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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How to Use Books at Your RPG Table

At my table, information is power. The world that I create and the games I run are grounded in information as a resource. Secrets abound – everybody has them, everyone wants to keep them, and everyone wants to know each other’s. For players, finding information can be just as empowering as gaining a level. Learning […]

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Running a Twist

I LOVE Twists. The unexpected, dramatic, gut-turning revelation that things are not as they seem, and indeed haven’t ever been that way. The realization that you’ve been working on an incorrect assumption for months, and now you have to swivel your entire worldview to this new concept. The jerk in the gorget when you learn […]

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Fixing Your Skill System

A mindless integration of skills really, really sucks. And 5e’s skill system is mindless. I’m talking specifically about D&D 5e, but my objections apply to many other games as well. Skills are interesting, and important, but they’re also one of the easiest things to balls up when it comes to running a table, and a […]

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