Saturday, January 30, 2016

D&D 5e: The Survivalist Ranger Archetype

My thoughts turned back to the Ranger class recently, as I'm working toward the release of a PDF of ranger archetypes through the OGL. I've written two so far, the Lantern-bearer and the Stormcloak, and coming up with a third seemed fitting. At first I was thinking of doing something themed around thorns, sort of a more stabby version of the 2e Greenwood Ranger kit. I will probably come back to that idea at some point, but once I got to talking to Stands-in-Fire about what I would do with it, he mentioned traps that the ranger deploys in combat, and the Survivalist archetype fell out.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Review: Sorcerer King

I've just won my first map of Sorcerer King, a new-ish 4X from Stardock. It's part of the same continuity as Fallen Enchantress, which has been a go-to fantasy 4X for me for a few years now (especially with the Legendary Heroes update). There's a lot to love about FE, especially the way it communicates story and setting through its units, structures, and equipment, so I come to Sorcerer King already highly invested in the franchise and setting. This is both a game review and a discussion of the game-running lessons we can take from it.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

LARP Design: Circle Tests

By request from a reader, I'm talking today about Circle Tests in LARPs. These are far from universal in live-action games or any other kind of game, and I am far from an authority on all of the best practices around them. To my knowledge, the term comes from Shattered Isles, the first of many games in a lineage that includes Dust to Dust. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

D&D 5e Playtest: Kits of Old

This month's Unearthed Arcana is another brief one, but to be fair, Mearls has less time around the holidays just like the rest of us. "Kits of Old" looks back to 2e's kit system to find the gold among the dross. The short version of the result is that I always like Unearthed Arcana - even when I wouldn't use the material as-written, it never fails to present new ideas into the mix for homebrew designers like me. This time, it's all about the bard and the fighter.

D&D 5e: Apostate and Renegade Wizards

Today I have for you a subclass - well, two subclasses, but heavily overlapping - that rely on some setting assumptions about wizards that are definitely not true in all settings. If you're not already allowing and banning subclasses based on how they fit your campaign's theme, cosmology, and society, now's a good time to start. Apostate and Renegade wizards reject the Great Traditions - the eight Schools and the elven art of Bladesong - to follow their own paths. Apostates dabble with the same dark powers as warlocks, while Renegades go it alone, as hedge wizards or outlaws.