We're Still Not Convinced That RPG's Were Originally Converted Wargames (Braunstein Edition)...Tue 29 August 2017 by Olde House Rules from Pits Perilous
Several months ago, we posted our assertion that modern role-playing games weren't really converted wargames after all, and it met with pushback given that D&D billed itself as rules for fantastic medieval wargames, and that the hobby's pioneers were all wargamers and simulationist of some stripe. And they made some valid points, so we'll soften our position very slightly (but not by much) to (re)stress the obvious: Role-playing is undeniably linked to wargaming, and to say otherwise ignores the essential elements of its history. But it would also be a huge mistake (and factually wrong) to assume that Wesely simply converted his Napoleonic game to a man-to-man scale. Or that modern role-playing represents a neat (and linear) progression from wargame to RPG when, in fact, he needed to step away from wargaming to create Braunstein; the hobby's precursor. Braunstein was a game. But was it a wargame? That's at the heart of the matter, because games, simulations, and wargames overlap considerably...
A Barons of Braunstein Update!
So first off, the new and improved Appendix II (Tactical Combat) offers alternate rules for greater lethality reminiscent of what we attempted in Opherian Scrolls, but also a table of situational modifiers tied to specific weapons when wielded in certain ways. Now combat is faster and more deadly. But only ...read more
The Methodological OSR?
So there's this ongoing discussion (and one fairly recently) about the OSR (Old-School Renaissance) and what it means or should mean, or whatever. And sometimes, it devolves into horrifying exchanges by people who I can only assume labor under the delusion that gaming, however fun, is, well, important. That ...read more
That Rule Ain't Old-School! (Not!)
Nothing too big, folks. Yours truly is sleeping off a weekend at KantCon, where we play tested an upcoming adventure for Diceless Dungeons. We had a great table with aread more
Tekumel and the Power of "Maybe"...
We're back from a much-needed break - and maybe we go to a monthly format again. But until then, weread more
#RPGaDay 2017: What Was the Best Run RPG Kickstarter You Have Backed?
It’s a tie. The folks at Evil Hat did a multi-book Kickstarter that included the Atomic Robo RPG. It was well-run, successful, got the books out on time, and kept the backers informed every step of the way. Similarly, the Transhuman Kickstarter by Posthuman Studios for the Eclipse Phase ...read more
Gen Con Round Up Part 3 - First Exposure & the Vendor Hall
This is going to be the last of the Gen Con 50 round up posts I think. There's only two places I want to talk about that I haven't really done so yet. The first is the First Exposure hall, which is - I feel - something of a hidden ...read more
A Quick Look at Starfinder by Paizo
I think I am obligated to say: I'm not affiliated with Paizo in any way. No"review" materials were provided by Paizo prior to this writing. Here is ae link to the official Paizo information about the Starfinder game. I bought the book from Amazon. I get nothing from ...read more
#RPGaDAY: What Are Your Essential Tools For Good Gaming?
Me, Nick, Clare, Steve & Pete - The Tuesday Knights, circa 2008
The single most essential tool for good gaming is a group of enthusiastic and attentive players.
You can't game without them.
Then dice, lots of dice.read more
RPG A Day 26: Which RPG Provides the most useful resources?
How to answer this question? Is it a valued resource on a per page basis or something else? Resources is so broad a category too. I feel in some casesread more
Conventioning - Gen Con 2017
Okay, so Gen Con happened this past week and everyone is running their recaps so I figured I should too! Because a lot of stuff happened, and this one felt like a weird Gen Con. Not a bad weird, more of kind of a strange weird. The lead up ...read more
#RPGaDay 2017: What RPG Provides the Most Useful Resources?
Define resources… There are a few games that do a plethora of splatbooks to give you new mechanics or setting material, or reference material. If we’re using that as a metric, there’s no competition: GURPS. What do you want to play? GURPS has a book on it. I ...read more
RPGaDay August 26th
26th) Which RPG provides the most useful resources? Quite a wide open question this. What should be defined as a resource? You could go the splat book approach in which case I would have to say Legend of the Five Rings and Corporation. For both of those games the extra ...read more
My game designing story so far - part five
For a while I'd been considering giving Halberd an overhaul. I'd gone back time and again with new ideas to update it, but each time I was left cold. I'd been reading a tonne of Dunsany so I thought about how I could integrate some of his ...read more
AD&D and the OSR
My reading of late, Grognardia and other apparently shuttered OSR sites, has left me wondering what the current state of the OSR really is, and more particularly what the status of 1e is in regards to the old school movement today.read more
Reading James Maliszewski
I have been re-reading all of James Maleszewski's blog entries over the past few days. I miss Grognardia and I miss James. Frankly, I think the internet gaming community did him wrong. I don't know the whole story, and I'll probably earn myself some enmity as well ...read more
#RPGaDay 2017: Day 26
Our question for #RPGaDay today is, ‘Which RPG offers the most useful resources?’ You are free to define resources as befits your experience and needs when running a game, of course. There are thousands of games, and many ways to run them. In your experience, what is a game that ...read more
RPGaDay August 25th
25th) What is the best way to thank your GM? Beyond just saying ‘hey I’m really enjoying the game, thanks for running it’ I can think of a few ways. But that really is the best approach. So what are those other ways? Well the biggest is simply to ...read more
What is the best way to thank your GM?read more
Dungeons & Dragons: A City on the Edge - A Snake in the Grass
Dungeons & Dragons: A City on the Edge - A Snake in the Grass You can buy Tomb of Annihilation right here. You can buy Xanathar's Guide to Everything right here. An adventure was sent to game stores a week or two ago. This thing previews Tomb of Annihilation and looks ...read more
SHIT RPG CRITICISM IS JUST SHIT.
ANYWAY. I actually believe that underneath all the shit-talk in the Feral RPG review are some points that are worth addressing and some criticisms or misunderstandings that are worth responding to. To save you the time of reading the shittier aspects of the post, I've waded through it and ...read more
RPG A Day 25: What is the best way to thank your GM?
I GM all the time. The last game I was in as a player must have been near 12 months ago and I only played one session. I am anread more
This Old Dragon: Issue #82
Ok. So I know I just did issue #83. And in truth this could have been the next one in, some of them are in order, most are not and I pick randomly. But I did choose this one on purpose for theread more
Spells for cheating at dice and cards
These are spells which manipulate the outcome of games of chance. Perhaps more suited to grogs and companions, or given as enchanted effects in items, or for the utmost advantage to Gentle gifted Magi. Gambler’s Favored Dice Rego Terram 3, R: …read more
[ #RPG ] Can An Experienced GM Play In A Game With An Inexperienced GM?
An unexpected side effect of this month's focus on roleplaying games (thanks to #RPGaDAY) has been one of my readers, over on the HeroPress Facebook page, asking me a question about gaming. I've tried to answer their question as best I can, but welcome any input from other ...read more
People who offer their games as "pay-what-you-want" (PWYW) do so because they want people playing their games, they aren't greedy corporate leeches charging hundreds of dollars for a few crappily cast figurines, bits of poorly laid out cardboard, and a few custom dice in a box. These are people ...read more
My game designing story so far - part three
I didn't stray from Tunnels and Trolls, even during my more experimental phase. The power team of Christina Lea and Tom K Loney created a Trollish Delver line of GM adventures through Peryton Publishing, with myself and Tom alternating between releasing T&T scenarios in my Peakvale setting. I ...read more
Out and About: Local Cons
Fall is coming, and that means the local gaming convention season is upon us once again. While GOBFest is the delightful outlier, running in May, the other gaming cons have clustered in September and October. This means you can pack in a bunch of gaming before the temperatures drop, and ...read more
#RPGaDay 2017: Which RPG Has the Most Jaw-Dropping Layout?
I think this question is interesting because it calls out a problem I think the industry as a whole has — the need to make game books look like art books. (Tales From the Loop is essentially a game built around an art book, for @#$% sake!) By focusing on slick art ...read more
Ars Magica after 18 sessions: what an amazing RPG
My Seattle group is coming up on a year of Ars Magica play, using 5e — my first experience with Ars. We’ve played around 20 sessions (I’ve missed a couple, but I’ve been there for 18), covering about a year of in-game time, and I say without hyperbole ...read more
August 23, 2017: Gen Con 50: The Good, The Great, And The Amazing
The SJ Games crew is back from the biggest, best Gen Con ever! While we're recovering, I think it's a good time to reflect on all the awesome things that happened and the cool stuff we revealed.read more
Bob Ross: The Unexpected Hero of Gen Con 50
Gen Con 50 was my first Gen Con, so I was prepared to be overwhelmed by the experience. What I was not prepared for was a Bob Ross board game to steal the show. The publishers of the game, Big G Creative, had a tiny booth. In fact, it was ...read more
Living 4 Crits @ Gen Con 50
We left for Gen Con 50 just like last year: in our crimson chariot adorned with nerdy window chalk! We even had a few cars honk and wave on us. Strangely enough, more cars did this on the way back, but maybe that's because we left on Tuesday instead ...read more
RPG A Day 2017 August 13
RPG A Day, 2017 August Thirteenth (Incredibly Belated) Prompt: Describe A Game Experience That Changed How You Play I hate questions like this, because they always make me realize how shallow I am. I am not a being of great …read more
Abstraction versus Fine Detail
I don't remember who was posting about it the other day, but it got me thinking. Back in the old days, our adventurers would delve into a dungeon with a limited supply of oil flasks, arrows, rations, metal stakes, and other consumables, marking them off our lists as we ...read more
My game designing story so far - part one
Self-aggrandizing post in 3, 2, 1... I was probably about 14 when I designed my first tabletop game. I use the term loosely -it was a grand theft auto clone with bodily hit locations and that was pretty much the gist of it. I would sit at my desk with ...read more
On Being a Game Master: Player Buy-In
I have two gaming groups and absolutely zero drama, it's wonderful and very refreshing. However, one problem I've encountered a few times in the last year or two is the issue of Players buying-in to the game. I've mostly seen this from new players, but I'm ...read more
#RPGaDAY: Which RPGs Are The Easiest For You To Run?
As should be becoming obvious from my #RPGaDAY answers this month, my default setting for running games - like so many people - is fantasy and the lingua franca of fantasy gaming is, of course, Dungeons & Dragons.As long as I'm working in a pre-Third Edition universe, I can stat monsters ...read more
[ #RPG ] Giving Ghosts New Life...
How do you make ghosts interesting in your roleplaying games? Are you interested in making them more than just 'another monster'? Do you add pathos and motivation? How do their powers manifest in your games?
Following on from yesterday's piece about different ways of using ghosts, Stacey Lemmon aka ...read more
Which RPGs are the easiest for you to run?read more
Malta House Rules
1.1 Potions that provide spell duration bonus to the PC take up a magic item slot. See below 2. Five Foot Step is changed to your Natural reach. This change is primarily for the benefit of larger creatures who have a natural reach of 10 feet or greater, this ...read more
RPG A Day 22: Which RPG’s are the easiest to run?
This is a terribly unusual question. In what way “easiest to run”? Are we talking rules? Are we talking setting? Are we talking setting the atmosphere? I am just notread more
Wildlings Does a Lot with Very Little, but Could Do More. #RPGaDay2017 Day 21
Day 20 -- What RPG Does the Most with the Least Words?
I've played a lot of role playing games over the years and am always on the lookout for a game that can combine setting, rules, and accessibility in a manner that can be picked up and played within ...read more
What Made D&D a Genre-Defining Classic?
Ever since the creation of such board games as Mice and Mystics and Gloom that utilize aspects of tabletop roleplaying games, the line between roleplaying game and board game has become murkier and murkier. However, where the line should be drawn can be found in the distinction between the original ...read more
[ #RPG ] Random Thought On Ghosts...
This is a repost from 2011; I don't know if the issue has been addressed in more current games but I'm interested in hearing your take on this and how you would model it at your table...
A random thought I had about 'ghosts' in roleplaying games the ...read more
#RPGaDay 2017: Day 22
RPGaDay for 2017 starts its fourth week with a question which bridges the gap between our preferences and the characteristics of the games we play. The question asks, which RPGs are the easiest for you to run? I have thought about this a lot over the years, and I think ...read more
Dealing With Difficult Topics in RPGs
(Author’s note: this article will be a bit different than the ones that I have written in the past because it is explicitly aimed at the group dynamic, not the ones running the game per se. Also, please pardon the use of block quotes; I didn’t want to ...read more
HJRP2002 Group Chargen, Choking, Gencon50 Report
HJRP2002 This episode of Happy Jacks RPG Podcast is sponsored by EasyRollerDice.com. Check out the Kickstarter for their innovative dice tray, including a staging area so only the dice you’re rolling are in the tray....read more
These Dice Ain't What They Used To Be
So, tonight I unexpectedly got to play in a 5e game. I was thrilled to do so and had just said to my wife "I really need to play D&D, it's been weeks and I miss it." Well, someone out there heard me and granted my wish. Thanks ...read more
RPG A Day 21: Which RPG does the most with the least words?
Lady Blackbird is going to rate a lot of solid mentions here, but not from me. Lady Blackbird is a fun, great game, but very stereotyped and limited in scope. Myread more