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Deadlands to Fate – The Thrill of Skills

The first test of my conversion of Deadlands Reloaded to the Fate rules set went really well, better than I expected. I had hoped that the rules changes would be able to keep the feel of Deadlands while giving my group a set of mechanics that we were more comfortable with. If you want a […]

Passing Notes In Class

While the players around the table are generally on the same side and trying to cooperate to accomplish a common goal, there are times when secretive or contentious actions need to take place between the characters. There are a few reasons for this, and when done properly, these secret notes can add some spice to […]

An Olfactory Review of Adventure Scents

Adventure Scents provided us with samples of scent packets to review their Adventure Scents product. Angela Murray wrote up a review and took incredible images for those without video, while Matt Neagley, Darcy Ross, and John Arcadian took part in a reaction video.   Angela’s Review I’m a firm believer in the power certain smells […]

It’s Your World Too

Today’s guest article on worldbuilding is by Patrick Regan. Take a trip through the process of collaborative worldbuilding and check it out! – Journeyman John The image most people have of GM’s is of a man with a screen, a private set of dice, and a notebook or binder full of scribbled notes, maps, and […]

Roll20CON: Guests, Games, and Getting the Hang of Roll20

Roll20, a popular browser-based virtual tabletop for online RPG play, is having its first convention Friday, June 3rd, called Roll20CON. It will be 24 hours of delicious online gaming action, with concurrent panels and games being streamed on Twitch with great guests. Viewers will have several opportunities to donate to CyberSmile, an organization that works […]

How to Get YOUR Heroes Into a Civil War

  Keith A. Garrett just popped in from an epic Gnome/Kobold airport battle to drop off this guest article about getting a civil war type scenario going at your table. – John #teamblackpanther Introduction (or Why a Civil War?) A civil war between superheroes. It’s been a comic book miniseries, and a book, and now […]

A Rather Mysterious Experience

A few weeks after Christmas this year, I received an unexpected envelope. Inside was another, much older envelope and in that was a letter imploring me to tell no one of my receipt of that missive and to not discuss it’s contents. I immediately started carefully asking around to see who had sent it but […]

The Online Edition: Ensemble Play

Online gaming makes it easier than ever to join a game. However, real life still gets in the way. Overtime, school assignments, sickness, and family responsibilities all conspire against us sometimes. Maintaining an ongoing, epic campaign can be a quite a challenge. Now, it is a rewarding challenge, and one I would never disparage. But […]

When Your Game Doesn’t Mean Anything

When I think back about the games that have been the least fun for me as a player, it’s always when there is no meaning to my actions – when it feels like I have no real effect on anything or when the story I’m engaging with has a pre-defined ending that I can’t affect. These […]

The Art of the Off the Wall Con Game — Scheduled

Renaissance Venice is sinking. Our heroes meet in a square, trying to form a plan to save the already historic city.  The pigeons settle around them, until one particular bird arrives with a message tied to its leg. My players immediately laugh, joking that the pigeon is itself the bad guy — and in this […]

The Online Edition: Group Size

Forging an online group can be a tricky task. You may have never met the players face to face to know how they will fit in with the group. Also, adult schedules make it difficult for folks to attend every session. As an online gamemaster (GM), you’ll have to make a decision about how many […]

Troy’s Crock Pot: Inside the mind of a trapper

I had the occasion recently to spend the day at a Boy Scout winter encampment. This is where Scouts test out what they’ve learned in a fairly harsh environment. (Not hostile, mind you, just harsh, as in cold). There were activity stations set up across the state park, which the Scouts had to reach by […]

Gaming Groups – Keep or Build

I had my main gaming group for over 20 years. That’s quite a feat in terms of people being around, sticking together, etc. In some ways it was quite a treat, I always had a group to game with. In some ways it was a challenge, working to keep the group together, deciding on what […]

Mod It, Change It, Twist, Adapt It

This is the start of a series of posts about hacking game systems and adapting one system to fit the setting of another. There’s some lead-up to the meat in this one, so I hope you’ll bear with me. Think about your favorite setting. Think about what you love about it, what makes it special, […]


Forging an online group can be a tricky task. You may have never met the players face to face to know how they will fit in with the group. Also, adult schedules make it difficult for folks to attend every session. As an online gamemaster (GM), you’ll have to make a decision about how many […]

Campaign Suspension

I have a confession. As much as I enjoy GMing, I actually prefer to be a player. If offered a choice, I’ll almost always choose to play. Believe me, I do like running games and I absolutely enjoy discussing and improving my craft, but I’ll always choose to jump into a good GM’s game over […]

Hireling to Hero

A few years ago, I was running a game in the midst of a deep dungeon delve. As things go with these delves, a character in the group died. The character had hired a faithful hireling and dutifully kept him alive. The hireling was more than just a backpack-carrying torch bearer. The PC treated the […]

The Eight Types of Fun

Gnome “emeritus” Walt Ciechanowski likes to say there’s no such thing as wrong bad fun. I love that statement. I also believe he’s right. Unfortunately, fun is often subjective and hard to describe something that’s fun to someone unless they know your tastes and preferences. It’s why we use games we enjoy playing to let […]

Using Archetypes as Narrative Devices

This guest article on archetypes is by Aaron Ryyle. I feel it fits a very nice, typical mould… – Punmaster John “One cannot afford to be naive in dealing with dreams. They originate in a spirit that is not quite human, but is rather a breath of nature—a spirit of the beautiful and generous as […]

Three Explanations for Gygaxian Unnaturalism

Once upon a time Gygaxian Unnaturalism was the default assumption for DnD. In it, the world essentially plays favorites between PCs and monsters (unfortunately, the favorites are not you) and logic is more or less thrown out the window as far as stocking dungeons. Monsters rarely fight among themselves and will instead team up in […]

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