Combat Effects on Missed Attacks for Starfinder

As discussed in the articles Greater Combat Maneuvers for Starfinder, and Greater Partial Effects for Starfinder “Save Negates” Spells, there’s very little as frustrating for a player than to take their whole turn and have absolutely no impact on a conflict. We’ve talked about how to possibly mitigate that frustration for combat maneuvers and spells, but what about characters focusing on just making attacks? Certainly, constantly missing a target is no less frustrating that failed maneuvers and resisted spells, even if it is theoretically easier to accomplish and doesn’t have as high a resource cost. So, should we create minor secondary effects on failed attacks for the combatant characters?

I personally think the answer is “yes…. but.”

On the one hand, it makes sense that exactly the same factors that make failed attempts unfun for maneuvers and spells makes it unfun for attacks. On the other hand, the very fact that attacks are more likely to succeed and easy to keep trying means they need to not have all the advantages of other combat options. While we made combat maneuvers and spells more appealing by giving them minor conditions that could apply even when they failed, we can’t use the same solution for standard attacks. First, it doesn’t make sense for a failed standard attack to impose a condition when a successful one doesn’t. Secondly, if failed attacks impose conditions, even minor ones, they’ll overshadow the hard-won advances in failed combat maneuver and spells feeling impactful.

We can, however, have missed attacks still have SOME impact in combat. But it shouldn’t be a condition, and it shouldn’t be damage (not because that couldn’t be balanced with some small amount of damage, but because a large segment of d20 game players rebel at the idea of doing damage on a miss, and because the tiny amount of damage we’d have to make it be for balance would likely not feel satisfying).

So, instead, we can play with accuracy. As with all these “effects on a failure” rules this could be made a general rule, or even a general rule for characters with base attack bonuses equal to their character level, but I think it makes the most sense to present it as a feat.

Zero In

As your foes evade your attacks, you manage to zero in on their defenses, increasing your accuracy for your next attack.
Prerequisites: Base attack bonus +1.
Benefit: When you make an attack against a target’s EAC or KAC (or a starship’s AC, but not TL), and your attack misses, and the attack has no effect on any target, you gain a +1 insight bonus to your next attack against that target using the same weapon. If you attack a target with this insight bonus and miss again, the insight bonuses increases by 1, to a maximum equal to your Strength modifier (for most melee attacks) or Dexterity modifier (for ranged attacks and melee attacks with operative weapons if you used your Dexterity bonus as part of your attack bonus). If you attack another target, damage the target you used Zero In to gain an insight bonus for, or the encounter ends, your insight bonus resets to +0.

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Greater Partial Effects for Starfinder “Save Negates” Spells

As discussed yesterday in the article “Greater Combat Maneuvers for Starfinder,” there’s very little as frustrating for a player than to take their whole turn and have absolutely no impact on a conflict. Obviously in addition to combat maneuvers, which are much more difficult to succeed with than other attacks, the same frustration can be felt by spellscasters using spells that have no effect if their target succeeds at a saving throw. In many ways that is additionally frustration, because a limited resource has been expended.

On the other hand, boosting the power of spellcasters is an extremely tricky balancing act. Numerous “save: negates” spell can incapacitate a target with a single bad saving throw, and making them more effective (and thus less of a gamble for the spellcaster using them) can easily swing them from underpowered to overpowered. Further, we need to make sure that we don’t boost the power of lower-level and large-area spells by too much on a failed save, since if they retain a high degree of utility higher-level spellcasters end up with both high-level spells that work as originally designed, and a backup of more-useful low-level spells.

So, the following feat is designed to allow spellcasters to get SOME utility from save: negates spells, while carefully costing them some of their other options when casting them, and ensuring lower-level spells don’t become overpowered in higher-level games. If a GM finds spellcasters are simply all underpowered in their games, they could just make this a universal rule that applies to all spellcasters.

And again, if anyone has questions about the why of the design choices for spellcasters in Starfinder, that’s the sort of thing I am happy to discuss when patrons ask about it on my Patreon.

Greater Partial Effect

You can take time to weave more complex spells, which have a partial effect even on targets that resist them.
Prerequisites: Caster level 1
Benefit: When you cast a spell with a casting time of 1 standard action that affects only one target, and the spell is listed as having no effect if the target makes its saving throw, you can choose to cast the spell as a full-round action. If you do so, and the target succeeds at its saving throw and the spell would normally thus have no effect, the spell instead as a minor partial effect for 1 round. The partial effect is based on the target’s CR compared to the spell level of the spell you cast, as noted below.

Target CR is Equal To or Lower Than Spell Level: Target is Sickened for 1 round.

Target CR is Above Spell Level, Below x2 Spell Level: Target is Flat-Footed for 1 round.

Target CR is Above x2 Spell Level, Below x3 Spell Level: Target is Off-Target for 1 round.

Target CR is x3 Spell Level or Greater: Target is Dazzled for 1 round.

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Greater Combat Maneuvers for Starfinder

Okay, let’s get back to doing some ttRPG rules you can bring to the table, shell we?

Combat maneuvers in Starfinder are specifically designed to be difficult to pull off against a significant foe without having a fair number of bonuses in place. You have to hit an opponent’s KAC +8, which is a difficult task, and if you fail you have no effect on them at all. This is an intentional design choice rather than some accident of not playtesting (indeed, it was originally KAC +10, and after playtesting we decided that was exactly 10% too hard to achoice, which is why the weird “+8” value is used).

(If you want to know WHY we made that intentional design choice, I recommend joining my Patreon for as little as the cost of a cup of coffee a month, and ask in the comments there!)

The biggest problem with having an appealing-looking effect available but unlikely to work, is that there is very little as frustrating for players than taking a round to accomplish absolutely nothing. In a game with soft limits designed to keep a character from ever being able to specialize in a tactic to the point it nearly never fails, this frustration is worse for players who are trying to create a certain kind of “build” focused on trying a difficult maneuver over and over. The end result may be effective (if you have to try to disarm someone three times before you succeed, but disarming them makes them nearly useless and you couldn’t knock them out that fast, it’s an effective tactic), but still not be any fun.

(And yes, there are things like “save: negates” spells that have the same issue. But that’s a different article.)

However, just making it easier to perform the difficult-but-extremely-effective maneuver can break the balance of different options in the game, especially if other soft limits are kept in place.

But you can alleviate some of the unfun “wasted by whole turn” feeling by having a midpoint between spectacular success and total failure.

You COULD just add this as an alternate rule that applies to all combat maneuvers performed by everyone, or make it a built-in part of the Improved Combat Maneuver feat. However, you’ll have the least impact on game balance if this becomes a new feat option, allowing additional specialization for characters who want a better chance to impact combat with their preferred maneuvers, without making the maneuvers universally more effective.

Greater Combat Maneuver (Combat)

With one specific combat maneuver, even when you fail you often inconvenience your target.
Prerequisites: Base attack bonus +1.
Benefit: Choose one combat maneuver (bull rush, dirty trick, disarm, grapple, reposition, sunder, or trip). If your attack roll for this combat maneuver fails to hit your target’s KAC +8, but does hit their KAC +4, you manage a :near miss,” and impose a minor, temporary condition on the target. This is not considered succeeding at the combat maneuver for purposes of any other effects of yours that are triggered by succeeding at a combat maneuver.
The effect you have on a near-miss depends on the combat maneuver you have selected, as noted below.
Bull Rush: Although you didn’t move the target, you did shove them off-balance for a moment, forcing them to regain their footing. They are dazed until the beginning of their turn. (The target can act normally on their next turn, but can’t take reactions prior to that.)
Dirty Trick: The target had to twist away from you, or shield its eyes, to avoid the impact of your dirty trick. The subject is dazzled for 1 round.
Disarm: You didn’t knock the item out of the target’s hand, but you did give it a good whack, impacting their aim. They are Off-Target for 1 round, or until they take a move action to negate this condition.
Grapple: While you haven’t managed to get a solid grip on your target, your attempt to get a grip and subsequently being in-their-face makes it a bit more difficult for them to pay attention to anything else. They are dazzled for 1 round.
Reposition: Although you didn’t move the target, you did shove them off-balance for a moment, forcing them to regain their footing. They are dazed until the beginning of their turn. (The target can act normally on their next turn, but can’t take reactions prior to that.)
Sunder: You didn’t damage the item, but you did give it a good whack, impacting the target’s aim. They are Off-Target for 1 round, or until they take a move action to negate this condition.
Trip: Although you didn’t trip the target, you did shove them off-balance for a moment, forcing them to regain their footing. They are dazed until the beginning of their turn. (The target can act normally on their next turn, but can’t take reactions prior to that.)
Special: You can take Greater Combat Maneuver multiple times. The effects don’t stack. Each time you take the feat, it applies to a new combat maneuver.

While this feat doesn’t require Improved Combat Maneuver (in keeping with Starfinder’s tendency to keep feat chains to a minimum), it has obvious synergy with that feat. A character with Improved Combat maneuver (disarm) gains a +4 bonus to their disarm attempts. That means if their attack roll would normally hit the target’s AC, with the +4 from the Improved feat it’ll hit KAC +4, which is enough to trigger Greater Combat Maneuver. So on any roll that would have been good enough to damage the target that character could get some impact from attempting a combat maneuver, even if it doesn’t get the full maneuver effect.

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TTRPG Retirement Plans, or Lack Thereof

There are, as far as I know, only six realistic retirement plans for full-time, ttRPG professionals in the United States–and calling them “realistic” is debatable. This is not a happy or upbeat list of options, and it doesn’t come with any problem-solving or brilliant insights on my part. This is just the state of the industry, as I know it.

You can think of this as an unusually long #RealGameIndustry entry.

Company Retirement Account

A few of the biggest ttRPG-producing companies have things like 401k programs, a few with some degree of matching funds. It can be tough to put much away in these, as in most cases pay barely covers living expenses, but if you can, and you manage to work at the same company for 30 years or so (which is also extremely rare), it may build up a big enough account to cover you in retirement.

Personal Retirement Account

You can, of course, create your own retirement account and put money in it, with or without some period of time when you have corporate matching funds. This is the “best” option for most full-time freelancers… who on average make even less money (and thanks to paying for their own health insurance and paying self-employment tax often have higher expenses), which makes it even harder to put anything away for the future. And, of course, no matching funds.

Build A Passive Income

Though royalty deals, maintaining ownership or partial ownership of the products you create, starting your own company, or some similar plan, you can try to set up passive income — that is, money you work for once that then keeps coming in. I have profit-share deals with more than 500 products sold as pdfs. Most older files sell only a few copies a year now, but that IS an income that keeps coming in even when I don’t do much or any work on maintaining it. I myself haven’t even gotten this near a level of retirement income, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done, or at least be part of a retirement plan.

Have a Spouse With A Real Retirement

Yep, this sounds like I am being glib, but I have had multiple ttRPG professionals tell me they only believe they have any hope of retirement because they have a spouse with a solid corporate retirement plan or the spare income to invest in their own retirement account. It would be dishonest not to include this as among the common plans within the industry.

Depend on State Benefits

Be that Medicare, Social Security, Disability, or some other program, I know many ttRPG professionals who just assume at some point they’ll only have whatever the government gives them, and will have to survive on whatever that allows. Most are not optimistic about the quality of life this will allow, and many have tried to make other arrangements, only to have them fall through.

Don’t

This is honestly the most common “retirement plan” ttRPG professionals have talked to me about – Don’t Retire. Work until they die. Assume that there will never be a time when we don’t have to put in 40-80 hours a week to earn enough to maintain an at-least marginal existence.

I personally call this the “Die at the keyboard” plan.

Speaking of Making a Living

There is an extended version of this article on my Patreon, available only to patrons. You can join for as little as the cost of a cup of coffee a month, and it’s one of my primary forms of support to put out my essays, letters, background, context, and of course game content in an effort to make the ttRPG industry a better place.

Potentially Big News for the Game Industry

Sometimes, the most important thing is to have a seat at the table.

Within the ttRPG, and broader tabletop hobby game community, often GAMA is the table.

And it looks like there may be soon a place for more people to be a part of it, with formal ways to have their voice heard and respected.

https://www.gama.org/news/572134/GAMA-Adopts-New-Membership-Structure.htm

Intangible Rewards in the Really Wild West

One of the ways I try to make ttRPG sessions fun, as a GM, is to give players rewards above and beyond just loot and items.

I think of these as non-tangible rewards, though certainly some can be “tanged.”

For example, in my Really Wild West campaign, the players have formed a group known as the Knight Rangers. The Knight Rangers have recently been listed in national newspapers as one of the “Great Posses of the New Wild,” bands of extraordinary adventurers who are making a differences in the increasingly dangerous New Wild West. There’s even a ranking of the Top Ten Great Posses, so the PCs know what their reputation looks like.

Just for fun, they are ranked as follows:

1. Blud-Hexen Bunch

2. Tannerfaust

3. Knight Rangers

4. Sweet Daisies

5. Irregulators

6. Swordslingers

7. Hell-Wranglers

8. The Sawed-Off Seven

9. Snakenails

10. Dragonpunchers

So when it turns out one of the bad guys the Knight rangers killed in a previous adventure was the brother of one of the Irregulators, who calls out the PC who did it with an eye to vengeance, the players all have an idea of their relative reputation compared to the band calling them out.

Similarly, the Knight Rangers have been named “Trustees” of a number of organizations and businesses, who officially trust the group to be both intending and able to help deal with major problems, and thus worthy of giving favors to.

The centaur paladin in the group has learned she is so feared, crime bosses track when she is in town, and reduce the crime level when she is. The soldier with a mystic bent is talking to daughters of death and crow and raven fylgiur. The roboticist technomancer is becoming a renowned expert on Martian tripod technology, and asked to give lectures. The technomancers has been invited to teach at a rebel salon bucking the official theosophy university. The whole group has had conversations with deputies of the supernatural Marshal in charge of hunting down “gravejumpers.”

The trust, fear, and reputation are all things the players can work with, use as tools, or just accept as an evolution of their characters stories. But they are often a lot more interesting than getting another ring of resistance.

Although the Airship in a Bottle IS kinda cool loot.

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Your Developer as a Resource, 1. Running Short

If you are a freelance writer working on a ttRPG assignment, your developer (or editor, publisher, producer — whatever title the contact person you have for the assignment uses) can be a valuable resource. After all, they want you to produce something that meets their needs, so they are motivated to help you give them the text they want.

So if you are having problems with a project, it’s a good idea to write to your developer and see if they can offer advice or guidance. If you think you need to deviate from your outline, it’s absolutely crucial you talk to your developer first. You don’t want to be constantly bothering your developer with issues (they’re paying you to do work for them), but when you are having trouble that is going to impact the quality of your project, better to ask than not.

One common issue that can come up is feeling you have been asked to provide more words on a given subject than the subject needs, or can even support. If you are “running short” on a section, there are better and worse ways to rach out to your developer about it.

Here are some examples:

Good: “I’m having trouble finding enough material to fill out 5,000 words on Halfling Battle Toast. I could use some guidance.”

Better: “I’m having trouble coming up with enough material to fill out 5,000 words on Halfling Battle Toast without just padding it out in obvious and unhelpful ways. If we could expand the topic to cover all halfling war-based baked goods, that would give me a wider range of things to cover. Alternatively, I could do 2,500 words on this, and add 2,500 words to the section on Dwarven Axe-Beer. Or if you have ideas for what I am missing in the Battle Toast section (current draft attached), I can fill that out. How would you like me to proceed?”

Bad: “It is not possible to write 5,000 words on Halfling Battle Toast, so you need to tell me if I am just turning it in short, or if I can use those words elsewhere.”

Worse: “Here is the turnover. I took 2,500 words from Halfling Battle Toast, which didn’t need that much, and used them in other sections.”

Worst: “Since you assigned my more words than needed for Halfling Battle Toast, I moved 1,500 of them to the Monsters of the Bakery section, and contacted your CFO to have my contract reissued for 1,000 fewer words.”

And, yeah, all of those examples are fictional, but they are based on actual ways I have seen different freelance writers handle the issue of being short on wordcount.

Also, sooner is better for something like this. Don’t wait to tell your developer you are short on a section 2 days before the due date. The more time you give them, the more flexible they may be to help you get your section done, and get paid for it.

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Writing Basics. Keeping it Short

A LOT of freelance ttRPG writing is paid by the word… sort of. Generally a per-word rate is capped at the assigned wordcount. It’s not really “5 cents a word,” it’s “$50 for 1,000 words, and don’t go too far over or under 1,000 words.” That means that if you overwrite a project, you are getting paid less for your labor, and you’re not doing your developer a favor.

Of course, you can overwrite a project, then trim your writing to come in under wordcount. But then you are doing even MORE labor–both writing more than you need, AND spending additional time trimming it back. While this can potentially lead to more work at higher pay rates in the future if you end up with a really well-written final draft that’s extremely close to wordcount (I prefer to be within 1% of my assigned wordcount), that’s an at-best “maybe,” and there’s no reason you can’t have that same end result by hitting your assigned wordcount in your first draft.
For a lot of people, this is something that gets easier with experience. It can be amazing how fast wordcount goes by sometimes—I know nowadays that if something is supposed to be 100 words long, I have very little room for asides or flowery language to boost the poetry of a phrase. But there are also things you can do to help hitting wordcount on the first draft easier and smoother.

Decide On Your Topics and Their Wordcounts

There’s very little as frustrating as checking to see you’ve used 80% of a project’s wordcount, but only hit 20% of the topics you need to cover. While you may not know everything you need to cover when you start a project, pretty early in the process you should sit down and list out everything you believe you need to spend words on for a given project.

For example, if you are writing up a nation, think about every general description, city, region, ecology, point of interest, and adventure seed you want to cover. You don’t need to go into detail about them at this point, just breakdown what subjects you’ll be writing about, so you can estimate each section’s wordcount. I often find it useful to organize this information by thinking about the headers I’ll use.

This can also be a useful way to decide what’s important. If you have 300 words to describe 6 cities, maybe you want to spend 100 words on the capitol, and just 40 each on the smaller settlements.

Monitor Your Progress

Monitor your total wordcount as your write, as well as how closely you are hitting the wordcount of each topic. If something goes long, you can decide to cut it down immediately, adjust other estimated wordcounts per topic, or even cut topics maybe you didn’t need, adjusting as you go.

Just remember to leave wordcount for an introduction and a wrap-up, if your project needs them. Otherwise, the start and stop can feel very abrupt.

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Letters from a ttRPG Dev to a Freelancer, 5. The Polite Inquiry about Work.

This entry in the Letters from a Dev series is adapted from a direct message I sent to a freelancer I had a good relationship with, when they asked how to contact other developers and ask them for work.

They hadn’t needed to contact me for work through formal written channels, because we had arranged the first freelance writing they did for me at a convention when they were introduced to me by a mutual friend and had since then discussed the next thing they’d do each time they finished the last one. We also became friends, and often chatted in nonformal online venues, so it was easy for them to ask me if there was anything upcoming they might get to work on.

But given it is best to have multiple venues to get work from when you want to be a full-time freelancer, and the relatively high turnover in the ttRPG industry, it’s a good idea to branch outfrom just one person who may assign you projects. That left this freelancer wondering –if they wanted to contact someone OTHER than me for work, what were best practices for doing so?

My response, in a Facebook Messenger window, form the basis for the following:

“First, do NOT contact people on Facebook or Twitter for ttRPG work unless they specifically say somewhere that is okay. I’m fine with it, but many other developers and publishers are not. And if someone has said they want all inquires to come in from some official email, or follow a specific format, and you don’t do that you;ve already not put your best foot forward. If you can’t follow those instructions, why should the developer think you’ll follow the instructions of a writing assignment.

That goes with the next important point, DO YOUR HOMEWORK. If you want to contact someone at Paizo about writing or them, read their forums first. Look for the “about us” section to see if there are emails you should use, specific people you should write to, open calls you should try for first, and so on.

After that, do not use form messages. Customize for each developer. If you are on good, friendly terms with them, you can keep it super short and informal, but still on-point and professional. For example:

“Hi Owen!

Hope you are doing well.

I just finished a Project for another developer at Paizo, and wanted to let you know I have availability if you have anything coming up to be assigned. I’d especially love to get to work on some worldbuilding or adventures, but am happy to take any project that could use another writer.

Thanks!

Freelancer Name
Freelancer Email
Freelancer Web Site or Other Social media Link if you have it”

If you don’t already know the developer quite well, especially if you have never worked for them or anyone else at their company of on their game line, you should be both more formal, and more informative. Such as:

“Dear Mr. Stephens,

My name if Freelancer McFreelanceface, and I am a freelance ttRPG writer. I have worked on numerous d20-based games, and the Halfling War Cheese boardgame. I’m a fan of Pathfinder, especially the Player Companion line, and wanted to reach out and see if there was any projects coming up you might be interested in having be write some part of. I am especially skilled with adventures and worldbuilding, and am familiar with your formats for both, but am also happy to take on any part of any project.

If there is an open call or tryout procedure coming up you think might be a better place for me to start doing things for Paizo, I’d be happy to do that first.

Thanks for your time,

Freelancer Name
Freelancer Email
Freelancer Web Site or Other Social media Link if you have it”

Also, make sure all those things are true! If you haven’t cracked open a lot more than one game book from a company, you likely shouldn’t be reaching out to them for freelance work.

Also, if you have other devs or editors or publishers you are on good terms with, or other freelancers, hit them up for suggestions, recommendations, and even references. Always keep the ask at a level appropriate with your actual connection and level of experience with them, but it’s generally cool to ask if someone knows if a publisher is looking to hire freelancers, and if anyone knows who to get in touch there and how. (And, sadly, to learn if anyone has had bad experiences with anyone you should watch out for, though as with anything, you have to decide how to weigh such concerns.)”

My personal rule of thumb is once you ping someone, if you don’t hear from them or they seem open to the idea of you working for them but note they don’t have anything at the moment, it is appropriate to drop them a note again in 90 days. Some people are okay with more frequent pokes (I have people prod me about things I have said I’d LIKE to get around to doing with them once or twice a week, and if done politely that doesn’t bother *me* at all), and if anyone ever replies with something like ‘I’ll contact you when I have something,” that’s a good sign to politely reply that you look forward to it, then stop cold contacting them.”

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My Evolution as a Tabletop RPG Player, Part 1. The Beginning

The idea of a tabletop roleplaying game was so unbelievably powerful and alluring when I first encountered it in 1982, it did not matter how good or bad the rules were. In fact, it didn’t matter if we even had the rules–the group I first played with (myself, my sister, and my uncle Lucien) literally only had the hardback 1st edition AD&D Dungeon Master’s Guide available to us. But the very idea of a game where you took on the role of a heroic character and played through your own adventures was so seductive that I crafted (terrible) rules to replace the Player’s Handbook, and we managed two game sessions.

I was hooked forever. To the best of my knowledge, neither my uncle or sister ever played again.

Part of the appeal was that I was an voracious reader, and always got through series I loved faster than they were produced. And, in many cases, the pulp novels that lined the hallway to my bedroom in my childhood home stopped having new entries before I was even born. I hated getting invested in a character and having the stories about them just… stop.

But here was an opportunity to make my OWN stories. To my 11-year-old self, it had all the exciting appeal of playing cops & robbers, but with RULES and a simulated semi-objective reality attached so everything didn’t just devolve into yelling “Bang! Bang!” “You’re Dead!” “Am Not!” “Are Too!” (or, at least, that happened less often).

I was a child with a new toy, and it was better than any toy I had ever had previously. I was already dipping my hand into game design, on an ad-hoc, houserule basis, but I wasn’t really questioning the basis of the games I played, or the stories they encouraged me to tell. In the first few years I played a lot of Tunnels & Trolls solo modules, played a massive amount of D&D hybrids (blending AD&D 1st ed, OD&D, and Basic D&D however made sense at a given session),played a little Car Wars (but made a LOT of Car Wars designs), and played a surprising amount of Secret Gamma Hill World Busters Alpha (smooshing Gamma World, Top Secret, Boot Hill, Gangbusters, and Metamorphosis Alpha into one reality-hopping, post-apocalypse-retro-Saturday-Afternoon-B-Movie mess, which only worked because no one questioned it much).

I had only two regular groups early on — the School Recess Crowd, and the game my mother ran for I and several friends every Sunday (in which she discovered young boys would shut up, listen to her, and tackle math, history, geography and logic puzzles if she made it needful for the solution of a dungeon room). Everything was fair game. We all borrowed from movies, books, comics, and other games. I grabbed every RPG I could, even ones I never got to play or only played 1ce or 2ce, and Traveller, Space Opera, Champions, Empire of the Pedal Throne, the Morrow Project, and Palladium Fantasy Roleplaying Game, all took up more and more space in my room, as action figures, brick-building sets, and plastic army men slowly lost their appeal.

But I was generally still only playing with people I knew from other walks of life in 1982 and 1983. A few school friends, family, and people my family arranged for me to meet. I wasn’t developing a circle of friends FROM gaming yet, nor expanding into all the wide and various other forms of tabletop games. I wasn’t questioning HOW to play games, or even WHY, or considering there might be good ways, bad ways, and even damaging ways.

Not yet.

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