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It’s like a moth to flame with me. First there was GURPS Martial Arts: Technical Grappling. That one  was my first full-length book for anyone: 35,000 words of fairly detailed subsystem that was my first attempt at taking grappling rules and put them on the same scale and mechanical basis as striking with fists or […]

When the question of “what are your hopes and dreams” came up for a school assignment, my son’s response was, “I want to a make a million dollars designing video games and then I want to retire and play the video games I designed.” I was not pleased. “Son,” I demanded. “You do know what […]

When I dashed off a few notes about the fantasy battle game my son and I were playing to death, I was really taken aback by the response: a good half dozen people reached for their wallets…! In order to help people get the most value from their brand new copy of Wizard Kings, I’m […]

The design notes for the classic TSR game Divine Right contain yet another data point regarding the literary inspirations of game designers during the late seventies: In the interim, we discovered the Chaosium game of White Bear, Red Moon. This game was something new in our experience – a game of heroic fantasy…. There was […]

The most critical element of role-playing game design is the reduction of friction. If it is not addressed sufficiently, the game will not be played. Now, this is not an issue quite so much for people that treat rpg’s as a new form of literature or for whom the primary design goal is to sell […]

Dark Conspiracy (published by the Games Designer’s Workshop, or GDW, in 1991, by Lester W. Smith) was a grim action/horror RPG set in a dystopian future where evils of all kinds plague the globe. This one came out when I was in college. The Gulf War had kicked off, if I recall correctly, and GDW had (or […]

This marks the end of the Violent Resolution blog series here on Castalia House. I’d like to thank Jeffro for recommending me, and Castalia House for giving me a shot at publishing this series on the different facets of combat mechanics in my chosen systems. What did I take away from it all?

Billy Ray Smith (Anthony Edwards): [outraged] You just shot that man in the back! Van Leek (Lou Gossett, Jr.): [unperturbed] His back was to me.                                                             […]

And the Rockets’ red glare, the Bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our Flag was still there;                                    — Francis Scott Key (1814 broadside printing) Pretty much any time that foes gather together in convenient […]

Swinging a sword at an orc is all well and good, but if your friend needs help, you have to be able to reach him. Moving to (or fleeing from) a foe, or seeking a position that gives tactical advantage, is part and parcel of fighting. In fact, an emphasis on footwork, distancing, and movement […]

In a previous article, Violent Resolution looked at the skills used for ranged weaponry. In this column, I look at the weapons themselves. Similar to differentiation found in hand-to-hand weapons, differentiation in ranged weapons, including the titular guns, provide a way of showing strengths and weaknesses, and providing different dramatic opportunities, within games. Most games (but […]

“In war, three-quarters turns on personal character and relations; the balance of manpower and materials counts only for the remaining quarter.”                                                                     […]