• Tweeting tiny ideas: Tactical Hand Signals and Acrobatic Jump

    Hey, check out that slick new feed of Games Diner tweets on the left side of the front page. Scroll down a bit if you have to… ah, there they are. Just like on the actual Games Diner Twitter page. Mmm, pithy. (As I note in one tweet: “Twitter: 30 seconds to write the tweet, 3 minutes to mangle it into 140 characters.”) I mention this as a reminder that the feed exists, and to note that I’m starting to use it for a bit more than “hey, look at something I found.” First, it’s a good tool for announcing minor web site updates (bug fixes, article brush-ups, etc.), as…

  • A blogger’s dozen (Part I): 13 ideas for RPG articles

    Gamer people! Are you looking to exercise your Writing skill with an article for a gaming blog or magazine, but find yourself trapped in the multi-turn Long Action of staring at a blank screen? Hey, I’ve been there… I’ve let pile up a gigantimungous list of ideas for gaming-related articles. In the interest of unburdening my dust-collecting trove (how did I actually get dust inside of Evernote?), here’s an initial baker’s dozen* unleavened dough lumps for the consideration of writers. (Right, as if not enough ideas is the problem that gaming bloggers have. Well, just humor me, okay?) * A “baker’s dozen” is a name for 13 of some thing,…

  • Away and back again

    Ack. I’ve been away from the website for over a month (and from posting anything at all for a long time); I’ve been away from the usual online haunts for at least that long, and even away from gaming for that long. Such is the busy life. (“You call that living!?”) First, a big thanks to a few kind souls who wrote to tell me that there was a problem with the Games Diner main page not displaying properly. Yep, there was trouble, and I think it’s fixed now. Again, thank you! If the site doesn’t work at any time, Dear Readers, please let me know – it’s much appreciated.…

  • Cheaper by the dozen: Cutting the cost of high-level everything

    GURPS has long toyed with ways to reduce the cost of high levels in its Strength attribute, creating odd schemes under 3e and, in 4e, cutting the cost of ST across the board and simply requiring less ST to achieve satisfactory power (thanks to the new Basic Lift calculation). Yet there’s still a wish out there for cheaper levels of über-ST, even within 4e rules (as seen in its special ST cost discount for large critters). That’s where Rules Nugget (GURPS): A Better Cost for ST and HP comes in, offering an optional cost progression (the brainchild of D. Weber) that makes the cost of a massive ST (or its components)…

  • Idea pot: Kickin’ it with GURPS

    (In which I inaugurate the diner-themed term “idea pot”, inviting your cogitative degustation of little semi-tested morsels long bubbling on the back burner. Or still just leaking juices behind the vegetable crisper. Or brushed free of floor lint and returned to the stew. Shhh, you didn’t see that.) A GURPS character can kick another guy in the leg on a Brawling -2, Karate -2, or DX -2 roll (plus the modifier for hit location). I, too, can kick another guy in the leg without much trouble (well, until he kicks back, that is). A GURPS character can also kick another guy in the head on that same Brawling -2, Karate -2, or…

  • Update: A Better Cost for ST – now with HP too!

    It’s A Better cost for ST… and HP too! Oh, and Striking ST and Lifting ST! An article that’s received many kind remarks over the years (and has been put into use by GMs far and wide) now gets a v2.0 update. The first version put ST on a diet with a neatly-declining cost scale (designed by D. Weber), enabling easier and cheaper power for supers and Giants. The update goes on to address ST’s component parts: Striking ST, Lifting ST, and HP. In the end, the rule provides a single scheme for pricing ST (and its components) in normal Joes, over-muscled barbarians, boulder-hurling Giants, and planet-cracking supers, with no special size-based…

  • Gaming Low-Power, Low-Tech PCs, Part III

    This is the wrap-up of thoughts on keeping a campaign going when the threats are high-powered but the PCs are low-powered – that is, when the PCs are “mundanes” with no magic, no special powers, and little technology. Again I use GURPS Fantasy II‘s Mad Lands setting as a prime example, but the considerations will hold in other settings, especially low fantasy or non-fantasy (e.g., historical). Part I was a short look at the challenges of keeping such a game going. Part II suggested beefing up the PCs to match the challenges – specifically, understanding “low power” to mean character sheets that may lack spells and energy blasts, but are…

  • Building the dungeon matador: Creatures and combat familiarity

    Here’s a GURPS idea I’ve been kicking around for a while: a trait for improved fighting prowess against a specific type of creature. The concept is easy to understand, and it’s not hard to quickly whip up a game trait that, at quick glance, appears to do the job. But, in a refrain that’s as familiar to rules hackers as the clacking of a tumbling d6, scrutinizing and testing a solution turns up fiddly considerations, especially in making the creation mesh neatly with existing game traits.  I’m not yet satisfied with what I’ve got. Below is an overview of design considerations for fellow rules hackers, followed by my half-baked suggestion…

  • Early Superhero RPG Villains & Vigilantes Flies Again

    Maybe some allusion to “dead” superheroes always coming back to life is in order here, but I’ll just jump to the point: Slashdot reports: Jeff Dee and Jack Herman, the creators of the old-school super-hero roleplaying game Villains & Vigilantes, have won a copyright and trademark lawsuit over the game’s publisher Scott Bizar of Fantasy Games Unlimited. Magistrate Judge Mark E. Aspey of the U.S. District Court of Arizona ruled that Jeff Dee and Jack Herman own the rights to the game based on the 1979 contract they reached with Bizar. The court also found that Bizar never had the right to sell derivative products or ebook PDF editions, which…

  • Gaming Low-Power, Low-Tech PCs, Part II

    Introduction I’ve changed the title of this article and its Part I, to better fit what the articles are really about. Yes, they’re nominally a look at the Mad Lands setting of GURPS Fantasy II, but let’s think bigger. What I’m really writing about is how to keep PCs alive, and growing as characters, in any setting that sharply limits PC power without dialing down the threats they face. So, while I focus on Madlanders as a perfect example of no-magic, no-powers people – “mundanes” – caught between hammer and anvil, what follows might be of use in any low fantasy game where monsters and wizards wield great powers that…