Just a couple of cool things from the radar the past few weeks:
Paizo has released Pathfinder Unchained. I don’t own the book, but from what I gather it contains a lot of house-rule-ish options for the game. Looking very much forward to see if there is stuff here which might speed up fights and reduce the time spent on rules and book-keeping!
Esteemed game designer Monte Cook is creating a new RPG for kids, called No thank you, Evil. A Kickstarter is launching May 13th. I’ve had success running RPG Kids, and I’m very curious about how to improve on this.
The Cypher system (the rules engine behind both Numenera and The Strange RPGs) is about to be released in its own book. This sounds like an excellent idea, because for some reason neither the Numenera nor The Strange settings really fired me up. The Cypher system itself, on the other hand, seems to me like a neat and clean set of core rules suited for most any RPG setting. So, cutting the system loose from campaign fluff will definitely make it easier to stir up your own campaign based on Cypher!
Yeah, and then there’s this :)
How much damage does this cup do?
John Wick, the author of Play Dirty, just wrote up an interesting blog post where he attempts to draw the line between board games and RPGs.
I’ll try to sum up what he’s saying: If a game can be successfully played without roleplaying, it is not an RPG (e.g. Chess), if it can’t it is an RPG (e.g. Call of Cthulhu). Thus D&D editions 1 through 4 (5e does have a tiny mechanic to promote roleplaying) are not RPGs.
Moreover, rules are only in the way unless they facilitate one of two things:
- Reward choices which are consistent with the characters motivations.
- Further the story.
In conclusion: In a true RPG, game balance does not matter, only spotlight.
It’s certainly possible to quibble with Johns line of reasoning, but that doesn’t make it less insightful. I, for one, have endured endless hours of discussion trying to iron out the perceived imbalances introduced by a single spell, say Lead Blades. Imagine spending that time in the spotlight instead, advancing an intriguing plot? Regrettably, I can’t reclaim that time, but I can definitely try to avoid making these mistakes in the future. Avoiding half of them would be awesome, too!
Kallmark, a harsh land with long, cold winters and short, cool summers. Mostly stubborn humans and easygoing dwarves inhabit the settlements, with the occasional tiefling and stray hobbit. Kallmark is not the place to live if your hobbies are heraldry and celebrity spotting. On the other hand, if you don’t mind subsisting on taiga onions, lichen and those tiny, rock-hard ‘taters. And you know your way around in a blizzard, then Kallmark will probably suffice.
While waiting for my copy of Players Handbook to arrive, I’ve read through the basic rules of Dungeons & Dragons 5e. It seems to me that, all in all, the rules have lost some weight when compared to Pathfinder, which is very good. But, some aspects of the rules are still a bit chubby. Take the passage about Dropping to 0 Hit Points on page 76 of the PDF, for instance.
its online. the loose cannon. the berzerker trex. lava on the rocks. blues in the bathtub. crap in the crib. juice in the fridge. let’s go, baby.