Willow Rants

{March 30, 2014}   Event Scheduling for 2014

Timeslots for Forge Midwest 2014 will be as follows:

9 AM: Early Bird Session

1 PM: Afternoon Session

7 PM: Evening Session

11 PM: Night Owl Session

We will not be using the Big Board method of event sign-ups this year.  While intended to be a means for GMs to communicate their games to players, it has become a pretty dysfunctional method of player-signups.  This year we will be trying out Pitch Sessions:  All attendees are invited to meet in one area, discuss prospective games for that timeslot, and split into groups.  My goal is to further invite newcomers in the community.  The first big Pitch Session will be Friday at 1 PM, but we will be opening up the doors to the room as soon as the hotel lets us.

Since these timeslots will not necessarily work for everyone (I can hear you saying “who gets up that early/stays up that late??”), in addition, a number of boardgames and other short games will be made available for anyone’s use in the con “main area.”

{January 1, 2014}   Games I Played in 2013

Apocalypse West: Ran a one-shot of my western Apocalypse World hack at Chicago Games Day.


Apocalypse World: Wrapped up my Apocalypse Northwest game. Abram ran a game of this, which lastest only a few sessions before he left Madison. I was playing the Quarantine. Doc ran a very large game where I played the fan-playbook the Radio.


Blazing Rose: Played a one shot, with a Kung Fu in Love quickstart.


Clay That Woke: Ran a short game of this game in playtest.

Deadlands Classic: Ran a short game featuring the adventure Monolith Beyond Space and Time.


Dog Eat Dog: Finally got to play this game of colonialism and sociology.


Dungeon Planet: Played in a oneshot at Games on Demand at Gencon.


Dungeon World: Played in Sabe’s ongoing game as Dahlia the Cleric of Death and later Astrafel the Bard. Sabe also ran a Planar Codex game where I played Zash, a Githyanki Sky Pirate Dashing Hero. Ran a game featuring the adventure Death Frost Doom. Ran a one shot at Forge Midwest.


Dungeons & Dragons, 4th Edition: Abram ran his Clan City Lockdown scenario, in which we all played Minotaurs in a superhard adventure.


Exploding Kingdoms: Continued to design, run, and playtest this.


Freemarket: Got to play this at Chicago Games Day.


Gamma World: Ran a combat-heavy, X-Mas themed one-shot since Colin wanted to try it.


Itras By: Ran a few session, played in Sabe’s ongoing game as a Grey Guard investigator.


Lady Blackbird: Shari ran a session or two of this that I got to play in; she’s added this to her gaming repertoire and ran a longer game that sounded very fun.


Legends of the Wulin: Sabe ran a game of this, in which I played some sort of sword princess, and Abram ran a session or two of a Gods of Cooking game where I played a Fire Sutra Doctor with very spicy cooking!


Microscope: Played a game. I think it had spaceships.


Monsterhearts: Played two one shots at Forge Midwest. Ran season two of my Red Bank game.


Mouse Guard: Sabe ran a one-shot of this.


Mythic Animist Playtest: Played a session of Abram’s Mythic Animist game; a little rocky but the concepts have potential.


On Mighty Thews: Played this at Forge Midwest. The map stayed up most of the con.


Primitive: Played this for the first time at Chicago Games day.


Quiet Year: Got to give this game a try.


Rustbelt: Played a session at Gencon.


Sign in Stranger: Sabe facilitated a one shot of this, good to play again, and provided inspiration for his Welcome Earthlings game.


Space War: Played Brendan’s playtest of the crew of two spaceships in conflict.


Torchbearer: Currently running an ongoing game.


Undying: Tim ran a playtest of this for us.


Vast and Starlit: Played this minigame. Cliffhangers.


We Set Out: Doc facilitated a game of this.


Wilding Tales: Played a oneshot of this.


World of Darkness: Sabe ran a nWoD game over G+.


XXXXtreme Street Luge: Played this at Forge Midwest. Failed to achieve my lifegoals, but at least my luger got Leonard Nimoy as a fan.


As always, I am likely missing odd one shots.

{October 16, 2013}   Boardgame Selling List

These games are for sale!  All prices are plus shipping.  Send me an email if you are interested.willow@willowpalecek.com

3012: $25

A Touch of Evil: $35

Apples to Apples extra Blank Cards: $5

Are You a Werewolf? (Looney Labs): $5

Battle of the Bands, plus Expansion: $30

Car Wars Deluxe Edition Boxed Set: $35

Cards Against Humanity, 3nd Expansion: $10

Chez Dork: $20

Chez Geek: $30

Chrononauts, plus Lost Identities Expansion: $15

Confusion: $35

Conquest of Pangea (Mint): $20

Domination: $5

Eminent Domain: $45

Hell Rail: $15

Hex Hex: $25

History of the World, 2001 Printing: $100

Illuminati plus Y2K: $35

Inn Fighting: $10

Kung Fu Samurai on Giant Robot Island: $15

Lord of the Rings (Reiner Kniza co-op version): $15

Mad Gab: $8

Miskatonic School for Girls: $25

Mutants and Masterminds Beginner Rules: Free to Good Home, along with other purchase

Scrabble Sentence Cube Game: $10

Soft Landing: $7

Spy Ring: $10

Star Wars Monopoly: $15

Strata 5: $5

Ticket to Ride: Dice Expansion: $10

Vinci: $40


Cheapass Games $5 Each

Captain Park’s Imaginary Polar Expedition


Escape from Elba


One False Step for Mankind

Safari Jack

The Big Idea


{October 2, 2013}   I Scored 108 Points in Android

Posted Today, 09:52 PM

Just had an 108 game.


I’m playing Raymond, and the other players are Nisei, Beckham, and Floyd.


Floyd and I were racing to fill out the Conspiracy grid, and each got 3 tokens before the board was closed off.  The center of the grid was all connected, so everything except Sad Endings, Street Favors, and Innocent Hunches were worth +2 points.  Jinteki and Haas links were not on the board.


After this happened, I pretty much camped out Melange Mining, getting a Corp favor each turn, and mostly playing cards.  After maxing out the Corp favors, I got moved down to the War Memorial, then sat on City Hall.  I had seen Caprice’s hand, so I knew that if I moved pretty much anywhere I could get hurt.


People were drawing just Raymond dark cards heavily the whole second half of the game.  I spent most of my turn drawing to make sure I had enough positive baggage to stay ahead of things.  Then I rotated a tile to make all those bonuses be +3.


Fortunately, the card that makes me lose all favors was drawn early, and I was careful to never have seven cards in hand.


And, at the end of the game, despite never playing any significant evidence, I got Obsession.  How?  Thomas Haas (Floyd’s guilty hunch) was dead, and Eve (Beckham’s Guilty Hunch, Floyd’s Innocent) had a pile of evidence, high and low, that ended out totalling to just 5, whereas the evidence on the Strangler totaled to 12.  (I think Floyd was playing positive evidence there after Haas was killed to make sure he was higher than Eve, becuase the competition on Eve was really stiff.)


Total score:

26 (Obession)

+12 (3 Conspiracy Links)

+48 (16 favors)

+6 (2 Kate Favors)

+17 (Happy Ending)

-1 (Trauma)


108 points.

{September 4, 2013}   Board Game Inventory Reduction

The Great Game Roundup and Inventory Reduction


I have too many games. So I’m going through them, in preparation to get rid of some of them.


I’m using the following Rating system:


An A game is one I actually regularly play, either by bringing to Boardgame Nights, Cons, or playing with Tim, All A games are staying on the shelf.


A B game is a game I like but haven’t played in a while, or a game that I have some emotional attachment to. I want to make an effort to play more of these, forcing them to justify their existence on my gaming shelf. A B+ game is one I really want to keep. A B- game is one that I will probably end up getting rid of.


A C game is one that I can’t really see myself playing again. These games are probably either not to my taste, or otherwise rendered obsolete by other games in my collection.


If a game is labeled (Tim), I’m pretty sure that’s Tim’s game, and I should probably ask him before selling it.


If you want a game that’s a B- or C, let me know, and we’ll talk price.


7 Wonders: A

Ascension: A

Battlecon: A

Beowulf: A

Betrayal at the House on the Hill, 2nd Edition: A

Blood Bowl: Team Manager: A

Bohnanza: A

Boss Monster: A

Castle Ravenloft etc: A

Carcassone, plus many expansions: A

Cards Against Humanity: A

Citadels: A

Colossal Arena: A

Cosmic Encounter: A

Democrazy: A

Descent 2nd Edition: A

Dixit: A

Epic Spellduels of the Battle Wizards: Duel on Mt. Skullsfyre: A

Facts in Five: A

Fairy Tale: A

Fantastiqa: A

Fortune and Glory: A

Get Bit: A

Glory to Rome: A

Infernal Contraption: A

Innovation: A

Jenga: A

Jungle Speed: A

Last Night on Earth: A

Liar’s Dice: A

Lord of the Rings: Confrontation: A

Lords of Waterdeep, plus expansion: A

Lost Cities: A

Kahuna: A

King of Tokyo: A

Kingdom Builder: A

Netrunner: A

Nuts!: A

Penny Arcade Game: A

Quao: A

Quarriors: A

Race for the Galaxy: A

Seasons: A

Sentinels of the Multiverse: A

Shadowfist: A

Small World, plus expansions: A

Smash Up!: A

Sole Mio!: A

Super Dungeon Explore!: A

Sushi Go!: A

The Duke: A

The Stars are Right: A

Tsuro: A

Tsuro of the Seas: A

Village: A

Wiz War: A


Aladdin’s Dragons: B+

Alhambra B+

Battle for Alabaster: B+

Battlestar Galactica, plus all expansions: B+

Blue Moon City: B+

Carolus Magnus B+

Castle: B+

Chaos in the Old World, plus expansion: B+

City of Thieves, plus expansion: B+

Copy Cat: B+

Death Angel: B+

Dominion, all the expansions: B+

Eclipse plus Expansion: B+

Elfenland: B+

Gang of Four: B+

Girl Genius: The Works: B+

Ingenious (Mint): B+

In the Shadow of the Emperor (Mint): B+

Jaipur: B+

Keyflower: B+

Keythedral: B+

Khet (Laser Chess)(Tim): B+

Kingsburg, plus expansion: B+

Last Night on Earth: Timber Peak: B+

Ninja: B+

Octiles: B+

Power Grid: B+

Puerto Rico: B+

Rumis: B+

Senji: B+

Ticket to Ride: Europe, and Switzerland: B+

Tigris and Euphrates (Mint): B+

Torres (Mint): B+

Trias: B+


Abalone: B (Tim)

Agricola, plus some expansions: B

Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small: B

Android: B

Arcane Legions: B

Arcanum: B

Arimaa: B (Tim)

Banzai!: B

Battlelore: B

Carcassone: Hunters and Gatherers: B

Campaign Manager 2008: B

Conquest of Nerath: B

Cthulhu Gloom: B (Tim)

Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb: B(Tim) I have no idea what this is.

Destruct: B. Whatever this is, it looks pretty cool.

D&D Command: B

Dreadfleet: B

Dungeon Quest B

Empyrian, Ltd: B

Entdecker (Mint): B

Feudal: B

Fury of Dracula: B

Gosu: B

Hacker: B (Tim)

Hero Card (Orc Wars, Shogun, Cyberspace, Nightmare): B

Heroscape: B

Hobbit Card Game (Mint): B

Horus Heresy: B

Lord$ of Vega$: B

Mage Knight: B

Mage Storm (Mint): B

Make a Scene: B (stupid party game, but entertaining)

Megachess: B (Tim)

Merchant of Venus: B

Osterreichreise: B

Rider Taror: B (doesn’t belong on game shelf)

Roborally: B

Runebound: B

Samurai and Katana: B

Scrappers: B

Settlers of Catan, plus Cities and Knights: B. I’m pretty sure Tim and I have multiple copies of this.

Settlers of Catan card game: B

Spark: B

Starfarers of Catan: B

Tales of the Arabian Nights: B

Three Dragon Ante: B (two copies, different editions, I think)

Ticket to Ride: Dice Expansion: B

Titan: B (I really need to find an excuse to play this.)

Tongiaki: B

Twixt: B

Vampire Tarot (Mint): B (Tim)- I don’t think this is even a game, just a tarot deck.


Carcassone: Princess and the Dragon: B-

Carcassone: The City: B-

Claustrophobia: B-


Ideology: B-

Infiltration: B-

Jump the Shark (Mint): B- (Tim?)

Poo!: B-

Spanc: B-

Star Trek Deckbuilding Game plus first Expansion: B-


3012: C

A Touch of Evil: C

Are You a Werewolf? (Looney Labs): C

Arkham Horror, plus several expansions: C (Tim)

Balderdash: C

Battle of the Bands, plus Expansion: C

BSG CCG Cards: C, free to good home.

Burn in Hell: C (Tim)

Car Wars Boxed Set: C

Chrononauts, plus expansion: C

Confusion: C

Conquest of Pangea (Mint): C

Doctor Faust: C

Domination: C

Dork Tower: C

Early American Chrononauts: C

Eminent Domain: C

Guillotine: C

Hell Rail: C

Hex Hex: C

History of the World: C

Illumuminati (plus at least one expansion): C

Inflatable Whack a Zombie: Not really a game, but on my game shelf, for some reason: C

Inn Fighting: C

Junta: El Presidente: C

Kung Fu Samurai on Giant Robot Island: C

Lord of the Rings (Reiner Kniza co-op version): C

Lord of the Rings CCG Cards: Free to good Home: C

Mad Gab: C

Miskatonic School for Girls: C

Mutants and Masterminds Beginner Rules: C (Free to Good Home)

Original Netrunner Cards: C

Pentago (Mint): C

Pictionary (Mint): C

Power Grid: The First Sparks: C (Tim)

Scrabble Sentence Cube Game: C

Soft Landing: C

Spoils CCG Cards: C

Spy Ring: C

Spycraft CCG Cards: Free to good home! C

Star Trek CCG Cards: C

Star Wars Monopoly: C

Strata 5: C

Ticket to Ride: Dice Expansion: C (A second copy!)

Vinci: C

Warlord CCG Cards: C

Yu-Gi-Oh Cards: C, Free to good home!


Cheapass Games:

Before I Kill You, Mister Bond: C

Captain Park’s Imaginary Polar Expedition: C

Deadwood: C (Tim)

Escape from Elba: C

Freeloader: C

Kill Doctor Lucky: C

One False Step for Mankind: C

Safari Jack: C

US Patent #1: C



Agent Double Double Agent: Missing cards.

Descent, 1st Edition: Special (strip for minis and bits, break down into fewer boxes)

Game of Thrones, first edition (missing Stark tokens) Strip for parts?

Risk Legacy: Special (am I going to play this copy again? Probably not, but I’d like to.)


{September 4, 2013}   How do I run D&D?

In regards to Exploding Kingdoms, I’ve been thinking about what’s supposed to happen between the adventures in D&D, which made me think more than I have consciously done about how I run D&D when I’ve run it.


I’m going to mostly use examples from New Haven, Thunderspire Labyrinth, and Descent into Madness. The New Haven game was 100% original content; Thunderspire Labyrinth was mostly the adventure plus about 25% custom sidequests and elaboration, Descent into Madness was 100% original content.


For contrast, the Revenge of the Giants game was based on the supermodule and was probably 60% or more original content, but was much more adventure goal focused, and the Godstorm game was the accumulation of this style of play and the choices made earlier.


I identify style of play as a subset of Adventure Play, but it draws heavily on having a home base from which to operate. I’d probably run Dungeon World largely the same way (these steps look a lot like maintaining threats and fronts), and if I were to continue running the Deadlands game I’d expand the setting to include some of these techniques.




Come up with an adventure filled setting with multiple possible adventure hooks. Set up multiple factions/NPCs with incompatible or competing interests that the PCs can help/hinder. Pitch general premise to players. Include short term opportunities and long term threats.


The New Haven game was set in a dungeon boomtown outside the newly rediscovered capitol of Bael Turoth, and had groups like two different families of dwarves, an adventurer’s guild, a gang of halfling bandits, an evil church, and a couple of other adventuring parties. There were multiple dungeon sites the players knew of worth exploring, and the initial long term threat that I envisioned was uncovering things Man Was Not Meant to Know.


The Thunderspire Labyrinth game used the module of the same name, so had the town inside the Minotaur Labyrinth, and dealings with duegar Traders, a drow Exile, the halfling inn, and the mysterious mages. While mostly focused on the main adventure thread, there were things like trying to figure out where Argent, a silver minotaur shaped warforged came from, and what happened to Maribelle’s paladin mentor.


The Descent into Madness game had two main locations, the Dwarven City of Goldenspire and the Vault of the Drow, both with their own backbiting factions and struggles. The overarching threat was the god of madness, Tharzidun’s influence escaping through a crack in one of his prisons, but in both locations there was lots to do to try to stabilize the situation.




Offer multiple avenues of exploration.


Find out about the PC’s backgrounds, and incorporate it into the setting.


The New Haven game was pretty simple for avenues of exploration: introduce a couple of ruined sites, ask the PCs which one’s they are most interested in. The various groups they talk to give them different sources of information. The Dragnarok plotline, which was essential to the later Thunderspire, Revenge of the Giants, and Godstorm game, was inspired by musing about the background James provided for Tor.


The sidequests in the Thunderspire game were entirely inspired by the information the players gave about their PCs backgrounds.


Descent into Madness didn’t feature as many player background quests, but the players had multiple options of what to do and who to support in the Vault of the Drow.




Prep what you need to: find out what the players want to do and prep for that.


This means at the end of the session you need to know what you’re doing next week, and the players have to have enough information to make those choices.




Most of the Adventures fell into a pretty direct 3 encounter gauntlet, with an opener (which was sometimes a “random” encounter on the way to the adventure), a middle, and a finale, with maybe a puzzle or skill challenge thrown in there.


I did very few adventures where mapping was an actual element; the only ones that come to mind were the Fortress of the Fire Giants in Revenge of the Giants, the Frost Island in the same adventure (where the players had a map, labeled in a foreign language), and the Temple of Chaos adventure at the end of Descent into Madness. In each of these, the maps were relatively simple, and the adventure required several forays to complete. The Temple of Chaos was the only one of those that was 100% original content.


However, while the adventures followed a pretty steady pattern of Warmup Fight-Rising Action-Finale, with scripting to ensure that the players moved from one encounter to the next, and little details like mapping and traveling staying out of the way, I put lots of choices into the adventures.


Who do you give the magical resources to? Which factions do you back? When these NPCs disagree, who do you side with?


Some memorable choices included the PCs naming the town of New Haven, ending up as a tie-breaking vote/voice of advise and installing Black Bart (the halfling outlaw), of all people, as Sheriff, giving an extra Warforged Creation Forge to the dwarves of Goldenspire, and most memorably, Zyorn at the end of Descent into Madness choosing to destroy the Vault of the Drow and everyone within.




What do you do between one adventure and the next? Figure out what’s changed, based on the ongoing factions and their actions, what the consequences of PCs choices might be, and what’s gotten worse due to not being given attention.


*W games with fronts and threats encourage you to think about these consequences upfront, and have them occur as they happened, but I generally only thought about them when they came up.


Meanwhile, the situation changes, you come up with new adventure possibilities and present them to the players. Some old options stay open, others get closed off.




So, what does this mean for Exploding Kingdoms? Should the game run like this?

Some people think you should start with these first for your hack.  Here’s what I’ve been kicking around for CyberNoir.  Most of these are just reskins of the Apocalypse World stuff, with the exception of calling out Being Generous with Information, and some drilldown into what this setting is.



Embody the cybernoir nature of the world.

Keep your world authentic to your cybernoir sensibilities. Portray a plausible and internally-consistent world, and your players will take it seriously.


Embroil the characters in a web of crime and intrigue.

Set up the Crime Web, get the characters hooked into it, and watch as they attempt to unravel the whole thing.


Play to find out what happens.

Your job is not to craft a masterful story arc. It is to set up the situation, wind up the PCs, and watch them go to work. When you allow the unexpected to happen, you get truly exciting play.




Always say what honesty demands.

Honesty, and the rules, demand you show fidelity to the rules, to the results of the players rolls, that you stay true to the principles, and be open, honest, and fair in your interactions with the players.


Be Generous with Information.

This is a mystery game. The players can’t solve the mysteries without clues. So you should be giving, even overly so with information. You have the advantage of knowing all the answers. Mysteries are meant to be solved, and secrets are meant to be revealed.


Think Cyber.

Consider your specific Shocks and other examples of futurism. Whenever you introduce a setting element, think of ways to emphasize the fact that the characters are living in the future. Exaggerate aspects and current trends, especially those you view as negative.


Think Noir.

Play up the dark aspects of the world, the corruption, the moral ambiguity, and confusion.


Everyone is Expendable.

Don’t protect your NPCs. They are not there to provide physical challenge to the PCs, but rather moral challenge.


Everyone is Human.

Any NPC you introduce, give them a name, a motive, and think a little bit about life through their lies. What do they want? How do they fit into things?


Collaborate With Your Players.

Allow, or prompt the players to provide setting input. This way, you’ll all feel ownership of the setting, and your players will feed you ideas you never would have thought of.


Take What They Give You and Run With It.

Once the players give you input, take it, expand upon it, and make it your own. Turn up the Cyber and the Noir.


Be a Fan of the Players and their Characters.

We’re all here to have fun, right? The players are not your adversaries, and neither are their characters. Look for what makes those characters awesome and embrace it. Give them a chance to shine, and don’t try to grind them down.


Think About the Big Picture.

Keep your Crime Web map in hand. Between sessions, or whenever you have a spare moment, take a look at it, and consider how events onscreen affect those actors offscreen.


Zoom in on the Little Details.

Take moments here or there to showcase the little details. Sometimes this can draw attention to a useful clue, but often it’s just to show off the setting and characterization.


Sometimes, Delegate the Big Decisions

To play to find out what happens, you need to give up some of the big decisions. Let your NPCs make them in character. Put them on your player’s hands. You can even roll for it.


Address yourself to the characters, not the players.

Keep the players rooted in the fiction, and the players immersed in their characters.


Play by the rules, think in the fiction.

When you make a move, make it about the fictional content of the move. Never say a name of a move you’re using, instead say what happens. It should seem seamless to the players. This goes for players too- when they use moves, think in the fiction- what’s going on?


Draw Maps Like Crazy.

Maps. Draw them.

Savvy Moves:


Assess a Person:


When you Assess a Person in a conversation, roll + Savvy. On a 7-9, hold 1. On a 10+, hold 3. Spend your hold 1 for 1 during the conversation to ask that character’s player a question from the list.

*Are you lying to me?

*What are you really feeling?

*What do you intend to do?

*What do you wish I would do?

*How could I get you to ______?

On a miss against an NPC, ask one question anywy, but they identify your attempt to read and manipulate them, so they clam up or otherwise react.


Assess Your Surroundings


When you take a few moments to Assess Your Surroundings, roll + Savvy. On a 7-9, ask 1 question from the list. On a 10+, ask 3.

If you make a followup move that builds on the answer, take +1 forward.

*What’s my best way in/out/through?

*What here is immediately useful to me?

*Where are my enemies vulnerable to me/which enemy is most vulnerable to me?

*How is my enemy most threatening to me/which enemy is the biggest threat?

*Where is the true danger?

*What should I be on the lookout for?

*Who is really in control here?


Search for Clues


When you take time to Search an area for Clues, roll + Savvy. On a 7-9, hold 1. On a 10+, hold 3. Spend your hold 1 for 1 as you search the area to pick an option from the list.

*Ask: What happened here recently?

*Ask: What is hidden here?

*Ask: What doesn’t belong here?

*Ask: What’s missing that should be here?

*Find a piece of physical evidence.

*Find a useful or valuable item.

Moxie Moves:


Call in a Favor


When you Call in a Favor from one of your Contacts, roll + Moxie.

If your request puts them at great risk, take -1 to the roll.

On a 10+, choose one.

On a 7-9, choose three.

*It’ll take a few days to follow through.

*They can come up with something similar- close is close, right?

*They ask a lot of questions.

*You owe them one for this.

*Their participation draws attention.

*You have to grease the wheels- spend 1 Payola.

*After this, they’re out. Cross them off your list of contacts.


First Impression


When you make a First Impression on an Npc, roll + Moxie.

On a 7-9, the character reacts normally as they would to someone of your position. At the very least, they’re willing to talk.

On a 10+, they are favorably predisposed towards you. Take +1 for your first Manipulate a Person or Assess a Person against them this scene.

On a miss, you get off on the wrong foot. Take -1 forward all Manipulate, Assess, or Threaten rolls against them this scene.


Manipulate a Person


When you attempt to Manipulate a person, you must have something they want. Tell them what you want and roll + Moxie.


Against NPCs:

On a 7-9, the character will tell you something they want. If you provide it up front, they’ll do what you want.

On a 10+, the character will tell you something they want. If you provide promises or assurances that you can get it later, they’ll do what you want.


Against PCs:

On a hit, the character will tell you something they want.

On a 7-9, if they do what you wanted, they get xp.

On a 10+, additionally, if you do what they wanted, you get xp.


Grit Moves:


Resort to Violence


When you Resort to Violence, roll + Grit. By default, you will do your harm to your opponent, and if they are in a position to fight back, they will do their harm to you.

On a 7-9, choose 1. On a 10+, choose 3.

*You do +1 harm.

*You take -1 harm.

*You seize control something important: terrain, an item, or just the tempo of battle.

*You impress, dismay or frighten your enemies. They must change their current behavior or actions.


Take a Beating


Whenever you Take a Beating, roll + Grit.

On a 10+, you’re fine. You can fight and act, no ill effects.

On a 7-9, the GM chooses one:

*You drop something you’re holding.

*You temporarily lose track of something important.

*You fail to notice something important.

*You lose your footing.

On a miss, the GM chooses one:

*It’s worse than it looks, take +1 harm.

*You’re out cold, possibly for several hours.

*The GM chooses two from the 7-9 list.


Threaten Violence


When you Threaten Violence, say what you’re threatening, what you want, and then roll + Grit.

On a 7-9, your opponent must do something they think you want, or call your bluff.

On a 10+, your opponent must do what you want, or call your bluff.

If your opponent calls your bluff, choose one:

*Do nothing and back down.

*Resort to Violence now. Do not roll, instead use the result you got for this roll.

*Come back later to carry out your threats. Resort to Violence, with +1 forward to the roll.

Defy Danger


When you are in a tight spot and taking a risky action, roll to Defy Danger.

Are you acting with tenacity, physical fortitude, or sheer physical ability? Roll + Grit

Are you acting with cunning, or implementing a well thought out plan? Roll + Savvy

Are you fast talking or otherwise trying to talk your way out of a bad situation? Roll + Moxie


On a 10+, you avoid the danger, and achieve your goals.

On a 7-9, you’re mostly successful. The GM will give you a mixed result, a hard choice, or a Pyrrhic victory.


Optional Rule: Psi-Powers


If Psi-Powers are in the game, each character has an additional stat, Psi, and access to the Hunch move.




When you get a Hunch, roll + Psi.

On a 7-9, the GM will tell you something interesting about the current situation. On a 10+, the information you get will be precise and detailed.

On a miss, you draw the attention of psychic threats.

Good news everyone!  My games are now available through both Lulu and Drivethrurpg.  You can check out my Drivethrurpg profile right here.

I was at a game store for a gameday/mini-con, when I chanced to get a good look at a poster advertising Pathfinder. (This the best pic I could find of it.)

 I was at a game store for a gameday/mini-con, when I chanced to get a good look at a poster advertising Pathfinder. (This the best pic I could find of it.)

I was seated pretty much facing this poster, so I pondered it a little bit. And if you squint at it, it looks like Europe and Africa. I’ve heard people say they think the setting is really creative, so I was surprised that it looked like a cliched Not-Europe.

So, during a break in the game, I went in closer to take a better look. There’s different bubbles pointing at different areas, with a name and quick synopsis.

 I had a good laugh looking at the top half of the map. Scandinavia is huge, because clearly Scandinavia is METAL, and there’s a country of viking dwarf dragonslayers or something, which is pretty awesome, and a Transylvania/Ravenloft analogue, and something that looks like Grimdark France, and Romantic Spain in the middle of Europe, and Italy’s been taken and put off of Scandinavia, and to the east there’s some steampunk barbarian land, which is the only thing that seemed at all imaginative (but could possibly also be an analog for Czar Peter brings western technology to Russia).

Anyway, it looked a little interesting. Still obviously Not-Europe, but maybe if it was rotated like 90 degrees, the comparison wouldn’t be so obvious.

Then I looked at Not-Africa, and it wasn’t funny anymore.

 There’s seven civilizations in with text bubbles on the bottom half of the map. In the northeastern part of Not-Africa, we have “Osirion,” which is land of Pharoahs and Pyramids and clearly Not-Egypt. The Nile is clearly on the map. To the east, we have a Not-Arabia nation. These are direct historical analogues, much clearer and obvious than the ones in Europe which seemed to involve at least some imagination at first glance.

 There’s a nasty looking North-Not-African Nation, and an empire of (white) Liches on the East Coast. But mostly I am concerned about the three featured South Not-Saharan nations.

One is on the west coast, and is a haven for pirates.

One is in central Not-Africa, and is an empire of Talking Apes.

One is in central Not-Africa, and is a war torn land of Gnolls.

 I don’t care much for words like cultural appropriation or political correctness, but it seems to me that if you’re doing stuff with other people’s cultural heritage, you should try to honor them.

Thus, especially in the context of centuries of institutionalized abuse of Afrcian peoples by European ones, it seems particularly problematic that the people of central Africa (and therefore Black People in general) are depicted as either Pirates, Talking Apes, or Gnolls.

This is incredibly racist.

It’s possible, I suppose that the setting isn’t actually that racist. Maybe there’s also really cool and empowering kingdoms peopled by Blacks. (I understand one of the iconic characters is a fully-clothed female black paladin, for which I thank Paizo.) But those nations either aren’t on the map, or don’t make enough of an impression compared to blatant stereotypes. Sure, Kingdom of the Apes is a classic Pulp Trope, but it features so prominently amongst an already cliched depiction of Africa.

Maybe I’m wrong and there’s more to Pathfrinder’s setting than this. But if I am, then Paizo is doing itself a disservice by presenting it in this way.

et cetera

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