Mixed Signals

Straight-forward gaming

Seems like five years ago, you couldn't talk about editing a graphic without somebody raising their nose into the air, listing all the expensive software you just had to have to do it right. Luckily, people are starting to come around to the idea that there shouldn't be one software provider to rul...

Less a cursed item than a difficult and dangerous one to use, this will appear to be a carefully carved piece of flint, complete with runic characters, and a thin piece of steel, also bearing runes. They will come in a small wooden box with matching symbols.

Upon inspection, these two items, wh...

Upon triggering, the GM has everyone roll dice, and writes down the result. Low number loses, but this is not shared immediately. The victim has been inflicted with creeping paranoia.

It takes time to manifest, but slowly, as the game session goes along, the GM passes the player notes (either...

A precious artifact causes 1d4 items from a player's inventory to be sent to 1 random plane of existence, once per day. The artifact must be in a player's possession (on their person or in a bag or similar container owned by them) to have effect. Abandoning the artifact removes the curse, but does...

A podcast about Stardrifter and the Stardrifter universe.

How do you feed hundreds of billions of people scattered through the far reaches of outer space? What sort of infrastructure do you need to make sure food is grown and delivered to all your citizens?

In the future, growing, processin...

These will appear to be a set of magic leather boots which form-fit to any wearer. During testing, they will allow the character to climb walls and ceilings like a spider, moving along vertical and horizontal surfaces at up to 1/2 normal speed. When first used when really needed, however, the boots...

A cabinet or wardrobe, if opened, releases a swarm of mosquitoes. Players have a 50% chance of being bitten as long as they remain in the room.

If bitten, they are itchy and uncomfortable, resulting in these players being automatically surprised or flat-footed when attacked (attackers get a su...

Jack Vance is one of my favourite authors, and a few of his books are easily among my top 5 favourite books (assuming, as I do, that I'm allowed at least one top-5 book lists per author).

The book Dying Earth is an early (possibly his first novel, but I'm no literary historian) Vance fantasy...

Upon triggering, all characters within the affected area are levitated a few feet off the floor. They have no control over this effect, nor does anyone else in the party. Levitating characters will simply hover in the air, unable to propel themselves.

Unless the characters can grapple a solid...

When triggered, the characters suddenly find themselves moving in the opposite direction, back the way they came. This will occur even if the characters are not touching the floor (Levitation spell, magical flight, etc.). The characters can turn back and try again, but the same thing will keep happ...

This appears as an expensive necklace of gold and jewels, with an embossed image on a central pendant of a smiling face. It will radiate magic if tested, and appear to be magicked to allow the wearer to speak and understand any spoken language.

Upon first being used when it really matters, the...

This will appear as an animal or creature figure, like for a charm bracelet, made of stone or ivory. When tested, it will radiate magic, but not a curse, as this item is more broken than cursed. Upon careful inspection and research, it will appear to give the wearer the ability to transform into...

Back in the 1980s, there was a TV show called Knight Rider, about an artificially intelligent car, called KITT, and his trusty human sidekick. At the end of the series, the human actor continued on to fame, while KITT more or less faded from public consciousness.

Unless, that is, you happen...

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...

Upon triggering, the area seems to darken and expand in all directions, so that the exits are no longer visible. High winds start up, and sea water seeps up from the floor, rapidly filling the area as far as the eye can see. Clouds form overhead, and soon the characters appear to be out in the open...

A pressure plate or hair-thin tripwire on the far side of a door triggers deadly frost rays to shoot from the door frame at whatever is passing through it.

The first person to pass through the doorway is safe, but anyone or anything immediately following is blasted with 1d8 cold damage. The pre...