Sunday, April 24, 2016

D&D 5e: Crown of Madness Rework

Crown of madness is a spell with excellent theme and, in my view, underwhelming mechanics. In this post, I discuss what I see as the problems, propose an alternate implementation, and explain my reasoning. I have every expectation that this spell has its hardcore supporters, or perhaps just those who oppose any change to the mechanics on principle. But, well, that's the internet for you - it's pretty clear that the community as a whole is on my side here. I am open to the possibility that I'm wrong about this spell, though.


Saturday, April 23, 2016

D&D 5e: The Other Side of the Screen

In every edition of D&D I've played, I've spent much more time as a DM than as a PC. I played maybe two session of 2e, compared to the hundred-or-so that I ran. I ran considerably more 3.x than 2e, maybe double or so, but also played a good bit more; instead of 50:1, it was probably more like 20:1. Of all the editions of D&D, 4e is my high-water mark - I probably only ran two sessions for every one that I played (special thanks go to Stands-in-Fire and the Marsupialmancer for this being the case). I've been running 5e since the beginning of the D&D Next public playtest, and because it's mostly been a single ongoing campaign, my session log even tells me how much Next/5e I've run: 54 sessions. Up against that, six sessions as a PC, spread across three different characters. Because my view is otherwise so slanted toward being a DM, I wanted to say a few words about 5e from the other side of the screen. There are some great game-running lessons to learn from both of my DMs.

Friday, April 15, 2016

D&D 5e: Winter Kin Sorcerous Origin

Shortly after I sold my first article to ENWorld, full of Halloween-themed subclasses, I tried to do something similar with winter-themed subclasses. It didn't fly, and it was a little while longer before I tried again. The important thing is that the Winter Kin sorcerous origin is something I dreamed up for that, but only now got around to hashing out for real.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

D&D 5e Playtest: Gothic Heroes


This month's Unearthed Arcana offers playtest support for the new and widely popular (from all that I've heard) Curse of Strahd adventure. It is relatively brief - three pages, covering one new subrace that is available to many races, one fighter archetype and one rogue archetype. Let's go through it and see what we've got.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Recent Projects

I've got a number of things available for purchase or download-with-subscription at this point, and I haven't really promoted them in this blog as I should. Sure, some of them are linked over in the "Published Work and Reviews" page in the right-side column, but I think a lot of visitors haven't even noticed it.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

D&D 5e: The Protection Fighting Style



My gaming schedule has given me a lot more chances to see people create new 5e characters lately, including more than a few fighters and paladins. Some of those players set out to be the tankiest tanks that ever tanked, so they pick up the Protection fighting style, and... it kinda works, but the more I see it, the less I like it. Specifically, I think it comes in well behind all of the other fighting styles of the Player's Handbook, to say nothing of the much more egregious ones proposed in Unearthed Arcana articles. Let's break it down.

Friday, March 4, 2016

LARP Event Postmortem: Artemis

Yeah, it felt about like this.

The LARP that I play, Eclipse, recently staged an event that genuinely surprised me and did things I had never before seen in the whole medium of boffer LARPing. I had a phenomenal time, and I want to break down what they did and talk about all the different elements that made it work. I've talked before about common event formats, which is a useful baseline and contrast to this event.