The Pulp Civilization Random Encounter Chart

On the run in the desert, Mitara spots a glimpse of a city in the distance. Cutting their way through the jungle, Honri and Klay find unmistakable traces of masonry. Trekking across the Great Glacier, Hagner finds a snowed-over entryway to an underground citadel. What kind of civilization have they just encountered… and where in Read More …

I was a vampire for the JLA, part 1

Here begins a story of fear, darkness, and how Dungeons & Dragons comes in handy at the weirdest times. My story begins the Friday of Gen Con 2004. Gen Con’s pretty much the definitive roleplaying event of the year. Tons of geeks, tons of games, tons of fun. It’s the kind of event where you can Read More …

Whatever Happened to Elfstar?

You know this story. June, 1984 Debbie’s family room, Friday night. At the table, they call Gina “Ms. Frost.” It’s a joke, Debbie’s joke, because she inherited her brother’s X-Men and because when it’s Debbie Jameson’s joke Gina Frost always laughs. Ordinarily, Marcie would laugh, too, but she’s not having a good night. The dice Read More …

What does a wizard look like?

When Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition came out, there was a great deal of argument over its “dungeonpunk” aesthetic and, particularly, the way wizards didn’t look like they were “supposed” to. The pointy-hatted old men familiar from Dragon magazine covers or Will McLean cartoons had been replaced by a confusingly-dressed elf lady and a bare-chested Read More …

Ren Faires, Justin Bieber BDSM, and Christian singles

Fantasy Heartbreaker is now accumulating spam at about the same rate as actual comments. I’m amused by some of the subjects. Ren Faire garb This is kind of funny, because one of my favorite genres of fantasy gaming is what I call “ren faire fantasy.” The main characteristics of ren faire fantasy are a large, Read More …

Not as I do: Organizing an RPG

“What’s puzzling you is the nature of my game.” — The Rolling Stones, “Sympathy for the Devil” I’m looking at the structure of game books right now, and I really think (especially as someone who’s been doing it a while myself), that there’s room for improvement. The default model seems to be: Some kind of Read More …

Class Construction in early Tunnels & Trolls

The early editions of Tunnels & Trolls are a good example of two class design schema: Classes to fill holes Classes on a spectrum The two base classes are warrior and wizard. The warrior is a straightforward arms and armor type, noted in the game’s fifth-and-a-half edition as being based on Conan. Wizards have a mix of Read More …