Aliens & Asteroids: The First Public Playtest, Pt 3

In the last post, John’s technician “Sean Samsonite” and his drone (the “S.S. Prototype 1”) valiantly headed down into the crater with the alien bits and pieces. And when he spotted the jar of green alien goo on a device with blinking lights, he got very excited. So excited in fact that he jumped on…

Aliens & Asteroids: The First Public Playtest, Pt 2

In the last post, I covered a bit of the terror I felt when trying the whole “public playtest” thing again at Petries’ Family Games. Sure, Cameron was helping out by offering a space and telling folks about it on the website as well as on Facebook, but would it be enough? Well, apparently it…

Aliens & Asteroids: The First Public Playtest, Pt 1

When beginning a brand new effort for a completely new rules system and setting, there’s always a bit of terror. Is it good enough? What will people think? Will folks have fun? Will anybody show up? Wait? What do you mean “will anybody show up?” Well, several weeks ago I started something completely terrifying for…

Wormholes in the Sky (Eclipses)

As this total solar eclipse darkens the sky over most of North America today and the next one isn’t for another 7 years, I thought it might be a good time to explore some ideas around eclipses in fantasy and science-fiction settings for RPGs. In our own world, there are many traditional myths and legends…

The Trick is to Keep Breathing

The title of this post comes from a great song done by the group Garbage back in the 1990s, but definitely applies to dealing with certain conditions in a science fiction setting. Breathable atmosphere is one of those things most creatures require to survive. In the human case, we tend to like a good mix…

The Gravity of the Situation

Dealing once again with a science fiction setting after so many years of being focused in the realms of fantasy, I’ve been forced to deal with several things I’ve not really pondered before as a game designer. One is the application of gravity. One of the many alien races we’ve come up with so far…

Aliens & Asteroids: Designing Weapons for the Future

Looking into the crystal ball a few hundred years is a challenge. Understatement of the year. But as I look to the future and what humankind has wrought upon our universe, I’m left with one very obvious fact: weapons have to be tough. It’s tough to get replacement parts when you’re light years from the…

Purpose for the Darkness (March 2017 RPG Blog Carnival)

Last time I offered a few ideas on a single dark room in the dungeon, but that got me thinking even further. What are the questions we should ask about those dark places to help inspire more thoughts about their denizens and the encounters our PCs might face in them? Even if we just take a…

Exploring a Dungeon’s Atmosphere

As I wrote up the “Wolves in the Walls” article about crafting dungeons, I realized I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about next. I’d covered ceilings, floors, and walls. A year ago I wrote about staircases. And I have an entire book about doors. What was left? Turns out, there’s quite a…

The Wolves in the Walls

By now we’ve covered ceilings and floors, I think it’s about time to focus on the walls of our dungeon and see how we might view them differently. If you search the collective consciousness (and the insane number of idioms we have in the English language), you can find some interesting sayings or phrases focused…

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