After a conversation with a friend today, I realised that I should write down the RPG rules system I use for the audio-RPG Flotsam and a couple of other games.

Over the years I’ve used fewer and fewer rules in my games, as we prefer not to get in the…


Here’s One Simple Trick That Might Surprise You. Or something like that. An easy thing to do, but absolutely invaluable to me when I’m writing:

Read your words out loud. If you stumble, rewrite them.

I use this all the time, and it makes a huge difference to my work!


We open on a forest. In that forest is a person. They are wearing rough, homespun clothing. They have pointy ears.

Therefore magic exists.

At least, in the mind of your viewer. Magic exists, so do dragons, there are probably goblins, people hit each other with swords, they ride around…


I’ve written before about how we use something called moment-based design. The idea is that you have a set of things that you want to happen, moments that you feel are critical to your story or to your game. …


I wanted to set down some thoughts about story theme as we at Talespinners use it in computer games, because it’s been coming up in conversations with our mentees. …


A one-page tabletop RPG

I had a bit of time this weekend, so put together a one-page tabletop RPG in which you are a cadet in the King’s Musketeers, as a sort of companion piece to our larp All for One.

It’s mostly an exercise in trying to make mechanics feel fast, loose, and a bit like gambling.

You can download it for free over here.


All for One. Courtesy of Tom Garnett

Lightweight collaborative character creation for larp

This is a method for generating larp characters that we’ve developed at Crooked House over a couple of decades to address issues we were having with our own events and in attending others. I go into the reasons for some of these design decisions in this article. It supports a…


God Rest Ye Merry — in-game photo

It’s common to conflate immersion with realism, certainly in larp. To think that players aren’t fully immersed in an experience if there’s something which will break the reality of it.

In larp, this often materialises as having to make sure props are convincing and authentic, or you ruin the player’s…


“Cut!” From All for One. Photo by Tom Garnett.

Throwing out realism so we can have more fun

Cinedrama is a larp playstyle. It’s a cinematic way of thinking about larp that we first came up with for the Crooked House event Captain Dick Britton and the Voice of the Seraph back in 2005, in which Heroes have a capital H. …


Getting emotional in the crucible of a wartime simulation

Spoiler Alert: This post is about the larp / simulation Wing and a Prayer by Allied Games. It first ran in September 2018, and I’ll be talking about aspects of the writing process for that version of the event. I’ll spoil a handful of game surprises as a result. …

Ian Thomas

Ian is a narrative designer and writer of games, films, larp, and books. He is Narrative Director at Ubisoft Stockholm. He is co-founder of Talespinners.

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