Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Appendix N – Breaking the Old-School Fantasy Game Code

Posted by Rampant Coyote on March 14, 2017

For the Frayed Knights games, I really wanted to capture the old-school spirit of not just computer RPGs, but also the style of tabletop D&D games I remember playing and envisioning as a kid. Things were different back then. If you read the old modules (both by TSR and third-party publishers), the original rulebooks from […]


Filed Under: Books, Design, Impressions - Comments: 7 Comments to Read



Guido Henkel on a New / Old Way To Design RPGs

Posted by Rampant Coyote on February 20, 2017

Guido Henkel, designer of the original Realms of Arkania CRPG series and producer of the critically acclaimed cult favorite Planescape: Torment, has put together a list of things modern RPGs are getting wrong… and how they ought to be able to get things right. The thing is… not a whole lot of what he’s saying […]


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Josh Sawyer Interview at RPG Codex

Posted by Rampant Coyote on December 30, 2016

If you are interested in understanding the mind of a professional, veteran computer RPG developer, you should head over to RPG Codex and check out this fantastic interview with Josh Sawyer. It’s lengthy, and well worth it if you are at all interested in the nuts and bolts that go into making a commercial-quality computer […]


Filed Under: Design - Comments: 3 Comments to Read



Adapting Advanced Dungeons & Dragons to the computer in the Gold Box era.

Posted by Rampant Coyote on November 3, 2016

These articles (I’m late linking to them) are about the “Gold Box” official adaptation of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons to computers. While they are officially entitled, “Why the Economy Sucks in SSI’s Gold Box Games,” they mostly talk about how the dice & paper evolved and how SSI adapted it – and the compromises they had […]


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Mapping my Own Creative Process – How I (Don’t) Work

Posted by Rampant Coyote on October 17, 2016

I think I’ve discovered something about how my brain works. I don’t know if it’s cool or stupid, or just plain weird. All three, probably. Except cool. Maybe it’s cool that I’m finally figuring it out, and now I just need to know how to adapt to it. I’ve been Game Mastering RPGs for local […]


Filed Under: Design, Dice & Paper, Game Development, Writing - Comments: 5 Comments to Read



No Man’s Sky – Suggestions

Posted by Rampant Coyote on September 22, 2016

It’s been a month since the overhyped procedural universe game No Man’s Sky was released, to the disappointment of many. I’m not going to comment on what was done right or wrong here in managing expectations. I’m still playing. It’s an easy, go-to game to jump in and play for a few minutes (which usually stretches […]


Filed Under: Design, Impressions - Comments: 4 Comments to Read



A Bag of Blocks – Tips for Generating Quality Procedural Content

Posted by Rampant Coyote on August 9, 2016

I guess my very first experience with “procedural content” – at least the one that stuck in my memory – was Appendix C of the 1st edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master’s Guide. Starting with an entrance template, you randomly rolled up to see what lay beyond every open section of the dungeon, and […]


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Game Design: Chrono Trigger’s Design Secrets

Posted by Rampant Coyote on July 27, 2016

Even if you aren’t a fan of classic JRPGs, this article provides some valuable insight into the design elements that went into Chrono Trigger, and made it stand out as a classic more than twenty years after its release. While the approaches they chose aren’t universally applicable, it does demonstrate how some very conscious, careful […]


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At What Cost Survival?

Posted by Rampant Coyote on July 25, 2016

Okay, depending on the game, I like survival mechanics. It’s a not-insignificant part of why I love the Ultima Underworld series so much. Maybe there’s an effective Maslow’s Hierarchy for RPGs or something, but having that base level struggle, particularly at the beginning, can be pretty fun. It’s becoming more common lately. I think this […]


Filed Under: Design - Comments: Comments are off for this article



Games vs. Stories, Revisited

Posted by Rampant Coyote on July 21, 2016

I have often posited that you can have a great game, or a great story, but not both. Having spent some time improving (well, reducing the suck level of) my fiction-writing chops, I think I’m ready to offer a more informed opinion: You can have a great game, or a great story, but not both. […]


Filed Under: Design, Writing - Comments: 5 Comments to Read



Create Something New

Posted by Rampant Coyote on April 5, 2016

Dave Farland, fantasy author, writes about “Dream Making.”  This hit home: “But several times in the past few weeks, I’ve heard people describe the basic ideas for their novels, and felt that the basic concept was so weak, that I had to wonder, “Why would you write that one?” In each case, I was talking […]


Filed Under: Design, Writing - Comments: 3 Comments to Read



RPG Design: There’s a Reaper in the Basement

Posted by Rampant Coyote on February 23, 2016

Lord British has a very powerful Reaper in his basement in Ultima Underworld II: Labyrinth of Souls. This is a problem. But maybe not in the way you expect. It’s extremely hard to defeat, but not impossible. Therein lies the rub. If it was “level appropriate,” it would be just another combat encounter. If it was […]


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What We Can Learn From Doom

Posted by Rampant Coyote on February 11, 2016

Relatively short, sweet, and good for making you think – what gameplay lessons can we learn from Doom: Now I don’t know about the magic number 7 (and after all, Doom 2 increased the bad guy count anyway), but I think this guy nails the basics of it. I remember a criticism of an early […]


Filed Under: Design - Comments: 2 Comments to Read



Felipe Pepe tackles the nature of the RPG

Posted by Rampant Coyote on February 9, 2016

Elitist Old Farts unite! Or… uh, not. Why should we start now? Felipe Pepe has composed a not-short article describing the nature of role-playing games, which largely breaks down into a discussion of why they are getting so difficult to define, and why they are proving difficult to… *cough* evolve. Why Are RPGs So Difficult to […]


Filed Under: Design, Geek Life - Comments: 2 Comments to Read



Design: Why RPGs Shouldn’t Be Too Short

Posted by Rampant Coyote on January 25, 2016

Several years ago I wrote an article musing over the possibility of “short-form” RPGs… like the equivalent of a short story vs. a novel.  In retrospect, I think I understand the reasons why. Live and learn. In general, RPGs are about character development. This happens on the mechanical level, as you level up from a […]


Filed Under: Design - Comments: 18 Comments to Read



The Jedi are Mother, the Jedi are Father…

Posted by Rampant Coyote on January 4, 2016

We’re still in a spoiler-free zone here, as this has nothing to do with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, other than having helped inspire this musing. It was also inspired by our Thanksgiving family session of the D20 Star Wars RPG. I haven’t read many of the non-canonical “Expanded Universe” Star Wars books. So a […]


Filed Under: Design, Geek Life, Movies, Writing - Comments: 5 Comments to Read



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