Binary Success and Failure in RPGs, Quick Thoughts

Many popular RPG systems measure success (or failure) as a simple binary. For example, by a strict reading of D&D 5e’s rules, either your character is successfully sneaky or they’re not: there’s no middle ground. There’s no benefit for being exceptionally stealthy, and there’s no real penalty for being exceptionally not-stealthy. Thus, there’re no degrees of success or failure. Every test is pass or fail.

This streamlines resolution of tests, and has the benefit of being fast and simple. But it also misses Continue reading

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Flash Fiction: Almost A Cantina

western-saloon

You know the drill.  Chuck Wendig made a challenge, I wrote some flash fiction.  This time, I had to tell a story in 100 words.  Have fun.

***

Benny and Peter sit across from each other in the saloon’s corner booth, surrounded by empty bottles.  Benny gesticulates wildly with a gun, making a point, yelling at Peter.  Peter eases his pistol out of its holster, keeping it under the table.

“Imbecile!”  Benny shouts, “That’s not how it was at all!”  He slams his gun down on the table for emphasis.

There’s a sudden ear-splitting crack and the pistol leaps in Peter’s hand.  Benny slumps over the table, moaning as he bleeds.

Peter glares at the injured man.  Smoke rolls from his gun.

“Idiot.  Han definitely shot first.”

***

An alternative cover photo:

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