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Killing Characters

So rpgs are a social game, more or less. They generally do not work with just two players, though we have all run those games. It is a gathering. In many rpgs, the threat of death for a character is ever-present and the one universal stress that in many respects drives the high interest or intensity of the gaming experience.

The downside is that a character can die and the player becomes eliminated from play. There are manners of countering this like resurrection, hero points etc. Never-the-less, if a character dies, that player becomes truncated from the story and [...]

Music from the Dens

Steve's non-stop replay of


Cthulhu Inspiration

A deserted cruise liner said to be inhabited solely by cannibal rats could be heading for British shores. As the source of the story is The Sun, the story is somewhat exaggerated (and probably complete bollocks).

However the ship is real and there is a blog dedicated to it which has some photos and deck plans. Handy for any GM looking for inspiration.

The 6d6 RPG is available from 6d6RPG.com

speaking of paths

the famous path

and then there is this

gif art of classical paintings

Found this perusing blogs last night. these are gifs of classical paintings - sorta cool, not safe for work, these are classical paintings after all.

It gets crazy toward the middle end.

Review: Splice

Budget: 9.99 on Steam
Developer: Cipher Prime
Available Systems: PC, OS X, Linux, iOS, Android
Tested System: PC (Steam)

Splice is an exceptional puzzle game from the video development studio Cipher Prime, who were also behind Auditorium, Fractal and Pulse. Most of their games, if not all of them, have been featured in Humble Bundles which is also where I got my own copy from. I’m quite positive that most of you will be moaning now that I review yet *another* puzzle game but Splice is not your average puzzle game. Cipher Prime has taken the experimental route with Splice [...]

Accursed: The Eyeless

The Eyeless is generally considered the least of the Witches of the Grand Coven by those who study that foul alliance.  She acted as the Coven's spymaster, sending her invisible Unseen to infiltrate the Alliance of Light's war councils and her lesser Banes to watch troop movements.  Not discovering the plot between the Seelie Fey and the human armies that led to the destruction of the Djinn was her greatest failure.
How a being so paranoid could have missed such an important detail despite her normal exactitude puzzles many.  It appears she is now anathema to her former [...]

Mountain Villager NPC

Presenting the humble mountain villager. Strong, hardy, and ready to run at the first sign of a katana wielding samurai. Mountain Villager CR 1/3 XP 135 Human Commoner 1, LN Medium Humanoid Init +1; Senses perception +0 DEFENCE_________________________________ AC 12, touch 12, flat-footed 10 (+0 armour, +1 Dex, +1 Dodge) hp 6 Fort +0, Ref […]

Why Can't All Delivery Companies Be This Organised?

I just want to take a moment to sing the praises of delivery company DPD.

Where some delivery companies might give you a day when they're coming (while some don't give you any notification at all), DPD lets you know ahead of time what day they are coming, then on the day you get an email with an indication of a 60-minute window in which they will deliver your parcel (and they've never failed to hit that window in all deliveries I've had through them).

But what they do that no-one else does is provide you with a unique link to a Google map where you can track your parcel as it draws ever nearer. The closer the parcel gets to you, the more the map zooms in so that eventually if the deriver has a delivery further up your road you can see always exactly [...]

unlikely treasures 2: why wait for a sequel?

Roll d12 for the loot! Eyepatch with tiger's eye gemstone (14gp). Weighs 0.1 lb. Eyepatch of black leather with tiger's eye in pewter claw clasp.  Looks quite intimidating.Heavy mace...

Click the title if you want to know more...

Fantasy Science

For the past six or so sessions I have been DM'ing the Band of Iron in an adventure set in an ancient compound on a remote, mountainous island, built by the lost race of Golden Men. It's fair to say that the adventure, while light on treasure, has opened up unknown vistas, revelations about cosmic and human history,and encounters with wonders unknown to our heroes so far.

Now, a classic conceit of Science Fantasy is to have the "wonders of the ancients" be the products of a technological race, or even ours ...

YOU BASTARDSNot so, the World [...]

Lessons Learned from Interactive Fiction

Today's guest author, Jim Dattilo, writes interactive fiction about zombies and Apocalypses, often combining the two. As a lifelong gamemaster, he runs Vampire: The Masquerade and AD&D 3.5 campaigns, never combining the two (well, almost never). He lives in Philadelpha with his wife, Vicki. Thanks, Jim! --Martin As a kid, I was hooked on tabletop roleplaying games and "Choose Your Own Adventure" books. As an adult, I'm still hooked on RPGs, and now I write interactive fiction. I have always been fascinated with player choice and the ability of gamemasters to give freedom to those acting in their fantasy worlds. From [...]

Fourty Years of Dungeons and Dragons

Did you do something special? I gave an interview to one of these newfangled, local, online news sites, in German. Wenn Erwachsene mit Stift und Papier in die Schlacht ziehen, or When adults do battle with pen and paper.

Tags: RPG

GM's Burnout vs GM's Block

One of my pet peeves is how a lot of advice about GM's burnout is actually about GM's block (akin to writer's block). This bugs me because they are very different kettle of fish and because I've been somewhat burnt out for several months now and the absence of solid advice on how to counteract it. I've trawled through dozens of advice articles and web-sites and most of them talk about ways to boost creativity. My creative stores are just fine, thank you. I'm quite happy to write articles, world build and create adventure paths. [...]

swordandbackpack: The Numero Records Group, fine purveyors of...


The Numero Records Group, fine purveyors of excellent record re-issues, have just announced a fairly awesome sounding project: Cities of Darkscorch, a limited edition boardgame to accompany the upcoming Warfaring Strangers: Darkscorch Canticles, a double-album collection of obscure underground fantasy rock. From the website:

Roleplaying as any of Darkscorch Canticles' sixteen determined bands, one to six players traverse the broken roads of Darkscorch---battling such forbidding quartets as Grimsword, Narcissus, Ass-Centaur and 97 more---to collect city banners from such pits of hard rock competition as Afterdath, Wizard's Wellspring, and Throk,. Along the way, players may augment their bands through the use of [...]

A Voidstone Chronicles Combat Grid

The entirety of the great realm is a series of discs orbiting in a vast sky. These discs some in several sizes...some no more than a dozen metres wide,others stretching hundreds of metres across. The larger discs tend to be slower in their orbits, and the smaller discs tend to revolve around these, or perform complex orbits and fast orbits between local clusters.
This image has been designed to print on a full A4 page (with the image stretching right to the edge). When printed in this manner, the hexes forming the grid are 30mm across the flats; this means [...]

Atlantian Royal Harpies A New Monster For The Astonishing Swordsmen And Sorcerers of Hyperborea Rpg System On The Dark Corner Blog

 Something ancient and repellant glides upon wings of horror!
Ancient myths come alive upon Hyperborea to wreck terrible vengeance upon your adventurers
Right Over 

ABU HELL - Flight FZ001

Early morning. A very well known aerospace hub. Already 24 degrees Celsius. February.

The immense, shining-new, world-record-breaker airliner is taxing towards the runway for its very first flight with passengers. It's a historical day for the company. And for aviation.

Three thousand passengers distributed on 3 decks. There's no economy class. There is a lower class but it's not called economy. It's either Silver, Gold, or Platinum.
And to accommodate the changes and underline even more the already apparent will to separate this beast from the other aircrafts of the company, a new sub-company's flag is on [...]

Happy 40th, D&D!

Turns out this week is D&D’s 40th birthday! I’m slightly older than it is, and have been playing for somewhere around 30 of those years.

My first D&D game was in a car on the way to a Boy Scout camp. It was diceless and mostly rule-less. I joined in progress; one guy had Blackrazor, one had Whelm, and one had a crossbow. Encounters usually ended with us all trying to kill each other as well. Good times. (I find it interesting that nowadays people contend you can’t play D&D diceless, or can’t play it PvP… Kids nowadays.)

I was always more [...]

Forty Years of D&D, A Celebration and Some Random Talk

So, I missed the boat.  I know.   Sunday was D&D's 40th Anniversary (official unofficial.)  Sunday I was watching my daughter.  I post nothing and didn't get a game in. We did play Kings Quest V together, so that's something.  I also started a game of Eye of the Beholder, but no table top happened.

As far as I'm concerned that is somewhat OK.  That's because I intend to celebrate this entire year. That starts (with any luck) this weekend running some classic modules.  Tomb of Horrors run using OD&D is on the table at for this [...]

Living Greyhawk: wanted poster

I was going through some of my old stuff tonight and I found this. This Cert was the last thing I got as a player in the County of Urnst. I got myself wanted... Mousset was a Rogue/Bard/Temple Raider of Olidammara. He was a real sleaze ball and absolutely awesome to play.

Mousset adventured 3-4 times as a woman to avoid being found out. I played him at an interactive where I walked around with my own wanted poster asking people "have you seen this man?"

A lot of fun.

Busy, Busy - but not too busy to post a tip

Or what's in a Name Not that I'm on a posting schedule or anything, I've been drafting posts for +Stellios V. Perdios February Blog Hop and writing a brand new adventure for my group for Saturday.  (I'm incredibly excited about how this one has come together and I intend to post it after we play test it.) 

Anyway, here's my tip for when you're stuck thinking of a name for an NPC. 

Turn to Google Translate, or the translation engine of your choice, pick a language and type in word that comes to mind.  If the language [...]

Daily Punch 1-29-14 HIT THE DECK! Positive quality in Shadowrun

How about some more love for Shadowrun 5e?



Karma Cost: 10 Points

You see things that most miss, and It’s save your life on more the one occasion. When you are targeted by a ranged attack (physical or magical), you may make a perception + intuition (mental) check and reduce your initiative by 10. If your roll beats the attackers dice roll for the attack, you may drop to prone out of turn. If this places any objects between you and the attack the attacker fires but misses you completely. You take any normal modifiers to the perception roll, but [...]

Ring Side Report- RPG Review Pathfinder Society Adventure #5-8 The Confirmation

Product- Pathfinder Society Adventure #5-8 The Confirmation


System- Pathfinder

Price- $4

TL;DR- An excellent introductory adventure for any PFS player 97%


Basics- Time to earn your stripes Pathfinders! This adventure is the capstone of any Pathfinders training. Players get to go on an expedition with an experienced bard as they try to understand why Gillmen are journeying to an old cave each month. Along the way the PCs and their guide are separated and the PCs must continue the mission alone. After discovering the mystery, the PCs face off against a climactic battle at the end of the mission.


Story- This is a fun one. [...]

Why I Publish (or Piggybacking Off of Dylan)

Yesterday, Dylan over at his Digital Orc blog posted Why Publish?.  An excellent post that goes into why he publishes and what he learned along the way.  If you haven't read it please do.  Mine can wait.  I warn you ahead a time, this is a bit of a ramble.

I can blame a lot of it on +Rob Conley for my gaming publishing bug.  I'd been tinkering in short fiction for years.  Rob and I used to get together on neutral territory and go over the writing we'd done for that week.  Fast forward a few years, Rob [...]

Part 19: "If One Wanted to Use a Red Dragon..."

*please standby* ... blogger accidentally published this while I was drafting it.

Part 19 of a comparison of Holmes' manuscript with the published Basic Set rulebook. Turn to page 22 of your 'Blue Book' and follow along...


At this point the manuscript finishes with material covered by Volume 1 of OD&D and moves onto material covered by Volume 2, "Monsters & Treasure".

1st paragraph


Published: Adds "ADVANCED" before "DUNGEONS & DRAGONS", as in most other instances where Holmes referred to the original. The reference to demons being [...]

Google Trends --- ~4 Years Later

Back in August of 2010, I posted about a variety of gaming terms based on Google Trend data. While its not quite 4 years later (closer to 3.5), let’s see what those terms are doing today.

These are the same terms, with the addition of some new terms (noted below), which I suspected would interesting. Nothing has really changed over the course of a few years. Pretty much anything gaming related is sloping down. Of course, this is trend data based on search terms and there are many, many alternate ways people find materials today; [...]

1st Age: Magic-User Pregen for Playtest

Here is the Magic-User that was built for my playtest.  Magic is very much driven by the player's creativity.  This is a snapshot at level 3 what the magic-user looks like, not an overview.

Class: Magi-User
Level: 3
Hit Points: 24
Recoveries: 3 for 1d4 each

Attribute Mod + Level = Total
Strength +1 +3 = +4 
Dexterity +1 +3 = +4
Constitution +3 +3 = +6 
Intelligence +3 +3 = +6
Wisdom +4 +3 = +7 
Charisma +1 +3 = +4

Ability Mod + Level = Total
Initiative: +1 +3 = +4
Armor Class: 10 +6 = 16
Physical Defense: 10 +6 = 16
Mental Defense: 12 +6 [...]

Google Trends --- 5 Years Later

Back in August of 2010, I posted about a variety of gaming terms based on Google Trend data. While its not quite 5 years later (closer to 4.5), let’s see what those terms are doing today.

These are the same terms, with the addition of some new terms (noted below), which I suspected would interesting. Nothing has really changed over the course of 5 years. Pretty much anything gaming related is sloping down. Of course, this is trend data based on search terms and there are many, many alternate ways people find materials today; even [...]

More Than One-Way to Skin a Vault

A key to keeping player's interest is to provide unique and unusual situations. The party fights its way through a horde of creatures. Victorious, the party searches for treasure. They find the entrance to a vault. At this point, the party says, "We take everything of value from the vault." The party is now ready to move on. After a while, this gets somewhat boring for both the players and the DM.

Consider this slightly different scenario. The party finds the entrance to a vault. In front of the vault is a pile of the dry, desiccated bodies [...]

Path of the Bard: ADCC Thief Skill Set

by thehookshot

In my previous Advanced Dungeon Crawl Classics (ADCC) post, I looked at a simple method for adding warrior subclasses to the rules. This led to some discussion on G+ of doing the same for the other classes. There’s some obvious room with the demihumans to do so, though it should probably be limited so humans remain unique in their variety. Personally, I feel that wizards are already strongly distinguished by patrons (and potentially the Arcane Affinity spell). Clerics are obviously distinguished by alignment (which I previously expanded upon), but I can imagine a scenario where clerics could be further [...]

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Game Store: 'The Creeping Death'

 'The Creeping Death'
It starts with one field, on a foggy day. Flowers totally covered. No radiation content. A baffled man with a camera phone trying to make some sense out of it all.
The footage goes viral within a week, and there's your hook. Your mages, your investigators, your Delta Green personnel, they pick this up and decide to have a look-see. They arrive to find the web intact, after five days. Rain glances off it, flows away; light barely passes through. The plant matter beneath the surface is dying. There is, as has been said, no radiation content, [...]


Last year, I invited Salem McGourley to be a guest writer on this blog.  Based on the spirited discussions which have cropped up after his posts, I would say that this was an excellent decision on my part: He has proven popular with my readers, brings a nerdy perspective which I lack, and having a day free from "Oh crap, I have to post something" has enabled me to relax and be more creative.

Besides, as I've joked before, I'm trying to start a media empire, and to do that I need minions.

Therefore, it pleases me to introduce [...]

Honest Book Review: Pallatine Rising by Roderick Davidson

Last year at PaizoCon, I was running my NeoExodus Special, having a good time with a good group.

Then during a break, one of the players come up to me and hands me a book. I'm thank him, and wonder what he wants for it. "Dude it's free, just tell me what you think." Free book in return for an honest review? Yes. I can do that!

I will admit that, when I saw this was a "book 1", I approached it not wanting to like it. I really wanted to be able to say "meh it was okay" [...]

Divine Artifact-Gamilzeag, Sword of Blighting Flame

And whenLirmenieth saw that man was willing to rise against the Rephiam, his wild heart rejoiced and he cried out to Enethail, saying, “Behold Enethail, the humans take courage and rise, though alone, though over powered. Thy spirit and Simwaith’s are upon them and they go forth against the cold. I will lend them by strength, for now is the time.”

And a bright flame sparked before him, but the trees burnt not, and Enethail extended a furry hand, in it a sword. It was the most beautiful swordLirmenieth had ever seen. He took it eagerly. “Go my servant,” she spoke [...]

New Aspect: Freeze Frame

I was playing with my kids yesterday and came across an idea for a new aspect:

Freeze FrameInitiation: ConstantGrading: NModes: N/ACost: 1This aspect enables you to freeze all the action of an action scene and focus the camera on your character, enabling your character to perform one heroic throwaway gesture, make one dramatic facial expression, or make one witty comment without distraction. This action breaks the "fourth wall", enabling your character to express himself/herself to all the players at the table as well as all the characters in the game.

Science Fiction is Hard?

Since I’m organising a Science Fiction RPG convention, it’s high time I wrote something here about science fiction RPGs. On forums and such, I often come across the statement that science fiction roleplaying games are tougher to “get” than fantasy. I don’t think this is true for me, but I’m not going to argue with this statement- if someone says something’s tougher to do, then it genuinely is tougher to do, at least for them.

However, there certainly are a few features of science fiction gaming that don’t always come up in fantasy, both from a player and a GM viewpoint, [...]

Round Table for Jan 13

James and Company continue to discuss the latest in D&D news. This episode was recorded on January 13th. Check out James’ Blog for more of his insights. Like the show, support below… Noble Knight   Download Standard Podcasts

Female dwarf cosplay from Russia

Here’s some more inspiration for the LARPers out there: Russian photographer Alexander Turchanin shot several characters from the latest Hobbit movies, but as female versions. He managed to capture the expressions of several of them rather well. To the point where I feel Thorin Oakenshield would be better off as …

Your Money's No Good Here

Okay, so usually in fantasy RPGs the currency is generic gold, silver, and copper coins.  Occasionally you'll find games wherein the local authorities will insist that "foreign" coins be exchanged for locally minted ones.  This is usually presented as a straight up racket to force foreigners to pay a percentage on coinage brought into the area (and a racket by the DM to keep the PCs from getting too rich).  There could be various other reasons, such as foreign coins being different sizes and thus having different values or coins from a certain region known for being debased with other [...]

Quick Review - Lost city of the Dwarves Part One - Discovery

I've been on death's door since Sunday with a stomach virus so bare with me as I'm solely existing on antibiotics and my wife's chicken noodle soup.~*~Lost city of the Dwarves: Discovery is a "choose your own adventure" style, single player d20 based roleplaying game developed by Pen & Forge Productions (although there is a multi-player supplement). It is a meaty little volume of somewhere around 250 pages. I picked up the POD version of the book last summer with the express purpose of re-living my childhood recess days when, instead of playing with other kids, I guided an erst-while [...]

Officially Back!

Thank you one and all for your patience over the past month.  The blog's number of visitors has dropped but not devastatingly so which makes me a happy camper to know there are people out there still getting value out of what I have written this past year.
Me turning gracefully 40!  My mate Neal giving
me encouragement!

I know that I have added a blog here and there over the past month but it has only been if I really wanted to or the game was on so I could pop it up for watching.  Things are again [...]

The Demolished Ones (FATE RPG)

The Demolished Ones This book is 94 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page […]

Bullet Points: 3 Templates for Stone Golems

Bullet Points: 3 Templates for Stone Golems This Bullet Point is 4 pages long, 1page […]

Midgard: Player's Guide to the Rothenian Plains

Midgard: Player’s Guide to the Rothenian Plains The latest installment of Player’s Guides for the […]

Wellstone City Municipal Airport

Wellstone City grew up too quickly to hold a large airport; by the time air travel was hitting its high point in the 30′s, there just wasn’t room for a full-scale airport on the island. A smaller strip was added to the Spanish Quarter in 1948. There was talk of putting one in close to the Waterfront when the hurricane of 1953 destroyed half of the Warrens, but it was decided that there were too many other large airports within a short distance and it was decided to rely on the highways and boats.

Today, however, the Wellstone City [...]

Cutting Back on Backing Kickstarters

I knew it was going to come to this at some point. As much as I'm a Kickstarter addict, something had to give, and it just did. I was already easing up on the pedal what with the new car purchase in December, but with recent emergency vet bills, helping our son buy his first (used) car and restarting of renovations at the house, cash is going to be tight. Besides, I have enough pending Kickstarters to fuel my gaming habits for a lifetime - at least, that's what my wife recently told me, and she certainly isnt wrong.

So, I'm limiting myself to Old School / OSR styled projects. So, Barrowmaze Complete is in - Ares Magazine is out. I'm looking over a [...]

3 bizarre new creatures for your Numenera game

Numenera is bursting with some of the freakiest creatures I've ever had the pleasure of piling on my players. Seriously, Monte Cook is one seriously warped puppy. But one of the major draws of the system is that creating new creatures is really bloody easy, so much so that it almost equals Tunnels & Trolls in being able to wing monsters on the fly.

So here are five new creatures ready to slot into your campaign, ranging from low to high levels.

Endoglow 3 (9)

This tiny flying creature is about the size of a [...]

For the Love of Random Madness

I have taken a break from Shards of Thibral, just a bit of tie to get some space and some air, so I can look at the game from a fresh direction next week.
The rest of this post is a decent into gamer madness.. enjoy.Part of this break has to do with on singular and innocent post from a friend of min. He posted "I love charts." while we were discussing old school games in general after one of our 2nd edition games.Whit his post in my mind I dug around on my portable hard drive [...]

Icosahedral WorldMap Generator Updated

Just fixed a couple of issues with this cool tool:

  • When exporting to the Hexographer format, the areas that didn’t have terrain (are supposed to be nothing) didn’t match up properly (covering up part of the terrain, and not covering other areas). Now they do.
  • When selecting a lower amount of vegetation, the temperature changes weren’t being considered. Now they are included.

In case you haven’t seen it before, this small application builds a hex-based icosahedral world map based on some settings you choose. Use it to make an initial world map and then export it to Hexographer for further editing. Or export [...]

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