Brandes Stoddard


D&D 5e: Three New Elf Cultivars

A recent conversation over in the social medias (join my Dungeons & Dragons 5e group in MeWe) with Cam Banks has me thinking about other takes on elves. In particular, he was looking for lower-magic elves with no cantrips or teleports. There’s not a lot of official content that points […]


Five Tips for Time Travel Stories

Quite a while back, a friend suggested that he’d like to see a post on how to run good time-travel stories in roleplaying games. I’m finally writing one – if not an exhaustive guide, then five pointers to make your time travel adventure as cool as possible. I’ve always loved […]


D&D 5e: Magic Items in a Wizard’s Lab 2

I’ve been reading a bunch of Ars Magica 5th Edition lately – make sure you check out Samhaine’s Rules Summary posts – and it got me thinking about the interesting Stuff in a wizard’s laboratory. Going on adventures and spending downtime to do nothing but improve your laboratory is a completely valid campaign-long […]


D&D 5e Story Hooks From 4e Realmslore 3

I’ve been digging into Waterdeep: Dragon Heist like a whole lot of 5e fans right now. I think this book acknowledges and incorporates the Spellplague more than any other adventure we’ve seen so far, which is to say any – but I haven’t read every adventure and may have missed things. There’s […]


Instigator Characters and Self-Destructive Arcs 2

“Instigator” may not appear in the seminal Robin’s Laws of Good Game Mastering, but it has been recognized as a significant player type for a long time all the same. Today I want to talk about how GMs, and especially LARP game runners, can engage this kind of player, and a […]


D&D 5e: The Inquisitor Background

For the same project as the Cultist background, I’m creating another close variant on the acolyte, but on the opposite, more enforcing side of the social order. Inquisitors work about equally well as crusading heroes or the authority to rebel against. Figure out which side is the underdog in your setting, and […]


Character Relationships and Engagement

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the threshold between roleplaying that feels like it’s going through the motions and roleplaying that feels like it takes on a life of its own. That distinction will mean a lot of different things to different people, as much as two people can […]