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The idea that early man and Neanderthals interbred is just cool. I have no idea why, it just seems like a happier ending than humans wiped out Neanderthals. Of course, they probably did to some extent, biology is not a kind mistress.

I'm not sure I buy the occasional rambling that humans get their more base and aggressive natures from neanderthals. Not sure that is a theory or something the internet throws out there now and again. I constant attempts to paint our species as something other than, and something driven by different motivations than other species is a [...]

Ask The GMs: Some Arcane Assembly Required -- Pt 3: Tab A into Slot B

This entry is part 3 in the series Some Arcane Assembly Required This question comes from GM Roy, who wrote: “I need some inspiration to create cool names for spell components. I have 5 [scales of rarity = Mike]: Common (flesh, breath, water, dust) Uncommon (earth from a cemetery, humanoid blood) Rare (head of a […]

Word of the Day -- Coronal Mass Ejection

A coronal mass ejection (CME) is a massive burst of gas and magnetic field arising from the solar corona and being released into the solar wind, as observed in a coronagraph.

Coronal mass ejections are often associated with other forms of solar activity, most notably solar flares or filament eruptions, but a broadly accepted theoretical understanding of these relationships has not been established. CMEs most often originate from active regions on the Sun's surface, such as groupings of sunspots associated with frequent flares. Near solar maxima, the Sun produces about three CMEs every day, whereas near [...]

Armor Up (Suddenly)


thursday: A Turn of the Century, Comedic Tragedy

This week’s Gem was rolled up by our own Allen Thiele. He came upon a Turn of the Century, Tech of the time, Tragic Comedy. His initial thoughts were something akin to Oliver Twist mixed with an early 90’s sit-com. Kevin rolled those elements around, splashed in a little Hogan’s Heroes, and the result is below!

It’s 1900 in the dark slums of the city. No electric lights shine bright here. Hope reigns eternal, but in a place where there are shadows so deep that they are never destroyed by the sun, it also remains eternally elusive.

Welcome to Boneridge Orphanage.

You’ve [...]

To the Trees

I love the concept of trees so large you can build homes within them. The idea of caretakers, weaving the tree into, through and around the dwelling is just kind of cool.

Couldn't find the artist on this one.

Leadership Handbook

Leadership Handbook This supplement clocks in at 28 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page […]

Modoc's Best Of -- The GMs Day Sale

I spent last eveningskimming through the 7K+ sale items that DriveThruRPG has included in their annual GMs Day Sale. What follows are my overarching thoughts about the sale and about some of the products that stood out to me.

First and foremost, there is a metric crap ton of items included in this year’s sale! While it took some time to sort through most of it, there were some highlights for me; more on those in a moment. Sadly, despite the sheer volume of stuff on sale, there was lots of things that were of no interest to me. Bad products? [...]

The Druid Class, Part Five

In last week's article, we saw the likely zenith of the Druid class's power, relative to the other classes in the game. Of course, we have two more editions to get through, so if I'm wrong, I willowsomeone an apology. Possibly Mike Mearls, since it’s his hand at the elm. The 4e Druid is not...

The Druid Class, Part Five

In last week's article, we saw the likely zenith of the Druid class's power, relative to the other classes in the game. Of course, we have two more editions to get through, so if I'm wrong, I willowsomeone an apology. Possibly Mike Mearls, since it’s his hand at the elm. The 4e Druid is not...

Urban Dressing: Port Town

Urban Dressing: Port Town This installment of what I’d tentatively call the “new” Urban Dressing-series […]

Arcanicon 2015: I have a cunning plan!

So Arcanicon is upon us again. Last year, I had such a blast playing in the day-long special, I was lucky to play on a table with Paul, Nicole and Eric, who I got to join again at the battle at Gencon. Our adventures were quite memorable. During that adventure, my character, Kermina, became the bearer of her "pink sword" called Morning Glory.

My Arcanicon 2014 post can be found here.

So now comes the time to do it again!

So right around Winter Fantasy, I found a ticket from Nashville to Chicago (this year's con is at [...]

Underworld Classes: Stonespeaker

Underworld Classes: Stonespeaker This installment of the Underworld Classes-series clocks in at 18 pages, 1 […]

Going Extra Mad

I love the madness rules in the Dungeon Master’s Guide but I do have a problem. I want more! I recently postedrules for going mad in The Damned Lands of my setting, Exploration Age. Irealized that only 12forms of indefinite madness were not nearly enough for my purposes. So I’ve created new rules for indefinite madness which will be available in the upcoming Exploration Age Campaign Guide. Take a look at the excerpt below.

Variant: New Forms of Indefinite Madness

Any extended adventure in The Damned Lands will have PCs fighting off madness. When their fight fails, DMs should usethe rules for [...]

Why I love published adventures. And why I don't use them.

I’ve recently found an old piece on Hill Cantons about an exchange with Rob Kuntz, who was among the people who working on Dungeons & Dragons in the early years. In it, Kuntz is quite outspoken against published modules, which he regards as clearly a step into the completely wrong direction which turned the game into something very different from what they had thought to be the spirit of D&D.

I have always thought that the DM's route to any fantastic achievement in such literature was through a very personal course, most certainly inspired by reading and study or other such [...]

The Rise of Tiamat - Xonthal's Tower

We played another session of The Rise of Tiamat at the game store last night as part of the Dungeons & Dragons Adventurer's League program.

Something is happening to the group. Ever since that week where the substitute DM ran the game (the session where, I was told, "everybody argued") the players have very little patience for each other. Tonight's game started off very free and fun, but by the end I was really working to keep things moving.

With a home game, you're playing with people you know and that you've invited, presumably because they will [...]

Throwback Thursday - Frazetta's LotR, 10 Favorite Modules, & Ernie Gygax Interview

Over on comicsalliance.com, a recent postings discusses how "Frank Frazetta's 'Lord of the Rings' Illustrations Make Middle Earth Metal" here.

Also, on the Legecy Game Mastering blog, a countdown of his "Top Ten Favorite Modules" here.

Finally, on the Vorpal Chainsword Podcast they interview Ernie Gygax here.

Throwback Thursday on CreativeMountainGames.com A look back at early tabletop hobby gaming or gaming-adjacent topics of the past.Please Like, Share, Plus, Tweet, Follow, and Comment!

Animal Races: Clan of the Bear (Revised Edition)

Animal Races: Clan of the Bear (Revised Edition) This installment of the Animal Races-series clock […]

Underworld Classes: Psilocybist (Revised Edition)

Underworld Classes: Psilocybist (Revised Edition) This installment of the Underworld Classes-series clocks in at 23 […]

Crowdfunding Behavior Which Needs to Stop

Crowdfunding is considered by many to be one of the best things that has happened to gaming in recent years, with more independent titles able to get funding to be published and released to the masses. At the same time, others argue that crowdfunding is problematic because it has turned into a giant pre-order system which allows groups to rake in a large amount of money for the promise of getting special access or exclusive items/products that others may not be able to purchase.

I have mixed feelings about crowdfunding. On one hand this website is able to pay writers, editors [...]

What's the Gosh Darn Point?!

I didn't really want to write "gosh darn" but it IS Lent, and I'm trying to tone down the blasphemy.

Still working on the new game, and I've just hit a snag. Not rule-wise...the rules and system appear to be more or less "nailed down," though of course they need play-testing. But the point of the game...what it's supposed to accomplish, what it's driving towards, what is it's objective in play...that's what I'm struggling with at the moment.

Because, even though it's an "adventure" game, I want to know what kind of adventures...it's not just a gonzo free-for-all.

A Glimpse Into the Vault: Incan Gold

There’s something about expeditions that captivates the imagination. Pith helmeted explorers hacking their way through dense jungle searching for ancient treasures make for exciting stories. From the pulp novels of the early 1900s to films like Indiana Jones to video games like Uncharted, treasure hunts get people fired up.

So when at a party this past weekend the host began handing out little paper tents with an expedition stamp and little crates drawn next to it, I was intrigued. The tents, it turned out, are part of a “press your luck” game calledIncan Gold.The only other components I was given before [...]

Level 31 Reached

It's my birthday, so you know what that means. Having dinner with a friend tonight to celebrate, but the real party is going down next Sunday when I trap my dearest friends in the dungeon of the Vampire Queen. Also, happy birthday Amanda! Oh yeah it's National Cheetos Day.

Charm City Gameday: Loot

I haven't been buying very much gaming stuff recently, but two of my players were very kind at Christmas and got me a gift card to Games and Stuff, so while I was there for Charm City Gameday I took advantage of that gift card and picked up a few things.

First I grabbed some airbrush paint and thinner. I recently tried using my airbrush, without much success, and I think it's because the reaper paint is just too thick.

We'll see how that works out.

I also picked up some DCC stuff, both [...]

Sigil PD: Chapter 11, Part 2

  Split prep, planning a bust & a working scanner   I broke the game prep yesterday into two parts, to make room for my time at school. I suspect this left with me with less time overall, but I still achieved some of my targets. As ever, this began with the vital session summary …

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April Releases for Privateer Press

Warmachine: Retribution: Moros – Light Myrmidon



Commissioned for Garryth, Blade of Retribution, Moros is a quick and agile myrmidon that strikes using its dual curved blades with the deadliness of an assassin. Its unique power field renders Moros invisible to the naked eye and can be manipulated to lash out and stun potential victims. For many of the Retribution's enemies, the low hum of Moros' energy field is the last sound ever heard.


Moros comes in a blister (PIP 35065). A player may field one Moros in a Retribution army.



1 Moros

1 Color stat card


Miniatures are supplied unpainted and assembly may be required.


Warmachine: [...]

Ancient Fishing Village

World's Coolest Picture
by Chris Scaturo

 I love the internet. Okay, it may not be the coolest picture but it might be top eight, no more than ten, twelve max.   Anyway, I often spend hours looking at pictures on google (no, not those pictures) trying to create a vivid setting for my D&D games.   This beauty is the result of the search "ancient fishing village".

You might use this as a pirate cove or home to a neolithic society but in my world, this is an old fishing village that met an unpleasent demise.   [...]

12 Games March: Marvel Heroic Roleplaying

Week 1 Initial Reactions: This month we're going to look at a game that is both fairly new and already out of print, Marvel Heroic Roleplaying. Coming out only three years ago in 2012 Marvel Heroic hit the scene with some mixed reviews about the free form system and lack of what many could call "core rules", but most notable was the promise that major events in the Marvel comic universe would

A Dirge of Pyre and Stone ep01 : Dungeon World


A Dirge of Pyre and Stone
One Shot

Dungeon World

As a one shot (maybe to spin-off depending on schedules) game for Oliver, we opted to take another stab at Dungeon World.

Oliver played Olias, a Paladin-Cleric of Rahlor, the God of Fire.  His devotion compels him to someday slay Cthulhu, the great blight upon the land and defend Kingslanding from the iniquities that beset it.  As well as to someday discover the truth of the Watery Deep.  His devotion has made him invulnerable to arrows and is free from hunger, thirst or the [...]

Supernatural: Holy Terror

A church glee club slaughtering a biker gang signals the start of an angelic civil war. The angels led by Bartholomew are being challenged by a faction led by an anarchist angel called Malachi (Stephen Monroe Taylor), with the idea that the winning side will challenge Metatron (Curtis Armstrong) to retake Heaven.Human Cas shows up to help Sam and Dean with their investigation into the biker

Image Thursday -- The Gift by Bobby Chiu

The Gift by Bobby Chiu

(Click for full sized image)

This week inspirational image is “The Gift” by Bobbi Chiu.

The Ancient One had been asleep for what seemed like thousands of years, until something forgotten brought him back from the depth of sleep. The small female child of man stood before it, offering up a small red like object up as a gift.

  • Who is the girl?
  • What is the purpose of the gift? Would the AncientOne take offense at being offered what looks like an apple or would they be grateful for contact with a descendant?
  • Why was the tree-being asleep? Why did this [...]

[Review] Tiny Dungeon

What do you need to know?

Tiny Dungeon is a minimalistic heroic fantasy roleplaying game which you can buy for USD $5.99 at Onebookshelf (aff).

The author promises that it is "[...] a tabletop roleplaying game system that is short on rules, but big on roleplaying!"

Let's dive in!

The Rules Basic Rules

Tiny Dungeons (TD) is a quick read and the rules are easy to understand. Basically, you roll 2d6 for any task. A roll of 5 or 6 is a success and that means you've made it.
The game is complemented with an Advantage/Disadvantage mechanic which you might know from Barbarians of Lemuria or [...]

The Lonely Coast -- Shadowed Keep On The Borderlands -- Session 12

Session 20 (2nd Mar 2015) For the second adventure in our Lonely Coast campaign I turned once again to Raging …

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Happy GM's Gygax Day (and Sale on DTRPG)

Happy Gygax Memorial / GM's Day / Cheap PDF Games Week!30% off many titles, way too numerous to mention. I'm sure your Dropbox account could squeeze in just a few more scenarios. ;)http://bit.ly/GMday2015Until March 10th.LLAP in order to play more games... ! \\//(Or just download rules for your reading pleasure)

Step Dice

I never really got into Earthdawn when it first came out. Truth be told, I was interested in the setting because I had quite a few friends at the time who were big Shadowrun Fanatics, and Earthdawn was originally advertised as the distant past of the Shadowrun Universe (in much the same way that Exalted was advertised as the origins of the World of Darkness). The only real thing that stuck with me from the early previews of Earthdawn was the concept of step dice...where one character might have a d6 to roll for something, a better character might have [...]

Dragon #107

Free OSR Dragon Foot Adventure - The Monastery of the Order of the Crimson Monks For Your Old School Campaigns

Grab It Right OverHERE An Adventure Module for Original and First Edition Roleplaying Games & Their Simulacra. Suitable for a Party of 4 to 8 Player Characters, Level 5 to 9.Sometimes you need a fast dungeon with a solid background. This is one of those. The dungeon isn't too high level but has some well thought out details. Its easily used with many incarnations of the grand game but I

New Time Slot

This is not the post you are looking for… Instead, our featured posts will now come out on Saturday morning, 00:00 GMT. We’re doing our best to optimize the blog and we hope this change will help us do just that. See you Saturday!

RAFM Parapsychologist

Mark asked me to paint some more of his Call of Cthulhu figures. I obliged by picking out one of his three-part RAFM figures: Parapsychologist. It shows a character in three stages of sanity. For this figure I wanted to use purple. I guess I was thinking Miss Marple. The cat I was initially going to do black, but went for an orange tabby just to challenge myself. To enhance the different stages of dementia, I went with different sized and shaped bases and went from verdant to progressively bleaker landscapes. Let me know what you think!

1d10 Random Ancient Adventure Locations Table For Your Old School Campaigns

There are places of mystery and wonder often found in the wastelands. Places that seem to transcend time and space to snare the unwary & stupid. Adventurers often fall prey to these places because of the lure of adventure, treasure, and mystery. Here then is a table of random wonder and weirdness simply waiting to claim those unlucky enough to find them. Photo by Rainer Zenz 1d10

Magic and Technology -- The Porcelain Argument

I ran across this article, The Porcelain Argument: How would the existence of magic affect technological advancement?, on Sunday. I very much enjoyed it and it is in line with my thinking of how a high magic setting would function. My campaign is, for humans, a now low magic setting because the ancient empire collapsed […]

More Amazing, Non-Gaming Nostalgia

Did you folks know they were going to start up Twin Peaks again?! Holy shit!

A limited season (9 episodes) is scheduled to air on Showtime in 2016. David Lynch and Mark Frost (the original creators) are doing all the writing and Lynch will be doing all the directing. Wow...that is just soooo cool in a way that most people that aren't at least my age just won't get. Original cast members will be returning (including Kyle MacLachlan).

Talk about "geeking out;" I might just need to subscribe to Showtime!

Twin Peaks came out in 1990 when [...]

Visualizing Castle Greyhawk

Walled City[1]
"To the east of the busy walled city of Greyhawk the land is forsaken, overgrown with thorns and thistles. Oozing marsh creeps slowly down. The copses are huddles of weird, bloated trees. The wiry grass seems to grasp at the feet of any who dare to tread upon it. In the center of this unwholesome place, on a rock-boned prominence, hulks the ruin of the grim Greyhawk Castle..."[2]
Castle [3]
"The fallen west gate of Greyhawk Castle was at hand, and through [...]

The Isle of Names

The people of this island cannot conceive that two people could have the same name, or that someone would lie about their name.

This means that, if a visitor happens to have (or claims to have)the same name asa particular historical figure, wanted criminal or prominent islander, they will be treated as being that person.

The reputations of many gods and heroes in the island’s history are decidedly mixed, due to unscrupulous confidence tricksters who have claimed to be them.

The Aggregate ~ A post-apocalyptic graphic novel

In the world of Kickstarter there is always something new and exciting. Today is no different as Nerd Rage News discovered a choose your own adventure that is a graphic novel. We spoke with Ben Bishop about The Aggregate.

What is the Aggregate? The Aggregate is a post-apocalyptic, “Choose Your Own Adventure” style graphic novel of mine I’m currently Kickstarting. But “The Aggregate” is ALSO an 800 foot tall giant robot built by our very own government to wipe out 3/4 of the worlds population. There’s a video on my Kickstarter haha. Basically, I like to tell people it’s the story of a mysteriously young woman named Valerius who has spent the last 1,000 years keeping 5 genetically engineered individuals, the “OTAs” ( the people who pilot the robot ) away from their giant robot killing-machine; BUT she now finds herself leading one of them, the “Man” right to it. How does a choose your own adventure work in a graphic novel format? The Aggregate will be the first in a new type of graphic novel storytelling I’m calling, “Split Decision” comics. Basically it will work something like the old Choose Your Own Adventure book crossed with a video game. Rather than YOU being the main character, you’ll be every character, and you’ll make decisions for all those characters, and the other people in the book will react and behave differently towards you depending on those decisions you make. I understand that you are even doing a soundtrack to accompany the story, tell me about that. I’m obsessed with really good movie scores. I listen to them while I write or draw, and I have wanted to make a book with its own score for a very long time. So when it looked like I was going to start putting a book together I knew [...]

Ring Side Report-Board Game Review Ortus Regni



Product- Ortus Regni

Producer- Jon Sudbury Games

Price- $45 here http://jon-sudbury-games.myshopify.com/collections/frontpage/products/ortus-regni-core-box

Set-up/Play/Clean-up- 30-60 minutes (2-6 players)



TL; DR- This is the coffee table game you need! 95%


Basics-Forge your kingdom! Ortus Regni, “Origin of the Kingdom,” is a two to six player card game of dueling earls fighting to create their own kingdom. The only way to do that is to be the last man or woman standing. Each turn, a player can take one action and then has to draw one card. That’s honestly the whole game, but don’t let that simplicity fool you. The actions range from declaring battle, starting a joust, using [...]

Pathfinder Musing: Fighter Revisions

Like the Rogue, I like the concept of the Fighter. I enjoy playing combat-focused characters, individuals who've spend many years either training to become masters at the art of fighting or happened to be students of the school of hard knocks. While I love playing spellcasters, sometimes its just fun to pick up a big sword and beat the ever-living shit out of something.
With that being said, Pathfinder's Fighter is lacking in a few mechanical departments. Don't get me wrong, Pathfinder's version of this class is much better than the 3rd Edition & 3.5 Edition one. However, it still [...]

[Korgothursday] Savage Menagerie: Arborghast

NOTE: Two years ago, I posted a few creatures and NPCs for Mutant Future based on that most-metal of cartoon barbarians: Korgoth of Barbaria! But unlike that one-off cartoon pilot, we're not through yet! Let's get "Korgothursday" rolling again with today's new entry... No. Enc.: 0 (1d4) Alignment: Chaotic Movement: 60' (20') Armor Class: 5 Hit Dice: 10 Attacks: 3 (claw/claw/bite) Damage:

Introducing Holtzmann's Corridor

Holtzmann's Corridor is considered a border area in my TU, far from the Big Four and their conflicts; but it is an active region full of adventure possibility. Many systems are only lightly populated and lightly travelled; there's lots of exploration still to be done.

The Talaveran Empire (TE) and the Lycosky Trade Protectorate (LTP) are competing for markets for goods and for exclusive shipping rights & routes. The conflict extends to diplomacy, [...]

And the Winners of the Far Away Land Core Rules in PDF Are...

Holy something or other!

Over 120 entries in 8 hours. That has to be a record or something. Not one of those +James Spahn records, but still impressive.

Alright, let's get right down to it. Lets give away those copies of Far Away Land Core Rules in PDF.

The first winner is: Jason Buchanan - this is the copy I'm providing ;)

The second winner is: Justin Isaac - this is the copy generously donated by +matt jackson

The third and final winner is: +Johua De Santo - this is the copy generously donated by +Tim Huntley

The winners need to email me at tenkarsDOTtavernATgmailDOTcom with their RPGNow info and I'll make sure it gets into the right hands.

Everyone else needs [...]
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