It’s Not a Trap! When Less is More

I’ll start this off by stating the most basic truth:  I’m not a huge fan of traps in dungeon design.  I think that, more often than not, it’s an easy and lazy way to add difficulty or challenge to a dungeon.  Also, it’s not realistic to have numerous doors and chests and floor panels and…

Open Legend RPG – First Thoughts

So, Leigh kickstarted the Open Legend RPG, and the Core Rulebook arrived this Wednesday. Open Legend is “a game of storytelling and adventure” that seeks to provide a set of rules that enable groups to tell stories from any genre in a manner that combines freeform storytelling with strategic fun. It’s similar to Iron Crown’s Champions system, which, though I…

The Five Area Dungeon

This post is about dungeon crafting, and it’s based on the Five Room Dungeon model. What I’m going to offer here are a few tips on expanding that model for those who want longer, more in-depth dungeons, why I like the “Five Room” model, and a refutation of some of the main criticisms of that…

World Building 2: Just a Small Town Tale

In my first World Building post I talked about starting small – giving your world a name, a brief history, a cosmological sketch, and then mapping out a single country. In this example, I mapped the island nation of Kalibor, home of the Elves. Now, we’re going to reduce the scale even more so that…

Gender Identity, Play, and the Tabletop RPG

Let’s talk about gender identity and play in a tabletop RPG setting. Now, I’m sure some of you are cringing at the thought. Some of you may be certain that I’m going to bash “white men” or the hobby store as a “boys club”. Neither of those is my goal for this post. I’m going…

Skill Checks: Success by Degree

When I started running a FantasyAGE campaign last year, I spent a lot of time reflecting on how I handle Skill Checks or Tests or whatever the system wants to call them. I know that when I first started DMing, I used a very simple metric:  Pass/Fail.  If the player’s roll met the requirements for passing, they…

World Building 1: Start Small

For this Tabletop RPG post, I want to focus on tips for DMs/GMs who want to build their own fantasy worlds. I’ve built my own fantasy worlds since the mid-1990s, and I’ve learned from my mistakes as well as from the successes of others. So, as I work to create a new homebrew setting for D…

The Tutorial Adventure for the Tabletop

So, I’m currently in the process of working out the narrative for a new campaign for a group of players, three-quarters of whom have never played any tabletop RPG before. I’ve developed a reputation over the past few decades as a Dungeon Mistress/Game Mistress who has a knack for bringing new players into the fold…