Tag Archives: TRPG

Meet The Locals: Premade Characters for Stars Fall Up

Hi All,

BLP had an amazing time running our game Stars Fall Up with folks who attended Jiffycon this past weekend! A huge thanks to all who showed up and hung out with us. Seeing people be excited about the game makes us 1020% more excited about it as well, and personally speaking, it makes me want to keep making supplements for the game.

So here’s our first offering. Below you’ll find six pre-generated character that we used at Jiffycon for our SFU session. They’re totally free to use and remix however you feel like, so go nuts. The character templates are purposely vague to allow for a great amount of customization from players, while not having to fret over coming up ideas for backgrounds and #tags.

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It Came From The Cellar: Five Fine Fantasy Alcohols

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.

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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

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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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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Books in the Wizard’s Library, Volume 1

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

1: Trans-Substantiality in Theory and Practice, by Sylas McCobun (important early book on astral projection)

2: A Treatise on Exospatial Psionics, Book I, by Hoexithrask Ith, trans. SVZ (rare text on inborn mental ability and its metaphysical source)

3: Second-Wave Necromancy: A Retrospective, by Parko “Bloodskull” Malgura (noted half-orc warlord-turned-sage)

4: Lost Gods, Ancient Pacts: The Vestigial Condition, by Aluzech the Weathered (burned at the stake by a lawful church)

5: Guards and Wards: A Beginner’s Guide, by Zaiger Jarnak, 2nd ed. (a well-loved book, worn from many readings)

6: An Angle Perpendicular to Everything: The Architecture of Fasil-Umbar, by His Harmoniousness Pelshai Quvanek

7: Secrets of The Philosopher Race, by The Comte S. Werthen (an unfinished work, prefaced by Faelis the Unborn)

8: A Millenium, by Yurogulvashenzugastriatanezareth, trans. Eluasha Tristavi (a bronze dragon’s memoirs, in Elvish)

9: Concerning the Curious Apotheosis of Taen of Melgranad, by Bodillo Vortivesk (avant-garde historical fiction)

10: Evocation for Fun and Profit, by Buskin Underhill (full of bad puns, someone has defaced every page in red ink)

11: A War on Two Fronts, by Lagazi Simreesh (tiefling ranger details battles with his heritage and with titan slaver)

12: My Will Be Done: The Art of the Well-Worded Wish, by Orestia Traenor (old, heavy clasp, describes efreeti & djinn)

13: The Manifold Self: The Psychological Effects of Spell-Induced Shapeshifting, by Piero Salazini, with Brek Fulaskis

14: The Red Scrolls of Ahm, by Ahm Alrashid, translated and compiled by Simon (exhaustive codex of demonic lore)

15: Mishaps in Resurrection: A Pathology, by Faelis the Unborn (itself an astral entity “resurrected” onto the Material)

16: Familial Religious Affiliation and Its Impact on Spontaneous and Learned Arcane Practice, by Sunali Moyangoko

17: Magical Vehicles Ancient and Contemporary, by Shoshana Wintergard (from personal flying machines to juggernauts)

18: A Practical Guide to Gem-Cutting for Maximal Effect in Ensorcelled Brandishables, by Olbrecht Dorvastengrad

19: Effects of Verbal and Somatic Variations on Common Pyrokinetics, by Kyroth Vyzaltar (founder of the Silver Legion)

20: The Book of Black Earth, by the Wardens of Sallowseed Grove (one-of-a-kind source text in original Druidic)

 

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

The Last Adventure of Red the Firbolg

I just played through my favorite character exit I’ve ever seen in person, and I’d love to tell you about it. It might brighten your day.

A local friend kicked off a 5th Edition D&D game a while ago, set in a Dark Souls-style dark fantasy setting. The other players were playing an orc hardboiled detective, a tiefling warlock whose familiar was a best-selling author, a kor cliff-acrobat, and, for some reason, a shifter monk who was basically the robot gorilla from the cover of the FATE Core Rulebook. I decided to play counter to the tone of the setting a little bit and made a firbolg druid, exiled from his forest home for political reasons. Firbolgs (which in 5e are blue-skinned forest-dwelling demi-giants, like how an elf might picture a giant) don’t have names, but the party ended up calling him Red, after his red hair. Red loved nature. Like, really loved it, with giddy enthusiasm. Think Leslie Knope from Parks and Rec with none of the organizational skill. He was the party’s two-hundred-fifty-pound medic and chef (he took the Gourmand feat), who could talk to animals and plants and be understood, but couldn’t receive a response without further magical aid. His spellcasting focus was a live squirrel. I decided to roll for my ability scores instead of doing point-buy, and ended up with pretty fantastic stats in everything but Intelligence. Red knew how to use every plant he’d ever seen, but had no idea what any of their names were. Firbolgs don’t have names, y’know?

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