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D&D 5e Playtest: Mass Combat Rules

I love that the new Unearthed Arcana column on the Wizards website offers public-playtest versions of future material for D&D. This week, there are rules for mass combat - always one of the sticky design areas for tabletop games intended for focus on individuals. In part to make sure I understand them myself, this post examines the playtest rules in detail.

Also, I have to say this up front, because otherwise I will never get through this post: "hur hur, he said 'unit.'"

Better now. Read on.

The Zoom Button

The document begins with a discussion of [...]

GM's Day

“March 4th for GM’s day” or “March forth for GM’s day” – yes indeed, today is GM's Day. Of course, every time we run a game it’s Player's Day. Hah! But March 4th is GM’s day and as I was about to start running the game, Sam and Miae said that they had prepard a Rap Song for GM's day! And then they launched into a Rap in German, Celtic and Korean, about the person placing all the monsters, the person being so mean to players, Chorus: Who!? – the person that took our stabbing pencils and gave use a gold sword instead, Chorus: Who!? – it was hilarious.✎

Thank you!✎

Tags: RPG ✎

RPG Superstar 2015: The Final Four

The last four have been picked for Paizo’s RPG Superstar 2015 round.

The four finalists along with their winning encounter and map designs are;

  1. Brian J. Fruzen (Milwaukee, WI) -- The Gloomsworn Path
  2. Monica Marlowe (Cincinnati, OH) -- The Hanging Gardens of Karexin
  3. Kalervo Oikarinen (Helsinki, Finland) -- Fellforge Chapel
  4. Christopher Wasko (Connecticut) -- Darkblight Fallow

Owen KC Stephens, Pathfinder Developer and Host of RPG Superstar 2015, said;

“Behold our four finalists! They have navigated the surprise of creating a new category of magic item, diligently labored to create stand-alone maps, wrought creatures of the Darklands, and braved the travails of creating new and interesting encounters,”

“Hundreds began [...]

The Many Colours Out of Space

It is uncertain whether these are truly different stages in the life of a “colour” or if they are distinct, perhaps representative, samples of a biology utterly alien to human understanding.


This form of the colour is most vividly described in H.P. Lovecraft’s original “Colour Out of Space”. At the dawn of the creature’s life cycle (or at least this phase of its life cycle), it seeks vast quantities of energy (drawing lightning strikes to itself, tapping into the electrical grid, or the like). Once it has been “jump-started”, it rapidly grows by feeding on the environment around it.

However, [...]

Avengers: Age of Ultron - Trailer Three...


Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate draws on a number of sources for inspiration. I watch a lot of wuxia movies and TV shows, and these have had a big influence not only on Ogre Gate, but on Sertorius and many of my d20 campaigns. I am hoping to share some of my favorite movies and shows in the genre here as we work on WHOG.

Note: I am writing these as a fan of the genre. I am not a movie expert or an expert in asian cinema. These are my own observations based on what I have learned by watching wuxia and kung fu movies, and by reading about them through interviews and books. But my knowledge is quite limited and I am an English speaker. So understand that my commentary comes from this perspective. 

Note: This review contains many spoilers.

Trail of the Broken Blade is a [...]

Writer's Block

Maybe it’s good that we’re taking a break from my game this week. Two people can’t make it, so we’re either going to run another session of Pockets (which was a lot of fun) or Shadows of Brimstone (which I have been told is “Cowboys & Demons”). Maybe that and picking back up with the AD&D game I’m in on Saturday will help me recharge my creative batteries.

Also, is it weird that I’m really wanting to play something that is basically Regular Show: the RPG? Pockets can beclose to that, I suppose.

One of the writing projects I’ve been working on [...]

My Little Pony: Jean-Claude Van Damme is Magic


The World of Eave: Bliss

Bliss is the name of a town on the southern continent, but Bliss isnt the name of town as it once was known as Cavador.  It is west of the Emaan Straights so it is held under the sway of The Empire.  It is not under Empire control as of yet.  The bay is hard to get into with any sort of ship larger than a typical sailing ship and most have to anchor beyond the reefs to be somewhat safe.  Besides the reefs, the Bay of Paradiseis filled with many of the jagged ruins of Cavador that [...]

Reminder - Tavern Chat Tonight at 830 Eastern

Like just about every Wednesday Night, tonight is another Tavern Chat session here at The Tavern.

I'n sure there will be questions about the new podcast ans such. As for answers...

See you tonight ;)

Aslan Bombshell

While chatting with Cj Cherryh and Marc Miller about the Hani from the Chanur novels and the Aslan from Traveller, Marc Miller said that he “envisioned that the Terran scout who first contacted them saw the resemblance to Narnia’s Aslan and used the name.”

When I commented about the idea from GURPS Traveller that the Aslan was discovered by Turkish explorers, Marc said “No one asked me. “

Kickstarter -- FAITH: The Sci-fi RPG

This certainly l0oks interesting:  FAITH: The Sci-fi RPGby Burning Games. A sci fi RPG in a box. Played with cards. Shape your character and choose your God wisely to survive in a struggling Universe. It looks like a cool concept but what’s putting me off is the initial outlay for the game, since I’m backing […]

Terraria Episode 048

More ore-gathering! It’s a good thing that Hell is so safe, so long as I can avoid accidentally triggering the Wall of Flesh. Obviously that’s not going to happen because I am so careful.

Find the playlist here!

Weird Wednesday: Whispering Well

Whispering Well CR 1 XP 400 CE Persistent haunt (10 ft. by 10 ft. well) Caster Level 1st Notice Perception DC 15 (to hear confused whispers) hp 4; Trigger proximity (tricked by Stealth); Reset 1 week Effect When the whispering well haunt is triggered, all creatures adjacent to (or in) the well make DC […]

The post Weird Wednesday: Whispering Well appeared first on Adventureaweek.com.

GM's Day/Gary Gygax Memorial Post

I will not be posting a Hump-day Hildebrandt picture.  This is the day, in 2008 that the community lost E. Gary Gygax Sr. Gary was one of the creators of The Game, that is now many, many games. Without him and his work, the hobby  would be very different today.  Without his work, I would be a very different person today.  Today, I present you with some quotes from the man himself:  There is no winning or losing, but rather the value is in the experience of imagining yourself as a character in whatever genre you're involved in, whether it's a fantasy game, the Wild West, [...]

Food, Iron Rations & Starvation

Adventuring is hungry work. A normal, sedentary lifestyle runs you around 2000 calories a day. Athletes (which would probably be more akin to adventurers) do around 3800 healthily. In addition to calories, there's also a idiosyncratic set of nutritional needs per person – vitamins, minerals, and an appropriate balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. All...

Food, Iron Rations & Starvation

Adventuring is hungry work. A normal, sedentary lifestyle runs you around 2000 calories a day. Athletes (which would probably be more akin to adventurers) do around 3800 healthily. In addition to calories, there's also a idiosyncratic set of nutritional needs per person – vitamins, minerals, and an appropriate balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. All...

On Being a Gamemaster: GM's Day and Remembering Gary

I wish I was enjoying today more, but a nasty sinus infection came upon me yesterday and I'm lucky to still have my voice.

If I was feeling better, I'd consider setting up a one-shot for my kids tonight, but we'll probably just watch Survivor.

While I've grown to appreciate Mr. Gygax's genius, it was a few years into my gaming career that I really was exposed to his work.  When  I started we were playing ADnD 2E and most of the Gygaxianisms had been washed away.  In fact, the vast majority of our group hadn't played ADnD [...]

International GM's Day March Fo(u)rth for GM's Day!

Today is International GM’s Day March Fo(u)rth for GM’s Day! The one day a year when we celebrate the people who take time to provide us all with an evening gaming. It is also the anniversary of Gary Gygax’s passing and the birthday of a very good friend of mine who has run games for […]

My Realms: Fort Buckler

On the western edge of the Quivering Forest stands Fort Buckler, founded just over fifteen years ago as a home base and training ground for rangers of the Green Stride.

The Fort was a reward to Ranger Captain Eva Montcleef and her apprentice Sienna Rose Himler after aiding the wood elves of Green Hall in defeating K'takla the Demon Bear.

Eva eschewed traditional ranger training techniques and envisioned a larger scale training ground to swell the ranks of the Green Stride and to supersede the typical master and apprentice system that was well established.

In fact, [...]

The Quartet in Brown.

Day Q: The Quartet in Brown

Deep at the end of a tortuous cavern, the party will come upon a hooded figure, robed in brown. As they approach, any light sources, whether mundane or magical, fade and extinguish.  A single candle flickers in a niche in the cavern wall, barely illuminating the figure.  His(?) robe is tattered and many-layered, the being beneath shrouded. Somehow, this meditative figure has remained unmolested by the denizens of the dungeon, whether evil, predator, or mindless.  The figure will not respond to questioning, and exudes a sense of peace.  After a few moments, he [...]

Vault of the Goblin: Deeper Prisons

The goblins love their prisons... this is the penultimate level before the pits, which is a prison for some of their more powerful foes, and a deep pit in the middle that they drop especially nasty enemies into.

Remembering Gary Gygax

I would like the world to remember me as the guy who really enjoyed playing games and sharing his knowledge and his fun pastimes with everybody else.
                                                       - Gary Gygax

In memoriam, I thought it would be nice to talk some about Gary Gygax today. As some of you may be familiar Gary passed away on this day in 2008. I will not spend any time on the subject of loss since that voluminous task would be impossible to realize. Instead I wanted to take a look back to my earliest memories of Gary [...]

[HOW] Chapter Thirteen: Lost In The Nexus Of All Realities...

The Green Knight Having slain the orc hunting party, our heroes plunged on deeper in to Huldre Forest, drawn by the sound of a running water, and soon came to the bank of river. There was a narrow stone bridge across the fast-flowing river and on the far side stood a giant of a man, dressed in green armour and sporting a mighty battle axe, who declared that "none shall pass" and that the

Ash Wednesday - Mars Attacks!

Today's Ash Wednesday post is an odd one for me. As a kid Mars Attacks cards freaked me out. A kid in my class had some and I didn't like them. As I've gotten older I'm still not the biggest fan. I get what they are. I understand why people like them, but it's not my typical cup of tea. Still that doesn't mean I don't think it'd be fun to see Ash take on a squad of Martian baddies.

The Mutane of Ruwa'duniya

Homeworld: Ruwa’duniya Mass: 9/14,400 KM (1.25g) Atmosphere: 11/Corrosive Temperature: 11/Hot Hydrology: 9/ 86-95% surface is water Population: 7/ Tens of millionsStarport: 7/Class C Government: Rating 10 Factions: 2 First faction: rating 8, Hereditary Oligarchy Second faction: rating 8, Captive government (Imperial colony) Law level: 10 TL: 13 Race: The Mutane Ecological Stock: Carnivore/Chaser Gender: 2 genders Reproduction: Live-bearing Size: Large Locomotion: Swimmer/legs Symmetry: Bilateral Symmetry, 3 pairs of limbs Limbs: 1 pair locomotion (fin/feet combination,) 2 pair manipulators (1 pair humanoid arms/hands, 1 pair tentacles.) Speed: Fast (12 m on land, 18m in water) Ability scores: Str 3d6+1 Dex 1d6+1 End 3d6 Edu 2d6+1 Soc 2d6+1 Int 2d6 Starting age: 18 Base height: 245cm + 4d6x5 Base weight: 260kg + 4d6x5 Alien traits: Atmospheric requirement Heat endurance Fire [...]


How can I not mention the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae? While 300 blog posts is not as impressive as the feat of those long-dead Spartans, as someone with a BA in history and a big interest in ancient and medieval history, I could not help it, nor did I try. Someone posting daily for a […]

Marking The Passing Of Gary Gygax Today

Today marks the passing of someone's whose influence and impact on my life can't easily be put into words. Gary Gygax passed away today in 2008 and its something I've marked time & again. The words don't ever come easy marking such events. He created D&D along with DaveArneson. I'am fortunate enough to have met the man once and we didn't talk D&D,he was interested in the fact that did

International GM's Day discounts!

March 4th is GM’s Day. This idea was born on EN World back in 2002 and now has a site of its own. Today is the day to thank your GM for all the hard work they do.

Thank them every week.

DriveThruRPG and RPGNow have a good GM’s Day sale on. You can get 66% off the cover price of Odyssey: The Complete Game Master’s Guide to Campaign Management and 65% off Never Unprepared: The Complete Game Master’s Guide to Session Prep. Each one of those two books are Platinum Best Sellers and loaded with awards.

Not keen? There are hundreds more [...]

GM's Day Sale

Ab heute ist fr die folgenden 6 Tage der GM's Day Sale bei Onebookshelf ausgerufen. Daher gibt es sehr viele reduzierte Titel.

Hier sind die Dinge, die ich mir gekauft habe oder empfehlenswert finde (affiliate links):

  • 6d6RPG ist ein innovatives Rollenspiel, welches einfach zu erlernen ist, aber einiges an taktischen Twists ermglicht. Riskiert mal einen Blick.
  • Die White Box Serie von James Spahn: White Box Companion, White Box Treasures und das White Box Bestiary bieten gnstiges Zusatzmaterial fr die Swords & Wizardry Whitebox.
  • Material fr Dungeon Crawl Classics: DCC ist ein tolles abgedrehtes altmodisches Rollenspiel. Es ist einfach schrg und hat seinen eigenen Charme. [...]

Space Combat House Rules, v2

After playing a little with the house rules posted previously, there's some problems I want to address. In no particular order:

  • Consistency & Complexity. Using different mechanics make everything harder to remember.
  • Gain the Advantage is still too slow and cumbersome, and almost no one used it, even my NPCs. RAW is even worse; mathematically it's always better to fire instead.
  • Faster speed doesn't matter enough. In order for risk/reward to matter in difficult terrain, there must be a definitive benefit to traveling at a higher speed. Otherwise the smart pilot just drops to speed 1 whenever possible.
  • The following should all [...]

Looking Forward: Play on Target Ep. 38

This episode Play on Target looks forward to 2015. After some technical difficulties delayed it, we finally present our predictions and resolutions for the year. Originally we'd intended this as a companion to our "Year in Review" Episode. So you'll hear a couple of out of date references. Still I think it came out decently. While we have a few obvious picks for the year, I think we go off the beaten path in a couple of places. Take a listen and see what you think.
PLOT: Looking ForwardPlay on Target Episode Round Up
FEEDBACK LOOPSAs we say in [...]

The Fallen Fane of Sehanine

A bit over a week ago, Wizards of the Coast ran a (deliberately) brief open call for adventure designers for the D&D Adventurers League. As I am currently rather enamored of 5e and I'd like to be working RPG author and not just a Savage Worlds author, I went ahead and churned out the requisite two encounters during a marathon brainstorming/writing session last Wednesday.
I envisioned the scenarios as part of an imaginary site-based adventure called The Fallen Fane of Sehanine. Over a century ago, a brutal orc horde conquered a temple complex dedicated to the elvish moon goddess Sehanine [...]

Against the Giants: Session 150

As the behemoth rages, the party at first decide to withdraw; but then Ungrid hurls his hammer at it, and Xellos fails tocharm monster, and the massive creature’s attention is fixed on them. It tears through the stone and walls of the vault, the whirl of elemental energy ripping the rocks apart, and scouring the heroes. Undaunted, they decide to fight, unwilling to let it loose on an unsuspecting Duchy.

Sidni heads off to remove the Seals from their plinths: she topples two of them and then heads back to see if it had any effect. Meanwhile, Halmaryflame strikesit, with no [...]

Fear Itself: Act 2: Battle for Midgard, Part 2


Captain America and a human resistance contingent is fighting back to free Washington!

This scene happens at the same time as the Siege to Null Fortress and the extra Worthy fight if taken after the Shield Passes On.

Steve Rogers with his signature shield still marked by his best friend Bucky Barnes’ blood, arrives in Washington where he meets with the human resistance to the Serpent and few Avengers who were still there trying to do their best.

Skadi sits on the WHITE HOUSE RUBBLE, looking at the RUINED CAPITAL and enjoying the FEAR INSTILLED in the population around. The [...]

The Action Hero's Guide To Saving Lives

Skin Kite

A knot of flaccidly flapping membranes kites through the air, now drifting with the currents, now stooping swiftly through the air towards you.

Source: Libris Mortis: The Book of Undead for D&D 3.5

     Skin Kites are undead creature made up of stolen skin. This undead has no body only a massive wingspan of flesh which is about five feet. Also it only weigh 5lbs so riding the currents is a breeze(pun intended). The Skin Kite constantly needs new skin to replace it's rotting flesh and to procreate.

     The only way to make [...]

Call of Cthulhu: The Curse of Nineveh available now!

In ancient times, when Nineveh fell, so too was a terrible evil was banished. This evil, a god named Nabu with ambitions to rule humanity, was bound by the Children of Tranquillity into his former temple and buried beneath the sands. Two and a half thousand years later a group of archaeologists uncovered the Temple of Nabu and unleashed a terrible curse --- the Curse of Nineveh!

The Curse of Nineveh is a seven-part campaign for Call of Cthulhu set in London, in the summer of 1925. The investigators find themselves embroiled in the events that surround the return of the [...]

Giving Away Three Copies of the Far Away Land Core Rules in PDF - Flash Giveaway

To celebrate both GM's Day and the forthcoming Far 'n Away Podcast, I'm giving away a PDF copy of the Far Away Land core rules in PDF. (edit: +matt jackson is adding a 2nd PDF copy of the core rules into the mix in honor of EGG and +Tim Huntley is adding a 3rd PDF copy)

Comment on this post before 8PM tonight (NYC time) and I will randomly award 3 PDF copies FAL Core.

Well, what are you waiting for? You have less than 12 hrs ;)

Speak no Evil, see no Evil, hear no Evil, do no Evil

Reading a recent post from Bat in the Attic on the never ending topic of alignment in Dungeons & Dragons, one part did get me thinking:

What is good and evil? That is something each referee has to define. There is no right answer, my only firm recommendation is that there is answer and that it is consistent.

I had taken numerous classes on Asian philosophy and religion at university and one of the most interesting observations was that the concepts of Good, Evil, and Sin, as we are using them in European thinking and languages, don’t really apply in other parts [...]

Entropy and Balance

I read an interesting piece on self-organizing nanotubes on Sciencedaily.com. The article speaks of the MEPP principle, the Maximum Entropy Production Principle. According to this natural law, all things seek to achieve a state of entropy, where the energy they consume is put back out as heat.

"Life emerged on Earth from the strongly nonequilibrium energy distribution created by the Sun's hot photons striking a cooler planet. Plants evolved to capture high energy photons and produce heat, generating entropy. Then animals evolved to eat plants increasing the dissipation of heat energy and maximizing entropy production."

Evolution is [...]

Daily Cosplay (Megara)




From Hundreds of Contestants, Now Down to Four, as Global Competition to Find New Stars in Game Design Enters Final Round

REDMOND, WA (March 3, 2015): Paizo Inc., creator of the popular Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, announces today the Top 4 Finalists in the 2015 RPG Superstar Game Design competition.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 4 Finalists and their Winning Encounter with a Map Designs

Brian J. Fruzen (Milwaukee, WI) -- The Gloomsworn Path
Monica Marlowe (Cincinnati, OH) -- The Hanging Gardens of Karexin
Kalervo Oikarinen (Helsinki, Finland) -- Fellforge Chapel
Christopher Wasko (Connecticut) -- Darkblight Fallow

"Behold our four finalists! [...]

Maid RPG, of all things

You read that title right.

I successfully hosted a game of Maid: the RPG last Sunday. It was a strange and terrible thing.

Let me start by saying that I am not an otaku, or a weaboo, and I don't understand much about this strange anime-worshipping culture. I really don't. I don't see the appeal in discussing waifus or pillows emblazoned with anime girls or the obsession with pop music specifically from Korea or the prestige in watching cartoons specifically from one country of origin or the entertainment to be derived from arguing about one type of cartoon [...]

Wednesday On Wednesday...

Curse of the Monkey God

As you probably heard, archeologists have found evidence of a heretofore undiscovered city deep in the jungles of Honduras. They did so through digital mapping, finding odd anomalies in the topography...look for a straight line the ranger will tell, that will be man made...of the jungle, and found several.
There is speculation that it could be the White City. A legendary lost city whose ivory temples were filled with treasures. 
Or perhaps, its the lost city of the Monkey God. A tale circulates among natives about a city where giant apes were worshipped. There a mountainous temple was constructed with [...]

Armor Up

The shield is especially cool.


Sci-Fi Options

Years ago I went through a spate of reading all kinds of old science fiction. Books from the 1950s and 1960s. They were enjoyable, short, fun romps in the stars. I remember a few, like Brian Stableford's, but mostly they just interesting stories. I really appreciated the brevity of the tales.

But hollywood, perhaps finally on the look out for something new to make, and hoping to stop with the constant remakes, is plumbing the depths of sci fi history and coming up with some gems.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress just got scooped up and now [...]

More Ghosts Equal More Treats

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