Expedition to Castle Ravenloft in the 13th Age: Chapter 1 Conversion Released!

•April 21, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I just realised that there is no reason not to release the first chapter of the conversion to you.

This conversion is designed to require the original text. If you don’t have a copy of Expedition to Castle Ravenloft, you can buy it through DriveThru RPG.

You can download chapter one of the conversion here: Act 01 The Undead Plague.

I welcome any comments and suggestion you may have!

Strange Pitch

•August 23, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I sent the following pitch for a The Strange campaign to a couple of my old Marvel players and they flipped out.

“It should be obvious, even to rooks like you, that for every agent in the field The Estate employs a score or more of non-agents. Their job is to support you in the field or to keep the cogs of bureaucracy turning smoothly. A majority of these people don’t even know what is it that The Estate does. Many of them lack even the spark that would allow them to understand, even if someone were to tell them.

[“Most of them…”, he mutters.]

You are all intimately familiar with the Psych Division and the regs regarding a full evaluation after each mission. In order to perform their function, the counselors are granted full clearance to hear all details you may divulge in your sessions. Any additional information they believe necessary to make their assessment is doled out on a need to know basis. All of those requests, as well as information shared with Cartography used to be funneled through the Director of Psych.

[The chief clicks his remote and the image of a balding middle-age man appears on the wall.]

In 2000 and 8, The Director left for Earth Prime and disappeared with a reality seed that was recently retrieved by The Estate. We’ve sent older, more experienced agents after him but none of these efforts have succeeded, we believe, because the agents were known to him. You are among the best of the new agents recruited since his departure.

You have one hour to review his dossier, to familiarize yourself with his activities under his assumed name, and then we will reconvene to discuss your mission.

[The dossier is for “The Director AKA Kevin Feige on Wikipedia“]

Continue reading ‘Strange Pitch’

The Role of Rules in RPGs

•August 22, 2015 • Leave a Comment

This post has been a long time in coming and it is still terribly incomplete. What can you add to it?

1. Rules prevent or assist in resolving player conflicts. (GMs are players for this rule.)

I am sometimes asked about RPGs by people who learn how I spend my free time but know nothing about the role-playing games. Nearly everyone has heard of D&D but they don’t know what it is. So I start simple. Continue reading ‘The Role of Rules in RPGs’

Random Thoughts: Apocalypse and Revelation

•August 2, 2015 • 1 Comment

I posted the following on G+ last night and the only response was a +1 from Vince Baker. I’ll take it.

A few weeks ago, I had a new thought about PbtA games.

For a while now, I’ve been telling anyone that would listen that I love how the experience of Dungeon World is defined through the player’s moves. Moves have a fictional trigger, highlighting the experiences the designers what you to have while playing their game. You change the triggers and the game will feel different because the emphasis of what is important to your game has changed.

But what just recently occurred to me is that is only half of what moves do. Rolling dice in Dungeon World isn’t really about success or failure–it is about choosing how the narrative will advance from that point. This is just as important as the trigger for establishing the genre and style of game play because it reinforces the beats you want to hit in your game.

I haven’t fully processed this thought yet (I don’t get to sit and think about RPGs as much as I like to), so it’s still percolating on the back burner of my mind. I still have to return to finishing off my 13th Age conversion for the Ravenloft game. I’ve got all the plot notes sussed out, so that’s mostly monster design but I bet I can find a way to use that idea while I’m at it.

It’s too soon to have anything thoughtful to add, but I was encouraged by the response.

I’m not done formulating follow-up questions, but to start:

  • How do I incorporate this technique into my general GMing style, regardless of system? Should I?
  • What other narrative-heavy systems do something similar and what makes them different? The first example that comes to mind is Fate’s Aspects.

This all dances around the idea that system matters. There’s no such thing as a generic system because the mechanics, be they few or many, have a quantifiable effect on the decisions we make as players and GMs. And because they influence how we play and create, they might bring an element of sameness regardless of genre?

Anyway, I’m a big fan of rules that enhance your game-play rather than the opposite.

Expedition to Castle Ravenloft in the 13th Age: Sessions 18 & 19

•August 2, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Sometimes it feels like we’ve hit the doldrums of the campaign. It’s not he story, which is gaining in focus and in pace, but rather the difficulty of managing summer schedules. As a group, we agreed that adding another player might help us meet a quorum for a bi-weekly game. I invited Matt, who played 1ceman in my Marvel: Age of Apocalypse game back when I started streaming RPG sessions.

Sadly, Matt’s availability is due to chronic health issues that have had a huge impact on his ability to make a living as well as the equally chronic medical expenses. Matt is offering his RPG expertise for hire. He will run, design, or help design games for you in return for a donation. If that interests you, check out his Google Plus post on the subject.

Now on to the games!

Continue reading ‘Expedition to Castle Ravenloft in the 13th Age: Sessions 18 & 19’

Expedition to Castle Ravenloft in the 13th Age: Session 17

•June 11, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Back in the saddle after two long months!

Continue reading ‘Expedition to Castle Ravenloft in the 13th Age: Session 17’

“It” happens, usually preceded by “S” and “H”

•May 29, 2015 • Leave a Comment

For those that may be wondering, the Ravenloft game is still alive. Scheduling conflicts have made it difficult to play. Adulting is hard enough but then you factor in the usual summer madness and… well, it happens.

Consequently, I’ve also stopped writing as I take on seasonal tasks in the time that I normally reserved for the conversion and planning other events. I am looking to get myself back on track by the end of June.

Meanwhile, allow me to promote some stuff by my friends!

Continue reading ‘“It” happens, usually preceded by “S” and “H”’

Anger, Fear, Aggression

•May 6, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I recently had reason to reexamine the possibility of using Fate Accelerated to run Star Wars. This post collect my thoughts on that for later. I’ve already run a session once, nearly two years ago, which you can find here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foK_E4G7aX4 though it doesn’t use much of what follows below.

My Defaults

Fate is at its best when everyone is one the same page regarding the setting and themes for the game. With an established setting like Star Wars, opinions on the nature of the Force are varied. My own defaults: I start with only the original trilogy and negotiate from there. I don’t count sources in the EU or the prequels. (That isn’t to say that I won’t use any of it if it’s handy or interesting, but they aren’t part of my default.)

Continue reading ‘Anger, Fear, Aggression’


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