design ideas


D&D 5e: Cultist Background 4

For an upcoming project, I felt like the Acolyte background was a little too socially acceptable. The Cultist background presented here is a fairly close cousin to it, but emphasizes an illegal or heretical sect or secret society. As such, I think it’s especially well-suited to warlocks, but I love […]


D&D 5e: Serpentkin Roguish Archetype 3

A few months ago, Jeremiah McCoy mentioned wanting a snake-themed roguish archetype, inspired by his long-term King’s Gate character who was a physician and brewer with a bond to the Snake totem. Obviously, barbarians are the class with pre-existing totemic themes, but I wouldn’t be sorry to see totemic themes […]


D&D 5e: Ranger Spells 7

I’ve recently started a Forgotten Realms campaign with Kainenchen and two of our friends, Sam and Ryan. Sam created a tabaxi ranger, planning to go for the Beast Master conclave. (Conclaves are cooler than archetypes, as a descriptor, so I’m running with it.) She has only a little 5e experience, […]


Design Diary: In the Company of Unicorns

When I was first asked to create rules for unicorns as PCs in D&D 5e, part of my reaction was realizing that I wasn’t the target demographic for this product. I’ve never been a brony. Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn is a classic and a masterpiece, but my reaction to […]


Flesh Grafting

Some time back, I created D&D 5e stats for homunculi – not the tiny bat-winged dudes of D&D tradition, but something more like sapient flesh golems. (I probably don’t have to tell you this – you all read books – but Doctor Homunculus was their creator’s name.) One of the key […]


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 […]


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 […]