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Conference this Week

Hey all.

I am headed to an Education Conference this week and will be out till Friday evening.

Posting will be sporadic.  I have a few more horror movies in the hopper, but most will be this weekend.

Looking forward to talking about how The Hanging Coffins of the Vampire Queen goes this weekend!

Pirates & Plunder

   Don't mess with Texas -- even in tabletop gaming! Yes: I love Yaquinto Publications, and still have a lot of fond memories about Pirates & Plunder, which I ran from 1996 to '99, and it was the only "fantasy" game I ran with absolutely no magic in the entire campaign -- very refreshing. Everything else I ever ran had magic in it, except for one or two short sci-fi or James Bond campaigns. But not having to bother with magic is truly like a DM's paid vacation...

    One player tackled the role of young Captain Joshua Tew, [...]

October Horror Movie Challenge - Dread (2009)

Synopsis: Three college students set out to document what other people dread the most. One of the trio decides to take the study to the next level.

The Good: I really enjoyed this movie. The plot is interesting and just the right ammount of fucked up for my tastes. Also, I know his big movies were the Twilight franchise but I like Jackson Rathbone. He's a pretty good actor and really handsome.

The Bad:  This movie is really twisted and topics such as rape and cannibalism come up.

Final Thoughts: I've not read the original Barker story, so I [...]

Grupo Martes September 30: Keyflower with Keyflower: The Farmers

Peter and Kathrin showed Lena and I the expansion to Keyflower, called The Farmers. With The Farmers, you can now harvest sheep, cows, pigs, and wheat. The game adds tiles that cater to these resources. Because you are adding these tiles, it makes the other tiles more scarce, limiting your resources. Did the addition add much to the gaming experience. Not really. It was a novelty. I was just happy that I could make a plan and then do a halfway decent job of executing it. It was not a plan that caused me to come anywhere near close to [...]

VirtuaCon After Action Report: Corruption Uncovered, Avatars Arrested & Cyber-Apes Smashed

VirtuaCon was awesome. It was one of the best convention experiences I've ever had- on or offline.
I ran three games; a fourth didn't go because I had a brief crisis that ate up the morning. I played with a dozen+ amazing gamers. I participated in five panels. I got to pop into the online tavern several times and talk with role-players I'd met before and some I'd only seen on RPG Geek. The con was well managed, they had prizes for the GMs, and I absolutely loved it. Once again RPGGeek proves how it brings the awesomeness of [...]

The Basic Weapon List

All right! So now I come to the end of my series (yesterday's post was really the last "concept" post) detailing my thoughts on the weapons that should be included in a basic fantasy adventure game like the one I'm currently working on. That was the real point of these posts (in case it wasn't clear)...this blog is serving as my "design notes," so that interested persons can see my thought process (and so that I don't have to include a bunch of sidebars in the game as to "why the designer is doing this"...don't you hate needless padding?).

MetAnon Ep77 -- Kobayashi Maru 2: Kobayashi Harder

In our seventy-seventh regular episode of Metagamers Anonymous, the cast talks about no-win scenarios and impossible dilemmas and their place in immersive play. They also discuss some common horror tropes, talk about the new Timewatch game John will be running at TsunamiCon, and spend a little time on listeneremails.Metagamers Anonymous is a weekly podcast dedicated to tabletop roleplaying games and (mostly) related material. Join in the fun by posting comments or questions to our forum, or drop us a line at feedback@prismatictsunami.com.

Hosts: Erik, Jason, Ken and John

Links from the show:

TsunamiCon Badges
TsunamiCon Game Registration
TsunamiCon Conplanner Page

Inspiration: The Cathedral

This wonderful piece by Tomasz Baginski might remind some of the Suaven of Houses of the Blooded, or might be a great inspirational piece for an Exalted or Numenera game.  The Cathedral itself might remind some of Vampire: The Masquerade's Tzimisce Clan and the infamous Cathedral of Flesh.


LotFP "Summon" Spell in Carcosa

I've got Carcosa on my mind lately... I've been playing in an onlineCarcosacampaign for about a year now. For most of that time I've played a sorcerer. It's been fun, but to be honest, my PC never felt verysorcerous. A Carcosan sorcerer is, for the most part, just a fighter with a higher XP requirement, some slightly different saving throws, and the ability to maybe, maybe, cast one or two

GMX Schedule

Howdy Thirdwallers!

It has been a busy time of Birthdays and Geek stuff! A few of us on the Thirdwalling crew have started playing X-Wing Miniatures on weekends, so look for some painting tips and tutorials soon on that as well!

This weekend the Thirdwalling crew is hitting up GMX in Nashville Tennessee! It looks like most of us will be moseying around most of the day on Saturday checking out panels and buying swag.

I’m going to check out these panelsSaturday afternoon:

3:00 Designing Role Playing Games
4:00 Gaming in the world of New Media
5:00 Swing Dancing (with TheGinger!)
6:00 Full Scale [...]

[Tuesday Map] Cragmaw Hideout in the Coolant Processing Facility

The goblin trail leads to this cave, and presumably within they are holding the missing dwarf and fighter – maybe as prisoners, maybe just as food. But the origin of the cave isn’t geological in nature. This cave is part of the old coolant processing facility that was part of the nearby space elevator (the city of Winterspire is built into the foundation of that same elevator, this is one of 16 sub-spires that supported the original construction).

Cragmaw Hideout in the Coolant Processing Facility

The goal of this redraw of the Cragmaw Hideout adventure map is to inject a little bit of a different feel to my D&D5e campaign. It isn’t set in the Forgotten Realms, it’s set along the remnants of much older technologies that everyone has forgotten. Yet the bits and pieces of those prior ages are so abundant that people don’t take notice that they are in any way special. In game play the passages and systems of the coolant plant are described as “smooth passages” and “big lumps”, “small lumps” and “protrusions”.

The goal is to make it feel just that little bit different, to inject a bit of a Count Brass feel to the setting. Obviously these [...]

Book Report - The Warrior of World's End

Lin Carter was the last of the great? pulp sci-fi/fantasy writers.  At least the last one I read with any consistency.I started picking up odd volumes of his when I was in high school, these aren't great literature, but they are (usually) fun reads.

This is the first volume of his World's End series, following the career of one Ganelon Silvermane.  Despite it being a series, the books are essentially standalone volumes. I picked up the third or fourth book in the series first and didn't find any of the others until sometime in the last five years.

I'm Back, Lights back on, bar is open.

put the shingle out we're open for business again.

I went on a trip and was sans net for  more than a week. That's over and now the blog is back up and running. I should resume posting at my normal rate this week.

What will I post.
I have no clue.
I don't want to put too fine a point on it, I prefer to be blunt. I have been  profoundly disinterested in  RPG's in general for  about a couple of months now.
I was kind of hoping a vacation  off in a different country would fire [...]

The Mad Cleric: Stop Juggling Details!

Last week's article began with an idea inspired by potelbat, the flagship podcast of the Mad Adventurers. And this week's article begins with a nod to our newest podcast, "Tales From the Hydian Way." Yesterday, I was cutting the grass and listening to this episode of "Tales," when @Deuterium-Ice basically said the same thing about NPC motivation that I wrote last week. Which means if you're reading my articles, but not listening to that podcast, do yourself a favor and check it out. It's quite helpful if you’re a GM or player in an FFG SWRPG game.

Anyway, last week we [...]

Gaming in the Wild: Snap to Focus

It has now been over a month since we opened the doors on the gaming community, and I have to say, my confidence is growing steadily week by week. That is not to say that we haven't had our growing pains.

After four weeks, I had to adjust the opening time by one half hour, to accommodate the time discrepancy between my workday ending, getting my daughter to her dance class (from which my supportive wife would retrieve her after her own work day ended), and my ability to procure dinner and snacks for the evening before finally arriving at the [...]

Lanterns -- the 20-30 Minute Game of Imperial Delight and Dedicating Light

It’s not rare for me to like a game. I like lots of games, tons of games. I have so many games I like I rarely get to play as many as I’d like in a given month, week or game night. So imagine my dismay at finding yet another game to like. It’s a good, no… it’s a great problem to have. Lanterns looked good to me before I ever got the preview copy, that’s why I was a backer from day 1. The rules aretight, the game looked fun and I really loved the theme. So rather than [...]

d20 Rifts - Operator Class

OperatorThis is a core class.
The operator is one of the cogs that holds the world together. There is a lot of very advanced technology out there, and precious few people to keep it running. In civilized areas, operators run very profitable businesses, either legitimate or black market. In the wildlands, though, it's a different story. Very few villages can afford their own specialist, and even fewer can afford parts and supplies. So, traveling operators become part mechanic, part scavenger, and often hero.

Read more

Carnagecast 56: Dungeons & Dragons Adventurers League

This week on Carnagecast, we talked with Al Spader from Jetpack Comics about Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition, Wizards of the Coast’s new Adventurers League organized play structure and what Dungeons & Dragons-related fun folks can expect at A Fistful of Carnage in Killington this November.

Probably my favorite part of this episode was sitting more fully in the producer/engineer’s seat, which is my wheelhouse by trade and inclination. Ray leading the interview gave me the opportunity to focus more on making sure everyone sounded good. Sometimes this makes me feel hyper-critical, as I want to re-take every statement covered up [...]

News of Arunia, Festing 506

A great battle has been fought in the Hammerdeep Vale of Auruxol. Hundreds of orcs lie dead, joined by many dwarves and leveemen from the imperial heartland. The Imperial Oculus, Hydrophis Schoolman, in command of the relief forces dispatched by Miles has made use of a cunning strategy to draw the orcish foe out of the mountains. Two hundred or more of these foul beasts came ravaging through the

Path of War From DereamScarred Press

Path of War



Let slip the hounds of war!


Make martial combat more interesting with the Path of War, a maneuver-based combat system designed and playtested to work side-by-side with all of the standard classes in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.


Path of War offers new base classes, feats, archetypes, and much more. Want to use the maneuver-based combat system with your standard Pathfinder Roleplaying Game classes like the fighter or rogue? Feats allow you to do just that.


Inside of the pages of Path of War, you will find:

-Three new base classes – the stalker, warder, and warlord

-Dozens of new feats for both the [...]

Ability Tuesday-Eidetic Memory

Each level in this minor ability behaves like a point of intelligence with respect to the maximum number of spell components a character can know, as well as the number of languages the character can know. It indicates a character with a vivid memory, but unlike intelligence does nothing to enhance cunning or mental power.

It is a useful alternative to Magical Scholasticism for characters that know more magic than they can remember at one time.

Would you get eidetic memory? Why? Comment below to let us know.

Free Adventure with Every Order!

Aww,yeah! Pledge even just $1 to the Steamscapes: Asia Kickstarter and you will get a free adventure!  It will have eccentric inventors and beer-loving Scotsmen. It will have beautiful assassins and equally beautiful robot geisha. It will have rock 'n' roll cultists and shadowy spies. It will have ninjas. It will have m*****-f****** Sait Hajime, the badass survivor of the Shinsengumi seen in Rurouni Kenshin, Peacemaker Kurogane, Kaze Hikaru, Hakuoki, and many other films and anime. You can count on delivery by no later than Thanksgiving.I promise you that because I'm writing it. Because I'm writing it, you can be guaranteed that it will be [...]

Edo's Game Reviews: Guillotine -- Episode 1

Today I'm talking about Guillotine from designer Paul Peterson! Guillotine is a lovely, fast-paced card game that plays from 2-5 players. Players try to chop off the heads of nobles during the French revolution. It is a great filler game with a cartoony style! Pick it up and let me know what you think!

Please subscribe and check out my other reviews!

Mystauk Template

Is there anything more terrifying than the idea that another could take over your mind and control your every action while you remain a prisoner inside of your own body? Other than tarantulas, I’m not sure there is.

Exploration Age has their very own mind-dominating bugs, the mystauk. If you missed my first and second posts on these baddies, check them out! These bugs fly into your head through your ear holes and attach to a host’s brain, controlling the host’s every movement. As my good friend Rudy Basso pointed out, mystauk are a lot like Yeerks from Animorphs.

Monster October continues [...]

Earthdawn Fantasy Miniatures pass Kickstarter finish line

There may only be 9 days left on the clock at the time of writing but the campaign to create fantasy miniatures for FASA’s Earthdawn has now edged past their $2,400 goal. You can Back it here.

[Back Campaign]

Impact! Miniatures project aim to provide unpainted spincast resin minatures at 28mm scale. We’re told the team worked hard to keep things simple but some light assembly and clean up may be required for the more impressive pieces.

The campaign uses a point system. Gamers will cope with this. Your pledge level gives you a number of points. You trade those points in [...]


A sneak preview from the 5th edition Dungeon Master's Guide coming out in December,

Con Report: Huge Fun

Thursday the 16th
I arrive at the Con at the Cob hotel without a mishap like last year when my Google maps sent me to the wrong exit.  My roomie for the con, +Ken H pulled into the hotel at the exact same time.  Which made coordinating things easier.  I showed him the layout of the con since it was pretty much set up the same as last year.  When we checked in I got to meet +Tim Snider who greeted me with a The Savage Afterworld d6.  He was running the Pacesetter booth and was running the game later [...]

Tech Tuesday - R2D2 Measures Up, 33 Creepy Makeup Looks, & LotR/Hobbit Costumes

Over on Think Geek, they have an "Exclusive Star Wars R2-D2 Measuring Cup Set" they are featuring.  See more here.

Also, Buzz Feed is featuring "33 Totally Creepy Makeup Looks To Try This Halloween."  Enjoy those here.

Finally, the HobbitShop.com has a lot of costume merch on sale and offers two day shipping so you can be ready in plenty of time for the end of the month.  Get your wigs and feet here.

Tech Tuesday on CreativeMountainGames.com News focused on Technology
as it might interest gamers.Please Like, Share, Plus, Tweet, Follow, and Comment!

Commentary And Revisit To The Pay What You want OSR Adventure For BLUEHOLME The Maze of Nuromen From Dreamscape Design


Grab It Right

The Maze of Nuromen From Dreamscape Design does in sixteen pages what most modules seem to take forever to do. It takes a party of first level adventurers into the Underworld and gives them all of the old school action they can handle and then some. This is a down and dirty dungeon crawl that presents exactly what it says on the tin and then some. The ideas here are clearly marked out and the crawl has some interesting twists and turns. The other aspect [...]

New Magic Item -- Ghost-Maker

“This town looks familiar . . .” the old warrior looked about suspiciously.

“It has changed hands recently,” the squire said, “my Lord took it in glorious battle. That is why it is called Karlsburg now, after Sir Karl who lead the final assault.”

“What was it called before?” the warrior’s hand dropped to the hilt of the worn sword.

“Does it matter? I think it was Ostbridge.”

“No, not Ostbridge,” wailed the old warrior in terror and took off running.

The warrior was never seen again, but the sword was found in a circle of blood at the edge of town, near to where [...]


5E Background - Traveller

<!--[if !mso]> v\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} o\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} w\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} .shape {behavior:url(#default#VML);} <![endif]--> <!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE [...]

Blog Watch: Changeling Earth, Pirates, Golems, and Reactionary Rage

Appendix N (Castalia House) RETROSPECTIVE: Changeling Earth by Fred Saberhagen — ” Of course, as D&D evolved it became so much more conventional and self-referential that it is now hard to imagine this book having any impact at all on the game's milieux. But when AD&D was just about the only game in town, Gary Gygax intentionally designed it with a wide open multiverse at the Dungeon Master's disposal. Whether as a brief themed sublevel in a funhouse dungeon or as a fully realized parallel world, he intended referees to have the latitude to be as creative as they wished, [...]

Let the Players Tell the Story

Gnome Stew has a post Don't Describe Combat that somewhat tangentially makes this point.  Encourage the player to describe the final blow, it immerses them into your narrative and develops the character.  Obviously, the first time you ask some players may look at you funny and say "I stick it with my sword/Blast it with my ray gun", a follow on question about macabre details should prompt them to be more creative the next time.  It's really good advice to add more places where the players can add to the narrative and I'm hoping to remember this piece for my next [...]

n00b GMs -- Ep184

Shannon's all growed up. She's going to run a game for the group and she wants to pick some brains and lay out some ideas. [...]

Blog Watch: Changeling Earth, Pirates, Golems, and Reactionary Rage

Appendix N (Castalia House) RETROSPECTIVE: Changeling Earth by Fred Saberhagen — ” Of course, as D&D evolved it became so much more conventional and self-referential that it is now hard to imagine this book having any impact at all on the game's milieux. But when AD&D was just about the only game in town, Gary Gygax intentionally designed it with a wide open multiverse at the Dungeon Master's disposal. Whether as a brief themed sublevel in a funhouse dungeon or as a fully realized parallel world, he intended referees to have the latitude to be as creative as they wished, [...]

Gaming Advice: 5 Things I Like (And 5 I Don't) About the 5E Monster Manual

After last week's post about my general thoughts on 5e, I turn my baleful gaze toward the Monster Manual…


I recently posted about 5 things I liked (and 5 I don't) about D&D 5. This week, I'm taking about the new Monster Manual. (I'd love to give my thoughts on the Dungeon Master's Guide next week, but you know...)

In this post, I'm focusing on the big picture, and won't be obsessing over this monster's hit points or that monster's ability.

5 Things I Like
  1. Monster Selection: The designers have done a great job of collecting together all the classic AD&D monsters from the [...]

Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG - The Croaking Fane

My DCC RPG Monday Night game has been rolling along. I am part of the DCC World Tour program and have received the penultimate prize - the golden belt buckle!

I like to think that we are the leading World Tour group on the planet, with about 30 sessions under our belt so far in 2014. I detail these sessions each week on the DCC forum. There are major spoilers for this adventure in this post.

You can get this adventure pdf for $7 here.

The Croaking Fane

The author of this module, Michael [...]

Whispers from the Well 10/19

Your weekly update of the goings on in StonehellAs reported by the tavernkeepers of the Ogre Face Inn

Dangers of going it nearly alone
Rare is the greed or the need to brave the depths of Stonehell without the support of a party, yet that's exactly what Cain and Zook dared to do. Sadly they've not been heard from in days, and in spite of their previous success it seems that something caught up with the duo that they were unable to handle. Could it have been the walking dead of the Quiet Halls? A dangerous place without [...]

Black Mold

We realized quickly enough that something was wrong with the dream house we had just purchased. At first it was just floors that were wet without cause, and we thought there was an insulation problem, or a leaky roof. The mildewy smell that set in after a week didn’t help. We had no clue how […]

Planet Details Generator now live

A rich starry sky fills the view from an ancient gas-giant planet in the core of the globular star cluster M4, as imagined in this artist’s concept. The 13-billion-year-old planet orbits a helium white-dwarf star and the millisecond pulsar B1620-26, seen at lower left. The globular cluster is deficient in heavier elements for making planets, so the existence of such a world implies that planet formation may have been quite efficient and common in the early universe. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some belive there are about a billion galaxies in the known universe, with each of them having a billion star systems [...]

Almost there. A quick update.

The last piece of new tech for the map editor is in place. There are still some bugs to iron out, UI updates, and such, but all of the critical code is written.

Walls are added by clicking to add points, e.g., click to start adding walls, move the mouse and click to end the wall section and begin another, repeat. When you’re done, you simply double-click and you can start adding whole new sections of the map. If you’re creating walls and floors at the same time, when you double-click the section you’re completing will auto fill with floor [...]

Broken Jade Session 11 - Towards the Northlands (video)

Session 11 of TheRogueDM's AFF game where our heroes rescue Professor Van Heldenghast from the clutches of evil dark elves and a villainous figure from their past rears his ugly head once more.

Don't Describe Combat

Today’s guest article was written by Will Jobst. Find him @dm_ilf and at www.willjobst.wordpress.com, before he finds you. Hurry. Oh God, I hear him. Will is based in Boston, MA. This is his second guest article; his first was Blank Check GMing. Thanks, Will! –Martin

D&D provides a state-of-the-art power fantasy, but all GMs can do is neuter their players. Gross. Don’t neuter your players, let them be super badass! Let them describe killing blows, feats of athletics, and their guile and charm. Let them describe magic rituals, their trusty mount, and how exactly they broke into that dungeon.

Don’t describe [...]

1d10 Random Lovecraftian Artifacts & Locations From Beyond Time and Space Table For Your Old School Post Apocalyptic Campaigns

There are things that should not be that appear from outside of time and space out in the deep wastelands. Altars from other times, locations that can cause horrible problems for surrounding communities, and all kinds of high Lovecraftian weirdness just waiting to cause problems for adventurers. But all of these locations have guardians and some of these are horrors from beyond the Outer Darkness. Here now are a small sample of these locations that can appear throughout your campaigns appearing almost overnight to reign havoc upon adventurers out in the wastes.

1d10 Random Lovecraftian Artifacts & Locations [...]

DC Heroes - Green Arrow: Lines of Death (sw)

From the Back Cover:

Deja Vu?

Green Arrow searches for the thread that ties together seemingly random killings...

Black Canary unravels the twisted trail of drug trafficking...

A mysterious emblem of a tangled N snags both strands of investigation. Are the Heroes' tasks separate skeins or interwoven Lines of Death?

First Match-Play Adventure!
This module is designed for tandem use by two Player Characters. In alternating encounters, Green Arrow stalks his killer while the Black Canary Player runs the adventure; Black Canary investigates undercover while the Green Arrow Player manages the NPCs.

Sense the Unknown

Sense Unknown

Base: (Wpr+Pcn+Sta)/3
Willpower Cost: 20
Check: General
Time Required: 1 round
Range: Line of sight
Duration: Round of use
This unsettling ability allows the character to sense if a creature or user of a unsettling power has been in the area. Failure of the check means the character does not sense anything out of the ordinary

Reality of Wounds and Other Things

CAUTION: Explicit content about injuries, death, and dying. Not for the squeamish or easily offended. This is also based on my personal experience and knowledge, some of it formal training, and some self education from miscellaneous things I have read over the years. Like a lot of other RPG players, I am good at Trivial […]

October Movie Challenge: Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)

October Movie Challenge: Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)

We had gone to see the new Dracula movie about a week and half ago (well 10 days) and my wife and I wanted to re-watch Bram Stoker's Dracula from 1992.  Plus there had been some other movies I saw this challenge that made me want to go back and see this one.

I wanted to wait till I picked it up on Blu Ray.  I had watched the DVD a couple years back (four years) and it just didn't hold up on my HD TV.   The Blu Ray looked [...]


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