Roleplaying

Unearthed Arcana Review: Eloquence Bard

A bard with an eye-patch strumming an instrument with a worm-monster in the background.

Bards often find themselves as the “face” of the party, making the various charisma checks to stop the impending brawl between the party’s fighter and the local bugbear tribe. For those of us who want to be the faciest face, there’s now the College of … read more »

Unearthed Arcana Review: Wild Soul Barbarian

A barbarian with glowing eyes and a big ax.

Unearthed Arcana (UA) is a system Wizards of the Coast uses to test new D&D 5th Edition content before it makes its way into any official material. Players are invited to use these new additions to the game and give their feedback on balance and … read more »

The Three Ways Games Approach Success and Failure

So your first-level Fighter just took a sword to the chest. Are you so wounded you can hardly fight anymore, even though you’re still alive? Do you get powered up for a devastating counterattack? Maybe you suffer no consequences at all besides losing some hitpoints. … read more »

Can Training Times Work in an RPG?

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I have seen in various roleplaying games a sort of “training time” mechanic. Basically in addition to gaining the needed experience points/levels/whatever to gain a new skill/power/attribute, your character must also devote a given amount of in-game time to training. These times pretty much invariably … read more »

How Can We Make RPG Languages Work Better?

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Can you write a column about language proficiencies as a game mechanic? Are there any games that do it right? Language proficiencies (esp in DND5e) often feel like they suffer from the problem of being too situational and thus expensive for their cost, and it … read more »

Five Magic Mechanics That Break Their Systems

A classical painting of an alchemist working with potions.

Roleplaying mechanics can be difficult to balance, and magic can be difficult to balance, so it’s no surprise that when you combine the two, you get serious fireworks. I’m talking about powers and abilities that aren’t just overpowered; they can bring entire games to a … read more »