The genesis of this blog can be traced pretty neatly to a recent series of posts on game structures at The Alexandrian. I’d been reading the blog for about a year or so and liked a lot of the ideas that Justin had, but this series was something of an epiphany for me.
The series was about Game Structures, the systems of mechanics inside RPGs that allow us to actually do things. They’re what inform us on what to do next and how to determine success. I came relatively late to the hobby, and if you’d asked me a month ago to answer those questions I would have said something like, “whatever makes a good story” and “roll a d20 against a DC,” respectively. It had never occurred to me to think about game structures, and I had never examined the game structures I had available nor considered that there were other structures out there. I read the Player’s Guide and DMG cover-to-cover and that’s all I needed to know, right?
In fact, no, that’s not all I need to run a good game, and now that I’m thinking in terms of game structures I can put context to a lot of the difficulties I’ve had with running games. Why haven’t I been able to make exploration or travel compelling? Why does everything boil down to a Dungeon Crawl or Combat Encounter? Because those are the only tools I have, and when all you have is a hammer you approach every problem as a nail. So I’m starting this blog as a way to build up my DM’s Toolbox, to talk about game structures, collect the neat things I find on the web, and hopefully build a useful resource for others who come after me.