Choosing to Die (in ttrpgs)

I’m going to try and keep this one a little shorter, after the essay I dropped on you last time. So here we go: choosing to die.  As a player, choosing to die is a powerful decision. In some games, like Torchbearer, you have a great degree of control over when a conflict turns lethal. […]

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Using Magic Items with Skill Trees in D&D and other TTRPG games

A character is more than just the contents of their backpack, but those items are important. No matter how many groups I run, there’s always at least one player looking thoughtfully at the equipment list before asking – How many ball bearings can I carry? Where can I buy explosives? Can I get a stronger […]

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D20 Random Drivers you Meet on the Road

Inspired by that one time I almost died – this morning on my way to work. Useful for any modern day campaign I guess, but tbh I just made this for the meme.   D20 Random Drivers   1:    Bicycle, in the middle of the lane, in a 45+ MPH zone. 2:    Neither hand on […]

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Top 5 Lessons I Learned from Running Level 1-to-20 D&D5E Campaigns

Back before Christmas, I wrapped up a D&D campaign that I’d run for the same core of players for the last 32 months – slightly over 2.5 years. We’d played almost every week, exploring the distant corners of a tiny island world. We’d crawled dungeons and held conferences, conversed with monarchs and assassins, and at […]

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AVL Scarefest Playtest – After-action Report

Last weekend, I ran two tables of Hexed at the AVL Scarefest convention in scenic Black Mountain. 7 players who had never even heard of Hexed signed up for games and sat at my table, both groups braving the dangers of the Archmage Vyro’s lost tomb. These are their stories. The first trio selected their […]

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5 Top Lessons Your RPG Table can Learn From Board Games

As the famous song goes, games just want to be fun. If a game isn’t fun, no one’s going to be jazzed about playing it. Of course there’s many different types of fun, and a game won’t provide all of them, but at the end of the day, games try to be fun – enjoyable, […]

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Knavel Rings: 20 (Minor) Magic Rings for the Knave RPG

Hey friends! Slightly different post, this is a supplement for use with Questing Beast’s new RPG, Knave. These rings all have minor magical boons, many of which are specific to Knave’s mechanics or OSR concepts but some of which could be adapted to other systems as well. I numbered them so you could roll a […]

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Integrating and Developing your Backstory

There is a certain joy that most Game Masters feel when a player develops an aspect of their backstory. Some players show up with fully developed characters, which can be helpful and problematic in equal parts. But for the players who show up with blank slates of characters, ripe for refinement, developing their backstory can […]

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The Magic of Feedback

Modern smartphones have a fun little user experience feature called haptic feedback. Basically, when you touch buttons or controls on your phone, it buzzes just a tiny bit in your hand; it touches you back. This isn’t really so different from the little click each time you strike a key on your keyboard, or the […]

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Knowledge Checks Aren’t Fun

How many times do you have more fun at the table because you don’t do something interesting? When framed like that question, the answer is obvious – almost never. If there’s something interesting to do, generally you want to do it! But there is an insidious leftover of game design that has infected modern editions […]

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