Tuesday, April 26, 2022

The Long & Short of RPG Stats

Since the dawn of roleplaying games many have relied on two forms of game stats for adversaries and other elements requiring definition in relation to game mechanics. Long-form stats usually reside within the rulebook pages with similar reference material; the typical bestiary chapter for fantasy roleplaying games. Sometimes supplements use them, too. Adventures often rely more on short-form stats distilled from their more detailed cousins. These serve as quick, in-game reference without having to drag out the rulebook. New monsters appearing in adventures often get short stats in game text with long-form stats and more elaborate description in an appendix. Although I admit both long and short stats have their place in roleplaying game rulebooks, I’m starting to tend toward short stats or – horror of horrors – no stats at all in my own setting and adventure materials.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Narrative, Challenge, Reflection

 “Do not…keep children to their studies by compulsion but by play.”


I admire Professor Scott Nicholson’s scholarly work about games. He inspires people to look at different aspects of games with a more critical eye, particularly in an educational setting. And he helps fuel my interest in games for learning, using game experiences inside or outside a classroom to encourage people to expand their horizons. His latest project – EscapeIF uses educational storytelling (in a familiar programmed text adventure format) to provide an innovative and engaging framework for classroom learning. In exploring EscapeIF I realized this format relies on three core elements – narrative, challenge, and reflection – all of which easily apply to teaching as well as our own game experiences.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Games for Tired Eyes & Fumbling Fingers

 We do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing!”

Benjamin Franklin

Am I getting old and crazy
like the hermit in
B2? Probably....
My grandmother, who lived to be 100 years old, often gave me this advice, with a mischievous look yet a tone of resignation in her voice: “Don’t get old.” Now I’m a bit past 50 and have been feeling “old” creeping up on my weary, mortal form for a while now. Mostly it’s just aches and pains, sore muscles taking longer to heal, my eyesight getting worse, my fingers a bit more inept. Now and then I notice some physical limitation or other while I’m engaged in gaming activities. I still enjoy numerous manifestations of my adventure gaming hobby, but some are beginning to present slightly greater physical challenges. I often wish publishers might take such factors into account, though for now I find my own ways to manage.