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27

Betrayal is achieved through imperfect information, possibly conflicting goals, and the ability for orders to be miscommunicated. (Caution, game theory ahead) Literature Review I'm going to assume that you're familiar with the Prisoner's Dilemma, the iterated prisoner's dilemma, the stag hunt, (Kuhn 2009) and the problems with resource availability on ...


21

The player problem that rules changes seem to handle really well is boredom. If combat drags on and on, or if you have two players who are really interested in setting up elaborate tactics on the battemap and one who just wants to roll the dice and move on, then changing the rules to better suit the group as a whole can help. Another thing rules can have a ...


21

Dungeon World is an odd beast. If looked at through the lens of existing D&D experience, it doesn't look like anything different, and lots of its differences seem stupid. To really appreciate what it does differently you have to spend some time immersing your brain in it. I'm a veteran, but I still keep learning new things about the game—it's like ...


15

Adam, I designed three new 4E clases for Goodman's Forgotten Heroes and helped develop and playtest nine of my co-authors'. Here's what worked for us: Decide what the key appeal of the class will be. How will playing this class be different from other classes with the same role? (It helps to answer this for all the existing classes within that role: how ...


15

I think your instincts are good on this one -- using the name "gypsy," while evocative, harkens to stereotypes about real-world groups that it's not helpful to promote. If you want to promote the idea of wandering performers with magical skill and some combat ability, you could go with "vagabond" or "mountebank" or something even more sinister like ...


15

Dungeon World is a narrative game, at it's core, that distinguishes itself from D&D in the way it tells stories. The innovations are in the core philosophies and mechanics. Let me address each of your points in turn: Moves as Powers Moves are NOT just powers. Many are closer to D&D's feats. Others have no mechanical effect at all. Some simply tell ...


14

What you are looking for resembles the Castrum Ferrariae, which triggered the city of Ferrara, in Italy. Its first installment is from the 12th century, to be developed later until the 16th century. Link to the image source


14

DFRPG has more mechanics, which each individually accomplish less. DFRPG is a lot crunchier. Although it maintains the "players can make up their own setting and features" ethos that is the hallmark of Fate, it has a LOT of subsystems in which to do this. For example, it provides a solid and complicated magic subsystem. You're free to make up your own ...


13

Apocalypse Engine is all about fictional positioning There are many ways that the players, the game mechanics, and the shared fiction of play interact with each other. Different systems and different groups emphasize some over others. Apocalypse World is built to emphasize "fictional positioning," which is when already-established elements of the shared ...


11

Clues and Map scraps. First they need a clue to point them in the right general direction. That's fairly easily accomplished by the usual methods, whatever works in your game. Next: if the party finds, buys, is given a partial map (mapscrap), that gives them the essential tool to go find the objective (macguffin). But don't think in terms of classic maps, ...


11

No. You should be playing these games with your friends or at the very least friendly strangers (at a con) or people who you'd want to share a beverage with. Mechanics cannot solve assholery. Mechanics can make assholery worse or easier. A game with piss-poor mechanics can turn an otherwise friendly table into a lame place to be.


10

The closest is probably Richard Graves’ The Mad Demigod’s Castle, available on Dragonsfoot. It doesn’t write up the ruins, but it does write up level 1, and contains connections to the various Castle of the Mad Archmage levels.


10

Things I look for as a player: Common slang used in the world that is not common to the players. Common social etiquette that is not common to the players. Common race, culture, and place stereotypes. What the dice mechanic is. How you gain and spend experience. How a typical combat phase works. The first three allow for quick immersion in the game ...


10

Ultimately, the word gypsy has a pretty cloudy history. For a long time, it was very much meant to be derogatory and pejorative, and used primarily by people who were racist. More than a few groups have embraced it, but plenty have not and still take offense to it. It seems to me that most fantasy settings that want to evoke the traits associated with the ...


10

I re-edited and translated from Italian to English, the marvellous DnD 3.5 sheet made by Dragon's Lair (Udine), whose original sheet (in Italian) is linked here. How it was made: with Openoffice. (after failing with LaTex for a while) What is good about it: it has everything. The first page has all the combat-related stuff one needs, with enough columns ...


9

You can also encourage everyone at the table to follow guidelines established by improv practitioners; these become less "rules of the game" and more "rules of play" (i.e. they don't really answer "what can I do next" as much as they address "whatever I'm going to do next, how do I do it?"): Accept every offer. During the course of play, other players will ...


9

Hit points are more than just a nod to old-school D&D, but yes, that heritage is the only reason they're in the game. The Harm Clock would have worked equally well from a mechanical point of view. It just wouldn't have had the right "feel". For darker fantasy the Harm Clock would be very well-suited. Dungeon World was made to play D&D-style ...


9

D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder This character sheet doesn’t come in “blank” versions so I have to show an example character. Say hi to Vance from a Pathfinder game I was in. Link to example character sheet How it was made The sheet is a webpage written in PHP, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. To create a new character, I just copy the code and edit it as ...


8

Give them a map or turn-by-turn directions, but make them slightly unreliable. Maybe an old adventurer tells them the story of the tome he dropped in the pit in the lower level: "If you go down to the crossroads--you know the one I'm talking about, right?--it's the right passage, which you take for a while till it hits the kobold warrens. On the other side ...


8

My answer would be to not use "Gypsy" for your game. Roma are fighting for basic human rights all over the world. Why do anything to negate our struggles to rise above stereotypes? If someone says that the use of that word is offensive, I think we should listen. It hurts me as a politically active Romani.


7

Tone In my reading the Shadowfell isn't evil nearly as much as it is dark and a tad corrupt. As such I'd draw upon imagery from writers like Poe or Yeats for my flavor. Perhaps the English graveyard poets. The Shadowfell is the goth part of the new D&D cosmology. Inhabitants The inhabitants of the Shadowfell don't have to be non-human or humanoid. ...


7

Hit Points, in general Hit point systems abstract survivability, not damage. Though most pure HP systems call reducing HP "damage," they take the analogy no further: there's no pain, no bloody wounds, no foul effects. Let's face it, most real fights aren't about inflicting numerous wounds on your opponent until they bleed out. Most real fights are about one ...


7

Ars Magica 5 This is a character sheet I made for Ars Magica 5 in the stock Mythic Europe setting. It was modified from a similar set of sheets that I made for Ars Magica 4-based campaigns with alternate settings and abilities. PDF Here. How it was made: I used a number of different versions of CorelDRAW!. This sheet is basically a bunch of heavily ...


6

The simplest method is the in media res mode: "You finally arrived at the rubble pile beneath the opening, rubble which is relatively fresh. This seems to be the place the patrol mentioned. Now, it falls to you to explore and pacify it. As you look, you notice that the air inside is fresh..." The second is to have a map of the major central area, the "safe" ...


6

My personal favorites are: Rolling for determination of outcome choice defining truths spending fate or experience to define some setting truth Using skill rolls to define setting truths cooperative setting building. To detail these better.... Rolling for Determination of Outcome Choice You don't roll for success nor failure; you roll to take control ...


6

To get what is useful on a cheat-sheet for a specific game is going to revolve around playtesting. You've said in the comments that you have a 50/50 split between veterans and new players, which is actually pretty good. Your veterans will remember all of the basic rules, and the new players will have insights into the toughest things to remember as new ...


6

I don't think you can do this without some legwork on your part. All life-path systems I've experienced so far (Fading Suns, Blue Planet) broke the mechanical choices down into background requirements rather than just providing a justification why a character has ability X/Y/Z. Basically, live-path systems as I know and understand them work best with ...


6

I feel like many true things have already been covered in the other answers, but I still feel there's something missing on the points you used as examples. I'm gonna focus on those, while upvoting the other good answers. Moves, unified power mechanics There is a unified mechanic for 'doing stuff' called 'moves'. Reading the moves, this sounds like 4e ...


5

In some rare cases, rules tweaks can bring borderline cases back to participation. For example, streamlining combat or task systems can take a game that has an issue and make it more playable. But in general, problems with individuals tend to be deeper than rules; setting is often far more important to individual players than the rules. Going through your ...


5

The only way to playtest it is not only threw play, (not to say that you shouldn't use play, but no need to reinvent the horse everytime you want to take a buggy ride) one can use all that playtesting already done by looking at the powers that are already out there mechanically and extrapolating from that. Its not perfect but it goes a long way to ensuring ...



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