Category Archives: Game Design

The man behind the Stargazer! An interview with Michael Wolf…

I’ve been fortunate enough to be contributing for this blog for two and a half years now… How time flies! Through this time I have made many new friends, had the opportunity to interact with other fans and authors, but most of all I have been really lucky to know this guy sometimes called Stargazer after discovering his blog while searching for material about Savage Worlds. I was fortunate enough to be here when Michael invited other writers to contribute to the blog. So as a contributor I became a roadie to this show he’s been running, a roadie to the rock star himself, the STARGAZER!

Stargazer’s Worlds had its anniversary a couple of days ago and I thought it would be fitting that for the 4year anniversary I’d turn the tables on the our fearless leader and interview the guy responsible for the blog and giving us contributors a forum to talk about our passion, role-playing games.

Sunglar: Hello Michael, why don’t you begin by telling us a little bit about you? Who are you? Who is the man doing the stargazing?

Michael:  Who am I? Good question. My usual response is that I’m a 37 year old German guy who loves roleplaying games, gaming in general, has an interest in astronomy, science in general and who enjoys writing about his hobby.

Sunglar: I think you have talked about this before on the blog, but just in case there are any new readers, how did you get into gaming?

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Ask The Readers: Fancy dice? Yay or nay?

fancy diceA lot of players shy away from certain games because they use “fancy” dice like Fudge dice, non-standard polyhedral dice, dice with funny symbols instead of regular numbers or something like that.

In a way, I can understand that. Usually roleplaying game players just need a set of the most common polyhedral dice and they can play almost everything. It’s like a basic tool you can use all your life. But then there are these games that need you to buy these fancy dice, or even worse, only one set came with the game itself and you have to share these dice with your GM and the other players! Yuck! Nobody touches my dice!

Roleplaying games that use fancy dice exclusively or even utilize cards for task resolution are usually hard to sell to the average gamer. Or is this just a common misconception? That’s why I am asking my readers today: do you like fancy dice or do you hate them? And why?

I am curious because I have pondered using fancy dice for my own game designs from time to time. I totally love Fudge dice and recently I picked up a set of dice with six-sided dice numbered from 0 to 5 as seen in the image above. Rolling 4 of those and adding the results together generates a number between 0 and 20 in a nice bell curve. My friend Andrew called them z5 (analogous to d6). The results are basically the same as if you rolled 4d6 and subtracted 4, but rolling 4z5 is just easier and nicer.

So, what do you think about fancy dice? Yay or nay? Please post your comments below.

Crafting at the Tabletop

skyrim_smithingA lot of computer roleplaying games and especially MMOs often feature crafting. In games like The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim or World of Warcraft players can craft a plethora of items from raw materials. Yesterday I was playing Skyrim again and I noticed that I basically spent all day disenchanting magic items, mining ore and crafting armor pieces and weapons, which I then enchanted with the effects I wanted.

Curiously not many tabletop RPGs feature player-created items. One of these few games is D&D. Especially when the Eberron campaign setting came out I hoped someone would run an Eberron campaign for me so that I could play an Artificer. Artificers are a special kind of magic users that instead of throwing fancy spells around, they create wands, scrolls, rings, etc. or put enchantments on items. Usually characters had to pay item creation with experience points and was not that popular because of that, but the Artificer actually got a certain pool of points every level that he could use to create items without having to pay from his experience points directly. I thought this could be a fun character class and I definitely wanted to play one.

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