It’s time for a random pile of bulls$&% from the brain of the Angry GM. Today’s steamer is about clock speeds, decision points, why D&D runs at two different speeds, and how the designers of RPGs really need to figure that s$&% out better. Don’t worry, this has nothing to do with Time Pools.
Everything in D&D is marked in 5-foot squares. So it makes sense that the whole game is meant to be played on a grid. But everything is also marked out in minutes and seconds and hours. Where’s the grid for time. That’s a weird question, I know. But answering it leads to a powerful tool.
We play games because we don’t know how they are going to turn out. And games use several tricks to keep us from knowing the outcome. The problem is GMs only ever use one of those tricks. And it’s the worst one.
They say that the journey is its own reward and that getting there is half the fun. Yeah? Well, not in D&D. Overland travel in D&D sucks. But here I come to unsuck it. Or to help you just get rid of it altogether. Either way is fine. Just pick one.
Like Quark closely examining Morn’s hidden stash in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode Who Mourns for Morn, if you look too closely at the treasure system in D&D, you’ll find someone has extracted all of the value and there’s nothing left but worthless gold.
This article is about basic probability, dice, and statistics in D&D and other RPGs. I love this s$&% and I think it’s important and useful to understand. So, let’s use math to answer some questions about dice rolling in RPGs. Or not. Next week, I’m back to talking about NPCs, so you can skip this one if you want.
Good game design is about understanding incentives. But incentives aren’t enough. Rewards only encourage good behavior. To discourage bad behavior, sometimes you need to beat someone with a stick.
Improvisation is the single most important thing that can utterly ruin your game if you f$&% it up. It’s also widely considered to be unteachable by f$&%ing sissies who are afraid of working at things. Not me. Let’s embark on a series to teach you how to improvise, why it’s important, and why you shouldn’t.