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To Be a Better GM, Characters Come First

In my previous posts, I’d been exploring the Agenda and Principles for Apocalypse World. This was partially because I think they’re really sweet, and partially because I was running a campaign of the game. Sadly, that game seems to be done, as we had two key players move out of state. In the meantime, with […]

Fun Times In The Adventure Zone

Art is by Justin Gray at I have new favorite thing, you guys.  By that magic known as “checking out the things liked by people I like”, I stumbled across the fantastic and hilarious podcast, The Adventure Zone. And oh my word, I have fallen in love. Here’s the quick rundown: podcast veterans the McElroy […]

Five Odd Vampires For Your Game

Halloween is around the corner. It’s time to put some creepy vampires into your game. Here are a handful of vampires I’ve made as characters or NPCs over the years. Hope they prove fun for you and your players… if not for their characters. If you’re had a vampire you particularly like in one of […]


I’m a planner. It drives me crazy when I don’t know what is happening next (or for the next few months, for that matter). As a gamemaster (GM), you’ll have to decide how far ahead to plan your sessions. Roleplaying games (RPG’s) present a special challenge to your planning: players and the dice have an […]

Movie review: Shin Godzilla (Godzilla Resurgence)

I could not miss the limited American showing of Shin Godzilla. I realized this is the first time I’ve seen a proper Toho Godzilla movie in a theater since Godzilla 1985! It was an excellent, albeit very strange kaiju movie....

Review: The Kobold Guide to Plots and Campaigns and The Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding

  Today’s review of Kobold Press Gudies comes from Sarah Jasmine Stork, who graciously agreed to play mediator in the great Gnome/Kobold war and review the products on our behalf. Kobold Press sent her review copies. Thanks! I have been casually playing D&D for nearly 15 years and, to be honest, I’ve never gotten good […]

Dungeonology Review and Giveaway

We recently got a review copy of the Dungeonology book by Candlewick Press and Matt Forbeck. It’s a D&D companion book aimed at a setting specific overview of the Forgotten realms and general D&D concepts. Written by Matt Forbeck with an introduction by Ed Greenwood, the book is a pretty interesting and interactive look at […]

Design Flow: Not The Game I Intended To Make

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 […]

Troy’s Crock Pot: Tinkering With the D&D Ranger

Regardless of the edition of Dungeons and Dragons, it seems that no class invites revision faster than the ranger. It’s seen variously as under-powered or overpowered; too much of this, too little of that; or in flavor and concept, failing to match up with someone’s idea of what the prototypical ranger is. Should the ranger […]

An Outsiders Look At What D&D Is Doing As A Brand

So What Is WotC Doing With D&D? We all think of D&D as a game, but I don’t think that’s how the people over at Wizards of the Coast are looking at D&D anymore. They’re treating it as a brand and are focused on storytelling. The game is not intended to be the prime money […]

The Poor Man’s Conlang

Conlang is an abbreviated term for Constructed Language, essentially a made up language. Constructed languages are used in a lot of media to give a certain feeling to a setting, race, etc. You can see examples in the names and place names of your favorite RPG fantasy race or alien. Done right they’re ridiculously complex, […]


“How does it end?” is an eternal, human question. We crave resolution in our fiction and in our games. The ultimate resolution (well, besides character death) is a campaign finale. This is the final mission that concludes PC’s adventuring careers. In this article, we’ll look at the positive and negative aspects of using a campaign […]

Reconsidering Rifts

A bit over ten years ago, my gaming group had a brief and painful foray into a Rifts campaign. We had been stuck in a loop of ‘What do you want to play?’ ‘I don’t know, what do you want to play?’ so one of the guys offered to run Rifts. He was the only […]

Illustration Inspiration

    Art by meeeee, Avery Liell-Kok      It would be very nice to have an endless font of ideas, but I spend my days tapping that well so thoroughly, sometimes it can be difficult come game night to squeeze a little more blood out of the stone. When I’m stuck in an imagination […]

Diseases in RPGs

Diseases are universally feared by everyone. They affect the rich, poor, healthy, sickly, old, young, and everyone in between. In fantasy games, your holy avenger won’t protect you from contracting the black plague. In science fiction games, being the captain of a star cruiser doesn’t stop the evil nanobots afflicting the rest of your crew. […]

The BBC Method Of Story Arcing Part 2

In my first article I hit the high points of how the BBC tells stories and how you can appropriate that for your games. In this article I’ll touch on how you can build up the material you need for a single session of play and how your needs will differ depending on where you […]

Gaming as Imaginative Play

Credit to PiratedPictures. No, his pictures aren’t pirated. A lot of us can trace our gaming roots back to the days of brandishing sticks and pot lids as a sword and shield, rescuing dragon-held captives or fighting illusory villains. Childhood pretend play, or “Imaginative Play”, is an important developmental tool, but the benefits still apply to […]

Steal This: No Forests On Flat Earth

Fringe conspiracy theories are often fertile ground for gaming ideas, but the recent “no forests on flat earth” is so amazingly bizarre that it towers above the competition for material to steal for your game. The original video is an hour and a half long and a bit of a mess, but I’ve embedded it […]


Marvel comics didn’t invent continuity, but they certainly perfected it. From the early 1960’s through the 1990’s, every Marvel story built on every previous one in Byzantine complexity. Many of us long to craft those kinds of campaigns. However, reality often encroaches on our world-building plans. People get busy, go back to school, get addicted […]

One Shot Characters: Fully Detailed or Blank Slate?

One shots are not necessarily my preference for gaming experiences, but I go to so many conventions I end up playing a large number of one shot games. While I love and treasure a good campaign, I end up spending quite a bit of time thinking about what makes a good convention game. I suppose […]

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