AI Rights, Bodies and Mortality: a Game of Shock:

To my tastes, science fiction in RPGs and television is too often about adventure and excitement. The scifi that grabs me, though, is about ideas and their impact on life and society and thought. Joshua A. C. Newman‘s RPG Shock: Social Science Fiction is built on this very premise. I tried it out with a couple of people I’d never played with, and who hadn’t had any experience with games as Forge-y as this. The experience was two-sided: fun and cerebral on the one hand, heavy and somewhat disconnected on the other. Continue reading

From 13th Age to Fate Core: Same World, Different Systems

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I started a 13th Age game late this summer. I like the world and I admire the design, so I wanted to try it out. The sessions, however, were quite far apart, which was a clear signal that something wasn’t quite right. I wanted to continue the story of the characters and talked the players into converting them to Fate Core; now, I want to share my observations on how system matters. Continue reading

A Paean to Ropecon

If you ever went to Ropecon in Dipoli you know that the place is hard to forget, with its architecture of stone, glass, light wood, dark metal, and its hostility to straight angles. It offered a milieu for roleplaying (and other things) that felt home-made, welcoming, and original, but still professional enough. It wasn’t perfect and like everything that’s dear, you both loved and hated parts of it. The sucky bits were parts of the charm, so much so that I can’t even bear to write anything stronger than “sucky bits”.

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Ropecon 2016: The Scenario Contest

A game of Yövuoro (The Night Shift).

A game of Yövuoro (The Night Shift).

Again, there was a short-form scenario contest at Ropecon. I managed to play in six of them, including all three that received a prize. I gave some feedback to the designers on individual games, but now that I can see the bigger picture, I’d like to point on some commonalities and offer critique that I hope will lead to more fun for everyone in the future. Continue reading

Assassination in Three Hours — Blades in the Dark

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In mere three hours, we created our group of scoundrels and planned and executed an assassination. John Harper’s roleplaying game Blades in the Dark, dear readers, is awesome. This is my experience of our first session. Note that this is not a review nor an analysis of the design, just a description of a subjective experience. Continue reading

Lovecraft, Buddha, and Me: On the Relevance of H. P. Lovecraft’s Vision

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(The source of the image. Those statues are all sold out.)

Lovecraftian horror is a staple of horror roleplaying, but it has its detractors as well. They don’t see anything frightening about Cthulhu and some also try to argue intellectually that no one else should either. I raise some questions about it, offer some answers — including one that says that questions are the answer — and venture into a territory I’ve not seen dealt with before: what happens to a Buddhist who meets a Lovecraftian monstrosity? Continue reading

The difference between CoCian and BWian philosophies of skills

Roleplaying games can represent stuff about real life that you don’t necessarily stop to think about. I’ll write about one here, the difference between how Call of Cthulhu and Burning Wheel handle skills, and what those differences say about human capabilities. And why it matters quite a lot to me, personally. Continue reading

What does it mean to say yes?

You might be aware of the phrase “say yes”. It was brought to wider roleplaying consciousness by Vincent Baker in Dogs in the Vineyard (DitV) back in 2004. I’ve heard some misinterpretations about saying yes. And note: this post is not specific or maybe even applicable to DitV.

Saying yes does not mean complying to everything the (other) players want. I’m also unsure whether it fits every game out there.

But here’s an example of saying yes in action.

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