Wonky Dice: Why WHFRP 3rd Edition is Better than Star Wars

If you read my previous article on Advantage in 5e, you can probably guess that I have “opinions” on Fantasy Flight’s cute little dice systems. Opinions one might describe as “unpopular” or “hateful.”

Look, I’m not going to lecture you on why these dice are badwrongfun / not much of an improvement over binary dice systems (That’s the Angry GM’s job, and he already did a better job than I could), but I will point out how the disconnect between dice mechanics and game design made the new Star Wars FFG games take a major step backwards from where the system was at with Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying 3rd Edition.

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Is Fate an RPG?

Yes. Of course it is. That’s a stupid question. Sorry for the inflammatory title. But, the Angry GM recently raised the question of what kind of RPG it is. A question that’s been asked a dozen times and answered in about as many ways, but I’m going to take another stab at it. Because damn-it-all, I’m entitled to my very own, super-special opinion on the topic.

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More Advantages to Advantages – Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the d20

Feature image taken from here.

I have always had a bit of a love-hate relationship with the d20. That icosahedronal sonavabitch has been my ruin many a time. Hell, from the name of this blog you can probably tell that I prefer d6’s.

Part of this is an accessibility thing. Any game that prides itself on “special” dice is actively throwing up barriers to it’s entry. Everyone has d6’s. To get a d20, you need to go to a game store, pick out a set, maybe buy a couple extra d20’s in case one betrays you, roll it a few times to make sure it isn’t cursed, have a maiden true blow gently upon it, etc etc. It’s a bigger hassle than cannibalizing a game of Yahtzee is what I’m saying.

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Characterization, Action, and Resolution

Phyllotaxis_computer_modelI’ve been thinking about the core, basic mechanics of roleplaying games recently. It seems everyone has their own unique theory on the basic particles that make up a┬ároleplaying game universe, but I was taught that in order for a model to be worthwhile, it needs to offer some sort of insight. Hopefully I meet my own criteria.

To summarize, I believe there are three ‘core’ things a player does in a roleplaying game. Characterization, action, and resolution. Everything else; combat, story, adventure, is built from these three core aspects. Lets see if I can’t break this down a bit and show you what I mean.

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Counter Play

I’m a fan of “Extra Credits”. If you’re not in the know, they’re a group of video game design people that put on a cool little semi-animated web series. While their main focus is primarily on design for video games, it still has my recommendation for anyone interested in any game design. In one of their more recent videos, they talked about a concept called “Counter Play.” The basic description is that abilities in a game should exist to do more than just make the game interesting for the player using them; they should actively enhance the experience of everyone playing the game.

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