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Revisiting the Power/Aggression Control Mechanic in Dungeon World

A while back, in June, I posted a mechanic for a character powering up and trying to maintain control in Dungeon World. I’m revisiting and revising it in this post. I’ll also be revising the Fate version in my next post.

While I still like the overall idea of how the old versions worked, neither really captured the true feel of how something like that is done in their respective game systems. The biggest problem, though, was the fact you needed to roll a second time in order to determine the results of losing or maintaining control. Rolling twice can slow [...]

My take on the 2.5D dungeon system...

If you're not familiar with the 2.5D dungeon method, then I'd recommend you take a look at some of the videos on The DM's Craft or TheDMGinfo's youtube channels first.

As you'll see (if you watched any of the aforementioned videos), the idea is to give a bit more depth to regular two-dimensional dungeon tiles by including a slightly raised area around the edge of each tile to represent the walls.

Well, I've been meaning to have a go at something like that for a while now - but instead of painting the cardboard (like the above you-tuber's [...]

Of Simulacra, Emulations, and Transmogrifiers (Guest post by Richard J. LeBlanc, Jr)

(This morning we have a guest post by +Richard LeBlanc , he of New Big Dragon Games and the D30 Sandbox Companion fame. I'm honored that Rich decided to post this here at The Tavern. You can read more of Rich's thoughts over at his blog - Save vs. Dragon)

Of Simulacra, Emulations, and Transmogrifiers.

I've long held that Apple products were superior because... well.. they were Apple products. If you've ever read the book "Insanely Great," you know what I'm talking about. Steve Jobs hired graphic designers and typography experts, in addition to others in various and diverse fields, and it was these things that helped make the Macintosh the truly brilliant product it was. (Granted, we really have yet to see if Apple [...]

GM Advice: The 4 Types of Unfair Encounters

“Suddenly, the ceiling collapses without warning and you all die.”

By William McAusland (Outland Arts)


Sometimes things go wrong and the party all die horrible deaths. That ever present risk is anintrinsicpart of the gaming experience. While no one likes a TPK (total party kill) sometimes through bad luck or shockinglydisastroustactics they happen. Other times, a GM wipes out a party or kills a PC in a horribly unfair encounter. To me, being English, that’s just not cricket.

There are four basic types of unfair encounters:

  • No Hope: Sometimes a GM puts a monster into a dungeon which the PCs have no realistic chance [...]

We'll cut the narrative off at the pass and leg it

We were half the team down last Wednesday, so those who were left played the Shadowrun card game in what we later discovered was the hardest mode possible, because we drew opponents from the wrong deck. Oops. Anyway, this is why this week's post instead is going to be a trip to Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and what happens when a group of Jurisfiction agents are told to go on a team-building exercise inside its pages.

The agents were told to strictly stay out of the narrative ... and while roleplayers would normally decide to completely ignore this, they didn't, so I never got to inflict my specially prepared Vogon poetry on them. I are still disappoints, two years later.

Here's the crew:
  • Arthur Hastings, senior agent and a former military man and now occasional assistant to Agatha Christie's Belgian super-sleuth Hercule Poirot.
  • Captain Haddock, an [...]

Swedish Name Generator added

A new generator has gone live – Swedish Names

Some example names you can get:

Female Male Meta Rystr m Rurik Rundstrom Andrietta Hedner Kre Pettersson Ingerd Kalling Inge Runas Dordi Ottosson Sren Jnsson Camilla Hallman Jnn Griendstrom

A Helpful list PDF along with some more examples will be published on friday

In other news, Campaign Chunks will be returning next week

Wonder Woman Wednesday...

Shadowrun Rat's Nest: Rain Check

Instead of GMing Shadowrun, I'm sitting in bed, smelling like an eucalyptus tree and drinking copious amounts of tea in the hope that my cold doesn't turn into something worse. I was lookong forward to today's session. The players have made it out of the NAN and are planning on visiting an amusement park. Well, the two youngest characters want it and the others roll their eyes and go along.

If you happen to be a player in this campaign, I'd rather you not read on, please.

How often do you get the chance for an amusement park [...]

Secret of the Seven-Serpent Slash

This is a two-handed Kampilan technique developed by the monster-slaying hero Lantawan, who once had to face an evil seven-headed Naga that would die only if all its heads were severed at once.

The technique can only be practiced with a Kampilan, and as it uses both hands, precludes the use of a shield during the round in which it is performed.

If performed against any creature or character who does not also know the technique, you gain Advantage Dice; moreover, you may distribute any Victory Points gained to all targets in front [...]

Feeding Nazis To Dinosaurs

In a recent blog I wrote about buying Hollow Earth Expedition (HEX) and Leagues Of Adventureboth of which use the …

Continue reading →

The Pit of Swords and Sorcery: The Adventures of Bob... Oops, I mean Conan... The Barbarian (slightly NSFW)

The first couple of decades of the new millennium has been pretty kind for usfantasy fanatics. Opening with the triumphant arrival of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings, the 2000s have seen a slew of tales of dragons, sorcery, swords and mayhem on both the big and the small screen. The Harry Potter series, for example, brought a classic fantasy series to life and made it enjoyable for both young and old viewers. Movies like Hellboy, John Carter, Constantine,Underworld, the Golden Compass, the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and others brought more fantasy to movie houses and video, [...]

Dawnforge: Path of Legend

Path of Legend is an exciting new adventure sourcebook for the Dawnforge campaign setting. The adventure leads new heroes from 1st to 5th level, and also offers them a chance to earn their first legend point. The adventure provides a compelling mix of location and event-based encounters, and rewards roleplaying and puzzle-solving as well as combat.

1d10 Random Deep Wasteland 1970's Science Fiction Television Inspired Artifact Table For Your Old School Post Apocalyptic Campaigns

Deep within the wastes one never knows what sorts of treasures one my run across, here's another random list of classic television inspired treasures and artifacts that your mutant adventurers might find in the deeper parts of the wastelands. 
1d10 Random Deep Wasteland 1970's
Science Fiction Television Inspired  Artifact Table 
  1. Wreckage of a Roamer science exploration vehicle solar powered, the drive train needs extensive work and a new electrical system. 
  2. One 1970's Ford camper with a full array of rocking Seventies cloths and a hidden storage compartment full of automatic weapons. There are several human skeletons scattered throughout. 
  3. One jet pack fully charged but [...]

Dungeon World: A Better Bard

You might have heard that outside 4th Edition I'm not much of a bard fan. You also might have heard that one of my complaints about Dungeon World is that it relies on the tropes of Dungeons & Dragons (not sure if I put that in a blog post yet).

Granted in some cases it manages to improve on things, like the wizard (it's much more Vancian); unfortunately other classes like the cleric and bard still suffer. But rather than just bitch about it I decided to make my own bard, with blackjack and hookers.
It draws a bit more from its historical roots [...]

Random Animal Table - 1E DMG

I recently rediscovered these random tables found in the 1E AD&D DMG on page 138,  presumably by Gygax. They are meant for the Bag of Tricks, so are often overlooked in the magic item section but could be used in any situation calling for a random animal. They are nicely ordered by HD and have the most important stats right there. Most of the animals are found in the Monster Manual, and having stats matching that source, but about a third of them are not, including weasel, skunk, owl, goat, ram, eagle and ostrich (several of these are found [...]

More on Yafir and Yiraf

Certain correspondences suggest to me thatYafir and Yiraf may be aleph-null and aleph-one, the ‘countable infinity’ and ‘uncountable infinity’ discovered in our world by Georg Cantor.

Relic Knight: Doctrine Delphyne

Over two years ago, I backed a Kickstarter for a new game called Relic Knight. The project was almost two years late. Late enough for me to declare it a loss. However, as I was at Gencon this year, I received this package with my miniatures! FINALLY!

I quickly opened the package, built up the minis and placed them on my painting table.

And... that's where the love I had kinda died. These models are such a different painting style to my own that I have difficulty figuring out how to do them right... The models are nice, but I [...]

potelbat Ep. 63 "It Takes Some Convincing"

I’ve got a ton of RPG books sitting on my shelves, but do you think I can get anyone to play most of them?


And that is the central problem for this episode, how do you convince people to try playing RPGs?

Or to switch systems from the current game into something new?

Or to switch genres or settings?

What tactics can you employ and what are some of the biggest points of resistance to overcome?

And once we’ve tackled THAT problem, what about @watanabe2k’s wide ranging letter that covers everything from constantly changing game system to people who don’t actually seem to want to [...]

Season 6 Episode 18 - Timeless RPG

Welcome to Season 6 Episode 18 of RPG Circus
Episode Topics

  • Interview with Caleb about Timeless RPG
  • Our view on the problems with Kickstarters


  • Jeff
  • Ben

Show Links

  • Fifth Edition Dungeon Master's Guide delayed
  • KS: Demon Hunters RPG: A Comedy of Terrors
  • KS: minichip
  • KS: Southlands: New Fantasy Options for Pathfinder RPG
  • KS: The Essential Guide to Potions and Oils
  • KS: Revelry in Torth
  • KS: Z-Clipz:Outbreak - 28mm Zombie and Survivor Miniatures
  • KS: Time of the Dying Stars: Book One
  • KS: 12mm & 18mm Upcycled Precision Polyhedral Metal Dice
  • 10 things that bug me about tabletop gaming Kickstarters
  • twitter: Reid Wiseman @astro_reid


Mapping Pathfinder Abilities to Echelon Talents

Progress on theEchelon Reference Series continues, and is becoming coherent enough that I can start to see how pieces may fit together in Echelon. Looking over the class features, there are many options and often several ways to model them.

Talents by Likely Type

I’ll group the class feature bythe type of talent they are likely to end up as.

Common Talents

Common talents are readily available. The don’t have prerequisites but may interact quite happily with cornerstone talents (suchas theattack bonus from a martial tradition stacking with a combat style’s training bonus). In Pathfinder terms many class features, even fairly iconic ones, might be common talentsifmore than one class has the feature or a feature may be taken more than once.

Other abilities might also be common talents, butthis post focuses mostly on class abilities.

  • Animal Companion is probably a common talent, likely one per companion (which scales by level; a Legendary Animal Companion should be a truly frightful thing, not just a brown bear + a bunch of Hit Dice). A character with a mob of similar companions probably has a ‘packmaster’ capstone talent.
  • Domains are likely to be common talents. In Pathfinder, each provides access to nine spells (one per level) and two abilities [...]

Tuesday Magic Item -- Brand of Exile

“You are sentenced to transportation to the penal colony of Rastonia, where you will serve at the Crown’s convenience building a better land for all,” announced the black robed judge followed by the striking of his gavel.

“But me Lord,,” protested the prisoner, “it was only a pie.”

“No matter, the law is clear,” said the judge. “See that the prisoner is bound over for transportation and branded a criminal and exile in the eyes of the law and his countrymen.”

“Please no,” wailed the prisoner as they were dragged away by the bailiff’s thugs.

Brand of Exile

A solidly built iron brand with a [...]

Skeleton Crew Beta Events

To help promote the Skeleton Crew Open Beta, We’re going to be hosting a handful of games in October. They’ll be coming at you in two different ways:

Local – At one or more local Northern Virginia hobby stores.

Online – Through one or another online gaming site / program.

Details and dates to come, but if you have any preferences for online game sites, or would like to see us at your local game store, leave a comment, and we’ll look into it like Shylock Fox. Stay tuned!

Savage Eberron: Weapons of Khorvaire

As some of you recall, I posted a poll asking what Eberron things I should next adapt to Savage Worlds. Overwhelmingly, equipment topped the list (followed by vehicles and then the Warforged Titan).

I've been hard at work culling together equipment from across the v3.5 Eberron books and slowly but surely adapting and formatting them. This post is the first bits and pieces of that work featuring some items from Magic of Eberron.

Special thanks goes to +Ron Blessing for helping sort through some of the finer points.
Melee Weapons Alchemy Blade Appearing much like a short sword, an alchemy blade has [...]

Game Props Part 3: Coins

Nearly every fantasy game uses a gold, silver, copper monetary system.  And we talk about them some more.  I only did this once, but it seemed to have a significant effect on the players and that was to throw a money pouch onto the table as the offered reward.  It's one thing to say, "And if you do this heroic thing the lord will pay you 250sp as a reward."


But!  Try this.  Find an old Crown Royal bag (you know you have one somewhere) or a regular old dice bag, fill it with pennies (more on [...]

Box Breaking 135 All Quiet on the Martian Front

Matt picked up the two player starter for All Quiet on the Matrian Front. In this video we bust it open and take a look inside. Matt is a huge fan of aliens especially if the make him reminisce on his childhood.



If you want to learn more visit Alien Dungeon.

Related articles
  • Countdown to Gen Con 12 (part 2) All Things Alien

Caius (Weird Wars Rome: Dux Bellorum)

Colin Firth in The Last Legion
(Fun fact: Firth loves playing jerks and laments he doesn't get those roles.)Caius
Heroic Wild Card
Caius Artorius Caecina is the cousin and foster-brother of Artorius.  It is hard to imagine that two men could be so different yet be so close; Artorius is professional and thoughtful, while Caius is boorish and rowdy.  Despite his pride in his Roman heritage, Caius is almost more a barbarian Celt by demeanor.  He acts as as a "drill sergeant" and unit commander for Artorius' warband.

Stitches: Where There Are Bees -- Cruising Along

(Sorry for the slightly magenta cast; CFL night shots, you know.)

I thought I was going to be finished with the dark olive color… and then my skein ran out. :P That unfinished row on the bottom is the last of that color, outside of what’s going in the three empty frames.

I took some time today to modify the leftmost two frames in PC Stitch. I thought about switching to red or blue to start working on those frames, but I decided to move to yellow to get the colored words, the bear frame, the central bee, and the lower hive [...]

Do You Use "Big Bad Evil Guys" in Your Campaigns?

This topic came up in a recently recorded Brainstorm Podcast episode - Do you use BBEGs and if so, how do you go about designing them?

For me, I rarely go into a campaign with a BBEG fleshed out, let alone thought out. I always figure my players will designate some NPC their nemesis and I'll go from there, but then again, my parties are like herds of cats, you never know where they are going to go.

Then again, I've played in some campaigns that have very effectively utilized BBEGs, so maybe it's a deficit in my DMing skills that leads to the leaving out of bBEGs in my games.

So, where do you stand with BBEGs? Yay or nay? Power [...]

Box Breaking 134 Apocalypse Survivors the Men

Matt busts open the Apocalypse survivors from Wargames Factory. This is a great set to create a “Walking Dead” kind of feel on your tabletop.





You can pick them up at Wargames Factory.

Box Breaking 133 Apocalypse Survivors The Women

In this Box Breaking Matt looks at the surviving women of the Apocalypse from Wargames Factory. This is actually one of the cooler zombie kits I have seen.



I always find something good at the Wargames Factory.

Designing a Boffer LARP System (Part 7)

I've basically been hedging around the actual mechanisms of the game with explanations and references to other games. I've decided that I don't want dice to be used at all, but that still leaves lots of options open...card draw, tokens, rock-scissors-paper, other?

The other catch is trying to maintain consistency in skill levels (basic, intermediate, expert) when some effects are based on physicality, while others might be based on more abstract concepts. I don't want the idea I've seen in some games where different skills have different cost progressions. This whole project is aiming to create a system that's [...]

Baby's First Dragon

My Homeguard B/X campaigners have been chopping away all summer at the classic (and deeply flawed) Horror on the Hill. After pounding hobgoblins (and a couple trolls) over and over, rescuing a dwarf from the clutches of a goblin king pretty clearly inspired by The Hobbit, and discovering the location of the mystical fountain, the kids became restless and decided that if the rumors they had heard back at the fort of a dragon sleeping under the hill were true, then a critter that size would need a pretty big hole ... In fact, it meant that there must be [...]

One For The Road

For me by far the key decision many Scots will take this week is not about sticking a cross in a box for Yes or No. Instead the vote comes across as presenting each voter with a personal watershed. One where each of us takes a decision to either commit to constructive civic [...]

Galens Gamble update

hola! Tonight i spent some time working on a few photos i had lying around that i thought would be suitable for illustrations/artwork for the Galens Gamble adventure. Thought i’d share them with you. Gallery

The post Galens Gamble update appeared first on Tiny Gork's Tinker Room.

The Kraken 2014 -- Day 1


Day one of the Kraken 2014 started out with a few sessions of 7 wonders. I’m still not hugely into board games but this is a really nice game. We played it once with 4 people, and again with 5 people. First time I played, I slacked on getting resources and it bit me in the ass in the third era. Second time around I had a lot of resources but the cards were spread around a lot more due to this extra player so it seems still a different strategy is needed. But a great game. Definitely one I [...]

The Kraken 2014 -- Day 0


After a 7+ hour drive I finally pull up into the parking of Schloss Neuhausen. A new Kraken awaits! The Kraken 2014 is a gaming vacation that is organized every two years with a big focus on Chaosium based games. In 2012 I had the impression that the crowd was split up between the Runequest players and the Call of Cthulhu players.

This year's program features a lot more different RPG's (my main focus of course). There's still a good amount of Heroquest and Call of Cthulhu games, but also RPG's like Dungeon Crawl Classics, Warhammer 40K, Primeval, Savage Worlds, Achtung! [...]

2014 ENnie award winners announced


Today the 2014 ENnie award winners were announed in Indianapolis with Paizo Publishing, Monte Cook Games, and Evil Hat Productions taking home multiple coveted awards.

Best Adventure

  • GOLD: Trail of Cthulhu: Eternal Lies – Pelgrane Press
  • SILVER: Razor Coast: Heart of the Razor – Frog God Games

Best Aid/Accessory

  • GOLD: Numenera Creature Deck – Monte Cook Games, LLC
  • SILVER: Fate Dice – Eldritch Dice – Evil Hat Productions

Best Art, Interior

  • GOLD: Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea Gods - Paizo Publishing
  • SILVER: Numenera Corebook – Monte Cook Games, LLC

Best Art, Cover

  • GOLD: Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Mythic Adventures - Paizo Publishing
  • SILVER: Achtung! Cthulhu – Keeper’s Guide to the Secret War - [...]

Heads Up On The New OSR Adventure - The First Sentinel. Written by Edwin Nagy From Lesser Gnome Studio For Your Old School Campaigns On The Dark Corner Blog


 Lesser Gnome Game Studio is releasing TS2 The First Sentinel and we've got details on this old school module. So grab your party and roust the wizard we're heading right over: HERE

Magus of the Jade Oath

Magus of the Jade Oath This pdf clocks in at 32 pages, 1 page front […]

Planar Races: Chaos -- The Xaolings

Planar Races: Chaos – The Xaolings This racial supplement clocks in at 15 pages, 1 […]

Fat Goblin Travel Guide to Horrible Horrors & Macabre Monsters

Fat Goblin Travel Guide to Horrible Horrors & Macabre Monsters This bestiary clocks in at […]

You got your Technical Grappling in my Dungeon Fantasy

+Peter V. Dell'Orto gives a play report on how, despite what you might think, GURPS Martial Arts: Technical Grappling makes Dungeon Fantasy more awesome, rather than less.

In fairness, he and I developed a huge treatment of this subject on our own, so it's not "out of the box" ready to go, but it wasn't that close.

Highlighting some stuff again:

  • TG makes grappling incremental and non-binary, which is more fun, more dramatic, and stretches disbelief less
  • Monsters that bite and hold are scary and cool with TG. Not so much with the rules as they are written. 
  • If you choose, the options for spending CP and using them to do crazy stuff (move people around, grab and smash, make attacks easier to hit on the attack or easier to dodge on defense) add on seamlessly and provide a lot of fun
  • Tentacle beasts are scary again. 

Anyway, if it's good for DF, it'll be good for most other genres out of the box.

So go read Peter's stuff. Then check out my book, because grappling should be as awesome in game as it can be in real life.

RPG Video Review -- Mindjammer

Those of you who follow me might know I am pretty obsessed with Mindjammer, the master piece that Sarah Newton has written to bless the world of RPG. I fell so in love with this game that I had to write my review in two parts because I couldn't bring myself to condense it and [...]

The post RPG Video Review – Mindjammer appeared first on G*M*S Magazine.

So what's next?

It's been a month since Gen Con and since then I've been really busy at work leading to my limited time to write here. I have however had some time to play games that I picked up at Gen Con including Dragon Slayer, Sentinel: Tactics, Abyss, Cash & Guns and Battletech: Alpha Strike (which I had a post about but the Blogger Android app wiped it...). All of which I can happily report are great fun

Another Fill-in over at BCP

Today is Lokidude's day in the barrel, so I covered for him with a handy little article about fixing crimps in hydration bladder tubes.

In which I do math

I am abominably pleased with myself right now.

I was reading an article about black holes, quantum tunneling, Hawking radiation, etc., and in one of the comments someone explained that the thing which made black holes special was density, not mass.

This got me to thinking: Well, what IS mass, and how is it substantially different from weight?  I mean, weight only exists in a gravity field, but mass doesn't have that limitation.* So I retired to the Porcelain Throne of Philosophy and had a good think over it.

I came to the conclusion, on my own, [...]


The Company discovers that their enemy is the legendary Cult of the Dragon.

5e Session 1 Recap- Into the River Kingdoms

I mentioned the other day that I was about to kick off my mini-campaign using the new D&D 5e rules. I am also play-testing the hackability of my Hubris campaign book. I am using the Bogwood Swamp territory info of the Lay of the Land and Encounters and see how well they fit in a campaign that isn’t Hubris. So far, so good.

The River Kingdoms

The River Kingdoms


Background- I’m going super-lite on the fluff because I’m not sure how long we’ll play this. I told my players that if they want a longer break from Hubris, I totally understand and we [...]

A Mobile Base of Operations

In my fantasy campaign, the players recently acquired a flying airship. This gave me the chance to reflect on the advantages and possible concerns with a mobile base of operations. While many of my examples will be based in a fantasy setting, the same principles should apply to any mobile base, be it a starship, sailing ship, or catbus.


Travel time - If your group likes to get right to the “good part,” a mobile base of operations eliminates much of the issue of travel time. There may be an even bigger benefit if your group can only meet sporadically. In [...]

DCC Funnel, Pathfinder Guidelines

Last night I was involved in a conversation with someone who wanted to run a Pathfinder game on an episodic basis: the PCs as 0-level characters, then third level, sixth, ninth, and so on. Each episode is set a few years after the previous one. There is continuity of character, but each may have things happen ‘between adventures’.

There was some thought about how the 0-level characters and play might be structured, and I suggested he look into Dungeon Crawl Classics… and especially the funnel.

The Funnel in DCC consists of each player bringing three or four quickly-developed (ability scores, roll on [...]

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