Category: RPG

I played Role Playing Games (RPG) solidly for about 15 years from my early teens. My favourite rules were The Fantasy Trip and its descendent Gurps. Simple and flexible. That said my taste in RPG mechanics has got simpler and simpler. I’m currently intrigued by Fudge RPG and its descendent Fate RPG. Both are available on-line for free. Both emphasise story telling over game mechanics. Place of Reeds is a setting for a role playing campaign in Mesoamerica. The main city is called, not surprisingly, the Place of Reeds, and is nominally the historical city of Teotihuacan.

3 Act Story Structure for RPG Scenario Design

Balagan 3 Act Story Structure

As an end of year special I’ll take a detour into the land of RPGs. Specifically story structure.

I first bumped into the 3 Act Story structure in the context of RPG Scenario Design. The 3 act structure I ended up with is pretty simple: hook, journey, confrontation. In truth I always found role playing discussion of this structure confusing. I couldn’t imagine having only three scenes in a RPG scenario. Well, the answer is obvious, of course. Acts are not scenes. Acts contain scenes. Clearly I have dive deeper into the 3 Act structure to understand how to

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Top 20 Pages on Balagan

Balagan Site Stats

I started this blog on 21 Feb 2001 and then Migrated Balagan to WordPress on 15 Sep 2013. So, roughly 4.5 years ago. One of the great things about WordPress, compared to the hand crafted HTML site I had before, is that I get statistics on page views. Apparently I’ve had 1,176,779 views since I migrated and 1,125 comments. My biggest day (23 Feb 2018) brought 2,420 views – this was because Reddit got hold of my Academy of Street Fighting: Tactics during the Battle of Stalingrad post. Today is a typical day with 750 views.

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Explaining Fate Core to Newbies

Fate Core Book Cover

I’m thinking of running a game of Fate Core for some mates. Fate is sufficiently different to other role playing games that I thought I should pull together notes on the things to cover with the newbies. This is basically the Cheat Sheet from the rules with explanatory text and is based on the 2011 Fred Hicks post on The Core of Fate Core.

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Fudge: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Fudge: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Michael Gentry created “Fudge: Buffy the Vampire Slayer” but it disappeared from his site some time ago. Luckily the rules were captured by the Way Back Machine on 2 Aug 2002; you can find it here. For my own convenience I’ve combined the eight pages into one. I hope the Fudge Community will also benefit. All words are Michael’s.

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Gifts and Faults for Fudge Bunnies

Bunny Looking Harmless

You might want to have vampire bunnies, super hero bunnies or bunnies in space but I’m interested in Fudge Bunnies of a more garden variety. But even garden bunnies need gifts and faults. I’ve made up a list as a starting point, making sure to include those Gifts and Faults mentioned in VG Fudge Bunnies or at least variants of them.

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Seers in Fudge Bunnies

Bunny Seer

Some bunnies are Seers – they have Psionic abilities. It isn’t realistic but it is cool. Fiver, one of the main characters in Watership Down, is a Seer. His terrifying vision of the warren’s destruction is the plot device that starts the story. Similarly, if you read the material on Bunnies & Burrows (B&B), Seers are often the vehicle to introduce new adventures. But as usual there is no one place to find how Seers work in Fudge Bunnies. So I have pieced together bits from VG Fudge Bunnies (specifically Sprig who is a Seer), Gurps B&B, Gurps 3rd Edition

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Storytelling and Enthralment in Fudge Bunnies

Bunny Storytelling

Storytelling and Enthralment are two of the interesting features that distinguishes a Bunnies & Burrows (B&B) game from reality. My problem is there is no one place to find the Storytelling and Enthralment rules for Fudge Bunnies. So I have pieced together bits from VG Fudge Bunnies (specifically Raspberry who is a storyteller), Gurps B&B, and some stuff I’ve made up.

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Fudge Bunnies – Evolution of Attributes, Skills and Languages


It isn’t always obvious from the published material what Fudge Bunnies – as a distinct rule set – is and how it is different from Gurps B&B. Steffan O’Sullivan, the author of both Fudge and Gurps Bunnies & Burrows (B&B), has been evolving his thinking on Fudge Bunnies since 1992. So in this post I attempt to reverse engineer Steffan’s thinking on Fudge Bunnies in 2014 and fill in a few gaps. At least for Attributes, skills and animal languages.

The big change is in the language to describe character traits. Gurps has fairly bland and generic names for

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History of Fudge Bunnies

Lily Bobtail, Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny

My wife thinks I’m having a mid-life crisis. I’ve got into bunnies. Embarrassingly these are not Playboy Bunnies but RPG adventurers. You see my six year old daughter has just discovered Peter Rabbit on TV. She loves the bunny adventures. And by coincidence I’ve just discovered that Steffan O’Sullivan, my hero for creating the Fudge RPG, is also author of “Gurps: Bunnies & Burrows”. And Steffan has been running Fudge Bunnies games since 1992. I’d like to bring these threads together and use Fudge RPG to run a bunnies game for my daughter (maybe when she is seven).


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VG Fudge is “Very Good Fudge” by Steffan O’Sullivan

In 2011 Steffan O’Sullivan, the author of Fudge, introduced Very Good Fudge (VG Fudge). This is simply Fudge with a “Very Good” level inserted between Good and Great, and no Terrible rating.

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Pastimes in the Place of Reeds

Patolli Board

The inhabitants of the Place of Reeds have the normal Mesoamerican pastimes. Games and sports, and the gambling the comes with them. In terms of sports they favoured anything that tested skill and endurance.

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Dresden Files in Greater London, UK

The Dresden Files are a series of books by by Jim Butcher. They feature Chicago’s only listed Wizard Private Eye. There is now also a spin off TV series and a RPG. The Dresden Files RPG (DFRPG), like Fate RPG 3.0 itself, is by Evil Hat Productions.

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Balagan Role Playing Game Plots

There are some great suggestions for plot lines for Role Playing Games (RPG) on the web. Notable amongst them are The 36 Plots by Loren J. Miller. Loren lists actors and elements for each plot and gives a narrative example from a fantasy setting.

To make The 36 Plots easier to transfer to a non-fantasy setting I’ve reproduced some of them here but with a generic description that includes the actors as part of the narrative. That means I can lose the fantasy setting.

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Why I Called it the Place of Reeds

The setting is called the Place of Reeds and is based on the historical city of Teotihuacan. Teotihuacan means “place of the gods” in Nahuatl (Vogel, 1995); it is likely this is a latter name given to the ruins rather than what the inhabitants called it.

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Currency in the Place of Reeds

The Place of Reeds is based on this historical city called Teotihuacan. We know nothing about the currency in use in Teotihuacan but we do know something about Aztec “money”.

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