50 Games in 50 Weeks: Old School Hack

Holy guacamole, do I love this game. Imagine if Arneson and Gygax were teleported from 1970 to the modern day, and shown all sorts of modern RPGs. Then teleport them back to 1970. Old School Hack is how they would have designed Dungeons & Dragons. OSH is part of the Old School Renaissance, but rather than re-using the mechanics of early D&D, it provides modern approaches to the classic […]

detail of Journey start by jiuge

50 Games in 50 Weeks: Houses of the Blooded

I’m building an “RPG Tour,” a set of RPGs that, if played, will give one a broad appreciation for different approaches to tabletop gaming. The list includes Dread, Fiasco, Old School Hack, and Dungeon World. I ran my second session of Houses of the Blooded last night, and I’m adding it to the list. Houses is a game of high court intrigue. The players are all powerful nobles struggling to get their way in a complex society. In many ways, it’s […]

'Magnum, P.I.' by Mira Hartford on Flickr

How to Run an Online RPG Convention

  Indie+, an online RPG convention on Google+, finished today. I was one of the four sponsors who co-ordinated and ran the whole thing: 21 games and  7 panels scheduled for all hours of the week, including integration with YouTube, Google+, and a wiki. A few weeks ago, we put out a call for potential hosts, asking them to add potential games or panels to our wiki. Once the new Event functionality appeared on Google+, we switched […]

Quick Promotion

Quick Promotion

I’m helping to run an online game convention, Indie+. It’s a con run as a set of independently-run games and panels, all organized centrally and run as Google+ Hangouts. It’s running this week. I volunteered to shepherd the gaming side of things. There are quite a few moving parts, including several different schedules to sync. I figured it’d be no big deal, as we were running this for the first time, so I wouldn’t have […]

50 Games in 50 Weeks: Shadowrun 4E

I’d heard bad things about Shadowrun, that the world was much more fun than the system. Fortunately, I played 4th Edition, which made complete sense. Character sheets were heavy-laden with skills and stats, but easy to understand. The system features a straightforward core mechanic: assemble a die pool out of your abilities and roll it against a target number. If you roll a lot of 1s, something really bad […]

Best of Many Worlds: Indie+

Role-playing games let people tell stories. At their best, RPGs encourage imagination and open us up to new experiences that we tailor to our own needs and desires. This is strengthened by the recent trend of “indie” RPGs, many of which include in-game rewards for moving the story forward and otherwise making things complicated for the characters. Indie RPGs have always had a fundamental problem: exposure. Tabletop RPGs are already […]

'Shakespeare' by mariateresaadalid on Flickr

50 Games in 50 Weeks: The Play’s The Thing

If you can imagine a Shakespearean role-playing game that’s riotously fun even for those not steeped in Shakespeare, you’d be imagining The Play’s The Thing. The players take on the roles of small-time Shakespearean actors in a play that changes underneath their feet. That, indeed, is the fun: not only can the director interrupt and tell you to do the rest of the scene in Japanese accents, but all the other players can bid to have […]

Marvel Heroic Roleplaying © 2012 Marvel, Margaret Weiss Productions

50 Games in 50 Weeks: Marvel Heroic Roleplaying

Marvel Heroic Roleplaying is a new tabletop role-playing game that’s garnered a lot of interest lately, partly due to its impressive roster of designers and developers: Cam Banks (Smallville and Leverage RPGs), Rob Donoghue (Spirit of the Century, Dresden Files RPG), Matt Forbeck (Lord of the Rings RPG, Deadlands RPG), Will Hindmarch, and Philippe-Antoine Menard (The Chatty DM). MHR takes an interesting mechanical approach: to perform an action, build a set of dice (a “dice pool”) from elements […]

50 Games in 50 Weeks: Paranoia

50 Games in 50 Weeks: Paranoia

RPG players are conditioned to view PC conflict as an absolute bad. So how can I describe the fun of an RPG that assumes players will attempt to kill each other at every session? Paranoia is set in a 1980’s dystopia where Friend Computer directs humanity with a scented iron fist. It’s 1984 crossed with Discworld. The player-characters are all troubleshooters (“tasked to find trouble and shoot it”), given a job […]

Image from 'Mosue Guard,' copyright David Petersen

50 Games in 50 Weeks: Fudged Mouse Guard

My game group played Fudged Mouse Guard a few weeks ago. It takes the excellent Mouse Guard RPG–a game of intelligent mice with medieval-level technology–and converts the system to Fudge (every stat is a score from -4 to +4, and you roll dice that modify your score up or down for a final result, which is compared to a target difficulty). The original Mouse Guard system is a simplified and heavily modified version of the odd Burning Wheel system. The conversion to Fudge […]

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