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About lewpuls

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Date of Birth
January 22, 1951 (68)
About lewpuls
About Me:
See Wikipedia: "Lewis Pulsipher", "Britannia (board game)", "archomental".

Lewis Pulsipher, Ph.D. (military and diplomatic history, Duke University)
·designer of Britannia (1986, 1987, 1991, 2006, 2008), Dragon Rage (1982 and 2011), Valley of the Four Winds (1980), Swords & Wizardry (1979), Sea Kings (2015), Lew Pulsipher's Doomstar (2016, video (PC, Mac, Linux)); Eurasia (title may change) (forthcoming from Worthington), Germania (forthcoming from Plastic Soldier Company, UK), Seas of Gold (forthcoming from Excalibre)
·Industry Insider Guest of Honor, GenCon 2013
·Online audiovisual game design courses: https://www.udemy.com/u/drlewispulsipher
·Wikipedia entries: "Lewis Pulsipher"; "Britannia (board game)"; "Archomental"
·Google+ Game Design: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+Pulsiphergames
·Author of "Game Design: How to Create Video and Tabletop Games, Start to Finish", August 2012http://www.mcfarlandpub.com/book-2.php?id=978-0-7864-6952-9; electronic versions also available at Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Books-a-Million
·pulsiphergames.com
·YouTube Game Design channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/LewGameDesign
·Twitter: @lewpuls (https://twitter.com/lewpuls) https://twitter.com/lewpuls
·Game design blog: http://pulsiphergamedesign.blogspot.com/ and http://boardgamegeek.com/blog/435/pulsipher-game-design
·google.com/+LewisPulsipher
Location:
Gainesville, FL
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Male
Age Group:
Over 40
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If you can be contacted on social networks, feel free to mention it here.

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google.com/+LewisPulsipher
Twitter:
lewpuls
YouTube:
http://youtube.com/LewGameDesign
My Game Details

Details of games currently playing and games being sought.

Town:
Gainesville
State:
Florida
Country:
USA
Game Details:
RPGs: First Edition D&D, willing to try 5th, have played them all.

I design board and card games, most well-known are Britannia, Dragon Rage' latest is Doomstar (actually a video game in format). Looking for playtesters for card games and board wargames.

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Who Playtested This Anyway? Friday, 14th June, 2019 10:29 PM

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Thursday, 31st March, 2005
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My Game Details
Town:
Gainesville
State:
Florida
Country:
USA
Game Details:
RPGs: First Edition D&D, willing to try 5th, have played them all.

I design board and card games, most well-known are Britannia, Dragon Rage' latest is Doomstar (actually a video game in format). Looking for playtesters for card games and board wargames.

Thursday, 13th June, 2019


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Friday, 10th May, 2019

  • 12:37 PM - Blue mentioned lewpuls in post Worlds of Design: RPGs in Just Six Words
    I'd differentiate between an elevator pitch - a quick, short sell to hook people into the idea of the setting, and what a DM needs to run that setting with consistency. You need both. But they serve different goals. If I had just six words, I wouldn't describe the mundane, but what makes it different. Some of lewpuls examples are really good at that - evocative and makes you want to play there. (And the ones that aren't are more a limitation of trying to be more inclusive in the description that it waters down the sell, but since he was going for the full description that's not a weakness, just a different goal with six words.)

Saturday, 16th February, 2019

  • 02:36 AM - pemerton mentioned lewpuls in post How Did I Become a Grognard?
    I've always hated the idea of Clerics who worship some nebulous concept like good or law rather than a deity, and I dislike how D&D has pulled away from alignments overall. In an essay from the late 70s, published in White Dwarf, Lewis Pulsipher (who posts here as lewpuls) wrote that there are no major gods other than the Lords of Law and Chaos. It's clear that early D&D approached religion/divinity through the lens of alignment also - you can see this in Gygax's AD&D, ini the entry for Candles of Invocation (p 140), which says that they "are dedicated to the pantheon of gods of one of the nine alignments." I think the change in focus for morality/religion from alignment as semi-abstract, pulp/Moorcock-influenced Law vs Chaos to fully-realised deities and religious practices is part of the pulling away from alignment. A game like Ruenquest exemplified this at an early stage in fantasy RPG evolution. The first discussion of it in the D&D context that I know of is the Dragon article "For King and Country" (no 101, 1985).

Thursday, 31st January, 2019

  • 10:38 AM - pemerton mentioned lewpuls in post Introducing Complications Without Forcing Players to Play the "Mother May I?" Game
    ...character not be aware of all the risks and possible complications that may or may not arise on a failure. That is why I disagree, very strongly, with the idea that risks and complications should all be made transparent to the PC, (well at least at my table). Imagine that happened in chess, would not make for a thrilling game. :erm: EDIT: Further thought has me believe we might be disagreeing over the use of secret backstory, which I know is not your preferred style of play, as secret backstory is one thing that may provide unseen/unexpected complications. Although, I'd argue, I can just as easily make a roll on a Complication's table. I'm not generally a big fan of a Complications Table either, although I'll accept that - depending on details - such a notion might sit somewhere on a spectrum that bleeds into a damage roll. You're correct about the "secret backstory" issue. And the comparison to chess is interesting. Playing chess is something like solving a puzzle (shades of lewpuls!), and I regard secret backstory play likewise as a type of puzzle-solving. Whereas I see the pleasure of RPGs as being fairly different from puzzle-solving. I see the OP, in its concerns about Mother May I and finangling the GM as pushing away from puzzle-solving and secret-backstory type play. But maybe I'm wrong. We might find out if the OP posts again!

Sunday, 13th January, 2019

  • 11:51 PM - Hussar mentioned lewpuls in post Worlds of Design: “Old School” in RPGs and other Games – Part 2 and 3 Rules, Pacing, Non-RPGs, and Gameplay
    ...is a gaming forum. I don't expect rhetorical perfection in every article. I expect a spectrum. Some articles will essentially be leaning more on the opinion side than others, and expressing views that have weaknesses in them. I don't particularly see a problem with that if the discussion is good. And the discussion is as good or bad as we make it IMO. Frankly, I think if you skip past the more extreme posts, there are people in the thread on both sides of the aisle making interesting points. "Both sides"? Other than a couple of lone voices in the wilderness, who's arguing here? You have two solid pages of people condemning this article for being facile, poorly researched and factually wrong before anyone steps up and says anything positive about it. And, even then, it's more damning with faint praise than anything. Expecting higher caliber writing is not expecting rhetorical perfection. And, if this was an outlier article, that might be another thing as well. But it's not. lewpuls has been hammering this same drum over and over and over again, using the same language and the same examples, for a while now. And he gets called on it every single time. See, funny thing is, when lewpuls started these articles, he actually would engage in the comments from time to time. Now? It's drop the burning bag on the front doorstep, ring the bell and run away. These have become nothing but clickbait.
  • 11:20 PM - Hussar mentioned lewpuls in post Worlds of Design: “Old School” in RPGs and other Games – Part 2 and 3 Rules, Pacing, Non-RPGs, and Gameplay
    I'm still rather baffled how the idea of "GM Story" is being trotted out here for story based games. Sorry, that's a complete mischaracterization of story heavy games. They are not about the GM's Story. In fact, if you're playing FATE (for example) and you're the GM and it's all about your story, you are playing the game wrong. These articles would be a lot better received if lewpuls actually would take the time to learn about story based games before criticizing them.

Friday, 11th January, 2019

  • 09:58 PM - Count_Zero mentioned lewpuls in post Worlds of Design: “Old School” in RPGs and other Games – Part 2 and 3 Rules, Pacing, Non-RPGs, and Gameplay
    ... of it seems poorly researched, as there are other folks around here and elsewhere who seem to have thought more deeply (and I'd say more evenhandedly) about this subject, and the author seems ignorant of that. The author probably should have gotten himself up to speed on the state of scholarship and theory (such as it may be, it is better than his) before starting to write. His use of loaded terms and factually incorrect absolute statements do not strengthen his arguments. Maybe some discussion with *current* designers of games would have been helpful, too. And, to answer his final question - No particular gamer has to like all kinds of games. But, around here, we do ask people to limit the time they spend trash-talking styles they don't like, or how often they tear down things other people love to make their own favorites look good. Yeah - the sentiment in these articles as a whole feels very strongly like gatekeeping - that if you're not playing the style of game that lewpuls endorses (I'm not going to explicitly describe it as "old school" because has been mentioned over the past few threads), you're not a real role-player, and frankly that's a mindset that really needs to have been dumped into the Orb of Annihilation yesterday, as it's literally a mindset meant to drive people out of the hobby.

Friday, 9th November, 2018

  • 04:14 AM - Elfcrusher mentioned lewpuls in post Is Ranged really better than Melee?
    ... target of all attacks (since that normally means their ally is taking those attacks). I think the problem here is that two completely different points are being argued. No tweaks are needed. All you need to do is stop thinking about individual contributions and instead think about team dynamics. I'm not thinking about individual contributions or team dynamics. I'm thinking about hard choices and trade-offs and puzzle solving. Or lack thereof, really. Spreading damage out over more of the team saves lives and that's what melee allows. Focus fire is also very useful and much easier to achieve with range. You want a good mix of range and melee in order to keep allies from being focused while being able to focus enemies. Look, everything you say would be equally true if ranged were doing twice as much damage as any melee. Which suggests to me that you're missing the point entirely. You seem to be making an argument about team optimization. Which is fine. Very lewpuls of you. Some of us, though, are arguing something else. Call it "storytelling". Just like the melee fighter must gnash his teeth in frustration when an opponent is just out of reach, an archer should also have to sometimes...more often than currently...gnash his teeth in frustration. The problem right now is that archers don't suffer enough limitations. "No, I'm fine, thanks. I'll just stand back here where it's completely safe and continue to do my maximum damage each round." It's not that this isn't fair, or that it's poor strategy, or whatever. It's that it makes archery "uninterestingly good." I'd say ideally you want at least half the party to be melee and at least a third to be ranged. You can take the best of both worlds with a few dual purpose characters. Ones that can shift from ranged combat to melee combat easily. The bow and 2 short sword style characters seem ideal for this. Yeah, you are definitely missing the point.

Sunday, 4th November, 2018

  • 11:39 PM - Hussar mentioned lewpuls in post Worlds of Design: Fantasy vs. Sci-Fi Part 1
    First off, there's the problem with how we're trying to define genre. Some genres can be defined by trope - American Old West Westerns, for example, are generally defined by trope - guns, horses, cowboys, that sort of thing. It would be difficult to set a Western (not impossible, but, difficult) in 3rd century Rome. That's because, by and large, Westerns are defined by their tropes. Murder Mystery is also largely defined by trope. You've got a murderer, a victim(s) and someone trying to unravel the mystery. Remove any of these three tropes and it's kinda uphill climbing to sell this as a murder mystery. OTOH, fantasy and SF are not defined by tropes. Yes, tropes exist in the genre, but, they don't really define the genre. You can have lightsabers, as lewpuls mentions, in both SF and Fantasy. And having dragons doesn't necessarily make a work fantasy - as in the Pern series by Anne McCaffery. No. Fantasy and SF are defined by theme, not trope. The difference between SF and Fantasy is the difference between ethics and morality. SF is, by its themes, political. The central question of SF is "What does it mean to be human in the face of X?" Whether we're talking about Frankenstein or Spock or Wall-E, or Flowers for Algernon, that's the primary theme of virtually all SF. Fantasy, OTOH, deals with morality. What does it mean to be good? What does it mean to be evil? And various shades of grey in between. So, we get Jedi, Sauron, and whatnot. Fantasy is based on the earlier morality tales of oral traditions and it shows through in modern fantasy.

Tuesday, 23rd October, 2018

  • 09:01 PM - Elfcrusher mentioned lewpuls in post 5E's "Missed Opportunities?"
    Watch out. Pretty soon you'll be telling those durn kids to get off your lawn old edition. :mad: lewpuls and I can sit at the piano together and sing "Those Were the Days". I have a great falsetto so 'll take Gene Stapleton's part.

Monday, 22nd October, 2018

  • 02:53 AM - Hussar mentioned lewpuls in post Worlds of Design: “All About Me” RPGs (Part 2)
    Well, give credit where credit is due. lewpuls' articles do always generate a fair degree of response, even if that response tends to be ... err... somewhat similar in nature. :D But, frankly, I'm really not seeing what lewpuls is seeing. The whole "I'm in it for me" thing goes all the way back to my earliest days of gaming. We've all had those players at our tables. It's not generational or age or anything like that. It's simply that some people just don't get the idea of cooperation being a key element of RPG's. The thief that steals from the party is hardly a new trope, for example. And, the idea of the game being about the story goes all the way back to the earliest days as well - Dragonlance being a perfect example of this. The more things change...

Friday, 5th October, 2018

  • 03:43 PM - Xaelvaen mentioned lewpuls in post Worlds of Design: Tabletop RPGs Are the Most Naturally Co-operative Games
    I like your comparison between alignments and cooperation many times being at odds, @lewpuls - it is often the case unless the campaign specifically revolves around the idea that evil and good must somehow work together for a greater goal. Lawful Good and Lawful Evil both want the world to remain, so it's good to put aside their differences and stop the big bad Chaos from wrecking the Earth outright, as an example. As far as player vs player, the only time I've ever encountered that was back during 2E - I was playing a rogue that my DM asked me specifically to be a former member of an assassin's guild - he knew I'd handle it with grace and not go about being a murder hobo. His own son was playing in the campaign as well, and at one point, his won was getting a bit big for his britches, so one night at camp my DM slipped me a note. The note said that I had been given a kill order by my old guild - something you didn't refuse, and I was to execute the DM's own son's character. Talk about dilemma - I had never attacked another player, but to be honest, the other player was b...

Tuesday, 23rd January, 2018

  • 04:04 PM - Jay Verkuilen mentioned lewpuls in post Don't Lose The Forest For The Trees
    Backgammon is a race, yes - it's like Ludo but better! <snip> It's a much easier game than chess (hence my preference for it!) - But it is a two-player, computable game with all information available to all players, so I think it counts as a puzzle in @lewpuls's sense. Yes, I think that's right. The thing is, backgammon is arguably the oldest game (with formalized rules) in the world. It's been played for millennia and I have little doubt it will continue to be played millennia hence. So one of his premises---that because it's a puzzle people lose interest once they know how to play it---seems wrong. [quote]I could be wrong, but I don't think that lewpuls is meaning to use "game" in the sense of mathematical game theory/decision theory. His reason for classifying (most? all?) cooperative games as puzzles, I think, is that they are (in principle) solvable and (once the solution is known) there is always a best move. Yes in theory (up to randomness) there is a best move for many games. Given that backgammon's randomness is fairly benign it can be easily incorporated into backward induction and thus optimized. I really fail to see what conceptual work "puzzle" does for many of these "games". (The fact that I have to put quotes around "g...
  • 08:54 AM - pemerton mentioned lewpuls in post Don't Lose The Forest For The Trees
    ...enceforth. As I recall, backgammon is essentially a race between players... been a while since I played it. However, it does have an aspect of strategy and it clearly has a versus (or zero-sum) aspect.Backgammon is a race, yes - it's like Ludo but better! It's a much easier game than chess (hence my preference for it!) - at any given move, if you can calculate probablities across two dice in your head, then you can work out what move minimises your chances of being "hit" by your opponent (meaning that that piece has to go back to start) while maximising the movement of your pieces towards the winning line. A fully optimal move would of course include all the future probabilities for all the future moves, which I can't do in my head for even one roll beyond my current one, and which would require computing across 30+ moves for each player for a complete game. But it is a two-player, computable game with all information available to all players, so I think it counts as a puzzle in lewpuls's sense. The problem I have with the proposed terminology is that in mathematical game theory one thinks about both cooperation and competition. The proposed terminology seems to exclude cooperative games, for instance, which are studied in mathematical game theory alongside competitive ones. Indeed many games have aspects of both.I could be wrong, but I don't think that lewpuls is meaning to use "game" in the sense of mathematical game theory/decision theory. His reason for classifying (most? all?) cooperative games as puzzles, I think, is that they are (in principle) solvable and (once the solution is known) there is always a best move. I don't know boardgames or computer games very well, and so am working from a very limited palette of examples, but I'm thinking something like Forbidden Island/Forbidden Desert. I play Forbidden Desert with my 10 year old from time-to-time. We're a long way from having identified the winning play, but I can see how it can make sense to think o...
  • 04:08 AM - pemerton mentioned lewpuls in post Don't Lose The Forest For The Trees
    I'm not getting this point: In games, especially games for more than two, there is no best move (frequently) <snip> Any definition of game that excludes chess and go is a poor definition that is only going to confuse the heck out of people.In lewpuls's terminology, chess and go are puzzles because there is a solution (though it's cognitively/mathematically in accessible to most players). I assume that backgammon is a puzzle for the same reason, although its parameters can change from move to move because of the dice results. Maybe I'm wrong, but I would assume that Diplomacy is a game in the relevant sense. And I guess many other blind declaration wargames (inlcuding CCGs) might count. As to the bigger issue of "why bother"? I assume that this sort of analysis is helpful to game design. (Also - as something of an expert on Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations, I can confidently state that his discussion of the word "game" has no bearing on the current topic of games vs puzzles, except in the trivial sense that he is pointing out that words can have varied uses. But making that rather banal point is not what makes the book an important work of philosophy; and the philsophical points have no bearing upon game design.)

Sunday, 17th December, 2017

  • 04:15 AM - Hussar mentioned lewpuls in post Tension, Threats And Progression In RPGs
    Ah man. After all the warm and fuzzies the last time around, lewpuls goes full on "git off mah lawn" again. :uhoh: I don't have a lot of ideas here because, to me, games should always involve some sort of conflict (I strongly dislike Eurogames, which are usually parallel competition puzzles, not games). Conflict implies the possibility of loss. Without the possibility of loss or failure, what tension can you put into a game? Umm, what Eurogames are you talking about? Catan certainly has loss conditions, or rather, a win condition which means you have a clear winner in the game. Pandemic has very, very clear loss conditions and you will likely lose as often as you win. Are we seriously going to entertain that the most popular games in decades aren't really games but are "parallel competition puzzles"? Whatever that is. How far back do we actually have to go to find the play style that is being talked about in the article? Dragonlance released in the early 80's, but, was being played in the 70's and the very early days of AD&D. Here...

Monday, 13th November, 2017

  • 12:23 AM - Hussar mentioned lewpuls in post The Most Important Design Aspect of Hobby RPGs Is The Pure Humanoid Avatar
    /snip Yeah. Hey, I'm not unreasonable. There are just some things that I'm probably going to push back pretty hard on. :D But, no, I can totally see where lewpuls is coming from here. It makes a great deal of sense to differentiate role playing games from other games this way since it is a pretty concrete difference. Note, that by role playing games, I'm certainly not excluding board games or other games. There are board games that are pretty much short play RPG's. And certainly video games as well.

Friday, 10th November, 2017

  • 12:41 AM - Hussar mentioned lewpuls in post The Most Important Design Aspect of Hobby RPGs Is The Pure Humanoid Avatar
    Yes and no though. The Dog in Monopoly isn't representing anything though. Nothing changes about your play if you are the dog or the thimble. An avatar, as it's defined here, isn't just a marker. It has an identity in and of itself, even if that identity is "this is a representation of me". If you change the avatar, you change the game play. Particularly in RPG's where your avatar defines how you interact with the game to a very large degree. Playing D&D as a fighter or a wizard is a very different experience, even though the player may be the same. I pretty much agree with everything lewpuls says here. It's actually a really succinct way to differentiate role playing games from other games. In an RPG, regardless of the medium, your avatar is the primary focus of play. Changing the avatar results in a very different game experience.

Saturday, 26th August, 2017

  • 08:52 AM - AnimeSniper mentioned lewpuls in post Pure Innovation Is Highly Overrated
    lewpuls Its sad when the game companies and their design teams try to rehash or make near mirror copies of earlier existing games to try and grab the market share of computer and console gamer's instead of seeing what made the game so well liked and then incorporating those features into their own near or future release titles. Innovation comes about in both small and large grandiose ways from the new crafting and settlement creation in Fallout 4 to better story line progression/tie in to earlier games or building off snippets from the previous games Fallout 3's mentioning of the Commonwealth for example. Tony Vargas that is also true and sometimes it works and other time it flops like a dying fish... New Coke, Crystal Pepsi, certain Mountain Dew with X-flavors for a game tie in release, and etcetera.

Wednesday, 2nd August, 2017

  • 06:55 AM - Hussar mentioned lewpuls in post Tactics And Combat In Fantasy RPGs
    ... be able to use them at all so then you get some limited reliable tactics and nothing else. Part of tactics is being able to accurately predict your odds of success. Unless it's the only possible option, no one chooses an option with a very low chance of success. Not when there are other options that have higher chances of success that are still viable. So, to use your example, if pushing the orc off the tower requires three separate checks, each with a 50% chance of failure (a ridiculous example, but, bear with me), no one is going to do it when they could just stick their sword in the orc and have a much better chance of success. And the problem with leaving everything in the DM's hands is that very, very few DM's are good at judging risk vs reward. If swinging across the room from a chandelier costs you more than you could benefit from doing it, no one does it. And, very often, when it's left up to the DM, options that are not rules defined are generally not taken. lewpuls even mentions the idea that stealth is something you do with the aid of magic. Why? Well, because using magic means that the DM isn't coming up with off the cuff rulings and your chances of success and failure are known. A group that doesn't have access to those magic items simply doesn't do the stealth stuff. I think some games have a story mode - or even an easy mode I guess. Fair enough. But, they also have hard modes too. Shouldn't games cater to everyone?
  • 04:46 AM - Hussar mentioned lewpuls in post Tactics And Combat In Fantasy RPGs
    ...ing on your DM, that you would try to push the Orc off the side of the Tower, or shove the Brazier on top of it or throw a Barrel at it. The problem is that there was no rules for that and there was no character button written on your sheet that you could mash to do those actions so really it was up to you and the DM on how worthwhile it was to try anything tactical. That's precisely my point. The game provides zero tactical options. Pushing that baddy off the tower or throw a barrel at it was 100% free form gaming. The DM decided, not the system. I can do that in any game at any point in time. The difference is, now, as a player, I can actually have some idea whether or not any of those tactics are worth trying. I should have a pretty decent idea of how hard/easy it would be to push that orc off the tower. Depending on the edition, I might just be able to do it 100% of the time. IOW, these become ACTUAL tactical decisions. I honestly have no idea what video games lewpuls plays to have the idea that the game will protect you and usher you along. About the only thing games do in order to allow that is save points, and well, that's been part of video games for a VERY long time.


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Tuesday, 14th May, 2019

  • 01:43 PM - Aldarc quoted lewpuls in post Worlds of Design: RPGs in Just Six Words
    I suspect Jeffro thinks of it as six things you need to put together an adventure, not six categories or six essential aspects of the setting. Yes, six words is a versatile way to think of things, because there are so many ways to use it. I was trying to narrow it down to description.Of course. My post featured two separate thoughts: 1) preferring a thread that considered six essential things for a campaign, and 2) using Fate-like aspects for conveying the setting's sales pitch rather than six words.

Monday, 13th May, 2019

  • 02:55 PM - Aldarc quoted lewpuls in post Worlds of Design: RPGs in Just Six Words
    On the other hand, Jeffro Johnson (author of the "Appendix N" book about D&D's sources), says that you only need to know six things about your setting to run an adventure. He tends to rely much more on GM invention and much less on written material than most.What six essential things you need to know about your setting to run an adventure seems like a more useful prompt than describing your setting in six words. Though thinking about some of these setting taglines, I would also be more interested in describing settings using Fate aspects: e.g., High Concept, Trouble, and (axillary) Aspects. In Fate the core character concept in play will be driven by the High Concept and the Trouble. So with Eberron you may have... High Concept: Pulp Noir and Swashbuckling Action with Magitech Trouble: Scars Linger in an Uneasy Post-War "Peace" Aspect: Unraveling a Myterious Draconic Prophecy Aspect: Dynastic Magical Dragonmarked Houses Control Trade Aspect: Everyone has Plans within Plans

Thursday, 25th April, 2019

  • 12:53 AM - Tony Vargas quoted lewpuls in post Worlds of Design: Why Would Anyone Write a RPG?
    Why Would Anyone Write a RPG? … … Of course, there are lots of tongue-in-cheek reasons, which I'll leave to readers to convey. … you asked for it: Because you couldn't write the Great American Novel, so you... … tried writing screen plays and couldn't, so you … … tried writing short stories, and couldn't, so you … … tried writing an RPG, and everyone was impressed how literate and readable it was! … or not, so you tried writing forum posts, and got a few laughs now and then. :(

Tuesday, 16th April, 2019

  • 09:33 PM - jhilahd quoted lewpuls in post A Guide to RPG Freelance Rates: Part 2 (Layout, Illustration, and Cartography)
    I've seen people suggest you look for student artists on large college campuses. They're not quite professionals yet, and need the credits. (But please, don't try to persuade them to do it for free "for the exposure".) I understand that actually getting freelance artists to deliver what they've said they will do, is a bottleneck for publishers of board games. I don't see why RPGs would be any different. This. Don't have someone do work and then don't pay them for their time and talent, regardless of their experience level. It's one of the hardest concepts for many people to understand. I've been a designer for almost 30 years, and worked print, digital, video and what-not, and I can't tell you the number of times someone wants to not pay you because of "reasons". I present the below as reference. I'll leave this video here, (WARNING: NSFW - language) Good article, by the way. I would use AIGA more than EFA for pricing, as AIGA covers more of the design aspect of the work y...

Tuesday, 29th January, 2019

  • 08:04 AM - pemerton quoted lewpuls in post Worlds of Design: “Old School” in RPGs and other Games – Part 1 Failure and Story
    If it’s a game (Old School (OS)), there’s a significant chance you can lose, you can fail. If it’s a story session, with no chance you can lose, it’s something else. This is like a co-operative board game that you cannot lose: why bother to play?I don't understand the posited connection between "danger" and "loss". In my Burning Wheel game, the principal PC (ie the one whose player was present for the most number of sessions) had a goal of redeeming his brother from demonic possession. Another PC had the goal of killing said brother out of revenge. At a particular crunch moment, the two characters were racing to the tower where the brother was resting, recovering from injury. The principal PC lost the race, and the other PC arrived there first and cut off the brother's head. No redemption possible after that! The principal PC didn't get what he wanted. The player of that PC "lost". The danger to that PC was not high, though - the other PC wanted to kill the brother, not the principal PC....

Saturday, 19th January, 2019

  • 02:43 PM - Aldarc quoted lewpuls in post Worlds of Design: How "Precise" Should RPG Rules Be?
    In answering this question, I thought about FATE and its fudgable (by design) rules. It moves far toward storytelling aid and away from traditional game. Contrast the relatively short FATE rules with the vast rules of versions of D&D beginning with Advanced D&D (1e).Already lewpuls lost me. Not a great start. For starters, I don't think that it helps to describe Fate as essentially a "non-traditional" game. Fate has been around for 15 years, and it is built on a FUDGE chassis that has been around for 27 years. When does the non-traditional become traditional? In many respects, the game appears fairly conventional. Fate's primary mechanical innovations to Fudge involve its use of Aspects: e.g., aspects, fate point economy, Create an Advantage action, etc. Aspects are essentially narrative tags with mechanical weight that allows for them to enter play (Fate SRD): In Fate, aspects do two major things: they tell you what’s important about the game, and they help you decide when to use the mechanics.(1) Aspects provide a generalized rule/mechanic that can have as much precision as deemed necessary by the Table in play. (2) Aspects often cover a greater breadth of specific rules with a generalized one. This is most commonly done with the Create an Advantage ...
  • 09:25 AM - Imaculata quoted lewpuls in post Worlds of Design: How "Precise" Should RPG Rules Be?
    Board games must have precise rules. There’s no GM (in almost every case) to interpret or to be rules arbiter. RPGs can get away with vague or incomplete rules because there is a GM (in most cases). On the other hand, an RPG is trying to cover “everything” that might happen, so naturally the rules tend to be much longer than the rules for a board game. I don't think this is true. I think boardgames could work really well with inprecise rules. Its just that there are few boardgames that seem to have tried this so far. Video games must have precision underneath, for programming purposes. Video game design documents (or whatever system is used) must be explicit and complete, so that programmers and other game developers can do what the designer intends. I completely disagree. I think videogames actually work great as a form of organised chaos, where not everything is quite so clearly defined, and the players are agents of chaos, poking at the system to see what will happen. Also,...

Saturday, 12th January, 2019

  • 08:10 PM - MGibster quoted lewpuls in post Worlds of Design: “Old School” in RPGs and other Games – Part 2 and 3 Rules, Pacing, Non-RPGs, and Gameplay
    Old School recognizes that there will be not-very-exciting or even unpleasant/horrific adventures, to go with super-exciting and terrifically rewarding adventures. New School “evens it out”, ensuring that nothing will be unpleasant but also effectively ensuring that nothing will be terrific – because you can’t fail. I categorically reject the idea that new school means player characters can never fail or that adventures will never be horrific or unpleasant. There's a little game called Esoterrorist which centers around investigators and their efforts to combat paranormal threats that uses the Gumshoe system. The Gumshoe rules ensure that the PCs will find the core clue required to take them to the next scene. So in that sense, no, they can't fail because failure in this case means the game cannot continue. But the investigators can certainly fail in other ways. Our group had to sit back while a supernatural entity murdered five people because it was the only at that point that we c...
  • 10:00 AM - Shiroiken quoted lewpuls in post Worlds of Design: “Old School” in RPGs and other Games – Part 2 and 3 Rules, Pacing, Non-RPGs, and Gameplay
    Non-RPGs, too This Old/New dichotomy can be seen clearly in board and card games as well. Such games have moved away from the traditional direct competition, and from high levels of player interaction, to parallel competitions that are usually puzzles (i.e., have always-correct solutions) rather than games (which do not have such solutions). Each player pursues his own puzzle down one of the "Multiple Paths to Victory," that is, following one of several always-correct solutions provided by the designer.While others have taken to task the RPG aspects of the article, as an avid boardgamer, I'm going to focus on this section. Boardgaming is generally divided into 2 types: Euro and Ameritrash (technically co-op is it's own type as well, but we'll ignore it for this discussion). Euro games generally lack direct attacks upon each other, relying instead upon competition for resources or actions. Ameritrash is primarly consisting of direct attacks, usually leading to player elimination. Despite the...

Friday, 11th January, 2019

  • 10:14 PM - Lanefan quoted lewpuls in post Worlds of Design: “Old School” in RPGs and other Games – Part 2 and 3 Rules, Pacing, Non-RPGs, and Gameplay
    His tone is certainly dismissive, but that's fine. I don't question EnWorld's decision to run his articles. We can all deal with a little sass. He's being a bit provocative, and in the "in my day /get off my lawn" manner that will always be present in any discussion. Agreed in all respects. As for the article itself, there's a few bits I found quite relevant. One is this: Pacing is a big part of the difference between the two extremes. Good pacing (in novel and film terms) calls for alternating lows and highs, to make the highs that much more effective. Old School recognizes that there will be not-very-exciting or even unpleasant/horrific adventures, to go with super-exciting and terrifically rewarding adventures. New School “evens it out”, ensuring that nothing will be unpleasant but also effectively ensuring that nothing will be terrific – because you can’t fail. “Loot drops” are boring when every monster has a loot drop. Boatloads of treasure become boring when you always get boatl...
  • 07:42 PM - hawkeyefan quoted lewpuls in post Worlds of Design: “Old School” in RPGs and other Games – Part 2 and 3 Rules, Pacing, Non-RPGs, and Gameplay
    Having read through the initial post a couple of times, I can say that I find there is very little substance to it. It's a bit of opinion with not a lot to back it up. As a compare and contrast type of piece, it seems remarkably one sided. I don't mind if Lew has his preference, but he seems to be incapable of accurately describing what he is calling New School games. He's quite good at describing Old School games. When comparing the two, it would help if he was able to accurately site both sides, and provide examples. His tone is certainly dismissive, but that's fine. I don't question EnWorld's decision to run his articles. We can all deal with a little sass. He's being a bit provocative, and in the "in my day /get off my lawn" manner that will always be present in any discussion. I figured that it would make sense to break it down by section. Rules The difference in “schools” is not about rules. Rules are not sacred, nor do they fit for every person. I think about rules in t...
  • 03:15 PM - Ramaster quoted lewpuls in post Worlds of Design: “Old School” in RPGs and other Games – Part 2 and 3 Rules, Pacing, Non-RPGs, and Gameplay
    “New” games are about being guided by the game (GM) to where the fight is, then fighting, then getting the loot. (You recognize the description of typical computer RPGs, especially MMO RPGs?) This 3rd part is downright insulting. I'll reiterate my comment from the other thread: This reads like it was written by someone who played 1ed D&D for about 10 years 30 years ago, then played 2 sessions of 4e about 5 years ago (DMed by a 14 year old GM who was running a game for the first time), then read a bunch of articles by people who had similar experiences.

Tuesday, 1st January, 2019

  • 07:20 AM - quoted lewpuls in post Worlds of Design: When There's Too Many Magic Items
    If you’ve GMed a long-standing campaign where players reached fairly high levels, you may have run into problems of too much magic, or of too many low-powered magic items (such as +1 items) in the hands of the heroes. What to do? First I tell them that their article irritates me to the point where it is difficult to write a comprehensive response without becoming irrationally angry at what I am responding to. And given the tone, noting the author is unlikely to change their mind regardless of what I write, and regardless of what anyone has ever written to them. *deep breath* I usually wrap up the campaign and start anew. Yes, I understand many of you, especially the older players, have played in the same campaign for years, if not decades, and some of your characters have outright gotten to godhood and just as it is IRL, that power is difficult to give up. But I believe some of the best gaming occurs not at length, but in brevity. Short stories are often better than novels. C...

Friday, 19th October, 2018

  • 06:38 PM - Elfcrusher quoted lewpuls in post Worlds of Design: “All About Me” RPGs (Part 2)
    I'm sorry but I find this all to be wild conjecture tinged with...ok, entirely based on...blatant biases. There's your style, and then there's the style that, as you describe it, selfish kids who grew up on video games play. Gosh, I'm glad you're just describing and not judging. I recall one group where the player/character wanted to throw an old-fashioned wood-burning oven (they are remarkably heavy) a hundred yards, and expected to be given a reasonable chance to do it (as in, a 20 on a d20). I would have simply said “that’s impossible,” but that might not satisfy the “All About Me” crowd. How is this "all about me"? It doesn't seem to have anything to do with selfishness or lack of cooperation. It sounds like the player simply has a more fantastic/comic-book aesthetic than you do. I'm with you regarding the aesthetic, but nothing wrong with preferring the other. An obvious point is that the great majority of players are not wargamers, and may not be gamers at all, that is, th...
  • 04:31 PM - DMMike quoted lewpuls in post Worlds of Design: “All About Me” RPGs (Part 2)
    An obvious point is that the great majority of players are not wargamers, and may not be gamers at all, that is, they’re not accustomed to leisure activities where you can lose. When you cannot lose in an RPG, that is, you cannot die (and not come back), then individualism is easy to express and adopt; when you CAN lose, cooperation is more natural. This is more significant to me than the individual/group preference. Does the RPG say, "when your hit points reach zero, tear up your character," or do they same something more forgiving? Do the rules say, "when you roll too low, you succeed with a consequence?" Or maybe they say "if you don't like the GM's idea, you can reject it at the cost of 1 XP/story point/etc." Point being: the rules of the game, i.e. the quantum mechanics of the game-universe, dictate how seriously a player must consider the risk of losing - and how much "all about me" he can afford.
  • 03:53 PM - Umbran quoted lewpuls in post Worlds of Design: “All About Me” RPGs (Part 2)
    Why is this style popular? An obvious point is that the great majority of players are not wargamers, and may not be gamers at all, that is, they’re not accustomed to leisure activities where you can lose. I severely doubt this point is generally applicable, at least in the US. Every kid grows up knowing about (through general cultural exposure) and engaging in (in gym class, if nothing else) sports. Many don't like it. Many don't make it a major hobby for them. But they are *accustomed to the idea*. There is nothing strange about it to them. Though some people still doubt it, there are clear differences between generational behavior, as discussed in many books. People of the World War II generation naturally cooperated, because of their experiences in a very difficult situation. And each generation since then has behaved differently as their shared experiences have been different. Corporations have hired consultants to help them cope with the newer generation’s tenden...

Wednesday, 10th October, 2018

  • 03:43 PM - pemerton quoted lewpuls in post Worlds of Design: Tabletop RPGs Are the Most Naturally Co-operative Games
    War crimes are defined by modern treaties, not by any particular moral standard. I assure you, for most of human history what we're talking about was not a war crime (IF anything was). Aren't you imposing your personal standard and supposing it has always been the way people think and act?Not even close.I'm not making any suppositions about how "it has always been". I'm happy to condemn slavery as an evil thing, although I'm aware that there have been slave societies in various places and times in human history. For the claim that the laws of war aren't based on any moral standards, I'll only mention that there's a pretty signficant literature that argues to the contrary. Walzer's Just and Unjust Wars is the starting point for much of it. A recent representative publication is The Oxford Handbook of Ethics of War. EDIT: You mentioned alignment somewhere in there, I think. Gygax's account of alignment in his PHB and DMG has its flaws, but Good is defined as straddling most of the mainstr...
  • 10:47 AM - pemerton quoted lewpuls in post Worlds of Design: Tabletop RPGs Are the Most Naturally Co-operative Games
    Nonsense. It's OK to slaughter who-knows-how-many creatures, but you become evil if you charm one and use it for advancing your side's purposes? How stupid is that? This is war, not sport.Depending on the details, what you describe sounds like a war crime. So I'm not sure how that "war not spor" idea is meant to work.

Friday, 5th October, 2018

  • 09:32 PM - Mike Myler quoted lewpuls in post Mythological Figures: Queen Boudica (5E)
    The trouble with choosing ancient historical figures is that what you make up likely will have little or nothing to do with history. Boudicca wasn't a fighter, she was a symbol of her people's disgust with the Romans. How much she was the political leader isn't known, as we know next to nothing about the whole affair, aside from what Tacitus says. (E.g. Cassius Dio wrote about a century after the rebellion.) Not as bad as the "historical" industry surrounding "King Arthur", who likely never existed. So make up whatever you like. Some so-called "historians" do the same. King Arthur and Merlin. ;)

Friday, 28th September, 2018

  • 04:21 PM - pogre quoted lewpuls in post Some Social Aspects of RPGs
    (I view people who prefer GMing to playing with great suspicion!) Curious about this quote. I wonder if you might elaborate? I am curious because I am one of those people. The standard at my table has always been players have to be decent human beings. I am always quick to pull the plug on folks who are not meshing with us for whatever reason. Fortunately, I have not had to do that in several years.


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