Limit the power of resurrection by saying it costs money, experience, and an awkward interaction with the grim reaper about why no-one wants to hang out with him.
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Jonril: Gateway to the Sunken Lands (1982) is another settlement in the same world as Carse and Tulan of the Isles. It is far inland and has a bit more of a frontier feel than the others. There aren’t a lot of surprises here in terms of the city itself, but we do get quite a bit more history and detail on the wider region. That’s because the titular Sunken Lands are a vast wasteland created in a magical accident, ripe for exploration. Much of the economy of the town is arranged around expeditions into the Sunken Lands.
That was more thoroughly covered in Heart of the Sunken Lands, which is essentially a big wilderness campaign — I unfortunately don’t own it (but if you do and you don’t want it anymore, lemme know!). I’m kind of dying to see how Midkemia handled a hex crawl!
Unfortunately, Jonril didn’t get the Chaosium treatment, which seems like a missed opportunity. This book uses elements that make it explicitly compatible with Flying Buffalo’s first Citybook, thouhg, which I think is an interesting RPG city synergy. I also really enjoy this Richard Baker cover.
Finally, a quirk of my copy: the previous owner scrawled the word “Dead” in pencil over a number of entries. There are a lot of them, and most of them just details shops and shopkeepers, which makes me a little concerned for the moral compass of those long-ago characters.
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The discussion in the Drunken Geek’s Discord:
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A druidic warlock for sure!
When I sewed more of my LARPing gear I was a wizard and I had some cleric in me when my burnout was at it’s worst.
What class(es) are you?!
EDIT: @greebers reminded me that I’ve got some strong Bard-tendecies when doing ESO dungeons over voicechat.
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Me: *has to resolve a problem in DND*
Me: May I quick look over my notes on my phone?
DM: Of course
Me on my phone:
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“So my new character is a warlock/bard multiclass who plays the concertina. He’s sworn fealty to a fae patron and specializes in targeting the luminaries of the realm, using his mockery and musical talents to take their fates and turn them into a parody of the life they once lived. Uh, yeah, so, that’s my character concept for Wyrd Al.”
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Here’s some of our newest dice set designs. The purple, Ducklings of Doom are definitely my favorite.
You can find them in my Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/TheWizardsVault
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The Green Knight: A Fantasy Roleplaying Game
oh my god oh my god oh my god
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What is your stance on Satanism and the various dark arts/practices/religion?
Depends which Satanism. Both are atheistic and merely use Satan as a symbol of resistance to religious hegemony, but the Church of Satan believes in literal magic, while The Satanic Temple is the rational one that does not. (Comparison guide here.)
If someone believes in an actual Satan, then they are, by definition, a Xian. They're just siding with a different team.
If someone wants to prance around and do weird rituals for fun and kicks, or to commune with nature, have at. As long as they don't kill or injure any animals as props for their roleplaying game. I would, however, wonder why they needed the framing device of a mythology. Go into the woods drink a bottle of vodka, throw on a black cloak and dance around a fire; you don't need to pretend to be summoning a supernatural creature to justify it. Just don't get too close to the fire, and make sure you remove your trash.
If someone thinks they can actually do anything with it, influence the world, etc, then they find themselves in Burden of Proof territory, same as any Xian, Hindu, Scientologist, Flat Earther, alien abductee, psychic or homeopathist. The BoP is not reserved solely for Abrahamism. If they decline, then I need not expend any effort considering it.
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This is Aria, a Paladin on her coronation day!
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On a critical failure on an investigation check, instead of finding what you want to find, you instead find a box set of all 12 seasons of The Big Bang Theory.
The game now stops as everyone has to watch all 12 seasons of The Big Bang Theory
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To my knowledge, The Black Tower (1981) is the only adventure module Midkemia Press produced. Strangely, it claims to simultaneously be generic enough for any system but also designed especially for the Midkemia Game System (which never saw actual publication and seems to be a tweaked sort of D&D). It’s kind of weird to publish books for an unpublished system! But it is easy enough to modify that.
The book primarily details Tulan Castle, which is located at the site of Old Tulan, a settlement abandoned after the Night of Terror, a disastrous conflict between wizards. The castle has since become a habitation for monsters of many types, though they avoid the titular black tower, where the vampire mage Zorasis rules.
Dungeons were starting to get pretty sophisticated by 1981, but I gotta say, I am pretty surprised by this one. It feels extremely sensible. The castle history informs a lot of the space and it is overall a reasonable, comprehensible one. It doesn’t have a lot of the non-linear looping paths like a Jaquays dungeon, but it does embrace the idea dungeons being spaces that are continually repurposed by new inhabitants. You can feel the different histories. The monster selection seems reasonable, too. In this moment in time, you have a ton of really good and really bad dungeons on the market, so it is sort of a novelty to have one that is solidly, if unspectacularly, designed.
Extra fun: my copy is heavily scrawled by the previous owner(s), with notes on changes and the state of their session and all sorts of marginalia. I particularly enjoy how marked up the maps are. I suspect there are collectors who are horrified by this, but I find it delightful!
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I have a lot of options on my phone...
Okay, maybe a different one.
There we are.
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Tales of Arcana, Plainswalkers
Race desings for "Tales of Arcana" roleplaying game.
Arcanomicon LLC, 2020
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I don’t know if I’ve ever told it, but I’m suuuuch a lover of Critical Role! Caleb and Jester are two of my favorite characters and I love their dynamic.
Any Critter between you? Let me know <3
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Know your RPG history! How many of these D&D editions have you played?
Original Dungeons & Dragons
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons
2 Dungeons 2 Dragons
Dungeons & Dragons Tokyo Drift
Dungeons v Dragons: Dawn of Justice
I Still Know What Your Dragons Did Last Dungeon
Dungeons & Dragons: The Squeakquel
Dungeons & Dragons 3D
Dungeons & Dragons XXL
Dungeon Free Dragon Hard
Dungeons & Dragons: Back to the Minors
Dungeons & Dragons: The Snyder Cut
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Rolling for Stealth has never been so much fun :) Assassin Dice: Black Ops.
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Grab all of the Monster Hunts Weekly issues at 30% off in this mega bundle!
It’s that time again! Another month finished, and another chunk of new adventures, magical items and monsters added to the Monster Hunts Weekly Mega Bundle!
Monster Hunts Weekly
is a 5th edition D&D series that releases every Monday, and includes new monsters, magical items, harvest tables, plot hooks, creature tokens, maps, and a monster hunting one-shot adventure you can quickly insert into your campaigns with minimal prep time.
So what are you waiting for? Sharpen those axes and get those swords ready -
it’s monster hunting time!
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Making Your Fantasy Pantheons Spicy: Ex Populus Pantheons
I’ve done my time in the Forgotten Realms. I’ve stared pantheons that I frankly do not care about dead in the face. I have felt no fear, but a distinct lack of inspiration. I don’t play a whole ton of the Fifth Edition Product, but if you want to have any kind of religious character in that system, having god(s) that you can convey easily, quickly, and clearly is super important. Having a good and cool pantheon is also good and cool for most fantasy/science fantasy games, it’s a staple of the fantasies that many RPGs are trying to sell you on.
So, why bother with all this? Why bother doing all this shit in the first place when there are a ton of pre-written pantheons? Because, to be honest, I don’t like using other people’s shit if I don’t make it my own first. I also never found the Fifth Edition Product’s standard issue deities to be super cool. “Oh sick, it’s the dwarfest dwarf.” I have never given one single shit about Moradin (Moradun?), and the same goes for most of the gods they got. So, instead of just bitching, I have set out to make my own method for quickly, easily, and believably making my own gods for my own games. I think it works; I hope it works for you.
The crux of this is the idea that we are not starting from the position that the gods are primordial or precede the world- we are going to assume the opposite, that the gods are from people, or Ex Populus, as the title may have implied. We can totally go back and say “these guys are totally primordial and made the whole world” or whatever, but we aren’t starting with them.
The first thing you’re gonna need is the geography of your setting. Are there a lot of marshes? A lot of trees? Mountains everywhere? That’s gonna be important. For the sake of this example, I’m gonna say that my setting has a North Africa situation going on- lots of sand and coast, lots of good stuff in the water. Maybe we have some floodplains from a river.
Then you have to think about how the people survive here and interact with each other. Do they get along? Fight a ton? Scavenge? Are they mercantile? Farmers? Well, this area probably has a big city and smaller settlements around the floodplain, and then little groups of nomads out in the deeper desert. Commerce with other groups of people is probably big, as much of this area is river and coast.
Now, from all of this, make yourself a little table of things that you think gods should govern. Not the actual gods, but what would people here reasonably look to the heavens for guidance on? For my region:
These aren’t perfect, obviously, but they’re totally a serviceable example. The next thing that I would do is make something to roll on to tell me how many things a given god should govern:
Now that you have these two, roll a D6. I popped a D6 and got 1. This god governs one domain, and my D8 says 6, so it is a god of farming and food. The next thing I’m going to do is roll on a table of symbols- things that could represent this god. This should not be a specific item, but rather a specific class of items that you can choose from and adapt to this god.
My D8 spoke, and said that the symbol would be “A piece of protective equipment.” Alright- what sort of things might protect a farmer? My first thought was a hat, and so I worked that in. People who follow this god wear a specific type of headdress, or something like it. Maybe it has a wide brim, and is embroidered or woven with inscriptions that are from a piece of scripture.
So we know this god’s domain, and its symbol, but what behavior does its cult undertake? I use the term “cult” because it is technically true and fun if you want to spin them as evil, but it could also be called “congregation” or “worshippers” or something. Let’s check out another table:
So, I rolled a D6 on this table and came up with a 3; these guys have to pray often and with some relatively complex rituals. Maybe each farmer has to send out a prayer after each row of crops is tended to, or some such. This is done to ensure that the harvest is as bountiful as possible and that famines are as light as possible. Now, I need to flesh out the actual prayer, so: the farmers carry a light, woven mat in a roll on their back, which they must lay out parallel to the row of crops they finished. They stand on it, and recite a verse from the relevant part of scripture to what part of crop-tending they are doing at the moment. There are as many verses as rows of crops, resulting in some uniform looking farms. This usually takes about 5 minutes from the time the mat is laid out to when it’s on their back again.
Now I just need to add a name and title for the god. In this case, I arbitrarily chose Chashabi, Feast-Giver and Famine-Wrath. Finally, decide if the god is real or not! The cool part about having the domains at the top is that the god doesn’t need to be real. It could be people incorrect projecting their understanding onto an unknowable primordial force, it could be objectively correct, it could be just a name for this god. Maybe another group of people know Chashabi as Yamuto, and they’ve had some wars over which one is correct.
Another thing to consider from all of these tables is the relationships that they might imply between the gods. Mythology is full of children, parents, siblings, friends, and lovers. Maybe those gods who have overlapping domains are in a long-term feud over who is the rightful ruler of that bit of reality. Those two gods with the same symbol but incredibly different domains are star-crossed lovers, meant for each-other but forever separated by their gulf of divinity. Perhaps the god that is triple-dipping is more powerful than his peers, or is a paternal figure. How are these relationships characterized in their followers? In the popular culture? Is there sectarian violence, or maybe a cultural shorthand expressed through those gods?
You could obviously build out from here a lot. The title implies that if Chashabi is displeased, he’ll throw out a famine. How do you piss them off? What do these scriptures look like? Does Chashabi have priests? Are there any subdomains? You could go on and on and on, but now you have a god, and a series of domains that many gods could have overlapping claims on, and they could be of varying reality. This, in my opinion, gives a much meatier texture to the gods, and more accurately reflects how gods work in real life antiquity. I might also make my tables meatier if I were going to run a whole campaign with them.
Thank you for sitting and reading through all of this! I hope my ideas here help you in whatever tabletop pursuits you take on, and you can make some sick-ass gods with this. If you do make something with it, I would love to see what you end up with. Drop it in the comments so others can see!
And, as always, if this sucks, tell me why! I feel like I have a real something to work with, but, if you can do better, I’d love to steal it!
Next time: why your game (probably) doesn’t need anything but humans.
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Not sure why you have to take off the coat and everything in the rain, but yeah.
(art by me, commissions open)
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