I like RPGs to move fast. I only have a few hours per session, only once every month or two. I want stuff to happen. I don't want to get bogged down too much in exposition or referencing, so I tend to run games with simple, easy-to-remember rules, and very little required setting knowledge. Exhumed … Continue reading The more you know
Please pardon me while I take a break from obsessing over game design long enough to obsess over graphic design. Specifically, typefaces. If one of my students had turned in a 40-page book in a novelty typeface back when I was teaching design classes, I would've docked their grade for it. I gave myself a pass … Continue reading Fonts of wisdom
I ran two sessions of Agents of the O.D.D. at Metatopia, a convention geared toward playtesting games in development. The feedback was a mix of things that made me go, "Great, I was planning on doing that already!" and things that made me go, "Hmm, I'm really going to have to think about that." Some key takeaways: More … Continue reading Metatopia Design Diary: Agents of the O.D.D.
Last weekend, I ran my first playtest of Nighttide (and the Gauge system on which it's based), a diceless gothic horror game inspired by Bloodborne and Castlevania. It was a lot of fun! Also, it didn't work. That session did suggest that it could work, though, and that this game may be worth developing into something more detailed than a page-long scenario … Continue reading Metatopia Design Diary: Nighttide
Late last night, I uploaded my Cryptid Jam submission, Agents of the O.D.D., a game of (paranormal) paranormal investigators. The implied setting is something of a mashup of Hellboy, Planetary, and The Laundry Files, with rules based on Into the Odd and Electric Bastionland. It's got 100 agent profiles, 20 arcane objects, 1 short scenario … Continue reading Agents of the O.D.D. now out in the field
The Your Move Jam posed a challenge: Design a "Powered by the Apocalypse" (a.k.a. "PbtA") game with only a single move. I'd been sitting on an idea for just such a game for a long time: Gauge, a diceless, token-based game about surviving in hostile environments with tight resources. I'd been sitting on it because … Continue reading Gauge: A diceless RPG about survival
I found out about the One Hit Point jam pretty late, but I loved the concept: All characters in your game must only have one hit point, and must never gain any more. So, with only a few hours here and there to whip something together, I created a very brief game about very brief … Continue reading Hit + Die: A 1 page, 1 HP RPG
After five months of playtesting, I'm finally calling Grave (more or less) done. This game offers a minimalist D&D-inspired rule set for soulslike fantasy adventures, built on Ben Milton's tried-and-true Knave. Like Knave, it only offers hints of an implied setting, so it works best when paired with "Old School Renaissance" (OSR) adventure modules and … Continue reading Grave 1.0 release notes & alternate rules
My second game jam submission in a week (and, well, ever) is Aetherway, for the delightful Goon Jam featuring hacks of Nate Treme's Tunnel Goons . It's meant to be a companion and/or conversion for Troika!, but I think it's potentially useful to anybody who would like d66 tables of strange travelers and otherworldly portals—and … Continue reading Aetherway: Tunnel Goons meets Troika!
I submitted something to a game jam for the first time this week: Advanced Let's Play Pretend 2nd Edition, for OnRamp Jam by Paul Beakley of The Indie Game Reading Club. The purpose of the jam was to provide a small game—no more than two sides of a page in length—that experienced GMs could use … Continue reading Advanced Let’s Play Pretend 2nd Edition