Spotlight: Fortune and the Call of Cthulhu problem

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The Problem: A sometimes overheard complaint about the venerable Call of Cthulhu role-playing game is that the players might collectively fail their test to spot a vital clue. Consequently, the party might get stuck in their investigations indefinitely – which is no fun! The role-playing game Trail of Cthulhu set out to solve the above Call of Cthulhu problem by creating game rules that ensure that so-called core clues can never be missed. This, however, replaces the Call of Cthulhu problem with the Trail of Cthulhu problem: people do like egghunts (that’s why there is an annual, literal egghunt every Easter Sunday), so how do we ensure that there is something at stake for your players in finding the clues and at the same time prevent them from getting stuck indefinitely?

Our Solution: Every time your players miss a core clue, you have the option of providing them the missed information in a different way – at a cost in Fortune Points. … Read More

A Brand New Angle on Running RPGs (Series on Crunch – Part II)

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On Challenge-Driven Game Design.

The Problem: You want to run a long-term campaign in which the players run protagonists (or even heroes) comparable to Conan, Frodo or Jon Snow. That means character death should be infrequent and failing to beat a scenario should probably be too. If your players have any experience in role-playing games, they are likely to pick up on this quickly – so where does a sense of challenge for them (the players NOT the characters) come from?

Our Solution: Keep track of how much luck the party has consumed during the course of the current scenario. And right before the boss battle, you take stock of the final tally of luck consumed and then shape the highpoint of the adventure according to that. … Read More

A Favorite New Pet (Series on Fluff – Part II)

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It is an age of turmoil and superstition. Of war and faith. Of uncertainty and opportunity. Having subjugated and succeeded the elven realms, wide swathes of the Ilethrean landmass are firmly under human control. If anything, the slowly but steadily swelling numbers of demons, year-by-year and in a seemingly endless plethora of types, appear to be a looming menace for the ranks of Mankind’s warriors that have split the continent among each other. With each passing year, more and more demons can be seen openly prowling the streets of towns and bustling cities… Read More

The Adventure is in the Odds (Series on Crunch – Part I)

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The main staple of fantasy role-playing ever since its inception has been, of course, Dungeons & Dragons (and its direct derivatives). In fact, its success has been so comprehensive that it has spawned an entire class of (failed) imitative role-playing games dubbed fantasy heartbreakers. From a rule design perspective, the D&D family of games have always been prioritizing rules that cater to players who enjoy the ‘Game’ aspect in RPGs the most. In recent years, however, narrative games have become more widespread… Read More

Good News Everybody!

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Mockup Fortune Chapter from the Knights of the Black Lily RPG Quickstart Hey, no updates in a while but it’s been quite a few busy days at the office: the upcoming excerpt chapter on Fortune Points, the metacurrency of Knights of the Black Lily, is currently undergoing editing. That means early access is just a short while away – at least for those who have subscribed to the highest level of our newsletter (“I’m a huge fan”)! The best part: the entire chapter is system independent, so it is ready for Plug & Play into the system of your choice! … Read More

The Eye of the Gods (Series on Fluff – Part I)

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While the continent of Ilethra can be explored from a multitude of angles, the principal course in Knights of the Black Lily is to play as a wandering outcast, generally referred to as a Misfit by other Ilethreans. Although being a wandering adventurer is hardly new and innovative in fantasy role-playing games, even when discounting the game’s focus on human stories, the premise of KOTBL serves to create a particular challenging situation for the players: playing talented characters at the barrel bottom of an inescapably hostile fantasy world. … Read More

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