Mixed Signals

Straight-forward gaming

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...

The Contrast line of paints by Citadel are designed to provide instant highlighting and shading with just one coat of paint from just one pot. When it works, it's the stuff of science fiction. To this day, I sit and marvel at my painted Ur-Ghul miniatures, and all I did was slap some Pylar Glacier...

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...

I've run the mega-dungeon Rappan Athuk twice so far. Once in AD&D, and currently in 5e. From its marketing, Rappan Athuk is "legendary," but I'm honestly unclear whether that's a claim about real live people knowing and loving the book, or whether it's a reference to fictional people in the game wor...

The Curse of Strahd (5e) and Expedition to Castle Ravenloft (3.5) modules feature the use of fortune teller cards to determine certain aspects of the adventure. For Curse of Strahd, the deck of cards is called a Tarokka deck, and in Expedition to Castle Ravenloft you're told to use a Thre...

Before there was Curse of Strahd (CoS), possibly the most famous 5e adventure, there was the 3rd edition adventure Expedition to Castle Ravenloft. Instead of running CoS, I sometimes run Expedition. It's fun for players who have never experienced Ravenloft before, and it's got a few surprises...

Before there was Curse of Strahd (CoS), possibly the most famous 5e adventure, there was the 3rd edition adventure Expedition to Castle Ravenloft. Instead of running CoS, I sometimes run Expedition. It's fun for players who have never experienced Ravenloft before, and it's got a few surprises...