Mixed Signals

Straight-forward gaming

I love feats in D&D 3.5. The concept capitalizes on the excitement of exception-based game design such that each player gets to one-up their opponents, or else be one-upped by them. It mirrors a game like Magic: The Gathering, in which one lucky combo attack can win the game. How much do I love f...

While traveling, I picked up the first installment of the first official Starfinder adventure path: Incident at Absalom Station. I wanted to read through it in anticipation of running it with some friends because I have, so far, only run a homebrew Starfinder adventure (and a homebrew Interface Z...

The second edition of Pathfinder (P2) is out, and along with it Paizo has released a free conversion guide so you can use P1 material with P2 rules and, in theory, P1 characters in P2 games. At least, that's what you'd imagine a conversion guide would provide. But Paizo's conversion guide clarifi...

We all know that the person running an RPG game like D&D is called the Dungeon Master (DM) or Game Master (GM). But what are the other people at the table called?

The obvious answer is player. After all, the other people in the game each run a player character (PC), so surely they must be 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...

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,...

I was first introduced to role-playing games in Spring of 1978. At the time, I was spending most of my free hours at a local comic shop, hanging out with friends. One of these was a guy named Crash. That was the only name anyone knew him by for a long time. It turned out, he had some gangster/Mafio...

INTRODUCTION
Right off the bat, it's important to understand that every GM is different. No two styles of running a game match completely, nor should they. And while there is no one correct way to run a game, there are plenty of ways to do it poorly. The GM wears many hats, but in my opinion, th...

I've read my fair share of player handbooks and rulebooks, and lots of game mastery guides, and yet I still have a nagging feeling that nobody has yet provided a straight-forward, no-nonsense "recipe" for the mechanics of running an RPG session. Most books assume that if you're ready to take on the...