Category Archives: tabletop RPGs

Dungeon Days: The Black Dragon’s Lair

After reworking the haunted manor, I had just enough time between sessions to whip up the dragon’s lair it connected to before my group found their way to the mural in the furnace.  Sorry the map is a little messier this time; I’ll admit to cutting corners and freshening up the original map I drew instead of using the old one as a reference for a new copy.  To sweeten the deal a little, I’ve included a print-out-and-cut-up puzzle component.  Once again, 5th Edition D&D terms are included here, but feel free to change, convert, or ignore them as you see fit.

This is the subterranean lair of Nakryativatka, the rare sort of black dragon that prefers trickery and traps to direct confrontation, and her kobold servants. All rooms are pitch dark and hollowed out from marsh clay unless otherwise noted.

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Beyond Nine Alignments: D&D as an Ethics Playground

I’m currently preparing to play a wizard in a D&D 5e game that a friend of mine is running (my first ever wizard, in fact. I prefer the sorcerer playstyle, but I wanted to branch out). My wizard is exceptional because, as part of a curse, he has perfect recall of his own memories and those of his parents and grandparents.

While I’ve played elves and other long-lived races before, this curse/blessing had me keenly considering the implications of a character with a very large scope of experience—specifically, how that large scope would impact that character’s approach to ethics, systems of right and wrong.

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Books in the Wizard’s Library, Volume 2

More Books in the Wizard’s Library (some translated into Common by the Society for a Vernacular Zenith)

1: The Internality of Externality, by Zygwiliv Abraskos (written in cypher, book appears inside out [covers in middle])

2: Lachrymosa, by Slaugreb Uvashi, S.V.Z. Classics edition (sahuagin epic poem with appendices, printed on shark leather)

3: The Infinite Staircase, various authors (wooden front cover opens by rotating and pulling up, pages form double helix)

4: A Self-Censoring Introduction To The Far Realm, by Hadrius Fellweather (alien on cover, book seems entirely blank)

5: Construction of the Arcanist’s Sentinel, by Royal Demiurge Penzugar Eshiiki (all pages have been ripped out and stitched back in; many are upside-down)

6: On Predestination and Temporal Malleability, by Fasaal Ibn-Ezesh (iron cover, roll on morphic time table to read)

7: A Brief History of the Multiverse, author unknown (in Celestial, foreword by SVZ, literally impossible to finish)

8: Performance Of & Protection Against Advanced Scrying Techniques, by Anonymous (watchful eyes in every margin)

9: The Hotel Pinfeather, by Mayberry Slipjack, signed (a pocket dimension concealed in every page of this pulp comedy)

10: Spoor, Castings, and Corprolite: A Scatology of Common Burrowing Monsters, by Regros Dupara

11: Cross-Cultural Responses to the Self-Materializing Monolith, by Harazu Falasheer, trans SVZ (rakshasa sociologist)

12: The Final Debate of Atliskadriavythets and Rizuvakralandor, trans. by SVZ (transcript of two-dragon dialogue)

13: Will of Iron, Hand of Steel: Somatic Integration in Martial Arts, by Wolfram Ahensi, Diamond Way Grandmaster

14: Living Texts: Decoding the Mysteries of the Snake Readers, by Ridharrow McCall (recently assassinated)

15: Witchcraft And The Threat It Poses To Society, by Lt. Holburn Greaves (leader of the Order of the Brilliant Dictum)

16: Hail and Fire: A History of The Cloud Mountain Coven, by Gaelrendor Futhrim, trans. SVZ (illusions help tell story)

17: Vagrancies I:1: Spells I Developed On The Road, by Sleestack Lightning (issue #1 of journal from famous adventurer)

18: An Ethnography of The Cult of the Magic Missile, by Alexi Sumbreal (perfect hole burned through middle of book)

19: When All Signs Correlate with Sorcery: Recognizing and Aiding Youth with Magical Potential, by Rastault venTaragin

20: A Study in the Language of True Naming and the Words of Power, by H.S. Begraven (noted member of SVZ)

 

Look for more installments of Books in the Wizard’s Library in the future.  -ð

Dev Log 3: What are “Communal Action” RPGs?

I described Stars Fall Up as a “Communal Action” roleplaying game in the launch post. It’s a term I came up with myself, so I figured I should elaborate a bit more. In a roleplaying game that uses the Communal Action model, all players share equal power in creating the world they’re playing in, and determining the consequences of the actions their characters take. Many would recognize similarities to improv theater or collaborative writing.

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Xed by Design: Breath of the Wild and TRPGs

Welcome to Xed (Crossed) by Design, a new article series in which I’ll be examining a game feature that two different creative mediums have in common. In this inaugural post, I’ll be looking at the dynamics of puzzles and player interaction in Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and table-top roleplaying games like Dungeons and Dragons.

Here I’m going to make a case that we can study Breath of the Wild to learn how to make better puzzles and encounters in table-top roleplaying games.

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Dev Log 2: Stars Fall Up (redesign 2.0 finalization)

This is the second Dev Log for Stars Fall Up. One good piece of criticism I got about the last Dev Log was that it was more about my personal philosophy on game design, rather than focusing on my process or the mechanics. It’s true, and the latter is where I want to be focusing with these Logs.

However, I’m also letting myself write about what’s buzzing about in my mind most, so a balance may have to be struck. This Dev Log is more about “game writing” than “game mechanics”, and I’m fine with that.

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Twenty Goblin Fruits

Goblin fruit grows in the Feywild and the Hedge that seperates it from the world of humans.  Whithin these hypnagogic realms, there are millions of varieties of local flora ready to bring ruin or respite for anyone willing to pick them, but because of the dangers involved, and the mercurial nature of the lands of the Fair Folk, attempts to catalogue them have proven futile.

Here are some goblin fruits that your players might find in faerie realms or other magical verdant places.  5th Edition D&D rules are given, but hopefully it’s a hop, skip, and a jump to port them over to Changeling or any other system you please.

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Dev Log 1: Stars Fall Up (redesign 1.0)

So, I’m writing about working on my game while I should be working on my game. Great.

For those who haven’t seen it on our Current Projects page, Stars Fall Up is a TRPG I’m working on—or, more descriptively, a mini-RPG for Us Damn Millennials.

A design factor that’s been on my mind a lot with this project is simplicity. That’s the word my brain goes to, but the full concept has more facets than the word “simplicity” can portray. I’m talking about simplicity in the way of “stripped of non-essential fluff and mechanics”. It’s the minimalism of game design. To be honest, this kind of simplicity is my modus operandi for creating games; I want to make games that other people who have little to no knowledge of TRPGs can pick up and be encouraged, not daunted, to try them out. I want mechanics that don’t feel like they have to be comprehended like the rules of a board game before any kind of fun can begin.

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