Success? Failure? Take Your Pick!

I was digging through some old notes I’d made to myself, and came upon this snippet.

What if you could always choose whether your character succeeded or failed at any given thing in your RPG?

And I’m not just talking about when you have narrative authority, or shifting the game mechanics to the level of gaining/losing that narrative authority. This idea doesn’t really make sense in games where character success isn’t a goal or currency–this is not for games like Fiasco (and Fiasco already does something a lot like this–but, even then, it’s tied up with narrative authority, so you only sometimes get to decide whether your character succeeds or fails).

No, this idea is very much for games that are about character skill and competence and success. Games in the vein of D&D or Fate Core.

Continue reading

Privacy in America

Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden: “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?”

James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence: “No, sir.”

Apparently he forgot to finish the sentence: “No, sir, we don’t collect ‘any type of data at all’, we’re very selective. We only collect just one specific type of data–well, maybe two types, three tops.”

Look, why are we getting so much coverage of who and where Snowden is, and so little coverage of why and how and what the NSA is doing? Other than allegations that the info is fabricated–and so far there have been none–the leaker is irrelevant.

Continue reading

What Are the Odds?

Probably the central conceit of the dice part of the rules in Four Colors al Fresco is that it’s the step size between the dice, not the actual sizes of the dice, that matters. But is this true?


Four Colors al Fresco isn’t a number-cruncher’s dream system, but I still want the rules to actually do what they supposedly do and thus stay out of the way. I’ve played some “story-oriented” RPGs (and even some that were actually concerned with the math) which didn’t stand up to scrutiny, so I don’t expect you to just take my word for it. So here is where I show my work. 

Continue reading