Level One Wonk: Gaming Online

Are you a Butt-Kicker, a Specialist, or a Story-Teller? There is a huge world of games out there to satisfy every player’s and group’s style. And while there are academic discussions in every corner of the internet, sometimes it’s best to start at level one. Join the Level One Wonk in exploring the possibilities that RPGs have to offer, from Aberrant to Zorcerer of Zo. Today we talk about moving your game into the digital realm, and running a tabletop game online!

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Meet the Mystic Party

An acolyte who peers into the hearts of enemy and ally alike, to motivate and discourage as victory requires. An investigator who always gets the information they need, even if the suspect doesn’t talk. A soldier who wades into combat unarmored, their sheer willpower shrugging off death blows easier than a breeze. A wanderer who can see the easy path, even it’s not precisely direct. An assassin whose blades leave no mark on the target’s body, but instead burn out their mind. A master of the elements and the forces of the natural world, commanding them with but a thought. There are a lot more Mystics running around D&D 5th Edition now, so we might as well Meet the Party and see what they can do!

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Unearthing the D&D5e Mystic

The onslaught of Unearthed Arcana continues for Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition, and this time we’ve been presented with Mk. III of a UA subject: the psionic Mystic! The two previous iterations of the Mystic included a limited number of builds and only got as far up the ladder as Level 10, but this time we have all 20 levels and another four builds to work with. Psionics can always be an interesting subject for D&D, and with unique mechanics and loads of new material there’s a lot to mull over here, so let’s dig through it and see what the Mystic has to offer!

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System Split: Cyberpunk in Powered by the Apocalypse

Welcome to System Split! Here we’ll examine two very similar systems to see what sets them apart. When the genre, complexity, and even rules system are exactly the same, what makes a game unique? Let’s kick this off by looking at Cyberpunk in the Powered by the Apocalypse system with The Sprawl and The Veil!

Brought on the scene with Apocalypse World in 2010, Powered by the Apocalypse (PbtA) is an indie darling. Apocalypse World itself is a wonderful and incredibly atmospheric game, and the underlying framework has further cemented the game’s popularity and helped propel an entire subgenre of new games. With so many designers embracing the PbtA system, it’s no surprise that Apocalypse World has spawned multiple approaches to popular genres like Cyberpunk.

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The Long-Running Campaign

Among the hustle and bustle of a Sunday crowd of a certain PAX East, I found myself running to and fro through the tabletop area. It was the only day I was able to attend, and I had actually been somewhat forced to go by loved ones because life had sprung some nasty surprises recently (a long story for another time, perhaps), so I was determined to see and do as much as I could. As I actually rushed out of the tabletop area for a panel I came across an old friend from high school I hadn’t seen in a while; we exchanged greetings and well-wishes, then went our separate ways. After that weekend he got in touch, expressing a regret that he’d never gotten to play D&D and that he was wondering if I could help him out with that. Sure enough, I was able to put together a group, and we started playing. That was in 2013. The party reached Level 24 this past Wednesday.

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Level One Wonk: Optimizers

Are you a Butt-Kicker, a Specialist, or a Story-Teller? There is a huge world of games out there to satisfy every player’s and group’s style. And while there are academic discussions in every corner of the internet, sometimes it’s best to start at level one. Join the Level One Wonk in exploring the possibilities that RPGs have to offer, from Aberrant to Zorcerer of Zo. Today we have one for the players. While there are multiple valid playstyles, optimization-focused players are more likely to disrupt the game for others through no fault of their own. Let’s talk about how to keep a group fun for everyone, character optimizer or not.

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Level One Wonk: Fate

Are you a Butt-Kicker, a Specialist, or a Story-Teller? There is a huge world of games out there to satisfy every player’s and group’s style. And while there are academic discussions in every corner of the internet, sometimes it’s best to start at level one. Join the Level One Wonk in exploring the possibilities that RPGs have to offer, from Aberrant to Zorcerer of Zo. Today we look at an RPG that over four editions has turned from an indie darling to a Kickstarter juggernaut: Fate!

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Meet the Party: Mistborn Alloy of Law

A dancing girl with big dreams who can play with emotions and beat the odds. A frighteningly perceptive lawkeeper who tracks his quarry across the wilds of the Roughs. A gunsmith who believes just arming the lawkeepers isn’t enough any more, and has joined in himself. A koloss-blooded exile determined to improve his people’s place in the world with strength of arms and a deputy’s badge. A vigilante Ferring with vengeance in her heart and the speed of steel. Meet the Party provides an entire group of ready-to-play characters for a variety of systems and settings. We’re returning to the Mistborn Adventure Game from Crafty Games, but with a new twist as we forge characters using the Alloy of Law!

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Level One Wonk: In-Game Failure

Are you a Butt-Kicker, a Specialist, or a Story-Teller? There is a huge world of games out there to satisfy every player’s and group’s style. And while there are academic discussions in every corner of the internet, sometimes it’s best to start at level one. Join the Level One Wonk in exploring the possibilities that RPGs have to offer, from Aberrant to Zorcerer of Zo. Today, we look into what happens when things go wrong, and how to balance failure and risk in your games.

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Meet the Party: Unearthed D&D5e Sorcerers

A half-elf with divine magic flowing through her blood, as capable of healing and helping as she is harming. A tiefling with the soul of a phoenix, wreathed in flames that protect him and burn his enemies. A halfling with the strength of the sea, who sits at the heart of a storm and literally flows away from danger. A dwarf with skin of stone, with magic in the metal of her weapons that lets her bring sorcery into melee. The onslaught of Unearthed Arcana material for Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition has continued, and Meet the Party continues to provide ready-to-play characters. This time out the gate we have four new options for the sorcerer class, so let’s meet a homogeneous party that only needs one section of the book, but provides lots of sorcerous variety!

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