Five Magic Items of Sorcerer’s Blood 2

I’ve been listening to a lot of the Court of Swords podcast lately, so I assume that its recent blood-transfusion stories have a lot to do with where the ideas for these magic items came from. Anyway, over in Twitter I wrote: Since wizards can capture spells from enemy wizards […]


LARP Design: Factions and Goals

This post is, in short, absolutely not what I should be working on right now, but I have to get it out of my head and onto your screen before I can make myself work on anything else, so here we are. My friends who have been deeply involved in […]


Leveling Up Your Background, Part Two 2

This is a continuation of the last post. I’m working through more of the Player’s HandbookBackgrounds and official variants. Criminal (Spy) By surviving one or more tests of loyalty, you rise to positions of influence in a royal or freelance intelligence service. You become a spymaster. Spymasters sit at the […]


Leveling Up Your Background 4

I’m a bigtime fan of 5e’s introduction of Backgrounds, particularly as a source of skill and tool proficiencies and noncombat features. Even more than (most) classes and subclasses, Backgrounds also suggest a trajectory of your personal story, beyond zero-to-hero. But within that arc, your Background features don’t change. Inspired by […]


Worldbuilding with Charm Person 6

A few days ago in Twitter, and in a friend’s Discord channel, I posed some questions about how a setting might respond to the existence of charm person and, implicitly, higher-grade mind-control magic. I want to be 100% clear about this: this is a thought experiment, not me telling you […]


LARP Design: Effects on Buildings 4

This is the story of how, a couple of weeks ago, I had an idea eight years too late for the problem it solves. There’s a lot of development history to go into this, though, so bear with me and I’ll get to it – or you can skip straight […]


New Invocations for the Pact of the Chain 2

I don’t know if this is going to be one of my Unpopular Opinions, but I think it’s easy to look at the warlock Pacts (not Patrons, just Pacts) and expect them to deliver more than the designers seem to have intended. Today I want to talk about the Pact […]


D&D 5e: Four New Spells for Seafaring

As part of the Seas of Vodari project, I’m creating new spells for nautical adventures. Thinking back to 3.x, I recall a lot of highly-specialized spells that were okay for wizards, but so situational that any Spells Known class can’t justify taking them. My goal, then, is to create sea- and […]


The Way of the Silver Chain, Revised

A bit more than two years ago, I posted the Way of the Silver Chain monastic tradition. I showed it to several friends recently and got some great feedback, leaving me completely dissatisfied with its original conception. I like to think that I’ve learned a lot about subclass design over […]


D&D 5e Story Hooks from 2e Cormanthyr 2

I’ve been talking to Kainenchen a lot lately about the Forgotten Realms canon around surface elves and drow, which has changed a whole lot between the time I first learned it (2e) and now. For a better breakdown of that canon – including trouble spots – check out G.A. Barber’s […]