Level One Wonk Does RPG Theory: GNS

Theories are tools for understanding and explaining any number of different subjects. As role-playing games began to increase in subject matter breadth, there immediately followed an attempt to explain what different games do, and what games do best. Unsurprisingly, attempts to “explain” the range of games on the market were typically incomplete and sometimes dreadfully inaccurate. Despite this, some theories stuck around, usually because they were punchy and easy to remember, and were “close enough” to work as a shorthand. Today, the Level One Wonk is going to look a bit at game design theory, and use one of the most popular theories as a springboard to discussion about RPG Theory as a whole and what it’s trying to accomplish. As George Box once said, “All models are wrong, but some are useful.” That is the best way to understand many RPG Theories, including the GNS Model.

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Meet The City: Dresden Files Accelerated Supernatural Philadelphia

Greetings everyone. We will be trying something new in the following weeks. We will be publishing our first set of player made modules, ready for use for GMs who need a bit of structure to get a game off the ground! Shortly after we published Meet the Party: Dresden Files Accelerated, someone in the comment section over at Evil Hat said something along the lines of: “This is great, but what about a few loosely laid storylines for a GM to get started with?” We thought it was a great idea, and one we are going to unabashedly pretend that we were planning all along. While we’ve been backed up with some other things, it’s been simmering on the back burner. Today is the first part in a three part series where we give interested GMs the background on the setting and the factions withing it, and a series of four interconnected Case Files for which to create a story arc for their players.

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Masks: Secrets of A.E.G.I.S. Review

Marvel has S.H.I.E.L.D., DC has A.R.G.U.S., and Masks: A New Generation has A.E.G.I.S., the Advanced Expert Group for Intervention and Security. In Halcyon City and beyond, while superheroes are wearing flashy colors and punching their enemies through buildings it’s the agents of A.E.G.I.S. who fill in the gaps, clean up the messes, nip nascent threats in the bud, and keep an eye on everything in the name of protecting everyone. A.E.G.I.S. has always been a factor for the New Generation to consider, but we can now learn the Secrets of A.E.G.I.S. in the second Masks supplement from Magpie Games!

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The Independents: Archives of the Sky

There are stories that require a different approach than the traditional party-based RPG. Epic stories, with scales vastly larger than just the four to six people in an adventuring party, have proven difficult in this format, though many have tried. A story-game approach can give the flexibility for telling big stories; that was one of the thoughts behind Ben Robbins’s games Kingdom and Microscope. Now, there is a new designer entering the space: Aaron Reed has created a story-game of epic science fiction stories, Archives of the Sky.

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Party Survival Check: Star Wars Foods

At Cannibal Halfling Gaming, our motto is “Bringing Games and Gamers together.” Typically, we do this by reviewing games, or rolling up characters, or letting our readers know about new games on the horizon that they can back. But a big part of what causes gamers to come together is each other, and we can punctuate a great gaming session with food. Cooking is a passion of mine, and when I can combine it with a gaming session, all the better! So let’s roll a check to see if that party you’re throwing stays raging!

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Table Fiction: Star Wars: Lost and Found Pt. 2

Everyone is looking for something, and that everyone includes player characters. After finding himself joining data pirate captain Zaja on the Lost and Found in Part 1, Klatooinian thief Carga now finds himself acclimating to his new comrades. Each of them have come to the Lost and Found for reasons of their own, and not all of them could exactly be described as friendly . . . but most have their own, sometimes surprising, ways of being welcoming. After all, it’s easier to find what you’re after with a crew by your side. There are adjustments to be made, of course, and as we start Part 2 of our Dice for Brains tale some of them turn out to be explosive . . .

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Kickstarter Wonk: May, 2018

Welcome to Kickstarter Wonk for May! There are tons of games out there, and as usual, it can be tough to narrow down to a reasonable number. This month I’m highlighting nine games and a tenth category, into which at least three of this month’s games fell. In thinking about this spread of projects, it made it clear to me that I needed to ask a very direct question: what makes a project stand out? What makes a game that can advance or expand the hobby? These ten games all provided a good answer to those questions, whether I’d choose to pick them up for my personal library or not.

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Meet the Party: Imperial Garrison

An ambassador who believes in fostering relations with the natives (in order to make them dependant upon her). A COMPNOR officer with a (literal) sixth sense for troublemakers. A Bothan engineer working part time through his “retirement” and who hides a dark secret. A quartermaster who looks to make his fortune at the same time as keep his new home out of the dark ages. A Corellian Hotshot who has a gift behind the sticks of her craft, and an attitude and a mouth to match. Welcome new recruits. Meet the Party strives to create ready-to-play characters for a variety of systems and settings, both for your use and to inspire you in making characters of your own.Today we are going to give some examples of some of fine servants of the Empire! You would do well to live by their example, despite any possible . . . irregularities. We shall observe a case study where, in the face of a shortage of manpower, a lack of proper logistical supply chain, and locals of questionable loyalty, loyal servants of the Empire managed to persevere against the dastardly Rebels!

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System Hack: Genesys Mecha Advanced Models

We’ve got the basic mecha and we have the pilots to take it into battle, but a single machine does not a mecha game make. While the increasing skill of the pilots is definitely the best way for Our Heroes to take the fight to the enemy upgrading their machines is a close second. In this relatively straightforward System Hack for Genesys Mecha we’re rolling out another four machines in the CHM line of mecha, from an improved general-purpose one to some decidedly specialized equipment. Your Ogo falling behind, and you need to catch up? Leave it shattered on the battlefield and need a new ride? Take these latest machines out for a test flight!

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Realms of Terrinoth Review

When Genesys was released late in 2017, it was a product with a lot of promise for fans of generic systems. As shown in our review, the core rulebook presented the Narrative Dice System from FFG’s earlier Star Wars games in a clear manner with a lot of solid design tools for aspiring hackers and designers. At the same time, the amount of supporting material in the core book was thin, especially when it came to pre-existing items and opponents. Realms of Terrinoth is the first supplement for Genesys, and gamers are expecting that this supplement and the ones that follow will fill the gaps in the core book. From my read, they won’t be disappointed. In addition to a comprehensive gazetteer of Terrinoth and other areas in the world of Mennara, Realms of Terrinoth includes all the necessary widgets to run a fantasy game in Genesys, whether you use the Runebound setting or create your own.

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