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FFG Star Wars Edge of the Empire Session 1 – Lessons Learned

Tweet I just finished the first session of my Edge of the Empire campaign. It was a lot of fun (the actual play will be up on the happyjacks.org site in a couple weeks). Even though this was only the first session, I did learn a couple of valuable lessons. One: Character shared history. EotE doesn’t have any mechanical way to weave characters’ backstories together. With my group, this wasn’t a big deal, as they’ll all simply decide they’re a team and they work as such. But often, some players need a motivation to trust or work with other PCs. Having some sort of shared back story can help this along. Were I to do character gen again, I would ask the players for some shared experience with at least two other characters … Read entire article »

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My Free-Form GURPS Magic System from the 1990s

Tweet This article is from around 1995 as far as I can tell. I designed a free-form magic system for GURPS (probably 3rd edition, I’m guessing). My gaming hiatus started around the time this article was written, so I never got around to playtesting it.  The Principles of Magic and the Order of Things Alternate and Additional Rules for Magic in GURPS By Stu Venable, Jr. The Science of Magic Most mages learn spells by rote. Many mages, even some of the most powerful ones, may know scores of spells but be unable to describe the forces that make the magics work. They have been taught the procedures and rituals that make magic, but they do not understand the underlying principles … Read entire article »

A GMing Article I Wrote in 1997

Tweet I originally wrote in article for the old Happy Jacks RPG Resources. You can find it mixed in with homebrewing stuff on Archive.org if you want to find it. This article is almost 20 years old, but much of what I wrote here still rings true — to me at least. In the fall of 1978, as a seventh grader in junior high school, I was introduced to the world of Fantasy Role Playing when a friend bought the DnD Beginners Set. It came with a basic rule book and some cardboard chits in place of dice. We played through the sample adventure, and I was hooked. Within a week or two I was creating my … Read entire article »

Return of the Open Gaming License!

Tweet So!  Wizards of the Coast has released Dungeons & Dragons fifth edition under the Open Gaming License.  They’ve also created the Dungeon Masters Guild so that creators can use WotC’s non-OGLed intellectual property and sell them through OneBookShelf (the parent company of RPGNow and DriveThruRPG).  That’s big news.  But what does it mean? First off, let me state that I am not a lawyer.  However, I was once an RPG publisher, and as such I paid a lawyer obscene amounts of money to insure I understood the OGL. The OGL allows a publisher to take content released as Open Game Content under the OGL and freely use it in their own works.  It provides protection for content that a … Read entire article »

People, Places (and later, Plans)

Tweet I’m currently running two games and have a convention coming up (where I’m also running two one-shots), so it’s no surprise that game prep has been at the forefront of my mind. The way I see it, my game preparation has three areas of concentration: people, places and plans. I’ll talk about about the first two this time around and the last one later. People (NPCs) This should be the primary concern of every GM. Your players have created characters with (hopefully) interesting backstories, motives, hopes and dreams. They deserve interesting people to interact with. I always try to start with motivations when it comes to NPCs. If I know what they want out of life (both short-term and … Read entire article »