Ready to make a splash

Jump right in. The water’s fine.

It’s been a busy spring. I’ve been writing game material for my friends over at Gnome Stew and Kobold Press.

Here are the links:

Watercolor and dungeons

Hecate’s Moon Temple is the first of a series of pieces on dungeons to be found in the Midgard Campaign Setting, the dark fantasy roleplaying setting of shadow roads, ghouls and crossroads published by Kobold Press.

Each entry for the KP blog will detail a dungeon location.  Mostly descriptive, these entries are intended to be setting-appropriate locations any game master could drop into their game for the player characters to explore.

One of the fun aspects of the article’s design is in populating the dungeons with creatures and monsters found in Tome of Beasts, a 430-page supplement for fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons. Tome of Beasts is a treasure in itself, with entries of monsters steeped in European, African and Near East mythology and new creations that range from Lovecraftian horror to the chaotic inhabitants of faerie realms.

Each dungeon is stocked with a specific treasure tied to the lore of the setting.  In this case, the temple is the repository for a powerful, magical dagger kept safe by the priests and priestesses of Hecate in a complex in the shadow of an active volcano.

The best part? Each dungeon is based on a map by Dyson Logos, who has long been providing some of his Patreon-backed creations for commercial use. These pen-and-ink dungeons have an old school feel and are a perfect match for Midgard. I’ve been adding a splash of color to them, making good use of a new set of watercolor paints and then tagging them in accord with the writeup.

Stirring the Crock Pot

Cartography for tabletop rpgs has been on my mind a great deal lately. Two of my three Gnome Stew posts this season have been about maps. Set your compass rose accordingly:

In “We Don’t Need a Mapper,” I acknowledge that adventuring parties of today are unlikely to use the old “caller” and “mapper” system of tracking exploration that was so much a part of D&D play in yesteryear. But, there are a lot of secondary jobs that players can assume. Adding these duties can make the game more fun for everyone  — and take the burden off the GM.

In “Summertime World Building,” I write about an exercise that’s always fun for GMs to do this time of year — world building. But the first order of business is to get a world map. Not everyone’s an artist. So, I’ve included three examples of maps that are available and can be customized for game use.

The last, “NPC Aspirations,” is a suggestion to GMs that when creating nonplayer characters for their game, they worry less about what the NPCs look like and focus, instead, on their motivations, goals and ambitions.


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I'm a professional print journalist and gaming hobbyist who loves reading and watching science fiction and fantasy, especially the TV show "Xena: Warrior Princess." I cheer for the St. Louis Cardinals and the Carolina Panthers, and like college volleyball and basketball. I am master of my own kettle grill.

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