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Who has played (or is playing) DnD Next?

What are you unbiased thoughts and appraisal? The Internet has a way of molding people's opinions and I just want to know what people think.

Caveat: I am not an employee of Wizards of the Coast. I don't have a secret bat-phone to them, nor do I have anything to do with the development of the new game--other than being a playtester. Some people see that I do freelance work for them, and they assume I am an employee.

The Hobbit New Zealand Premiere

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey premiered in New Zealand last night and they rolled out the red carpet for the many cast members and crew in attendance.  There was music and excellent weather in Wellington and it appeared everyone was in high spirits.  Peter Jackson and his, now-grown-up, daughter Katie were there along with so many others.  I grabbed some screen caps from the live feed (which seems to be looping as a rebroadcast, so check some of it out for yourselves, though it is a few hours long!) for reportage purposes. Enjoy!

Review Quest: The Reckoning: The Return: Drinking Quest 2: Yeddy Vedder's Yeti Adventure

Image courtesy of Drinking Quest website.

It was a sunny summer day when my friend Robert called me up and asked me to go to lunch with him. He drove towards what I assumed was the restaurant but I was soon surprised to see that we were pulling into a local hotel. We walked into one of the rooms at the hotel and I was greeted by all my family and friends, and a soft spoken balding gentleman with a fabulous mustache explained that I was now in a room "full of people who love me, but they felt like they [...]

Word Search: LBB/Greyhawk -- Monsters II

Greyhawk tossed out too many new creatures to fit in a single puzzle. The rest can be found below.

Download (PDF, 32KB)

November Nebula

NGC 3918

Heroes Against Darkness POD Progress

In other news, I just uploaded the PDF assets for the softcover and hardcover print verions of Heroes Against Darkness to DriveThruRPG. :-)

Now for some waiting...

Aliens and Hillbillies Saturday!

If you are in Jacksonville (or want to drive down) come to the Aliens and Hillbillies game this Saturday starting at 1pm!  We will do the giant mutant chicken scenario with the official figures!

Foresthome: The Marches of Ogresfell

Continued from the previous section.  Click HERE to go back.

Marches of Ogresfell, map scale: 8 miles per hex
For the longest time, this region between the Great Clans' forest and the Realms of Ar and Frisland remained a dangerous wilderness claimed only by ogrish hordes living beneath the crags.  They once dwelled on the surface well before the founding of Ar and Foresthome.  In the face of Alphatian supremacy, the hordes retreated underground and reinforced vast networks of fortified lairs.  From there, they raided the land above until the jaws of Ar and Foresthome locked upon the last [...]

The Slave Pits of Junox

So as I said earlier, Fr. Dave has an incredible scenario, the Slave Pits of Abhoth. I think this would go very well in my current World Between game, as one of the Islands of Unparalleled Liberty to the south of Setine.

So! To manage the conversion, I’m using Junox instead of Abhoth. Junox gets a description on page 147 of The World Between for Fictive Hack. The original description on Jack’s blog is here. Another is here.

Instead of St. Cuthbert, I am using St. Eprial the Dragonslayer. He’s a saint of the Hammers that are powerful in Setine, and he [...]

Fighting Ogres Has Never Been so Unpleasant

Where have I been, you may well be asking? Work's gotten pretty crazy. So in lieu of some half-baked essay, here are adventure logs written by two ACTUAL PLAYERS from the Hounds of Aros game: (OLOZ, the now-satyr former-half-orc) Whatever the fuck day we arrived: We have come to Tyrma, the great stone in the crown of the elf-kingdom of Silversong. I can feel the call of the woods that shoot


Quasits are among the weaker of the demons. They're small, measuring about a foot long, though still kinda strong, have a poisonous bite and can turn into some potentially dangerous animals. Quasits are the Abyss' equivalent to imps, which are similarly intelligent shapeshifting winged tiny devils. However, unlike an imp, which probably has ambitions of power, a quasit is more likely to cause mayhem and will ally itself with someone that can accomplish that.

A quasit can be bound into the service of evil spellcasters. A valuable tool for any malevolent mage as imps can speak with other [...]

Bribing Feedback

Like every game designer, I'd love to have a fanatical core of players who champion my game on various forums, in their local game stores, at conventions or among their regular gaming clubs. Not a huge number of people, but enough people paying attention to my design work and spreading their love for it more than I could do alone.

I've thought about way to do this...but I'm not one of the "hipster elite" on certain forums, I don't live in striking dstance of any major "globally signficant" convention, and it seems that many other designers are struggling just [...]

Cthulhu Gaslight: Slaughter

Cast of Characters:
Thomas Roquefort, American, archaeologist and adventurer, recently arrived in London after an expedition to Egypt
Richard George Thomas Lumley, second son of the Earl of Scarbrough
Jasper Burnside, physician and in the last two years something of a hermit. It's common knowledge that he has lost someone close and there are rumours aplenty for those willing to listen (he's my character)

last time

During the sandstorm, Jasper has a terrifying vision of Fox, who turns into the same darkness as the monster that killed him.

When he comes to again, he needs a [...]

Mapping using Inkscape

I recently decided to “publish” my high level module Caverns of Slime. To the right, you can see the various stages my map went through. And you can see that the entire process started out with map. The map was the backbone of all subsequent activities.

It all started with the first map at the top. Things that made it from the very first draft to the very end:

  1. the ring like structure with a water flow leading to the Ooze Lord in the center
  2. the lab of one of my former player characters, Gar
  3. Shroom Lord (I wanted some continuity with the level above)
  4. orcs on landsharks throwing bottles of green slime
  5. Prison of Dis
  6. Aranea city
  7. Eternal Swamps
  8. ghouls

Things that got lost:

  1. were rats (boring unless transformed in interesting ways)
  2. poison flowers (what’s interesting about poison flowers? the Eternal Swamps ended up being not so evil…)
  3. sauro-eels (but giant eels remained)
  4. “sulfur levels of clockhouse wheels” – a kind of evil Clockwork Nirvana of Mechanus (the evil fusion of men and machine reappeared in the Fortress Dam of Ix)
  5. refugees of the fungus forest (the level above didn’t seem to have any refugees)
  6. rock giant with moss (I feel that giants don’t fit thematically)
  7. dread mages of the shroom kings (which kings? what’s interesting about dread?)

Also note how I abandoned my detailed isometric map in step two. As I drew it, I kept dreading the moment where I’d have to key it and I kept thinking that at higher levels, the party would be flying, teleporting, gating, or pass walling anyway.

As for the final map: I just drew it all using Inkscape. I wanted to write more about it, but in the end, all I did was draw lines, using a lot of Ctrl+L to simplify the paths and then editing the nodes using F2 to [...]

The Gassy Gnoll: After-Action Report (Thanksgiving 4e Session)

Last week this gassy old gnoll talked about the prep he was doing to run a 4e game for his family and his best friend’s family the night before Thanksgiving. I’m here to say that not only was it a success, but we might do it again over the Christmas holiday while the kids are out of school. Crazy, isn’t it?

So last week I settled upon running a D&D 4e game using “The Forbidden Crypt” fromIn Search of Adventurefrom Goodman Games, Masterplan, and a lot of luck. It had been quite a while since I’d run anything of a D&D [...]

Roll Your Own Magic Item Tables

This was going to be a post extolling the virtues of rolling random treasure and countering the arguments you sometimes hear against it.  There were going to be anecdotes and laughs and such.  And as I was writing that post, I ran up against a realization that I realized was maybe more important than trying to participate in the conventional dialogue.

And that is that you (yeah, you) should build custom magic treasure tables for your world.  And by "you should" I mean I should, but I think you might benefit from it too.

In the writing of [...]

NaGa DeMon: Another update

The progress on Galaxy Rising has been slowed down a bit in the last few days. The fact that I suffer from bad lower back pain for since Monday didn't really help with my creative projects. Today I managed to finish the equipment section at least.

So what's the [...]

Products now at sale at Paizo.com

As of today Ennead Games PDFs are now on sale at Paizo.com, home of the awesome Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. It may take a short while for them to appear, but here is the store link



Safe Storage Dungeon

Type of Dungeon: Safe Storage
Walls: Masonry
Floors: Uneven Flagstone
Doors: Iron
Stuck Doors: 5 Percent
Traps: 30 Percent

Safe Storage
When people want to protect something they might bury it underground. Whether the item they want to protect is a fabulous treasure – a forbidden artifact or the dead body of an important figure – these valuable objects are placed within a dungeon and surrounded by barriers – traps – and guardians.
The safe storage type of dungeon is the most likely to have traps but the least likely to have wandering beasts. This type of dungeon normally is built [...]

The Odd World - Why Visit the Polar Ocean?

This is the final post covering the six main regions of the Odd World. We've seen the crumbling glory of Rosevine, the smoke-filled hub of Bastion and the alien weirdness of Starfall. Beyond the Sister States we've seen the loosely colonised Islands and the dauntingly massive continent of the Golden Lands. Now we arrive at the deadliest and most mysterious frontier yet, the Polar Ocean. This is what the game document has to say.

The great Polar Ocean stretches as far North as anyone has ventured. Few explorers return and each brings a different story. Some talk of a shining paradise [...]

Kickstarter Big Guns

Well with 17 days remaining, The Saga of Dragon StarKickstarteris currently at $8,555 of $15,000. so around 60% there. Let's go Gamesmiths! Two big KS came online in the last day or so... 1st, Fasagames is pushing the 15mm miniature game, 1879. However in addition to the miniature game, they're also pushing the RPG, and an app game. However, they're goal is $300k. That's a lot of scratch,

NaGa DeMon: Day 28

Something has struck me over the course of the playtesting sessions (both my own and the feedback I've received from other people)...the notion of variable game length based on the number of players.

It links in well with the themes and the setting of the game, so it makes sense to include this sort of thing. The setting is a desolate and decaying city where the nightmares of a bygone age linger in the shadows striking out at the unwary. The scavenger communities exist on the edges of the ancient ruined cities, if these communities grow too big [...]

Wonder Woman Wednesday...

Feats of Leadership

All right, you know the drill - 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 1 page content, so let's dive right in! There are 10 feats of leadership herein, so what do they do?

Killed a Dragon? Wear Its Face! Dragon Scale Armor in DCC

Okay, here are two completely unrelated things came up in gaming for me today. Here's the first -- I need to think more about the second.

First, in Kickassistan (so, DCC RPG system here), should one manage to actually kill a dragon, there's easily enough dragon scale on that hide for a suit of scale mail, half plate or full plate armor. Doing so requires a skilled armorer (or a PC of the armorer profession), money and time. The armorer needs to have access to leather straps, bits and bobs along with accompanying buckles, grommets and fasteners that cost up [...]

Tommy's Take on Wild World Wrestling Main Event Edition

Nearly two years ago, I reviewed Wild World Wrestling, the spiritual child of WWE: Know Your Role!, one of the more surprising (in a good way), d20 RPGs. Now, Wild World Wrestling: Main Event Edition is about to drop, with improvements and refinements based off of gameplay and feedback. You can see characters built with the first edition of the rules right here on this blog by searching for VIP Wrestling.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: First off, this is actually a pre-release PDF, as Main Event Edition is actually waiting the Print on Demand approvals from One Book Shelf, [...]

There's a Mouse in the House!

Last night I was pleased to play my first game of Mice and Mystics from Plaid Hat Games. Mice and Mystics is a dungeon crawling adventure that places you and a few cohorts into the bodies of tiny mouse warriors. You must fight your way through a treacherous castle filled with all manner of now-giant sized foes including rats, insects and the ever fearsome cat, Brody!
The art is fantastic!
We had a wonderful time playing the game, although I found it a bit too difficult for the suggested rating of ages 7 and up. We were playing with a [...]

Batman : Arkham City Escape

Cryptozoic Entertainment Partners with Warner Bros. Consumer Products and DC Entertainment for Batman: Arkham City Escape Board Game Two-Player Game Pits Batman against the Entire Rogues Gallery In Stores Early 2013 Irvine, CA--- Warner Bros. Consumer Products, DC Entertainment, and Cryptozoic Entertainment, the premier developer of original and licensed games includingThe Walking DeadBoard Game, today [...]

My First Dungeon Crawl: HeroQuest

I already planned on posting about HeroQuest this week before Adam (of the most-excellent Dispatches From Kickassistan) made it even more pertinent with his HeroQuest via Roll20 proposal. It’s really quite a fitting first (non-map) post of the holiday shopping season for this new-ish blog of mine. During a late fall journey to Caldor, ostensibly to get some winter clothes, I ventured into the board game aisle and first encountered what would be the premier item on John’s Christmas List, 1990 edition.

It had a cover that looked like one of the Endless Quest books I constantly checked out of the [...]

Planar Undead: The Heroic Dead of Ysgard

Ysgard is a plane of the joy of battle - great heroes from all over the Multiverse come here, either when they die, or make it here still living to join the never-ending battles that take place here. It is a place of glory, honourable combat, and great heroes, both living and dead.

Sometimes, this never-ending battle can have strange effects on those who fall. The Plane has a slight bias towards Positive Energy - even the direst injuries are healed with great speed, and those who die are simply reconstituted the morning after their death (as if under the [...]

Tailoring To Your PCs

Well, we're post Thanksgiving and November is wrapping up. That means this is the last short week for the blog - unless I have issues getting back into the full swing next week - and that we should be back on our normal schedule soon. I hope everyone had a good November. Personally, mine was pretty good. Then again, this year I've got a lot to be thankful for and I'm hoping I can keep the positive trends up. That said, I have missed ranting and prattling on about GMing, game design, and other things associated with RPGs. So, let's get [...]


I have always been fascinated by pterosaurs.  I get to geek out on dinosaurs this week in my prep work for my 4e game, because the players time jumped into the past at the end of last session (yeah I know that pterosaurs are technically not dinosaurs, but come on).  Conveniently I just bought myself a cool book on dinosaurs which I am going to spend the evening looking through, but first I did some internet searches on pterosaurs.  Even in the "present" day of my campaign,  the party has seen what look like winged dinosaurs soaring on the thermals above [...]

'Cannibal cop', Gilberto Valle wanted to take a girl home for Thanksgiving dinner....

  ‘Cannibal cop’ | Gilberto Valle | New York City policeman|denied bail. The world it seems is chocablock with all kinds of oddball loons, especially with the addition of the internet allowing these sad mental loners to correspond with other mentals that share similar ideals. One of which is cannabalism. OK, I don’t mind talking [...]

My First Dungeon Crawl: HeroQuest

I already planned on posting about HeroQuest this week before Adam (of the most-excellent Dispatches From Kickassistan) made it even more pertinent with his HeroQuest via Roll20 proposal. It’s really quite a fitting first (non-map) post of the holiday shopping season for this new-ish blog of mine. During a late fall journey to Caldor, ostensibly to get some winter clothes, I ventured into the board game aisle and first encountered what would be the premier item on John’s Christmas List, 1990 edition.

It had a cover that looked like one of the Endless Quest books I constantly checked out of the [...]

Aging With The Hobby

The thing about lying low online for a bit and returning is the gift of perspective. You check out the usual haunts, and oftentimes the same folks are having the same arguments about the same topics as they were in 2006, or 2008, or 2011. Sometimes, folks have moved on, and the faces change. Quite often, though, if message board and blog posts weren't dated, you'd be hard-pressed to guess the year.

As I've gone from a 20-something Air Force guy expecting his first kid to a civilian guy with three children, a wife of 12 years, and an [...]

[Review] Convention Book: N.W.O. for Mage: the Ascension Revised

The release of the N.W.O. convention book is perhaps the surest sign of the return of the classic Mage: the Ascension line to me. I’m a big fan of both Mage lines from the world of darkness, and I was also a very big fan of the Technocracy as well. Having the NWO as a favorite convention, I welcomed (and secretly worried) about the release of this book. Was it going to be good? What if I’ve put up too many expectations on it that I’d be disappointed?

Now that I’ve had a chance to read through it, I’m glad [...]

UnderDiscussion 95: Tangents

This week is a shorter episode where we discuss the recent Star Wars news “amonst other things.”

Swedish woman accused of having sex with skeletons -- Yahoo! News UK

Swedish woman accused of having sex with skeletons – Yahoo! News UK. As much as we are reviled by talk of necrophilia and such like death fetishes, I still find things like this funny! Yeah, you can call me a sicko that I find stuff like this amusing, but lets face it, one can only [...]

The Bedrock Blog Interviews ME!

Hey folks, this is mostly for the people who aren't connected to me on social media already...Brendan Davis of Bedrock Games just interviewed me for his blog, covering writing (both comics and this blog), my thoughts on RPG design and reviewing!

If you have a moment, pop over and take a read!

Thoughts - Dungeon World or What Apocalypse World Could Have Been

Most of you that have read my blog before already know of my opinion of Apocalypse World. One of the best rule sets of the modern era hidden behind purposefully obnoxiously confusing "Look at me! I'm Fucking Hip!" bullshit writing. AW is a gem of a ruleset hidden within a steaming pile of poo. I love the rules, I detest the rulebook. How much do I detest it? I literally threw it across the room in frustration and was extremely pissed off that I had wasted money on the shit. It's redeeming quality is that it plays so much better then it is written.

So, when I saw the Dungeon World Kickstarter over the summer, I was loath to spend money on it. My experience reading AW had [...]

Gone Fishing...

I know these two guys. I used to work with them had an experience that reminded me of them the other day. It’s about fishing. These two guys both liked fishing, and they’d talk about it at work all the time. For the sake of argument, let’s call these two guys “Rob” and “Grady.” The [...]

Grognardia's Meme: My Shelves

I already did this months ago and still think it's a neat idea.

Here are some other shelves in one easy spot for you:


The Other Side Blog

Dreams of Mythic Fantasy

Barbaric Frontier

Greyhawk Grognard

Bat in the Attic

Dark Dungeon 2nd Edition

and I'm sure more are coming...

Peter Pan Will @#%^ You Up

This concept actually got use in my foolishly-abandoned Pirates of the Spanish Main campaign earlier this year.  I moved a bit further away from the golden boy to a more hedonistic, adult Dionysus.  The story became that Saint Brendan's voyage to the New World was actually taken to dispose of the more hostile (to the Church) or troubling (to the Church) bits of paganism that were still lurking around Europe.   St. Brendan and gang entombed the Undying Youth on a remote Caribbean island where -- many centuries later -- he was mistakenly freed by cannibalistic Caribs (Tiger [...]

Do I not know Fate as well as I thought?

Wow, I really need to read more of Fate.
Especially since the game we are making is using the system. This is what happens when you haven't really gamed in a while and realize that you must play the game to really understand it.
I played the Dresden Files rpg over the weekend. It isn't that I forgot EVERYTHING. But I did forget enough for it to bother me. I need to know this system, inside and out. I may know 90% of it, but then 10% showed up this weekend and that is not acceptable.
I have to [...]

Redshirts: Fred Saberhagen Attacks!

Kzinti WarriorThis session of Stars Without Number was the one back the week before Thanksgiving.  The intrepid freeze-dried scouts were sent to a system that happened to be the main theater of operation of a war between two races.

The first 'race' was Saberhagen's Berserkers - those spaceship-robots programmed to wipe out all life in the galaxy.  I loved the Berserker series, and I even called them Beserkers in the game.  The PCs keep calling them 'reapers.'  Grrr.

The second race is the Warchou.  Actually, I had it in my mind that the word was spelled WARCHOW, but [...]

Random RPG Thoughts #16: Gaming Shelves

James M. form Grognardia just started a meme I actually like. What's on your gaming shelves? It probably tells a lot about your gaming likes, dislikes, who and what you admire, and probably also what you'd like to play. And yet, you may have forgotten that this is so for your own shelves, just having left those books and games up there for so long. James has a lot of first edition D&D and AD&D - much what you'd expect, from him, or from Eric Holmes when he wrote Fantasy Role Playing Games in the early 1980s.

So what [...]

New Car for JB:007 --- Buick Regal Grand National

I wrote this up because it featured prominently inLife, a show I rather liked…

1987 Buick Regal Grand National GNX

The Buick Grand National was one of the last rear wheel drive muscle cars the company put out. Even while they came electronically limited to 120mph, the GNX was one of the fastest American cars of the late 1980s. The turbocharged 231 cu.in. v6 motor was produced by MacLaren and would generate 276 hp and 360 ft. lbs. of torque. Only 547 were made.

PM: +1 RED: 4 CRUS: 70 MAX: 120 (165) RNG: 250 FCE: 2 [...]

Convention Book: N.W.O for Mage: the Ascension available now!

Heroes of Reality

The proud men and women who serve the New World Order are the paragons and saviors of humanity. These Enlightened minds have the thankless job of being our shepherd, leading us to ultimate Empowerment and protecting us from utter chaos: the misguided Traditionalists, corrupted Technocrats, vile creates, and ourselves.

The Order oversees the Technocratic Union through its unrivaled academic might, omnipresent surveillance, and unparalleled advances in psychology. But even as the Technocracy is winning so many hearts and minds, NWO must keep the Union from turning on itself.

A Truly New World

The paradigm of the Masses shifted dramatically in the [...]

Legend4ry Plotting: A DM's Challenge

I've been bad lately, loyal follower(s) and I realize it. I've not posted in awhile, and that sucks. Alright, so let's move on, no one wants to read an apology about how I've been busy or whatever.
So I've been writing lately. I am doing NaGaDeMon, but admittedly I've been slacking. Like, way bad.  Life has been lifey, and some things come first. One such priority is my on-going 4e D&D game with my newbs that I taught to play last August. The DORX crew (Dox, Oran, Razul, and Xune) are coming up against some pretty big hurdles. This has been my [...]

Fostering Familiarity

"So, now that we all completely trust one another with our lives..."
Party dynamics is always a factor in any of these games we play.  It's important for the sustained suspension of disbelief that the player characters are as comfortable with each other as the players' depict around the table.  Yet, often the subject of a given character backstory is glossed over when creating a party at the outset of a new game.  Even worse is "don't mind the orc" syndrome created when a very different party member joins during a game in progress - either it's the player's replacement [...]
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