Mishappenings [Session Report]


Art by Deevad

For the past few weeks, I’ve been running a game of Dungeon World out at my local, friendly gaming store, Mishap Games. And just to plug them a bit more, for the 0 of my readers who are in Roanoke, I’ve been loving Mishap–they’re one of the friendliest stores I’ve frequented, and they’ve just taken over another space in the same shopping center, giving them ample room for a lot of players at once.

Five episodes in, I figured I’d share some of their misadventures.

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The Lying Game


I love tabletop games, and I might have a problem.

The number of them that I’ve bought and never played is way too high–I’d probably pin the ratio as somewhere around 60%. But even when I don’t get a chance to play the game, there’s a value to seeing how other designers are working.

The latest additions to the Game Shelf are Kabuki and Waka Tanka. I bought both of them without any context after browsing my FLGS, Mishap Games, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the games were two takes on the same mechanic–bluffing. Specifically, bluffing in the vein of perennial childhood favorite Bullshit.  Continue reading

Thoughts on 7th Sea

So, a few days ago, John Wick et al. released a preview version of the 7th Sea corebook to their Kickstarter backers. After a wildly successful Kickstarter that funded an entire line of products, this is our first real look at the system at large, and as is tradition, there’s a pretty salty conversation in the fandom about the game in general and its treatment of language/culture in specific.

This isn’t exactly new territory for 7th Sea; the game has always been a pastiche of European history, a swashbuckling setting that combines characters, events, and traditions from very different eras into one big cauldron. Much of the salt is coming from the fact that the fanbase was promised a greater degree of representation and sensitivity in the new edition–and that’s a promise that’s been kept, but maybe not as much as many would like. Continue reading

Enlightened Conflict Rules [WIP]

So, I’ve probably made it abundantly clear that I’m a fan of Exalted, but that I’ve become disenchanted with its mechanical density–not just in 3rd Edition, but in the game line as a whole.

I’ve been working, for longer than I’d like to admit, on my own take; I want a game like Exalted, but more accessible for the kind of players who tend to find their way to my table. Asking them to read, absorb, and engage with 600+ pages of rules and exceptions isn’t going to work for them, quality or lack thereof be damned. In my head, I’m imagining a slim volume, something with a page count more like ApocalypseWorld than the Oxford English Dictionary.

But that’s a long, long way off!

In the immediate future, I’m working to kick my system into play-test ready shape; the main way that’s happening is with an open critique for a draft of my conflict rules. The sample’s available here, and although it doesn’t include much in the way of setting-specific information, I’m looking for any comments or critiques I can get, especially in terms of whether or not the rules make sense to a reader who isn’t me.

The short pitch is that it’s a relatively light (8 pages) system that’s trying to be generic enough that it can stand in for all sorts of conflict: physical combat, social engagements, long-term political scheming, and protracted civil engineering. It draws inspiration from a lot of disparate sources, but if I had to name the biggest ones, they’d probably be ApocalypseWorld, Fate, Chuubo’s (in a weird way that probably doesn’t show just in this excerpt), and Exalted, obviously, with just a touch of Legends of the Wulin. 


Quasal, Imp of the 34th Precept [Steal This]


Steal This is a weekly feature offering interesting people, places, and things for GMs. 

Quasal is one of the least imps, a servitor-race in a particularly shabby hell dimension. In this rundown abyss, Quasal is an archivist in the 34th Precept, a division dedicated to the torment of the just-barely-damned…which essentially means that he’s a paper pusher. He documents each and every torment in his division of the Precept, keeping a meticulous log that no one, in the history of Hell, has ever actually read, consulted, or thought about.

Unfortunately, Quasal has attracted the attentions of a trio of succubi (technically, two succubi and one incubus, but for these demons, biological sex is more a question of mood or fashion than essential nature). They bedevil the unfortunate imp, tricking him into learning countless spells in direct contravention of infernal law. Each time, he begs them to stop inflicting new sorcerous knowledge on him; for their part, this small cabal refuses to explain their motivation, if they even have one beyond their own amusement.  Continue reading