Streamlining RPG rules: A modified Warcholak guide

Have you ever heard of the Warcholak Guide? No? (Yes? Well, too bad, I'm going to tell you what it is anyway!) Basically, it's a simple rule-testing rubric invented by a guy with the last name of Warcholak who develops war games for Academy Games. (With a last name like Warcholak, of course he does.)... Continue Reading →

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What if your character dies?

The Mixed GM recently posted I cannot keep my character alive...and that's okay. But I'm not so sure about that. He makes a good case, but I'm not fully convinced. True, it's exciting when you know the next move could be your character's last. Your heart starts pounding and you sit trembling on the edge... Continue Reading →

Yes, quite deadly

Are those old black-powder Civil War era revolvers deadly? Yes, of course. If not, they'd be pointless. But how deadly were they really? This video post from Loadout Room answers the question by firing replica pistols into ballistic gel, the same way the FBI and gun and ammunition manufacturers everywhere test projectiles fired from various... Continue Reading →

Friction checks: A way to add realism and excitement to your game

It's like the fog of war—but different. Where the fog of war usually refers generally to battlefield confusion, the concept of friction goes a step farther, quantifying the natural unpredictability of human reactions to threat, surprise, and stress. People who study human performance in combat have found that a predictable percentage of people—even trained soldiers—will fail... Continue Reading →

Making a movie in your head: The role of reality in roleplaying

For the most part, roleplaying games seek to model movies, not reality. I came across this idea in a short-lived gaming zine from the turn of the new century, and it really got me thinking about the nature of roleplaying games and why they're built the way they are. More specifically, why I'm building this... Continue Reading →

More about critical damage: What happened to Virgil Earp

We decided to abandon the notion of hit points in part because FAR Western is set in the age of firearms, and we want to represent the use of guns in an immersive, realistically fun way. Random hit locations and results that only tell you X number of hit points inflicted aren't remotely realistic, and I... Continue Reading →

All Damage Is Critical

One of the first principles we settled on when we started building the FAR System was the idea that there is no such thing as generalized damage. All damage is specific—which means hit points are off the table. If it matters enough to keep track of, then by definition it's a critical strike. People don't die... Continue Reading →

Hit points: The best way to cripple a game

I've decided I hate hit points. They're like a ball and chain dragging roleplaying games down, and yet their presence is seemingly never questioned. Obviously a game has to keep track of your character's health. You need to be able to quantify damage taken and given. But are hit points really the best way to do... Continue Reading →

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