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I Actually Really Dig Damage by Class

Yesterday I posted my version of Trent B’s Hack.

In Trent’s hack everyone does a d6 damage and Fighters do a d8 and I adopted that into my hack, with slight alterations: Fighters d8, Cleric and Druid d6, Sorcerer d4 (except quarterstaff d6).

Trent has his own rules for dual wielding and 2h weapons, but I have it as roll two die and take the highest of the two for 2h weapons and dual wielding either gives you +2 AC or +2 attack, your choice. You need a min of 13 in strength and dexterity respectively to use these options.

Let’s cut out [...]


Different post today, and something I don’t often talk about on this blog, despite it being one of the main motivations for living my life.

I have been writing since I was a child, although I would only consider myself to have been writing seriously for the past 16 years. In that time I have written over a million words of fiction, encompassing nine (9) novels & novellas, forty-five (45) short stories, and an illustrated children’s book as a Christmas present for my niece. I have had several short stories published in small magazines, and have self-published two short-story collections that [...]

Win A Trip To The Dungeon -- Well Done!

Well done to all the winners of my “Win A Trip To The Dungeon” competition. You all win a copy of Lunatic Labyrinth from Drive Thru RPG. If you didn’t get your free copy, remember that Claustrophobia! is still in play testing and you can get a free copy of that and the super improved [...]


Goods and materials are often needed to be moved from one place to another

The NPC caravan usually did the job well. Some carried precious foods, other weapons,whilstothers simply carried general goods. They are quite often guarded, some better than others

Here is today’s caravan for your use.

A medium caravan (38 horses) led by Tanina the Barely Scribe, average (level 2 expert) half-elven caravan leader, on the way to Hornpoint.

Caravan Goods:

  • 10 horses carrying bolts of cotton cloth (40 units)
  • 9 horses carrying iron ingots (36 units)
  • 10 horses carrying bolts of luxury cloth (40 units)
  • 9 horses carrying bales of raw flax (36 units)

    Caravan Workers:

  • Laborers: [...]

Publisher Interview: Creighton Broadhurst of Raging Swan Press

In early 2011, I discovered the wonders of Raging Swan Press. Creighton Broadhurst and his talented group of writers and artists have been putting creative and helpful gaming products together (currently 133 by RPGNow’s count) every week or two for nearly two years now… And honestly I don’t know how they do it!

So I thought I’d ask Creighton to see if he might offer some insights into the Raging Swan process and the secrets of their success. Guess what? He kindly accepted my interview request.

Here’s the results of that exchange:

Q: How did you go from running the Living [...]

Win A Trip To The Dungeon

Well done to all the winners of my “Win A Trip To The Dungeon” competition. You all win a copy of Lunatic Labyrinth from Drive Thru RPG. If you didn’t get your free copy, remember that Claustrophobia! is still in play testing and you can get a free copy of that and the super improved [...]

In Which The Warlock Walks The Golden Mean...

The Oracle at DelphiThe so-called "Golden Mean"---as a philosophical concept, mind you---dates back literally thousands of years to the days of Aristotle and Plato.  Supposedly, as one entered the revered Oracle of Delphi, two sayings were inscribed on the doorway:  on the way in, "Know thyself"; on the way out, "All Things in Moderation".  And, sure as anything, gaming tends to take a page from greater themes in life and in philosophy in general.

On its most basic level, balance must be achieved in terms of theme---even in the most dire of horror games like Call of Cthulhu [...]

Agents of the Dark Council -- Power of the Darkside -- Ep1

In the chambers of the Dark Council, the Sith rivals meet and are given their mission.


Episode 1 -- Agents of the Dark Council

Dramatis person:

Zandar Vexx [...]

Claws of the Phoenix

The oni slammed both fists into the Zhu's chest, sending him crashing back into a stone pillar, and falling to the floor. Zin used the opportunity to tumble past the demon's tree trunk like legs, and kick back into it's knees. The demon dropped down, reaching back to grab the monk. Wrapping his great hand around the monk's ankle, the creature jerked Zin forward, smashing his face on the stone floor as he was pulled off balance. The oni pulled a kama from his belt with it's free hand, and raised it up to strike the prone monk, stopping only [...]

What is Flooded Core? What happened to Xenofringe?

Based on +Jeff Rients' 20 Questions about your Campaign Setting I've gathered some thoughts for how I see the Xenofringe setting working out. Firstly, a name change. To reflect the changes in setting Xenofringe is now Flooded Core

The super-advanced worlds of Core Space unleashed The Flood, reducing all civilisation to ruin except those worlds distant enough to be untouched by the superweapon. The frontiersmen inhabitants of The Fringe suddenly find themselves as the last survivors of humanity. 

What's the deal with aliens?
Strange creatures have been encountered and man has dabbled with artificial beings enough that some real horrors lurk the [...]

Equipment in Game Systems

Technology is one of the biggest advantages that humanity has had in its conquest of the world. It's a real thing...it does't require religious faith to work, it can't be argued that a tool is simply a morale boosting exercise...it is quantifiably an advantage. It isn't magic that requires ritual, arcane times and places or obscure componentry. Anyone can pick up a screwdriver and they become far more proficient at turning screws into their appropriately threaded holes, it might take a little instruction but you don't need psychic manifestation, noble birthright or wads of cash to make it happen.

The Bushes Scream While My Daddy Prunes...

The Bushes Scream While My Daddy Prunes, the title track from the mind-blowingly incredible 1984 album from The Very Things. I saw them first on '80s "yoff" music show The Tube and they instantly became one of my favourite bands.

Back in '07, I mentioned briefly my musical dabblings with the far more talented (in that they actually had musical talent) Green brothers. The Very Things were a major influence on my style as lyricist/vocalist.

We Interrupt This Posting....

I hate writing personal posts. Personal opinions, not a problem; I certainly have plenty of those. But personal, this-is-my-life in more detail than just "They sent me home from work with Inspiration" today posts? Particularly when they’re admitting that what I’m doing just isn’t working, even for a short time.

That being said, I need to write one.

Life has gotten… interesting, in a word. Road trip halfway up the country for a cousin’s wedding is just the beginning of it. I get the feeling I’m not going to be in much of a position to post for a while now, nor [...]

Deep as a Puddle: Character Ties Cubed (3x3x3)

NPCs in Character Driven Play

No matter what system you’re playing, NPCs make things come to life. Some of my favorite advice for creating NPCs comes from Dogs in the Vineyard, which encourages you to create passionate NPCs [via some specific prompts and guidelines], then encourages you to have them strive to accomplish their goals. They’re driven people, so what they do–whether good, short sighted, or villainous– is sure to draw the PCs’ involvement.

Fundamental concepts for character driven play are developed in The Art of Consequences. Character focused play was also an ongoing theme of Roleplay DNA’s first five [...]

Troy's Crock Pot: Son of Fantasy Wagon Train

Based on the positive response from the my recent d100 random generator, Fantasy Wagon Train, I thought I would present another – this time along the lines of a suggestion user Randite madein the comments.

So back beneath the shade tree my daughter and I went, iPad in hand. While a new batch of terrain-making plaster set, we brainstormed about the sorts of appropriate, yet sometimes strange and interesting folk you might encounter in a fantasy world’s version of a rest stop.

Perhaps your caravan has arrived at a roadside inn, oasis, caravanserai, way station or some type of land-based port along [...]

They Can't See the Wires

...and even if they can, they'll just ignore them.

Have you ever watched a movie while it's being made, especially one laden with special effects?

It looks nothing like the finished product, even though you're watching the raw material. Actors and actresses look badass as they go through their choreographed routines, but the scene is betrayed by the wire-fu cables, chroma-key screen, and the fact that their punches and kicks are inches from hitting anything. (The picture links to its originating article.)

Have you ever watched a 'magician' practice his or her tricks? Once you know how it works, there's no [...]

D&D Encounters Web of the Spider Queen -- Week 10

Previous session:Week7-8

I was out of town last week for work and for my brother’s wedding (I actually spent Wednesday evening going to the circus in a small town in Ohio), so I don’t have a week 9 recap for you. However, I was told that the party took the direct approach of beating down some ogres and some drow. We don’t need no stinking negotiation!

After finding someplace to rest, the party began this session fully rested and ready to delve deeper into the drow city of Zadzifeirryn. They found themselves in a twisting set of tunnels with spiders on the [...]

The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice -- The Modern Gates, Part III

Yes, there is a shortcut – but you may not like it…

To continue with the locations of the Modern Yu-Shan Gates…

25) Mount Shishaldin, located in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, is among the most active volcanoes on Earth, with an oddly symmetrical cone. Few mortal geologists would suspect its actual origins. The Reshaping buried what was the Glacier Gate beneath thousands of feet of rock, not far above a massive magma chamber. In their desperation, the carver-gods ordered to maintain access to the gate used their charms to force open and hold open a shaft to the surface – triggering a volcanic [...]

Mongoose Traveller: Hard Times On The Solomani Rim, Session 1

Cast of Characters:
Baron Khoiayahelu (Aslan noble (Imperial rank is much greater than his Aslan standing) whose family's mismanagement of the family holdings has sent him travelling)
"Chrome" (Droyne Sport pilot who has been separated from his kin and finds new families among various merchant ships he works on)
Alex Cross, M.D. (Rough around the edges former technician who became a medical doctor)
Mihai Greenman (Perennial underdog. Former Marine, Arms Dealer, Broker, and Vagabond.)

The Story So Far:
...This is the first session. This *IS* the story so far.


So the [...]

What Have I Been Up To, You Ask?

Allow me to answer that with a pair of images:

Yes, in between all the usual madness that occurs here on a semi-regular basis, and all of the additional summer activities that we in central New York have to cram into a scant three-out-of-twelve-months of decent weather, I've been running the Usual Suspects through B2, in mostly-by-the-book Moldvay/Cook B/X fashion. (The only real change being that 0 HP doesn't mean dead - it means falling unconscious and drawing a card from the Critical [...]

Prepaint Repaint D&D Green Dragon

Painted: Wizards of the Coast Green Dragon

Showin' off what knobrot can look like if treated like a lady. This is from The War of the Dragon Queen set from 2006. Not all prepaints of of this quality but there may be enough lurking amidst the chaff to make it worth your while to sift through them.

And as always here's a shot for scale:

Manufacturer: Wizards of the Coast
Line: D&D Minis
Set: War of the Dragon Queen
Figure: 38/60 R Large Green Dragon
Release date: 2006
Date painted: 2011

Two tips on repainting prepaints
  1. Use a fresh [...]

Plug Your Favorite Resource/Game!

Let's be frank. There is a lot of stuff out there for us table top rpgers to enjoy. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of games out there and countless websites and blogs to help with running, playing, designing, or constructing what you need for your own game.

Today, I'd like folks to share what they've found out there that they felt was worth it. A game that seems little known and should be a bigger hit, a website that they love and use all the time for advice or other stuff for their game. Whatever it is, plug it. [...]

Episode 3: Critical Hits & Fumbles

Every D&D player loves rolling a natural 20, especially during a major combat encounter, but shows and equal amount of dread at seeing a natural 1. Succeeding fabulously or failing spectacularly can both be fun, if handled correctly. The question is: whatisthe “correct” way to handle these auspicious rolls?Which systems handle them best? And what do the rolls represent in-game? For this episode, the guys sit down and discuss the benefits and pitfalls of different critical hit and fumble mechanics, and share their own opinion on their use. Things get a little heated, but everyone escapes with most of their [...]

EN World Review -- Heroes Against Darkness by Justin Halliday

If you're like me, you're probably counting the days now. The clock is ticking and timer to GenCon 2012 is counting down, fellow gamers! In only three more weeks to the day, the "best four days of gaming" will have begun!

But until then, I've got yet another product review for you to check out, posted over on EN World News. This week I took a look at a new retro-clone which has managed to accomplish what WotC is laboring on with D&D Next. Heroes Against Darkness brings together a wide variety of gaming mechanics from all editions of Dungeons & [...]

Assessing Group Performance

Perception shapes reality, but sadly individual perception shapes only an individual’s reality to any great degree. I say sadly, not because I long for the chaos such a totally mutable world would bring with it, but because manyof usremain trapped in glass rooms for 1 in the Hotel of the Real, thinking that our perception … Read more

Saturday Seed ~ 113 (Mutant City Blues)

This week's seed is a crime scene for Mutant City Blues. As usual, you will have to tailor the seed to suit your campaign and crew, but enough is provided to get ideas and imagery sprouting. Saturday Seeds appear every Saturday (go figure…) on Casting Shadows. Seeds from the blog also appear on Ancient Scroll. … Read more

Let's Study: The Septieme Cercle Edition -- Qin and Yggdrasill

Hey guys,

I figure it might be time to try my hand at another round of Let’s Study articles. This time we’re still on an Alternate History kick, but focusing on one particular team that’s been churning out some very nice work. Cubicle 7 has been responsible for the English Language versions of two awesome Alt History games: Qin: the Warring States and Yggdrasill. Featuring excellent artwork and layout and matched with a historian’s eye towards replicating a given time period, while still infusing it with the kind of potential for adventure that gamers look for, these are excellent games.

If any [...]


I am the Warden!!

The word "independence" has a lot of meaning right now. It's something I've been struggling to regain for the past couple of years and it's really been coming through in my work.

Since Killshot went live (just over 48 hours ago), I've sold 8 copies of The Director's Cut. For me, that's a stupendous increase from what I used to get publishing 3pp supplements for D&D - 1 per day. Tops.

It's not so much that I'm surprised by this upswing so much as relieved. During my research over the last [...]

Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Premium Reprints

In the words of Dr Seuss "Old Hat, New Hat" ;) 
AD&D 1st Edition Premium reprints of the Players Handbook,
Monster Manual and  the entertainingly eclectic Dungeon Master's Guide
-published by Wizards of the Coast for the Gygax Memorial Fund
-available online and in select shops-Advanced Dungeons & Dragons "reprints"? 

No, really, you didn't know? ;) 

They reprinted them - no, the originals - I don't know if they've started reprinting the reprints because that would make them re-reprints, which would just be stoopid.  I mean why would you reprint a reprint?

...But there was [...]


KongoI've been recording jungle movies, looking for ideas to add to Thunder Island, and I came across this 1932, pre-code movie, staring Walter Huston (father of John and grandfather of Angelica) and a remake of a silent film called 'West of Zanzibar'. If it weren't for the tacked on happy ending, this would have qualified as one of the bleakest movie I've ever seen.
'Deadlegs' Flint is a petty tyrant in the mold of Col. Kurtz  or Doctor Moreau. Through trickery and manipulation of the local tribes, he controls a territory hundreds of kilometer wide deep in the Congolese Jungle [...]

Bits & Pieces - Mythweaver: Legacy - Marvel Heroic - Next Tavern Contest

This is going to be one of those meandering posts, so lets begin the meandering, shall we?

Mythweaver: Legacy was just released on RPGNow (as I post this it is trending 11 in the sales numbers). It's by Splintered Realm Publishing, a small press whose work I've been following for the last 2 years or so. Legacy is a fantasy RPG that starts not with presenting you with character generation, but with world background. I haven't finished reading it yet (damn plate is getting pretty full) but it's already been moved to my Google Nexus for bedtime reading ;) Currently 75 cents (yes, you read that right) at RPGNow.

I grabbed a print copy of Marvel Heroic Roleplaying on Monday when I was at the Complete Strategist [...]

UnderDiscussion 84: Characters & Backgrounds

This week on underduscission, yup you guessed it, we’re talking about characters and backgrounds.

Article: "The Heavy Lifting" -- RPG Storytelling

           For me, story is everything when it comes to a tabletop RPG.  Putting aside all of the dice, the miniatures and terrain, the books, apps, and other crutches, what's kept me coming back to the table time and time again for the better part of twenty years is the story.              The key to a good story is having invested players.  Game Masters can devise sprawling adventures and intriguing mysteries, but without the player commitment there's little hope of the story taking off.  Naturally this makes the job of the GM that much more involved.  Not only [...]

[Gaming] Dungeon Crawl Classics Play Session Report

I was one of the earlier gamers to preorder the Dungeon Crawl Classics roleplaying game.  The entire premise of a role playing game that captured the feel of Appendix N source material without being a retro clone of older rules sets appealed to me.  When my copies -- one regular and one limited -- arrived, I immediately set about the task of reading the rules.  They were clear and captured the feel of the game play I enjoyed as a younger gamer. 

While it is true that DCC captures the feel of games of past generations, it [...]

NPC Profile: Sankrick "Krick" Tandy

     There was never any question regarding the occupational trade Krick would adopt.  His father, a renowned scoundrel in the merchant and low districts of Delerion, could rob a man of his week's booty and a woman of her dignity faster than most men could lose a game of dice.  Krick inherited quick hands, a sharp tongue, and a penchant for nosing out trouble from dear old dad.  He lacked, however, the over-abundance of arrogance and the reputation for appearing on the "most wanted" signs on merchant doors--a character flaw in the eyes of old-timers who had lived [...]

Artist Spotlight: Joel Cotejar

Over the last six months I have had the pleasure of providing many of my players the opportunity to see their characters come to life through the talents of one of our official Laughing Moon artists, Joel Cotejar.   As one of the lead artists for the interior of the Adventures Under the Laughing Moon RPG, Joel has been able to truly link player concepts to the Laughing Moon setting. This has been an incredible way for players to see the products of their imagination come to life.

Through the school where I teach, I have a number of [...]

The Adepts of Mechanus - a Planescape Group

On the Planes, many people find their personal philosophies align with those of a particular group or Plane. Or perhaps, that the Planes align with them. Such chicken-and-egg pedantry is practically Sigil's national past time, after all.
The Cult of the Machine are no different - their desire for pure unfettered Law links them strongly to the Clockwork Nirvana of Mechanus, the Plane of Law and home to the Modrons.

They are generally thought to be an offshoot of the Guvnors, another Lawful Faciton within Sigil. Where the Guvnors attempt to codify the Multiverse, however, the Adepts attempt [...]

Weapon & Armor Strengths

Weapons table from the Ready Ref Sheets
I have written previously about redesigning the weapon versus AC modifiers as bonuses, and then making access to that table a fighter benefit. Basically, the idea was to reformulate the table as only bonuses, and then give that table to the players of fighter characters. As it would always be a good thing to use the table, players would be incentivized to pay attention to that sort of thing, and probably also be incentivized to carry more than one kind of weapon (so that they would be able to have advantages against different [...]

Actions, Reactions, and Bullet Time

Characters in Phoenix receive, by default, one Action and one Reaction each round.

The Action is along the lines of casting a spell, moving, or something like that.  This is the normal sort of activity that players of most RPGs expect in a combat round (although there is only 1 action per round, not 2 or 3 or 12).

Reactions are in response to a trigger event.  For instance, trying to parry a sword attack, block with a shield, or halt an ally's fall over the cliff.

The design idea with Reactions is that a [...]

Choice, Consequence, and Mass Effect 3

I am something of a video gamer, to complement my love of tabletop gaming. And, I've just started Mass Effect 2 after a long time playing Fallout: New Vegas.

My girlfriend's flatmate, however, just finished ME3.

*SPOILERS AHOY!* I'll even put in a jump break for this one...

So, the Mass Effect series has been hailed (rightfully) as one of the most immersive and complex games of recent years. Every choice affects the final outcome of the game, even later games, finally building up to a massive War Sequence climax. The smallest choices can lead to huge [...]

Win A Trip To The Dungeon -- Final Day

So today is the final day to enter the contestand get a free copy of my little adventure from Drive Thru RPG. Simply sign up for email updates on the right hand side of the page and I’ll send you your free copy, easy as that!    

Re-create Jeff Dee's original Dungeons and Dragons art

Jeff Dee (and that’s a Wikipedia entry link) is a recognised RPG artist. He co-created the first superhero RPG (Villains and Vigilantes) and he worked for TSR to help illustrate a number of books for AD&D. He did covers for adventure modules and interior artwork. Wikipedia suggests he’s best known for his Deities & Demigods, Egyptian and Norse pantheons.

Did you know that pretty much all of this artwork has been destroyed?

Dee has a Kickstarter to re-create these classics.

As of posting, this Kickstarter is brand new. For a short while, I was the big backer until someone came in and pledged [...]

The Inquisition: Why Modules Suck

This sucks, too. Thanks to flickr user kirinqueen. CC BY-SA 2.0

This is the first in a two-part (at least) series about running published modules. Next week we’ll talk about why modules are awesome.

Fair warning: this week’s post was consumed by internet hobgoblins, so I’m writing a bit more off the cuff than usual. It’s been a heck of a week for our fearless leader, so cut him some slack and show your appreciation for all the great things he does. We really wouldn’t be here without him.

Anyhow, onto this week’s topic: Modules Suck.

What is a Module? In the olden days [...]

State of Play - Shnecke's Wolves - July 23rd, 2012

1/8/1472 -- 00:42 -- 01:05: The assassin checks out the solid looking walls of the chamber, and can detect no hidden passages or illusions. From the other side of the chamber he notices that another tunnel exits to the south; a wide tunnel, who's threshold is decorated with sharks teeth. Beyond this toothy portal is a smallish chamber, filled with greasy looking mushrooms that shiver slightly in the gloom, its walls, like those of the corridors and chambers before, daubed with crude depictions of Shadrakuul's symbol, sharks, the sea, and here and there, staring eyes. In the middle of [...]

Heroes of New Cincinnati: Gadfly, a member of the Rebels

Gadfly, a member of the Rebels  

Jenna Oliva Pernel is the daughter of Hank Pernel (Exponent) and Thia Marie Montgomery-Pernel (Captain Vortex), both members of the Vigilance Squad and two of the most beloved heroes in the U.S. By age 17, Jenna showed no sign of developing powers and scans performed by fellow Squad member, Dr. Membrain, showed her to be a normal girl.  While Jenna was disspointed, her dad was relieved feeling his daughter could live a normal life.  However, Thia became deranged. She couldn't bear the thought of her daughter being only merely normal and began [...]

I think I really want Legend of Grimrock...

... it appeals to all of the wrong parts of my RPG addled mind! ;)


The Clash of the Expectations/Reading the Game

One reason I often find myself unfairly frustrated with D&D, Pathfinder, and other "fantasy" games is that I tend to view them as toolboxes more than complete games unto themselves. That is to say -- even though I like to use their rules -- I want to be able to map those rules to any [...]

Update -- 25 July

So for everyone out there interested in Torata, you’ll be pleased to know that I’ve got the basic framework for a set of intertwined, continent-spanning premade campaigns laid out. There are six that are tailored to fit a party made up largely of each race, as well as one for mages of any race, and one that’s suitable for a heavily mixed party. These will be developed and released over the coming year or two as I write them.

On a more personal note, my internship ends in a few days, so I’ll have access to editing software and lots of [...]

My 73 year old mother shoots a laser (Crimson Trace review, part 2)

Part 1 of this review may be found here.

Part 2: Range Use

Last Thursday was my mother's birthday. As a treat for her, my father and I took her to our local indoor shooting range so she could perform a practical test of her Crimson Trace lasergrip for the .357 Ruger LCR.

Her vital statistics as they apply to this review:
  • 73 year old lady
  • Arthritis in both hands (specifically around the thumbs)
  • Wears trifocals (has bad vision and therefore has trouble getting a good sight picture)
  • Novice shooter (still trying to find a grip and stance [...]

Dealing With A Stingy DM!

The Dungeon Bastard explains how to deal with a stingy Dungeon Master.

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