Domain Rulership, Part Eight

Last time in the Domain Rulership series, I talked about some of the relatively rules-light approaches to domain and stronghold play, in the form of 13th Age and Dungeon World. Now I’m turning back toward more involved systems: Fields of Blood by Eden Studios, given to me by a generous reader; and Kingmaker/Ultimate Campaign by Paizo, given to me by… a more different generous reader. The point is, my readers are the best. They are discerning and witty and almost assuredly 10% more appealing to members of their preferred gender than people who do not read my column. Look at you, reading this, getting better-looking every second. I mean, not to me, I’m married. But still.

(Image: The Magna Carta. One of the original system documents defining domain rulership as something other than, “it’s good to be the king.”)

Dungeons & Dragons: THE HAND OF CHAOS Has Title and Lead

We’ve been covering the D&D movie since back in February, when it was revealed the movie would be set in the Forgotten Realms and have a Guardians of the Galaxy feel. Then in April we learned that the movie would be directed by Goosebumps a director Rob Letterman. While there is still no Vin Diesel casting announcement, Harry from Ain’t it Cool News tell us the movie has a title (Dungeons & Dragons: The Hand of Choas) and lead (Ansel Elgort). It looks like this movie will be a full on quest movie, which is good because anything that moves it away from Warcraft is a good thing.

Independence Day: Resurgence and Wasting Good Design

Zir’an can wait one more week. I absolutely must discuss Independence Day: Resurgence and how it represents the very worst parts of bad fantasy and game running. As weird as this sounds, this movie is half insanely gonzo awesome and half waste. It’s by no means a good movie, but it presents a plethora of great setting ideas… only to squander most of them in pursuit of a by-the-numbers sequel affair. Fortunately, we possess the capability to learn by observation and to extrapolate from seemingly different fields. This movie provides several lessons of inestimable benefit to anyone running a game.

Origins Award Winners 2016

The winners of the 2016 Origins Awards, as given out by the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design at the Origins Game Fair, are:

Game of the Year!Codenames from Czech Games

 

Tribal Knowledge: Playing with a Stranger’s Toys

DriveThruRPG, the DM’s Guild, and the gaming blogosphere are just the newest sources of the huge wealth of setting material that has been published for D&D, to say nothing of WotC’s extraordinarily deep catalog of content. In this article, I’m talking about the challenges of using someone else’s content, whether we’re talking about adventures or whole settings.

Popstar and Putting a Good Twist on Classics

I am taking a break from the Zir’an series this week to focus on some GM advice from an unlikely source: Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping.

I’m a big fan of the directorial efforts of Christopher Guest. When your weakest entry into films is the still-hilarious For Your Consideration, you have made some wise choices. With this is mind, it is no small consideration for me to state in the future there will be back-to-back viewings of This is Spinal Tap! and Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. The last few years have seen a resurgence in the music star biopic. Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, One Direction, and more have put out theatrical release documentaries. This is to say nothing of all of the reality shows and news magazine shows that cover celebrities. While people might say, “This is just a rip off of This is Spinal Tap!”, it is really a topical mockumentary lampooning recent trends, while also presenting some amazing comedy. However, this article isn’t really to sing the praises of the film. Instead, it’s to discuss some of the specific ways the film approaches classic jokes and spins them in new directions, reappropriating them to create something else entirely, but with the trappings of the classic jokes. This is invaluable for storytelling, specifically if you are looking to expand your GM skills.

What’s Up With MF0 Turn Order?!?

Perhaps the most perplexing thing about Mobile Frame Zero is turn order. It constantly shifts from round to round, and even within the round. On the one hand, it’s one of those things that “will be easier once you get used to it”, but on the other…. Jeez, that’s a lot to try and understand. Unless you can find an experienced player to calmly explain how this works a few dozen times, learning turn order can be quite the challenge. Let’s break it down a bit and see if we can figure this one out.

Archfey Patrons, Part Two

Last time in my series on the fey, I proposed unique features for other Archfey patrons. I’m describing the Archfey in terms of archetypes rather than names, since WotC has one set of names for them, real-world myth has another, and my own setting has still different names. The first article covered the Seelie Queen, the Queen of Air and Darkness, the Silver Knight, the Lord of the Hunt, and the Good Fellow. This time, I have a rather intimidating list of Archfey I want to cover… and now that I’ve done four of them I realize that I need to just let there be a third article of Archfey patrons.

The Secret of Zir’an, Part 2

Last time on Performance Check, I began to take a look at an older RPG by the name of The Secret of Zir’an. While the game’s reputation as one of the worst RPG books ever published is deserved, it’s not due to the content. This week, I am picking up from where I left off, and covering skills. As a brief reminder, this game was published back in 2005. Context is important when talking about progressive design, after all.

Part One | Part Two