Shifting the challenge on Skill challenges

Skill challenges.

I have had my share of successful skill challenges as well as some dismal failures. Some of them worked because of narrative involvement, some failed because of narrative dissonance, but a recurring tension involved has been due to the numbers. Throughout the lifetime of 4Ethere have been numerous rebalances to the numbers involved in skill challenges to address the issue of difficulty. Set the numbers too low and there is no chance of failure involved at it is no longer a challenge. Set the numbers too high and only specialized characters have a chance of success in their areas of expertise.

You may have experienced the same fiddly element involved in the numbers.

Rob Donoghue had a thought-provoking series on house ruling skill challenges that went in an interesting direction. Abstracted, the idea was to make skill challenges more active by using the combat rules as a model for skill challenges. I love this in theory, but I confused my players with it the time or two I tried it.

The idea of active skill challenges stuck with me though. I want skill challenges to be more active but I don’t want to complicate the system too much. Continue reading

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Emperor’s Edge 8 page setting

I know I’ve mentioned it here, and I know I’ve said it in other places as well, but I really like the Emperor’s Edge series by Lindsay Buroker. The series has a charm that reminds me of classic fantasy like the Tales of Fafrhd and the Gray Mouser.

After finishing the second novel in the series, Dark Currents, I decided I want to play in that universe. The short story collection, Ice Cracker II (and other stories), cinched this setting as one that begged to be played in. The characters in the series start with concise cliches and blossom into interesting people making it stylistically and nice fit for Risus.

Taking cues from the 8-page settings of Brent Wolke, I decided to make an Emperor’s Edge setting, if not just so I can play in it. I have been reading the Emperor’s Edge universe forwards and backwards for this and its luster has not been lost.
This setting is designed with Risus in mind, but the content is easily adapted to another system. It wouldn’t take much to port this over to D&D (especially OD&D).

You can find the Emperor’s Edge 8-page setting here.

I am also going to shamelessly ask for feedback:
1) After reading this setting, Did you:
Want to play; Want to read; Lose interest; Take a stiff drink?

2) Was there anything in the rules or the fluff that seemed off?
Anything that was especially awesome?

3) What’s missing?

Thanks, and Have fun!

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Still Alive

Sorry for the lack of transmission.

Life has conspired against my gaming sessions and writing time.
I have finally played through Portal and tried Portal 2, they are both excellent.

I am slowly working on some projects.
One of which is a short setting primer based on the Emperor’s Edge Universe.
I am writing it for Risus, but the source material is compelling enough to be used elsewhere.

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2011 Origin Award Winners

There was lots of good stuff in the running this year.
I tip my hat to the winners!

Reposted from Critical Hits

Continue reading

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Technoir – impressions

I am infatuated with Technoir.

Time I spend with Technoir makes me feel like I am cheating on Shadowrun. To be fair, we have been a bit distant of late. Things with SR got complicated. SR was bloating a bit.  Then, along comes this sleek and dynamic system.

I gave Technoir a quick glance, which turned into a much longer look. Maybe I was staring at some point. It looks good though, real good, and has personality too. It doesn’t take long to get to know Technoir either. In no time at all we were surrounded by interesting characters and having a good time. Technoir knows how to spin a good yarn. Technoir is also pretty flexible, if you know what I mean.

I’ll admit it reminded me of how SR and I used to be years ago.

But I know I’m not the only one in town with my eye on Technoir.
I’ve heard about Technoir being played.
Some guy was angling for Solo play with Technoir.
There are even Transmissions of Technoir in the NE Sprawl.
I can understand the appeal, they know as well as I do that Technoir is on the map and going places.

I’ll introduce Technoir to some some of my friends because
I plan on spending some quality time with Technoir.

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Resource Inundation Sampling Unsorted Sites

I know this is not the only list, nor is it the first list, nor will it be the last list, but list, list, O list! It is my list and one more list rarely hurts any one.

Risus: The Anything RPG
The official site itself! This site has a number of resources, mostly free, such as the Rulebook for Risus. It comes in a variety of flavors and languages!

The Risus Mailing list
This is a solid way to keep up with what is new in the eclectic world of Risus. Though it is a Yahoo group, the Australian cliche is not applicable.

The Risus RPG Fan Forum
Currently in a fledgeling state, so stop on by and mark your territory. This makes me want to run a Roman game inspired by A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

Risus TOTM
Aka Risus Thought of the Moment, is a collection of moments pertaining to Risus gelled in amber for your perusal. The site is also code for an Irish greeting starting with a smile.

Risusiverse
This is slowly becoming the location for Risus material.  Rules and Adventures and Settings, Oh My!

Risus Monkey
Also known as Captain Monkey in discreet regions of the interwebs, is a Stalwart Chronicler of Things Risus (6) and is a Spontaneous Geomorpher (4).

If you are bereft of a plan for your RPG, then Roll a d6 to choose a link and apply S words & Sorcery, as needed. A liberal application is recommended.

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A Clash of Titans: set piece battle with mecha

I am playing around with the idea of doing a short series of special encounters in a magepunk D&D 4e game that are on a massive scale. To impart that sense of scale I wanted the players to pilot large steam-powered mecha. This was inspired by the vehicle sub-games found in many games out there.
Armed with Large Steam powered Battlesuits, battles wading through hordes of enemy infantry or  against colossal enemies have an appropriate sense of scale.
As loads of special rules would bog down play I decided to use monsters as a base and keep the Battlesuits themselves fairly simple. Ideally you could hand the monster card to the players at the start of the night and they could jump right into play with them in hand. Continue reading

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