Initiative Rules, and How to Pick a Fight

There’s a widespread acknowledgement, I believe, that the initiative rules found in D&D, and indeed in most games, are not great and even detract from the game, but they are the least-worst option available. In this post I’m going to talk a bit about the problems with the current model […]

Game Design Is Input/Output

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a game designer in possession of even a modest audience must be in want of a clever new way to talk about fundamental design.” — Jane Austen, on The Forge, circa 2003, probably. This is one of those abstract-theory posts that might be […]

Covfefe: Two Stat Blocks

This blog almost never intersects with politics or moment-to-moment pop culture, but today… today I make an exception, out of anger and a nigh-hysteric desire to make something to laugh about. Therefore, in honor of a most excellent Twitter response to a most bizarre and now-deleted tweet. You know what, […]

D&D 5e: The Oath of Binding

A paladin of any particular oath might be obligated by circumstance to guard something evil that has been imprisoned, or something good that must be kept safe. This Oath, though, is for those who make guardianship the core of their duty, binding themselves to their armor. The oath sustains them […]

D&D 5e: Rituals and the Occult 5

My friend Sean Holland is hosting this month’s RPG Blog Carnival, and his topic is Occult Mysteries and Magic. This topic is, of course, near and dear to my heart in gaming, so I hasten to join in. Now magic in D&D doesn’t have a long history of being all […]

D&D 5e: Five Magic Spears (and a Magic Helmet)

In a recent G+ post, Jared Rascher noted the general lack of cool magic spears in 5e and asked after a DM’s Guild or OGL product that might amend this. What happened instead was that we talked for awhile about spears from real-world legends. I had a lot of time, […]

Feat Design 4

In a G+ thread discussing one of my UA breakdowns in Tribality, Jim Carstensen said: I’d welcome your input on “half feats” that grant +1 to an ability score. On one hand, it’s half of an ASI so you are getting value. But on the other side, it seems like […]

New Background: The Revolutionary 3

The Aurikesh campaign is set in an early-colonial period, and revolution of various kinds (political, technological, cosmic) is a central theme. Several existing backgrounds touch on ideas of overthrowing the established order and expressions of zeal – the Acolyte, the Criminal, the Folk Hero, and the Hermit all come to […]

Sunless Citadel Variations: Birthright, Part 1

I completely gave the Sunless Citadel a miss during its first release, back in the early days of 3.0. As most readers undoubtedly recall, there was far more than enough D&D material to spend money, even before the OGL content glut. It has been lightly retooled for 5e in Tales […]

Reactions and Timing

A conversation in the comments of a now-quite-old post has prompted me to go through the Player’s Handbook for every kind of reaction and figure out its timing. Even two reactions with the same trigger don’t necessarily have the same timing, and the phrasing could stand to be clearer.