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Don Bisdorf
Writer, programmer, gamer.
Writer, programmer, gamer.

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Save the Universe: Playtesting Strikes Back

I'm looking for one more player (or maybe two) for a few more test sessions of Save the Universe. I thought I'd try my immediate circles before going out to broader communities.

This is a sci-fi space adventure RPG where your group builds your own great galactic menace, and then portray the brave heroes battling against it. It's rules-light and low-prep and I've been having fun with it so far. I've made some tweaks after Metatopia and I'd like to give them a test drive myself before I expand to a larger group of playtesters.

I have a couple of players already, and so far it looks like we might be meeting online on Sunday afternoons, EST. We'll probably use Google Hangouts, with some shared documents over Google Docs.

Let me know if you're interested, and I'll loop you in!

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In which I return home from New Jersey, full of empanadas and inspiration.

Looking for some guidance from folks who've used Fate for superhero games.

Do you allow PCs to block attacks aimed at other characters? And do you restrict this ability?

Could a speedster block any attack on the battlefield by zipping around and deflecting bullets and punches?

Could an archer block any attack on the battlefield by launching trick arrows with precision?

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Ever since I played The Longest Journey, I've been craving an imaginative parallel-realities roleplaying game with a setting full of magic, wonder, and mystery. I'll probably never see an official The Longest Journey tabletop RPG, but A Far Off Land looks like it will hit all of the right boxes for me.

I'd love to see this fund, and I'd love to see it hit all of its stretch goals so that the creators can fulfill all of their ambitions.

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The Kickstarter preview for A Far Off Land is now available on DriveThruRPG, featuring samples from the rough draft, and art from +Gennifer Bone, +Tanyaporn Sangsnit, and myself.

Just got done playing in a D&D5 session. We ran into an awkward situation where "D&D fantasy morality" breaks when compared to real world morality.

We defended a village from an orc attack. The orcs lost. The villagers knew that the orcs had a camp further up the mountain. The PCs and a few villagers went to see if any threats remained at the camp.

The DM told us that there were a couple of orc adults and a few dozen orc young there.

Orcs, in D&D, are chaotic evil. They will do violent, savage things because it's in their nature. Granting orcs mercy is, when you get down to it, hideously dangerous, because they will simply go murder someone else.

So, as a party of lawful and/or good characters, do you let the orcs and their kids go free?

It sounds like a "difficult moral choice" situation, but it's not really. Real world morality would dictate that letting the kids go is the correct moral choice, because it's entirely possible that they'll be decent people when they grow up, and even if they don't, well, honestly, it's KIDS we're talking about, and you just don't kill them.

D&D morality removes that nuance. Orcs are chaotic evil. They will kill and murder and steal and lie. They will burn fields and summon up malevolent gods and call down the apocalypse if they can manage it. They are irredeemable. There's no concept of "innocence." Your most merciful possible solution is to put the orc kids and their guardians on a boat and send them off to some distant land where there's no humans to prey on. If you can't manage that, you cannot possibly let them free because they will absolutely kill more people.

The correct DM move, I think, is to never ever put the PCs in that situation. I don't care what the setting morals are: I do not ever want to run a scene where the heroes have to condone the killing of orc children. Full stop.

So don't run that scene. Orcs are chaotic evil. Make THEM do the evil deeds. Maybe the orcs kick their own kids into a well and then the remaining adults run off to start a new nest elsewhere. Maybe they sacrifice their young to their evil deity for mercy. Maybe there ARE no orcish young, and they somehow spawn fully-formed and fully-evil, like in the LOTR movies.

This isn't necessarily a D&D problem. Dungeon World also has Chaotic and Evil alignments. How would you all handle the problem of the orcish camp whose defenders have perished?

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This is a survey about all individuals' experiences with sexual harassment in indie roleplaying games and live action roleplaying games that I intend to use for a blog post about the state of this kind of behavior in our communities. All of the identifying information here will be kept confidential. If you can respond, I would truly appreciate it. Please feel free to share this in your communities.

Please keep in mind the following phone numbers should you need support after your response.

US Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673 - Chat

US Domestic Abuse Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 - Worldwide chat:

US Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-8255 - Chat

I apologize for not having non-US numbers at this time. The chats should be accessible for anyone, and if you still need help, please contact me directly via

Thank you for considering this survey.
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