Evening, long-timers. Gamegrene is old. The software is old and the server it lives on is even older. I'm faced with the choice of having to mothball the entire site (wherein I'd provide a standalone archive of it, for anyone to download and keep for their own posterity's sake) or figure out how to migrate it to software five or six years newer than it is expected to run on. For now, I'm moving forward with "figuring out how to migrate it" to a new server and new software.

Gary Gygax famously relates the inception of skills into D&D as a result of having a character cross a river and someone asking "Can my character swim?" Since then skills began to creep into D&D and other RPG's at a furious pace. Eventually, most games added some skills or even made skill-based systems -- dispensing with classes altogether. Most gamers accept the premise of skills blithely, seeing them as another thing that their character can do and fail to recognize that some skills take away player agency from the table.

A reflection on the ideals of the sandbox gaming style in the context of a multithreaded RPG campaign.

Most role-playing rule-sets confuse narrative and strategic differences. In an attempt to make the experience of playing a different "type" of character feel different they introduce a multitude of rules to govern the same actions.

Shot in the dark: has anyone ever attempted to play D&D (or any other game system) via a wiki INSTEAD of play-by-post or play-by-email? I'm not interested in comparing play-by-wiki with real-time digital solutions like Fantasy Grounds or Roll20 - I'm focussed on non-real-time comparisons only. There seems to be a healthy number of pros and cons to play-by-wiki vs. play-by-post, and I'm still compiling all the data, but I've seen very few examples of play-by-wiki in the wild - doesn't seem like a popular approach. Trying to understand why.

In early roleplaying games equipment was king. We deliberated over who could carry the gear we needed. Pots, pans, tents, and bedrolls were packed carefully onto our character sheets. Iron rations were bought and consumed -- suppplemented with fresh food when the prospect arose. Our dreams weren't preoccupied with magic items -- a suit of plate armor was a treasure worth countless toil and adventure. Like kids at the pet store we did as much time shopping in windows as we spent acquiring goods. We knew the local blacksmith by name.

The term "plot hook" can actually be more diminishing to your campaign than supportive. It immediately and clearly defines a few points at which the PCs can engage with the setting and the loose storyline you have in mind for the campaign. It limits the points of engagement to those few you planned out and sets you up to have to "wing it" far more than you have to if you're the type to give the PCs the freedom to go "off the map" as it were. Stop baiting plot hooks and instead just cast a net.

In a world of short attention spans and the media that caters to them it can be challenging for a gamemaster to establish long term buy in from their players. It's easy to blame this on the players but as in all things the problem, and therefore the solution, often lies closer to home than many are willing to admit. Using the simple writing techniques of series writers from the world of fiction and understanding a bit about the psychology of your players (and yourself) you can set yourself up from the start to establish a campaign with longevity.

Role-playing games use dice to resolve events and simulate results that are out of the control of the intentions of the character. When a character wants to say something, they can; when they want to pick up a stone and hurl it, they can. What they cannot control is whether the stone hits what they want -- or whether the words have the impact that they want. It the RPG world that is resolved by the dice.

Unless you have lived in a cave somewhere for the past couple of years or rabidly avoid the Fantasy genre entirely, you have heard about George RR Martin's Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series published by Bantam Books. The novels regularly reside at #1 for Sci Fi/Fantasy when they debuted in the in the early '90's and the more recent books have made the top ten bestselling lists worldwide, despite being rather dark, adult oriented and dangerous to the lives of the main characters within it. Take note, this is not Tolkien or Jordan that we're talking about here.

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