Game Day: And then the Kobolds TPK’d us…

Friday’s game day was supposed to see our lower-level Dark City campaign characters’ wrap up Paizo’s Crown of the Kobold King module and then return to our home city of Obsidian Bay for some much needed down time. And then … Total Party Kill. It was our own fault. We went up against a dozen … Read more

Game Day: Who Watches the Watchmen?

Back in November, when I was working on my novel, I wrote a scene in which the main characters got together for a graphic novel book club. When I mentioned this to my gaming group, they thought it was a great idea … and that we should give it a try in the real world.

After much discussion and a few delays, we’re finally doing it. Our first-ever Graphic Novel Book Club will take place tonight at WhichBrew, where we’ll be eating good food, drinking local beers, and discussing Alan Moore’s classic (if highly depressing) graphic novel Watchmen.

It’s a tough novel to start with because it truly feels like a novel. It’s dense and literary, with some chapters that spin the narrative wildly out of control, and an ending so depressing it could drive you to drink. It’s dystopian alternate history 1980s has almost no sympathetic heroes; there are plenty of reasons to hate them, and almost none you can admire.

Game Day: The Book of Almost Everything

With the Dark City campaign back in full swing, I’m finally able to use my Book of Almost Everything. I created the Book in the waning days of the original Dark City campaign as I realized that I had a treasure trove of instant non-player characters, random encounters, and flavor text lurking in my back … Read more

Game Day: Ravenloft Ends, Dark City Returns, D&D 4E Prelude

When last we left our weekly Game Day, our Ravenloft campaign was slugging along, pitting a heroic band of adventurers against the monstrous horrors of the fading land of Count Strahd. It’s based on Expedition to Castle Ravenloft an old school, 1st-edition style monster-crawl in which role-playing is minimized, and encounters with level draining undead … Read more

Gaming in the Round: Lessons from the Dark City

A few years ago, I decided I wanted to try a different kind of role-playing game campaign: a medieval urban fantasy that combined traditional story telling with the sort of open-ended, sandbox-like openness of games like Grand Theft Auto. The setting would be Obsidian Bay, the homegrown metropolis that my friends and I had spent … Read more

The Grand Theft Auto School of Campaign Design

When the mainstream sees Grand Theft Auto, they see mindless violence, rampant mayhem, and destruction without purpose. When gamers look at it though, they see something different: freedom to explore. Unlike many other games (at least until the release of Grand Theft Auto 3), the mission agenda in the game is not hard coded. Players … Read more