How does system matter? (part 2: house rules, mods and hacks)

This is the second in a series of articles. In the first I talked about designer intent, and mechanical procedures. As discussed in the previous article, designer intent is important but only so far as it is successfully communicated and/or implemented through the game text. We’ve talked about how the procedures of play can shape […]

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How does system matter? (part 1: designer intent, and mechanical procedures)

There seems to be a mini-rash of “system matters” discussion happening at the moment. I’ve often found these discussions get lost in differing definitions – you can’t agree whether system matters if you don’t agree what system is. More importantly, different aspects of system matter in entirely different ways. So rather than debate whether it […]

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Breaking down hard moves

Apocalypse World introduced the concept of Hard Moves, i.e. the individual interventions the GM makes in response to players’ actions and rolls. Subsequent PBTA games have tended to distinguish between “hard” and “soft” moves. But they vary wildly in how much time they put into explaining the distinction. Here I’m going to talk about the […]

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The power of asking

Over at Department V, Smiorgan writes about Everway’s three methods to decide a conflict: Karma, drama and llama. Smiorgan discusses the issue of who decides what the plot should be (in order to rule in accordance with drama), and how randomness (fortune) can introduce something new and unpredictable. I mostly want to talk about the […]

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Anatomy of a roleplaying game (LONG)

Georges Cuvier, the legendary father of palaeontology, boasted that he could deduce the class and even genus of an animal based on a single bone, because the “correlation of parts” ensures that every component of the animal’s body are related. In other words, every animal is specialised for a particular way of functioning, and therefore […]

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