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Stock NPCs: Not Just a Pretty Face

Part of the fun of an RPG for the GM is populating the world you play in with the cast of thousands the PCs will encounter, interact with, and eventually murder. You get to do funny voices and be either helpful or hurtful to the adventuring party and, if the circumstances are just right, you can one day promote some of these guys to the exalted position of Recurring Character. Much of that depends on your ability to make interesting NPCs in the first place that add depth and verisimilitude to your adventuring world.

Getting it right and making memorable NPCs [...]

Quick Note- Farm House mapping continues

Work continues on trying to map an actual farmhouse instead of the dang caverns I typically do. I recorded the whole 3rd draft (far right) and that should go up later today/tomorrow after some editing so everyone can cringe.

Daily Cosplay

Doggerland Paradise Destroyed

Apparently an unknown land in an unknown country in an unknown era was a paradise and it might have been destroyed by a landslide in Norway.

Doggerland, according to Wikipedia, was a landmass that connected Great Britain with the rest of Europe, in and around Denmark.

All this is fine, but why in the name of the gods do they call it a paradise? It might have been pestilent ridden swampland, filled with peat bogs and quicksand. We don't know, because it vanished beneath the water some 7,000 odd years ago. Hell, it might have a place where [...]

Monster Monday-Ghoul

“Nay, lads! Ye ain’t thinkin’ straight!”

“What is it now, old man?”

“Aye, treasure was buries with the fallen Urulen leaders in those catacombs, but what killed ‘em wasn’t natural. Still it walks those darkened halls.”

“Old fool! The lich slain last year haunted those catacombs, looking for the treasure. With him gone, it’s ours.”


Health Points: 4d6

Spell Points: None

Attack: 1d4+1 (claws), +2 poison damage 1d3 turns, 14 Dex, Speed 1.5, Both Hands

Special Attack: 1d8 (bite),50% paralyzing infection

Special Defense: Immune to Poison and Mind Control effects.


Speed: 24

Armor: 2 2 [...]

Ten Cult Classic Italian Post Apocalyptic Movie Posters From The 80's As Inspiration For Your Old School Post Apocalyptic Campaigns

I was looking around Google image search for some post apocalyptic goodness and came across these and thought I'd share again. So set your VHS players to awesome. Here's a load of post apocalyptic posters from the 80's and beyond that captures the Mad Max spirit of those Italian clones that seemed to always be in rotation in the video rental place that I worked in Boston. Here's a quick selection of some of the cover art that never lived up the film but was none the less very entertaining and provided endless  hours of inspiration for my post apocalyptic campaigns. Don't forget to roll [...]

Wolf Runs

These fens like beyond the Shadow Mountains and lie upon the northern doorstep of the Kleberock Pass. It is a broad country of low-lying, very wet grassland. Here the Winter snows melt and remain, soaking into the soft soil. A wide variety of northern plants, grow here, heath and other grasses and flowers as well.

Travel is difficult here as there are no roads, and the few trails attract wolves, bears, trolls and other larger predacious beasts. The thick mud tends to cling to boots and gear, making long overland travel slow and exhausting.

~The Codex of Aihrde

Armor Up (Barbarian)

Thomas Wasch

My Surrogate Family...

Wonderful Addams Family portraits by Deviantartist Juhaihai. If you want to know more about my appreciation of the Addams Family, please read this anecdote.

Movie Trailer ~ Star Wars Rebels

Word of the Day --

A trilby hat (commonly called a trilby) is a narrow-brimmed type of hat. The trilby was once viewed as the rich man's favored hat; it is sometimes called the "brown trilby" in England and is much seen at the horse races. It is also sometimes described as a "crumpled" fedora.  The London hat company Lock and Co. describes the trilby as having a "shorter [viz., narrower] brim which is angled down [snapped down] at the front and slightly turned up at the back" versus the fedora's "wider brim which is more level [flatter]." The trilby also [...]

Necromantic Tomes

I like to tell wizards exactly what books they recover if books are to be part of a treasure horde. "1,400 gold worth of manuscripts and tomes" (one, two, or three books) is much less appealing than On the Nature of Magic, The Root of Alteration, and The Gold Codex, isn't it? Of course, this brings us to the idea of medieval and classical naming of books, which I tend to intermix in the Tenth Age

War Games, 1776

This song was first published in 1776. We have a music sheet containing it, and theLiberty Song, bearing the following impress: “Portsmouth; printed byBenjamin Dearborn, near the parade, 1776.”

HARK, hark, the sound of war is heard,
And we must all attend;
Take up our arms and go with speed,
Our country to defend.

Our parent state has turned our foe,
Which fills our land with pain;
Her gallant ships, manned out for war,
Come thundering o’er the main.

There’s Carleton, Howe, and Clinton too.
And many thousands more,
May cross the sea, but all in vain,
Our rights we’ll ne’er give o’er.

Our pleasant homes they do invade,
Our property devour;
And all because [...]

A Ballad, 1776


The particulars known, concerning the capture, trial, and execution of this gallant, and much lamented young officer, are few. Washington, after the retreat of his army from Long Island, in 1776, wishing to obtain information relative to the true situation, and in tended operations, of the royal troops, applied to one of his officers, for a “discreet and enterprising person to penetrate the enemy’s camp.” This request was communicated to Nathan Hale, a captain in Colonel Knowlton’s regiment.” Animated by a sense of his duty,”Hale undertook the dangerous service, and passed into the British lines in disguise. He obtained the [...]

GP Adventures

I just wanted to give a plug to GP Adventures which has just launched a webpage. GP Adventures LLCis the publishing company founded in 2013 by Ernest Gary Gygax Jr. and Benoist Poir. I think the news has spread a tad slowly so I wanted to help. I'm personally very much looking forward to more material which has the feel of old style school gaming. While I certainly do not believe that RPGs peaked in the 1970s they remain the absolute best foundation for modern gaming.

Just reading the THE MARMOREAL TOMB OF GARN PAT'UUL took [...]

Free GM Resource: Dungeon Robber

This week's Free GM Resource is...well, depending on how you look at it isn't free, but kind of is. The folks over at the Blog of Holding have a ber-cool poster of the old 1st Edition D&D dungeon chart for sale at $15.

Ok, this is pretty cool, but more of a background to the other thing....

You see, the Blog of Holding took their cool map/poster of the charts and turned it into an online game called Dungeon Robber. The game is brutally hard and sooooo much fun.

Sometimes you need to "game" and don't have [...]

Haste! Player Wealth Alternatives, Custom Dice, Spinelessly Winding Down A Campaign, and more!

|Episode 111|


During a prior discussion on haste regarding racial slurs, we forgot about humans! Thanks for the reminder Reddit! Congratulations to GM Ashtmw on being one of our 3 winners for our Birthday contest with his holiday Year’s Dawning. It’s simple, and chock full of adventure hooks. He’s won a year of Ascendant membership, some OP schwag, and $25 to spend at DriveThruRPG! Tune in next week to hear about our second winner!

Topics Alternatives To Player Wealth

Going by a discussion on reddit, Micah and I discuss some alternative systems for wealth in RPGS. Are they better, do your players [...]

Apropos of Nothing: ComiCon Minneapolis 2014

This weekend ComiCon came to Minneapolis, so my whole family went.


The costumes, of course, were great. Day 1 I just wore my Gaming Ballistic sweatshirt over a Superman T-shirt, since my daughter was dressed as supergirl (since Supergirl is often portrayed as blonde, she kills this one). I had one guy take her picture, and then say that I needed to be dressed as SuperDad. I pulled up my sweatshirt. He was satisfied. 

Also, talkging to Adam Baldwin (!!), his associate did notice the GB logo, and we talked AR builds. 

Brief interludes with Sean Astin and Nathan Fillion, but nothing like my two conversations with Adam Baldwin, who as I mentioned was a super-nice guy.

Day 2 I decided to stick an old friend down my shirt, and of course this got more comments and "Can I take your picture?!" moments than when my daughter, on day 3, insisted I go full Batman. 

S: Dad, today's Wonder Woman day. Who are you going to dress up as?
D: Well, I was going to dress up as Dad.
S: No. You're going as Superman.
D: I don't have a Superman costume.
S: Then Batman. Get your batman T-shirt, a pair of black pants, and your cape and boots.

The Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2014: Round-Up

Throughout April Dungeon’s Master participated in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. This was our second year participating so you’d think we’d have known what to expect. We were wrong. The Blogging From A to Z Challenge was a lot of fun, but man, itwasa lotof work. Certainly more than I remember from a year ago.

This time around we thought we’d pick a theme in order to make things easier for ourselves. Every article we ran in April was filled with brand new adventure hooks, something all DMs find useful. In retrospect focusing on just one theme tied my [...]

Fiasco at the SA Sci-Fi/Fantasy RPG Gaming Guild

We played Fiasco -- Bully Pulpit Games' meta-RPG about powerful ambition and poor impulse control -- at the San Antonio Sci-Fi/Fantasy RPG Gaming Guild's monthly meet'n'greet last Friday.  It was fun, but I have to admit that it took me a little bit to warm up.  I'm so used to being the GM that it was a little intimidating to concede narrative control to my fellow players (especially since it was my first time playing the system) but I had fun and look forward to playing it again.

We played the Guy Ritchie-inspired Gangster London playset, so [...]

How would you organize it?

The most consistent criticism of “The World Between for Fictive Hack” is that the organization is terrible. So, what do you think? How can I organize it better?

Here is the document:


Should templates for magic users of all kinds be in with the other templates, or next to the magic systems they use? Should world-building material be before character generation material? Should all character generation be together, or split into core and extras? I want to hear your thoughts! When I revise and re-release this, I would very much like to hear “It was well organized and easy to use!”


Banking treasure

XP = treasure spent is one of my top-shelf house rules, up there with encumbrance by strength. This method of managing advancement has become pretty important to how I play D&D. However, it presents two challenges. One is that there must be supply to match player demand (that is, interesting things to spend money on). Living costs, retainers, and equipment constitute partial supply.

Another is that it makes players more present-biased, as treasure must be disposed of in order to acquire XP, which works against saving for large expenses such as strongholds.This is not entirely a bad thing, as it incentivizes [...]

Shhh!. He's Studying.

On a Collection of Box Text Feelings

Don't pay too much attention to this post: I'm only using it to note every time I run across a condemnation of boxed text.

I don't do this to be negative, but instead in the hopes that we as an industry of adventure publishers can improve, and in support of those that are already focused on new and better methods of adventure and information design. It will be updated as I find new comments.

This is not the post to comment in reply to these arguments. Feel free to add your own condemnations in the comments. If you [...]

The Dark Ages are Over...

Please check out my new experiment. 

Round Table 15 -- Realmworks

A new episode of The Round Table podcast is up on The Tome Show’s site. This episode is about a great tool for worldbuilding called Realmworks fromLone Wolf Development. Liz Theis is on the Lone Wolf team and she tells us all about the new digital campaign management tool for players and GMs. This passion project was twenty years in the making for the developers and you’ll be glad you learned about it. It’s also just a great chat about worldbuilding and storytelling in general. This podcast was recorded on April 8, 2014. Check out the video below to learn [...]

G.P. Adventures Website Launched

The website for G.P. Adventures has launched and it's a beaut!  See more here.

A to Z Reflections Post

Once again I survived the April A to Z blog challenge.
This year's theme of Witches was a bit closer to my heart and I had a great time.
Here are my reflections in no particular order.

- Joining up Tasha and Sophie for the Supernatural A to Z mini-hop was one of the best things about this year. They were both great and I got to read a lot of great supernatural themed posts.

- Once again I got to visit some really great blogs and some really great people stopped by mine.  Maybe that [...]

It Revolves on This: Getting the Most From Burning Wheel

Since I first discovered it a few years ago, The Burning Wheel has become one of my favorite games. It has mechanical depth (not to be confused with complexity) I've yet to see matched in any other system; it puts the focus on the characters and their beliefs, leading to an intense, drama-centric roleplaying experience; and it's totally changed how I approach and think about RPGs. 
This was not always the case. My initial desire to like it never turned into a good session, which meant a lot of false starts and campaigns that were total flops. Still, every time [...]

Mutants and Masterminds' Attack System in Fate

A few years back, I looked into Mutants and Masterminds, an interesting system for supers games. It looked pretty fun, but creating a character seemed to be a bit of a chore so I gave up on it. One of my favorite things was the way they dealt with taking damage, though. So, today, going from memory (looking things up is so passe), I’m going to try and tweak Fate’s stress and consequence system to work a bit more like Mutants and Masterminds’.

The Basic Idea

Disclaimer: As previously mentioned, I didn’t bother to look up the rules again to be sure [...]

Star Fleet Battles... with a Twelve Year Old

The D7′s front shield is totally gone, of course, but I was too busy recording internal damage to remember to mark that…..

This friend of my son’s comes over to the house every now and then. First time he visited, he went nuts when he saw my game collection. I wasn’t home, but he took down every space game on the shelf to look at them. I’ve gotten him to play The Last Starfighter and Ogre a few times, but this past time when I asked him what he wanted to do, he said, “Star Fleet Battles.” There was just no [...]

I Want HER To Do Segment Intros on the "Tenkar and the Badger" Podcast

Listen and weep for "your chubbiest friends."

My wife laughs uncontrollably when I play the clips.

I think someone will need to record "Tenkar & The Badger, it supports even your chubbiest friends!"

A to Z Reflections

Once again, I managed to complete the A to Z Challenge! I know there is a section of the blogging community that doesn't really care for the challenge, and I get it. Depending on the theme, it can be really, really, repetitive and dull, which is why I try to make my challenge as much about creating something that might actually see some use at a table, rather than just... editorials or navel gazing. Back in 2012 it was magic items and spells. 2013 was monsters. This year I wrote up a sector's worth of star systems to explore.

Reign of Winter: Maiden, Mother, Crone Game 14

After striking the entire party blind last week come and watch to see how they handle the change tonight!

Exercise in Character Creation, Part 2

In last month’sARTICLE I asked for help in creating my next character whowould bethe son of my very first PFS character, Danaris Redfeather. Over 50 people took the survey and theRESULTS came out great! After analysis,the proud and determined Adrian Redfeather will be a quick and agile (yet physically weak) swordsman from Andoran who is secretly joining the Pathfinder Society contrary to his parents' wishes. Such interesting possibilities for this character! But we are not quite there, just two pieces of the puzzle remain; Adrian’s secret identity and his final class.

So,onto the final voting(only 2 questions this time!). This will [...]

Round Table 15 - Realmworks

James Introcasosits down with Liz Theis ofLone Wolf Developmentto talk aboutRealmworks, the new digital campaign management tool for players and GMs. This passion project was twenty years in the making for the developers and you'll be glad you learned about it. It's also just a great chat about worldbuilding and storytelling in general. This podcast was recorded on April 8, 2014.

Support the show, shop below...

James' Blog Realmworks Video
Download Standard Podcasts

Episode 116: Actual Play - Toothy Dreams

This Episode:  Now that they have left the small hamlet and begun their last leg of the journey, the hope is that our group can put the issues and adversities in the past and make this final...

A group of friends who ramble and shamble while dice rumble and tumble. Call us casually-hardcore role players of Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder.

Musical Monday: Sad Kermit Sings "Hurt"...

Not for the kiddies...

RPG Blog Round Up

The latest posts from my favourite other rpg related blogs

Traits, Flaws, Bonds, and MoreMike talks about how roleplaying builds on background mechanics in this week's Legends & Lore. [...]Mon, May 05, 2014
Source Wizards of the CoastMarc Radle's Pen & Pixel: Advancing the LamiaWe here at Kobold Press wanted to share the fun news: The good folks at Dungeonmastering.com approached Marc Radle, our esteemed art director, about doing a weekly blog about his work with various companies. Each week, he plans to talk a bit about an illustration from his portfolio, explaining both [...]Mon, May 05, 2014
Source Open DesignShould [...]

Should Players be Forewarned of Endings?

Should you forewarn your players of campaign endings or should you keep them a surprise?

It’s never occurred to me not to forewarn my players when the end of a campaign is imminent, even if it’s just a quick announcement at the beginning of the session. I’d always felt that it gave the characters a chance to pull out all the stops for a glorious finale and give the players a chance to wrap up dangling threads or accomplish something they’d wanted to do before the campaign ended. It just seemed like a good plan.

Still, there are times when I wonder [...]

Terraining Day 09 -- Foamcore Buildings Take 2

Originally posted on Combo Smite:
I did some more work on the foamcore buildings I was making for MERCS. You can download a PDF template here:FCB3 Assembly I also added some more details and painted up the previous buildings I made. I used foam sheets from the dollar store to give additional texture to the…

Deadly Sins Revisited - A Mutant Future Encounter Or An Encounter For Any Old School Post Apocalyptic Campaign

Heading toward's the communities of  Ruined Cap Cod is the 'Tiger Lily' a nuclear powered cargo vessel with tons of cargo containers on board. The containers actually contain 1d20 packs of rotters on board. The ship can not answer hails and the security camera footage shows the corpse of the captain of the vessel strapped to the wheel. 
The vessel was on its way to Nova island, a former resort now a small settlement of mutant farmers in revolt to the local government for over taxation evasion. The ship lost contact two days ago via radio. The marauders who were raiding Nova island [...]

Monday Moodsetter 53

by Veronique MeignaudRPG Rorschach: What's the first gaming thought that pops into your head?

Eclipse -- Reviews, Blocks, and Balance

For today it's basically explaining some bits of Eclipse's design – thanks to a question/objection brought up in this review (my thanks to the reviewer by the way). That's most obliging of the reviewer actually; getting to a chance to explain why some of the design decisions in Eclipse were made is always interesting (That’s what the “d20 Failure Modes” series was all about really). That's why, if there’s anything else which looks strange, I’ll be glad to explain why it’s in there.

In this case I've been given a chance to take a detailed look at the "Block" ability and [...]

Free OSR Resource - Oddities for a Sewer System For Your Old School Campaign

Spend anytime in an urban environment  in a game as a PC and your going to eventually end up in the sewer system. This is when the fun begins. The D Infinity blog site has been collecting  'Oddities For The Sewer System', a collection of encounters down in the depths.
You can find that right over
They've also been adding to the collection and they're up to forty seven entries so far. So let's add another ten to this table shall we?

1d10 More  Random Oddities For the Sewer Table 

  1. A muck covered crystal statue [...]

Terraining Day 09 -- Foamcore Buildings Take 2

Originally posted on Combo Smite:
I did some more work on the foamcore buildings I was making for MERCS. You can download a PDF template here:FCB3 Assembly I also added some more details and painted up the previous buildings I made. I used foam sheets from the dollar store to give additional texture to the…


Come to the DuBois Area Fantasy Photoshoot and have lots of fun.



World Building: Drones

While they may not be considered a lynch-pin of the cyberpunk genre, it's hard to talk about modern warfare and not mention Drones. Already, we see civilian drones being tested for various uses such as package and taco delivery. (http://tacocopter.com/)

Drones, in an Operator sense, are remote operated surveillance and weapon platforms. Drone pilots use a direct neural interface, or DNI, to route data from the ubiquitous Datasea wireless connection through their Angel and into the interface to achieve the same effect as a Frame pilot; seamless integration of thought and action. Drone Operators can function from hundreds of kilometers away [...]


As luck had it May the Fourth for my group corresponded with our once a month Star Wars: Edge of the Empire game. That game is the inspiration for today's post because, well, we've been applying a lot of "old school" gaming tactics to that game, most notably in the fact that the group loots pretty much everything we can to put to use for the group. Now, the GM is cool with it and it works, but it does bring up something that as a GM you want to think about it.

The "Problem" With Well Equipped Enemy [...]
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