Tag Archives: D&D

D&D: 2d12

d12We were playing Iron Kingdoms last week and someone mentioned a preference for a bell curve over a flat curve. In an unrelated conversation, we were talking about how useless d12s are, and what shame, since we all like them.

I decided to pair these ideas up and rewrite D&D to work with 2d12 as the main resolution mechanic. I know, the game’s not even out yet and I’m already houseruling it. That’s a good sign for D&D.

I also included some stuff about alignment which my review group decided was an opportunity to get mouthy about the return of 3×3 D&D alignment. That threw me because of all the loopy things in D&D, how is that not just part of the loop?

I’m tempted to write in more depth about my thinking about 9-grid D&D alignment, but holy shit does anyone left on Earth care about what anyone else thinks about D&D alignment?

Anyway, here’s newstyle D&D rewired to work with 2d12. If you try this out, let me know how it goes.

2d12 D&D for the masses



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Wake the dragon. I’m Batman.

I wanted to get this post written before the new D&D freebie document went live last week. I would have seemed more prescient. But having skimmed the 5e rules, my opinions are at least validated.

The surprising thing is how unsurprising the whole thing is. Not just because they spoiled it all in their playtest period, but because it’s primarily 3e with tweaks. There’s about a thousand reviews of the new product, most of which are better than I would bother offering, so go read some of those if you want it.

Here is what no one else is saying yet: D&D has become Batman.

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Wake the dragon. The 4th Age.

So in 2008, Wizards produced 4th edition. People tried real hard to like it (some succeeded), but the general consensus was that it kind of stank. At that time, indie and retro games were on the rise, but Wizards of the Coast RPG R&D was not-just-a-river-in-Egypt about what was happening. Continue reading

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Wake the dragon. Indie + Retro.

Even before the rise of Kickstarter, electronic publishing, print-on-demand, or desktop publishing, RPGs were a thing that lots of people tried to do. Even back in the hoary days of paste-up in the ’70s and ’80s you had TSR, FGU, ICE, and several other companies that weren’t three-letter acronyms.

Not everybody who dreams of professional football or going to space gets to do it. But everybody who dreams of RPGs has a shot at being a roleplaying game designer/publisher. That has led us to 5th edition in a painful way. Continue reading

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Wake the dragon. The OGL.

D&D has had five fallow years. A new version is upon us. As with a lot of game stuff, I know more than I’m telling, but not as much as I’d like to know. I’m going to spend a few posts taking about some things I think about the state of RPGs and I’ll hazard some guesses about what’s next that, statistically, will be embarrassingly wrong. Continue reading


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Project: Dark beta run

I backed Will Hindmarch’s Kickstarter campaign for his first-person sneaker RPG, Project: Dark. It’s an RPG in the way of computer games like Thief, Dishonored, or say, the sneaky parts of Metal Gear.

Though the full game won’t be done for a few months, Will pushed out a beta kit to backers after the end of the Kickstarter campaign. I was unusually excited for this game. In reading rules snippets, it seemed to capture the feel of a PC sneaker well. You have limited resources. You need to stay hidden. Your main job to get your objective and get out alive.

It’s easy to say that’s how you want your game played. But if the mechanics don’t back it up, then players will probably just treat it like D&D. Dark delivers. Continue reading

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The best part of the character sheet

ImageThe original D&D character sheet is a marvel of simplicity compared to the ledgers you use to circumscribe your  modern-day D&D dude. And the very best part of the whole sheet was the generous space left for you to draw your “Character Sketch or Symbol”.

The reason it was the very best part is because it opened up the field for you. Every other part of the page was a box designed to be filled with some number or set of letters–a tool that allowed you to interact with the rules set, funneling you down into specific lines of thinking.

Then along comes a box that says, “Open it up and draw something, kid.”

It was actually too much for me! I was intimidated. What could possibly go there? I couldn’t draw very well, and my characters never had “symbols.” But they could have. No reason they shouldn’t have.


The new thing from Wizards is… well, it’s got a big circle in the middle of it. That’s visually interesting. But it also has a little box above the circle labeled “portrait.” It’s a step in the right direction.

My ideal character sheet is a big drawing of your character smack in the middle of the letter-size paper. Then all the numbers and words are around the edges in the margins. Your intelligence-related stuff is near your head, your Strength-related stuff is near your arms, Constitution-related stuff near the torso, etc. But mainly, when you look at it, you see a bad-ass picture of your dude looking awesome and then there’s some other stuff too as necessary.

I still can’t draw worth a damn, but I’m much less inhibited to try and be bad at it these days. If I ever get another turn on the player side of the screen, I’ll give it a shot.

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