• Dead Poets Society

    Working With New Players

    Now that I’ve got my do’s and don’ts out the way, I want to start to dig a little deeper. One thing that’s definitely changed about my games over the

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  • Jamie Smart, Get on with it then

    TPKtalk for Mar 1

    It’s a brave new world here. My house is soon to be occupied by eleventeen people as we edit some video like mad. It’s going to be exciting, and I

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  • Ray gun grandma

    My Do’s

    Today’s post is a bit late in part because there was much fretting about what I consider an essential “Do” in a game. Things like “Cooperate” and “Don’t be a

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  • Science Pony

    TPKtalk for Feb 22

    Today I’m hurling my pasty body into frozen water to help children with special needs in the KW Polar Plunge. I am excited but no doubt already cold. To keep

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  • Dexter

    My Don’ts

    The 40th anniversary of D&D gave me a chance to really reflect on how my GMing style has changed since I started playing. I’ve gone from teenage autocrat to adult

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  • moulin-rouge-photo

    Valentine’s Grab Bag

    One of the things on my GMing bucket list is to have a PC fall in love when it’s not their idea. It’s one thing to have a PC dream

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    TPKtalk for Feb 1

    Just a short roundup this week, but a good one. A dice rolling hammer, the LEGO you always dreamed of, and some pretty good advice about some pretty good things.

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    Playing With Others

    Breaking Down the 20 The last three questions of the twenty question background are probably the hardest to answer because they’re usually answered in a state of ignorance. It’s difficult

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    TPktalk for Jan 25

    It’s the 10th anniversary of Opportunity! That little rover has been running around Mars for ten years! That’s a whole other planet! For weird space things, art things, and other

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  • Scrooge McDuck

    Money Isn’t Everything

    Once, when collecting my student loan money at university, I found out I’d already been approved for a grant. I wasn’t about to say no to a free $800, and

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  • Beholder (Dungeons & Dragons)

    My Beholder Hatrack

    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

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  • D&D alignment defined by GM attitudes

    I Love Alignment

    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

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  • Farm Boy

    Adding Some Depth

    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

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  • Final Fantasy IV

    Religion as Values

    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

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  • Magic Sword by Capcom

    TPKtalk for Nov 23

    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!

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  • Gary from Pokemon

    All About Enemies

    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

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  • Batman

    TPKtalk for Nov 9

    Remember, when failing a blogging challenge, it’s important to fail it as much as possible kids. No, really I’ve just had a lot going on and had trouble finding my

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  • Vladimir Putin judo throw

    Stealing Like an Artist

    30 Days of GMing Day 5 Today’s topic is Stealing like an artist: what inspiration have you drawn from other games, books, movies, etc? I struggled with this post a lot.

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    Advice for New GMs

    30 Days of GMing It’s my first post in the 30 days of GMing, and I’m excited to get this challenge going. I’ve written a lot of new GM advice,

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    TPK Talk Basically all my favourite posts this week came from various writers at Gnome Stew, which isn’t that surprising seeing as it’s one of the best gaming blogs around.

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Professors at the Table

Geordi La Forge

While there are a lot of other relationships going on at a university, the one between professors and students is the foundational one. Ultimately it’s a place where experts educate people. That said, the differences between professors and everyday teachers are pretty extensive. Today I want to go over some of the key ones to give a picture of what life is like as a university professor, and describe some of the ways professors might fit into your game.

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Fantasy Grad Students


Having just started a new grad program this month, I have been incredibly swamped. So for Education month here at TPK, I wanted to take a look at fantasy grad students because no matter how bad my workload gets, at least I’ll never have to deal with a dragon. I know first hand what grad students are like in the real world today but what would a fantasy grad student look like? Lets take a look.

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The Tanril Agezar, Fingers of the Empty Hand

Wiki Update

Every fantasy world needs an assassin’s guild. Well, that’s not true, but spies, thieves, and killers do have a tendency to hang out together in fantasy worlds, and when they spend too much time together, they unionize. The conflict between the Tanril Agezar, or the Empty Hand, and the Camonna Tong is based on the same idea as the one between the Aecha Ostai and the TSR, though battlegrounds are completely different. Old blood versus new. That’s what Temir is about. Progress, change, and the collision of the ancient with the enterprising, and the Tanril are the ancients who inhabit the shadows. Read more

The Campus as Dungeon

University of Waterloo Math Building

Games can be influenced by the principles of higher education, but also by its spaces. Every campus doubles as a dungeon. After all, what’s in a dungeon? A good dungeon imparts a feeling of mystery and apprehension. It presents an opportunity for exploration and has an ecology all its own. Treasure, traps, and monsters are almost incidental to the feeling that the space gives. They’ve got all of that and more.

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Higher Education


Feels good to be back on Mondays. Anyway, Ryan and I both spend a lot of time around universities. After grad school I began working for a faculty association, and he’s just gone off to a new one to begin his doctorate (This is his first week of his phd, so hop over to one of his posts and congratulate him). Universities often seem like afterthoughts in settings, abstract places where education happens. They see play in contemporary college setting games, but I want to talk about how they can make for great stories in other settings, especially medieval fantasy.

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Multimedia Array

Belle of the Ball, designed by Daniel Solis

TPK Talk

There’s a lot of neat stuff going on, and we’re starting to get into the swing of things. I’ve been doing some more GMing work designing encounters and dungeons, and our first video came out this week! Starting Monday we’ll be talking about higher education and gaming, and how you can use universities in your setting to broaden the culture and create neat adventures. This week’s roundup has some awesome Kickstarters, a ton of new games to try in different media, and how to use media to augment your gaming experience.

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