Mixed Signals

Straight-forward gaming

I've been painting exclusively with Citadel Contrast and Vallejo Xpress Color paints lately. The idea of a high contrast black is a little strange, though. There's no contrast to black, it's just all black. If there's something blacker than black, then the first black wasn't true black. And yet ther...

The D&D 5e book Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft includes an adventure called House of Lament. Last year, I ran House of Lament as a side quest in an Expedition to Castle Ravenloft game. This is my review of the House of Lament module as a Game Master. It mirrors my review as a player.

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The D&D 5e book Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft includes an adventure called House of Lament. Last year, I ran House of Lament for a group of players, and later that year I played in House of Lament with a different group of players. This is my review of the module as a player.

Before I b...

I like re-playing RPG adventures and I don't let my knowledge of the module interfere with the way my character follows clues. Should you re-play an adventure, though, there are some important things to keep in mind.

1. Yarn wall

My primary rule is pretty simple. If I can't trace a decision my...

As a newcomer to miniature painting, I'm, er, fortunate to have made lots of stupid mistakes early in my hobby journey. In my own defence, I did a lot of research before starting to paint. That saved me from some really egregious errors. But I managed to make a mess of a few things. Here's what they...

Player characters in an RPG can be tricky. A player character is an imaginary person who you're meant to speak for and control. The character is meant to be distinct from you (in reality), and you're also supposed to be mindful of fellow gamers at your table (in reality) which obviously your fiction...

I love pre-built characters. That might seem strange, because I also love building characters. On a week when I don't have an RPG to play, I'll often sit down with a rulebook and build a character that will probably never get used. And yet, I love a system that provides a good array of pre-built cha...

My partner and I love a good "couch co-op" game, a video game where you and a friend can play together on the same computer rather than over a network. We recently played through Quest Hunter and its Strangewood DLC, and this my review of it. This review contains minor spoilers.

Cutting to the...

A few months ago, I tried Vallejo Xpress Color paints. Aside from the bottles they come in, I like them a lot. They're a great way to get started painting with auto-shading paints for a relatively small investment. It's got a limited colour range, but when you're just starting out, less can be mor...

The problem with colour is that there's a lot of it, and it's never the same to two different people. It's not even the same to one person under different lighting conditions. I love the topic of colour theory, but when you're just starting out as a miniatures painter, it can be overwhelming to see...

Sometimes, after you've painted a miniature you need to go back and fix a mistake you hadn't caught the first time around. When you revise your paint job, though, you're usually filling in something that's missing or concealing something that isn't meant to be there. That means you have to match the...

I've written before that you can never have too many spells for roleplaying games like Pathfinder and Tales of the Valiant, and that's as true for the Game Master as it is for player characters. The problem isn't having too many spells to choose from, it's how to know what spells you have avai...

With the exception of a handful of pioneering academics and specialist publications, serious critical consideration of gaming as an art form feels, to me, to be seriously lacking. Sure, it's commonly accepted that gaming is now very much mainstream, but it's pretty clear that what most people are t...

Most tabletop roleplaying game systems have the concept of rolling dice as a way of determining whether a player character in the game succeeds or fails when attempting a non-trivial task. A die roll doesn't itself have any meaning. A 20 on a 20-sided die is just a number, no better or worse than a...

I'm reading through the Starfinder adventure path Attack of the Swarm. The second module in the series is The Last Refuge. This review may contain minor spoilers.

The previous module, Fate of the Fifth, was a punishing, non-stop chase scene. It was thrilling to read. I couldn't put it do...

I recently got the Attack of the Swarm adventure path from Humble Bundle, and I've been reading through it. The first module in the series is Fate of the Fifth. This review may contain minor spoilers.

Fate of the Fifth opens up with the players forced into a role as soldiers in the Suskillon...