Tag Archives: Opinion

Level One Wonk: Drama-Driven Games

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 drama! Characters can be so much more than stat blocks when they have loves, loyalties, and maybe teenage hormones. Today I’m looking at driving stories with character drama through the lens of a particularly successful session of Masks, by Magpie Games.

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Level One Wonk: Red Markets

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’re taking an economist’s view of the zombie apocalypse with Red Markets!

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System Split: Interface Zero

Welcome to System Split! Today, our very own Level One Wonk will examine two three 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? Today we’re looking at a game that exists in three different systems, and is one of the first to jump on the Pathfinder train! Let’s get Cyberpunk with Interface Zero.

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Level One Wonk: One-Shots

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 one-shots: whether you need a break from a long campaign or just want to try something new, one-shots are an important way to mix it up and experiment. Check it out!

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The Independents: Quill

Renowned art dealer Christina Bowbridge is selling a portrait of His Royal Highness Prince Edward IV, and you want to purchase it. You’ve heard rumors, however, that the painting is not genuine. You want to inquire about inspecting the work of art before buying it, but Bowbridge is both enthusiastic about her work and adores the monarchy; it would be quite easy to offend her and lose the chance to buy the painting entirely. You’ll have to write a letter, and it’ll take good penmanship, the right words, a few flourishes, and . . . at least 3d6? That’s because you’re not just writing a letter, you’re playing Quill: A Letter-Writing Roleplaying Game for a Single Player!

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Level One Wonk: Unbound

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 crack open some playing cards and get ready for pulp action with Unbound!

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Meet the Party: Unearthed Arcana Revised #2

With the announcement of Xanathar’s Guide to Everything coming out this November the speculation is finally over: Unearthed Arcana materials are being published in their final forms for Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition! That doesn’t mean that Unearthed Arcana is done, however, and June’s release features more revised subclasses and player options for us to peruse. A druid from the Circle of the Shepherd, a Cavalier fighter, a paladin under the Oath of Conquest, and a warlock tied to a Celestial are all ready to playtest, so let’s Meet the Party!

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System Split: Paranormal Horror with PbtA

Welcome to System Split! Today, our very own Level One Wonk will 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? Today’s post involves two spooky games which could not be more mechanically similar, or more thematically different! Let’s talk about Urban Shadows and Monsterhearts, two PbtA horror games.

Powered by the Apocalypse is a rules framework with both immense flexibility and a strongly codified play experience. When I looked at Cyberpunk within PbtA, I found two games which sat in very different places in the mechanical design space of PbtA. In contrast, since all of these games are so driven by story it is possible to produce two very different games which keep the rules very close. Urban Shadows and Monsterhearts do just that, carving out two niches in the paranormal horror genre.

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Level One Wonk: Live Action Role-Playing with Alliance

In every hobby, no matter what it is, there is a rabbit hole. If you like working on cars, you may start with basic maintenance and go down the rabbit hole to find yourself taking the engine out one weekend. If you like hiking, you may start with day trips and go down the rabbit hole to find yourself planning a hike of the Appalachian Trail. And if you like role-playing, you may start by writing characters for games you play at a table or online, and go down the rabbit hole to buying real fantasy garb and making ‘boffer’ weapons for weekends with 50 or more like-minded people at a Live Action Role-play event.

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Meet the Party: Eclipse Phase Second Edition

An Uplifted Scientist who dreams of reclaiming Earth for Transhumanity and securing equal rights for all his kind. A baseline human who crashes through Pandora gates to leave the solar system behind, and believes transhumanity needs to limit its excesses. A soldier of fortune who lives for her own wealth and independence, but still realizes that x-threats could take it all away. A smiling socialite who is really a covert operative for Firewall, determined to fight the anarchy consuming transhumanity. Eclipse Phase is a game of transhuman science fiction horror where death is usually temporary but there are far worse things besides. The Kickstarter for Second Edition just successfully funded, which means new ways to make characters, so get ready to sleeve into a new Morph and let’s Meet the Party!

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