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

Kaladesh Brews, pt. 4 – Almost Monored Vehicles

Okay, I’d love to put in Ovalchase Daredevil, but the problem is that none of the vehicles I’d like to use need crew of 4, so it would be somewhat awkward to use. So, monored it is. Okay, almost. Unlicensed Disintegration still clearly has its place in the deck.

Maybe there’s still a piece of equipment for the quite interesting lady to drive.

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Shadows over Innistrad, pt. 4 – The Mandatory Monored

Even if you are not planning on playing a monored deck, there’s a strong reason to build such a deck, because you are going to be playing against one. Interestingly enough, I didn’t see any Atarka Reds at GP Paris, but when rotation happens, we are going to be in a situation, where decks are going to need tuning in order to fight the red decks, so red is strong in the beginning.

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Oath of the Gatewatch Brews, pt. 2 – Five-Color Legends

When Hero’s Blade was spoiled earlier this year, there was some talk of using it in constructed. Mostly Modern, because of the depth of cheap legends, but somewhat in Standard. The thing is, we did get some great legends this summer…

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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

Ropecon 2014: Trail of Cthulhu, or How I Stopped Avoiding Fear and Immensely Dug Kenneth Hite’s Way of Playing Cthulhu

An essay on the session of Trail of Cthulhu I played at Ropecon, being a rather lengthy treatise on what made it work and on the merits of the rules and the GM, and on the responsibilities of the players in horror roleplaying games, and by extension, in other sorts of roleplaying games that try to engage the participants’ emotions.

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I’ve loved Trail of Cthulhu ever since I read it. The art is perfect for a Cthulhu book, Kenneth Hite—the author—really knows his Lovecraft, and the system is trimmed down to the essentials and really suits my playstyle. There are some bits that I don’t like, but are really easy to hack; overall, it’s very versatile beginning from the system right down to the Mythos monsters, so that every Keeper can make it their own. One year at Ropecon, I ran my ass off of Trail—25 hours within 48 hours—but now was my first opportunity to play it. Bonus: it was run by a woman, which I don’t get too often. This was also my first opportunity to play Cthulhu (and horror) after reading Kenneth Hite’s Nightmares of Mine (which has been updated to GURPS Horror) and his terrific essay on Cthulhu in his Dubious Shards. Continue reading