Skip to main content

Posts

Stop Saying "Broken"

Fellow roleplayers: please stop using the word "broken" to describe a game rule when you actually mean "I don't like it."


The quote above is part of a longer post I came across on an RPG fan board. The full post is several paragraphs long, but the quote I snipped summarizes the post, and also demonstrates my objection. The writer indicates that the game's combat system puts "everything in the narrative" and is "more like an [sic] semi-interactive theater scene" than what the writer wanted to find. For the specific game the writer was commenting on, these observations mean the game is working as designed.

If someone says a rule is "broken" I expect to see a mathematical or logical error that prevents the rule from working at all. Here's an example:
Your Constitution score ranges from +5 (tough) to -2 (frail). When you receive an injury, divide the injury points you receive by your Constitution score and round down, and subtr…
Recent posts

The Six Silent Circles: A Villainous Secret Society for 7th Sea

If you need more mad scientists in your 7th Sea game (and who doesn't?) I've got you covered.

A society of Théan scholars, united by their intellect, their ambition, and their hunger for knowledge, has dedicated itself to a thorough study of the fundamental principles of the universe. These visionaries hope that with the proper application of research and logic, they can truly understand their world.

And then conquer it.
The Six Silent Circles are a villainous secret society that your Heroes can battle across the breadth of Théah. This article describes the history, the structure, and the methods of the Circles, and includes eleven malevolent Villains, three clandestine operations, and eighteen story hooks.
Will your Heroes unravel the conspiracy? Or will they become victims of the dreadful experiments of the Six Silent Circles?


Click here to visit this title on DriveThruRPG.

The Occult Significance of...the Bitcoin Bubble

Somewhere out in the universe is a society who has realized that you don't need to build a giant space fleet to defend your planet from interstellar invaders. All you need to do is broadcast a signal that causes everyone else to exterminate themselves.

The link between a lethal interstellar signal and the recent cryptocurrency bubble is so obvious that someone has already taken the necessary preventative steps, and Bitcoin prices are falling again. But it's worthwhile to go through the evidence, so that we all know what we're facing.


The first modern search for extraterrestrial signals was called "Project Ozma." In 1960, Cornell University astronomer Frank Drake used a radio telescope in Green Bank, West Virginia to scan deep space for messages from our galactic neighbors. He didn't find anything--or, at least, he didn't think he found anything.

Anyone trying to make sense in a giant pile of data is likely to be in a state where they're receptive to p…

The Occult Significance of...the Earth's Circumference

It's astonishing to me that the Flat Earth movement is still alive and well, here in 2018. (Then again, observing what people believe over the past couple of years has been alarming.) I stay away from Flat Earth web sites for sake of my mental welfare, but I asked myself where I'd start if I wanted to challenge our tyrannical round-Earth overlords.
If I were going to build a conspiracy theory around the shape of the Earth, I'd start with Eratosthenes. Eratosthenes is one of the first people we know of to calculate a more-or-less accurate measurement of the circumference of the Earth, back around 240 BCE, though I'm prepared at any time to learn that some Polynesian astronomer (for example) did it a thousand years prior. Eratosthenes was no one-hit wonder; he was a polymath, a poet, and a pioneer of geography. He made attempts at drawing comprehensive maps of the known world, and attempts at calculating the distance to the Moon, the Sun, and the diameter of the Sun. Thi…

The Occult Significance of...NASCAR

I usually inflict my weakness for shoddy scholarship and unjustified conclusions on my roleplaying group, but since I'm not running a game in Our Actual Earth now, I'm going to spin a few historical conspiracies here on my blog.

Naturally, I'm going to start with stock car racing.

What started as a few moonshine smugglers chasing speed in the Appalachians is now a vast industry, supported by the love of fans and the dollars of corporate sponsors. It's a behemoth, big enough to conceal a multitude of secrets. Undoubtedly, there's an ossuary's worth of mundane criminal and scandalous skeletons in NASCAR's closet.

But as roleplayers and gamemasters, we can dig deeper.


The original moonshiners probably drew their taste and talent for illegal liquor from their Scots-Irish heritage. These families were the descendants of immigrants from the Ulster province of Ireland, and when they crossed the Atlantic, they brought along their knowledge of uisce beatha, which is…

End of 2017 Update

No substantial updates to announce, but I'm still playtesting and updating Save the Universe. Most of my work is going into two areas:

New character drama and development rules. I feel like I'm approaching something like a final solution here, and if it pays off, that'll be the last of the heavy systems development.Collecting GM guidance. Playing through this game has taught me how to use this game and how not to use this game, and I'm trying to capture it all so that a new player can learn from my mistakes. My goal is to finish rules development by the middle of the year and then produce a clean, legible manuscript. After that, it'll be time to figure out how to publish this thing. In the meantime, I plan to test the game at Marmalade Dog and probably at Origins, so if you're there and you'd like to Save the Universe, come find me.
I'm halfway through the third draft of my novel City of Crystal, and that's going to be the last major revision. It sti…

Blades in the Dark: Undying Revenge

To prepare for running Blades in the Dark at conventions, I wrote up a few scores so that I'd have a few pre-prepared options for trouble the PCs could get into. In case it's useful to anyone else, I'm going to present one of my convention scores here.
Basil and Diera Courtland are respectable-looking con artists who've been running a scam on the wealthy and gullible inhabitants of Doskvol. They claimed they had developed a process for filtering electroplasm through prisms into different hues. Each hue of electroplasm was supposedly useful for a different purpose: green electroplasm would cure illnesses, while violet electroplasm would restore youth, and rose electroplasm induced a state of perfect bliss. They approached likely patrons, used a little chemical trickery to produce convincing effects, and asked for financial backing so they could perfect their process and move into mass production.

Their scam had started to show encouraging results when a spirit well erupt…