Category: Tabletop

Hit Points As Conflict Points

Yes, I know that hit points are not meat points. They aren’t even anything resembling something close to reality. They’re a resource that is consumed–some might say *involuntarily spent*–to stave off character death. Problem is, new school D&D (NSD&D) doesn’t want character death on the table in the same way that old school D&D (OSD&D)…




Converting D&D to d6s

As my Curse of Strahd campaign continues, I’m returned from my flirtations with Fate Core to the d20 niche, and it feels like home. The d20 system is familiar and everything about it makes sense to me in a way that some parts of Fate do not–probably because the d20 mechanics more model a simulation…


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Skills and Sensibility

I’m still poking and prodding at the OSR, trying to “get” a few things. I’m currently toying with the following idea for a skill resolution mechanic. TL;DR Version: Roll 2d6, +1 for a high relevant ability score or -1 for a low relevant ability score. On a 7+ you do it, on a 6 or…



You’re Probably Playing D&D Wrong: Jack Vance Hates You. (3/3)

Part One is here, a general introduction to my Strong Opinions. Part Two is here, about hit points and healing. Part Three is about magic. People tend to have very strident thoughts on the D&D magic system: they love it or they hate it without much in between. It’s almost as divisive as psionics or…



You’re probably playing D&D wrong: hit points and Armor Class edition. (2/3)

As I mentioned in my last post, you’re probably playing D&D wrong. Let’s talk about what the fuck a hit point is, aside from an abstract unit that measures how close a character is to beating an expeditious retreat and/or rolling 3d6 down the line. First: hit points are not meat points. They kind of…


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You’re probably playing D&D wrong. (1/3)

Gary Gygax says: The ultimate aim of the game is to gain sufficient esteem as a good player to retire your character — he becomes a kind of mythical, historical figure, someone for others to look up to and admire I’ve been spending the past few weeks reading a lot of OSR stuff. A lot…


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My Grandfather Is Made of Gold

We are not like you, human. We are born of the earth. You live in a world of wind and sun, but the still and quiet dark is ours. Our kingdom extends beneath oceans and mountains and pleasant meadows. This dark is bright as day, yet you still stumble. You rely on torch and lantern…



Space Jerks: Some Thoughts on My First Successful Fate Game

It has been a long while since I’ve gamed properly, and it’s been even longer since I GM’d. Saturday night, I broke this streak with considerable trepidation with a game of Fate Core. The last time I ran a Fate game, it didn’t go so well. The players and I were very new to the…



Crunch and Fluff, Some Piecemeal Thoughts

I’m a man with two hearts. The first is the party of me that likes leveling up and getting bigger numbers. The second is the part where I recognize that numbers are meaningless. All RPGs boil down to complicated games of “DM May I.” The player asks, “DM, may I do X?” and the DM…



Five Fallout-Themed Adventure Hooks

You see movement in the distance, an animal form approaching. As it draws closer, you realize it is a dog. Occasionally, it stops to sniff, and when it is close enough to see you, its ears perk up, it lets out a happy bark, and it ambles toward you. A rotting ghoul head dangles from the dog’s ratty…