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Lewis Pulsipher

Dragon, White Dwarf, Fiend Folio

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Lewis Pulsipher

Lewis Pulsipher

Dragon, White Dwarf, Fiend Folio
Worlds of Design: Is There a Default Sci-Fi Setting?
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The science fiction default setting is less clear than the “Late Medieval plus some Tolkien” fantasy default, but let’s talk about it.
Worlds of Design: Which Came First, the Character or Their Backstory?
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Should you create an elaborate backstory for a character or should the character’s adventures tell their own story?
Worlds of Design: Death from Above
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Introducing flight to your fantasy battles? There are serious consequences for how it will affect your world.
Worlds of Design: Write it Down!
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Hector Berlioz, the 19th century French composer, said “every composer knows the anguish and despair occasioned by forgetting ideas which one had no time to write down.” Just as Abraham Lincoln...
Worlds of Design: Game Design Rules of Thumb - Part 2
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In the first article I outlined some rules of thumb I think are important to keep in mind when designing games. Here's a few more.
Worlds of Design: Game Design Rules of Thumb - Part 1
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There are plenty of rules for game designers and even more for role-playing games. Listed here are principles, extreme likelihoods, and observations of behavior, including some "laws."
Worlds of Design: The Ways of War
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I’m going to briefly describe the two major strategic doctrines of warfare, which can be oversimplified to “fight vs maneuver,” then try to apply them to the mostly-tactical nature of many RPGs.
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...

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