Mixed Signals

Straight-forward gaming

Many RPG rulebooks start out speaking in the bizarrely theoretical future tense, addressing the reader as if they were going to build a character: "First, you will choose a race, and then you will choose your skills." Then, over the course of the next few chapters, these player guides describe t...

At the time of this writing, Wizards of the Coast was attempting to unjustly, and probably unlawfully, revoke the Open Gaming License. They've recently agreed to stop that attempt, and as a sign of good faith they've released the System Reference Document (SRD) into Creative Commons. That's a minor...

Dragonlance Chronicles starts at the end of the 5-year personal quests of the book's heroes. The Preludes series provides some specific stories from the 5 years leading up to Chronicles, and Brothers Majere, the third book, is obviously about Caramon and Raistlin. You might wonder whether Ca...

Before I knew it was supposed to be hard to do it, I converted adventures from one RPG system to another on a regular basis. It started innocently enough. I'd play in someone's Tunnels & Trolls campaign, and then go home and run the same story as a D&D adventure for my friends. It never occurred t...

Sometimes a game tells you to use a "percentile dice" or a d100. That can be confusing if you're not used to it, so here's how it's done.

Novelty die notwithstanding, there's no such thing as a d100. Instead, you use any one of four methods:

  • Two ten-sided dice (d10) rolled in succession
  • Two...

I'm rewatching every episode of the Man from UNCLE series from start to finish. This review may contain spoilers.

I have a feeling this episode had a great script. I think I see what they were going for, and I can imagine it being very intriguing in written form, but somehow something got lost i...

I'm rewatching every episode of the Man from UNCLE series from start to finish. This review may contain spoilers.

A treacherous politician, Robespierre (played by Ronald Long), is capturing brilliant scientists for some nefarious purpose. Napoleon Solo and Ilya Kuryakin recruit Albert Dubois, pl...

Building a character for an RPG can be mildly intimidating if you're not used to it. You might think it takes special knowledge, or that it's a chore, or that it's just overwhelming. But I find building characters to be fun and invariably easier than sometimes the rulebooks make it seem. And buildin...

A unique thing about tabletop roleplaying games is that when you buy them, you're mostly just buying rules. Some rulebooks also describe in-game items, and some even come with a sample adventure tacked on at the end, but the thing you carry from game to game is a book on how to play, not what to p...

I picked up Fizban's Treasury of Dragon and have been reading it cover to cover. This is my review of the book, chapter by chapter. In this post, I discuss Chapter 5: Draconomicon which, despite the its name, is not actually all about Dragons.

In previous chapters, I felt a little strange that d...

I picked up Fizban's Treasury of Dragon and have been reading it cover to cover. This is my review of the book, chapter by chapter. In this post, I discuss Chapter 4: Lairs and hoards.

Look, the fact is that in D&D, high level players run the game. After level 10 (Tier 2), the Dungeon Master is...

Like all tabletop games, an RPG is a group effort. As long as everyone playing the game is determined to have fun, the game goes as well as it needs to go. You might not get all the rules "right", but the game master makes rulings that work well enough for that game session, and everyone has fun. Pr...

Are you thinking about playing D&D or Pathfinder or some other roleplaying game (RPG) like Starfinder, Call of Cthulhu, or similar? Of course you need players, and one player designated as the person (usually called the "Dungeon Master" or the "game master") to "play" the game world itself. The best...

Are you thinking about playing D&D or some other roleplaying game (RPG) like Pathfinder, Starfinder, Call of Cthulhu, or similar? You might be confused by all the trappings of such a game. For instance, there's a special important-sounding title for one of the players, like "Game Master" or "Dungeon...

At the time of this writing, Wizards of the Coast is continuing their attempt to revoke the Open Gaming License. It doesn't much matter, at this point, whether they succeed. They've made their intent clear. They've made it impossible to trust them as caretakers of the legacy of the world's first rol...

I picked up Fizban's Treasury of Dragon and have been reading it cover to cover. This is my review of the book, chapter by chapter. In this post, I discuss Chapter 3: Dragons in play.

This chapter is all about what part Dragons might play in your campaign. In my opinion, the first 2 chapters hav...