Editing the RPG Session

As a game master I struggle with "editing"—cutting to the next scene, compressing the boring stuff into montages, keeping the pace snappy. Often scenes tend to linger long past their welcome, without moving toward any particular resolution.

The Best Thing About Dungeon World

I'm two sessions into a new Dungeon World campaign. I could write praises all day about Dungeon World and its underlying Powered by the Apocalypse engine. But here's the best thing:

The Progressive Compromise, the Win-Win Generation, and Ranked-Choice Voting

Since late last spring when it seemed likely that progressive and overwhelming Millennial favorite Bernie Sanders would lose the Democratic presidential nomination, a question has been brewing among his supporters. It's not by any means a new question, but it now takes center stage in progressive politics and the conscience of my generation. Can we work within and transform the deeply flawed Democratic Party, or should we instead forge a path independent of a broken system—perhaps through the Green Party? Can we trust Hillary Clinton and the Democrats with our aspirations for ourselves and the world? Do we really have a choice, in this election? Is now the time for a third party vote? And if not, when?

The Tome of Inspiration

For a while I've been collecting e-books filled with random tables to help generate cool ideas and details for fantasy tabletop RPGs. Some are books made specifically for this purpose (e.g. The Dungeon Alphabet) and others are rulebooks or supplements that happen to include great random tables (e.g. Scarlet Heroes). I love browsing them, but in their original formats I've had a difficult time making good use while actually planning or running a game session. To rearrange them into a more accessible format I decided to slice up the PDF files, delete the pages without cool random tables, sort the remaining pages into sections (such as "Characters", "Towns", "Monsters", "Loot"), print them, and put them in a big binder with tabbed dividers and awesome cover art from The Dungeon Alphabet. Pocket dividers near the back house a small collection of One-Page Dungeons, Dungeon Starters, and the like. I call it the Tome of Inspiration.

Firestarters: First Prototype

A few weeks ago I printed my first prototypes for Firestarters, card decks I'm designing to help game masters, writers, and other creative nerds come up with ideas through random inspiration. I have three themed decks: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Modern. Each card lists words and phrases in various categories hand-picked to be evocative, synergistically flexible, or convenient for filling in quick details. You can use them to generate character names, traits, and relationships ("clean-cut", "rancher", "great grandchild", "Todartheus Drobis"); monsters ("hedgehog", "troglodyte" "buzzing", "talon", "ambush", "vanish"); location details ("bare", "hillside", "fern", "whirlpool", "bridge"); treasure ("cursed", "stardust", "locket"); and more.

A More Perfect Union

"But, to speak practically and as a citizen, unlike those who call themselves no-government men, I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government. Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it."