Showing posts from December, 2021

Magic and Free Kriegsspiel

So part of the conceit of Free Kriegsspiel is that the Referee depends on their experience and knowledge of the world to drive the game. That’s great and all, but what about magic? There’s no way to have live experience with that, so there’s only one way out of that. You have to know something about the world you’re running.  Magic! How hard can it be? Image by GraphicMama , used with permission. A typical corollary question of “how do you do magic?” is “how do you handle damage?” which is also a question that keeps popping up. Many newcomers to the FKR way are often already familiar with roleplaying games that quantify damage, and will likely try to find a one-to-one heuristic to deal with that. To help answer this question, I typically ask another question: “What’s the in-world answer to this?”  Many fantasy worlds already present magic systems of various kinds, such as the channeling in Wheel of Time to the element bending featured in Avatar: The Last Airbender. These worlds typical

Happy Holidays

Seasonal greetings to you! Like the last year, this year was also strange. It’s the second year in a pandemic and right now things are closing down again. I wish you all warmth, love and safety.     The year in review This year I concluded the Star Wars campaign I ran this year. Now we’ve moved on to play a new campaign set in a universe inspired by the Witcher and Norse mythology. Playing over Discord has become the norm, and I’ve gotten to play lots of exciting games in different mini-campaigns, from Orbital Decay and troika! to OZR. I’ve also played an open table Cyberpunk game inspired by Cyberpunk 2077. Lots of good RPG times this year. I’m happy to report that I’m also making great strides with my small-time rpg publications. I’ve been working on a few different projects. Netherlight is a sword-and-planet setting I’m planning to release soon, inspired by the Warhammer universes and the movie Treasure Planet. I’ve previewed some of the art on this blog already, made by the fantast

World that is entirely a dungeon

So, I had a little idea the other day. I call it "Dungeon World" just to cause confusion. But it's also literally a world of dungeons 😏 . No, literally . There is no natural landscape in this world. It's all dungeons.  Picture by Rudy and Peter Skitterians , used with permission. It was originally built by unknowable creators in some unknowable time in the past. Since then, mages from various planes of existence discovered the place and decided to add their own touches. Many peoples live here. To them, the thought of a world not made by the Makers is just freaking weird. Mountains of just solid rock? Preposterous. Only the great edifices of the Makers or the Mage-Kings that followed should reach towards the skies. Food is something you get from the Garden-Cemeteries of Ceres. Or maybe you hunt it in the Underworld.  Picture by 132369 , used with permission.  Journey deep enough and you find the Columns That Hold The World. Great hexagonal pillars made of a substance

Free Kriegsspiel's problem with Owls

In the last 12 or so months, I’ve been delving deep into the FKR rabbit hole. It has thoroughly changed the way I play and let me focus more on adventures than ever before. For example, writing things like stat blocks and looking up rules are now a thing of the past. But there are some issues that I think also need to be addressed. In this post I’m going to talk about something I call the “Owl Problem”. How hard can it be? Okay, what’s the deal with bringing owls into this? Well, it’s inspired by the meme above, but related to running rules-light games. In my experience, newcomers to the hobby have almost no issue in joining a session and playing as a PC. However, as a newcomer to running a session, most rules-light games offer little to no guidance.  One central idea to free kriegsspiel is that the referee can just dispense with rules and dice in favor of relying on their experience. This worked out a lot for prussian officers, but a beginner in the ttrpg world doesn't have the sa

How I prep for games

 Last week I wrote about how I run games , but I felt I had more to say on the prep part, so here we are. A more detailed example of how I prep. I decided I wanted to run a sci-fi game, after finding some inspiration from recently watching Cowboy Bebop and playing the new Guardians of the Galaxy game. Since it’s December, I decided I wanted a christmas theme to it and keep it to a one-shot. I just wanted a sci-fi hit again. So I started thinking about what I wanted for this one-shot. The requirements were that it should be playable in 2 hours and feel satisfactory as a one-shot. Matt Colville once said in a video that you could roughly fit 5 encounters in a session - he was talking about 5e and probably a longer session. I think 5 encounters works for 2 hours if you’re doing it free kriegsspiel style. So with that in mind, I figured salvaging a small ship could be a neat little mission. For laughs, I decided to theme it as a sci-fi version of Santa’s sled - except it’s a spaceship. Th