Six More RPG Mechanics That Must Go

Roleplaying design is highly sensitive to context. Some rules work really well in one system and really poorly in another, and it all depends on what each game is trying to achieve. But then there are mechanics that don’t work well in any system, and … read more »

Five RPG Systems With Downtime Mechanics

A painting of a sleeping soldier.

Downtime is an important concept in roleplaying games. It represents whatever time passes between adventures, whether those adventures are old-school dungeon crawls or awkward socializing on prom night. While the narrative focus may be off, PCs are intelligent beings with free will, and players will … read more »

How Can I Make a Recurring RPG Villain Work?

questions and answer talk bubbles

I’ve been thinking of running a TTRPG campaign where the PCs are being accidentally dragged through many alternate worlds by the Big Bad. This allows for an episodic structure where they can foil a different plan in a different world each adventure, but also means … read more »

Seven House Rules for Torchbearer Campaigns

A painting of a boy holding a torch and a girl in a blue cloak.

Torchbearer is a great game. It makes the environment feel dangerous and ensures every stash of copper pieces feels like a wondrous treasure.  Torchbearer has even revitalized my interest in dungeons, something I thought was dead forever. But like any game I play a lot, I … read more »

Learning From Successful Combat Systems

Three figures fighting a duel in Victorian London.

In this series’ first entry, I looked at how RPG combat can serve the story. Next, I talked about why the vast majority of RPG combat doesn’t. In this final entry, we’ll consider how RPG combat can do better. For our purposes, “combat” refers to any … read more »

Why RPG Combat Is Broken

A painting of Viking Age warriors engaged in battle.

Gather round, all ye game masters, designers, and RPG enthusiasts: it is time for part two of this series on extended conflict-resolution rules in roleplaying games. We refer to these rules as “combat” for brevity’s sake, even though they often include rules for car chases, … read more »