Category Archives: Gaming Philosophy

Too Much Talk, Not Enough Rule?

One of the most commonly-repeated words used to describe roleplaying lately is that it is a “conversation.” This has a lot of interpretations. Like, a looooot.  But I’m only interested in addressing one specific interpretation today. What I’ve seen, and I don’t know if it’s primarily influenced by the “conversation,” the classic “do-it-yourself” nature of the hobby, or some interaction… Read More »

The Terror of Getting It Wrong

I’m not a big fan of the adversarial GMing style. This is the technique of GMing wherein GMs are specifically trying to thwart the players in what they do. From “oh, you didn’t tell me you were going to put away your sword” to “here’s how your wish spell goes wrong,” this style of play is deeply rooted in… Read More »

Finding Forthright

Hello once again! This year we’ll be going to Metatopia, the Game Design Festival in Morristown, NJ on the first weekend in November.  Last year, this convention was such an inspiration to us that we scrapped the entirety of what we’d built for Forthright Open Roleplay.  The whole lot of it.  We’d spent a lot of time… Read More »

Making Different Games

Science fiction and horror were a much stronger influence on me than fantasy as a child. I read books by Alfred Bester, Issac Asimov and Ray Bradbury before I ever picked up The Hobbit. The EC Comics reprints of Vault of Horror, Tales from the Crypt and Weird Science thrilled me as a youngster. My… Read More »

Failure is Necessary

I’ve been thinking about failure in RPGs after stumbling across some online forum posts pushing the notion that only success is fun. I have no intentions of trying to define fun because that’s a bit of a fool’s errand, if you ask me. But the idea that lack of success holds back RPGs in some… Read More »

Story Isn’t Roleplay

Movies, novels and folklore can inspire wonderful RPG rulesets and horrible roleplaying sessions. That’s because a good gamescape, homebrew or licensed, gives players an idea of what could be in store and what might be achieved. But applying the elements of a story to an actual gaming session also imposes the limitations of a story’s structure on… Read More »

Beware the Universal Panacea

“Surefire” ways to make players react certain ways to NPCs, aren’t. Articles like “Ten villains your players will hate!” or “Five NPCs your players will love” often contain good examples of bad advice for running a game. These start with the best of intentions — the desire to create a game that is more engaging… Read More »