Are you sometimes flummoxed by Medieval culture in your tabletop RPG? Do you sometimes wonder how exactly justice worked with no permanent police force, or how long a fair would run, or how old an "adult" was?

I'm working on a booklet on this topic, not to make games historically accurate, but to make them more grounded where that's useful.

I could use beta readers. Interested?

Monday: Occult Owl

Occult owls are about twice the size of an ordinary owl. A strange third eye glows in the middle of an occult owl's forehead, leading to legends that magical researchers use them to store and recall obscure knowledge. Indeed, those who encounter occult owls often report hearing voices in their heads.

More here:

Monday: Dryad Flower

The lovely manga Delicious in Dungeon features the monster I'm about to detail, and while your PCs can cook and eat a dryad flower after defeating it, just like the characters in the manga, they don't have to.

Dryad flowers are plant creatures that, upon defeat, explode in pollen that blinds and exhausts enemies.

More here:

Friday: Sages of Twilight

The Sages of Twilight are a mysterious organization that collects only lore related to ancient civilizations. They seem particularly interested in societies that collapsed suddenly and violently. Perhaps they seek knowledge of what toppled them.

More here:

Friday: Gaxton's Garrison

Some factions are created by an environment. So with Gaxton's Garrison, the soldiers that patrol Wintershold Castle in the coastal city of Blackcrag. Unusually for this part of the country, only half are peasants fulfilling part of their duties to their lord by serving in the castle for a month. The other half are professional mercenaries who've traded in the uncertain life of pillaging for a smaller but more stable income.

More here:

Monday: Mack the Knife

Been itching to create a fast assassin NPC. This one can choose his own position in initiative every round and gets advantage on attacks against his favored enemy. Pretty darned nasty.

This might be overpowered. But then, it's an assassin.

Some may have noticed that I haven't been posting monsters or factions recently. Apologies; I've fallen behind on that and other commitments, and I've been using this week to catch up.

I'm planning to get back to the regular posting schedule next week. More monsters and factions to come!

"Excellent luck" is an interesting twist. I think I'm going to use a variation on the Fudge/Fate Ladder for number. In this system, instead of Hit Points, you have Luck, which starts randomly every session at 6, 8, 10, or 12 by pulling a random die out of a bag of d6s, d8s, d10s, and d12s. (As you level up, d6s are removed from the bag, then d8s.)

I'm concerned about the extra cognitive load of remembering that "excellent" means "10," but I think it's worth it for the naturally memorable words.

I'm working on a pulp system for a Star Wars game. I've been playing around with a "narrative character sheet," meaning that an English-language description of your character can fully describe your character mechanically.

"Jax is an aggressive, intimidating, sharpshooting Rhodian scout with excellent luck" literally is the character sheet. "Aggressive, intimidating, and sharpshooting" are Jax's three traits, "Rhodian" and "scout" are his species and career, and "luck" is for another toot.

Building a new world and need a map of your continents? Load this webpage:

Building that world and need a map for a city? Load this webpage:

Need a map for a dungeon? Load this webpage:

Last night's Star Wars game was cancelled. 😦

Fortunately, that means I'll have more time to flesh out the timeline and figure out how best to express it to the players. There's a *lot* to explain, and an infodump on the players almost never works.

I get my inspiration for characters, settings, and design from a Ms. Donna Miller in Oregon. She mails me a packet of inspiration every month.

Tomorrow night, I may be running a Star Wars game using a completely custom system, set in an alternate timeline based on ideas Kenner had in 1985 before the prequels or sequels existed. A timeline post-RotJ where Tarkin survived the Death Star to lead a shattered Empire against a struggling New Republic and the return of an alien clone army.

Please send help.

Friday: Moralim's Mining Cooperative

Moralim leads a hardy tribe of dwarves who mine the crystal shafts near the coastal city of Blackcrag. Several dozen male and female dwarves work the mine each day, while their children (about twice as many in number) live in a cave complex they've hollowed out just off the main shaft. Every two weeks, a small caravan arrives from Blackcrag with supplies and leaves with the crystals mined since the last delivery.

More here:

There are also a few minor twists that come out of nowhere and left me feeling more confused than anything else (and unfortunately I'd have to get into pretty big spoilers to explain them).

However! I'd say the book is worth reading for the illustrations alone. Skim the text and enjoy the art.

The story of "Above the Timberline" is very clichéd, unsurprisingly for pulp but unfortunate for such a cool world. Pulp can have clichés but still surprise you with its journey (e.g. the Indiana Jones films).

Much of the text consists of terse journal entries which are hard to parse.

Also, the author falls into racial/cultural stereotypes. Natives are taciturn but one with nature; city-folk are greedy backstabbers; monasteries filled with suspicious Asians and a Magical Mystical Black Man.

Last night, I finished reading the beautiful "Above The Timberline", a lavishly illustrated novella, sort of an "adult picture book" set in a dieselpunk future but primarily taking place in the frozen tundra, with a pulp story of adventurers seeking a lost city. If you like leather jackets, shiny metal airplanes, Art Deco, and lots of chrome, the setting here is for you. Cover below.

(Plot review in next toot)

There are so many games I want to make but haven't figured out.

The big one is (Off) The Trail, a game about adventurers in a dangerous world that encourages planning, scouting, and gathering information before engaging enemies. Turns out it's very hard to build mechanics that communicate that.

Hey artists! I'm gathering freelancers to do the interior illustrations for my new RPG, Journey Away, whose Kickstarter is wrapping up. Let me know if you're interested, and also please boost! Women, POC, and members of other marginalized communities encouraged to apply.
Have a look at the game here:

Wow. And "To The Ends of Time" built up to a big ending, and delivered.

Make no mistake: the miniature work is very clearly miniature work, the plot is...not hard to figure out, and the audio mix often favors the music, drowning out the dialogue.

But that was an epic, fun fantasy adventure flick. With fricking *airships*.

Show more

A Mastodon instance for tabletop gamers.