Rob Donoghue

Lateral Connections

One thing that has really been sticking with me about Dragon Age 2 has been (as is so often the case with Bioware titles) the relationships and personalities of your companions. Certainly, the arc of your hero is interesting, but it is the people around you that make it feel personal and compelling. DA2 does […]

Getting Villainy Done

So, I’m a (slightly lax) practitioner of David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology, which is a fancy way to say that I use a certain set of tricks for keeping useful to do lists. GTD has been incredibly useful for me in a number of ways. I’ve mentioned before how well it applies to […]

The Challenge is Challenge

I used to run out of inventory space on my D&D character sheets. I was utterly fascinated with packing just the right tool for every sort of situation, and I spent an unreasonable amount of time figuring out the lightest, most useful kit I could pack. As a player, it’s a lot of fun to […]

Keeping Tempo in 4e

I often feel that the places that 4e falls down are often a result of false starts. The game may have the core of a good idea, but fail to pursue it far enough. One of the best examples of this is tempo – the pace of encounters. Historically, D&D has had a problem with […]

Breaking the Mould

There is no reason that 4e character classes could not be designed radically differently. WOTC has a clear template for them (a flawed one) and there’s a knee-jerk instinct to follow that same pattern, but I don’t think anything makes that necessary. I’d suggest that all that is really required for a functional 4e class […]

Fiction, Fairness and 4e

In my discussion of the role of skills in spotlighting character awesomeness in 4e (or more precisely, the lack of this) the counterpoint of solving the problem in the fiction of the game was raised and I think this merited some attention. There are a lot of issues with games – not just 4e but […]

Interchangeability and 4e

I had a good twitter discussion yesterday about the structure of adventures that lead to me chewing on what it would take to do a breakdown of a fantasy adventure (a quest, at the suggestion of gamefiend) similar to the one in SOTC. This lead to some paper brainstorming, which in turn lead to my […]

5 Rounds of Nerdy Math

Someone made an assertion online that a 4e fight is designed to last 5 rounds. That’s an interesting assertion, and I’ve had people express that it both sounds too long and too short. If it’s true, it’s a very interesting point that allows you to crunch the numbers a bit harder, but it’s unsourced, so […]

Three Tricks for Setting

I did not expect to get to Dreamation this year, but My wonderful wife surprised me with a window of time that allowed me to day-trip up for the last day of the convention. Didn’t play anything, and didn’t get to see everyone, but still very much enjoyed myself. Part of my fun was sitting […]

Investment in Advancement

Haven’t done a random idea post in a while, so I figure I’m due. Twitter discussion with @atminn gave me an interesting idea for how to handle player investment in the setting in a way that ties it directly into advancement. I’m going to present this in a fairly generic fashion, but the concept is […]