design Archive

  • (Okay, this is excessively nerdy talk meant primarily for the InDesign-heads out there. It’s also incomplete. There are a TON of reasons I love GREP styles, but here I’m gonna focus on one.) A few versions back, InDesign added these things called GREP styles, which use the pattern-matching power of regular expressions to cause formatting to [...]

    Why I Love GREP Styles

    (Okay, this is excessively nerdy talk meant primarily for the InDesign-heads out there. It’s also incomplete. There are a TON of reasons I love GREP styles, but here I’m gonna focus on one.) A few versions back, InDesign added these things called GREP styles, which use the pattern-matching power of regular expressions to cause formatting to [...]

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  • Setting is, to my mind, utterly essential to RPGs, and has also been the poor cousin to rules design in a lot of the deeper discussions of RPGs. I’m not entirely sure how to address that, but I think a good start involves looking at setting design wi...

    Playability in Settings

    Setting is, to my mind, utterly essential to RPGs, and has also been the poor cousin to rules design in a lot of the deeper discussions of RPGs. I’m not entirely sure how to address that, but I think a good start involves looking at setting design wi...

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  • I was struck by a tweet this morning regarding the difficulty with handing out XP awards for exploration and roleplaying, specifically, that such rewards are arbitrary and hard to rightsize.  This immediately struck me as a very valid complaint, but al...

    Roleplay and Exploration Rewards

    I was struck by a tweet this morning regarding the difficulty with handing out XP awards for exploration and roleplaying, specifically, that such rewards are arbitrary and hard to rightsize. This immediately struck me as a very valid complaint, but al...

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  • Played more Deus Ex, though curiously that has not really been what's been eating my time.  I've really grown to appreciate it's design of creating multiple paths to success, and what's most interesting to me is that those paths remains mostly obscured...

    Tunnels and Trenches

    Played more Deus Ex, though curiously that has not really been what's been eating my time. I've really grown to appreciate it's design of creating multiple paths to success, and what's most interesting to me is that those paths remains mostly obscured...

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  • I love the Discworld novels. They're fantastic, and I enjoy the heck out of them, but like many fans I am partial to a particular subset of them. In my case, I'm a huge fan of the City Watch books. Nothing else comes close (except perhaps the Moist von...

    A Noun is a Person Place or Thing

    I love the Discworld novels. They're fantastic, and I enjoy the heck out of them, but like many fans I am partial to a particular subset of them. In my case, I'm a huge fan of the City Watch books. Nothing else comes close (except perhaps the Moist von...

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  • There was a great discussion on twitter yesterday about what might go into a hypothetical RPG for new players based on changing 4e or Pathfinder.  Lots of good ideas, but it also reminded me of another idea that I’ve been sitting on for a while, one ...

    Leveling Up To 1

    There was a great discussion on twitter yesterday about what might go into a hypothetical RPG for new players based on changing 4e or Pathfinder. Lots of good ideas, but it also reminded me of another idea that I’ve been sitting on for a while, one ...

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  • I raised a question on twitter the other day regarding summaries in RPG books. The question was, if you’re going to provide regular summaries (of rules or example), where should it go - at the beginning of the chapter, or at the end?For context, the ...

    Layout is More than Fonts

    I raised a question on twitter the other day regarding summaries in RPG books. The question was, if you’re going to provide regular summaries (of rules or example), where should it go - at the beginning of the chapter, or at the end?For context, the ...

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  • One thing that has really been sticking with me about Dragon Age 2 has  been (as is so often the case with Bioware titles) the relationships and  personalities of your companions.  Certainly, the arc of your hero is  interesting, but it is the people a...

    Lateral Connections

    One thing that has really been sticking with me about Dragon Age 2 has been (as is so often the case with Bioware titles) the relationships and personalities of your companions. Certainly, the arc of your hero is interesting, but it is the people a...

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  • I realized yesterday that my genre expectations for 4e have been skewed. I think of it (and most RPGs) as being adventures, but I think it might be more accurate to describe 4e as part of the related-but-different action genre.What's the difference?  S...

    Action vs. Adventure

    I realized yesterday that my genre expectations for 4e have been skewed. I think of it (and most RPGs) as being adventures, but I think it might be more accurate to describe 4e as part of the related-but-different action genre.What's the difference? S...

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  • There's a big question, in games and fiction, of how to include fight scenes that matter.  If you go to a movie which has lots of cool fight scenes but no real reason for them to be there, or no real stakes on the line, then it's ultimately going to be...

    1, 2, 3, What Are We Fighting For?

    There's a big question, in games and fiction, of how to include fight scenes that matter. If you go to a movie which has lots of cool fight scenes but no real reason for them to be there, or no real stakes on the line, then it's ultimately going to be...

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