View Profile: CharlesRyan - Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
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About CharlesRyan

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Date of Birth
July 31
About CharlesRyan
About Me:
I'm a novelist and gaming grandee. Ex-Brand Manager for D&D at WotC, ex-designer and editor at WotC, and past work at Last Unicorn, Pinnacle, and Chameleon Eclectic. Plus a ton of freelance work for a variety of games. My recent novel, The Mason of New Orleans, follows the excitement of a modern gamer who ends up in 12th Century Europe. Drop by my web site at or gimme a follow on Twitter at charlesmryan.
Kansas City area
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Over 40
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Charles M Ryan (no dot)
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Overland Park


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Staring Directly Into the Invisible Sun -- A Review Wednesday, 14th November, 2018 07:10 PM


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Tuesday, 25th June, 2013

  • 08:28 PM - CAFRedblade mentioned CharlesRyan in post Sell me on Numenera
    Thanks CharlesRyan, I'll have to point my Local Store to their Canadian Distributor and see if they can get a copy to look at. I'll have my books on the way in August, but I'm curious to see what's changed from the playtest docs to the final system, if any.
  • 04:49 PM - Morrus mentioned CharlesRyan in post Sell me on Numenera
    In an attempt not to say anything I shouldn't: and gives a good gameplay summary. I don't want to speak for him, but I think he was asking for peoples' opinions, not links to promotional material. :) @Corrosive , I don't think you're going to get what you're after until after Monte Cook lets the NDA'd people talk about it. I guess a related question, then, is: does anybody know when that will be? It's gone to the printer and will be on sale very soon. Hey, @CharlesRyan , do you have any info on that?

Thursday, 6th June, 2013

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Friday, 27th October, 2017

  • 09:29 AM - TrickyUK quoted CharlesRyan in post Numenera 2: The Kickstarter Is Live!
    Tricky, those are all fair points. But here are a couple of others: • You're after the RPG books only; that's fine. But one of them is a KS exclusive--you won't be able to buy The Trilling Shard. • We ship UK orders from Devon, so shipping won't be that much. • Busiest two days of the campaign are underway now. Who knows what else we might add? It's perfectly OK, of course, if this campaign isn't for you--but I hope you'll give it another look before it ends tomorrow! --Charles I’m definitely intrigued by the final mystery book. Hope that the reveal isn’t timed too late (noting time difference in UK) for me to give 1 final consideration.

Monday, 29th February, 2016

  • 08:05 AM - pemerton quoted CharlesRyan in post Monte Cook On Fumble Mechanics
    Is this simply some confusion of the meaning of the term "major screw up"? I - and I think pemerton - interpret the term "screw up" to relate directly to the incompetence of the acting individual. You, it seems, do not? If an unfortunate set of circumstances cause something to go wrong - even disastrously wrong - I don't think of myself as having "screwed up"; I just think of myself as unlucky. Maybe it is because I am English, pemerton is ( think) Australian and you are (I think) American that we have differing assumed meanings for the same phrase?I am Australian, and English is my first language. I take the phrase major screw-up to refer to a situation where a person has screwed something up. (In Australia we would tend to say "stuff up" rather than "screw up" - in Australian English, "screw" is synonymous with "f***", and "screw-up" is therefore a little bit closer to "f***-up" and hence not quite as polite as "stuff up".) And here is Charles Ryan using the phrase in the same way: ...

Sunday, 28th February, 2016

  • 05:34 PM - Imaro quoted CharlesRyan in post Monte Cook On Fumble Mechanics
    My apologies. I took you to be saying that when you said that such a conception of fumbles is overly narrow. No worries, but no... I was saying that many posters in this thread had, IMO, a very narrow concept of what a "fumble" was... this was the part of Monte's essay that I was in agreement with. See, here, you seem to be agreeing with Monte Cook also - because you are just repeating what Charles Ryan has said is the whole point of the blog - that treating nat 1 as a major-screw-up is not a good approach, and is too narrow a conception of what might happen on a (so-called) "fumble". I disagree with your interpretation of what he is saying... that he's saying ALWAYS treating it as a major-screw-up (that is based on the character doing something wrong) is not a good approach. He readily admits that Monte in running his games uses both approaches... see the quotes below... I don't want to put words in Monte's mouth, but let me start by addressing posters that think Monte is advocating that ...

Saturday, 27th February, 2016

  • 04:28 PM - Imaro quoted CharlesRyan in post Monte Cook On Fumble Mechanics
    The point is that this is how Monte Cook is using the term in his blog: the GM actually incorporates some version of the joke into the actual narrative of the game—that is to say, that Bruce’s character said something foolish or untoward If you agree with Monte, Charles and the Cypher rules that a fumble (nat 1) is not necessarily this sort of "major screw-up" then why are you arguing against those who are similarly expressing agreement, and/or who agree with you and Monte that "major screw-up" style fumbles don't make for particularly good RPGing? Ok... just because Monte uses a term such as a "fumble" in a certain way, doesn't mean he is using it correctly (as shown by the different views in this very thread on what a fumble is)... As to what you quoted Charles Ryan posting... EDIT (Emphasis Mine): Don't do that, nowhere in this thread have I claimed that major screw-up style fumbles don't make for particularly good RPGing... oh and by the way... THIS... is that badwrongfun implication I tal...
  • 05:03 AM - pemerton quoted CharlesRyan in post Monte Cook On Fumble Mechanics
    Regardless of how you want to characterize it, the truth is that these complications - however plausible - are introduced into the fiction at that moment that action is attempted. <snip> indeed it is the missed bow shot that conjures them into being.This makes no sense. And the first sentence equivocates on the meaning of the word "action" The bow shot is an action that occurs in the fiction, and the missed bow shot is an event that occurs in the fiction. These are, therefore, imaginary, imagined actions and events. They have no actual causal powers - but causal results can be imagined in the fiction, with extrapolation within the fiction being constrained by various imagined causal laws. Such results might typically include the arrow landing on the ground and breaking, or the arrow sticking in a tree next to the intended target, or the arrow hitting an unintended person, etc. I doubt that there is a single Cypher System GM or player who has ever imagined that, within the fiction, the...

Wednesday, 24th February, 2016

  • 06:37 PM - Celebrim quoted CharlesRyan in post Monte Cook On Fumble Mechanics
    I'll put my money where my mouth is: Based on your example, here are ten possible "on a 1" outcomes that are neither character incompetence nor "dragons out of the blue": Sure. Obviously, "dragons out of the blue" was meant as a humorous stand in for some actual likely complication to draw attention to what I thought the problem was. Remember that rainstorm yesterday? Looks like your bowstring got wet--it's snapped. "Weapon breaks" is a pretty traditional fumble. Is failing to maintain your equipment properly something you completely divorce from PC competence. Tell a Marine drill sergeant about that theory. (Speaking of rain) It starts to rain. Everything gets a little bit harder. Well, unless you are fighting a fire elemental... and what exactly does "everything gets a little bit harder" mean? If you slip and fall in the mud, is that something that is completely divorced from PC incompetence? You hit the orc. Unfortunatly, the damage is superficial--but the orc stu...

Tuesday, 23rd February, 2016

  • 09:27 PM - Celebrim quoted CharlesRyan in post Monte Cook On Fumble Mechanics
    Hi, all-- Howdy. Thanks for stopping by. Which brings me to the crux of what I think is the disagreement here (or at least 70% of the disagreement): What does the word "fumble" mean? To some people, it means "a result with more than routine negative consequences--something that doesn't just maintain the status quo, but directly increases the challenge for the players." If that's you, you can stop arguing against Monte: You agree with him. You're just using the word "fumble" differently. But I think most people interpret the word "fumble" to mean "a major screw-up." I think you are right about how most people use the word. What I want you to notice is that "a major screw-up" and "something that doesn't just maintain the status quo, but directly increases the challenge for the players" are largely synonymous definitions. When you screw up, it's because you make things worse for yourself. I'm not sure it matters why that happens, per se, as for example we don't as an audience tend...
  • 05:39 PM - Aldarc quoted CharlesRyan in post Monte Cook On Fumble Mechanics
    (By the way, Monte's use of "Bruce" as his example wasn't coincidental. Bruce Cordell's ability to roll many, many 1s in a single game session is unparalleled.)This just makes me want to see Bruce Cordell and Wil Wheaton as players in the same RP campaign.

Tuesday, 2nd July, 2013

  • 05:07 PM - Mercurius quoted CharlesRyan in post Sell me on Numenera
    Numenera is 416 pages. That's 416 pages of Awesome. So of that 416 pages, how much is directly setting related ("fluff")? How much is indirectly setting related ("flavor") and how much is pure game material ("crunch")? I see there is a worldbook coming out next year, which I'll likely get. But I just want to make sure the book has at least a significant degree of "fluff" and "flavor" and isn't just all "crunch." Thanks.

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