The Mark of a Successful Game

How do you know when your game is successful? How do you know that you have one of those games where the players are really into the story and action? How do you know that your game isn’t just good, but great? These are hard questions, to be sure, ones that don’t always have clear-cut answers. Sometimes players won’t tell you if they’re not having fun because they don’t want to hurt your feelings. Sometimes you misread your players and think they’re really into your game when they might not be. I believe the mark of a successful game is… Read More

Games of the Imagination

Earlier tonight, I interviewed Tracy Hickman for a future episode of the Dragonlance Canticle podcast. During the conversation, we talked about gaming, and an interesting topic came up. The basic gist is that role-playing games have become very good at being simulations in nature, but have gotten further away from narrative storytelling and creativity. Is this the case? There are those that say that story is independent of the rules. We as gamers bring the story to the table. There’s a lot to be said for that. I know that, no matter the game, I bring the same killer storytelling… Read More

Broadcasting: A Farewell

KSMO-TV 62

I had grown up watching WKRP in Cincinnati. Loved the show. The characters were great, and who didn’t want to be Dr. Johnny Fever? It wasn’t until high school, though, that I fell in love with broadcasting. I was approaching my senior year, and had already taken some journalism classes. I got the chance to tour KMOS-TV and KCMW-FM at Central Missouri State University (CMSU) around my senior year. It was love at first sight. I knew from that moment what I wanted to do with my life. I was going to be a broadcaster. I spent over three years… Read More

Dragonhelm Keep is Live!

Greetings, friends, and welcome to the new and improved Dragonhelm Keep! I’ve had this site for a while, piddled around with it, but have done nothing serious with it until now. For those that don’t know me, I’m the administrator of the Dragonlance Nexus fan site, the host and producer of the Dragonlance Canticle podcast, a Dragonlance RPG designer, and a voice within the podosphere. So why have my own blog? I believe in having a voice on the internet, where I can talk about the things that interest me without having to worry about other peoples’ format. This is… Read More

Who says that role-playing stops when the dice drop?

In some recent episodes of Fear the Boot, Chad has made the statement that role-playing stops when combat begins. He ascertains that the world somehow is put on pause while the dice are brought out, to-hit and damage calculations are made, and monsters are wiped from the field. Chad makes a very convincing argument, which you should check recent episodes for. I will state up front that I think Chad is fan-tastic! He has a lot of good thoughts, and I truly enjoy him on the show. However, I have to call shenanigans on this one. I have been in… Read More

Evil Characters

It is said amongst gamers that you should never allow evil characters in the party. There is a good reason for this. As a Dragonlance fan, I’m reminded of the Law of the Dark Queen, which states that evil feeds on itself. This is a truth that surpasses the Dragonlance setting. When you have an evil character in the party, they often cause untold havoc. They don’t work as part of the team, as their motives are self-serving. In other words, they don’t play well with others. I experienced this phenomenon a couple of times myself. I will say upfront… Read More

Vampires? Enough, already!

I came home this evening, opened my e-mail, and saw an e-mail from StarWarsShop.com.  I subscribed to their newsletter to check out some of the cool action figures they have, as well as all the other goodies that are way out of my price range.  This time was different.  You see, it seems that StarWarsShop.com wanted to get an early start on Halloween this year, so they sent out an early Halloween newsletter.  I opened the e-mail, and to my horror (pun intended), I saw a picture of Princess Leia as a vampire. I was utterly disgusted.  First, to use… Read More

Reinventing Characters

One of the tricks I use to learn a new edition of the Dungeons & Dragons game is to re-envision an old character in a new edition. Often times, I pick some NPC who got little “air time” to make it easier. He has no mega-history to worry about, and only a very basic amount of rules and story development. With the new 4th edition rules, and in particular the Player’s Handbook 2, I decided to toy around with the character builder (available through a D&D Insider subscription) to see how I can make the old new again. I should… Read More

Buying Books for the Wrong Reasons

Recently, I bought a book not because I liked the author or subject matter, but because I wanted to support a guy whose book got some undeserved criticism. J. F. Lewis was recently interviewed on Dragon Page: Cover to Cover episode. His book, Staked, was the cause for him and his family to nearly be kicked out of their church. It’s hard to explain, so I can only recommend that you listen to the podcast. I was quite appalled at the way the church talked to him about the book, and so I decided to buy a copy to support… Read More

Balanced? Yeah, but is it fun?

When 3rd edition D&D came about, one of its promises was to have a balanced game system. In fact, game balance had become so prevalent that it seemed that every other topic on some forums was about whether some element of gaming was balanced. Is the new prestige class balanced? What about X spell from Y sourcebook? It would go on and on and on. I have to admit that it reached such levels that I wondered if this is what new players thought gaming was about. Were they assigning numerical values to every class ability and weighing them against… Read More