Brent P. Newhall is a user on You can follow them or interact with them if you have an account anywhere in the fediverse. If you don't, you can sign up here.

Brent P. Newhall

What information do you need about a setting to run a one-shot in it?

Context: I'm planning a second edition of _The Whispering Road_, my game of family-friendly adventure stories (modeling Miyazaki movies, if you're familiar). It's ideal for one-shots, emulating a movie-length story, and I want to profile half a dozen settings to inspire players. I can only do a few pages for each setting, so I have to be minimalist.

Friday: Wildriders of Arvak

The people of the Arvak Plains make their living by culling the large herds of wild horses that roam and feed there. As their wealth grew, so did their dozen villages, spreading into walled towns. So, too, did their need grow for defense against bandits and monsters.

So the people of Arvak established the Wildriders, a force of mounted cavaliers that protect the trade roads and towns of the gently rolling plains.

More here:

Wrote a blog post summarizing the essentials that a new GM should bring to their first session. What do you think?

Monday: Koattle

Today I'm turning my attention to dinosaur-themed monsters.

The koattle is a small, ostrich-like creature that lives in packs of about a dozen adults. Native to plains and lightly forested areas, they are omnivorous, generally killing one small animal every few days and otherwise eating tougher foliage that herbivores can't digest.

More below, plus a D&D 5E stat block:

The Yakuza, for example, run on a lot of relational power. They know everybody. They protect the businesses that pay their protection money and are often the first to respond to disasters with aid. They also run the unsavory businesses that people frequent but don't want to run themselves.

Thinking about that eternal "What's the minimum a GM needs to know about something to run it effectively?" topic; this time about cities.

It strikes me that *power* is perhaps the primary factor. Who runs things, and what kinds of power do they have (institutional power, role power, relational power, etc.)? For whom is there a big disconnect between apparent power and real power?

New goal for 2018: Learn how to market effectively.

(And if the term "marketing" gives you hives, substitute your favorite synonym that means "inform people who are potentially interested in a thing you make about that thing.")

BTW, I do appreciate that creators on Patreon don't have to make all their content patron-only, but there will be some of that.

After seeing the explosion of content produced by all the public OSR blogs a few years ago, I wonder if the adoption of Patreon by many RPG creators will keep future cool movements locked behind paywalls.

I'm in no way anti-capitalist, and the rise of Patreon has all sorts of positive effects, too. Just wondering about that particular impact. I suspect that some cool movements like the OSR will fizzle because creators will keep too much content patron-only.

On the one hand, I wish there was a polite way of pointing out to people when they're committing a logical fallacy.

On the other hand, if there were, it'd easily consume all my time on social media.

Because much as I love indie RPGs, they tend to require particular players with specific expectations, creating a sort of fragility in play. If you don't play the sort of game the author intended, the game feels boring and unsatisfying.

D&D and its family, OTOH, create an immediately familiar environment and set of expectations. Even if you've never played it, you understand exploring a ruin and fighting monsters.

Not that I want to do that, either. But it's a robust concept.

It's funny. I started my tabletop RPG career running mostly D&D (though my first game was Nobilis, a fortunate coincidence that kept my tastes broad). Then I found indie RPGs and excitedly focused on them for years.

Now I'm out the other side of that, and I like both experiences, and I wonder what's next for me. I no longer need to do something "indie" or "traditional." But I want to take what I've learned to build something...*robust*.

So, my apologies; I was unclear.

I want a webpage/set of webpages that actually *includes* all the spells instead of just *listing* them.

Maybe I'll build a site to do this using the D&D 5E API. 😉

I'm looking for a single webpage (or one page per class) that includes all the spells for a typical D&D-esque/OSR fantasy RPG.

Basically, if I were writing a simple fantasy tabletop RPG and wanted to give people an optional spell system, this is a page/site I could point people to and say "just pick your spells from here."

Does such a thing exist?

monday: Ice Boar

I made an ice bear last week; let's make an ice boar!

Whenever I think of boars, my mind immediately jumps to the boars from Hayao Miyazaki's masterpiece Princess Mononoke. Those porcine antagonists were truly monstrous. How can we mimic them?

They weren't particularly frightening, but they were strong and single-minded, and they could easily trample enemies to death when charging.

More here, with a D&D 5E stat block:

friday: The Circle of Hands

Members rarely spend much time in civilization; just long enough to purchase rare supplies or talk to a landowner. Their business lies in the wilderness.

Members of the Circle of Hands live out there in the wilds, assisting animals that need trouble. Some live as shepherds; others tend to small menageries of animals that are recuperating from various injuries and illnesses.

More here:

I'm writing posts for new GMs about running a fantasy RPG for the first time. Today's focuses on fleshing out the enemy's lair.

Basically, what are the basic pieces you need to know in case the PCs rush straight for the enemy's hideout?

I think you need to know the lair's basic type (cave vs. temple) and layout, and what a fight in that lair would include.

More here:

monday: Ice Bear

Let's not just create a bear with a frost attack. That's dull. Ice bears, in contrast, are literally driven insane by the cold. That's why they've broken out of their hibernation. A cold snap combined with background magic (perhaps they made a den near a ley line or magical ruin) turns their fur white and drives them outside in search of meat. This also creates a potential plot hook for the PCs.

More here, including a D&D 5E stat block:

15 years ago: "OMG all these companies are so stupid for not being on the internet."

Now: "OMG get all these companies off the internet."