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March Blog Carnival: Best GM Ever

  Time marches, and the season turns. The new month brings a new host to the RPG Blog Alliance Carnival.   Last month the host was V at the Leicester’s Ramble blog, and I wrote about how I write.   The new host is Mark, at Creative Mountain Games. The theme for this month is …

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WFRP Battle for the Empire Scenario

It's war time and Karl Franz dies. The elector counts choose a completely inadequate emperor, hoping to be able to mold him to their will.

However, the dwarves (of all people) don't think the human newly elected to the position has what it takes to beat the concerted attacks of chaos. The puppet emperor keeps issuing orders that gets dwarf troops killed.
The dwarves seize control of the human government in order to assure their own survival. They proceed to (very ably) control the empire's armies, turning the tide against the armies of chaos.
The humans and the dwarves [...]

Railroading Manifesto -- Addendum: Random Railroads

I’ve just had an interesting discussion regarding the intersection between random generators and railroads.

Hypothetical Situation #1: You’re running a standard hexcrawl campaign. You generate a sequence of six locations. Regardless of where the PCs decide to go, they will encounter those six locations in the order that you prepared them.

This is self-evidently a railroad.

Now, take this hypothetical situation and begin stripping off locations until you’re left with a single location. Regardless of which direction the PCs leave town, they will encounter that specific location.

Still self-evidently a railroad.

Hypothetical Situation #2: You’re running a standard hexcrawl campaign. You create a random encounter [...]

The Friday Grab Bag - Meetup, Non-Marketing, & Growing up Geek

Over on metrotimes.com, they fill us in "On using Meetup to play D&D with a group of strangers" here.

Also on alistdaily.com, they explain "How NOT to Market Games" here.

Finally on the Living for Crits blog, they tell us about "Growing up Geek" here.

The Friday Grab Bag on CreativeMountainGames.com Essentially, a clearinghouse for topics not covered
elsewhere or needing a particular focus.Please Like, Share, Plus, Tweet, Follow, and Comment!

Discussion: What Makes For A Good Character?

You'll hear this question bandied about almost as much as people asking how to GM well. What is it that makes a good character? Blogs are full of advice, books have tons of dos and do nots, but what is the core to one?

The idea here is that the character not only needs to be fun to have in the game, but fun to play as well. For that they need to have a reason to be in the game. They need a motivation, something that pushes them forward. I would argue that the best characters have at [...]

RpgGamerDad -- Kids and Combat

Combat in role-playing games: part of the deal, right? Everyone likes it really, even if we discuss at length how to get the pacing right, how to make fights interesting, how to stop it being a 3-hour session of dice-rolling drudgery? The familiar feeling of the dice in the hand? Looking up numbers on my character sheet instead of the tricky business of staying in character? Cool. I love that. What about descriptions? Should I let it get gory? Should I focus on the numbers and keep it nice and neat and tactical? Should I narrate outrageous Feng Shui RPG-style [...]

Flip Through Heavy Gear Blitz Living Beta Rulebook

In this Flip Through Matt Takes a look at the Heavy Gear Blitz Living Rules from Dream Pod 9. Yes it’s a pdf but he printed a copy to share with you. He briefly covers some of the differences of the book and its highlights

This isn’t the most recent version. The day after I filmed this Robert posted an update to the living rules.

6 Kinds of Waterborne Cutthroats from History

I thought this guest post byMark Cookman might be interesting to listeners who caught my spot as a guest on the Dungeon Master’s Block podcast. In the episode we talked about pirate campaigns and this look at the different types of pirates is a good follow-up. -Shawn Diversity spices up any encounter table and the...

6 Kinds of Waterborne Cutthroats from History

I thought this guest post byMark Cookman might be interesting to listeners who caught my spot as a guest on the Dungeon Master’s Block podcast. In the episode we talked about pirate campaigns and this look at the different types of pirates is a good follow-up. -Shawn Diversity spices up any encounter table and the...

[MegaDelve] The Necropolis of Bryn Mynnyd

And we are back to the Dyson Mega Delve for those two last maps to complete “The Upper Levels”. This is map number 30 of 31 in the set, and once the last one goes up I’ll put together a page here on the blog that links to all of the maps as well as the node map to make it easier to navigate the whole thing.

The Necropolis of Bryn Mynnyd (with grid)

The ruins of Bryn Mynnyd date back untold ages, and the city has been looted repeatedly by adventurers of all stripes. In the end, all that’s left is a few farmers who have moved back into the ruins to eke out a living away from the nearby town and the Death Cult of Bryn Mynnyd who travel through the ruins to get to their temple deep under here.

Bryn Mynnyd once dug deep mines to gather True Iron from veins that probably merge further underground with the veins that were later excavatedby the dwarves in the abandoned dwarven city. These mines are far below the ruins of the city, and were given up to crypts long ago. They are accessed through a cave turned necropolis at the southern end [...]

Everything Comes To A Head This Weekend...

It's the finale of season two of the brilliant Black Sails (on Amazon Prime in the UK) this weekend. But fret not, pirate-lovers, filming is well underway on season three, which will introduce Ray Stevenson as Edward Teach aka the infamous Blackbeard. Blackbeard And, in complete contrast, this weekend also sees the UK airing of the season finale of Star Wars Rebels, which has been

Gloamhold: The Splintered Stair

This rarely explored sub-level connects Rivengate’s upper level to the extensive cellars buried below the Shard. Following a great, rambling fissure in the Mottled Spire’s living rock, the Splintered Stair is aptly named.


Exploring this level is exhausting and perilous. Whereas most dungeon levels are basically horizontal, the Splintered Stair’s upper reaches stand hundred of feet above its base. The Splintered Stair’s main feature of note is a steep, time worn and pitted staircase cut into the fissure’s wall. The stair follows the natural undulatations of the rock wall and takes a circuitous, rambling course. Wide and broad at its base, [...]

Tommy's Take on High Strung

This is one of those that I was dying to read when it was announced: An RPG about playing members of a rock band, by the guy that made an RPG about playing members of a baseball team.

ETHICS IN GAME JOURNALISM DISCLAIMER: This review does contain affiliate links for DriveThruRPG. Purchasing products via those links may provide me with store credit, which will be used to purchase new RPG products that will probably be reviewed on this blog.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: The book is $5 in PDF format, and only 56 pages. Characters are built by [...]

Grip Strength Made Easy (Easier)

Originally in Technical Grappling, Grip ST - how many dice you get to roll when you grab someone - was figured differently. During revision, it was changed, and during playtest, it was altered, folder, spindled, and mutilated.

Ultimately, I decided to go with a precise way to combine limbs when grappling. Figure out the contribution in pounds of force (represented by Basic Lift) of each limb or pair of limbs depending on bioloty, add 'em up as Basic Lift, and figure out the ST required to produce that level of Basic Lift.

The advantage here is that it didn't produce insane numbers, and it also gave a great way to figure out the grappling power applied when you're dogpiled by seven kobolds or something. Take their Trained ST, square each one, add that value up, and take the square root.

But ew. Hot mess at the table, with or without the handy chart.

+Peter V. Dell'Orto and I have looked at some of this, and found a nice solution for certain parts. But ArchonShiva over at Further Up the Spire has come up with a fast way to work it. It might not be accurate in all cases, but it's way more tractable at the table.

So go check out Manageable Grip ST in Technical Grappling and see what he's all about.   

One Day Sale - The Black Monastery - HC $20 - Frog God Games (S&W and Pathfinder)

Today's Daily Deal:The Black Monastery HardcoverOnly $20! (Regularly $34.99)Use this coupon code during checkout:DD-BLACK-8532
Shop Now!
Offer expires Midnight Tonight! (PST)
This is one that has slipped by my radar. $20 for Print and PDF of The Black Monastery and available for Swords & Wizardry? May need to add this to my endless gaming collection myself.
Level range 7-9.

Defining the "Other Strangeness" world

I've been thinking of something more than just the characters in this game, it's collaborative storytelling, so it makes sense to spread the load when it comes to making the environment at the start of the campaign.
I'm just spit alling at the moment, but here's my initial thoughts in this regard.
Every player gives a wide overview definition of 2 regions of the city
They get a total of 25 points to divide between these two regions, the points may be spent on the following categories.Safety 0-4 (0: Dangerous, 1: Unsafe, 2: Patrolled, 3: Relatively Safe, 4: Very Safe)Infrastructure [...]

d6 Island Settlements

Of course there are settlements between Bastion and the Golden Lands. Some of them sit on little islands, so let's see which one you hit.

1: Library - A few brick houses skirting outside a circular metal shrine. Inside the Librarian guards all knowledge ever, taking the form of a big yellow holographic head. People line up outside to seek his council, but he generally only sees d6-1 people per day before bellowing LIBRARIAN MUST STUDY across the island. His answers are based on combined belief of the people on the island, and have no grounding in [...]

Fleamarket Friday: Rumble In The Jungle...

Urban Jungle is a fresh, new, standalone adventure for the rules-lite supers game ICONS written and illustrated by Dan Houser, the man responsible for single-handedly defining the 'iconic' look of Steve Kenson's masterpiece. Free samples of garden greenery from the annual flower show---what could be wrong with that? Plenty, if the gift-giver is none other than the criminal Creeper, master of

Behind the DM Screen (March 2015)

Andy, Mike, and Sam get together to talk about their gaming in March 2015. They have a lively discussion about encounter building and xp budgets in 5e.
Support the show, shop below...

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Random List -- 20 Planet Names

Need a name for a planet in your sci-fi game? Roll a d20 and check below to see what you get!

D20 Planet Name 1 Asyloticon 2 Audiohal 3 Dememodo 4 Discosexual 5 Elory 6 Infrapticon 7 Inphanetics 8 Litedicon 9 Loriforma 10 Pandanatro 11 Paphile 12 Polecus 13 Proetocoptor 14 Psychatate 15 Radiulaser 16 Sciecinth 17 Setatry 18 S-size 19 Suprehex 20 Zyrline


Dragon #129

Bujilli: Episode 124

Betrayed and his friends attacked by surprise in the middle of negotiations, Bujilli has returned to the camp of the Grunters and terminated their alliance with extreme prejudice...
Bujilli walked silently through the trampled camp, past dozens of piggish-corpses, on his way back to the Keep. He was tired, bloody and bloodied and thoroughly disgusted. It didn't have to be like this...it didn't...they could have worked something out...

Halfway up the ramp a buzzing noise disturbed his reverie of recrimination. Something big was close. Getting closer. Fast.

A large beetle-thing more than three times his size landed [...]

The Free OSR downloads of Corey Ryan Walden For Your Old School Campaigns

If your looking for a good solid set of OSR downloads then look no further then Corey Ryan Walden's material. You won't find a better set of old school town materials for your campaigns. The gentleman has generously supplied his materials for free and their perfect for your retroclone or old school needs. Check them out right over HERE

Review and Commentary On Spellbook Games Inferno Bestiary, Second Edition For Your Old School Campaigns.

The steps to Hell await you adventurers, we descend down the endless stair case into the blackness as the shadows of the flame of perdition dance around you. For today we check out Spellbook game'sInferno Bestiary, Second Edition and its connection to the famous Judge's Guild module Inferno on the Dark Corner blog Right Over HERE

Crowns of Blood: Chargen (Part 4)

[continued from here; getting close to the end, now!]


As determined waaaay back in Personal Data, your character will be somewhere between the age of 16 and 21. For each year of your adult life (i.e. starting with age 16) you may choose one of the following three options:

  1. Roll D6 and distribute that number of points among those skills already possessed. Remember that a combat trained character possesses all weapon skills, but most of these probably have a score of "0." No skill may be raised above 15 with this additional training.
  2. Add one (1) [...]

A New Action In Fate: Intercept

I seriously love Fate. Something I’m amazed about is how well they’ve been able to boil just about anything you’d like to do into 4 different actions. But some of you may know that I’m not completely happy with the options given to me, especially defensively. If you haven’t already read it, check out my...

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The post A New Action In Fate: Intercept appeared first on Ramblings of Jacob and Delos.

Zombie Plague -- Innnn Spaaaace!

I’m sure that I’m not the first one to suggest zombies in a science fiction, post apocalypse, or Metamorphosis Alpha(MA) setting. In my recent MA kick, I had an idea for one level to have some sort of zombie plague, whether by disease, radiation, or the effects of some plant or animal poison. Would it […]

YALP Ep. 41 "The Land That Fate Forgot!" Episode 5

Good grief! There’s a paleontologist riding a T-Rex! And those people over there have been captured by the monkey-men and the Colonel! And there’s a volcano that looks ready to explode!

What the heck is going to happen next?

YALP Fate, "The Land that Fate Forgot!" Episode 5

Featuring the gaming talents of:

Brian Casey (@Fiddleback) as the GM
Joshua Brown (@Joshua) as Dr. Grant Challenger
Sarah "the Gremlin" (@Gremlinzrus) as Dr. Beverly Killdare
John Ariosa (@ariosa) as Jessup Jones
Tiffany Ralph (@TheOneTAR) as Jordan Scott
Shane "Mundangerous" (@Mundangerous) as Mark "Steak" Johnson

Tell us what you think:

We're on twitter:@Fiddlebackand@Vladepsyker

Find us on Facebook at:https://www.facebook.com/groups/MadAdventurersSociety/

If [...]

Thanks Bill!

Purchased the S&W Complete Rulebook during Frog God's recent one-day sale.

In addition to being a most excellent rules-set, it also makes a very serviceable beer coaster...

(Sorry, Erol)

Micro-Adventures are Headed Out the Door

Here's a picture of the few laminated micro-adventures, The Hypnotic Horror, that are headed out the door tomorrow.  Three different continents, five different countries and twelve different states.  I have no idea, but its cool to know it'll be to more places then I've ever been. 

I send these out to my $2.50 and $5 patrons.  And occasionally I throw them in as an extra when someone orders a batch of Manors.  They are printed on 4" x 6' notecards, front and back, and then laminate them.  That way you can use a dry erase marker, Sharpies [...]

Jim McCullough talks about Paradox City

We recently ran into Jim McCulloughand spoke with him about his new super hero project, Paradox City. With only a few days left on the kickstarter, now is the time to jump on board and make this comic book world come to life. The project is already funded but every dollar added, means more possibilities for this awesome comic book inspired world.



What is Paradox City?

A by-the-books superhero must team up with supervillains in order to escape the secure fortress, Paradox City, and save his only child.

In the future, the last of humanity lives in a protected box. No one gets in to Paradox City. No one gets out. Life here is perfect, if you follow the rules. Those who stray from the order are imprisoned. Superpowers are outlawed. Individualism is outlawed. Above the city, drones keep a constant eye on everyone. Citizens are monitored with every step. When a rebellious teenager does the impossible and escapes Paradox City, her dad, “Detective Chamber” must go against his ‘straight and narrow’ idealism and team up with super villains and criminals in order to save his daughter.

But escape is just the beginning as he discovers something even more terrifying..

Tell me a little about the production team?

Jim McCullough is the creator, writer and VFX artist and will be directing the first webisode. He is an award-winning visual storyteller, working closely with producers and directors, he creates visually stunning titles, animation, design and VFX for global superstars, commercials and films. He recently produced visual effects for the Ariana Grande music video, "Santa Tell Me" with 27+ million Youtube views. He has also produced visual effects and animation for Barbra Streisand, MAX, Naya Rivera, 2Cellos, Heart, Earth, Wind & Fire, Jasmine V, Fortune 500 companies such as DuPont, Nissan, IBM, Fishnet Security, Baxter, AMC, [...]

Giving Away Two Keys to the New Computer RPG - Pillars of Eternity - Comment, Friend... and Enter

"Eternity aims to recapture the magic, imagination, depth, and nostalgia of classic RPG's that we enjoyed making - and playing. At Obsidian, we have the people responsible for many of those classic games and we want to bring those games back... and that's why we're here - we need your help to make it a reality!

Eternity will take the central hero, memorable companions and the epic exploration of Baldur's Gate, add in the fun, intense combat and dungeon diving of Icewind Dale, and tie it all together with the emotional writing and mature thematic exploration of Planescape: Torment."

So, I've got 2 Steam keys for Pillars of Eternity to give away thanks to an extremely generous patron of The Tavern. They [...]

Deflective shields

My first Dark Souls dude, with a shield

These are the current shield rules (approximately the third revision) for The Final Castle. To make sense, I have included preliminarily a few general combat rules as well. Combat Tests are d20, roll high, aiming to meet or exceed an enemy threat level (similar to the probably familiar armor class or difficulty class). Hopefully the fragmentary nature is not too hard to understand.

“Unbalanced” is a state, something like a temporary condition (in 3E terms) that persists until addressed by the combatant. Deflection is a reaction that can be taken in response to an [...]

Elthos RPG Rules Book - WIP

The Elthos Core Rules Book is coming along nicely, and is in final edit. I'm working on it with InDesign and I thought I'd post a few images of what it looks like so far... Here we go...

Athanasius Kircher Patron Saint of Atlantandria Port City Of Accursed Atlantis My Old School Campaign.

If there's one influence on my Accursed Atlantis campaign its got to be Athanasius Kircher a genius Jesuit madman and philosopher whose works touched on everything from alchemy to volcanoes. He's been my go to source for more then thirty - five years. Who was Kircher?According to Wiki :Athanasius Kircher,S.J.(sometimes erroneously spelledKirchner; 1602--1680) was a 17th-centuryGerman

OK, OK, So I Finally Made Those Monty Python Fluxx Cards I Designed...

One of my local gaming group saw on my blog that I had created several new cards for the Monty Python Fluxx card game, one of them being The Black Knight. He asked why that card (and the others) never seemed to turn up during play. I had to admit that I'd never gotten around to making physical real-world versions of any of the cards I designed. He shamed me for my laziness, so, as penance, here

Storytime 001

A one shot leads to meta-exploration. The Pearlwill be back as we launch full on intoseason 2! In the meantime I went back to a pick-up session we did a couple weeks back and started messing around with sound effects and background music. Hopefully I’ll be able to spend a little more time editing the … Continue reading Storytime 001 →

Princes of the Apocalypse - Tomb of Moving Stones

Yesterday we returned to the game store to play some more of the new D&D Encounters adventure Princes of the Apocalypse. Our store is having a problem in that there are too many players and not enough DMs. We have four tables and each one was either at the max of 7 or over the max. I ended up with 8 players. I have repeatedly offered to run a Thursday game for some of these excess players, but for whatever reason it is not happening.

In my opinion, the best number of players in D&D is three. Two players [...]


The caravan continues northward. Next stop: Daggerford. But before then, Erzo (Drow Rogue) is going to spend  time intimidating passengers and use the nighttime hours to stealthily open crates in his insatiable search for loot. Mulinex (Elf Ranger/Druid) spends his time charming a young lady in a tavern at a Way Station, but is in for a surprise as to her identity. Two new NPCs are introduced into the campaign: a mischievous  gnome quite adept at circumlocution, and a mysterious human wearing a wool hat over his bald head... hmmm, what does that mean? Listen in for [...]

Giving Away Two Keys to the New Computer RPG - Pillars of Eternity - Comment to Enter

"Eternity aims to recapture the magic, imagination, depth, and nostalgia of classic RPG's that we enjoyed making - and playing. At Obsidian, we have the people responsible for many of those classic games and we want to bring those games back... and that's why we're here - we need your help to make it a reality!

Eternity will take the central hero, memorable companions and the epic exploration of Baldur's Gate, add in the fun, intense combat and dungeon diving of Icewind Dale, and tie it all together with the emotional writing and mature thematic exploration of Planescape: Torment."

So, I've got 2 Steam keys for Pillars of Eternity to give away thanks to an extremely generous patron of The Tavern. They [...]

I hate spell lists

Ok, I have to admit I feel a bit dirty typing this. I hate spell lists.(A door slams violently as Otto leaves the room.)
Whopping huge lists of spells are sort of my great D&D buggaboo. I know lately I have picked on hit points allot, but honestly I have no real beef with hit points. I can look hit points in the eye and say, "Buddy no one understands you and you kind of  smell like old Doritos's but I still love ya" and be done with it.
Show me an endless list of  spells collected by "school" or [...]

Making sense of Character Integration

Here's where my mind has taken the concept of backgrounds...

Let's work off a more linear pattern for background/relationships. In this way, the benefits of the relationships are flat bonuses. Every level of a background/relationship provides a simple flat bonus (one advantage granted at the beginning of each conflict for each level in the relevant background. If a character is able to draw on more than one background at the start of a conflict, they must choose which one is most relevant, and they may gain a single advantage point each from other relevant backgrounds, during subsequent turns they [...]

The Giant Allorian Mutated Sharp Toothed Salamander For Your Old School Campaigns

Straying to near some of the colossal and grandiose Lemurian ruins can for adventurers be a fatal experience in quick reflexes. For a predator of extremely aggressive and dangerous aspect lurks nearby, theThe Giant Allorian Mutated Sharp Toothed Salamanderlies in wait. This large and extremely dangerous predator haunts the rivers, lakes, streams, and swamps just waiting to snap limbs and

RPG Review Path of War: Supplemental Content

By Endzeitgeist The final book for the first “Path of War”-book is 25 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD (leaving 22 pages of content) and is  all about supplemental content, so let’s take a look, shall we? After a short introduction of the topic at hand, we delve into [...]

The post RPG Review Path of War: Supplemental Content appeared first on G*M*S Magazine.

Review -- Shadowrun: Run Faster

Shadowrun: Run Faster provides a wealth of options and tools for character development and customization, broadly expanding the choices available for metatypes, qualities and more while also provides background information on the world that can be used to enhance roleplaying. While it is a little disorganized, overall Run Faster is an immensely useful sorcebook primarily for players but GMs will find much to use as well.

Shadowrun: Run Faster, is a Core Player Handbook for the 5th edition of Shadowrun, so what does that mean? It means that this book is full of character options, discussions and variant systems to all [...]

RPG Review -- 10 Wizard Magic Items

By Endzeitgeist This pdf clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 2 pages of advertisement, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let’s take a look! As always with Rite Publishing’s 10-items-series, the first thing you may wish to know is that you actually receive [...]

The post RPG Review – 10 Wizard Magic Items appeared first on G*M*S Magazine.

Tenkar's Tavern Tankard - Currently One of a Kind

I must say that +Eric Quigley 's art looks damn nice on a beer stein!

Would there be an interest in me getting these up for sale via Cafe Press or the like?

I know I'll be ordering a few more for myself ;)

Magic items in fantasy fiction

Long before I even started to consider serious fiction writing, I’ve been running roleplaying games for years. And in many games, things like magic swords, magic boots, and flying carpets are a pretty big deal. And when you look at many classic “proto-fantasy” stories and the Lord of the Rings, magic items are everywhere. Every halfway decent god or hero had two or three magic items he acquired over his many adventures by stealing them from villains he defeated.

I am not terribly well read in contemporary fantasy books, but it seems to me that magic items are almost absent these [...]

Kickstarter -- Into the Wintery Gale -- Pathfinder RPG adventure

Into the Wintery Gale is a Viking themed adventure written by Justin Andrew Mason for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. This looks really good but trying to fit it into my existing campaign would be a lot of work indeed, still where there’s a will; there’s a way .    

Conan RPG - Major Writers & Artists Announced!

There's nothing better than getting news about an upcoming game that you're really excited about. So, when I received the below press release from Modiphius, well... there was much rejoicing. This is a heck of a lineup, and the prospect of getting my hands on the new game has just put the whole thing at the top of my to-get list.
'We can now announce that we've added legendary Conan artist Ken Kelly (Robert E. Howard covers for Berkley and Tor, Eerie, Creepy and Vampirella for Warren magazines) and Dark Horse regular Tomas Giorello (Conan The Cimmerian, King Conan, 2013 Robert E. Howard Foundation Award [...]
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