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April – 2015 –

Monthly Archives:


Possibly because of the records that have been legitimately broken, there have been a few minor misconceptions recently that a number of other events associated with the 2015 Hugo Awards process are unprecedented. One of these has to do with recommendation lists. By merely examining a single category (best novel) on the NESFA Recommendation list […]

Stars at War is our in-development universal campaign system for space combat games. The latest draft is up on our Patreon. At the “short period orbital space” view, Stars at War is a blend of Calhammer’s Diplomacy or Machiavelli, and a galactic-scale (or local star system) scale link-map, like was used for Starfire or Web […]

In the previous segment, Never Tell Me the Odds 1 and Never Tell Me the Odds 2, the basic combat mechanics for five RPG systems were examined with the idea that if you don’t know the rough probabilities of doing what you want, you can’t really evaluate what you can do. Using the power of tautology […]

Jeffro: So how was Madicon? I’m usually playing games the whole time so I rarely get to sit in on the various panels and discussions. Did you get laughed out of town by the college kids? Thomas Mays: First of all, congratulations to you on your Hugo nomination for Fan Writer. This is a very big thing! […]

The Windy City Pulp & Paperback Show is one of my highlights of the year. I find all sorts of paperback books and pulp magazines at that show. My most interesting find last weekend was Heritage of the Flaming God by Frank J. Brueckel and John Harwood. This is a collection of essays about Edgar […]

On one otherwise normal Tuesday evening I had the chance to live the American dream.  I was able to throw my incompetent jackass of a boss from a fourteenth-story window. Unless you hate guns, urban fantasy, and pulpy one-liners, you’ll recognize these opening lines to the Monster Hunter series. John C. Wright ranks them high in the pantheon of […]

This is an expansion of the topic I covered last week, about how skill systems generally suck. Skill systems particularly suck at modeling stealth and perception skills, and it’s not a tractable problem easily handled with binary resolutions. What follows is a somewhat rambling discussion of the problem, but, sadly, I’m a bit short on solutions. […]

Last week, Scooter revisited the origin novel of Harry Dresden, Jim Butcher’s Storm Front. That series is 15 books in and counting. I thought it would be a good time to review another urban fantasy; one that is just getting started. The first book in the Reagan Moon series, The Ghost Box came out a […]

In the previous post, I noted that roleplaying combat can vary from storytelling to a pure tactical exercise, but that in all cases it is important that both the player and the GM have a reasonable idea of how skillful their character actually is. In short, and to invert the title of the post: you […]

Jeffro: Okay, why an adventure? I mean, a lot of people say they want adventures for their favorite systems. But most game companies have a hard time justifying them. Back when there was some semblance of a market for roleplaying games, Wizards of the Coast set up the Open Game License so that everybody else could […]

The Walking Drum/ Louis Lamour (Bantam, 1984): I decided on rereading this novel, which I originally read in 1987. I remember not being overwhelmed with it back then and came back even less now. This was Louis Lamour’s further entry into historical fiction. He had pushed at the boundaries with some of his Sackett novels. […]

Jim Butcher is the author of the bestselling urban fantasy series The Dresden Files.  “Skin Game”, his latest addition, was nominated for a Hugo in the Best Novel category. As much as I wanted to dive right into “Skin Game”, my chronological compulsion got the better of me and I was forced to start at the beginning of the series […]