My Beholder Hatrack

Beholder (Dungeons & Dragons)

Recently, my D&D character helped kill a Beholder. A small one. We did what adventurers do, looting its treasure and making off with its prisoners, and I paused for a moment. Properly stuffed, that beholder would make a lovely hatrack in my character’s foyer. Because he has a foyer in the small house he shares with his wife. I asked if anyone else wanted the body, but no one did. They couldn’t carry it with them. That was when I figured out something important.

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I Love Alignment

D&D alignment defined by GM attitudes

I know I’m practically the only one, but I do. I love that it’s super vague, and I don’t like the move away from it in newer editions of D&D (though I don’t like the notion of tacking it on to games that don’t have it). I know that it’s an unnecessary piece of the system that’s carried forward for the same reason that fireballs always do 1d6/level damage, and I still like it because it’s an occasionally convenient piece. Read more

TPKtalk for Dec 7


Hope you’re having a great Saturday so far. Just to let you know, there’ll be no posts from Dec 16 to Dec 30, on account of us taking a few weeks off for the holidays. Still, many more things to come after that. Also, if you’re local, you can catch me live at next week’s Nerd Nite, playing music as their artist in residence! It’s at 7pm on Tuesday, Dec 10 at the Rum Runner Pub in Kitchener, Ontario. Anyway, lots of great links this week, including mini hacks, good games, sounds, and real-life D&D.

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Adding Some Depth

Farm Boy

Breaking Down the 20

Very little of the twenty question background explicitly asks players to tell stories, these ones definitely do. No one cares that your character has a memory of baking bread or that they like to whittle. It does not matter one bit. What matters is why they do it. It is the only thing that matters. The best answers often have nothing to do with adventuring, fighting, or conjuring small rodents through magic. They describe a life before these things and outside of it. Boring answers reference a character’s main skill sets. Cartography isn’t a hobby for a scout, it’s part of their job.

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TPKtalk for Nov 30

It’s Thanksgiving and Black Friday and all manner of other things that we don’t have here in Canada. It’s a busy weekend. However, all of our links are free and contain no calories or trans fats, so take a look around and I’m sure you’ll find something you can take home with you.

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Religion as Values

Final Fantasy IV

Two weeks ago I wrote about three ways I’ve seen religion used as a cultural force in rpgs as a preface to talking about the way that I like to use it, along with some general thoughts on religion in games. I think there’s a lot of different relationships characters can have with their faith, just like in real life, and I wanted to find a way to articulate religion so it was accessible to everyone and couraged people to created deeper characters with a more interesting narrative. As an ethicist who’ll talk anyone’s ear off about values, it seems like the obvious way to do it.

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TPKtalk for Nov 23

Magic Sword by Capcom

Wicked things are happening this week. If you’re local to Kitchener-Waterloo, you can find me tonight and tomorrow playing at the G33K Art Show, from 6:30-8:00 tonight, and 4:30-6:00 tomorrow! Also, on Wednesday the 27th, we’ll be meeting at 7pm at the Rum Runner in downtown Kitchener for our first GM Jam, where we’ll cackle at the misfortunes of our players and swap tips about what’s best in GMing.

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Wiki Update

Today’s wiki update is quick, and more of an upgrade! Obsidian Portal, the site that hosts our wikis, just went through a wicked update thanks to their Kickstarter campaign at the beginning of the summer. Every wiki is more mobile friendly, has some more customization options, and they’re slowly rolling out additional features as they get their code working. This has me really excited, not just because I love having websites, but because I like managing information about my game and encouraging people to participate. So even though it means a big reformat for me, I’m looking forward to overhauling it, and I thought I’d psych myself up by posting a couple of things that I want to do with my wiki.

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All About Enemies

Gary from Pokemon

Breaking Down the 20

I just added a number of new players to both my D&D games, and was reminded that it’s high time to finish this series. Every D&D character that joins my game needs to answer twenty questions about their background and who they are. Answering the questions isn’t hard, but there are ways to answer them that encourage stories rather than shut things down. So I asked, they answered, and here we go. There are only eight questions left, and they break down into nifty sections.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from comic books, it’s that heroes are defined by their enemies. Batman has the Joker, Superman has Lex Luthor, and the Aquaman has his reputation and orange shirt. So today, villains. Or enemies, at least (after all, villainous characters would have heroes).

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