design ideas


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]