipe?

Click on the image to see a larger version As someone who writes about RPGs

It’s Reality, Jim, but not As We Know It: St Barbara

Two of the most important skills that I added to the Hero System when I was writing my House Rules for my Champions campaign were Paranormal Physics and Paranormal Biology . The first explains how powers work using game physics – and therefore can also be used to determine potentials that the character had not thought of, and training methods to bring them out. It can also be…

On The Nature Of Flaws

Disclaimer: This article was prompted and inspired by my receipt of a free copy of Player’s Option: Flaws from 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming, but it is largely based on my experience with the Hero System. 4 Winds did not solicit this review and did not recieve notice of the content. /Disclaimer So that we’re all on the same page, let’s start with a quick review of just…

Clang! Crash! Pow! Game Mastering The Pulp Genre

If all has gone according to plan, you are now looking at the final part of what’s been a massive series on the Pulp Genre. This article is mostly afterthoughts and GM advice that I’ve culled from many discussions with players and with my co-GM, Blair Ramage, together with some stuff straight from my own head. It’s a cleanup article, let&#…

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, …

Pow! Bam! Crunch! Story Conventions In Pulp (continued)

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. The first part dealt with the relationship of genre to other aspects of a roleplaying game, and furnished a context…

‘Tis The Season: A Christmas Scenario

Christmas Tree by Enimal A few years ago I ran a Christmas-oriented scenario in my superhero campaign, and it was pretty successful on a number of fronts – so much so that I thought it worth taking the time to tell you all about it. Scenario Premise The concept of the scenario itself is remarkably simple: I had the characters do their christmas shopping and then give each …

We All Have Our Roles To Play: Personality Archetypes, Part 2

The Premise Everything that I’ve ever read on the subject has defined archetypes for RPGs either in terms of the psychology of the character or the abilities of the character, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But there are other classifications that are possible, and these yield a different perspective that can be invaluable. This approach is based…

The Dark Side Of The Mind: Examining Psionics, Part 5

Last time, I continued examining the concept of The Internet as an analogy or metaphor for Psionics, especially telepathy. The examination of web phenomena is now in the home stretch – here are the final seven, and a few closing thoughts. 15. Cookies A cookie is a small file placed on a computer by a website which facilitates a more interactive experience with that website. That’s pretty …

All This And Psionic Spam: Examining Psionics, Part 4 of 5

Last time out, I started examining the concept of The Internet as an analogy or metaphor for Psionics, especially telepathy – but ran out of time after looking at only 7 web phenomena of a planned 21. So here we go, with the next seven: 8. The World Wide Web Everyone knows someone else who knows something useful. This information is the telepathic equivalent of a hyperlink, a connection…

The Value Of Information: Examining Psionics, Part 3 of 5

This, and the two parts that preceded it, were all originally intended to be one post, and a relatively smallish article at that. The decision to incorporate material from the game rules that I had written relating to the subject put paid to that concept, but I felt it was a necessary preamble. Finally, though, we have all caught up with each other on the subject, and…

Neurons & Lobes: Examining Psionics, Part 2 of 5

In part 1, I explained that the imminant advent in my supers campaign of a character who is a powerful psionic has had me thinking about Telepathy quite a bit recently. I then began to excerpt selected rules and background material from the campaign rules relating to the subject. The first part focussed on the metagame and game mechanics concepts around which psionics…

The Mind’s Eye: Examining Psionics, Part 1 of 5

Lately I’ve been thinking about Telepathy quite a lot. I know that a psionic character will be joining the team in the next phase of my Zenith-3 superhero campaign, and I want to have the a solid handle on all the wrinkles that come with it. I want some simple analogy that I am instantly familiar with – as will my players – to enable me to grasp …

A Picture Should Be Worth 1,000 Words

How good are you at doing two things at once, both of which require concentration? That’s what I thought! Few people are. And yet, we GMs often seem to expect our players to be able to do just that, and on a regular basis. We expect them to be able to take a verbal description of a scene or setting, integrate a…

Lessons From The West Wing II: The Psychology Of Maps

Credit: Eurobas at en.wikipedia It’s time for another of my occasional Lessons From The West Wing . This draws heavily on concepts put forward in a single episode, Episode 16 of Season 2, “Somebody’s Going To Emergency, Somebody’s Going To Jail” . Some people have decried the episode as one of the weakest in the West Wing’s repetoir, others found it illuminating. As it happened, it…

A Monkey Wrench In The Deus-Ex-Machina: Limiting Divine Power

This article deals in subjects that are sensitive issues to a lot of people. Everything contained within is written from a roleplaying context and no judgements are intended regarding the validity of any individual perspective on theology or on any social issues that may be referred to; no offence is intended. It’s just a game, people. Deus-Ex-Machina…

We All Have Our Roles To Play: A Functional Perspective on Personality Archetypes, Part 1

Everything that I’ve ever read on the subject has defined archetypes for RPGs either in terms of the psychology of the character or the abilities of the character. Filling out a team roster is often a case of players selecting from a chinese menu – “let’s see, we need a fighter, a mage, a rogue, a cleric, and once those are filled, anyone else can…

Ask The GMs: Rubbing Two Dry Words Together

Why have different languages in an RPG? How can they be used to enhance a story? And what’s wrong with Universal Translators, anyway? I have a question about using languages in fantasy RPGs. There are numerous articles and advice out there on how to create fictitious languages and make them sound realistic or add verisimilitude to the campaign setting, but that’s not my question. My question is…

Eureka! – Some inspiring notions

There is a cooking show in Australia (it actually started in the UK, and a US version was recently announced) called Masterchef Australia. The goal of the series is to identify and winnow through the best amatuer cooks in the country until they are left with the one best cook of the bunch, who gets $100,000 and a book deal. Along the way, they are expected …

Blog Carnival Wrap-Up – What Inspires Your Games?

Thanks to all the bloggers and commentators who participated in June’s carnival about what non-game media have most inspired your games and how . I was surprised by the variety of answers. I think there’s an idea or three here for any GM’s tastes. Good job everyone! Lizard Games was inspired by the clone wars, which were not explained in …