Blog Posts

Classcraft: Gamify Your Classroom

It’s no secret that kids learn better through stories and games (Jesus used the parable, my teachers used BINGO), but it seems that classroom gaming has come a long way from The Quiet Game. Classcraft is a free (for most features) way to turn a modern classroom into an engaging game. What is Classcraft? From their website: Classcraft’s mission is to transform the learning experience by using game mechanics to engage students and provide teachers with well-designed tools to do

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Why City of Heroes was the Best MMO

I started playing massively multiplayer online roleplaying games (MMORPGs) during the beta of Star Wars Galaxies in 2003. And while SWG had mee hooked for over a year, it couldn’t compare to City of Heroes. Make your own superhero? It’s like they made the game just for me. But there are other reasons why I considered CoH the best MMO yet. While working at a cyber cafe, I walked behind someone who was decorating his wookiee’s house, and I thought

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5 Simple Steps to Mastering the Martial Arts

That title may say five simple steps, but that doesn’t mean they’re five easy steps. Martial arts training is damn hard, anything worthwhile always is, but that doesn’t mean it has to be complicated. In this article, I’m going to give away the “secret formula” that instructors follow when teaching a new technique to a student: the five steps to mastery. Is that all it takes to master the martial arts, five simple steps? Yes…and no. You did catch the part

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Not Taking Anything For Granted

Have you ever taken something, or someone, for granted? I’ve been on this kick of trying to live in every moment – ever since a rewatch of The Last Samurai (“life in every breath”). After something that I consider to be deep passes, I stop and ask myself “what have I gained from this moment?” Now, I don’t mean a material gain; it’s not a method of looking at people or things with eyes for what I can get from them. I’m

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Who’s Your Favorite X-Men Character?

Someone asked me recently who my favorite X-Men character is. I’ve had a few over the years, Wolverine, Gambit, Cyclops, Rogue, Storm, Iceman…Professor X, himself. I even count some of the X-Villains, like the Brotherhood of Mutants, in my list (Magneto and Sabretooth at the top of the list). But having to narrow down a favorite? That’s hard. Which Version? Just about every X-character has undergone changes over the decades-long history of the franchise. So a discussion on favorites almost needs to start

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Geek Chic: It Hurts to be Different

A Facebook friend posted this video. It speaks to geek culture and how, even though it’s become popular for “geek to be chic,” we can still feel alone in the mainstream crowd. I have to agree with her about the X-Men comments. They’re some of my favorite comic book movies, not because they nailed the X-Men from the comics (they couldn’t be more off, in my opinion). I like the X-flicks because they’re about something that we go through every

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The Never-Ending Adventure

So many roleplaying games hook with the idea of being able to tell stories like our favorite TV shows but then stick to tried and true methods of telling open-and-close story arcs from novels or movies. Now, to be clear, that’s not a flaw, per se, but I don’t believe it hits on the idea of how to tell a story like a TV show. The Old TV Storytelling Method In older TV shows you have a villain/monster of the

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Stepped Dice Game of Raising Stakes

While designing the Cortex Plus version of Jadepunk, I stumbled upon an attractive dice mechanic that I want to explore. It’s inspired by Cortex Plus (naturally), as well as Chronica Feudalis, Savage Worlds, Fate Core, and Marvel Universe Roleplaying (the terrible old one with the stones of effort, only to some degree, but still awesome that I can include that here). Design Goals I believe every good design needs a reason for being: something you want to achieve or a problem you want to solve.

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Your Fandom Opinions Are “Correct”

Few discussions can drive a wedge between nerd friends than one person admitting they liked the Star Wars prequels. Why is it that fandom is so terrible to those minority members who like unpopular things? Why do we feel the need to be gatekeepers of the things we love or love to hate; dissenters be damned? Isn’t it possible that the minority could be right? My Introduction to Fandom and Pop-Culture My childhood was steeped in a particular concept of Superman. I was

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D20 Jadepunk Design Journal: Skill Synergy

Last time we went over how we’re replacing abilities with professions, and why we feel that’s important. This time, we’re going over how skills interact with each other. A Case for Synergizing Skills During a design conversation, the ineffable Jesse Ferguson had an idea to decouple skills from professions (abilities). As a huge fan of World of Darkness games, this didn’t sound unreasonable to me, but there are design considerations – the most important of which is the extra time spent at

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