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Glossary: What is Agency, and Why Does It Matter?

Continuing the tour of “fancy words” I throw around, today I want to talk about agency. My favorite tabletop roleplaying styles and systems support it. I’m in favor of design choices that enable it. So what is agency, and why does it matter? In social science, agency is defined as the freedom people have to […]

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Glossary: Why I Won’t Let Go of Theme

If you’re at all familiar with my work, you know that I try to shoehorn literary theme into everything. Some people find it off-putting. They have unpleasant memories of high school English class. The people that get it, though, they really get it. So I thought I’d take a moment to explain why I won’t […]

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Glossary: Homage and Pastiche

Two more words I use a lot are homage and pastiche. Most tabletop roleplaying games are engaged in one or the other. They might not acknowledge it. They may not even know it. It’s still a fundamental cultural cornerstone of the hobby. Homage An homage is a tribute to something or someone as a show […]

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Glossary: I Use the Word “Relevant” a Lot

This goes hand-in-hand with “context“, because it’s about defining a moment. I use the word “relevant” a lot as an unspoken rule. All it means is “this applies to the current situation”. To tie it together, relevance can create context and vice-versa. It applies equally to systems, creative efforts, and group management. It’s an important […]

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Glossary: Why Context Matters

Today’s glossary word is context. The circumstances surrounding an idea or event allow it to be better understood. Changes the circumstances, and you change the meaning. I’d like to take a moment to explain why I think context is the unspoken game stat. Let me start with a simple example: a soldier. In tabletop roleplaying […]