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SESSION PLANNING: THREE FOUNDATIONAL PRINCIPLES

“Spend more time on your drawing.” This is the absolute best advice I’ve ever gotten as an artist. Without a solid drawing, it doesn’t matter how polished your painting technique is. The final work will still end up looking “off.” Session planning is like that too. If one doesn’t have firm foundational elements, the final […]

Gnomecast #1 – Approaches to Continuity

Hello Gnomes and fans of gnomes. This is episode numero uno of the GNOMECAST, where gnomes talk about gnomes and try to avoid getting thrown in the pot for other gnomes to eat. I, your humble host Chris, has “recruited” fellow gnomes Phil & Senda to join me on this inaugural episode. Hopefully we avoid […]

Commentary On The Un?corn

As promised in our Patreon video, I’ve recently begun my studies into the un?corn, a beast related to the mythical unicorn, but constructed of imaginary numbers. Not only have I been able to successfully confirm several of the commonly held beliefs about these fleeting creatures, but I have discovered two new subspecies of un?corn, one […]

Illustration Inspiration: Halloween Edition

Spookiest greetings, fellow Gnomes! I come bearing dark gifts for the unseelie among you: great frickin’ art to inspire, horrify, and delight. In the Halloween spirit, give us your best scary stories and twisted imaginings these images conjure in you. A grand Samhain to one and all, and enjoy!      

Resurrecting a Campaign

By popular demand, my gaming group has requested we start playing my Eberron campaign again. A while back, I talked about how to suspend a campaign, but what do you do if you didn’t end at a nice, neat point? How do you resurrect a campaign your players love, but you aren’t sure you remember […]

Storm King’s Thunder Review and Giveaway

When the DM for my D&D 5th game, Mark Middleton, asked if we had read any official WOTC books, I told him I had gotten a review copy of Storm King’s Thunder that I hadn’t yet dove into, but was planning to review. He asked me not to, since this was the next arc of […]

Transactional NPC Details

The last thing a game master wants is for parts of his or her carefully crafted world to be immediately forgotten or dismissed. This is especially true of NPCs, but sometimes it can’t be helped. If an NPC is only there to sell the party a new sword, a fresh horse, or a set of […]

The Blue Wedding: Interview With Whitney “Strix” Beltrán About Bluebeard’s Bride

“You put the key in the lock… You turn the key. You open the door… You go inside. The door closes behind you.” I’ve been haunted by the mere prospect of a game for 7 months. Lurking in my podcatcher are three episodes that I could neither delete nor endure: an Actual Play of the tabletop roleplaying game Bluebeard’s Bride, […]

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 http://burntobuild.com/ 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 […]

HOW FAR AHEAD?

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, […]

CAMPAIGN FINALES

“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 […]

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