In the early days of my gaming career, I went through three Frodos before I got to 3rd level. This wasn’t the only time for me, and I'm sure many others over the last forty years have suffered similar fates. Mages died from single rat bites, investigators went quickly insane, and ex-space marines died alone in nondescript alleys. At the early stages of characters’ careers death and failure come swiftly, often shattering players’ dreams for their characters. Or did they?
For a while, I have been kicking an idea around in my head about campaign stages and game balance. I'm not the only one; other game designers have created mechanics around the idea. For example, the D&D world introduced the epic tier level starting with 3ed, and 4ed put it into the Player Handbook. 13th Age expanded on the idea, creating adventurer, champion and epic tiers that add different abilities and modifiers at each stage.
Some people are influenced by books or music. I'm influenced by movies. Because of this, I often watch the short clips of Tony Zhou’s Every Frame a Painting to learn tradecraft. The last one I watched was “Akira Kurosawa: Composing Movement.” While watching, I realized it was full of advice that players could use for their characters.
About 9 months ago I had an idea for a unique approach to a gaming supplement, as well as half a dozen other supplements for various genres, and a name. At that point in my life starting a gaming company seemed like a great idea, as I took care of my parents. And so began Chromatic Chameleon.
Last week, we had an interesting look at the different ways to use secondary characteristics to add dimension to your characters. It is not enough to read your background…”I am a fighter who is a butcher.” You have to actually play these attributes in order to improve your role playing. Say we’re playing Star Trek, for example. Let’s say you create an amazing engineer character. That’s great; you keep the ship running. However, by simply adding a high social attribute and some carousing skills, you get… Scotty!
During the past few weeks, we talked a bit about the power of the secondary. I showed that by focusing on the secondary attributes we can add useful dimensions to our characters. These aspects really come together when we start using them in play. They help to define our characters outside of combat. These attributes also have purpose beyond the table.
Welcome to my new article series: ”Critique Role,” an irregular critique of live gaming. In this installment I’ll be talking about “Critical Role” - a D&D game. Because we all know D&D and you can always watch the episodes for yourself, I’ll skip the details here. Suffice it to say that several weeks ago the Critical Role crew set out to play a social adventure in the big city, but like most D&D games, it turned into a bloody combat. No biggie, that happens all the time, right?
Hello to you all! Last time I talked about settings we looked at defining the group’s approach to gaming, whether it’s a GM’d approach or a collaborative approach. We followed this up by looking at the three primary approaches to setting: adventure, investigation, and exploration. Today, we will cover many of the basic genres of gaming. Looking at the different genres, you should be aware how they interact with the previously-defined aspects of settings.
Adventure: These are action-based settings:
Is this blog getting deep enough for you? Let’s go deeper. Let’s talk about Immersion. Yes, that hippie word for roleplaying. Some people think it’s annoying, others are scarred by it, while still others see it as the goal of their gaming experience. While roleplaying is important, it’s linked to the mechanics of the game, so it’s a hard topic to discuss in general terms. Later we can talk about group tactics and other roleplaying aspects of gaming, but before we get down to business: Why are we talking about this stuff?
Everyone up for a short post? Here goes.
Finding Your Group
Over the last year I’ve been stuck in Northern Houston, without access to a ride. I don’t have a gaming group here, and the other players I know all have family responsibilities or live in isolated areas that prevent them from forming a regular group. Of course once you’ve been bitten by the gaming bug, it’s hard to avoid thinking about gaming. Have you ever been in this position yourself? Are you in this position now? What is one to do?