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Blades in the Dark: First Look

I found Blades in the Dark through a friend and decided to drop a dollar on it to check out the quick play rules. I heard a lot of good things from the G+ community and the author also wrote Lady Blackbird, which I’m a fan of. Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised. (Quick...

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The post Blades in the Dark: First Look appeared first on Ramblings of Jacob and Delos.

Dragon #132


Ki'Rok found Vesper and Huntsman in the Ruins of Skyreach Castle.

HJRP1415 Happy Jacks RPG Podcast Season 14 Episode 15

Your hosts: Stu, Aya, Twin and Mowi

Show Notes! Wil L asks us about a situation where his party might become overly wealthy and asks for advice. Dancing Owlbear has a playing bringing the wrong kind of drama. Jimto checks in with some tips and a bit of an update. And a gaming nightmare from Nerdarchist Ryan


Champions -- Hel, the Hidden One, Avatar of Death

Hel, the Hidden One, Queen of the Underworld, Guide and Guardian of the Dead, Goddess of Death, Arbiter of the World’s End.

Ages past, when three tribes of the North sought refuge among the Limbs of Yggdrasil, the powerful among them took on aspects of Ymir – and so gained some control over the forces which governed existence upon the World Tree. The Aesir aligned themselves with the powers of will and magic, the Vanir with fertility and the local powers of individual biome-realms, and the Jotun with the forces of the elements.

But one of the great powers, the entropic force [...]

Champions -- Jormungand-Aegir, the Midgard Serpent

Jormungund-Aegir, the World-Serpent

It was the nature of the realm.
Energies flowed between the twin points of Creation and Destruction.
A cascade of matter, and energy, and mana – the stuff of life.
A vortex of potentiality, that created and destroyed without end.
Between the dipoles of Muspelheim and Niffelheim, the Ginnungagap.

And life stirred.
Where the chill of destruction brought order to the chaos, Ymir woke.
A vast and formless being, a consciousness within the vortex of chaos.
Woden, Vili, and Ve – Knowledge, Will, and Power – arose in Ymir.
And there was growth. Matter was bound to life and [...]

Gaming Paper Review

I bought a roll of hex Gaming Paper a couple weekends ago. Here is a quick review and some ideas I have for using it. I had heard of Gaming Paper a few years ago, and I like the idea. One can use it for instant terrain maps for use with miniatures. It is also […]

Managing Expectations Of Theme and Content

This may be more high level than some people like to consider when they're talking about their hobby, but as a GM it is something important to keep in mind - especially when planning encounters and campaigns. Every game has expectations, and beyond that every group and every player also has expectations. Manage those well and your content will stay on point to the enjoyment of all. Betray those expectations though, and even though nothing has changed about how you run your game, your players may suddenly not be having the same level of fun that they were previously. Today I [...]

Tales From the Hydian Way: Episode 30 -- The Tale of Shiny Things

Ben had no idea about equipment and was starting to worry he was doing it very wrong. Cam had some ideas so they started talking about it. Thankfully someone had the recorder going so all of you can benefit from the discussion on equipment and how to get it to mean something to the players while not being too giving or to miserly with it.

You can find us on Twitter @DeuteriumIce and @Xphile101361

You can get in contact with us at

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

The show can be found on iTunes. [...]


Part of the fun of waiting for the release of the next big comic book movie is speculating on the casting and portrayal of key characters. Certain properties and characters are so iconic that seemingly everyone has an opinion and idealized version of what the character should be and how best to portray them. This is especially true of Zach Snyder’s next installment in the Man of Steel franchise and the announcement of several prominent heroes.

I am of course talking about Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, and particularly of a new cinematic depiction of the titular character of Batman. More important than the actor cast, and I am in favor of Ben Affleck by the way, is the visual style and story line that the version is sourced from. The initial images released look very promising and I am optimistic as it looks to be based on Frank Miller’s popular Dark Knight. This is my Batman, and if it works the way I hope it does it will be the best depiction yet.

Few characters in comics have so consistently captured the mainstream imagination as Batman. Over his 75 years of history he has been depicted in film, TV, animation, and video games probably more than any other costumed hero. You don’t have to be a geek to be familiar with the broad strokes of the character. Even casual fans know the origin and basic elements of Bruce Wayne’s vigilante war on the criminals of Gotham.

There have been many cinematic interpretations of Batman over the years, from campy to traditional, to the more recent dark and gritty. But the movies have always seemed to focus on certain elements such as the gadgets and technology, at the expense of one simple fact:

Batman is a ninja.

Or more specifically, Bruce Wayne is a [...]

FMAD Humanoid Age Table

Last year I was reading the entry in the Monster Manual on ogres and saw what it said about their age. I realized that I had not seen a table on the ages of the various humanoids like for the player character races, so I built my own chart in June, 2014 about the same […]

FMAD Name Generator

I made my own name generator back in June, 2014, and thought I had posted it to my blog, but I can’t find it. So, I am postingthis article and will link to the PDF here. This table uses a couple each of d6’s, d10’s, and d20’s. If you have multiple dice of different colors, […]

Sasquatch Sightings!

I'm pleased to announce that in last several days I've received all of my Kickstarter books for Primeval Thule AND my copy of Princes of the Apocalypse from Sasquatch Games.

I'm very happy with the work they're doing and I hope at some point they will be able to do a conversion of Thule to DnD 5E, however until that happens I've done quite a bit of work on that settings takes on backgrounds and races.

Playing at the World

I'm reading Playing at the World, by Jon Peterson, a history of fantastic gaming, currently pointed pretty hard at D&D, the force that animated (and still animates) the industry, and could easily be said to have created the industry to begin with. 
I'm on page 96 right now, and this thing is 632 pages of, like, 5-point font.
Going to be a while to finish it, I think.  I'm finding some of it fascinating and very (ahem) interesting. I had no idea that D&D took root here in the Twin Cities in the form of Arneson, though of course I was aware of the Wisconsin origins of Gygax.
It does read like a history book, which of course it is. The exhaustive footnotes can be quite informative. I find it fascinating, for reasons that will start to be obvious on April 5, at the strong influence and mark military wargaming left on our hobby, a genealogy that will only be pried from cold, dead hands, as it were.
But if my posting velocity is a bit sparse (though I will have a bit of something starting up next week), you know why.
Note: Jon Peterson has a blog, unsurprisingly titled Playing at the World. Plenty to read there.
Hmm. I wonder if he'd be interested in an interview on The Firing Squad . . .


THARIVOL managed to recover two artifacts from the Ruins of Skyreach Castle.

Daily Punch 3-24-15 Speed of Thought positive Quality for Shadowrun 5e

You can get lighting reflexes and stay mondain and not cybered. Let’s build on that!

Speed of Thought

Cost: 30 Karma

Prerequisite: Lightning Reflexes

You’re faster than fast. You’ve either trained for it, or you were born with it. Gain +1 to initiative rating and a bonus dice. This stacks with lightning reflexes and nothing else. Also, increase the bonus on defense tests by +1.


Few words about D&D Next and choosing the first system to play

Some may say that I overgeneralise, but for me RPGs can be devided into two groups: those focused on story, plot, intrigues and actual role playing, and those which are filled with much more numbers and statistics, what basically means that fights are on the spot, but, certainly, all RPGs are the mixture of that all. Generally speaking, I prefer the first group from the aforementioned two and that is why I consider Call of Cthulhu my favourite RPG, in which numbers on a character sheet are rarely needed and I have run a lot of sessions when my players [...]

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Calidar: In Strange Skies

Product- Calidar: In Strange Skies

System- Pathfinder

Producer- Calidar Publishing

Price- $10 here http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/133973/Calidar-In-Stranger-Skies

TL; DR- How about some Spelljammer in Pathfinder? 90%

Basics- Set sail for the first star on the right! Calidar is a setting for a universe focusing on flying sky ships that sail between planets with most of the focus on the world of Calidar. While the book goes small enough to detail the kingdom of Meryath on Calidar, the book also has enough universe detail to give any game master enough ideas for how to run the universe. Let’s break this book down into its parts.

Mechanics or Crunch- This is [...]

The Winner of a Free Print Copy of Sword for Hire / Blue Frog Tavern is...

Wow. We really have had some cool giveaways in the last week. I tip my hat both to the generous donors and all those that have commented. Well done all :)

The dice have decided, and they have decided it is:

+Johua De Santo

Josh, email me at tenkarsDOTtavern at that gmail thing and I'll forward your snail mail address on to Vlark so he can get you your T&T goodness.

Sunday Inspirational Image: Morning Fog

[Historical Figures of Renown] Richard III

I don't know how many of you have followed the recent saga of Richard III of England.

A short recap of the story: Richard died shortly after the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. In 2012, a corpse was unearthed while work was being done on a parking lot in Leicester. They ran DNA test and the remains were found to very likely be those of the dead king. Richard was interred today in Leicester. His re-burial led to something of a period revival. Not only that, but the search for Richard's descendants and the story of Richard himself has [...]

The Coot (Far Away Land and Tunnel & Trolls)

When I asked +Jim Magnusson to create a monster inspired by the Classic RuneQuest "Duck", I didn't know what to expect. Amazingly enough, he gave us the Coot.

I've already stated the Coot up for Swords & Wizardry, so here are the Far Away Land and Tunnels & Trolls versions.

Enjoy :)

So, what's a Coot anyway?

Coots have their roots in a the magical experiments of a long since lost cabal of magic users. As such, they have little history of their own and no great civilizations to speak of.

Most Coots live in small, nomadic tribes. They are hunters and gatherers, and rarely stay at one location for longer than a few weeks. They make enclosed nests of [...]

Shakespeare Sunday -- The Scripts: Merchant of Venice

As with the other ASR scripts prepared for the Complete Readings of William Shakespeare, the full script presents the complete play. The conflated script, on the other hand, is what we use in actual performance. The conflated script is uncut, but does contain the role conflation which allows us to perform plays which have 30-50 roles with casts of 10-15 actors.



The textual history of The Merchant of Venice, while paling in comparison to the tangle of Hamlet, is nevertheless something of a muddle. The confusion in this case arises almost [...]

Post Gary Con

This was my first Gary Con and I had a blast!  I've been meaning to go for years and I only live about an hour and a half from Lake Geneva but I just am now getting the chance to go.  It's been a while since I've really played any games outside of Dungeon! so that was really nice.

I pretty spent the whole time war gaming instead of role playing but I walked around and looked in on a lot of the rpgs.  Next time I go I'll get some role-playing in,

I was signed [...]

Psychedelic Assassin Squad, Bring it On!

Review #82 -- Free Video Game
Psychedelic Assassin Squad, Bring it On!
In honor of the first non-periodic month-long event at the Warehouse, Dazzling March, I'll show you a game that would be at home between those brightly colored adventures.
This is the point where I usually write a small paragraph about who your character is, but it doesn't apply here. As far as I can tell, you are an assassin. Sorry, I'd like to be more helpful.
So let's talk about gameplay, then. It's a first person shooter, and a very simple one at that. And don't let the [...]


Along with a set of rules, The Adventurer's Handbook offers a setting called Wundervale.  The map provided in the book is rather unsightly, so I was compelled to create a less unsightly map that I present above.  (The map in the book shows "Elf Wood's.")

The first human settlers arrived in Wundervale "less than a century ago" and began the process of deforestation.  According to the book:
          About 50,000 people live in the populated regions.
          Myboro is the largest settlement, numbering about 2,500 souls inside its walls.  It is the county capital as well, and [...]

Tech Review & Copy Edit Services Available

Are you a game designer or developer that needs an up and coming project reviewed from a technical perspective (rules compliance, continuity, sound concepts, etc) or are you in need of a copy editor? I am available for hire. My rates and/or product compensation is fair, I’m speedy and my work is high quality! Please email me atrollingboxcarsblog@gmail.comif you would like to discuss a project.

Previous projects include:

  • A soon to be released Labyrinth Lord module by Joe Johnston ofTask Boy Games
  • Early rules continuityeditor and playtester for Fields of DespairbyKurt Keckley and being published by GMT Games
  • Rule continuityeditor for Operation Dauntless [...]

Been a Busy Afternoon

I spent the afternoon going through a batch of my micro-adventures, reformatting some of the so I could print them out in some form of hard copy.  On the table is about half or what needs to get done.  The different formats I have currently are laminated 4" x6" note cards, laminated half-sheets and the one is a full sheet that's laminated.  In a addition to those, I also have the one page fold over (card stock folded in half) and not pictured here is a small zine.

The Whisk was a giant help.  She worked at one [...]

The Silent Legions Art Pack has been released for Free to the Public for Personal and Commercial Use

+Kevin Crawford , the man behind Sine Nomine Publishing and perhaps best known for Stars Without Number, has released the art pack from his most recent Kickstarter - Silent Legions - into the hands of the public.
The Silent Legions Art Pack is a free collection of 56 black-and-white line images and one color cover first used in the Silent Legions Lovecraftian horror RPG. As part of the successful Kickstarter campaign, I arranged to buy full rights to the art from the original artists, allowing me to release it for free personal and commercial use by other publishers. You are welcome to use these images for your own creation, whether for personal use or commercial products. As a matter of courtesy, I ask that you credit [...]

Neon Sanctum RPG Kickstarter Interview with Adam Waite

A little over a week ago the Kickstarter for Neon Sanctum, an RPG set in a post-apocalyptic cyberpunk world, launched and it's already nearing the half-way point of its funding goal with around three weeks left to go. We here at Dorkland have managed to sit down with Adam Waite of Grenade Punch Games, developers of Neon Sanctum, for a little interview about the game and its Kickstarter.

Lankhmar for Dungeon Crawl Classics!

 GaryCon, Goodman Games has announced that they will produce a Lankhmar supplement for Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG.
I've always been a fan of Lankhmar, it was one of my favorite parts of ADnD 2E and it was a huge inspiration for Jarlsburg.

While I do like the DCC RPG, I'll probably pick this up to use with my 2E sourcebook and either merge it into Jarlsburg or run a game set in Lankhmar sometime in the future.

I'm happy a quality company like Goodman Games will be working on this.

Unboxing Star Wars: Armada

New heights of jealousy can now be yours!

Watch @watanabe2k unbox Star Wars Armada.

Maybe bring a bib.

Athena I: Transfer Stage

The last of the parts of the Athena Science Lander, hopefully. And hopefully the last docking video for a while, at least until I get some kind of add-on…

See if you can spot my Scott Manley impression!

Find the full playlist here!

Change.org Petition -- Change Venue of Gen Con to Ohio

Due to recently enacted legislation in Indiana, a new petition has been posted at Change.org proposing a move of Gen Con from Indianapolis to Ohio. Gen Con has been in Indianapolis since 2003 and has signed an extension with Visit Indy through 2020. Here is the text from the petition page: With the new law...

Change.org Petition -- Change Venue of Gen Con to Ohio

Due to recently enacted legislation in Indiana, a new petition has been posted at Change.org proposing a move of Gen Con from Indianapolis to Ohio. Gen Con has been in Indianapolis since 2003 and has signed an extension with Visit Indy through 2020. Here is the text from the petition page: With the new law...

Realism in RPGs Redux

When people badmouth realism in RPGs, they’re usually complaining about one of two things: unwarranted complexity or endless arguments over the facts of the matter. Sometimes both, tossing in nobody actually wants it anyway, or it’s pointless to discuss realism in games where there are things like dragons and magic. Reality, though, is the bedrock on which all RPGs lie, because the world and scope of action in RPGs is radically under-determined by the rules. Players have complete freedom of action in a wide-open world, and in order to function they (and the GM) need some starting point: reality is [...]

My First Star Wars RPG Radio Drama

I have decided to try my hand at writing my kids' latest role-playing session as a radio drama using techniques learned from reading Michael J. Straczynski's The Complete Book of Screenwriting. Garrett Crowe of the Threat Detected podcast aired this as written some time ago and did a masterful job, too! It was an excellent experience for me. I hope that you enjoy it. Let me know what you think.


Release the Kraken!





TRISSEN: What the hell...?




Giant Frogs Gotta Eat Too!

I love role-playing with my children. Among the many benefits, there is the opportunity to learn from them their dispositions, desires, motivations and, yes, even of their wisdom. In our latest game session we ventured forth into a world a medieval fantasy based in Gary Gygax's ever popular Greyhawk setting. The group of heroes began the campaign in the rural village of Hommlet. Here, they interacted with a local militiaman, a farmer's goodwife and a number of guests in the Inn of the Welcome Wench. For comedy, no group of players does it better than kids. The kids' player characters, [...]

All Ogre

I've been busy with real-world stuff recently, but there's always time for FantasyCraft.

Today I actually managed to surprise myself with my efficiency in preparations. Check this timeline out:

Last Sunday- Game's over. Time to think about next session. I ran that session by the seat of my pants and my players ended up uncovering a demon cult in the center of town. Now I need to figure out what the underside of the dungeon looks like.

Monday- No motivation to prepare, so I don't. What's the rush?

Tuesday- Same. No preparations done yet. I'll [...]

Statblock Sunday: Ghostly Steward

Sir Regenold Baraman the Disgraced A translucent ghostly figure of a human man manifests around the dust-laden bones within the plate armor worn by the skeletal remains at your feet. As it rises to an upright position, its feet levitating inches above the ground, the armor ascends in tandem, positioned as if worn by the […]

The post Statblock Sunday: Ghostly Steward appeared first on Adventureaweek.com.

Another Free OSR Monster - Collectanea Creaturae: Psyche Lasher From Ebon Gryphon Games For Your Old/New School Campaigns

Say you want a monster for a science fantasy alien invasion but a certain copy righted and iconic monster isn't available for you to use in your product or adventure? What's a guy to do especially if he's got fifteen minutes before his players and friends show up? Go into a full panic? Nawwww.Well Ebony Grphyon games comes to the save with a brand new monster, the psyche lasher. GRAB IT FOR

A Day Late and an Article Short

I'm sorry to say that I won't be offering a new and insightful article or review this week.  Things have been a little busy here.  But I will offer some news that might be of interest to you.

I finished reading Evermeet:  The Isle of Elves by Elaine Cunningham.  It was a tremendous novel that gave a full history of the Elves of Forgotten Realms and turned Evermeet from a ideal, pastoral land of happy Elves into a wonderful place to set adventures that involve intrigue and deception.  I highly recommend this one (along with any other novel by [...]

Boneclaw - CR 6 (Large Undead)

Boneclaws are towering undead that first appeared in the 3.5 Monster Manual III. As with most of the monsters I have been converting for my 5e campaigns, they were on my "use one day" list, but never saw the dark of night in either 3.5 or 4e. Anyway, they are due to shred some PC's soon, and so, I thought I would share my conversion for them.

I have slightly erred from their original incarnation, making them more deadly to melee attackers (with the Threatening Reach and Rampant Opportunist powers). If you don't like that, just remove the powers. [...]

Bloodnut Pass: a Pits & Perils adventure (Review)

Let me say this up-front: I know the author from the interwebs (although not in person) and I’m a fan of his maps and his rules-lite game Edge of Space (aff). I might be a bit biased with this review.

What do you need to know?

Bloodnut Pass is a short old school adventure by Chubby Monster Games/Matt Jackson. It’s written with Pits & Perils in mind but could be used with other games as well.
You can buy it for USD $1 at Onebookshelf (aff).
The adventure is creepy and gross and a bit over-the-top. It is aimed at mature readers.

Warning: [...]

Dreams as means of teleportation

Falling asleep while holding a folded map will transport your dreamself to a random spot within the map's borders.

(so skip those naval maps)

One's dreamself is not to be confused with the astral body, nor is the place a perfect replica of the place transported to; both things (called dreamentities) are generalizations made by all the people (and beings) dreaming about that place (and you) at the same time.

So, in order to visit that place depicted on that map you went to bed with, there must...

  • ...be people dreaming about you (to form your [...]

A HUGE "Thank You" to the Patrons of The Tavern!

early Quigley sketchAs March draws to a close and I find myself with my nose to the virtual grindstone, working on creature write ups and small pieces for some projects I promised to participate in, I find I need to thank the readers of The Tavern.

As I've stated before, you don't need to be a Patreon Backer to be a supporter of The Tavern. In addition to shopping through our links at RPGNow and clicking on ads that interest you, we've had some generous donors in the past week, giving away keys to Pillars of Eternity and a Corgi edition of the Tunnels & Trolls solo - Sword for Hire / Blue Frog Tavern (of course it had to be a tavern ;)

The World Will Go Mad For Max In May...

Haunted by his turbulent past, Mad Max (Tom Hardy) believes the best way to survive is to wander alone. Nevertheless, he becomes swept up with a group fleeing across the Wasteland in a War Rig driven by an elite Imperator, Furiosa (Charlize Theron). They are escaping a Citadel tyrannized by the Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne ), from whom something irreplaceable has been taken. Enraged, the

LARP Shield

In the quest to produce interesting LARP equipment, rather than the regular stuff that you can see everyone else possessing on the battlefield, I present my latest offering...

...after a day in the field, I'd like to report that the design was a success. The concept is a mystically enchanted, giant leaf.

To make it a bit more "LARP-safe", it needs some more padding around the edges, but otherwise it was good. The "gently serrated" edges also made good points to catch opponent's weapons on, to direct swords away from the body while opening up their [...]

Orc Quest: Episode 6 - Elves.

I haven't been maintaining these as well as I should, but other matters have been calling my attention lately. I'll try to catch up in brief.

When we last left our heroes, they had just left a kobold cave and were heading south to find the road again. Upon the road they came upon a merchant and his guards slowly traveling to the west. Upon stopping them, it was debated whether or not our heroes should rob them blind or merely ask for directions. Ultimately, the latter was settled on and they gained some information:

The [...]
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