Wednesday, July 13, 2016

RPG Blog Carnival: The Wizards of Aurikesh

If I'm going to host a blog carnival about the Wise, I might as well talk about my own settings too, right? Today I'm talking about Aurikesh, the setting of my current tabletop game. Probably the best summary of the Wise of Aurikesh that I've written so far comes from the opening of a story still in progress.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

RPG Blog Carnival July 2016 - The Ways of the Wise



Many fantasy literature settings have their own unique spin on wizards and, at least as important, how wizards interact with one another. In this month's RPG Blog Carnival, I'd love to hear about your setting's (or favorite fantasy novel's) wizards, their society, and what makes them unique.

To celebrate my birthday, because I love talking about wizards, the topic for July's RPG Blog Carnival is the Ways of the Wise. If you are one of the Illuminated in the blogosphere, post a link to your blog article about the Ways of the Wise in the comments below.

Do your wizards study books of ancient lore and hunt for lost spells, like Vance's wizards in Lyonesse and the Dying Earth, or do they learn the secret names of things to wield great power, as Le Guin's wizards do in Earthsea? Are there a limited number of wizards that could ever exist, like the Istari of Middle-Earth, or could anyone be initiated into the mysteries of magic?

Are there multiple kinds of spellcasters that the uninitiated would call wizards, but who think of themselves as being completely different? Are wizard, sorcerer, alchemist, witch, warlock, invoker, channeler, and mystic synonyms, or do they describe a dizzying array of differing paths to magical power? Is magic inborn, granted, or stolen?

Do wizards come together peacefully in a shared purpose, or do they squabble over the last few spells not yet lost to the mists of time? Is there a College of Magic, or multiple such schools? A Ministry of Magic, with dreaded prisons or punishments for those who violate their laws? Why do wizards need one another, and why do they clash?

In future posts, I'll answer all of these questions and more for the wizards of my own settings, Dust to Dust and Aurikesh, as well as some of my favorite settings.

Be sure to follow me on G+ and Twitter to keep up with this month's Blog Carnival creations!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

D&D 5e: The Goblin Personality



I've been working for a good while now on unique personality features for each race. The exact implementation of these ideas is left to each DM - maybe you pick two or so of these and the rest from your actual Background, maybe you get additional personality features. The DMG is pretty loosey-goosey on how you gain Inspiration, so I don't feel too bad about doing the same here. Anyway, this post covers goblins, because I'm guessing they're one of the most popular "monster" races to play as a PC.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Treasure Distribution for the Low-Prep DM

Note the paltry amount of filthy lucre. The piece is "Dragon Slayers and Proud of It," by Larry Elmore.


Last month, I talked about six different approaches to distributing cool treasure in tabletop games. Today I'm looking at the same question from a different angle. Let's say you've figured out what's going to be available to the players. How do you record it in your DMing notes, and how do you put it into player hands?

Monday, June 6, 2016

D&D 5e Playtest: Feats


I am amused to discover that, just over 24 hours after I posted about feats and feat design (and how the fanbase is calling for more feats), the new Unearthed Arcana does the same. The article opens with a discussion of feat design philosophy, which I think is excellent, and continues into several use cases - a total of eight feats and one discarded draft. At five pages, the article is short enough that I can do a pretty deep dive.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

D&D 5e: New Feats for Spellcasters

I've created a lot of content for 5e in this blog, but only a tiny number of feats. That's because feat design is one of the hardest things to do well in this edition: far from the wild and woolly, anything-goes atmosphere of 3.x and 4e feats, WotC's feat list is scanty, but each feat has several moving pieces that fit together precisely. Of the feats in the Player's Handbook, only five directly involve spellcasting (Elemental Adept, Magic Initiate, Ritual Caster, Spell Sniper, War Caster), and two of those are "entry level" to being a spellcaster in the first place (Magic Initiate, Ritual Caster). To that end, I set out to write a few more feats to support spellcasting.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Setting Design: An Officer and an Adventurer


In my Aurikesh campaign, all of the characters belong to the Gallant Shields of Chardecum Mercenary Company. This is not very much like the private security companies of the modern day, and not (currently) all that much like the condottieri of Renaissance Italy that are their more direct inspiration. Instead of working on an army scale, they behave more like an adventurer's guild, but with some of the trappings of a for-hire military organization to dodge some of the silliness that I perceive in the concept of an "adventurer's guild." Come to think of it, it really operates a bit more like Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters...