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Pinhead As A Vestige

When confronted with an interesting bit of cosmological information relevant to a particular fantasy setting, I try to figure out where it belongs in one of the fantasy cosmologies I’m familiar with – this is a fun experiment that provides vastly more entertainment than arguing the nuances of superhero alignments ever did.

Since the introduction of the “power source” concept in Fourth Edition Dungeons & Dragons – however poorly supported — this has been an exercise in retrofitting older classes according to later developments in the game system, re-configuring classes to use a different power source, and determining where hypothetical classes [...]

Say "No" To May The Fourth And "Yes" To The Empire!

Raging Swan Press releases Wilderness Dressing: Swamps

This week, Raging Swan Press is proud to announce the release of Wilderness Dressing: Swamps a Pathfinder Roleplaying Game compatible GM's RESOURCE by Creighton Broadhurst Wilderness Dressing: Swamps is backed by Raging Swan's Money Back Guarantee Tired of glossing over the details of your PCs' overland journey (except for the inevitable, violent random encounters)? Want [...]

Thaco 101 with Hans Cummings

I wanted to know what this THACO thing was all about. I learned that and plenty more.

The post Thaco 101 with Hans Cummings appeared first on Geeky & Genki.

Horatio Hornblower

At a rummage sale the other day, I found an omnibus of the Young Hornblower novels. For those unfamiliar, Horatio Hornblower is a balls-out action hero British Naval officer during the Napoleonic wars. Though not written in chronological order, the Hornblower novels chronicle the young man’s meteoric rise from junior midshipman to Admiral of the Fleet. He is brilliant, lucky (though not so lucky as to never experience defeat), and his life is an endless string of nautical adventures and misadventures.

If you have any thought to run a nautical adventure, the Hornblower books are essential reading. In them, you’ll find [...]

History Hooks: Mariccus the God

Thanks for subscribing to TPK! For more posts, check out TPK - Theory, Planning, Knowledge

This week on History Hooks, I am up to my neck in thesis work so the Gauls will once again be gracing us with their presence since I have nothing else on the brain. But, while we focused on the conquest of Gaul by Julius Caesar in the years 58-50 BCE last time, today we will be fast forwarding over a century to the year 69 CE and a man named Mariccus who thought himself a god.

The History

Quartets: Good for Barbershop; Bad for Empires.

The year 69 [...]

What's Up? 3e News

I’ve been busy. The layout of 3e is underway, and I’m just about to the GM’s section.

Most of my time has been spent touching up and improving existing pictures. I’m putting the new art next to the older art and I’m having a hard time not wanting to improve the old pictures. That’s been slowing me down but it’s a good kind of slowdown because it’s making this a better book.

I’ve updated so many pictures that I forgot that I had already updated a picture and did it again. I like the first one I did better.

Then I lost a [...]

Other Gamers' Stuff: Selected Awesome RPG Blogs

NEVER BEGIN WITH AN APOLOGYI don't do this as often as I ought to, but I'd like to point out some favorite RPG Blogs. I read these and almost always come away with new ideas and insights. I offer just selected few. Otherwise this would go on and on, so I've left off many other excellent ones. I offer a few examples from each of these "top of my mind" blogs. 
ST Wild: On Roleplaying Well-written examination of diverse topics. The author covers WoD, Pathfinder, and other systems. The blog has an amazing variety of approaches from suggestions for [...]

Neverwinter du Jour: Zanne Silentread

“Why am I in Neverwinter? Because I have nowhere else to be.”

Half-Elves are, by nature, a displaced and homeless people. Neither truly elf nor human they are all too often treated as outcasts of both. Zanne Siltentread is an outcast even among Half-Elves, for she is a Half-Drow. Her mother was a Drow Highborn whose fall from favour led her to the ultimate disgrace – she was sold to a human slaver. The Drow and the slaver’s relationship travelled a troubled path through loathing to grudging respect and finally love – though this is not their story. Zanne is the [...]

Amazon Nazis On The Moon: Campaign Planning Revisited

I’ve written a number of articles on the subject of Campaign Planning & Structuring which have been very well received, notably (oldest to newest):

  • Back To Basics: Campaign Structures(also contains links to another twelve related earlier articles).
  • Back To Basics: Example: The White Tower
  • Back To Basics: Example: The Belt Of Terra
  • The Echo Of Events To Come: foreshadowing in a campaign structure
  • Been There, Done That, Doing It Again -- The Sequel Campaign Part One of Two: Campaign Seeds
  • Been There, Done That, Doing It Again – The Sequel Campaign Part Two of Two: Sprouts and Saplings
  • Top-Down Design, Domino Theory, and Iteration: The Magic Bullets [...]

Communities Rock

So I hang out with The Gamer Assembly online; wander into the webchat and introduce yourself, if you like. Earlier this week we heard that the licensing agreement feel through and that Margaret Weis Productions would discontinue Marvel Heroic Roleplaying as of the end of April (but follow the link to purchase print copies of the Basic Game from Amazon). Sad, but that's the way business runs. Related: I'm really looking forward to the Cortex Plus Hacker's Guide.

The next thing you know, we're in the chat talking about what Marvel heroes each of us would be. Natalya started [...]

Effective Charisma

There are some players that routinely irritate and frustrate all the NPCs around them. Their PCs are constantly on the receiving end of the stinkeye and may, by their way they handle interactions, negate any and all character-based charisma that they might have going for them. I think I've already said before that I like to apply charisma (and other character stats) as a sort of "passive lens,"

Testing the game in the outer circles.

     Nowadays I am a bit troubled. How can I describe the game I've been designing for the last 9 years, in the restricted timetable of 5 hours? As a parent it feels like sending your child to the war. Although you have been training it to become a marine, still you are afraid of it's well being.
     This feelings have been brought into existence since I've been invited to present Nemesis Worlds to a circle of PnP RPG fans and game designers, at an experienced realm of the genre. The feedback and criticism is going to be crucial for me, keeping me encouraged to carry on doing what I wish to do best or stop promoting my work to the circles beyond. It is not [...]

YOU are the Hero: Mashing Up Fighting Fantasy and Dice Age

I sawa comment on the Dice Age Facebook pageasking how to use them for solo gaming. I’ve been playing around with the idea for a while and was going to use them to remixDungeon!, but then I thought, “why notFighting Fantasy”?

For those of you that are younger than the internet, Fighting Fantasy was like Choose-Your-Own-Adventure but more hardcore. The company is currently porting all of them to iOS but has decided not to sell the [...]

Recounting Encounters - Storm over Neverwinter - Session 3: City of the Insane

Adventure Background: Storm Over Neverwinter

The frontier city of Neverwinter has persevered in the face of calamity. Yet even as the city rebuilds, an insidious threat rises from within its walls. Neverwinter's citizens are succumbing to an inexplicable madness, while from the shadows, an evil cult of Asmodeus spins sinister plans. Unless a group of heroes rises to stop these perils, Neverwinter might face an even greater danger on the horizon.

This D&D Encounters season takes characters from levels 3-6. It also includes an optional online component, which allows players and Dungeon Masters to convert the adventure [...]

Yale and the Hotel

Today I ran an improvised game that maybe will be the beginning of a new campaign. It was a kinda horror oriented game, about 4 students who have little understanding in magic, and lots of bad luck. To give the game a little mechanical twist, I used to concept of the "Confession Chair" from InSpectres, which was used one time during this session, and advanced the plot quiet well.The game started with the characters studying for their upcoming tests, a little time before the big exams that will come after the Easter vacation. When they opened the newspaper, one of [...]

D&D Encounters: Storm Over Neverwinter (Week 3)

Last week the PCs rescued the kidnapped son of Lady Nadris. This week they continue their search for "The Tormentor," the man in the devil mask who is apparently behind the rash of kidnappings in Neverwinter, including the one the PCs foiled last week. To sweeten the pot, Lord Neverember has offered a 10,000 gp reward for anyone who captures the person or persons responsible for the kidnappings.

This week's recap follows the group at Harry T North in Toronto. We've had just enough people to run two solid tables for months, but the addition of two brand new players pushed [...]

Flaming Deathpits Are In: Dungeon Bastard Wants You For a Dungeon Crawl

Dungeon Bastard Bill Cavalier is a popular sage of gamer wisdom. Continually upping the ante and leveling up in awesome every year, 2013 is full of new videos, a campaign against half-elves, and what may be the best Kickstarter to inspire GMs this summer.


What have you been doing since the last time you graced my humble column?

First of all, I’ve been leading a one-man campaign to eliminate half-elves. They’re an ABOMINATION against elves AND humans. Plus, shouldn’t a half-elf really be the offspring of an elf and a HALFING? Hey, just because you didn’t see Legolas snogging on any hobbits [...]

Creating a Scene in an RPG

Image credit: devke / 123RF Stock Photo

Scenes are the building blocks of an adventure. They are those moments when the player characters interact with the setting, be it NPCs, searching a site for clues, etc.

Organizing your adventure in scenes is, to my mind, the most flexible way to craft an adventure, but there are several questions the GM must ask himself in order to keep that flexibility and have a satisfying session.

What Is the Purpose of the Scene?

First and foremost, you need to know what your’e trying to accomplish with the scene. Does the scene exist to:

  • Bring about combat or [...]

Cinema Is Dead To Me!

The derelict site of the former ABC Cinema in central Tunbridge Wells
I realised the other day that I haven't been to the cinema in almost 12 months. I guess for some people that's quite normal, but there was a time - when I had a job - that I went almost every week.

While the Tunbridge Wells town centre cinema (pictured above well past its prime) was still open, and I was friends with the manager, I saw pretty much everything that came out.

Of course, at the time, I was entertainments' editor for the local paper and self-appointed cinema critic. I even had my own regular - and well-read (if not well-written) - column: At The Cinema With...

But when Odeon bought out the site then closed it so it didn't draw audiences away from their new, dismal, overpriced grottiplex on the out-of-town industrial [...]

The Dungeons of Pasha Cada

Front cover of a prototype rulebook for Dungeon!
In 2011, pictures of a hand-made prototype of Dungeon from 1973 surfaced on the Acaeum, posted by an old friend of Dave Megarry, the game's designer. The cover of the prototype's rulebook is shown above. Megarry himself later posted that this was the "2nd version" of the game, and indicated that he had a copy of the original board but not rulebook, having been lost by TSR during production. You can see a portion of his original board here on the Mule Abides blog.

Board for Dungeon, prototype, 2nd version [...]

Picture Thursday 26: "Sound II" by Antony Gormley

Another statue this week. A statue curious enough that it seems it ought to be posted as part of the Deadly Dungeons series, rather than the Picture Thursday series. Credit to Niel Howard for the superb photograph.

This is “Sound II,” in a crypt beneath Winchester Abbey. I was surprised to learn that the piece is not nearly so ancient as the church in which it resides. I don’t have a date for its installation, but the sculptor is still alive, and in his 60s.

The featureless figure is gazing into his cupped hands, which apparently fill with water when this area floods–as seen in the photograph. That is absolutely going to appear in one of my dungeons soon.

Playing Tokens Kickstarter Project

I came across a really interesting Kickstarter Project for a set of playing cards printed on tokens. Playing Tokens by All the King's Games are plastic, abrasion resistant tokens with a full deck of cards printed across the set. I don't know about you, but I think these tokens have Savage Worlds written all over them. I can think of at least half a dozen use cases for these, especially in a Savage Worlds game.

About Playing Tokens As I mentioned, the set includes the full deck pictured below.

At first, they didn't include Jokers, but after I messaged the [...]

7 Days: What Is Asylum?

I am the Warden!!

On Tuesday, I shared with you the foundation and core mechanics for what I call the Wildpath System, a storytelling device where players roll Fate/Fudge dice to build actions, reactions, and difficulties. I also stipulated that I wasn't going to share anything about the game itself - Asylum - unless there was a demand in the form of at least 5 comments/shares of that post.

Well, I think it's safe to say those conditions were met and then some. I've received some great feedback from fellow gamers out there, both friends and strangers alike, [...]

Threat Assessment: Ghest

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die…

Native to Rodia, but also found elsewhere in the galaxy, this solitary hunter has been the bane of many adventurers and small, poorly armed villages – gaining the moniker Swamp Demons on Rodia. As the nickname suggests they feel at home and hunt mostly in swamps, hiding beneath the surface and attacking with sudden ferocity and lethality.

A few daring hunters [...]


Doing the A to Z was not enough for me so I am signing up for a few more blogfests.

I like these things.  They help me stretch my creative muscles and give me something special to work for.
Plus it exposes my blog and work to others that might not seek me out.

May Monster Madness

I love monsters as you might be able to tell.  So I am going to try to post something each day of this.  My hope would be to post something to promote Eldritch Witchery some more.

Game Journey Photography

by Clinton Coddington and Jon Beall

Game Journey Photography… yet another monthly column. As you think through whether this worth adding to your RSS feeds and bookmarks, allow us to take a moment to tell you what you're in for.

First, this is a photo-essay. Every month we'll feature a handful of photographs and talk about them for a bit. If you don't like that, you won't like this.

Secondly, we are gamer-nerds. If you don't like reading about board games, or seeing pictures of board games, or if for some reason the notion of sitting down to play a board game makes [...]

Random Table: Shield Coat of Arms

It is Thursday again at The Iron Tavern, which means another random table! This week I focused on coat of arms for shields. I purposefully left the shape and size of shield out of the description and focused on the actual coat of arms. The ideas below could be used when you need to spruce up a description or even as seeds for ideas about a particular NPC.

The Iron Tavern welcomes suggestions for next week’s random table. If you have suggestions for next week’s table feel free to leave a comment to this post or over on Google+!

Roll (d20) Shield Coat [...]

Comics! PvP goes Larping

PvP is another webcomic from Scott Kurtz, the man behind Table Titans and also seen hanging out with the Penny Arcade crew during this public roleplaying session (worth watching!) Is this all greek to you? You might still enjoy his latest storyline over at PvP. The guys head to a …

Rockets & Ruins!

Captain Future by Manoeuvre and Clerc

So, I know I could just go to google+ and ask there, or actually load up a forum or something, but I’m curious what gameyou would go to for a Rockets & Ruins styled OSR game. Something about exploring backwater planets and then trashing their ancient ruins for profit.

What’s my best bet?

Dragons and Titans, Another Facebook money pit

I am personally tired of Facebook games that do little more than suck you and suck your money down the drain. I have seen hundreds of games like this one and they all end up doing the same thing. NOTHING!!! These games tend to suck up hours of your life with content that barely keeps you there but does because you can play with friends while at work. Then the vanity factor kicks in and you start paying for extras. My advice, DON’T.

Well onto the newish game. Dragons and Titans,is entering into open beta on Facebook.Dragons and Titanscombines the ubiquity of the Web with the latest social features and unique gameplay elements to create a new, fast-paced MOBA experience. After successfully operating and testing in closed beta since late 2012, Wyrmbyte is seeking the input of gamers worldwide to further refine and polish their breakout MOBA title before launching later this year.

"In the final stretches of putting together a next-generation social game, we believe there's no better way to achieve success than engaging directly with our players," said Brown, founder and president of Wyrmbyte. "We're eager for players to offer their unique input and touches to the game, so [...]

Combat Ebb and Flow, Feint, and Evaluate

I wrote The Last Gasp in order to put lulls and flurries into combat, among other things. I wrote Delayed Gratification because I didn't really like Feints much, and introduced the Setup Attack as a notional replacement or supplement.

But I was thinking about Feints and Waits (next week! Melee Academy is May 9!) partially as a response to the conversation that +Justin Aquino started in this thread. Then I started thinking about boxing, kendo, and other situations where there are lulls and flurries.

I've noted in the past that Aim is a bit deterministic. Evaluate suffers from a bit of the same problem - you get up to +3 from doing it, and then you've evaluated enough and you're done.

Is there a way short of "I'm so exhausted I have to stop and recover" to model two fighters circling, probing, looking for an opening? What happens when they do that? Well, their weapons don't become unready, certainly, unless something is truly biffed, maybe. No blows are exchanged. But in the end, when the probing is done, one fighter has detected (or thinks he has detected) an opening.

Hmmm. That sounds an awful lot like what a full-round Feint might be.

A related diversion:
A long time ago (over a year), +Sean Punch  who has a knack (and he should, it's his job) threw down casually a post he wrote in ten minutes, that gave an idea about what he called Combat Openings. I dropped him an email asking if he'd mind if I reposted [...]

Nine Incompetent Wizards

Recently, io9.com had a humorous article highlighting "The 9 Most Incompetent Wizards of All Time." See more here!

On the OSR New Wave: Mel Black of Monster Manual Sewn from Pants

The OSR is currently today, vibrant in a way it has never, ever, been. The ideas are bright and strange and more creative than can be believed.

I've interviewed some of the most prolific and creative bloggers in the OSR with some non-standard questions. Today we are talking with Scrap Princess, ne Mel Black about gaming. 
I first became aware of Scrap Princess via her sewn work while searching for monster images. Soon after Zak Sabbath noted her creativity and originality and since then I've been an ardent follower of her blog A Monster Manual Sewn From Pants. She produces [...]

Word of the Day -- Bisque

Bisque is a light grayish brown especially used in textiles; also, a thick cream soup made with shellfish or game.  

Bisque is probably a shortened and altered form of biscuit (meaning "earthenware or porcelain after the first firing and before glazing"), which comes in turn from the Anglo-French (pain) besquit, "twice-cooked bread." One example of twice-cooked bread, a teething biscuit, can indeed be the color of such earthenware. 

Who remembers this?
"Listen to this. Marcy comes over and she tells me that her [...]

Director's Briefing -- May 2013

This is our twenty-second Briefing and is the fifth scheduled Briefing for 2013.

Shadow World: The Cloudlords of Tanara

Cloudlords of Tanara is back and is better than ever, combining material from the classic era and the current Kulthean timeframe, and includes RM2/Classic and RMSS/FRP stats. Available in pdf from the OneBookShelf ecommerce network (see RPGNow and also www.drivethrurpg.com ), it will also be available in standard colour softcover and hardcover. Indeed as I write this, the first hardbound copy has arrived with Terry and he's indicated happiness with how it has turned out.

Shadow [...]

Excellent Reading Recommendations From the Commentors

I've had some very good book recommendations in the comment section of this blog. Thanks, you guys, for giving me hours of literary entertainment.

On the fantasy front, I am about a quarter of the way through the Chronicles of Amber (Roger Zelanzy), recommended by Tim (Gothridge Manor). There are ten books in the series, but they are short and they read fast. It feels a bit like reading Moorcock, which is a definite plus in my book, but Zelanzy has a vibe all his own. I also have Malazan Book of the Fallen (Steven Erikson) and the Garrett [...]

Cities - Chaosium

This is the third edition of cities. It was released in 1986 after Chaosium licensed the rights to the Midkemia product lines. This version has material that is not present in the two earlier version but as I mentioned when I blogged about the second edition I have not had a chance to compare the two products. The book contains 64 pages with over 60 or so charts and related tales. The back cover contains the Table of Contents for the book so I am posting a picture of that below as well. 

One Page Dungeon Contest Reviews

I wanted to tour the highlights - to me - of the other entries in 2013 One Page Dungeon contest. This year, entrants are stretching the boundaries further, with many dungeons actually being complete mini-games, and gimmicks a-plenty. I'm even skipping over the couple dozen dungeons I wouldn't mind dropping into my campaign on the fly, and focusing on the ones that get a special piece of my attention and appreciation.

Aaron Frost and Mundi King, Old Guard Tower

The scenario is pretty simple - more a tactical challenge than anything else - but it's the toy factor that [...]

The Wolverine (Sneak Peak)

Daily Cosplay

Iron Man 3 begins this weekend! Here's a sneak peak at his next villain!

Eating Jane

Archeologists have unearthed the bones of a young lady from a trash dump outside of old Jamestown. The bones show chopping marks around the head and neck. The chops are crude and show, researchers say, signs of cannibalism. The 14 year old girls seems to have suffered the wounds after she had died.

This augments some tales of cannibalism from Jamestown's early years. A man is reputed to have eaten his wife to which John Smith replied:

"One amongst the rest did kill his wife, powdered her, and had eaten part of her before it was known, for [...]

Want The Deviant Database For 35% Off?

Saw that Lulu is having a 20% discount promotion if you use the coupon code "SILEO" for May 2 only. So, for today only, hardcopy books of the Deviant Database are now on sale for 15% off. If you use the coupon code, that brings the savings to 35% off! That should put the price at less than $10.00 for more than 80 pages of Mutant Future monstrosities!

Grab them while you can!

GE37: 5 Reasons Free Comic Book Day is Awesome

Free Comic Book Day is Saturday, May 4, 2013. Learn why Free Comic Book Day is Awesome!


5 Reasons Free Comic Book Day is Awesome

  1. FREE Comics.
  2. Meet artists.
  3. Support local entities.
  4. Experience something new.
  5. Geek out.


Also discussed:

Jonathan will be a guest on the Ruthless Diastema video cast hosted by Pete Figtree. His episode will be Wargaming 101 with Jonathan J. Reinhart. Some previous episodes have been: How to have a successful gaming blog Ben Gerber, How to make your Fate games awesome with Lenny Balsera, and Fortune’s Fool 101 with Jay Stratton and Jason Keeley.

On May 18, 2013 Jonathan will walk 3 miles to raise [...]

10 dwarfen battle crys

  1. By the fearless blood!
  2. Defeat before evil!
  3. The steel of power is upon you!
  4. The vengeance of the fierce dwarves has come!
  5. The sons of the Dwarf father have come!
  6. Face the power of the All-Father!
  7. By the name of the clan!
  8. The honorable warhammer has come!
  9. Gnarr!
  10. Death before dishonor!

Some of these things make more sense than others

As the next place we needed to get to was about an hour or so away by car, we had to weigh our options very carefully. How could we get to the singer's home town, Manchac, and still have money left to pay rent at the end of the month? In the end, we decided to go to Fat Dan at the Absinthe House (a.k.a. the client) and ask if he had a car we could perhaps borrow, because we really needed to get somewhere.

He did. And he also got one of his guys to drive us up there.

We found out the family lived about four miles north of the town, which meant we had to say goodbye to the driver and walk. At the end, Morgan Freeman and his family were very hospitable and served up a tasty seafood gumbo, and then we went to [...]

Trailer for Steven Spielberg's Space Lincoln...

Space Lincoln. It's like regular Lincoln, but in space. Trailer courtesy of master manipulator OneMinuteGalactica.

And then there's this fine piece from The Telegraph on Spielberg's follow-up movie, Obama:


No. Enc.: 1d2 (1d4 in lair) Alignment: Neutral Movement: 90' (30') Armor Class: 5 Hit Dice: 3+1 Attacks: 2 (bite, tail lash) Damage: 2d4/1d6 + see below Save: F2 Morale: 7 Hoard Class:... Click the title if you want to know more...

Wednesday Night Writing Exercise: Shipwreck Dragon

Every now and then, you just need to describe something cool. I decided to revisit an old creature that cameo’d in one of my games–a leafy sea dragon made entirely of wrecked ships–looking more into where it might have come from and what it was like, and attempting to describe it without relying on pictures, as I had with its original in-game appearance.

Most of the restless dead of the sea were once living, and envy those who still are, and strike against them where they can. Ghost ships are what they are by the will of their captains, held together [...]

The Hidden World: Part One

Last time, we talked about The Invisible World; a world that has grown so familiar that it goes unnoticed. This time we'll talk about one of my favorite setting tropes, The Hidden World. The hidden world setting is often a world that begins by modeling the world around us, but adds a concealed truth. There are levels and levels of hidden worlds; sometimes the secrets are literally unknown worlds (like the hollow earth popular in pulp novels--a great place to stash your dinosaurs), others feature a truer level of reality (like Mage's awakened, or the Princes of Amber and their understanding [...]
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