Category Archives: Role-Playing Games

Our Empathy Problem in Tabletop Game Writing

With tech writing, my colleagues and I keep user empathy at the forefront of our minds. The emotions going into and out of a given experience aren’t afterthoughts, and what is writing if not crafting an experience with intended effect? When I talk about this in tech writing circles, I get variations of “of course,” “I

Revisiting Fate Compel Refusal

It’s more than halfway through 2017—quite a few years after Fate Core came out—and Lenny & I still occasionally have thoughts about how to tinker under Fate’s hood. Here’s the result of our texting one another last week. Let’s take one of the weakest parts of Fate and turn it into a strength. To be totally honest,

A Different Way to Play Low-Stat Characters

I’m playing in a Dungeon World game, and my ranger/cleric has a low Intelligence and low Charisma. But somehow, I’ve become the face of our adventuring party (which I’m calling the Maestros of Failure). Now, I don’t want to play someone who is stupid/clueless or bad at talking with people, because that would bore me,

Space Wizards: an Unofficial K&T Hack

Years ago, I heard someone claim that every RPG will eventually be hacked or used to play Star Wars, like it was a some sort of natural law. Nature

How The Adventure Zone Taught Me to Remember Fun

When you design games for a living or even just as a hardcore hobby publisher, it’s super common to get wrapped into a headspace where you need to

Rating the Four Fate Actions Themselves

Many adventure game systems use the same model for creating opposition: make stats that look like PC stats, and play the rules otherwise as written (except where you don’t because you’re an NPC). We do that in Fate Core, along with the “make an abridged character most of the time.” I cut my teeth on