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This is Dan and Andrew’s Gaming Place.  We will be making posts on Tuesdays.

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On the Origin of Magic Items

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In a fantasy campaign there are usually magic items, from one-shot items like potions, to mighty relics forged by beings of incredible power, like Excalibur. Some fantasy gaming systems are quite explicit about where magic items come from, others are extremely vague. In this post we want to map out a space of possibilities, nothing more. There are two qualities we want to think about: the permanence of the item and the provenance of the item.

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Alternatives to hack and slash adventures: The Hunt

topThe inspiration for this post was a recent gaming session I for which I was the Dungeon Master. My gaming group loves to kick in the door, slay the monster, and loot the room, but even they need break from it once in a while. This is the first of a few posts about some ideas I had, and incorporated so far into my campaign, about alternative things to do during an adventure that can still be challenging and fun. Combat can (and according to my group, always should) still be a part of the adventure, but it doesn’t have to be the focus.

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Constructing Polyomino Puzzles

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A polyomino is a connected shape made of squares, all the same size, that are connected by sharing a complete side. The picture above is an example of a polyomino puzzle in which no polyomino is repeated twice. It’s a fairly interesting puzzle if you start with the polyominos and have to assemble them into the square. The interesting thing about this puzzle is that it was designed by our computer. This is an example of procedural content generation. The code used to generate the puzzle was a version of Darwin’s theory of evolution.

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The Ultimatum Game

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This week we are looking at the Ultimatum Game. This is a two-player mathematical game with two roles. The game has $100 at stake. The first player, the proposer, suggests a division of the money. The second player, the responder can accept or reject the proposal. If he accepts, the money is paid out according to the proposed split, otherwise no money is paid out. This game is used by economists to understand economic behavior. In this post we discuss some of the issues with using this game and propose a classroom activity.

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Using State in Games!

diagramIn some fantasy gaming systems, there is a roll made to check morale and, in the event that one or the other side of a battle fails their morale check, they react in fear in some manner that does not help their cause. This sort of morale system is a little too coarse for our tastes and so something like the above diagram is used. This diagram is an example of a state conditioned system. You start with a counter for each side of a battle on “start” and, when events merit, move the tokens. To keep the diagram simple, the arrows actually go backward as well. If you are in the low morale zone, a “big victory” reverses you along the “big setback” arrow.

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The Moon of Ashes.

moonHere at Dan and Andrews, we proposed that you spice up your campaign with moons. These are celestial bodies with monsters, treasure, and even civilizations that show up in the skies above your campaign world whenever you want them to. So far we have released the Chimerical Moon and Metropoluna. This week, we feature the Moon of Ashes, including an 87-page sourcebook.

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To be accounted among the wise?

JLOTR. R. R. Tolkien’s epic The Lord of the Rings has substantial influence on modern fantasy gaming. That said, it is not a good world in which to place a fantasy campaign. Magic is fairly rare and mostly wielded by characters with a status similar to demigods. The opponents are beyond powerful. The victory of good was founded on neither cleverness nor power: it was based on luck or fate. This makes a wonderful story, but not a good situation for player characters. We use the story, and the other stories set in and around Middle Earth, for inspiration. In this post we discuss The Wise and try to derive a game mechanic from the idea.

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