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Showing posts from April, 2023

Under Investigation: PCs, PIs, and the Law

Wizards of the Coast has been in the news frequently over the last few months, thanks to several PR nightmares. (It's possible that WotC sees all press as good press, but the issues have certainly hurt them some financially - most clearly thorough canceled subscriptions.) The first of which, an attempt to change their long-standing open license rules for Dungeons and Dragons, had us wondering what it even means to own a game . The latest debacle has seen them sending the Pinkerton organization after a single gamer and fellow content creator . Could Never Say Dice be next on their list? We may want to tread lightly when mentioning the Wizards, lest we garner their attention! This did get us thinking about how detective agencies, and law enforcement in general, could appear in our tabletop games. How can those concepts be included and should they? - A A : There are many ways to incorporate detectives or law enforcement into your games. In fact, you’re probably doing it already. Sp

Expanding the Idea of "Campaign"

Campaigns are a staple of tabletop adventuring. You and your pals gathering together regularly to tackle challenges in the same game world, session after session. Campaigns can be a great way to explore a tabletop world and your characters' place within it. That continued development and growth, along with the familiarity of that particular fantasy world, is likely what draws us back again and again. When you hear the term "campaign," there's a good chance you picture something pre-made like Curse of Strahd or Ghosts of Saltmarsh . You might think about the running live plays of various groups such as Critical Role, Acquisitions Incorporated or High Rollers. If you’re lucky, maybe your game has a wonderful custom campaign your GM created themselves (or you created if you're the GM.) (Websters' defines campaign as a "white sparkling wine made in the old province of Campaign, France.")   What does it really mean to be "in a campaign," though

The Secret History of Wolfenstein 2009

I look down at the small disc in my hand. Such a minuscule thing, I think, but its significance and import is matched only by the scope of its historical absence - long-forgotten, even in legend. But this artifact is real, its existence embodying the sophistication of a once-mighty people... as well as the means of their ultimate destruction. I refer, of course, to the copy of 2009's Wolfenstein that I acquired for the PS3, but the description applies, somewhat more accurately (if less poetically) to the Thule Medallion, the mystical artifact that sets this game apart from the rest of the series by giving long-running protagonist B.J. Blazkowicz a taste of the supernatural abilities usually afforded only to his adversaries. First, a history lesson. Never Say Dice scholars may remember I covered the previous game, 20 01's Return to Castle Wolfenstein in an earlier post . While I talked about the experience of visiting that title in the modern day, I didn't discuss why I h

Death and Taxes

In this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes. Even if we're paraphrasing Benjamin Franklin, the quote still seems to hold true. While I’d like to be speaking about the indie game Death and Taxes in this post, I didn’t even know about it before I started writing it. (Something else to add to the backlog .) Taxes may be something we haven’t covered yet, but we’ve talked about character deaths on this blog before. What we haven't covered, though is how you get to that character death. That point in the game where the damage a character's taken seems like it could be fatal, but they’re only mostly dead and likely in a lot of pain . How do you turn that corner from mostly dead to mostly alive and where do the taxes fit in? Death Death stalks you at every turn . At least it can seem that way in some tabletop games, although others might avoid the concept entirely. Certainly, in combat-heavy sessions of D&D something (or someone) “dying” is inevitable. If your

Tabletop Fooling Machine

April Fools! You know it’s a good holiday if an important part of it is shouting the name at an opportune moment. But who, and what, are the fools, exactly? The fooler, the foolee, the act of fooling, itself? The fools inside us or the fools we fool along the way? April Fools is somehow all of these and so much more. Rather than do a leg-pulling post of disingenuous nonsense (not to be confused with our regular… “genuous” nonsense?) that doesn’t read as well between April 2 and March 31, we thought we’d talk a little about how you can go about bringing some of that April Fools’ spirit into your games. Maybe even the spirit of the original April Fool, Dickens-style ? - B     B : Working out what makes any kind of joke “work” is always going to be tricky, if not impossible (a “fool’s errand,” one might say”, but pranks have the additional complication of needing the prankee to “buy in,” and accept something as presented to them, while also making the reveal accessible to them in some way