For my new playtest of Agents of the O.D.D., I'm running a series of one-shots and short arcs, linked into a campaign. Some of that is my own material (like the intro adventure from the currently available edition of Agents), but most of it is adapted from published adventures, including several from Michael Prescott's excellent … Continue reading On a mission from O.D.D.
I love roleplaying games with tons of weird little magic items and strange oddities. They're the secret sauce in games like Into the Odd, Numenera, and (since I realized what those games were doing that I liked so much) my own in-progress game Odd Luck Charms. I think those sorts of things work even better … Continue reading Collecting magic items with a day job
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
Yesterday, my group took Grave for a spin for the third time. I knew that they were nearing the end of their journey through the Veins of the Earth, so I prepared a number of other locations for them to visit next, unsure of which they'd pick. An ever surprising lot, they picked the absolute … Continue reading Playtesting the dullest demonslaying
Much to my own surprise, I think I'm about to finish Grave—a variant on Ben Milton's Knave, built for soulslike games. Today was only the second session I've run with these rules, but after the session, the players generally agreed that it's pretty close to done. I shouldn't be so surprised, though: The rules don't … Continue reading Design Diary: One (more) foot in the Grave
I've been wondering aloud for months about how (and whether) to fix the rules for my soulslike game, Exhumed—but learning that its working title is taken by yet another metal band may have been the final straw. ("Titles that inadvertently turn out to be taken by metal bands" may be the only consistent thing in … Continue reading Grave: Hacking Knave for soulslike adventure
I'm still sorting through the trickiest design issues in Exhumed, my soulslike tabletop RPG: how frequently characters act, and the options available to them when they do act, as I wrote awhile back. I got to try some ideas in my last playtest, and have been approaching various problems with different kinds of actions atomically, … Continue reading Exhumed design diary: Action-packed minutiae
When I last wrote about playtesting Exhumed, I lamented that it seemed impossible to deliver a fun experience to my friends and whip my rules into shape. I had been trying to test so many different mechanics across so many sessions that each session was getting bogged down with the fallout of experimental fixes that … Continue reading Lessons from playtesting once in a blue (super wolf blood) moon
The greatest design problem I face with my soulslike tabletop RPG, Exhumed, is getting the feel right for the action economy—that is, the rules for how frequently each character can act, and what they can use those actions to do. When I showed readers online the initial approach, the most common reaction was doubt that … Continue reading Designing a Soulslike Action Economy