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Tag Archives: game design

Over the years, I’ve played a ton of games where the PCs had hit points and didn’t need them. It took me a long time to figure out why that was a problem. If the PCs in an RPG have hit points — used here to mean “a stat which determines whether a character is […]

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On the day the UK voted to leave the EU, which happened to be the day after I read a heartbreaking investigative piece on private prisons, I woke up thinking about corporate greed, economic collapse, the excesses of the rich, Donald Trump, and human awfulness. And I thought, “I should design a game about eating […]

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Jack Shear’s blog, Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque, is always a great read (it’s been one of my RPG blog staples for years), but World-Building: When is Enough Too Much? is an especially good post. It made me think of a scene in Game of the Year, where the GM uses the game session […]

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Game designer S. John Ross recently posted two game design tidbits — more aimed at RPG evaluation than design, but applicable to either — that are just too good not to share. RRIP is — as I see it — a quick-and-dirty way to assess a game’s crunchiness, and the Videogame Rule is an axiom […]

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Jason Pitre‘s RPG design worksheet is a nifty tool. It’s available as a free, form-fillable PDF. Each section gives you a number of points to assign to elements of your design, forcing you to 1) prioritize, 2) acknowledge design goals that are present/absent, and 3) think about game design more broadly. Here’s Jason on the […]

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After posting The Thief, the fourth game I designed, I started thinking about the third, Storylike. I designed Storylike for my daughter, Lark, for New Game Day 2014, and we played it with my wife, Alysia, and our friend Jaben. I came away thinking it probably needed some work, but a year later I haven’t […]

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I hadn’t planned to enter the 200 Word RPG Challenge, but then an idea popped into my head, followed closely by another, and one spilled out of me. The Thief is a solitaire RPG that takes a few minutes to play. You need a handful of coins and possibly something to write on. The Thief […]

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I’ve done a bit of design work in the tabletop RPG industry, and like most gamers I’ve started and abandoned game designs over the years, but today marks only the second time I’ve designed a complete RPG and shared it with others. After enjoying my experience with RPG Geek’s 24-hour RPG design contest in 2012, […]

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I created my first complete RPG, Eaten Away, for the 2012 RPG Geek 24-Hour RPG Contest. It’s a pickup game of zombie horror, no prep required. I designed Eaten Away on October 15, 2012. After waking up at 4:00 a.m. with a splitting headache, I got the idea for what became the Attrition System at […]

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