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Troy's Crock Pot: Make Those Monsters Legendary, Again

Veteran game masters might fall into the trap of viewing every monster in terms of its hit dice and combat capabilities. It's too easy to just plug in a monster that matches the requisite challenge rating, call for initiative, and play on.

Resist that urge. Freshen up those monsters.

Every time your group rolls up new player characters or you start a new campaign, you have a chance to make those familiar entries in the Monster Manual new again --- legendary even.

The key is in the set up. A little planning --- and A LOT of foreshadowing ---can pay off.

  • Who rules the [...]

Deadlands - Cardstock Cowboys: Horrors of the Wasted West

From the Packaging:

Dig in to our savory dish of toxic torment! We've carefully blended only the best beasties in Muties, Monsters, and Misfits to add to your gruesome collection of Wasted West woes! We guarantee that it will add zip to your Hell on Earth roleplaying game, or use with our free miniatures rules -- High Noon -- available on our Weird Website (www.deadlands.com).

Hero Datafile: Winter Soldier

It’s the first day of Winter, so what better day to post a highly requested datafile: The Winter Soldier!

This datafile is based on the current “Man on the Wall” version of Bucky, but could be tweaked easily for any other era. Just change up Milestones and Distinctions. As an added bonus, I worked up an item powerset for the Kazurr Sniper Rifle that Bucky (and Daisy Johnson) use as a part of their new mission to guard the Earth against cosmic and extra-dimensional threats.

Filed under: Datafiles

Hill Giant #2 (scratch-build)

How do you like my new hill giant?

I sculpted him over a Reaper Bones ogre. I got it to test the material and I have to say I was less than impressed. I have a bunch of prepaints I've collected over the years mainly to use for parts, and they tend to be much sturdier and with a material that takes paint a better. From sturdiest to most bendy the progression goes Pathfinder > Heroclix > D&D prepaints > Reaper Bones (though I only have 1 pathfinder figure to go by). You could easily put [...]

The 12 Geek Days of Christmas -- Day 11

The 12 Geek Days of Christmas is a 12 part series. Read the rest of it by clicking on a date below. 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th This Post 12th   And here we are, at the penultimate day of our song. Kind of hard to think that it will […]

I'm pretty sure this entire video constitutes "incitement to commit a crime"

But hey, you know what the anti-gun cultists say:  1st Amendment good*, 2nd Amendment bad!

And no, just for fun, let's play "Count the Crimes Committed":
  • 0:15 - Burglary (kid entered his mom's bedroom with the intent to commit theft).
  • 0:23 - Robbery AND minor in possession of a firearm AND, depending on the state and the value of the firearm, grand theft.
  • 0:40 - Clearly, the kid has time to think about what he's doing -- it's not a spur of the moment thing -- so there's probably some premeditation going on.
  • 0:46 - Bringing a firearm [...]

Green Gestures

A Change In Venue, A Change In Rules

Going into Friday I had a problem: one of my PCs couldn't make the game. Now, this normally wouldn't be a problem but we'd left off in a huge fight and that PC was a key part of the strength of the party when it came to combat and what was going on in the game. I needed a plan, and luckily for me I had an option available to me.

Using one of the NPCs present in the fight I zapped the PCs into a different realm, one that resided in the minds very similar to the realm [...]

Tales from the Hydian Way: Episode 16 -- The Underside of the Galaxy

This time we look at criminal organizations, how to use them, one of many ways to use law enforcement with them. Even how to use the “Big Galaxy” approach when dealing with planetary Criminal organizations.

Falleen all over himself to be taken seriously.

You can find us on Twitter at @DeuteriumIce and @Xphile101361

You can get in contact with us at TalesfromtheHydianWay@gmail.com

And you can find us as well as many other gaming articles at MadAdventurers.com

The show can be found on iTunes

If you like what we do and would like to support our little podcast, please head over to the Patreon page for the [...]

A New Concept (for 1982)

As a lad, your humble host watched General Hospital.  This was during the 'Ice Princess' storyline with its elements of science fiction and espionage.  The soap opera enjoyed unprecedented popularity and -- understandably -- this popularity carried over into merchandising.  Cardinal Industries obtained the license for GH and published The Game of General Hospital in 1982.

So what does this have to do with old school role-playing games?  Admittedly, not much.  However, the game was marketed as "a role playing board game..."  The back of the box reads, "This new concept incorporates the simplicity of a board game [...]

Converting High CR Monsters into PC Races

I’ve done a few conversions now of Monster Manual creatures into PC races, both here and at www.gameschangelives.com and the vast majority of feedback has been great. There have been a few conversations about various abilities or choices I’ve made that have been very insightful, so I wanted to take a moment to talk about the challenges and viewpoints of designing high CR creatures forPC races.

There is one major challenge with designing MM monsters as races; often the reason they aren’t core races. They are far more powerful than normal PC races.

Keeping that in mind, you can approach developing themfrom [...]

D&D 5e Combat -- Initiative

I wrote an article about initiative, strategy and team play. Recently after reading some more, and playing, I am ready to just throw Initiative out the window. I am more in favor of what Robert Schwalb has going with in his new game “Shadow of the Demon Lord.” He uses an Action Economy system and a simplified system that let’s the players go in what ever order they want. I really like that system, but want to use it for D&D 5th edition. So let’s first look at how initiative works in D&D. Theplayers all roll a d20 and perform [...]

5th Edition Thri-Kreen

Along with the aarakocra, the thri-kreen are one of my favorite non-standard races to play. Unique and alien, thri-kreen provide for unusual roleplaying opportunities and unusual flavor at the table. The challenge? Thri-kreen are a powerful PC race (see Behind the Development below). Converting them to a standard PC race while maintaining their flavor and popular, race-specific powers was a challenge and even with this conversion DMs should consider before allowing them in their campaigns. If used, DMs and players should play up the thri-kreen’s social disadvantages as much as possible, including limited communication and insight into humanoid motivations and [...]

Free OSR Download - Phonomicon Ex Cultis From Wedge the Halfling Under the Door! For Your Old School Campaigns

Grab It Free Right
 Religions in OD&D and AD&D 1st edition have been something I've specialized in since I was a kid. Clerics have always fascinated me and this is a solid way of coming up with some very fast and on the fly adversaries and allies for use with your old school game campaign. An innovative and interesting take on creating new and quick religions on the fly for your NPC cults and enemy needs. A very well thought out solution to the old deer caught in the headlights problem of coming up with a cult or group during [...]

Wonder & Wickedness released

Demon by Russ Nicholson

Get it here.

Sorcery rules, spells, magical catastrophes, enchanted treasures.

More from Paolo here, including another image sample.

It will only be available in this form until the end of december due to EU regulations. We can’t guarantee anything, but we are working on a solution to keep it available after that point. There may at the least be some period of interruption come 2015.


Ten Candles--The Tragic Horror RPG Kickstarter

“Ten Candles” is the first role-playing game kickstarter from Stephen Dewey and the premise sold me immediately. Everyone dies at the the end of the game. Always. There is no last-minute reprieve or deus ex machina to save everyone. All the PCs will die, but how you face that end is what matters.

A darkness of unknown origin consumes the world and the players represent a tiny story of survival among the doomed millions. Faced with their demise alliances fall, betrayals planned and emotional carnage take a terrible toll in the PCs last hours.

This is a hardcore story RPG with light [...]

A review of Neoclassical Geek Revival

NEOCLASSICAL GEEK REVIVAL, 5th EditionAuthor: ZzarchovDefault Genre: FantasyMinimum number of books needed to play: 1Dice used: d20, d12, d10, d8, d6 and d4. Learning Curve*: MediumAvailable as: PDF, Print of Demand Paperback, and Leatherbound HardbackRetailer: RPGNowSupplements/Modules/Adventures available: Several*Learning Curve is my estimate of how hard it might be to learn the system, assuming you started with D&D, Pathfinder, or one of its clones. Levels include Easy, Medium, Hard and Existential Insane-o.
Stabbed with the silver tongue in the eye

Some of us believe that a magnum opus of a campaign will not have shed a drop of blood, [...]

Montporte Dungeon Maps After 40 Sessions (Part 2)

Here are some Montporte dungeon maps after 40 sessions of play. The maps below only display what has been explored and discovered by the player characters. I have decided for this round of dungeon maps to (a) identify the stairs between levels and (b) break the maps into 2 separate blog posts (this is Part 2, as the casual observer has already noted in the post title...Part 1 is here).

  • RED indicates ascending stairs/ladders; PURPLE indicates descending stairs/ladders
  • The distance noted below indicates the vertical ascent or descent covered by the stairs/ladders.
25 - Elevator pad that ascends an unknown distance to an unknown destination26 - [...]

GMprov -- It's a Set-Up

This week, I’m going to focus on anotherrules of improv:Establish the Scene.

Whenever you're writing a play or a book, you have months to build up the proper setting and mood. You can take your sweet time to refine the language, and use flowery language to establish the mood. Ol' Poe describes his chamber "the bleak December / and Each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor." (Beautiful, ain't it?)

When you're running an improv scene, the average time you have to establish the scene is roughly 34 pictoseconds. When you're GMing a rambunctious group, you might have about the [...]

In Memoriam

Succubus Sunday - A Very Sophie Christmas

Over the years Reaper Miniatures have released several Christmas variations of their mascot, the Sophie the Succubus.
2001 Christmas Sophie2002 Christmas Sophie2003 Christmas Sophie

2004 Christmas Sophie2006 Christmas Sophie
2005 Christmas SophieChristmas Sophie: A Reaper ChristmasChristmas SophieSophie Christmas Ornament

While I'm Waiting

Keeping busy while Kickstarter attempt to locate Scotland. Starting to sort out some of the extra Creative Commons images that have been rolled into the Alba project.

To the mild amusement of those passing so far, the snowfall on a landscape image on the Image Credits page looks quite good – [...]

An Interview with the Gamma World Online Community Leader!

Recently, Angelic Doctor Games had an exciting opportunity to interview the man responsible for founding the Gamma World Online facebook group. A group dedicated to bringing together the fans of James M. Ward’s popular science fantasy role-playing game which has been influenced and has influenced popular media for decades (The 100, anyone?). I thought you might enjoy reading it!

When did you start your group, and why did you create it?

I started Gamma World Online at the very end of 2013 (December 29, 2013) due to the total absence of any Gamma World Facebook group. There is a single Gamma World [...]

Sunday Inspirational Image: The Kiss

The Kiss
By AbikK

Baghead Bandit, Buy Your Furniture Back

Review #70 -- Free Video Game
Baghead Bandit, Buy Your Furniture Back
Last week, it was cardboard boxes. Now, it's paper bags. In today's platformer adventure you take control of Baghead, a good man that only made a few mistakes. Like selling all his furniture to impress his girlfriend. Hey, I said "good", not "brilliant".
Baghead Bandit has a really simple premise: pick up all the gems in a level and then get to the door. Simple, but no easy. Moving platforms, precision and quick jumping, some enemies, cool secrets and more are all part of this game.
So, while [...]

No Gaming Post Today - Mourning the Loss of Two Fine Officers

It's rare that I step away from gaming over here at The Tavern. This is a roleplaying blog, and the posts obviously reflect that. I make an exception yearly for 9-11. Today is going to be one of those rare exceptions.

Yesterday two officers of the NYPD were executed in their patrol car. We almost lost a third officer last night when a perp put a gun in an officer's face but the firearm was empty of rounds, as the perp had just tried shooting at someone else (the reason the cops responded.)

My mind is far from games and gaming at the moment.

My thoughts and prayers are with officers Liu and Ramos and their families.

My fear [...]

Montporte Dungeon Maps After 40 Sessions (Part 1)

Here are some Montporte dungeon maps after 40 sessions of play. The maps below only display what has been explored and discovered by the player characters. I have decided for this round of dungeon maps to (a) identify the stairs between levels and (b) break the maps into 2 separate blog posts (this is Part 1, as the casual observer has already noted in the post title).

  • RED indicates ascending stairs/ladders; PURPLE indicates descending stairs/ladders
  • The distance noted below indicates the vertical ascent or descent covered by the stairs/ladders.

1 -  Stairs ascending 80' from Level 1 to surface [...]

Dungeons & Dragons Expeditions Defiance in Phlan - The Meeting at Deepnight

I wrapped up my Shadowrun campaign a few weeks ago and have assembled a group for a new D&D 5e campaign. I will be running the Dungeons & Dragons Expeditions adventures for them. Expeditions adventures are meant to be run in a game store or at conventions in 4 hour slots. They are set in the Forgotten Realms and deal with the Tyranny of Dragons storyline.

I am running these at home in an unofficial capacity to get familiar with them in case I need to run them at the store, and also so I can write about [...]

A Fox's Guide to Conlangs (Part 5) - Actually getting to the words

Who would start a language? How would it spread?
There are a few simple answers to these questions, each of which give us ideas about where to start the language (which words might have developed first, and therefore which words would be the simplest terms in the language).
The language might have been developed by religious types, as a means of communicating the glory of the gods with the wider community. I'd imagine such a language to be very conceptual because the ideas it conveys are deliberately spiritual and related to ephemeral things, any symbolic connections to physical items [...]

The Tumult

Patron: Merchant
Required Skills: None
Required Equipment: None
Location: Any world experiencing social turmoil

Players’ Information:
The world is undergoing societal problems. The native populace is bitterly torn over social, economic and racial issues to the point that rumors of civil war are flying about. For now, however, the bitterness is confined mostly to increasingly nasty public debates and policy changes, with sporadic mob violence triggered by seemingly minor incidents.

This is the case as the adventurers are conducting their business. Another situation has sparked rioting recently and is still in the news feeds enough to stoke angry confrontations between citizens and [...]

Enough Teasing!

It is with great pride and joy that I can finally announce the release of Cities of NeoExodus: Gytha. This book was designed in a public session held in October on Google Hangouts and the ideas for were just great, making this book one of the most exciting sourcebooks I've worked on in the past years. It includes two short pieces of fiction, adventure locations, archetypes, religions, magic items, fully-statted NPCs complete with background, horde forces to use in your own games.

In addition to my awesome design team, I received some invaluable layout assistance from LPJ himself and [...]

Bustthinned Episode 005

Still working on getting below the inconvenient caverns, when I suddenly discover I’ve run out of rock…

Find the playlist here!

Statblock Sunday (Maddening May): Karz Slug

A gelatinous slug umber in hue and covered in amber slime, this creature is patterned with a symmetrical array of hardened nodules. Several dangerous-looking calcified horns protrude outward from both of its tapered ends, making it nearly impossible to tell which end is which. A series of bulbous suckers cover the slug's underside and surround […]

The post Statblock Sunday (Maddening May): Karz Slug appeared first on Adventureaweek.com.

[Review] Where Is Margesh Blackblood?

Also available as tiny booklet.Margesh and his bandits have been terrorising the countryside. There's a price for his head. But where is Margesh?

In 10 (total 12 pages plus covers) pages of adventure text and maps there's lots of fun. The maps are good and locations vary from each other for an interesting location based hide and seek.

There is replay value even for GMs because in the beginning of the adventure Margesh's location is randomly determined from the four hideouts.

I had fun running this, and my player had fun playing this.

I can highly [...]

[Review] Where Is Margesh Blackblood?

Also available as tiny booklet.Margesh and his bandits have been terrorising the countryside. There's a price for his head. But where is Margesh?

In 10 (total 12 pages plus covers) pages of adventure text and maps there's lots of fun. The maps are good and locations vary from each other for an interesting location based hide and seek.

There is replay value even for GMs because in the beginning of the adventure Margesh's location is randomly determined from the four hideouts.

I had fun running this, and my player had fun playing this.

I can highly [...]

G+ Communities: The Good and the Bad

I’ve noticed a shift away from web forums and towards Google+ Communities for many OSR games and projects. While it’s certainly not a bad thing to get a community of interested folks together to discuss what they love, I wonder if this shift is splitting the greater old-school gaming community. There are some who don’t have and won’t create G+ accounts, I myself was reluctant to create an account, Google’s “real name” policy rubbed me the wrong way. If I want to be pseudo-anonymous, then I should be able to do so. From a practical sense, this policy was totally [...]


I used Hoard of the Dragon Queen as a sourcebook not a module.

sketch dump ... kitchen sink edition ! :D

various sitting on sketch board :D…from top to bottom michonne , kang the conqueror , steampunk engineer , bib fortuna , war shaman , farrah the cavalier

sketch dump … ready for battle edition ! :D

Filed under: character, conceptart, sketch dump Tagged: bib fortuna, cavalier, character, concept art, engineer, farrah, kang, michonne, shaman, sketch dump, steampunk


This is a report of the sixth session of our Vaaran Kingdoms Sertorius session. You can see session five HERE. 

The party: 

Gaius: A Ronian-blooded aristocratUloff: A Gru TraderGaroff: A Gru Bounty HunterDreckergael: A human hunter who casts spells randomly when woundedTauq: A human tribesmen from the march between Palus and Apprea, serving in the house of Alu-Bora under Archon Emmanuel. 

Important NPCs:

Belga: A Dwarf Sertori with blue skin who believes he is a Gru Vaela: A Hasri Sertori who has grown loyal to the partyHamil Kar-Harba: The brother of the King and Gaius' uncleGesara: A Sertori hunter who leads a wing of the Church of Ramos against spell castersRuega: Daughger of Goff-Tannerhauch

Last session the players intercepted the following message from Ruega addressed to their enemy Gesara of Palus: 

To the Sage and Pius Gesara Namburi of Palus,
Disaster has arrived. Father was attacked by the Sertori of the House of Bora and the entirety of [...]

NewYearNewGame.com Archive

In 2012 and 2013, we ran a New Year, New Game, a contest for GMs with a simple mission:

To inspire game masters to run at least one new game each year, because trying new games broadens your horizons, challenges your skills as a GM, and can deepen your enjoyment of gaming as a hobby.

We got a ton of great entries, gave away a ton of prizes, and the whole thing went pretty well. But in 2014 I took a look at everything I had on my plate, and in considering NYNG I realized that it didn't offer much in the [...]

Everything Is Character

Consider creating equipment, vehicles, and more as characters in your Savage Worlds game setting.

The post Everything Is Character appeared first on Sin City Savages.

News: Wonder & Wickedness release! and the Lost Pages Shop shuts down in ten days!

Two bigs pieces of news today!

First, I’m proud to release Wonder and Wickedness,Brendan'ssorcery supplement.

It contains:

  • anew magic system with level-less magic and rules to adapt it to your favourite fantasy RPG
  • supportfor magic duels! like in fiction!
  • seven magic disciplines and a whole lot of new spells
  • scores of catastrophes, for when spellcasting goes horribly wrong
  • fifty magic items
  • and some fine new art by Russ Nicholson. Like this:

The PDF and Print+PDF are available at the Necropraxis section of the Lost Pages webshop.

Like for Into the Odd, the PDF is available immediately and the print copy will ship in January.

You also will get some alternative cover [...]

RPG Kickstarter Roundup: Week of 12-14-2014

This is the the RPG Kickstarter Roundup! We’re bringing you all the RPG-related Kickstarter projects that recently started or are about to end. The Roundup includes RPGs, miniatures, dice, and anything else that may be RPG-related. In this edition of the Roundup we’re covering new projects for the Week of 12-14-2014, and projects ending the […]

"Into the Odd" Player reference, equipment

As I’ve noodled with it a bit more, I’ve got my “Into the Odd” initial (potential) player reference started.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: I’ve put some house ruling into this. The original game should not be judged based on what I’m doing at my table! I encourage you to get the original game!

Part of the reason I’m doing this is frustration with the game’s layout. Things you only need at generation are mixed in with things you need on an ongoing basis. Rules for combat are disconnected with where the weapons and their damage are listed. DM advice is worked in with what [...]

Christmas critters!

During 2014 I've managed to make a semi-sporadic series of updates to this blog that have shown various creature deisgns. At the same time, I've been tinkering with other ideas and sketches as they've popped into my head or have been part of on-line threads for various RPGs. I've also been messing around with new techniques, or dusting off some old ones.
The first and most recent piece of artwork is this Mindflayer:
This started off as a pencil drawing, then became a line drawing which was subsequently scanned and mixed with digital colours. I've not done this sort of thing for quite a while, although I used to create artwork in a broadly similar way when I was a concept artist. It's good to have a try at this again, although I am quite rusty and need more time to get more polished. Still, I think the Mindflayer is a good illustration as to how lurid D&D monsters are, based on the description given in the 1E Monster Manual. If I get the chance I'd like to create some more D&D themed artwork. Earlier in the year I created this image of a troll:
This came out [...]

Shadows of Esteren conjure Occultism success on Kickstarter

I’m clearly not the only fan of Shadows of Esteren out there. It’s barely a day into their latest Kickstarter and they’ve smashed targets. They’ve raised $58,000+ from nearly 550 backers on a goal of just $20,000. At the time of writing there’s still 31 days on the clock and you can get more information here.

[Back this Campaign]

The goal of the latest Kickstarter is to finance two projects. One of the campaign goals is to fund the publisher’s third music album “Rise”. The main piece is the new supplement “Occultism”.

It’s been a good ride of the game; two [...]

Three Student Generated Maps

The Hydralisk, shamelessly lifted from Starcraft and tripled in potence and nastiness, is among the most fierce of monsters that I introduced in my Adventure Games class.
Here's the stat block 5th edition style:
HYDRALISKArmor Class 18Hit Points 68Speed 30ft
STR 18, DEX 16, CON 18, INT 7, WIS 12, CHA 8Senses: darkvision 60 ft, Perception 8Morale 11Challenge 3 (700 xp)
ACTIONS: 2 per turnBite: +4 to hit, 1d6 damageClaws: +4 to hit, 2d6 + 2 damageAcid Spittle: Ranged Attack. +2 to hit, Range 30 / 60 ft. 1d6 +2 damage, victim loses 1 point of armor class.
Hydralisks regard all other creatures as prey. [...]

Shakespeare Sunday -- Authorship of R2, Part 2: Sequel or Prequel?

Go to Part 1

Given the deep connections between the two plays, it would be logical to assume that either Richard II was written as a sequel to Richard II: Thomas of Woodstock or that R2: Woodstock was written as a prequel to Richard II.

Since it’s comparatively more common for authors to write sequels rather than prequels, let’s start with that hypothesis. If Richard II was written as a sequel to R2: Woodstock, we would expect to see callbacks to the earlier play. In just such a fashion, Shakespeare in Henry V has the king pray to God to forgive the [...]

Netflix - Streaming Without Fear...

Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock aka Dardevil While Netflix has introduced me to a range of great television (particularly Orange Is The New Black) and movies, the main reason I restarted my membership of the online streaming service was the forthcoming Marvel mini-series, that begin with Daredevil in May. Bringing some street-level action to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Daredevil is the

Tales of a Married Gamer -- Downtime

Greetings and welcome back to another Tales of a Married Gamer. By the time you read this article, I will have sat through at least 5 to 6 hours of graduation ceremonies while wearing fancy Sith robes and a goofy hat. Graduation is a wonderful time of the year for parents as they get to see their kids cross the stage and receive a leather bound folder which, when you open it, has a piece of paper that says “you have not graduated until all of your final grades are in and confirmed.” Even better for the students who have [...]

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