Saturday, July 31, 2010

No News Roundup

Since I'm out of town at Bisbeecon XI, there will be no Saturday News Roundup this week. Watch for a full con report after I recover.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Art of DMing: Making Published Adventures Your Own (Part I)

One of my biggest failings as an early GM was a sort of fear to deviate from published material.  If it was on the page, that was what happened, come hell or high water.  Oh, sure, I read the occasional advice column that talked about tailoring the adventure to your PCs, but it was always couched in terms of matching the adventure to their capabilities.  I never had a good example to go by for really integrating a published module into a campaign.  Fortunately, I was able to learn by trial and error, but I thought I'd try and put down some of the process here in the hopes that it can help someone's campaign out of where I was stuck for many years - or open up other GMs to the idea of using published adventures.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Saturday News Roundup

It's time again to steal inspiration from the headlines (and anything else I've come across this week)!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Review: Inception

Maybe it's bad form for me to start off my first review on this blog like this, but if you have not yet seen Inception, then you should stop reading this review and go make plans to see it.  Don't look for other reviews, don't try to find out what it's about, just go and see it.  Not only is it a great movie in its own right, it's got a lot of inspiration for gamers.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hacking Fate: Capers, Part 1

The Fate system from Evil Hat is possibly one of my favorite modern RPG systems.  For me, it hits the sweet spot of mechanical complexity, where players have interesting tactical choices to make in a conflict, but aren't bogged down by needless complexity.  Each iteration the game goes through refines it even more, from its beginnings as a set of diced rules for Amber to the latest expression, the Dresden Files RPG.

I am also partial to a good caper: heists, grifts, and cons make for great viewing.  Until the Leverage RPG comes out, though, there's not much in the way of support in the RPG world for that type of game - but Fate's aspects seem perfect for the kinds of problems that grifters and thieves run into, and giving the players power to make declarations can produce a more involved caper than if the GM has to make everything up on his own.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Inspiration: Gunkanjima

If you're looking for inspirational images for post-apocalyptic games, check out this article on Japan's Gunkanjima ("Battleship Island").  The island - properly named Hashima - was centered around coal mining, and was abandoned in the mid-70s after the country largely moved to petroleum for its energy needs.  

The pictures of the decaying ruins are brilliant and evocative, bringing to mind Fallout-like scenes of devastation.  (Check out the picture of the discarded doll.)  It also underscores how fragile human construction really is, if it's not maintained.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Actual Play: Back to Basics

Recently, I came to an important realization about my choice of games: I have a greater tolerance for system complexity when I am a player than when I am a GM.  Unfortunately, that realization came several sessions into our Fantasycraft game.

Fantasycraft is an excellent system with a lot of pieces that I like, but it hovers on the edge of my desired complexity level (its predecessor, Spycraft, was just over that edge), falling somewhere inside "games I enjoy playing" but just past "games I enjoy running".  The upshot of this realization was that our group had a talk about what we were doing and where we were going, and of the various options put forward we decided to go back to where it all began - well, for me, anyway.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Inspiration: Zhangjiajie

This striking photo proves that the real world can be as amazing as any fantasy painting.  The location depicted is Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in China.  To me, it looks like some sort of lost world begging to be explored by pulp adventurers: can you honestly say that a pterosaur would look at all out of place gliding between these stone pillars?

An Introduction

Just who is Dr. Nuncheon? (And why should we listen to him?)

I am a roleplaying gamer of no particular consequence, with sufficient delusions of grandeur to think that someone, somewhere, may be interested in what I have to say on the topic.  In this, I am no different from any other RPG blogger.

Here, you will find:

  • Articles on setting design, rules hacks, and whatever other aspects of gaming happen to catch my fancy.
  • Reviews, not just of gaming products but of anything that might be of interest to gamers: books, films, software, and anything else I get my hands on.
  • Inspiration in the form of pictures, news articles, and links collected here.
  • Actual Play experiences from the campaigns I'm involved with right now, served up with reflection and self-critique to hopefully make them worthwhile to people not involved in the games.