Movie DnD and Violatile Toolbox DnD

I observed some discussion on Matt Colville on Discord this morning, and it reminded me of an idea I had some time ago related to one of Matt's ideas, but taken a whole different way. I used to like Matt... just before I discovered the OSR. Then I left and haven't looked back. But I have some hazy memories that have resisted suppression. They haunt me, when I am alone late at night after a cancelled session (like yesterday, when I was too sick to run my usual game). Anyways, in one of Matt's videos, he classifies certain players as 'audience members,' meaning that they just sit back and watch the show. Matt (if I remember the video correctly), takes no umbrage at players doing this. Fine. I want to flip this classification around on the GM, and ask, if you have audience members at your table, are you writing a movie? After being immersed in OSR ideas for a while, this seems like a headache. Those familiar (which is probably everybody reading) will understand what I

Next Time, Choose Diegetics.

DO YOU have rules lawyers at your table? Players who want to abuse mechanics in nonsensical ways? DO YOU have players that want strong narrative, want worldbuilding, and a sense of mystery without the monologues? DO YOU want to encourage engagement with the world and exploration across the map? Next time, try DIEGETICS. This is a tried and true solution to the above problems, and others you may encounter at YOUR, yes you, RPG session.  WHAT IS DIEGETICS? Diegetics (also known as Immersive Gaming) is playing an RPG by way of describing the world and its details as it is. Players then describe their actions, and the logic of the world is discussed to determine the outcome. You may roll dice if deemed reasonable (or just desired), but is not necessary. That's it! Three simple steps for easier, faster, more fun gaming! BUT SAM doesn't this hide information from the players unnecessarily?  NO. It does hide information, for example that a sword is magically sharp, but not unnecessari

More on Combat as Chess

I think I have more to say on the idea of combat as chess. I brought it up in this post , but it was one example of the potential detail of a fictional world (a theme I would like to revisit, at some point). But I want to expand on the idea, and why to do it. What is combat as chess? It's combat where you can make informed, player skill-based decisions in combat. That means the players know everything they need to make a plan: how far away are the enemies? How many? What are their strengths and weaknesses? The players have the opportunity to brainstorm and attempt a plan entirely of their choosing. It necessitates an open-information policy by the referee. You can't know if it's worth getting hit if you don't know how hard the enemy hits. Suspense is nice in a game, but if your character's life is on the line, making an informed decision can save you the pain of rolling a new one. The goal here is cost-benefit analysis: How can I make an optimal decision, given that

Quick System Idea

I ran a one-shot set in the Vietnam war with a friend during a car trip. I want to describe the character creation procedure, and propose a system based on that idea (we didn't use it at the time, but the thought occurred to me). Why that setting? Don't ask me, he picked it. The one-shot was a condensation of the movie Apocalypse Now . I came up with this one the fly using my Emergency Immersive Gaming guidelines. AKA I ripped it off from the movie. You can read the plot summary to get an idea of what it's about. I'm not looking to do a session report here. Instead, I want to talk about how the play went. I came up with a format for character stats on the fly. It was really simple: Of the usual six DnD stats (STR, DEX, CON, INT, WIS, CHA), which is your highest ability? We didn't actually use any numbers, we just decided to pick which stat was the highest had we assigned some numbers. He chose Charisma. He also got some hirelings, which he assigned highest abilitie

A Podcaster is Me

I have joined the fallen ranks of YouTubers and podcasters. Woe upon me. Anyways, it's available here . I discuss with some friends what the OSR is.

REVIEW: Time that Fry Men's Souls

I'm reviewing a hexcrawl! Times that Fry Men's Souls on Lulu, and on DriveThru . From the creator's synopsis: A weird campaign setting for use with traditional fantasy rules. Crawl across 80 hexes of a demented Colonial New York and New Jersey, with 180+ encounters, 10 supernatural scenarios, and hooks for dozens more. Abundant tables are provided for the ease and inspiration of referees and players.  I ran about 4-6 weeks of play by post of this setting before life got in the way. I've been itching to return to it, so this is a small scratch of that itch. I ran this with base 24XX resolution, and created a list of skills. Players also rolled for period appropriate trinkets, character quirks, and were given plenty of free reign on their characters using the book's excellent tables. I also asked the group to come up with a desired starting activity, anything from privateering to just plain ol' traveling (one group took up on the privateering). Oh yeah, imme

From General to Specific: System to Setting to Adventure

I am a big fan of putting the cool stuff of a game in the adventure. As loot, or interactive elements in the constrained environment of a dungeon. I avoid games where the cool stuff is in the system. "Cool stuff" includes, but is not limited to, unusual powers, items, magical effects, character aspects, anything that hooks the players into wanting more of it. So then let's revisit my premise. I like cool stuff in the adventure, not in the system. The main reason is that it keeps players engaged with the fiction and the situation at hand. If the cool stuff is in the system, then players will figure out how to get to the cool stuff while avoiding the world. If you play XP  for gold, the players will find the path of least resistance to obtaining gold, so you shouldn't expect players to go into high-risk dungeons if they could become black marketeers or landlords instead. What's the problem? Mismatched expectations. You expect players to follow what you prepare, natu