Category Archives: General

The Plain People of Gaming: Building an Investigative Ability list

When creating your own game with the GUMSHOE rules – or when hacking an existing game – one key early step is deciding which investigative abilities you’re going to include. Different games use radically different numbers and lists of abilities – compare the sprawling list of abilities in The Esoterrorists to the much more compact list […]

13th Sage: Lands Beyond the Dragon Empire

The Dragon Empire’s potential for rich stories and adventures isn’t even close to being exhausted—its various regions are left half-finished so GMs and players can have fun filling in the blanks, but we envision it being culturally, ethnically, economically, agriculturally, culinarily, and religiously diverse. Approaching a town on the sunny southern coast you might find […]

13th Sage: Thoughts on a Swords & Sorcery Campaign

When I asked the 13th Age Facebook group what they’d like me to write about in this month’s column, the first response was, “Sword & Sorcery for 13th Age! Some ideas for tweaks, reductions and hacking.” My initial reaction was, “No freaking way can I turn a game specifically designed to emulate the heroic fantasy […]

Call of Chicago: Project BLUE BOOK Talking Blues

“Fly the ocean in a silver plane See the jungle when it’s wet with rain Just remember till you’re home again You belong to me. I’ll be so alone without you Maybe you’ll be lonesome too, and blue.” — Jo Stafford, “You Belong to Me” (1963 cover version) In March 1952, U.S. Air Force General […]

Call of Chicago: More Bang-Bang For Your Kiss-Kiss

“My rifle and myself are the defenders of my country. We are the masters of our enemy. We are the saviors of my life. So be it, until there is no enemy, but peace. Amen.” — “The Rifleman’s Creed,” as quoted in Full Metal Jacket (Stanley Kubrick, 1987) Spy stories, war stories, and horror stories: The […]

13th Sage: Escalate the Drama!

Want to heighten dramatic tension or foreshadow a huge battle far beyond what the PCs are accustomed to? Here are a couple of tricks you can do with the escalation die to achieve that. (For a change, I haven’t used either of these tricks yet—I’ve been playing lately instead of GMing. Maybe I can talk […]

Call of Chicago: A Thousand Pages, Give or Take a Few

“’Wait a minute!’ the man hissed. ‘Are you after more books like that? I know where we can get some.’” — Ramsey Campbell, “Cold Print” (1969) The 1960s were a great decade for occult books, featuring waves of bestsellers launched by Jacques Bergier and Louis Pauwels’ million-selling Morning of the Magicians in 1963. Some of […]

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