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Visualizing Game Flow

Reversing the Design: The Two Games of Chrono Trigger is an essay that examines the way that Chrono Trigger tells a story in two parts to the player using every aspect of the game's design. Aside from analyzing the game story itself, the authors also look at things like weapon power, player agency, quest design, graphics, dungeon layouts, boss scripting, and the battle system. The essay concludes with a list of design considerations that can be applied from Chrono Trigger to games of all genres.
posted by codacorolla on Oct 13, 2014 - 39 comments

How D&D created the female gamer

While it did not set out to rectify the gender imbalance in gaming, Dungeons & Dragons opened the door just enough to let women gamers in. TSR’s early efforts to include women explicitly in its fantasy games sometimes did more harm than good, but the foremost rule of role-playing games is that gamers are free to innovate, to vary the system to suit their needs. Both men and women have since used these tools to invent and enjoy their own adventures, both through Dungeons & Dragons and the many games it influenced.
Jon Peterson looks at the history of female gamers and how Dungeons & Dragons was so much more successful at getting women to play than earlier war and fantasy games. (For those interested in the early history of roleplaying Peterson's blog may be of interest.)
posted by MartinWisse on Oct 10, 2014 - 40 comments

You may now make your first move

"When critics and journalists discuss John Darnielle’s new, first full-length novel, Wolf in White Van, which was just nominated for a National Book Award, they often point out the storytelling aspect of his songwriting. But Mountain Goats songs are as much incantation as narrativethey imply the advent of the trauma with declarations and appeals to dead gods, which deny it or try (futilely) to ward it off." Carl Wilson reviews the novel--about the inventor of a role-playing by mail game with a cult following--in depth on Slate. Listen to the first chapter read by Darnielle here. Autoplay
posted by Potomac Avenue on Oct 5, 2014 - 20 comments

Speak With Monsters: The Incomplete Series

"Okay, the old man in the tavern tells you, 'Many years ago the powerful sage known as Mefi's own Lore collected much wisdom about the sundry monsters of which the elders taught of us in the Monster Manual. Lore's annotations to the work came in the form of the comic series Speak With Monsters. They were once thought lost forever with the fall of Bad Gods and following the trail the mighty JHarris blazed previously four winters past will lead only to woe. But Lore has shared them again in the distant library of Google Plus for seekers after wisdom and gold.' He then falls over with a knife in his back. What do you do?" [more inside]
posted by ricochet biscuit on Sep 21, 2014 - 18 comments

High-quality role playing, guys.

Out of Context D&D Quotes (Not all quotes guaranteed to be out of context or from D&D)
posted by griphus on Sep 9, 2014 - 32 comments

Gender-inclusive language in D&D 5e raises roleplaying questions

How Dungeons and Dragons is endorsing the darkest parts of the RPG community "Three weeks ago the 5th edition of Dungeons and Dragons came out. D&D is the iconic tabletop role playing game, so a new edition is a big deal. It’s one of the few times that the small, insular pen and paper community gets noticed by the rest of the world. Many game websites have talked about it, notably Polygon’s piece on gender inclusive language. Yet at the same time as D&D tries to appeal to those outside the gender binary, it has been driving them away by employing two of the most toxic personalities in tabletop gaming." [more inside]
posted by CrystalDave on Aug 9, 2014 - 184 comments

Fallout: New Jersey

"When Dystopia Rising went well, there were moments that felt natural, perfect. My first night was filled with gang warfare and hunts for a cult of radiation-worshipping Social Darwinists, but one of the parts I remember best was sitting next to a busker who played me a song from Hedwig and the Angry Inch, gave a mythologized retelling of the musical, and ended up explaining the origins of a group I believe was called the Church of Daft Punk" -- The Verge on playing in the massively complex post-apocalyptic LARP ( Live Action Role Playing) game, Dystopia Rising.
posted by The Whelk on Aug 9, 2014 - 10 comments

Would you like to choose Bellsprout as your starter?

Pokémon Zeta & Omicron are not ROM hacks. They are standalone fan-made Pokémon clones created with RPG Maker XP, featuring around 80 hours of gameplay, 2 regions with 12 gyms, a coherent storyline, "tons" of endgame content, Shadow Pokémon, Delta Pokémon, all 649 Pokémon through gen V, secret bases, mega evolutions, challenge modes (previously), and sometimes quirky dialogue. Though still in beta, it's a playable game [YT], patches to which have slowed. Each new version is posted to the sub-Reddit /r/pokemonzetaomicron.
posted by Monsieur Caution on Aug 5, 2014 - 8 comments

How Dungeons & Dragons Influenced a Generation of Writers (SLNYT)

For certain writers, especially those raised in the 1970s and ’80s, all that time spent in basements has paid off. D&D helped jump-start their creative lives. When he was an immigrant boy growing up in New Jersey, the writer Junot Díaz said he felt marginalized. But that feeling was dispelled somewhat in 1981 when he was in sixth grade. He and his buddies, adventuring pals with roots in distant realms — Egypt, Ireland, Cuba and the Dominican Republic — became “totally sucked in,” he said, by a “completely radical concept: role-playing,” in the form of Dungeons & Dragons. [more inside]
posted by magstheaxe on Jul 20, 2014 - 35 comments

Having found the Minotaur, he killed him by smiting him with his fists

"In 1972 I created the concept of Mazes & Minotaurs, the world's first roleplaying game. Inspired by my fanatical interest in ancient Greek and Macedonian wargaming, coupled with a love of Greek myth and the 1963 movie, Jason and the Argonauts, it took the gaming world by storm." -- Paul Elliott. [more inside]
posted by Monsieur Caution on Jul 16, 2014 - 13 comments

You have 0 gunk

Because today is effectively Friday afternoon for those of us in the U.S., here is Space Lich Omega, an "incremental RPG" inspired by previous MeFite favorite Candy Box. [more inside]
posted by jbickers on Jul 3, 2014 - 95 comments

Remedial Dungeons & Dragons

Tired of grinding your way through overly-complicated RPGs? Looking for a game where user input is kept to an absolute minimum? If so, One Tap Quest is the game for you.
posted by schmod on Jun 3, 2014 - 90 comments

Wizards finding a path out of the dungeon

How did Pathfinder become the only table-top role-playing game ever to outsell Dungeons & Dragons, outpacing it 2:1? What were the economics of the Open Gaming License, whereby Wizards of the Coast effectively gave away the rules to its flagship D&D product? Why did the table-top market collapse? This and more on Episode 73 of the Game Design Roundtable podcast, with guest Ryan Dancey, architect of the Open Gaming License strategy at Wizards of the Coast, and former marketing exec at CCP Games (makers of EVE Online). Dancey is now the business lead on Pathfinder Online, an upcoming sandbox fantasy RPG broadly in the mold of EVE and Ultima Online. TGDRT is usually about game design, but this episode is a fascinating look into the business side of the RPG world, both online and off -- from someone who has been at the heart of the most interesting business cases in the space. The first 30 minutes are all about business history and economics. [more inside]
posted by grobstein on Apr 2, 2014 - 71 comments

David A. Trampier, 1954-2014

Legendary old school tabletop RPG artist David Trampier (mentioned previously a few times on the blue) created some of the most striking iconic art which helped define the look of 1st edition Advanced D&D. He grew disillusioned with the business in the late eighties and cut off all contact with his former employers (ceasing cashing royalty checks), disappearing with such finality that Dragon Magazine assumed he was dead. By chance, some fifteen years later he appeared in a local news story in Carbondale, Illinois where he was working as a taxi driver. He politely but firmly rejected all invitations to step back into his previous career. This week he passed away at the age of 59. [more inside]
posted by ricochet biscuit on Mar 28, 2014 - 64 comments

The more I play D&D, the more I want to get away from this world.

"What had fallen into my hot little hands was none other than one of the booklets that Patricia Pulling and her fellow members of Bothered About Dungeons & Dragons would hand out to people - police, pastors, parents, teachers, and librarians - to help 'educate' them about this terrible 'danger.' It was a crowning jewel to any collection of anti-RPG propaganda."
posted by griphus on Mar 22, 2014 - 86 comments

Roll for initiative.

The Only Fantasy World Map You'll Ever Need.
posted by fings on Mar 19, 2014 - 100 comments

Only drank two coffees today... Level Up!

Personal productivity has been discussed a lot on MetaFilter. Getting to Done? I never got anything done. 43 Folders? That's so ten years ago. Instead, why don't you Gamify Your Life?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering on Mar 16, 2014 - 59 comments

You don’t understand fun. Not really.

You don’t sit down to write a game and “add fun” or “make fun.” You make things. You design encounters. You plan plot points. You build NPCs. And you also put together and run campaigns. You hope that somehow, out of the campaigns and the decisions and encounters and plot points and NPCs, fun is a thing that will happen. But you don’t actually try to quantify fun. You don’t think about why fun things are fun. Until today.
In The Eight Kinds of Fun The Angry DM explores the nature of fun in tabletop roleplaying games, guided by scholarly research on the subject.
posted by Skorgu on Jan 28, 2014 - 43 comments

Roll d4308!

A handy categorized index to the hilarious and useful d12 tables of The Dungeon Dozen, for mischievous DMs everywhere. Now up to 359 random tables! Alphabetically. This page will select a few random tables for you. (Previously)
posted by JHarris on Jan 25, 2014 - 15 comments

Start from an exit and kill the Dungeon God.

Ernesto: A Quick RPG
posted by griphus on Jan 1, 2014 - 21 comments

If the spell wasn't supposed to do that, it wouldn't be in the PHB.

Seven Ways to Kill the Tarrasque (in D&D 3.0)
posted by griphus on Dec 24, 2013 - 114 comments

Does Your Character Sparkle In Any Way?

Hey! It looks like you're trying to write an original character for your fiction/fanfic/RPG, why not run it through The Universal Mary Sue Litmus Test and make sure you're not actually writing a self-insert wish-fulfillment fantasy.
posted by The Whelk on Dec 22, 2013 - 71 comments

The 52 Pages: Illustrated rules outline for refereed fantasy adventures

Does the world really need another “fantasy role- playing game”? Why take yet another try at improving those old-school adventure rules? Good questions. People who run such games and write about them online tend to kit-build their own rules. On these grounds I decided to present my own game notes in modular form, that people could choose from and use.
52 Pages 1.0 (PDF) by Roger the GS. [via]
posted by griphus on Dec 19, 2013 - 26 comments

Crack Open a Sunset Sarsaprilla And Settle In

Wayside Creations' surprisingly high-budget, on location shot Fallout New Vegas fan-series returns with: Nuka Break Season 2! (Full episode playlist). Rejoin Twig the Vault-Dweller, Ben The Ghoul , Scarlet The Escaped Slave and the Mysterious Ranger as they deal with the explosive aftermath of Season 1. (Nuka Break Previously, Wayside Creations previously)
posted by The Whelk on Dec 11, 2013 - 47 comments

"What was he doing having his face put on ATM cards?"

"It was as if, while Mark Zuckerberg was still in high school, Bowie was bracing for the 21st Century, the demand for everyone to “share” accessible versions of themselves. The self as a business card, to be distributed to anyone who asked for it. He also saw opportunity: on 1 September 1998, he launched BowieNet." Pushing Ahead Of The Dame (previously, previously) takes a look at David Bowie's late-90s, technophile projects and the future they foreshadowed - Omikron: The Nomad Soul (& BowieBanc & BowieNet)
posted by The Whelk on Nov 11, 2013 - 30 comments

Untitled Ancient Miniature Rules

Playing at the World is a blog about the early days of tabletop RPGs. Select articles include "How Gaming Got Its Dice" (and the followup "The Origins of Dice Notation,") "The Early Works of Gary Gygax, " "A Playtesting Edition of Dungeons & Dragons (1973)" (and the followup "The Dalluhn Manuscript: In Detail and On Display") and "Character Sheets in 1975."
posted by griphus on Sep 13, 2013 - 36 comments

The original golden age of fantasy role playing games.

Old School FRP is a tumblr blog with a ton of illustrations and art from the golden age of Dungeons and Dragons and games that were totally not Dungeons and Dragons.
posted by Pope Guilty on Aug 31, 2013 - 33 comments

I believe in you.

Collect feathers. Observe quiet beauty. Act with bravery. [PDF] Brave Sparrow is either a roleplaying game, a cult, or a life philosophy. Or maybe all of those, or none. [more inside]
posted by Scattercat on Aug 21, 2013 - 51 comments

What Kind of D&D Character Would You Be?

"This [129 question] survey will determine your ability scores, fantasy race, class, alignment, and character level describing what you would be if you were transformed into a Dungeons and Dragons character."
posted by jedicus on Aug 13, 2013 - 303 comments

Simon and the rat both feel it's best to just ignore each other

"The very first single-player dungeoncrawl game was not a video game. It was a series of charts printed in the first edition of Dungeons & Dragons, back in 1979. By rolling dice according to the instructions, you could generate a dungeon which was illogical, arbitrary, super-lethal, and which often didn't even produce useable results.
THIS GAME USES THOSE CHARTS."

Dungeon Robber is a flash text game that simulates playing AD&D by the AD&D Appendix A dungeon generation rules. You'll probably die a lot, but the game saves every time you head to town. Blog of the creator.
Dungeon Robber comics![more inside]
posted by JHarris on Aug 6, 2013 - 127 comments

Everquest Next

At several moments during the presentation, I wrote in block capitals, circling and underlining. This is the headline feature. This is something nobody has tried or managed to do before. Then, toward the mid-point, while I was still processing what had already come, lead designer Dave Georgeson demonstrated a feature that changed everything.
Everquest Next’s world is made of voxels and everything in it is destructible.

posted by Elementary Penguin on Aug 3, 2013 - 126 comments

"Cruel, but most entertaining for the DM."

Some wonderfully enterprising nerd has created a mod for the real-time grid-based 3D dungeon crawler Legend of Grimrock (twice previously) based on the the Dungeons & Dragons module Tomb of Horrors (previously, funny SA rundown here). It's available via nexusmods and Steam Workshop. Have a nice weekend.
posted by cog_nate on Jul 12, 2013 - 58 comments

A Revolution in Fiction Unfolds

Nill Kamui is an independent island caught in a power struggle between the forces of Donatia, the land of Knights and the Church, and Koran, an empire of secrets and the immortal empress Ghost Mother. When the Red Dragon, the ancient protector of the island, goes berserk and starts killing for no reason, a desperate plan is hatched: a team of representatives from each of the three powers is given a mission to find why the Red Dragon went mad and stop him by any means necessary. Red Dragon is a tabletop RPG campaign with its own trailer, and that's not all. [more inside]
posted by 23 on Jun 22, 2013 - 20 comments

Masks of Nyarlathotep

Among tabletop RPG players and in particular among Call of Cthulhu players, Masks of Nyarlathotep is often held to be the gold standard for adventures. A sprawling mystery that begins with a murder in New York City and takes the investigators on a world-spanning chase to London, Cairo, the interior of Kenya, outback Australia and Shanghai, trying to prevent the opening of the Great Gate and the return of the elder gods who will end the world, it does not lack for ambition. Created by Larry DiTillio with editorial assistance from the late Lynn Willis, Masks is rated #1 by a wide margin of the 4,254 adventures reviewed on RPG.net. The Call of Cthulhu website Yog-sothoth.com, to celebrate the site's fifteenth anniversary, is making available a pdf of the Masks of Nyarlathotep Companion: 570 pages of behind-the-scenes info for running the campaign. [more inside]
posted by ricochet biscuit on Jun 20, 2013 - 118 comments

Blood for the Blood God!

Realm of Chaos 80s - an 80s Games Workshop blog.
posted by Artw on Jun 12, 2013 - 29 comments

MISADVENTURE - VIDEO COMPUTER SYSTEM - GAME PROGRAM

FFF: A long time ago, a child turned on a home gaming console for a little Saturday morning fun — unaware that inter-dimensional demons were using it as a portal into our world! MISADVENTURE! [via freeindiesgames]
posted by lemuring on May 23, 2013 - 9 comments

Best worn with tiny loincloth and underboob-straps

The thirteen types of armor female characters are forced to wear in the majority of MMORPGs (via)
posted by prize bull octorok on May 16, 2013 - 109 comments

In my experience, everyone lies the first time

A former LAPD detective gives commentary on the 1940s LAPD simulator, L.A. Noire (previously, previously, and so)
posted by The Whelk on May 4, 2013 - 22 comments

I killed my first D&D monster, and it was a Klan rally!

Mapping D&D combat mechanics to the world of 60s activism is remarkably effective and lots of fun.
posted by 23 on May 4, 2013 - 34 comments

Candy Box

Candy Box is an ASCII-based web RPG. Collect candy, farm lollipops go on epic quests, and win! [more inside]
posted by CrunchyFrog on May 1, 2013 - 362 comments

Finnish Fan Foments Flash Friday Fun

Hapuriainen makes dress ups / character creators: Disney Girls dress up; Pokémon Trainer creator; Naruto character creator; W.I.T.C.H. Guardians maker; and 64 others. [more inside]
posted by Monsieur Caution on Apr 26, 2013 - 6 comments

The biggest baddest beasts have easily been beat with one lucky shot.

Ghost Mice are a 'FIRST-WAVE folk-punk band' who sing about playing Dungeons & Dragons as a metaphor for overcoming depression, wanting to be loved like John Hickley loved Jodie Foster and recycling so Cthulhu doesn't invade. They've recorded splits with other folk-punk bands like Andrew Jackson Jihad and Defiance Ohio. Ghost Mice's song Monsters Get Slain is a heartbreaking anthem about healing from a lifetime of depression.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants on Mar 27, 2013 - 29 comments

It is a roleplaying game made in excel.

Arena.Xlsm is the fever dream of a Canadian Chartered Accountant with a love of roleplaying games (Hat tip to Special K over at mefightclub!)
posted by boo_radley on Mar 26, 2013 - 27 comments

Mages didn't do enough research on climate change

Tropical Skyrim is an overhaul mod that transforms the icy province of Skyrim into a tropical area. Here's a short showcase video and a longer video.
posted by ersatz on Mar 14, 2013 - 55 comments

A Roguelike Primer

Best In Genre for Neophytes and Veterans Alike
posted by Artw on Mar 10, 2013 - 81 comments

Eternal Arcanum

Chris Avellone, a writer and designer who worked on Fallout 2, Fallout New Vegas, Planescape Torment and Neverwinter Nights, plays and comments on the steampunk RPG Arcanum to celebrate raising almost 4 million dollars toward his upcoming RPG, Project Eternity
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants on Feb 15, 2013 - 41 comments

Urquhart and Muzyka RPG design talk at DICE 2013

Obsidian’s Feargus Urquhart and Bioware co-founder Ray Muzyka gave a joint talk during DICE 2013 on the future of RPGs . Topics included player engagement, modding, (a)synchronous multiplayer and ways of interacting with players. [more inside]
posted by ersatz on Feb 10, 2013 - 11 comments

The stuff of fairy tales

Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is the first major video game to be developed by the legendary animation house Studio Ghibli (previously). Reviews are mostly ecstatic, with praise for its music and graphics. And Brainy Gamer speculates that, like Zelda and The Elder Scrolls before it, the game will be remembered because of its connection to the "perilous realm" that J.R.R. Tolkien described.
posted by jbickers on Jan 31, 2013 - 34 comments

Lynn Willis

Chaosium has announced the death of Lynn Willis. Willis was creator or co-creator of many boardgames and RPGs, including probably the most influential horror RPG, Call of Cthulhu, and my personal favorite, Ghostbusters. Obituary by Ken Hite.
posted by jiawen on Jan 19, 2013 - 53 comments

The sky above the port was the color of Metafilter

Back in 2000, R. Talsorian Games released on their website a series of overviews of what they considered to be classic Cyberpunk movies, along with notes on incorporating their characters and ideas into games. [more inside]
posted by Pope Guilty on Jan 17, 2013 - 111 comments

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