Monthly Archives: October 2008

Morbus 3 – The Dizzying Tower

The third episode of my D&D 4th Edition game is done. In this adventure, the party is waylaid by illusions emanating from a mysterious tower occupied by a deceitful gnomish wizard.

This adventure is designed for four 3rd-level characters, and should provide them with half of a level’s experience, or take them to fourth level if you double experience as I do. Note that because I double experience, this adventure contains a full level’s worth of treasure. GMs using this adventure will want to adjust accordingly. The full adventure is after the break.

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Reducing Complexity

I’ve been working on a digital game for the past week or so, and in the process of designing and refining, I’ve found myself simplifying the rules quite a bit. Maybe the player character doesn’t need to gain experience points, if increasingly powerful equipment can have the same effect as increasing intrinsic stats. If the control scheme is so simple that it doesn’t allow movement that would be possible in real life, that can be a tactical challenge rather than a clumsy system. Simplification is a process that can turn a good game into a great one.

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Lost in “La La Land”

A screen shot from La La Land, showing chaos

Anna Anthropy, creator of the creatively structured Calamity Annie, just posted about a series by TheAnemic (I think) called “La La Land:”

the la la land games, of which there are (to my knowledge) five, are haunting and surreal short tales. in the way that static might draw attention to the pauses in a phone conversation, la la land emphasizes those vast between-spaces in the dialogue between player and game. it is here that the games take place.

A warning up front: on first glance, these games come across as some guy screwing around with Game Maker and being deliberately weird. And that’s what they might be. But it all feels so deliberate. The special effects must have taken long enough to code, and there’s such a unifying bizarreness to the games, that I might as well assume that the creator knows what he or she’s doing, and try to make some sort of sense of it.

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Some Free Indie RPGs

I recently looked around on the internet for interesting tabletop roleplaying systems that I could read and try out for free. I’ve yet to play any of the ones that caught my eye for the first time, but I thought that I should share the highlights of my search.

In the descriptions, you might see the terms “simulationist” and “narrativist.” I’m using those words to describe how the game approaches the details of its rules. A simulationist game, in my way of seeing it, is one which offers a realistic and internally consistent world model which provides specific rules for a wide range of things. A narrativist game, on the other hand, is vague on details; generally, the players and game master can go along with the story, with the rules providing much broader strokes.

Here are the games that jumped out at me, in no particular order:

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