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Picking a “One Unique Thing” To Enable Awesome

Today I’m going to shift from GM advice to player advice, given from a GM perspective. One of the best parts of 13th Age’s character creation is the One Unique Thing (hereafter called simply a Unique). It is a free form field on the character sheet that lets the player create a bit or a […]

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13th Age Prep: The Roller Coaster Method

Knowing how much to prep for a game of 13th Age has been an issue I’ve seen crop up a few places lately, and so I figured I’d write up how I’ve been doing it for my weekly campaign, which has been a pretty fruitful approach. I’ve openly said that I’m liberally stealing ideas from […]

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Grandpa Nick

If there was ever anyone in this world that I wanted to be when I grew up it was my grandfather. My mother’s father, Nick Nickles, was always the host of our family functions. Easter, in my mind, is searching for eggs in his backyard. Independence day is making ice cream on his driveway. The […]


Optimized for Play

At work when I program something I often have to choose which part to optimize: which aspect of this thing is expected to be used most, since that’s the part that should work the simplest, be the quickest, and ground the other pieces of the design. Databases are optimized for reading, because you read more […]

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An Ode to a Hanging Computer

My computer crashed today, and this is what I did while it restarted: App by app they all locked up, Cold and dark like some dead pup. Spinning rainbows sang a sad song While I did wait, oh so long. Into Terminal, top -u But, alas, it gave no clue. Another tab, ps ax Nothing […]


Risking it All

In a post completely unrelated to what I’m going to talk about, the dndnext team mentioned: On the other hand, risk is what drives excitement in the game. Some of the most memorable moments in D&D come about when you clutch that last hit point and pull off a brilliant idea or a ridiculous set […]

Dungeon Games

There is a rash of new Dungeon Games coming to market right now: D&D Next is in playtesting, Dungeon World is emerging from a kickstarter, and 13th Age is lurching toward publication. Reading all of them in the past few months has made me realize both how broken Dungeons and Dragons’ Fourth Edition is, and […]

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Tools for Recovering a Lost Laptop

A friend of mine had his laptop stolen the other night and called to ask advice. Instead of leaving it in my email sent folder, I figured it’d be best to toss it in a public place in case I needed it again. Use FileVault The first thing you should really, really make sure you […]

D&D Next

I played AD&D once. Maybe twice. Mine was a Palladium group, and I grew up on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Heroes Unlimited and Ninjas and Superspies. From there we graduated to GURPS, where we spent many a happy campaign, and from the GURPS supplements we transitioned into the World of Darkness, eventually taking our show […]

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Reading is a Skill

There has been a lively debate about video games, art, production and consumption in the last few episodes of Hypercritical. John Siracusa has been avoiding the “are games art?” question and instead making the point that, if they are, they’re an odd form of art that requires some skill not just to produce, but to […]

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