Adventures in Downtiming
March 7th, 2019

Downtime. It’s what adventurers do between mighty quests of derring-do and limb-endangerment. Anything from working at their profession, to carousing, to adventuring. It also lets the characters spend all the gold and riches they’ve acquired.

The activities available to characters in my game during downtime are based on 5E’s Downtime rules, but I added other options of significance to make it potentially just as fun and interesting as any other kind of activity at the gaming table. Based on our prior session, it appears to have worked well!

Read the rest of this entry »


Magic is Irresistible
January 8th, 2019

For a couple sessions now, I’ve been wondering exactly how to handle spells in my OSR project. I feel like Magic-user spells in particular should be “overpowered” in the sense that they just work. No saves against the effects. Magic-user casts Charm Person? They are now your best friend. Until the effect wears off, at least. Sleep? Goodnight, sweetheart, have a great nap.

Because Magic-users are dangerous. Scary. What they command, just happens. That’s the whole schtick of the Magic-user. It’s why peasants and kings alike fear and distrust them.

Read the rest of this entry »


Of Arcane and Occult Magics
December 21st, 2018

Balancing encounters with and the character use of magic with the idea magic is rare, supernatural, and occult–even dangerous to the practitioner–can be difficult in D&D. On the one hand, any solution that seeks to make magic mysterious should not cripple player character spell-casters through randomness, misfortune, and difficulty–the effectiveness and utility of an entire class should not be undercut by making their main class ability a liability that will consistently cause them injury or misfortune–yet it still must draw out the odd and arcane, even worrisome, nature of magic.

Read the rest of this entry »


Roll-to-Hit Plus
October 31st, 2018

Fighters don’t get to do a whole lot of fun tactical things, or even just showy extra things, for being the main combatants and damage-dealers in D&D. Roll-to-hit and add your strength, roll damage if you hit…and that’s really all the fighter can do. Now, that “just one thing” is important, since an adventuring party relies on the fighter to keep everyone else alive. But it can also get boring quickly when wizards and clerics can throw spells around to cause neat effects, and rogues can pull off various beneficial tricks like hiding and safely running away screaming.

But Fighters have the best hit dice and the widest access to weapons and armor in the game, which seems like a decent trade-off for being weapon-swinging robots. Except that gaming isn’t all about the numbers, and fighters need a tiny bit of jazz added. So I did.

Read the rest of this entry »


Shield & Staff
October 1st, 2018

Shields are often underrated in play, so I thought for a while how to better express their general historical combat utility without overpowering them in comparison to weapons, and came up with something I thought could make them a little more useful (a solution I later learned others had also arrived at): sacrificing a shield to avoid damage.

What this means is when you have a shield equipped and are successfully struck in combat, before damage is rolled you can decide to sacrifice your shield to block the damage. This destroys the shield, but the attack is treated instead as a miss. A magical shield can be sacrificed one additional time per plus before being destroyed. Sacrifices cannot be “repaired”, however.

Read the rest of this entry »