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Welcome to DNAphil.com

You have found the online home of Phil Vecchione (aka DNAphil).

I am an Author, Game Master, Project Manager, and owner of Encoded Designs.

Here you can find out more about me and my writings, as well as the other places online where I spend my time. If you want to know more about Encoded Designs, follow the link for more information.


We adore chaos because we love to produce order. โ€” M.C. Escher

Online Writings

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(Google+, Twitter, Blog)

Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ Droping in 3...2...1... @DNAphil @briecs I mean she looks like that because she never gave up control. ๐Ÿ˜‰ [...]
Thu, Jun 21, 2018
Source: Twitter
Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ Droping in 3...2...1... @DNAphil @Teddog It's a commitment. [...]
Wed, Jun 20, 2018
Source: Twitter
Evil Hat Productions @EvilHatOfficial [Retweeted by Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ Droping in 3...2...1... @DNAphil] Want to get *YOUR* hands on Scum & Villainy, the Forged In The Dark game of interstellar smugglers struggling to ouโ€ฆ twitter.com/i/web/status/1โ€ฆ [...]
Wed, Jun 20, 2018
Source: Twitter
Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ Droping in 3...2...1... @DNAphil @EvilHatOfficial pic.twitter.com/K790eRmk0W [...]
Wed, Jun 20, 2018
Source: Twitter
Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ Droping in 3...2...1... @DNAphil @WendelynReischl Love it! [...]
Wed, Jun 20, 2018
Source: Twitter
Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ Droping in 3...2...1... @DNAphil @Teddog pic.twitter.com/tnRlHVHygr [...]
Wed, Jun 20, 2018
Source: Twitter
Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ Droping in 3...2...1... @DNAphil @flatvurm These words make me so happy. [...]
Wed, Jun 20, 2018
Source: Twitter
Encoded Designs @encodeddesigns [Retweeted by Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ Droping in 3...2...1... @DNAphil] The Legacy Weapon creates a unique one-on-one experience for Dungeon World. Playable as a one-shot or a campaign, dโ€ฆ twitter.com/i/web/status/1โ€ฆ [...]
Wed, Jun 20, 2018
Source: Twitter
Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ Droping in 3...2...1... @DNAphil @Thelight101 @ericmfarmer @ZapDynamic @nell_do_well @MaybeItsMabel @Kiranansi @dreamstobecome @worldstoforgeโ€ฆ twitter.com/i/web/status/1โ€ฆ [...]
Wed, Jun 20, 2018
Source: Twitter
Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ Droping in 3...2...1... @DNAphil @YMichaelZhang @IdellaMithlynnd Mike! It was great to get a chance to play some games together. We will see you next year! [...]
Wed, Jun 20, 2018
Source: Twitter
Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ Droping in 3...2...1... @DNAphil @gingerreckoning Yea...you are exactly enough for them too. A few decorations are nothing compared to the great work you do. ๐Ÿ˜€ [...]
Tue, Jun 19, 2018
Source: Twitter
Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ Droping in 3...2...1... @DNAphil @gingerreckoning I spent a long time feeling like that...but I can tell you that you are not a lot. We are all exactly who we need to be. [...]
Tue, Jun 19, 2018
Source: Twitter
Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ Droping in 3...2...1... @DNAphil @gingerreckoning You are never a lot for the right person. For the right person, you are exactly enough. [...]
Tue, Jun 19, 2018
Source: Twitter
Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ Droping in 3...2...1... @DNAphil @weregator @lordneptune I have heard the arguments for its design by HR people. My experience of working 10 years uโ€ฆ twitter.com/i/web/status/1โ€ฆ [...]
Tue, Jun 19, 2018
Source: Twitter
Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ Droping in 3...2...1... @DNAphil @lordneptune When people have seperate sick days, they don't feel the pressure to horded them for vacation and theyโ€ฆ twitter.com/i/web/status/1โ€ฆ [...]
Tue, Jun 19, 2018
Source: Twitter
Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ Droping in 3...2...1... @DNAphil @lordneptune What happens is that people horde days for vacations and don't take care of themselves, by taking sickโ€ฆ twitter.com/i/web/status/1โ€ฆ [...]
Tue, Jun 19, 2018
Source: Twitter
Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ Droping in 3...2...1... @DNAphil @lordneptune I loathe that policy. I worked for a place like that in the past. Employers think that it's easier nโ€ฆ twitter.com/i/web/status/1โ€ฆ [...]
Tue, Jun 19, 2018
Source: Twitter
Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ Droping in 3...2...1... @DNAphil I just helped make Dream Askew / Dream Apart Pre-Order a reality. @dreamaskew @crowdoxapp app.crowdox.com/projects/averyโ€ฆ #funded [...]
Tue, Jun 19, 2018
Source: Twitter
Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ Droping in 3...2...1... @DNAphil @peregrinekiwi @Kiranansi @frasersimons @banana_chan_vid As much as I would like to be there... I record theโ€ฆ twitter.com/i/web/status/1โ€ฆ [...]
Tue, Jun 19, 2018
Source: Twitter
Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ Droping in 3...2...1... @DNAphil @lordneptune I just take sick days off for these. [...]
Tue, Jun 19, 2018
Source: Twitter
Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ Droping in 3...2...1... @DNAphil @Jezzirolk @IdellaMithlynnd Sorry about that. But I'm not wrong. [...]
Tue, Jun 19, 2018
Source: Twitter
Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ Droping in 3...2...1... @DNAphil @pk_sullivan pic.twitter.com/7SWlVHvLsv [...]
Mon, Jun 18, 2018
Source: Twitter
Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ Droping in 3...2...1... @DNAphil @mc_ellis I enjoyed our game together. [...]
Mon, Jun 18, 2018
Source: Twitter
Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ Droping in 3...2...1... @DNAphil @MrMikeD42 @MisdirectedMark You were pretty awesome, yourself. [...]
Mon, Jun 18, 2018
Source: Twitter
Mike: origins @MrMikeD42 [Retweeted by Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ Droping in 3...2...1... @DNAphil] Huge shout out to the @MisdirectedMark crew for being waaaaaay awesome at #Origins2018 [...]
Mon, Jun 18, 2018
Source: Twitter
Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ Droping in 3...2...1... @DNAphil @TroyP23 @BlakeRyanBatman @Thelight101 Ohhh....yes that. [...]
Mon, Jun 18, 2018
Source: Twitter
Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ Droping in 3...2...1... @DNAphil @gingerreckoning pic.twitter.com/qD5SWiiEDa [...]
Mon, Jun 18, 2018
Source: Twitter
Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ Droping in 3...2...1... @DNAphil @GMJimMcClure @meglish Agreed. @meglish is amazing. I love working with her. [...]
Mon, Jun 18, 2018
Source: Twitter
Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ Droping in 3...2...1... @DNAphil @WindsorGaming @IdellaMithlynnd @Thelight101 @RobertMEverson We toured the upstairs of this place and it is nice. [...]
Mon, Jun 18, 2018
Source: Twitter
Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ Droping in 3...2...1... @DNAphil @WindsorGaming @IdellaMithlynnd @Thelight101 @RobertMEverson We liked it so much we are talking to them about the pโ€ฆ twitter.com/i/web/status/1โ€ฆ [...]
Mon, Jun 18, 2018
Source: Twitter
Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ Droping in 3...2...1... @DNAphil @ErikEnsign @ActionEconomy We are looking at end of July or early August. It's being laid out right now. [...]
Mon, Jun 18, 2018
Source: Twitter
Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ Droping in 3...2...1... @DNAphil @BlakeRyanBatman @encodeddesigns @RobertMEverson @Thelight101 Avalon writing finishes this month. Then a quick deveโ€ฆ twitter.com/i/web/status/1โ€ฆ [...]
Mon, Jun 18, 2018
Source: Twitter
Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ Droping in 3...2...1... @DNAphil @rdonoghue It was great meeting him at Origins. He looked like he was having a blast. [...]
Mon, Jun 18, 2018
Source: Twitter
Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ #OriginsGameFair @DNAphil @ActionEconomy For H2O it's not so much a vomit draft...it's been play tested and it's been developed and edited.โ€ฆ twitter.com/i/web/status/1โ€ฆ [...]
Mon, Jun 18, 2018
Source: Twitter
Senda ๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’• at Con Drop @IdellaMithlynnd [Retweeted by Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ #OriginsGameFair @DNAphil] #panelselfie @MisdirectedMark pic.twitter.com/LLlRCqJJOD [...]
Mon, Jun 18, 2018
Source: Twitter
Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ #OriginsGameFair @DNAphil @ActionEconomy I am actually thinking of using Intro or Beta for my upcoming Hydro Hackers ruleset. [...]
Mon, Jun 18, 2018
Source: Twitter
Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ #OriginsGameFair @DNAphil Post-Origins lunch with @IdellaMithlynnd @Thelight101 and @RobertMEverson at The Eagle Food & Beer Hall. This luncโ€ฆ twitter.com/i/web/status/1โ€ฆ [...]
Mon, Jun 18, 2018
Source: Twitter
Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ #OriginsGameFair @DNAphil @mpetruzz @PandasTalkGames I have some feelings. I suspect not popular ones, but yes... [...]
Mon, Jun 18, 2018
Source: Twitter
Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ #OriginsGameFair @DNAphil @pk_sullivan @IdellaMithlynnd @cyberook @mc_ellis It's ok..it's just a flesh wound. pic.twitter.com/OwbPgohZiV [...]
Sun, Jun 17, 2018
Source: Twitter
Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ #OriginsGameFair @DNAphil @pk_sullivan @IdellaMithlynnd @cyberook @mc_ellis Such a great game. Le Panda may have been late to his rendezvous but the Crown was safe. [...]
Sun, Jun 17, 2018
Source: Twitter
Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ #OriginsGameFair @DNAphil Getting ready for some Three Rocketeers being run by @pk_sullivan. pic.twitter.com/v9tcIehv3a [...]
Sun, Jun 17, 2018
Source: Twitter
Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ #OriginsGameFair @DNAphil @2ndLevelBard @IdellaMithlynnd @PandasTalkGames It was my pleasure, and it was great to meet you. Glad you enjoyed Origins. [...]
Sun, Jun 17, 2018
Source: Twitter
Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ #OriginsGameFair @DNAphil @weregator @IdellaMithlynnd @ummeowyn @Thelight101 @GMGerrymander @originsgames Manage your Drop. Engage in some good self-care. [...]
Sun, Jun 17, 2018
Source: Twitter
IGDN @IGDN_Official [Retweeted by Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ #OriginsGameFair @DNAphil] The best indie games can be found at Booth 511 #Origins2018 pic.twitter.com/RW7QoekijV [...]
Sun, Jun 17, 2018
Source: Twitter
Jason Pitre @Genesisoflegend [Retweeted by Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ #OriginsGameFair @DNAphil] IGDN Booth 511 is ready for you at #Origins pic.twitter.com/sOHubQc108 [...]
Sun, Jun 17, 2018
Source: Twitter
Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ #OriginsGameFair @DNAphil @ummeowyn @weregator @IdellaMithlynnd @Thelight101 @GMGerrymander @originsgames What a fantastic dinner. I'm glad you made it home safely. [...]
Sun, Jun 17, 2018
Source: Twitter
Moe Tousignant @ Origins @WindsorGaming [Retweeted by Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ #OriginsGameFair @DNAphil] @DNAphil on Campaigns "It's all about rhythm. There is a rhythm to sessions but there's also, at a macro level, a rโ€ฆ twitter.com/i/web/status/1โ€ฆ [...]
Sat, Jun 16, 2018
Source: Twitter
Dueling Grounds @Dueling_Grounds [Retweeted by Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ #OriginsGameFair @DNAphil] [...]
Fri, Jun 15, 2018
Source: Twitter
Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ #OriginsGameFair @DNAphil Playing some Hydro Hackers, saving the Co-Op so the neighborhood can get their vegetables. pic.twitter.com/AXJqJpNEvg [...]
Fri, Jun 15, 2018
Source: Twitter
Phil Vecchione ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ #OriginsGameFair @DNAphil Having all feels in my morning game of Turning Point. pic.twitter.com/5BKmCzvN3k [...]
Fri, Jun 15, 2018
Source: Twitter

Gnome Stew

When I was a kid, I saw the movie Goonies and wanted to be those kids more than anything; out adventuring with my childhood friends. When I watched Stranger Things, I was pulled right back into my childhood and relived the idea of adventuring kids. And I am not alone in this. Recently there has been a rise in the kids on bikes genre of games, where early teens are solving mysteries. It is a genre that is picking up steam, as it resonates with older gamers who wax nostalgic, as well as younger gamers for whom those years are [...]
Wed, May 09, 2018
Source: Gnome Stew
I grew up in the 1980's when D&D came in two flavors: Basic and Advanced. Back then, we just played the game and didn't worry about table safety and how people felt. That was in a large part for two reasons: First, we lacked the experience and lexicon to describe the concept of table safety. Second, we were kids and safety, in general, was mostly an alien concept. As evidence, I submit the giant dirt ramp we jumped on our bicycles without helmets, Roman candle fights, and riding in the back of station wagons without seat belts. So it might [...]
Mon, Mar 05, 2018
Source: Gnome Stew
Often we think of playtesting for rooting out bad rulesโ€”things that are broken, don't work, or are not clear. But sometimes in playtesting we find a perfectly good rule that by itself is excellent, but in the greater whole of the game does not work. Recently I found such a rule. One that I liked so much that its removal came with great hesitation. But sometimes a good rule has to be excised for the greater good of the game. Or, to put it as Spock said, โ€œThe needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the [...]
Fri, Dec 22, 2017
Source: Gnome Stew
โ€œWhat is your game about?โ€ Your first reaction, the most obvious one, is to talk about the setting of the gameโ€”the elevator pitch. Hydro Hackers has an elevator pitch that I think does a pretty good job answering that question (see the end of the article). Let's go one level deeper, and we can ask that same question about what the themes and tropes of the game are. As a Powered by the Apocalypse style game, H2O has an Agenda and Principles which answer this question. But if we go one more level deeper, there is another answer to this [...]
Fri, Dec 01, 2017
Source: Gnome Stew
There is no such thing as a Strict or Lax GM. Whoa . . . before you jump to the comments section to yell at me, let me explain. The idea of a strict or a lax GM is an oversimplification. GMing is way more complicated than that. There are too many facets of GMing to simply have the needle buried in one direction or the other. Sure, someone can be more strict than lax, but the idea someone is strict in every way possible as a GM is a bit more unlikely. That said, there are still a few of [...]
Thu, Nov 02, 2017
Source: Gnome Stew
For the past few months, I have been wrestling with this small but annoying problem in the Hydro Hacker playbooks. It is a section of the playbook that defines your relationships with the other players. When I run this at conventions or in playtest groups, players always fill the section out incorrectly. Over several iterations of playbooks I have tried to refine this section so that it would be more intuitive, but it has not panned out. Then in talking to one of the Developers (Senda), she gave me an idea that changed how I was looking at the [...]
Fri, Sep 29, 2017
Source: Gnome Stew
The last new chapter of Hydro Hackers that I wrote was about Gear. It is the last thing I designed for the game. After this, I will be just adding text and mechanics to all the existing chapters of the game. Gear was a tough thing for me to wrap my head around. I knew I wanted gear in the game, but I was not hot on the idea about a game driven by gear. So I kept putting off the design and just putting some token, undefined items on the playbooks. But as the manuscript neared completion, I knew [...]
Fri, Aug 18, 2017
Source: Gnome Stew
One of the great joys and challenges of game design is playtesting. On one hand, seeing your creation doing what it is supposed toโ€”and people enjoying itโ€”is incredibly uplifting. On the other hand, watching your perfect mechanic break under play can be heartbreaking. Despite the emotional roller coaster, having people that are not you playing your game is a necessity. Much like gaming in general, you can playtest using one shots, or in a campaign. Playtesting with one shots is pretty straight-forward, but playtesting for a campaign is a different beast altogether . . . and happens to be the [...]
Fri, Jul 28, 2017
Source: Gnome Stew
Right now I am sitting here, not wanting to write an article. Not that I don't love writing to you all, but rather this article is between me and further game design work I am doing, and I have fallen into the design rabbit hole; a place where nothing matters other than designingโ€”not eating, not sleep, not anyone else, just a burst of ideas on a page as you try to make a thing. Today's article is not about the rabbit hole, rather it's why I am in the hole. That starts last week at Origins . . . When [...]
Wed, Jun 28, 2017
Source: Gnome Stew
One of the worst pieces of GMing advice I ever gave myself was to always make sure the players were happy, even over my own happiness; to avoid saying No. This ridiculous piece of advice has lead to more campaign deaths in my career as a GM than I should admit. The thing is that saying yes to every idea or whim a player has isn't a good idea. Sometimes we have to say No. No, so that we keep the stability of the campaign intact. No, so that the game remains fun for the majority of the group. No, [...]
Fri, May 19, 2017
Source: Gnome Stew
The last few weeks I have been working on writing the setting of Hydro Hacker Operatives. For an RPG with a defined setting, this is an important task. You need to be able to teach the setting to the GM and the players, so that they can share in the world you created, and give them enough interesting elements that they can go off and have their own adventures. Previously in this series, I talked about designing worlds. This week I want to talk about the ways that this information can be presented, and the approach I decided to take. [...]
Fri, Apr 28, 2017
Source: Gnome Stew
I first learned D&D from the boy who's house I was living in, during a rough period of time my Mother and I were going through. He was older than me, and I was not cool enough to play in his group, so he ran a game for me, alone. For a while, my only experience of D&D was one on one play, and I rather enjoyed it, despite the challenges of not having a party for support. Over time, I would get my own gaming group, and rarely ever got back to one on one gaming. When I have [...]
Wed, Mar 29, 2017
Source: Gnome Stew
The world of Hydro Hacker Operatives resides mostly in my head. The rules for how to play Hydro Hackers (H2O) have been well enough documented on paper for the game to be run in a playtest capacity. But right now, I am the only person who can GM H2O because no one else fully understands how the world works. The truth is, I don't fully know either. I have just enough of a world built for playtesting to work. Which was fine when I was more concerned if the rules of the game made any sense, but now that the [...]
Wed, Feb 08, 2017
Source: Gnome Stew
There is no โ€œrightโ€ way to create a role playing game. Everyone comes at it a different way. For me, with a background in project management and software development, I tend to come at the process in a structured manner. For me, developing an RPG is really no different than software, and so most of the techniques that apply to software development seem to work in creating RPGs. In this installment, I am going to describe a few of the techniques I am using to create Hydro Hacker Operatives. Why is it like software? For all of my tools and my [...]
Fri, Dec 23, 2016
Source: Gnome Stew
Hydro Hacker Operatives is not the game I intended to make. I had originally set out to make a Fate-based Cyberpunk game and wound up with a Powered by the Apocalypse Hydropunk game. But game design is weird like that, sometimes you set out with a specific idea in mind and bring it to light, but in most cases what you end up with is not exactly what you intended โ€“ and then there are times like this, when what you wind up with is only a shadow of what you started with. A Little Something Different Normally I spend my time [...]
Wed, Oct 12, 2016
Source: Gnome Stew

 

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About

Background

philinparisI was born in Mt. Vernon NY, and spent my childhood in Putnam County, NY, specifically the town of Carmel, NY. My parents divorced when I was young and both remarried, for the better, during my youth. I graduated from high school in 1990 with dreams of going into biological weapons research. To that end, I attended Brockport State and earned a Bachelorโ€™s degree in Biology in 1994. During those four years my desire to create weapons of mass destruction subsided and a desire to do research and teach emerged.

I was accepted into the PhD program for Biochemical Pharmacology at the University of Buffalo. Three years into my pursuit of a PhD, my focus on pure research waned. I found myself more interested in running and maintaining the computers in the lab than I did with splicing genes. I left the university before completing my thesis and entered the IT/IS field doing clinical trials data management, combining my knowledge of science and my interest in computers.

Over the years my career has morphed, grown, and re-invented itself. I went from data management to programming to corporate analysis to project management. Today, my science background is mostly a footnote, but I have come full circle and returned to higher education as an IT project manager for the State University of New York.

RPGs and Game Mastering

1981 was not the easiest year, but would be one of the most pivotal of my life. My mother and I had moved back to NY after living with my grandparents in Dallas, TX for a year. Shortly after returning, my mother met my future step-father (my Dad). At the same time we had lost our place to live, and had to move in with one of my motherโ€™s friends. This friend was a divorced mother of two children. The older child, Patrick, was a few years older than me and had been playing Dungeons & Dragons with his neighborhood friends. He introduced me to the game, which quickly became one of the largest passions in my life.

philwithgarygygaxI started playing the Moldvay edition of D&D and never stopped. My childhood is full of memories of me on the floor with graph paper and pencils mapping out new dungeons or starship deckplans. It has been the focal point of all the lasting friendships I have made during my life.

Early on in my gaming career, I became the Game Master, often by default, as my other friends did not relish the position. Over time I came to appreciate the role and by the 90s, after reading the Amber: Diceless Roleplaying Game, my understanding of the role deepened, and I began to seriously hone my skills, which included learning about group dynamics, game theory, writing, and storytelling. All these things would help me in my future careers as a project manager and author.

I have over the years played many different types of RPGs like an avid reader explores different genres and authors. I like to say that I am system promiscuous, rarely playing the same system more than once. What I gave up in system mastery has been made up for in diversity of experience. Having played so many different systems has had a direct effect on how I GM, as I have numerous points of views and styles from which I evolved my own. That evolution has led me from being a structured GM presenting complex stories, to more of an ad lib GM who presents challenges and plays off the players to create the story as a group activity.

Author

I have always had an interest in writing. The earliest occurrence was when I was 10 years old, writing my own comic strips and comic books at school. I was a writer and editor of my middle school newspaper, and I took creative writing classes in high school. I wrote mostly short stories and poems. By college my writing was a lot less creative and consisted more of research papers and lab reports.

It was not until years later when blogging became popular did I once again consider writing as a hobby. For a few years I tinkered around with some personal blogs and the occasional guest post, but nothing with any solid following.However, it was enough to attract the attention of Martin Ralya who was putting together a new RPG blog called Gnome Stew.

In 2008, I was one of the founding authors for Gnome Stew – The Game Mastering Blog. Over the years I have written articles on GMing advice, session preparation, campaign management, interviews with game designers, and reviews. The success of Gnome Stew led to the foundation of Gnome Stewโ€™s publishing company, Engine Publishing, in 2010. You can see the books I published under Engine in the Published Works section.

Today, I have a renewed interest in the craft of writing and find myself writing more and more each day. While these days my writing has been mostly focused on Game Mastering advice, I am looking to expand that into fiction in the near future.

Project Manager

philprojectmanagerMy mother would tell you that the roots of my project management career started in kindergarten when I was the director of the class play, The Billy Goats Gruff. From there I have always wound up leading various groups, including the above mentioned game mastering. Perhaps it was natural that at some point I would gravitate to a career that involves planning, coordination, and leadership.

I am an IT project manager for the State University of New York, where I run projects developing new IT services and enhancing existing services. Outside of the office, I have done project management for the larger books by Engine Publishing, Eureka and Masks, working with large groups of writers, artists, and editors around the globe. I have also lent my skills for planning and coordination to the convention organizers for Buffalo, NYโ€™s own Queen City Conquest, helping to plan their 2013 gaming convention.

Family Life

thecoupleI am happily married to a wonderful woman who has been a great supporter of my gaming and my writing. She is not a gamer herself, but she did try out some gaming when we were dating, and attended a few conventions. While she no longer games, she is my go-to source of inspiration when I need fresh ideas or a weak idea needs some bolstering. From time to time she is my editor as well, one of a number of editors who keep my raw text from reaching the public.

We have two wonderful children, a son and daughter who are both on the Autism Spectrum. We are supporters of the ABA method and have had fantastic results with both our children. Our son, is now mainstreamed in elementary school, has achieved a red belt rank in Tae Kwon Do, and is an avid boardgamer. Our daughter, has graduated pre-school and is making great strides towards being mainstreamed. While raising our children and supporting and advocating for their special needs has been hard work for my wife and I, it has rooted us as a family and has given us great strength as a unit.

What does DNAphil mean?

The nickname DNAphil came about when I was a graduate student in Biochemical Pharmacology, involving a mis-labeled box of plant DNA samples. The nickname was kind of silly, and not that funny, but as with many things, timing is everything, and that mis-labeled box became my nickname in the lab. At about the same time as my labmates were calling me DNAphil, Yahoo! Mail was becoming the in thing, and everyone was getting accounts. While registering for mine, I dnaphil320did not want a generic name like phil9352, so I chose to use DNAphil. After all, I was studying Molecular Biology, and I had always had a fascination with DNA, with its shape, with its ability to store and transmit genetic information, and its ability to control the flow of that information. It seemed like a good idea at the time, which is what many say about ill-conceived tattoos.

Grad school did not work out the way I thought it would, but for a while I kept working in the area of clinical data management and programming, still in the sciences. I kept the Yahoo! account, and as the internet started to expand, I started to use DNAphil for my account name in different forums and discussion boards. Over time, DNAphil cemented and became my online persona.

With grad school long behind me, most of my scientific knowledge fading, and my career no longer in the pharmaceutical industry, the moniker DNAphil has become less and less relevant to who I am. Yet, the internet does not forget, and many people know me by DNAphil, so dropping the handle would not be feasible. I put some thought into how I might re-invent the DNAphil name and image, I came upon an idea…

Gaming is in my DNA.

I have been gaming longer than anything else I have done in my life. It is still my greatest passion, and it is the focus for my writing. Now that I have had children, and they are starting to take up a passion for boardgaming, I am sure that some of my gaming genes have been passed down. So DNAphil will continue on.

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Published Works

Below are my published works in the form of books, games, ย articles and blog.

 

Books

Unframed: The Art of Improvisation for Game Masters

cover-unframedย Engine Publishing 2014

Contributor – Hitting Rock Bottomย 

Achievements:ย 

Gold Seller at DriveThruRPG.com

More Info At Engine Publishingย 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dangerous Space Jail

Thumbnail for Drive ThruEncoded Designs 2014

Achievements:ย 

Copper Seller at DriveThruRPG.com

More Info At DriveThruRPGย 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Odyssey: The Complete Game Masterโ€™s Guide To Campaign Management

odyssey.indbEngine Publishing 2013

Phil Vecchione and Walt Ciechanowski

Achievements:

Goldย Seller at DriveThruRPG.com

More Info At Engine Publishing

Never Unprepared: The Complete Game Masterโ€™s Guide To Session Prep

never-unprepared-cover-450wEngine Publishing 2012

Phil Vecchione

Achievements:

Nominated 2012 Golden Geek Award

Nominated 2013 Origins Award

Nominated 2013 ENnie Awards (Best Writing)

Platinum Seller at DriveThruRPG.com

More Info At Engine Publishing

 

Masks: 1,000 Memorable NPCโ€™s for any Role Playing Game

masks-front500Engine Publishing 2011

Co-Author with the Writers of Gnome Stew

Achievements:

Ennie Gold 2012

Nominated 2012 Golden Geek Award

Platinum Seller at DriveThruRPG.com

More Info At Engine Publishing

 

Eureka: 501 Adventure Plots to Inspire Game Masters

eureka-coverEngine Publishing 2010

Co-Author with the Writers of Gnome Stew

Platinum Seller at DriveThruRPG.com

Achievements:

More Info At Engine Publishing

 

Open Game Table: The Anthology of Roleplaying Game Blogs, Vol.2

Open-Game-TableOpen Game Table 2010
Johnathan Jacobs (Editor)

An anthology of RPG blog articles. Articles included:

Story Pacing, The Chris Carter Way

More Info At Amazon

 

GM-FU: Session Prep

gmfuTabletop Adventures 2008

A handout from a Gen Con workshop I gave with Vicki Potter, and Philippe Menard, in 2008.

More Info At DriveThruRPG

 

Games

Shaintar Guidebook: Goblinesh Gathers139298-thumb140

Evil Beagle Games

Savage Worlds

Co-Author

More Info at DriveThruRPG
 

 

 

 

 

 

Minions of the Source

MotSCover3egstoreThird Eye Games 2014

Part-Time Gods

Contributor

More Info at Third Eye Games

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return of Dragons

PTG-ReturnofDragonsCover3egThird Eye Games 2014

Part-Time Gods

Co-Author

More Info at Third Eye Games

 

 

 

 

 

 

Articles

Momentum Dice

1409707706_FC1.4_-_Small_Cover

Fate Codex – Volume 1, Issue 4

Magpie Game

More Info at Magpie Games

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tools, Companions, and Gods – Using Computers in your SciFi Game

133744-thumb140

Tsunami Quarterly Review Issue #7

PT Publishing 2013

More Info At DriveThruRPG

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be An Interesting Player

tsunamiquarterlyTsunami Quarterly Review Issue #2

PT Publishing 2013

More Info At DriveThruRPG

 

Gone Digital

savageinsiderSavage Insider Issue #8: Technology at the Table

Mystical Throne Entertainment 2013

More Info At DriveThruRPG

 

Blogging

 

Gnome Stew – The Game Mastering Blog

SquareLogo250Co-Author

 

Achievements:

ENnie 2010 -Silver

ENnie 2011- Silver

ENnie 2012 -Gold

ENnie 2013 – Gold (Best Blog and Best Website)

Stuffer Shack – Site of the Year 2013

ENnie 2014 – Gold

http://www.gnomestew.com

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