My Studio Ghibli-inspired RPG

My Studio Ghibli-inspired RPG

For the past few months, I’ve been working on one of my dream games: a tabletop role-playing game that simulates the otherworldly adventure stories of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. I wanted a rule set that emulated the motivations and values of Miyazaki, that rewards co-operation and community. I’ve been playtesting it and tweaking it for months now. Today, I sent a limited release of the game, The Whispering Road, to my patrons on Patreon. The Wandering Road is ideal for introducing casual […]

50 Games in 50 Weeks: Dungeon Raiders

One of the most fun experiences in my life is running a game I designed. The game’s never perfect. Players almost always suggest changes. And they almost always have fun. I’m going to describe what it was like to run Dungeon Raiders, which is my simplification of original D&D, during last year’s DC Game Day. […]

'7 Lucky Gods of japan' by japan-life on Flickr

The Eternity RPG – A Review

A couple weeks ago, I played a game of the upcoming role-playing game Eternity with its designer, Mark Diaz Truman. Even though game is still in beta, the rules work well, and we had a great time. It’s a game of gods and their chosen people. Each player starts by defining a god’s name and sphere of influence. Then players starts defining specific aspects of the god, and here’s where things start to get really interesting. […]

50 Games in 50 Weeks: The Dresden Files RPG

The Dresden Files RPG is the game built around the Dresden Files urban fantasy world, using the FATE system. I had an unusual experience running Dresden Files. During PAX East 2012, some friends wanted to try the system. I borrowed a copy of the rules from a booth selling Evil Hat merchandise (thanks, guys!), and we grabbed a table in the cafeteria section of the conference center. As the players built their characters, we started brainstorming about […]

Gamma World 4E

50 Games in 50 Weeks: Gamma World 4E

4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons‘s modularity makes it suitable for many genres: the modern era, Spelljammer, and even the gonzo mutant future of Gamma World. For those unfamiliar: Gamma World was a D&D post-apocalyptic setting that included grenade-throwing rabbit-men, sentient plants, and crumbling radioactive cities. It’s a wonderful, ridiculous potpourri of post-apocalyptic elements. Gamma World 4E updates this with D&D 4E’s mechanical approach. A lot of people dislike 4E’s mechanics […]

'indecision dice' by snigl3t on Flickr

What’s better: Rolling d100 or flipping a coin?

Somebody mentioned to me a few weeks ago that rolling a d6 feels more limiting than rolling a d20. That’s certainly how it feels. It’s fun to find a combination of bonuses that leverage the dice in your favor, and a d6 gives you fewer opportunities to do so. Indeed, lots of potential bonuses would quickly overwhelm the die’s randomness. However, when examing the math behind a system’s mechanics, one finds that […]

'Sexy Jen Lounging in the Hammock Hangout' by SanFranAnnie on Flickr

50 Games in 50 Weeks: The Hangout RPG

New online video tools provide new opportunities for tabletop role-playing. Games that used to require face-to-face meetings can be played by people from around the world. However, these games are still being played with systems built for heavily scheduled, face-to-face gaming. What would a system built for this new world look like? That’s what I […]

'Come sit beside me [grain]' by spaceshoe on Flickr

Pushing a Noir Story Forward

When telling a story collaboratively–as in a tabletop role-playing game–how do you know when to move on? Particularly if you’re running the game, how do you know when to push clues towards the players, and when to have two thugs with guns burst through the doors? I’ve been playtesting a new noir game, The Coin’s Hard Edge, recently. While the mechanics work beautifully, it can be hard to know where one is […]

Warrior, Rogue, & Mage cover

50 Games in 50 Weeks: Warrior, Rogue & Mage

I love Warrior, Rogue & Mage because of its statistical approach to fantasy role-playing. The System It’s a beautifully simple system. Instead of various attributes, races, and classes, WR&M uses three attributes: Warrior, Rogue, and Mage. Each player-character has 10 points total to divide among these three attributes. A character with many points in Warrior and […]

'040 Witchcraft and Sorcery' by cthulhuwho1 on Flickr

50 Games in 50 Weeks: 1974 Dungeons & Dragons

While at PAX East this year, I was determined to play a game of original 1974 Dungeons & Dragons, primarily to be able to say that I’d played it. Fortunately, I was at PAX East with the Gamer Assembly, and they were interested in the idea, too. We played the Temple of the Ghoul scenario, my go-to adventure for old-school gaming. It has a skittish village population, an abandoned temple on a hillside, stirges, powerful supplies if the heroes are […]

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