Player Agency vs. Narrative Control

Player Agency is when as a player, your decisions matter… they have weight and consequences, and play out into the future in the game.  Narrative Control is when the player can control what goes on in the world, including what the consequences are or whether to accept them. As I view them, they are incompatible despite the […]

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Niven’s Law and Fantasy Roleplaying

Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology – Niven’s Converse to Clarke’s Law In my last post I discussed the application of Clarke’s Law to SF Roleplaying, and how too zealous an application can mar the SF feel of an ostensibly SF setting, by making tech seem magically limitless.  It might be objected that […]

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Clarke’s Law and SF Roleplaying

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. – Clarke’s Third Law Any technology indistinguishable from magic might as well be fantasy. – Macy’s RPG Corollary Old-time SF author E.C. Tubb died on September 10th, 2010, which prompted me to begin reading his most famous series: Dumarest of Terra.  Dumarest was the inspiration for several  features […]

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Kapow! Playtesting Continues

We’ve been playing Kapow! and overall I’d say it’s going well: the players seem to be engaged and having fun.  At the end of one session, in which as a result of one of his character’s Complications it was revealed that unbeknown to him, his character had a 20-year old daughter, Doug gave it a […]

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Super-Simple Combat Maneuvers

I’m a fan of players being able to do more things in combat than just tick off damage against opponents.  Things like disarming, tripping, forcing the opponent to yield ground, binding their weapon and so forth add a lot to the feel of combat and the tactical options.  I’m not a big fan of most […]

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Randomized Initiative

Randomized initiative is a hold-over from wargaming that I’ve never particularly cottoned to.  Originally D&D didn’t even have it.  Turn order wasn’t even specified, leaving it up to the referee to figure out.  I’m sure Chainmail had rules, but the d20 vs. AC “alternate” system that was in the books which everybody actually used made […]

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Unlucky 13

I generally like the idea of fumbles in games, being both true to life and literature, although they can be a problem if they’re too frequent or severe.  A fair number of published systems would have a tenth or more of an army incapacitating themselves over the course of a battle. Another thing that I […]

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D&D Alignment

Advanced Gaming & Theory: Pet Peeve: Detect Alignment I THINK THAT EVERY body has a “pet-peeve” or something that bugs them about a game system itself. For me, that pet-peeve was largely spells used for detecting alignment. Now, this stems from playing the game incorrectly when our group was still learning, and not detecting our […]

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