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Oct
7

5 Tricks to Make Any Campaign More Grimdark

5 Tricks to Make Any Campaign More Grimdark Image Credit: CDProjekt It’s finally October, which is the perfect time to cue up a dark, moody playlist and work on some RPG adventures to match! (Might I recommend my Dark Lakes, Dark Gods playlist on Spotify?) If you’ve played any Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, Dark Heresy, or Witcher games, you know there’s a distinctly grimdark, gritty feel to those games. With a few tricks, you can bring some of that depth and despair to your own games. But GM beware: it’s a fine line to walk between simply punishing your players and making a game with...
Oct
5

A Guide to the L5R RPG Beta for New and Returning Players

A Guide to the L5R RPG Beta for New and Returning Players Yesterday, the free beta PDF of the fifth edition of the Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying Game was released! I’ve been working on it alongside lead designer Max Brooke, and we’re tremendously excited to dive into the beta playtesting stage. The core mechanic should be both fresh and familiar to returning players, and for new players, we hope that it inspires a whole new generation. If you’re curious about what the new edition of the L5R RPG is all about, and how it’s similar and what’s different, read the below excerpt from the...
Sep
30

Return to Rokugan in the L5R RPG Beta

Return to Rokugan in the L5R RPG Beta The Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying Game holds a special place in my heart. The fourth edition was one of the main games I was excited about when I first started this blog in 2011, and I’ve been playing it ever since. Now, I’m incredibly proud to share news of the upcoming open beta for the newest edition, which I got design alongside Max Brooke. Starting next week, you’ll be able to download a free PDF to try out the core rules. You’ll create characters by choosing from a wide variety of skills, techniques, advantages, disadvantages....
Aug
11

Crafting RPG Adventures from Scratch

Crafting RPG Adventures from Scratch Whether you’re writing a one-shot for a convention or an adventure for your home campaign, sometime between when you wrangle a group and when you start playing, you have to create said adventure! There are many components that go into roleplaying game adventures—encounters and maps, non-player characters and stat blocks, the list goes on—so beginning to tackle all those things at once can be daunting. By popular request, I’ve turned my method of crafting an RPG adventure from scratch into a step-by-step process you can bring to your own prep routine! The following...
Jul
24

Make Your Next Celebratory Pub Crawl a Dungeon Crawl Instead

Make Your Next Celebratory Pub Crawl a Dungeon Crawl Instead Frustrated by society’s unspoken rules that your pre-wedding festivities have to be with members of the same gender (all-women’s bridal showers, ladies-only bachelorette parties, etc.), I decided to buck tradition and invited over my best guy friends to help me party in style: adventuring party–style. Some of my most memorable moments have been spent around the gaming table, whether they be reveling in a triumphant roll or despairing at my disastrous dice luck. As my schedule became increasingly hectic with wedding planning and adulting and the like, all I wanted was...
Jun
6

Ego Check with The Id DM – Episode 16 – Katrina Ostrander

Ego Check with The Id DM – Episode 16 – Katrina Ostrander The Id DM recently invited me on his podcast, Ego Check, an interview podcast series hosted by a licensed psychologist, Michael Mallen, Ph.D. The podcast delves into a variety of game types (e.g., tabletop roleplaying games, boardgames, videogames) from a psychological perspective. Dr. Mallen has been interviewing members of the gaming community for articles on his blog, The Id DM, since 2011 and is now posting these interviews for others to enjoy. Check it out as well as the other fantastic episodes with other guests from the gaming industry and beyond! I’m joined...
May
30

How to Become a Better Game Master According to Science

How to Become a Better Game Master According to Science So you’ve got a collection of guides for game masters, a playlist’s worth of GM tips from Geek & Sundry, and a group of players who are happy to be your test subjects. In order to become a great GM, all you have to do is clock in ten thousand hours* of practicing those techniques in order to become great at gamemastering, right? Not so fast. According to the research, simply reading a book, watching a video, or listening to a podcast and giving those concepts a try isn’t going to make you better. Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by Anders Ericsson...

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