Mixed Signals

Straight-forward gaming

I got to play a PC in a Starfinder recently, which was nice because so far I'd only played as GM. One of the most interesting aspects of Starfinder is its game-within-a-game system of starship combat. Played on a hex grid with a unique initiative system (a lower roll is arguably better, because t...

In my previous posts about converting monsters from 2e and 3e to Fifth Edition, I mention that many monsters have been converted already. I mentioned that to dissuade you from feeling like there's a need to sit down and struggle through the math to convert your favourite monster, at least not b...

I got a lot of great feedback about my previous article, How to Convert D&D monsters to 5e, so it's obviously time for the same article for Third Edition (or 3.5, realistically).

For the longest time, I never really bothered converting from 3.5 to 5e, because I found them to be relatively...

D&D is often called the world's oldest RPG because, well, it literally is. With a history of over 40 years, if you're a player of D&D, you have decades of material at your disposal. Thanks to digital technology, the bulk of that history is available in electronic form, so you don't even have to r...

If you're new to the hobby, you may not have ever heard about THAC0, or you may only have encountered it in video games like the classic Baldur's Gate. There's no real reason to know anything about THAC0 now, of course, because neither Pathfinder or 5e use it. However, if you want to turn back th...

The Evil Dead film series is a collection of [arguably] loosely-connected horror movies (and a TV show and comics...) that helped define both modern horror and modern fantasy. If you have never seen the original masterpieces of cinema (Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2, and Army of Darkness), then you s...

In my 3 Pillar XP and Ultimate Intrigue posts, I explained the D&D 5e and Pathfinder (largely compatible with Starfinder) implementations of noncombat-based XP. Such systems are useful when you find that your gaming group isn't playing for constant non-stop combat.

I don't think of myself a...

In my previous blog post, I explained the D&D 5e implementation of noncombat-based XP, because sometimes your gaming group isn't playing for constant non-stop combat. Now, that doesn't mean your gaming group shouldn't play only to fight; treating D&D as a series of skirmishes with some looting...

Not everybody wants to fight. I learned this through "subtle" clues given to me by one specific group of players, including blank stares in reaction to combat encounters, and persistent attempts to negotiate with villains so vile that even Dr. Who wouldn't bother parlaying with.

Yes, it turns...

In 2014, probably not on April Fool's day, Frog God Games released the Book of Dirty Tricks, a sort of DMG (Dungeon Master's Guide) addendum containing advice for dungeon masters on how to make a game more challenging.

It's a fairly small book, being only about 78 pages, but it's packed...

Many people think D&D just cannot be played in under 8 or even 4 hours. Yet I've been running one-shot campaigns with friends and at local conventions for the past two years, in about 4 to 2 hours per game. Look, D&D can be laborious if it's always only an epic. Sometimes D&D needs to be episodic,...

It's Pi day today in the USA and any nation that expresses dates in the backwards format of day/month. In honour of over-thinking numbers, I present to you my efforts to map human ages to RPG levels.

I'd always meant to generate myself as a character in a game, but since I often play fantasy...

I presented at an international tech conference this week, speaking about game design and, specifically, the Lua programming language (which you might know if you ever tried your hand at modding World of Warcraft or Garry's Mod, and a dozen other games and software titles).

To mix things up...

One of the cool things Klaatu has cooked up for us with this blog is a way to load it with content, to be published on set dates in the future. Now, lots of blogging software allows for that sort of functionality, but our situation is unusual; we use the version control system Git on the back e...

I've never considered myself a "serious gamer" even though gaming has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I guess to me a "serious gamer" is someone who spends lots of money on the very latest gaming console or gaming PC, and buys every game as soon as it's released. That's decided...

A pretty common side effect of gaming is that you don't want to ever stop. Most games, for better or for worse, have a beginning and an end. You start a board game by setting up all the pieces, you play the game, and the game ends when someone wins. A good RPG game, however, doesn't have to stop whe...