Brandes Stoddard


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 […]


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 […]


Villain Design: The Rise of Tiamat 1

In this post I’m returning to my series on villain design and implementation, this time to talk about The Rise of Tiamat. It is, of course, the follow-up to Hoard of the Dragon Queen, but it’s also quite sensibly presented in its own book, because the two arcs are entirely dissimilar in […]


D&D 5e: Necromancer Rework 4

In the Reborn campaign, I have played a cleric from 1st level to 12th, and because of how clerics work in that campaign, I also got the full boat of features from the Necromancer wizard tradition. What I discovered is that the Necromancer tradition almost never did anything useful for me. […]


LARP Economics: Collectibles

This post comes out of countless conversations with Kainenchen about Flight Rising and other, similar games with active economies. I’ve written about trying to build functional game economies for LARPs before, and though that post is somewhat dated now, it’s still a foundation for this one. The point of this […]


D&D 5e: Five Magic Bows (and a Magic Arrow) 9

As part of my intermittent series of magic items, this time I’m presenting five new magic bows, ranging (heh) from rare to artifact. Aethershred comes from the Dust to Dust campaign, while the stormbow, bone bow, and Baron Ystorin’s spine bow all come from the Wildlands South campaign. Whisper is a sort of convoluted cross-campaign […]