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It's So Wrong, It Has To Be Right...

What is with The Asylum churning out female-fronted action flicks at the moment with titles that sound like top shelf magazines (or dodgy websites)? Names that you dare not Google for fear of being flagged by a Government watchdog! "Kidnapped by a Los Angeles crime syndicate, a group of schoolgirls must fight and seduce their way to vengeance, teaching the criminals a lesson in kicking butt

Image Thursday

There are many awesome and inspirational images on the web these days. Here’s a few that were found that you may enjoy and draw ideas from.

Clicking on each image will open it in a new window.




This image feed will show the last 12 images that have been pinned and may change if you return to this post later.

Welcoming Two New Authors to the Stew: Angela Murray and John Fredericks

2013 saw the departure of two gnomes, Patrick Benson and Kurt “Telas” Schneider, and the stew pot’s been feeling too roomy without them. Earlier this year we started looking for a couple of new gnomes, and today I’m pleased to welcome Angela Murray and John Fredericks to the blog.

Angela posts here as Orikes, and wrote a guest article in 2013, The Art of the One-Shot Character. Here’s her bio:

Angela has been playing roleplaying games for over twenty-five years, but it’s only been within the last decade that she got her feet wet as a game master. Despite years of playing [...]

Gaming Movies: The Eagle

The Story of the The 9th Roman Legion has become the stuff of legend. Recently three different movies have been made of the story each slightly different from each other, all worth a watching. The Last Legion (2007), The Centurion (2010), and The Eagle are all excellent fodder for an adventure story line, and damn good movies. I like The Eagle best for this purpose because it is most "quest-like".

Marcus Flavius Aquila and his Brigante slave turned companion Esca set off beyond "the edge of the world" North of Hadrian's Wall on a quest to find the lost golden eagle, [...]

RPG bugbears - mobile phones (video)

RPG Bugbears - Mobile Phones

Unusual Rewards in the Sandbox

The other day I was working on The Keys of Heraka-at and realized that by and large ‘conventional treasure’ is not a major feature of this adventure. The primary reward of this adventure is the knowledge needed to become the new Donnerkonig — the items that are needed, where they can be found, and what needs to be done with them — rather than gold or jewels or even magic items.

That got me thinking, and I wonder: is conventional treasure really that significant a draw in play?

I’ve been playing mostly old school games for the last few years: D&D 5e [...]

Editing the OPD

The One Page Dungeon entry undergoes some serious revision and late brainstorming.

Like many stories (and adventures), the characters apparently have minds and agendas of their own...

OK, off to bed.  I have an 0400 wakeup.

Venger's Top 80's Sword & Sorcery Films

No category of film exemplifies the struggle between good and evil like fantasy.  My top 10 is only as definitive as my subjective tastes.  Most are fantasy movies I grew up with, although a few I didn't see until later in life.  So, it's not just based on nostalgia.

Animated and muppet films like Heavy Metal and The Dark Crystal were excluded because I had to narrow it down somehow.  After all, how do you compare The Last Unicorn to The Sword and the Sorcerer?  I also had to draw a line somewhere between fantasy with a good [...]

Day 21 U is for Unicorns

Unicorns in D&D are the classic image of unicorns in literature, a horse with a single horn sprouting from its forehead. Like mythology, in D&D they are magical creatures that are nearly impossible to catch. Human and elven maids of pure heart can tame them and use them for steeds. Some have combined the winged […]

Great games ahead!

After some thought I have decided to change up my blog.  I no longer will be updating this blog with game design ideas.  Instead I am going to treat it like an open-house social site for discussing game rules and coordinating game sessions. 
D&D 5E is coming out this summer and I will be playing it and adding content to HR3PS concerning game sessions using the new rules set.  I have also been getting familiar with phpBB software and I am going to use that with this blog to organize and recap table top and online play sessions.

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Run & Gun

Product- Run & Gun

System-Shadowrun 5e

Producer- Catalyst

Price- PDF $25

TL;DR- What fans have been dying for! 93%


Basics- Time for the first hardcover expansion for Shadowrun 5e. This book focuses on physical combat. It starts off covering several new weapons ranging from swords to laser guns. Next, the book presents new armor and clothing options. From here, Run & Gun begins to focus on combat heavily starting with small squad tactics and new teamwork combat maneuvers. After team combat, the book spotlights called shot locations, special attacks with different ammo types, and more combat options. Following general combat, the book introduces martial arts [...]

Scourge of the Sword Coast: Session 10

We kick this season off in Daggerford, a smaller town of the Sword Coast where adventurers are drawn to the possibility of treasure and plunder.

Humanoids of all types have been more active in the area and no one knows why. Recently you have heard rumours of confrontations with the Red Wizards of Thay up by Dragonspear Castle: but that was all that they were...rumours.

The characters will travel almost anyplace, such as cities nearby such as Waterdeep and Baldur's Gate (oh no! Not Baldur's Gate again.)

Join Derek, Craig and I on this roller coaster ride [...]

Urash Mhyrr Player Map

I've had a couple of people ask for a version of the Astral Prison map without the text around the outside of it. Something that serves as a better standalone sheet to place in the middle of the table when a game is underway.

I'm always happy to oblige with such things.

I've also been asked to provide a copy of the map without any altars, treasures or monsters on it...so here's that version.

I hope you all find these useful when you decide to include them in your games.

there's a new sheriff in town

Well, if Joesky can find the strength to post, so can I. He is the beery wind beneath my wings.

attention must be paid

Ain’t my campaign, but word in the New York Red Box is that co-blogger Charlatan has hit the level cap for his bad-ass Halfling, Cut Coutelain, who has struggled all the way up from Level 1 in a fairly by-the-book B/X game. Strongholds and dominion rules await, if Cut hasn’t blown all his cash building a “burrow boxing” arena for his kin-folk. I don’t follow the blogs enough, but I’m wondering if anyone else has gone from 0 [...]

Circle Oroboros: Benji and Cafee

I recently won a number of random auctions, one of which included a starter box of Circle Oroboros. Those who have been reading this blog for a long time know that I thought about getting into Hordes for the longest time because of the look of this faction.

After everything, and I finally had my own, I must say the sculpts did not disappoint. It is a story I posted two years ago. Though tempted I won't repeat it here.

So this time, it was not new to me. I had experience with the models. It is always more [...]

there's a new sheriff in town

Well, if Joesky can find the strength to post, so can I. He is the beery wind beneath my wings.

attention must be paid

Ain’t my campaign, but word in the New York Red Box is that co-blogger Charlatan has hit the level cap for his bad-ass Halfling, Cut Coutelain, who has struggled all the way up from Level 1 in a fairly by-the-book B/X game. Strongholds and dominion rules await, if Cut hasn’t blown all his cash building a “burrow boxing” arena for his kin-folk. I don’t follow the blogs enough, but I’m wondering if anyone else has gone from 0 [...]

Reviewing Yellow Dawn: The Age of Hastur

Full disclosure: Back around the beginning of March, I was researching medieval mysticism, woodcuts, and tomes for my Ghartha series when I came across a blog post by David J. Rodger, discussing the Polanski film The Ninth Gate. It was a well written post (and made me go look up the movie and watch it […]

T Is for Telomeric

telomeric: (adj.) relating to the natural end of a eukaryotic chromosome composed of a usually repetitive DNA sequence and serving to stabilize the chromosome

Highbeam Multistellar’s most skilled engineers on Bellatrix have created some impressive weapons over the years, including the Bellatrixian plague fungus and the causality virus. In this grand tradition comes Highbeam’s horrific telomeric gas.

This heavier-than-air gas (approximately as dense as carbon dioxide) acts quickly after being inhaled or otherwise absorbed through a mucuous membrane (or even via the eyes). At this time, the active chemicals in the gas attack the victim’s DNA, overwhelming the telomeres of the target [...]

T is for Torch Boy

Hirelings, they come in all shapes and varieties. Some don't last long, yet others through cowardice, luck, or sheer will manage to stick around. Guides are needed to trek through wild lands, as are henchman to haul around loot. And let us not forget the humble torchbearer. When you're packing around a broadsword and heavy shield, someone needs to hold the torch (or lightning rod) for you.

(Imitates Arthur from Army of Darkness) T is for Torch Boy!!!!!

Miles Osgood

Miles was once a normal boy. He had loving parents and a normal farm life. This was before his family was brutally killed [...]

5-Minute Adventure: Shrine of Thiseir for Swords & Wizardy and Next

While the following is a new 5-minute adventure it is a departure from a normal 5-minute adventure in two ways. The first is obvious as it is listed in the title of the post and that is tha tI developed the adventure to be usable in both Swords & Wizardry Core (4th printing) and the Next playtest rules of the world's oldest fantasy roleplaying game.

I do not know how well I succeeded in this goal and feedback is greatly needed if I am to improve my ability to both use and develop for Next Playtest and eventually [...]

Musings on Alignment Abuse

Look in your heart, you know it to be true...Last year, I wrote a short post about the alignment system present in Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder (which you can find HERE). In that post, I mentioned how I'm rather fond of the alignment system as a concept and like how it gives the player a starting point for their character's personality and personal philosophy. I also like the idea that forces of absolute chaos, good, evil, and law exist within these fictional settings and how mortals who might not meet up to those same standards might interact and align [...]

S is for Satyr

Satyrs are the life of the party. They are often considered the male equivalent to dryads (or potentially nymphs). Unlike those beauteous fae, they're not particularly pretty. Still they have their charms (literally when you take their pipe ability into account).

Prepare to drink and sing, because S is for Satyr...

Theron of the Clovenflame
"Any festival you can walk way from wasn't worth attending in the first place."

To those that have met him, the satyr reveler Theron is often seen as a force of nature. To be fair to nature, there are natural disasters that are less destructive. The [...]

Wicked-Awesome Art Wednesday: Ostium Inferus

Via thepidgeonsandpeepsTumblr,Ostium Inferus by deviantART userGrivetart.

The post Wicked-Awesome Art Wednesday: Ostium Inferus appeared first on Age of Ruins.

On Hyperborea and Fate

Previously, I reviewed Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea. I talked about how I liked both the rules and the …

Continue reading →

Podcast episode -- The RPG Room: Get out of my hobby!

Our hobby has a nasty side sometimes and when it shows its ugly face it is very difficult to roll high enough to save for the trolls. And some trolls don't go away even if you pour acid or burn them to the ground. That's what happened recently with a Kickstarter project from Daring Entertainment. [...]

The post Podcast episode – The RPG Room: Get out of my hobby! appeared first on G*M*S Magazine.

Short Film: Milonga

Redheads! Italy! Motorcycles!

I can watch this one over and over…

Max Brooks' Extinction Parade Optioned by Legendary for an Original Television Series

Max Brooks and Avatar Press have announced Legendary Television and Digital optioned the New York Times Bestselling Author Brooks' Extinction Parade as an original property for development as a new television series. Brooks is closely tied to the development of the project and will be writing the Pilot episode.

“I only brought the idea to one company, Legendary, because they do the kind of quality work of which any writer would be proud.” stated Brooks.

“Max Brooks is a visionary with an incredible ability to tell stories that deliver a fresh approach to the horrors that haunt our nightmares. His [...]

GM tips - Failing Forwards (video)

GM Tips - Failing Forwards
A more interesting way to resolve 'failed' rolls.

The Battle for Van Fleet Manor

Q and R are for the Rat Queens


There I said it.

I saw this random panel on Tumblr and immediately knew I'd love the series. Hands down, it is my favorite comic of the last few years (though I will say that Saga is exceptional too). I've previously mentioned the Queens here. The series is a darkly humorous and violent fantasy series with modern aesthetic.

If you don't mind vulgar language (often of a sexual nature) and drug references mixed with your swords and sorcery, then Rat Queens is the series for you. The first five issues are available int he [...]

Lost City of Eridu (Early Temple Period)

Up until 50,000 years before the present day of my new world campaign, the landscape of the new world was considerably different.  A basalt ridge left behind from a volcanic eruption and lava flow in the distant past divided the drainage basin of the jungle roughly in half, and what are now the two main tributaries of the Zamonas were separate rivers, the Maita to the north and the Ilyapa to the south.  The Maita fed into an immense coastal swamp, while the Ilyapa snaked through the southern hills before going underground and flowing through a series of lava tubes [...]


COME ON DOWN!!! http://www.kingdom-con.com/ I have the 10AM timeslots for RPGs on Friday and Saturday. Kingdom Con 2014 - RPGS April 24 - 3:00pm Outbreak: Can YOU Survive? Outbreak: Undead GM: Brett Lynam Length: 4 Hours Players: 9 or more It has finally happened; the dead walk and society has crumbled. This is a character [...]

Caradoc ap Segovax: A Darkling Village (Age of Arthur, Session 3)

With our escort of the Kindly Ones we made our way through the forest, guided with all speed past the natural hazards of this great place, heading southwestwards; my heart grew heavier as we neared the darkling village and I contemplated what doom the unbelievers and worshippers of the false god had bought down upon all of our heads. Whilst Soctia marvelled at the shining arms and armour of our guides we began to descend into a valley, the air growing soupy and quite unlike the pure clean vapours of our northern home. We stopped a days walk from our [...]

D&D Puns and Stuff

Okay folks, not much new to show off this week so I'll regale you with some of my gaming puns that I regularly tweet (yes I tweet: @GamersTableMike). Hate em or love em, puns have been a staple of my D&D humor for years. Standard apologies if you've hard any of these before. Enjoy (or not)...

  • Skeleton armies have a particular skull set.
  • Combat tactics: Fallen Footmen need Archer support.
  • Alcoholic Genies crawl into bottles.
  • Humanoid drunks go to orcaholics anonymous.
  • We had to pay to use the Troll bridge because we missed the Faerie crossing.
  • On the hole I always [...]

Hump-day Hildebrandt... His Backpack's Got Jets...

Well, last week was hectic.  You may have noticed the lack of any writing.  I noticed the lack of most things that relax me.  The holiday added extra things to my "to do" list, on top of the unrelenting busy season at the real job.  If those weren't enough, my child was ill the entire week.  I didn't get any writing or gaming time in whatsoever and the regular game was cancelled.  That said, I have gotten some offline work completed this week and I'm almost ready to roll out the first "I Give a Fluff."  Having written that, some [...]

Legends & Lore: Double Down

I agree that simpler rules make for easier preparation and improvisation, which is why I love monster design in 4th Edition: it is incredibly easy to make monsters/NPCs of any level and scope (even on the fly), all the formulas can fit on a card, and unlike 3rd Edition it is actually reliable. This also extends to building encounters: I feel much more confident that I can quickly and easily design an encounter, while still making it precisely as difficult as I want.

So why is it that---besides, you know, 3rd Edition did it---they see the need to provide a second [...]

Caradoc ap Segovax: Ancient Spirits of the Forest and Air (Age of Arthur, Session 2)

I was awoken during the night by Scotia, the soft sound of laughter and other strange noises filtered through the forest trees that were illuminated but dimly by the flickering embers of our campfire; pulling a burning brand from the fire I blew gently on it, sending a small cloud of ash spiralling into the air and I peered into the patterns that it formed, seeking the will of the ancients in the chaotic swirls of grey.
"They are spirits of the forest" I said, almost as much to myself and to my companions, "we must show these guardians of [...]

What Does the OSR Mean to You? (not asking for a definition)

What does the OSR mean to you? I'm not asking you to define the OSR, because such a definition is fairly nebulous and arbitrary.

For me, the OSR means making the old new again. Keeping the rules I first found as a teen fresh and relevant 30+ years later.

The OSR means I can find new adventures for my old rules, and new rewrites of the old rules that are easier for these aging eyes to read and this aging mind to follow.

The OSR has given D&D of old the lifespan and vitality of a Tolkien Elf - it will not die even as those that deigned it have moved on to the beyond.

The OSR is. That in and [...]

Review: Mansions of Madness

George says: Somnium is an experienced gamer I met in a forum for Greek roleplayers. We rarely agree on anything, but he's kind enough to share his considerable knowledge on board games, starting with this guest article and hopefully continuing with more in the near future.

Mansions of Madness by Fantasy Flight Games

Mansions of Madness is a boardgame by Fantasy Flight Games. What makes this boardgame particularly interesting, however, is the fact that it is based on the Cthulhu mythos (and the expanded Call of Cthulhu universe), and that it's focused on delivering intense, competitive gameplay, as well as a gripping [...]

Blast from the past: Zero

A couple of days ago I finished watching the remake of the classic TV series The Prisoner (you know, the one where Patrick McGoohan declares that he's not a number but a free man in the beginning of every episode). While the remake had some interesting ideas and a great cast, the original series remains unsurpassed as an allegorical tale of anti-authoritarianism and pro-individualism.

The Prisoner and especially McGoohan's catch phrase actually remind me of a short game I once found in the top shelf (aka where games go to die) of a small FLGS not far from where I grew [...]

World of Darkness: Tales from the 13th Precinct

The new World of Darkness is an efficient and flexible ruleset that can be used to run a wide variety of "modern" campaigns, from horror to espionage. This series of reviews examines the various sourcebooks published for the "generic" World of Darkness line and their usefulness in running your own homebrew settings.

Tales from the 13th Precinct

The concept of Tales from the 13th precinct will be familiar to readers of the Asylum or Dogs of war sourcebooks: it is both an occupational sourcebook and a mini-setting for the new World of Darkness. This time the focus is on local law enforcement.

Tales [...]

Book Excerpt - 'How To Be An Annoying Player'

This is an excerpt from my book 'The Book of Roleplaying Hints, Tips and Ideas', available now on Kindle and DrivethruRPG.

Although this and many of the 29 articles in the book were written with a light-hearted tone, there was a somewhat serious side to the essays in that I was exploring different aspects through careful observation during the literally hundreds of games I played in and ran with dozens of groups during my 30 years in the hobby.

This particular article literally drips with sarcasm; it was the mirror image of Gary Gygax's book 'Role-Playing Mastery', [...]

Cool Stuff around the Blogosphere

While I haven’t been as active as I’d like to be here at are phantasia in the last month or so I have had the opportunity to explore some of the work of others who have. I’ve discovered some really cools stuff recently that I’d like to take a minute to share.

1. Role Play Craft

First up is a blog that I’ve been following for some time. Patrick Wesley has been doing some really fine work over at Role Play Craft offering original content for rpgs in the form of interesting NPC ideas, adventure hooks, complete adventures and campaign settings.

I’ve found [...]

Quick Note - Not to be Swept Under the Rug

A quick note and shout out to the venerable +Mark Van Vlack of Dust_Pan_Games for hitting his hundreth post! Congratulations man and may the next year feature another hundred great posts.

Mark's blog started shortly before mine and it is a go to for me on a weekly basis (or whenever I catch the notification). Mark tends to muse on the community, the game and the ways in which we as gamers play and manipulate the game. Often witty he deserves a lot of credit from me when I almos tthrew in the towel earlier this year. Nothing [...]

Back In The Saddle

I'm pretty excited. This Friday I'm back to GMing and it's been a long while. At the very least it's been since sometime in November when my Shadowrun game came to an impromptu end due to time constraints. Since then my normal game has been on hiatus while a friend ran another game, but now that game is back on hiatus and the "main show" is picking back up.

Getting Back Into Character
One of the problems I'm expecting my players to have is getting back into character. It's been a long time since the last time we played, [...]

World of Darkness: Skinchangers

The new World of Darkness is an efficient and flexible ruleset that can be used to run a wide variety of "modern" campaigns, from horror to espionage. This series of reviews examines the various sourcebooks published for the "generic" World of Darkness line and their usefulness in running your own homebrew settings.


Werewolves (and other werebeasts to a lesser extent) have been a staple in the World of Darkness since the earliest days of the classic rules, being the second "creature race" after Vampires to get their own setting. So a book about shapechangers in the generic new World of Darkness [...]

Quest Night: Glory and Gold

Earlier I had mentioned going to this event to raise money for the cure for cancer (go here to find out all the details you could ever want to know). I made it out opening night, for the first run of the night even but I’m getting a bit ahead of my story. So, I […]

Chancing FATE

I finally getting around to responding to a reader’s question…

“Hey, Scott, why do you hate Fate so much?”

I don’thateFATE, so much as I find some of the fast and loose aspects (See what I did there..?) can create a much higher level of complexity that is needed. I had the same issue withMarvel Heroic RoleplayingandFireflyfrom Margaret Weiss — which are essentially Fatewith Cortex die schemes. The plehtora of assets, complications, etc. adding to dice pools can get a bit hard to manage. (Although it doesn’t reach the wheelbarrowful dumping of dice majesty of d6Star Wars when a Stardestroyer opens [...]

My favorite articles on Gamemastering

5 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenaged Skill System 5 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenaged Skill System 5 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenaged Skill System 5 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenaged Skill System 5 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenaged Skill System

When it comes to running adventures and campaigns, nothing can replace actual experience. However, that is not to say that you can only learn from making your own mistakes. There is actually a great number of excelent pieces of advice on the topic of preparing and running games, but strangely it’s something that almost no RPGs ever care to mention. [...]

1984 -- A MARVELous Year

For me 1984 was pretty much my breakout year where it was obvious I was a full-blown nerd. I had played D&D one time in 1982, collected a Moldvay Basic and Cook Expert boxed set by 1983, but had a hard time getting anybody to play. Inflicted a few sessions on my sisters and some distant cousins, but that was about it.

In 1983 I started seriously reading comics, starting with “The New Mutants #1″ and “Uncanny X-Men #167.” Gradually I started reading other Marvel Comics titles.

Then in 1984 TSR came out with this:

the Marvel Super Heroes roleplaying game. [...]

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