D&D Prop – The Mad Grimoire (A How-To Guide)

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In mythology, fantasy, or D&D, the allure of forbidden knowledge is rife with possibility. Tell someone they can’t look inside the box or push the mysterious red button, and they’re on it like stink on rice. Well, here’s an easy way to port that nagging curiosity into your game while simultaneously tricking your players into absorbing some world lore: The Mad Grimoire

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A GM’s Guide to Practical Looting

Let’s face it: your players are thieves. Sure, they may wait until after they murder someone to take their shit, but take their shit they will, and afterwards they’ll complain that the shit they took was barely worth the effort to commit those murders. Worse yet, players have a tendency to view any loot they acquire like prepaid debit cards. Each with it’s own gp value and easily stored in a backpack or bag of holding Continue reading “A GM’s Guide to Practical Looting”

What I (eventually) Learned From Shadowrun

There is no doubt Shadowrun is an acquired taste (Ewww! You got elves in my cyberpunk!) with clunky, some even say broken mechanics. And although Shadowrun 1st edition was not my first RPG it is still the standard by which I measure all others. Why Shadowrun? Because Shadowrun was arguably the most successful game to ever hit our group’s table. Continue reading “What I (eventually) Learned From Shadowrun”

How To Deal With Dropout Players

The plot is getting juicy. The battle is about to erupt. Gold is flowing like wine. The dice are hot, the Mt. Dew is cold, and my barbarian’s greatsword is tumescent. And one of the players just…leaves. They’re on the couch firing up the PlayStation. They’re off checking twitter, or fingering a plate of hot pockets, or they’ve gone to grab a quick nap, with no sign of returning to the game and no explanation why. They’ve just, fucked off to another part of the house, and you’re left with a big hole in your roster.

Why is this happening? What’s wrong with that asshole? How should the party deal with a dropout? Continue reading “How To Deal With Dropout Players”

Mess With Your Players

No plot survive contact with the enemy– I mean players. They mess up your perfectly planned adventures, missing vital clues, and killing vital NPCs by stabbing them in their vital organs. What’s a GM to do? Mess with them right back! Symmetry is a grand thing, is it not? Here’s a few evil ways to mess with your players: Continue reading “Mess With Your Players”

Never tell me the odds…of my defective dice

So, as much as it pains me to do it, it looks like I owe the D20 system an apology. For years (well, decades now- eek!) I have disliked the D20 family of RPGs. Having cut my fangs on Shadowrun and GURPS the idea of classes and levels never set well with me. I never liked hitpoints. I downright hate rolling a single die at a time (regardless of the type) and the D20 rolls like a beach ball Continue reading “Never tell me the odds…of my defective dice”

Inter-Species Love: Science vs Dungeons and Dragons

Like all great RPG ideas, this one starts with an argument. A while back a fellow gamer tried to convince the group that interbreeding between humans and elves, or humans and orcs, or humans and dwarves, would be the bizarrely rare exception, not the cosmopolitan norm. Halfbreeds would be hardly common, and couldn’t have occurred more than a handful of times throughout D&D history. After all, humans are picky about which other humans they want to bone. No way crossing the boundary into pointy ears happens more than once or twice. Right? Continue reading “Inter-Species Love: Science vs Dungeons and Dragons”

6 Overlooked Professions to Improve Your Game

Wench, Bartender, Sailor, Blacksmith, Orphan, Shopkeeper, and Beggar. These are the only NPCs I ever see in town, and I’m sick of it. When I walk down the street in real life there’s an incredible diversity of folk. There are the homeless hipsters, and the trendy hipsters, and the trendy homeless, and the downtrodden homeless, and the student-loan hipsters who are also downtrodden (sorry, I live in Portland Oregon)

But I imagine the rest of the world knows what diversity looks like, right? Right…? Continue reading “6 Overlooked Professions to Improve Your Game”

7 Deadly Sins of Gamemastering

I can’t confirm that there is an everlasting punishment that awaits us in the afterlife for committing these sins, never the less I implore you to take heed. I’m giving you the opportunity to avoid suffering an eternity of Candy Land. Here then are the 7 Deadly Sins of Gamemastering. Commit them at your own peril! Continue reading “7 Deadly Sins of Gamemastering”