The Very Last Word on F*ck-You

29 Aug 2023

I thought I was done writing about fuck-you design but then Ian said something that summed it all up so perfectly that I have to share it here:

Spiked Pit Review: Isle of the Bleeding Ghost by Jordan Thompson

23 Aug 2023

This is a Spiked Pit Review. The idea behind these is to grab an adventure Bryce Lynch has reviewed and review it myself, without reading Bryce’s take. What I have learned from reading Bryce’s reviews and running adventures he recommends is we have different ideas about what makes a good module. Hopefully this can help widen the range of perspectives on the adventures he covers. Is this the first of a series? Not yet, but it might be if I do more.

Zelda-Style NPC Personalities

13 Jun 2023

Matt, some other folks on Discord, and I, have been talking about what makes NPCs in Zelda games feel so vivid, despite how thinly sketched they often are. I’m talking minor NPCs here, like the travelling Goron who sells you gems or the alligator in the house who wants a banana.

Lessons from Nightwick on BX Combat

10 Apr 2023

I have been playing a fighter in Miranda Elkins’ Nightwick Abbey for a few months now. I have reached level 3 and have a magic sword that’s +3 against undead and detects metals and invisible 3 times a day. I have won Basic D&D.

The Twins Coriander and Grommel

25 Feb 2023

Two hirelings for the price of one. Sallow, dim-eyed, and all patched up. Their only adornment are their matching gold teeth – Grommel’s left canine, Coriander’s right. Coriander’s face is round like a bowl. Grommel has long shaggy hair and bangs so messy it’s a surprise he can see. They conceal a thief’s brand on his forehead.

Behold: The Tablifier

26 Dec 2022

Ok ok so:

Preparing for #dungeon23, Part 2: System

16 Dec 2022

Previously I wrote about my principles for #dungeon23 and the distractions and pitfalls I’m hoping to avoid. I’m going to refer to these in this post, so here’s a quick recap:

Preparing for #dungeon23, Part 1: Principles

14 Dec 2022

People are getting excited about #dungeon23. I am one of them! In this post I’m going to share my thinking on the framework I’m putting together for doing mine.

Adventure Design by Spell Level: Level 1

30 Nov 2022

I bet this isn’t very original, but it occured to me that spell levels is a good way of guaging, approximately, what an adventuring party is capable of in old-type D&D. Specifically, looking at the highest-level spells a magic-user will be able to cast tells you about the most impressive trick a party can single-handedly pull once. Thus an appropriately challenging adventure can be designed, for instance, by requiring that trick be pulled twice. Meanwhile in bigger adventure settings, like megadungeons, where the party is expected to extract and return multiple times, they can accomplish these several times over. The point is not to design adventures 1:1 around your party’s spell caster(s), but rather to treat the effects of one of their most powerful spells as an approximate measure of situation that will impose a significant resource drain. Note that I’m theorycrafting here and none of this is tested. I could be totally off here.

Castle Millenium: Fatima

24 Nov 2022

The only certain thing about Fatima is she has been around since the Castle was built, for contemporary accounts place her in Emperor’s entourage in those days. The Emperor always kept her close, her rooms the nearest to the royal apartments, or her tend neighbouring his on campaign. She is in every play and painting of the ceremonies of castle life, always just off center, just outside the action, often holding a candle. The few living artists who can explain their work simply cite artistic tradition.

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