This is RPG-ology #22: Snow Day, for September 2019.
As I write this, it’s snowing; snow is sticking to the ground, and we’re probably going to be snowed in. At least, the boys are hoping there will be no school tomorrow.
That makes no sense to most of you as you read this. By the time it reaches print (or the electronic equivalent) it will be summer. I am writing this well in advance of the anticipated publication date. Here we recently saw the tips of crocuses before the snow buried them, and were worried about some of the other early flowers blooming too soon. Spring will have passed here when this is published, and all thoughts of snow and ice will be forgotten.
No, I talked about the past slipping away last month. This month, something different.
I want you to remember the last time it snowed wherever you are. For some of you this might be an impossible task. For that I apologize. Most of my readers are experiencing summer, and winter is just a memory; some are experiencing winter, and need imagine little. If you’re one of those unfortunate enough to have always lived without snow, this experiment won’t be so much help for you. Maybe you can use it for something else—focus on what it feels like to be an excluded minority, and write an article about injustice and discrimination. (See, you can take anything and use it for ideas—you just have to keep turning it over until you find a side you hadn’t seen before.) Read more
This is RPG-ology #16: Creatures, for March 2019.
In seeking a topic for this month, I kept coming back to one covered in Game Ideas Unlimited, August 3rd, 2001, which discussed envisioning and describing fantastic creatures. I thought of rewriting the idea for this column, but as I reviewed it I was more and more persuaded that I couldn’t improve on the original. Thus I offer here a republication of
Game Ideas Unlimited:
Empiricist philosopher David Hume espoused the opinion that we can’t imagine anything we’ve never experienced.
To support his position, he adduced evidence from the descriptions of mythical creatures. The Gryphon, for instance, has the body and legs of a lion with the head and wings of an eagle. Pegasus similarly is just a horse with bird wings attached. This is a small that, that a large this. Even the dragon proved to be nothing other than a giant lizard or snake with the wings of a bird or bat.
He did concede one point: he thought it might be possible to imagine a color that was a shade between two other colors.
I don’t want to suggest that I’m smarter than David Hume; let’s say I had the advantage of a century of technological advances. It seemed to me almost immediately that that exception was a crack in the wall which would ultimately admit the flood. Read more
It was inevitable that this subject would eventually surface in this series. After all, the supernatural elements in many role playing games are the ones most feared and criticized by those who oppose them, and eventually something would have to be said about them.
But it is just ironic coincidence that the issue has come up in October, the month in which issues of pagan magic and supernaturalism are most debated in the church, the month in which most Americans, at least, celebrate what some still think is the ancient and mystical pagan Druidic festival of the New Year, Samhain, thinly veiled under the pseudonym Halloween.
So what is it about imaginary magic which gets so many people so upset? Read more
First, let me address the matter of the question. When talking about a designing a role-playing game and the role that magic in the role-playing game will take, we must first decide on what questions we are asking ourselves. Several questions come to my mind. First, what is magic? What is it, not only in fantasy and reality, but also in the role-playing sub-culture? What will it be in my game world or system? The second question is “Why do I want it in the game system?” Why do I need or want magic in the game I’m designing? Third, how does it work in my game system? How do I want it to work in my game? Read more
The following article was originally published in July 2001 on the Christian Gamers Guild’s website. The entire series remains available at its original URL.
I’m going to challenge you today with a question that maybe you have never asked yourself, and yet you have probably answered—and further, that you have probably answered both yes and no in different situations.
Is it wrong for us as Christians to imagine a world that is different from the one God created for us?
I suspect that you have probably just now reacted with, “No, of course not,” maybe even so strong as “That’s ridiculous.” Yet I also wonder if that’s what you really think. But perhaps you don’t see the problem Read more