Random Thoughts

RPG-a-Day 2019 – Triumph

Despite what my tease on Twitter indicated, I don’t really have anything cool to put here. I mostly GM games, so I don’t have a whole lot of stories from when I was a player. I’m just happy if a player enjoys a game I run. Though I missed the last two years, I run games regularly at Gary Con and they always fill up within minutes of event registration opening (except for that one game I put down on a Sunday). We’ll see if that holds true this next year when I return for the first time since 2016. I’ve already submitted 16 hours of events, but that might change if I can’t finish up the two big adventures I’m working on (I always have back-up plans). I still have a few months to make that decision though.

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RPG-a-Day 2019 – Surprise!!!


Today only, you can download the Kindle version of the first book of the Scars of the Sundering trilogy, Malediction ABSOLUTELY FREE!


Pancras thought trouble waited at the end of his journey.

Shadow demons, chaos rifts, and petty archmages all conspire to disrupt his quiet life. Summoned to face a Mage’s Guild inquest over minor grievances, the minotaur wizard leaves home and travels south with his companions, the twins Delilah and Kale.

Harsh winter weather traps them in an unfriendly city where a run-in with a drunken bully leaves him dead and the trio in jail. Fortunately, the opportunistic prince of the city needs a wizard to curse his unwanted wife. The only catch is Pancras’s sense of honor.

As he stalls for time, the twins involve themselves in an uprising in the city’s salt mines. Pancras left necromancy behind him, but it’s looking more and more like he’ll need to break his moral code–and further anger the Mage’s Guild–to get them out of the city in one piece.

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RPG-a-Day 2019 – Lost


Not the TV show (which I’ve never seen), but lost cities. Lost treasures. Lost technology. A lot of lost things are found by PCs in role-playing games. It’s a staple of the genre. That magic sword you found in that lost tomb didn’t just appear about of thin air (probably). Maybe it didn’t even belong to the person whose tomb you’re robbing exploring. What if you go into a big city after that adventure and some random passerby realizes that you have their sword that they lost several years ago when they explored that same tomb? Lost items can serve as a springboard to almost infinite adventures. There are as many lost locations in a fantasy world as a GM desires (though at some point, one has to wonder if any place at all is known :p). Whole games are centered around lost “things” (Numenera comes to mind).

Ideally, however, after playing an RPG, the players should not feel like THEY lost. I’m not a fan of the Adversarial GM style of play. If that’s your thing and every player in the group is onboard with it, that’s fine and a perfectly legit way of playing. It should never be used as a “gotcha!” or sprung upon hapless, potentially first-time, players at a convention without being perfectly clear that’s the style of game in play. Obviously, I’m hugely against bait-and-switch events at conventions; if I sign up for a Scooby Doo mystery, don’t spring a torture-porn horror adventure on me as a surprise instead in an attempt to be “edgy,” ’cause that’s grade-A horseshit.

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RPG-a-Day 2019 – Vast


There is a vast gulf between what I could write for this topic (ruminations on size) and what I’m going to write–not a lot; I’m going to punt to tomorrow’s prompt.

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RPG-a-Day 2019 – Noble


I got nothing, but here’s a bunch of quotes from writers more well-regarded than I.

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men. True nobility lies in being superior to your former self.” –Ernest Hemingway

“A wild, untamed youth learns nobility through art.” –Jacques d’Amboise
“Nobility of spirit has more to do with simplicity than ostentation, wisdom rather than wealth, commitment rather than ambition.” –Riccardo Muti
“There may be as much nobility in being last as in being first, because the two positions are equally necessary in the world, the one to complement the other.” –Jose Ortega y Gasset

“Nobility, without virtue, is a fine setting without a gem.” –Jane Porter
“Our awesome responsibility to ourselves, to our children, and to the future is to create ourselves in the image of goodness, because the future depends on the nobility of our imaginings.” –Barbara Grizzuti Harrison

“It is foolishly thought by some that democratical constitutions will not, cannot, last; that the States will quarrel with each other; that a king, or at least a nobility, are indispensable for the prosperity of a nation.” –Marquis de Lafayette

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RPG-a-Day 2019 – Scary


I’ve never been scared during an RPG. I’ve never been able to evoke actual fright in my players (that I’m aware of). I think, on some level, I and everyone I’ve played with know we’re just playing a game. Evoking strong emotions, or having them evoked, is something I’ve never seen at a gaming table, though I’ve heard about it. Certainly, I’ve seen it depicted in fiction. I guess my games just don’t have that much drama.

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RPG-a-Day 2019 – Plenty

Plenty. This describes my RPG collection (my board game collection, too). In fact, you could say I have a plethora of games.
Big games, little games, games that come in books, boxes, sleeves, and tubes. Games that use dice, games that use cards. I have new games, old games, but none that are particularly obscure.

I’d list them all, but that’d be a big list with no real purpose. Much like my ramblings here. Sure, these writing prompts are inspiring ramblings, but single words aren’t generating much of substance in my mind. Maybe tomorrow.

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RPG-a-Day 2019 – One


There can be only one. The Chosen One.

Chosen One tropes could probably fill multiple blog posts, so I’ll just go with the One RPG I’d want with me on a deserted island: The D&D Rules Cyclopedia. It’s everything one needs in one book (except dice, but I’ll just carve those out of coconut shells or something). It’s not a perfect game, but it’s close enough to the version I started with that I can easily create content for it and run years worth of adventures with just what’s in the book.

Of course, if I’m alone on a deserted island, the ONE person there, if you will, I’m not sure having that would be quite as useful as something like a survival manual. But, that’s another topic.

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RPG-a-Day 2019 – Dream


Have you ever had a game session go so pear-shaped that it resembles a pear that has been completely smashed, then ground into the dirt? There’s a quick and easy, albeit cheap and cheesy way to fix it.


That’s right, just start the next scene or session with “You all wake up having had a terrible dream. A shared dream in which [briefly summarize the previous disaster]. Of course, if you know your group will groan at this and revolt, I wouldn’t do it, but every once in a while, if everyone seems really despondent about how poorly things went, you can get away with it. Like any narrative tool, using it too often can be a crutch. It can also be a total cop-out. Use it sparingly. Use it for good.

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RPG-a-Day 2019 – Door


Door, gate, hatch, portal. Trapdoor, double door, Dutch door, French door, storm door, revolving door, wicket.

… I got nothing that isn’t a riff on something I’ve already written about this month. Maybe tomorrow.

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