D&D 5e: Alternate Barbarian Rages

Both Stands-in-Fire and Samhaine have done some great writing about barbarians lately, thanks to the experience of having two barbarians in the party at the same time. You should definitely read what they have to say, but the short version that I care about for this post is that barbarian […]


Celebrating 400 Posts: A Giveaway! 24

This is my 400th published post in Harbinger of Doom. To celebrate the first 399, I’m giving away a copy of Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate! From now until the end of the month, you can enter the giveaway by either: Commenting on this post, or Sending an email to harbinger@brandesstoddard.com. If you feel helping […]


The Forbidden Grimoire of J. Alfred Prufrock 2

Okay, look, quoting T.S. Eliot back and forth at each other was a significant part of how I got to know Kainenchen. All the more so when we reworked “The Naming of Cats” and “The Waste Land” to be about Fallen Earth, the MMO we both worked on. My point is, […]


Campaigns I’d Like to Run: Dread Sigil 3

Some time back, Kainenchen and I were talking about campaigns that pit multiple factions of antagonists against one another, and for the PCs it’s devil take the hindmost. We came up with two different takes on the same high concept: a Planescape/Ravenloft mashup. I’m going to discuss both of them a […]


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 4

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?