Over the years, I’ve noticed a divide in the kinds of media that my friends and I consume. Most of the time, across mediums, my tastes tend strongly towards work with high production value; I’m all about skilled musicianship and a clean mix, and typo-ridden or trope-heavy writing leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I don’t believe production value is the be-all end-all of art, but I’m way more likely to give something a chance if whatever sample I’m checking out bears the hallmarks of careful craftsmanship. This means that a lot of the styles of media my friends love (like bedroom folk-punk and fanfiction) never really grab me. We’ll come back to that, but first, I need to tell you about how I couldn’t stop yelling about Dragonoak.
I can’t write to you about how to overcome behavioral addiction to video games because I haven’t done it yet.
I can, however, tell you a little about how I’ve struggled with it, and am beginning to learn to cope.
Gryphonson Brews is a brewery and mixer founded by Kvelis Gryphonson, a wild elf paladin of the trickster god, who settled down after receiving a signal to retire from her deity. She has turned her adventuring fortune into a successful business in specialty liquors. Most Gryphonson Brews are made with mundane ingredients and can be found in taverns throughout the land, but the high-end Limited Collection, themed after challenges or locations the owner encountered as an adventurer, is made with exotic ingredients. One or two new brews are added to the Limited Collection every year, while old brews may retire from production.
Music is really important to me. I grew up in a musical household and have to restrain myself from foisting jams on anyone who will listen, and my written work is often very much informed by music. While I’m inspired by everything from Carly Rae Jepsen to Cattle Decapitation and back, I can’t write to anything but instrumental music and red noise . Today, I thought I’d share four instrumental pieces that I enjoy working to and that hopefully are new to you. Explore; be curious. You never know which piece of music could be the key to coaxing out your next masterpiece.
In my last article about NPCs, I wrote that NPCs are memorable when they’re consistently useful or adversarial to the party. Outside of exchanging goods and money with the PCs, or harrying them at every turn, how can you make your party care about an NPC? Here are twenty possibilities.
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.
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.
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
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.
Prince of the Apocalypse, one of the official campaigns for 5th Edition D&D, has a side trek wherein your party travels to an abandoned house to negotiate with a black dragon. Cool, right? Well, in theory. When your adventuring party has eight people in it, “talking to a black dragon”, no matter how big it is, translates to “killing a black dragon and taking its stuff”. There was no amount of spooky foreboding that was going to divert this party’s urge for big-game hunting.
So, I had to redesign the encounter. In fact, I redesigned it on the spot. It helped that I had finished reading through Kiel Chenner’s The Hell House Beckons a few days before. Today, I went back to my notebook, transcribed what I’d written, cleaned it up a bit, added some stuff, and redrew the maps. Here’s the result.
Rundreth Manor was once a grand estate—a little remote, but when you’re wealthy, a little remote goes a long way. Something horrible happened here, though, and the manor fell into disrepair. Here’s how it stands now. All doors are made of wood and unlocked unless otherwise noted. Areas 6 and 12 through 16 are pitch-dark unless characters have fallen into them. Other rooms are lit by daylight.