Villain Design: Cabals

Over the course of the campaigns I’ve run, my PCs have faced a whole lot of cabals of evil spellcasters. One of those campaigns was an early run of the Dust to Dust setting, and the Blackfeather Order played an important role in both the tabletop game and the LARP. […]

Session Postmortem: The Pit of Abominations 1

This past weekend, I ran the follow-up session of a modest dungeon exploration in my Aurikesh campaign. It was the conclusion of an adventure that led a team of five PCs into the midst of two regiments clashing, and it ended in the PCs recruiting a powerful new asset to […]

Stakes, Agency, Consequences

This post comes out of watching a lot of The Magicians (haven’t read the books) and listening to a lot of Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff. Together, these have me thinking a lot about the narrative loop of stakes, agency, and consequences. I want to talk about these, and how we […]

The Demonscarred Barbarian, Revised 2

One of the players in my Aurikesh campaign has been playing the Demon-Scarred barbarian path that I released… uh, wow, two and a half years ago, and he’s offered some great feedback on its issues. Our conversations on some of these points have significantly informed my own design tastes, and […]

Photo Friday – The Trevi Fountain

Sure, my last post was about my anniversary… and now it has been five years since our honeymoon. We went to Venice and Rome, we had the time of our lives, and our room at the Hotel Fontana in the Eternal City had the most mind-bogglingly good view: the Trevi […]

Fifth Anniversary Magic Items 3

Today is the fifth anniversary of my wedding with the wonderful Kainenchen. In celebration, here’s a collection of magic items corresponding to the traditional anniversary gifts of the first five years. And how should I begin?

Actual Plays, Reality Shows, and What’s Next

I’ve been immersed in three different shows over the past several weeks: Critical Role, Skin Wars, and The Magicians. Sure, I know I am literally years behind many of you in seeing these, but it helps a lot to experience them all together, because I think the synthesis of these […]

Photo Friday – Venetian Carnevale

One of the happiest times in my life was my honeymoon with Kainenchen in Venice, the week before Carnevale. The mascherari stores were open everywhere, selling stunning masks, and people were starting to go around in full Carnevale costumes, but the crowds weren’t yet overwhelming. Sure, we were both miserably sick […]

LARP Design: Apprenticeship and Cabals 2

This post is a bit different from most of my LARP design talk, because I’m thinking through how to handle something from the player side. In this particular case, there’s neither Plot direction nor formal game mechanics at stake. In Altera Awakens, magic has just reawakened after quite a long nap, […]

D&D 5e: Loyalty Track 4

I’m always interested in new condition tracks, and in this post I’m proposing a Loyalty track. This modular rule is for two kinds of campaigns. The first is the deep old school, where a small number of PCs lead one or more NPCs each for dungeon delves (and the NPCs […]