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Lewis Pulsipher

Dragon, White Dwarf, Fiend Folio



Lewis Pulsipher

Lewis Pulsipher

Dragon, White Dwarf, Fiend Folio
Worlds of Design: What Defines a RPG?
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It’s a daunting task to try to define and characterize a segment as large and diverse as tabletop role-playing games in just a few words. But here goes.
Worlds of Design: What the Future Holds for RPGS - Part 2
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Even self-proclaimed “Futurists” and science fiction authors have weak track records in forecasting the future, and I’m neither! In this concluding part, I discuss trends in actual play, and in...
Worlds of Design: What the Future Holds for RPGs - Part 1
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This is approximately the 100th “Worlds of Design” column, so a good time to consider the future of role-playing games. In this column I’ll talk about the connection with computers, and in Part 2...
Worlds of Design: Magic vs. Technology
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In connection with my discussion about differentiating science fiction and fantasy, here’s a related question: How do we tell what’s magic, and what’s technology, especially in light of A. C...
Worlds of Design: The New Heroes
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The way heroes are portrayed has changed. Multimedia previously positioned heroes as muscle-bound monsters or barely-clothed sirens. Things have changed for the better, and it affects how we think...
Worlds of Design: How Long Should Your Rulebook Be?
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The nature of tabletop RPGs is that the players can try to do anything, so it's impossible to cover every possibility in the rules. In a way your rules are like the programming of a video game...
Worlds of Design: The Benefit of Experience
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This is a discussion of how one decision in game design can make so much difference in how everything works. In this case we’re talking about RPGs, specifically how XP (experience points) are...
Worlds of Design: Baseline Assumptions of Fantasy RPGs
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You can write a set of fantasy role-playing game (FRPG) rules without specifying a setting, but there’s a default or baseline setting assumed by virtually everyone when no setting is specified...
World of Design: The Lost Art of Making Things Up
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In a previous article I shared differences between entertainment media and how it feels imagination is less often required of people today. What changed?
Worlds of Design: The Chain of Imagination
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In this article I try to rank forms of entertainment, including tabletop games, in how much imagination is needed and why they don’t always translate across different types of media.
Worlds of Design: How RPG Tools Have Changed
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I was telling my wife about GoDice (which immediately record their results electronically on an app), when she suggested an article about how RPG playing tools have changed since D&D was released...
Worlds of Design: Escaping Tolkien
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In my previous article we discussed technological differences; this article focuses on cultural differences. Perhaps the cultural differences aren’t as clear in one’s awareness, but can be very...
Worlds of Design: When Technology Changes the Game
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Any change you make from the real world will have consequences, possibly massive consequences. If you want your world to hold together, you have to figure out those consequences, which is hard to...
Worlds of Design: What's in a Name?
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Character names and where we might get them from are today’s topics. This is important insofar as we don't want to delay the start of the actual adventure because someone is trying to think of a name!
Worlds of Design: The Lost Art of Running Away
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How often does an adventuring party avoid an encounter, even run away from one? This used to be common in earlier versions of the game, but less so now. What changed?
Worlds of Design: The Cost of Trade
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This is related to world building, and also related to player characters when they choose to invest in or participate in trading activities in your world/campaign. In some rulesets the characters...
Worlds of Design: Making Megadungeons Make Sense
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When D&D originally came out Gary Gygax more or less taught GMs that they should make huge multilevel dungeons that the adventuring party would enter and loot, killing the monsters who were...
Worlds of Design: Is Combat Now Passe?
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In April 2020 my column was titled “Is Fighting Evil Passé?” Readers pointed out that it was a misleading title, and it was: my original title was “Is Fighting Evil the Focus of Your Campaign?”...
Worlds of Design: Medieval Travel & Scale
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We previously established the fundamentals of world-building; with a world’s basic rules down, it’s important to consider how you get around in that world. And travel was very different (read...
Worlds of Design: RPGs as Microcosms of Life
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When I first saw D&D I said “I hate dice games.” But I discovered that it wasn’t a “dice game,” played properly. It is a microcosm of Life: do everything you practically can to avoid having to...



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