Artistic Freedom: A Manifesto

It has long been the goal of the artist, regardless of the chosen form, to make a full-time living as an artist. Authors want to write; painters want to paint; musicians want to sing…and none of them want to do anything else. When they begin, artists have a love of their art that rivals the deepest of romances, but as they confront the realities of selling their work –– of needing to impress an audience –– they begin to sacrifice

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What is Your Jadepunk Tale?

I call a Jadepunk campaign a Jadepunk Tale. As anyone who roleplays can tell you, a campaign can be a single game session or a twenty-year adventure. Since Jadepunk has been out for awhile, I’d like to get a sense of how other people are playing the game. What tales are you telling? Who are the archnemeses of your players? What’s your Jianghu society’s name? Even if you aren’t running a game of Jadepunk currently, what would your Jadepunk game be

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The Age of Anarchy

My latest Kickstarter just went live! Those of you who follow me on social media know that I’ve been working with Paul Mitchener to create the Perpetual Motion Engine gaming system. And The Age of Anarchy is the setting we’ve chosen to release the game. What is The Perpetual Motion Engine? PME is a labor of love that has been underway for several years now. If you’ve read my blog for awhile, you know I love to tinker with gaming systems. That’s

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Second Letter From Kausao City

For those of you who aren’t caught up, I recently received a letter from Kausao City’s governor’s office describing how the Kausao City Post Office is being used to contact rebel sympathizers outside of the hegemony. After more than a week of searching for information regarding the seized letters mentioned in that correspondence, I received another letter. Here it is:   Jianghu Sympathizer, I’ll refrain from using names for mutual protection. In fact, it may be too dangerous to contact you at

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Letters From Kausao City

I just received a strange letter from The Governor’s Office in Kausao City. Did you get it yet? It’s sort of…well, I’ll let you read it for yourself. I’ve attached the letter at the bottom of this post but transcribed it below for those of you who can’t read Túyangan:   From: Office of the Governor of Kausao City To: The Peoples of the Great Nations It has come to our attention that some employees of Kausao City’s mailing service have been

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How I Fell Into Game Design

Believe it or not, and probably unlike others in this industry, game design wasn’t my first choice for creative outlets; I sort of fell into it. In fact, it wasn’t even on the radar until a few months before I launched the Jadepunk Kickstarter. And after that Kickstarter happened, I fell into the gaming industry…hard. I’ve always been a game hacker, whether it was Mutants and Masterminds, GURPS, or Fate Core; whatever I’m playing tends to get a warped around my preferences. The reason

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A Smarter Way to Publish RPG Settings

Most of the game design articles this week have centered around making games more accessible for new audiences. In this article, I’d like to touch on a method for 3rd party publishers to attract some of the extant RPG audience that’s out there. Go All-In with Setting Let’s face it; most 3rd party published supplements are new settings to be played with a particular system. This was the way I went with Jadepunk: Tales From Kausao City and Shadowcraft: The Glamour

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Back to Basics: RPG Mechanics in 20 Words

There are a lot of cool gaming mechanics out there. I mean, a lot! But many games (like Jadepunk, admittedly) were built on the complicated rubrics of other games. This overcomplication, I believe, has resulted in the kind of mechanical bloat that we see in some big name games that require 500 pages, or multiple books, to cover it all. I think it’s time to get back to basics. In my anecdotal experience, I’ve seen games spring from two places:

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Tabletop RPGs as Solo Adventures

I’ve always found trying to play a roleplaying game solo to be of great interest (maybe because my best friend is my dog), but not a great exercise. Games just don’t support the format. But maybe they could? Maybe the old “choose your own adventure” stories hold a key here? If you’ve read them, you’ve likely had a similar rush to the one you get when you the GM tells you how terrible your decision turned out for you. If

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What’s the Future of Tabletop Roleplaying Games?

My thoughts on the Future of Tabletop Roleplaying Games I believe the future lies not in the multiple 300+ page tomes that must be consumed and memorized before play – because, historically, that has not attracted mainstream appeal – but rather in short documents that can be read and mastered in 20 minutes, and taught in 5 minutes. After that, a (short) tome of advanced rules can be released to give the full (traditional) experience of tabletop gaming. The topic is

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