This is RPG-ology #34: Invisible Coins, for September 2020.
This was originally published as Game Ideas Unlimited: Invisible Coins on July 27, 2001. It is only slightly edited for republication here.
You’ve probably heard the line about our strange and beautiful relationship—in which I’m beautiful, and you’re… well, I’ll assume you’ve heard it. My relationship with Multiverser creator E. R. Jones was, from the beginning, strange on both sides. There were many things about us that appeared similar (to the point that we were mistaken for brothers, and sometimes still people aren’t certain which of us the bearded dark-haired bespectacled faces in artist Jim Denaxas’ sketches depict). But the more we got to know each other, the more it appeared that we did many of the same things for very different reasons.
He wore a beard because shaving was inconvenient. I wore one because I didn’t like the feel of the sweat and oils on my face after shaving.
We both put ice in our coffee. I did it because I’m not very patient about beverages, and would certainly burn myself on it before it cooled. He, on the other hand, preferred his coffee cold, a throwback to his army days when that’s the only way he could get it. (And he was the cook.)
We were both highly respected for our skills at running Dungeons & Dragons, both of us having begun some time in 1980. My reputation was that I was closer to the book rules than just about anyone else. He, on the other hand, built his entire game on that phrase in the preface, “the creator and ultimate authority in your respective game,” regarding the rest of the system optional. We learned much from each other in the process of playing together, but our games were never the same, perhaps in some sense not even remotely similar.
And both of us had the habit of periodically tossing an invisible coin into the air and catching it, slapping it on our wrists ostensibly to see whether it was heads or tails, when someone asked a question which required thought. Read more