The Possibly Accidentally Nonviolent DM

As you may have guessed from my past few weeks’ worth of columns, I’ve been pretty anxious about getting back behind the DM screen. That finally happened this past Thursday, and it was really fun. The story progressed and grew in ways that were cooler than I initially envisioned (I freaking love that!) and the players were emotionally engaged in what was happening. Also, there was almost no combat whatsoever. Should I be worried? I hope their lust for orc blood doesn’t need to be sated with MINE. (P.S. I game with barbarians.)

Too Many Pillars: Background and Specialties in D&D Next

I was reminded of this when playing the newest version of the playtest packet for D&D Next at Gen Con, and also clicked even more when thinking about themes and how they work in 4e (of which I just had an article posted with new ones, obvious plug) and also how 13th Age tackles it. Here’s my conclusion: I’m not a fan of the Race/Class/Background/Specialty system as implemented in D&D Next.

Torg: A Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Hack (Orrorsh – Realm of Gothic Horror) – Part 1

In the original Torg game, Orrorsh is where Storm Knights went to die. The powers of the Horrors allowed them to prevent Storm Knights from soaking damage, which often ended up in dead heroes. I’m not looking to make Orrorsh so deadly in my Torg hack. After all, dead heroes can’t be afraid, or become corrupt and become Horrors. Since a horror style roleplaying game has a different feel than Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, there needs to be some substantial changes to how you play the game in order to get the atmosphere of horror.

Gen Con 2012: RPG News

Aside from all the D&D stuff I’ve already talked about, there were a couple other big RPG developments, as well as a few that I was interested in following personally.

Gen Con 2012 FLAIL STYLE

In which I relate the things I learned at Gen Con this year, tell some strange stories, and tell you how to get the stinkeye in a hotel lobby OR YOUR MONEY BACK.

Gen Con 2012: D&D Keynote and More

D&D is in a transitional period, and that showed quite a bit at Gen Con. No longer in one big room at the Sagamore, D&D events were spread out across different rooms in the convention center, with the booth in the exhibit hall focusing mainly on showing off the new MMO expansion, the Lolth statue, and selling branded merchandise. Organized Play such as Living Forgotten Realms and Ashes of Athas kept the torching going for D&D 4e, while other rooms were dedicated to demoing Next. Let’s start with the current offerings from D&D and move forward from there.

Rules For Optimum Gen Connery, 2012 Edition

Last night, I dreamt of Gen Con. This happens to me 4-5 times a year, and though the details are usually different, there are some common threads. First, it’s always the second or third day of the con, and I haven’t done even close to everything I wanted to do. Second, something insane happens, and I’m no longer gaming, and usually my life is in danger. Sometimes, I’m a secret agent. Once, I was at a surfing academy, and my classes were conflicting with all the best seminars. In the most recent iteration of this dream, I found a holy lamppost that told me how to get a date in Victorian England and threatened to unmake reality, and I was really bummed that I was going to miss True Dungeon.

The Architect DM: Structural Dungeon Design

Back in one of my earliest Architect DM posts I said that structure was one of the most overlooked elements of dungeon design. These days most of the published dungeon maps that I see are not bad with regards to structure, but from what I’ve heard this is still something that a lot of people would like to learn about for their personal, hand drawn dungeon designs.

Zen and the Art of Dungeon Mastering #4: What is Your Intent with my Dungeon?

Chatty’s series of DMing advice continues. This time he discusses how you can help players focus on what they want to do in their turns by asking a simple question.

2012 ENnie Award Nominations Announced


The 2012 ENnie Award nominations are out, if you haven’t heard. Just as in previous years, here’s my thoughts on some of the nominees, particularly the ones that I’ve read or played.