Insert Critical Miss/Criticism pun here

As characters progress and level up, a core process in the D&D play experience, the predefined nature of the mechanical upgrades can often be at odds with the player’s image of the adventurer they thought was their creation.

What Do RPG Mechanics Do?

What is the purpose of rules in an RPG? Like individually, what do they do? On one level they define the reality of the fiction, if you know what I mean. For players to make decisions, formulate plans, and help imaginary communities (or whatever your story is about) the fiction needs to be consistent. Rules […]

Rolling Dice and the Myth of the Perfect System

I’ve been thinking about dice rolls, how they work, what they represent, why we can’t agree on what makes a good dice mechanic. Let’s start simple, a Thief picking a lock, one of the oldest skill checks in gaming. If the Thief player rolls less than or equal to their Pick Locks percentage, they pass […]

2d6 Is All You Need

I was flicking through T4 aka Marc Miller’s Traveller this morning and it got me thinking about dice mechanics. If you aren’t slightly obsessive about different ways of combining Stat, Skill and 2d6, like I am, then please ignore me. Classic Traveller really landed on something pretty special with its 2d6 rolls. I almost called […]

More RPGs or Longer Campaigns?

I own a lot of RPGs and I try to run and play as many as I can. I like to do this to get a better understanding of the different ways games can operate, the various solutions to the same problems. I like to see all the choices designers have made about what matters […]

Fighting Fantasy and Character Advancement

There are a few issues I often find with rules-light RPGs. Some have easy fixes, others are simply compromises that you have to live with if you want to minimise your mechanics. The one I’m thinking about today is character progression. Watching your character develop as they achieve their goals and survive their failures can […]