Category: Rules and Mechanics

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…



Mixing Fate Core and Dungeon World.

I’m slowly but surely moving forward with my plans to run a Fate game. Last time we played, the players had a bit of difficulty grasping how much narrative control Fate offered them, so I’ve been thinking of ways to introduce them to the mechanics. My solution: write out some of the things they can…


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Don’t disempower my Armor Class, bro.

One of the curious features about D&D is the static Armor Class. When a character swings his sword, he rolls a d20. When he shoots his bow, he rolls a d20. When he is scorched by dragon’s breath, he rolls a d20. When the lich drains his soul, he rolls a d20. Yet even the…



Save vs. Fear is usually dumb.

There are too many situations where it doesn’t make sense. And I’m going to explain why, but first I’m going to give the good stuff to you right up front. Here’s how I’m handling fear in my games from now on: If your character is frightened, roll 1d8 or pick what option suits him best…



Savage Mage: the Awakening

As we mentioned in the last podcast (or was it the one before that?), our Jacob is working on a Mage conversion to Savage Worlds.  The last session was a blast as we were playing archmages running rampant, but that needed to be toned down.  We’ve been working with Jacob to put some rules in…




It’s time to eliminate the Constitution score.

Not in D&D, mind you.  I’m afraid the six-stat array is one of the things that gives D&D an identity.  To eliminate it would violate of the Sacred Cow Act of 1976.  However, in the landscape of games that are not D&D but rather heritors of D&D’s legacy, the Constitution score must be eliminated in…




NERD RANT: Health systems in RPGs (2/?)

In my last post on this topic, I contrasted World of Darkness’s health system to d20 Modern’s (and explained why d20 Modern’s system of hit points was bad).  Today, I’m going to talk a little bit about Savage Worlds’s health system, what works, and what doesn’t. Understanding Shaken Savage Worlds’s system was based around the…



NERD RANT: Health systems in RPGs. (1/?)

Ages ago, I wrote an article defending hit points. I’m reneging on my word, but only slightly. See, medical care in RPGs is almost always awful. At best, it’s handled clumsily; at worst, it’s unrealistic. Okay, I get it. It’s a game. It’s abstract. It’s wrong. I declare it null and void and anathema. Medical…