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Brent Newhall
21st Century Renaissance Man
21st Century Renaissance Man

Brent's posts

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Let’s say your players need to retrieve a heavily guarded item in a fantasy RPG scenario. How should you go about running that?

First thing: establish the location. You’ll need a detailed map of the place where the item is kept; find a map online or create it yourself. Place the item deep within that location.

Then, populate the location with traps. The item itself may have spells on it, or the room may have spells, or you may have mundane mechanical traps around the room (pressure plates that trigger poison darts, pit traps, etc.).

Finally, add guards. Make sure the item is guarded by intelligent enemies.

Let the PCs learn about all this, then let the PCs plan.

Note: You may need to limit their planning. I’ve used a kitchen timer, set to 30 minutes, and told the playersthat something bad will happen if they don’t commit to a plan before the timer goes off. The “something bad” depends on what’s going on in your plot; perhaps the PCs are discovered, or another enemy makes its move, or the item in question is moved, or security is beefed up.

Then, when the heist goes off, ensure that enemies react intelligently. The guards should be alert. They should call for help. They shouldn’t just stand there and attack the PCs until death; they should retreat for backup if possible. The guards should also have their own options for locking down the location and otherwise preventing the PCs from getting away.

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Resharing to comment: The final sentence contains both a false equivalence and a labelling error.

The fact RPG scenarios do not reveal more depth with multiple re-readings, and thus do not share one trait with great literature, does not mean that they have no literary traits.

The complaint in the main body is leveled against RPG scenarios, but the conclusion levels it against RPGs.

I have absolutely understood more about an RPG system and appreciated its finer depths upon re-reading it. Examples include Dread, Houses of the Blooded, Burning Wheel, and Ryuutama.
Trying out the polling functionality on Imzy with a poll and conversation thread about this quote from Pat Harrigan. Check it out:

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The Abandoned Temple of Arazhuul is a large dungeon complex that was taken over by several forces. As the PCs delve deeper, they will find themselves in several very different environments.

Arazhuul is a goddess of order and civilized pleasure, and the symmetrical design of underground complex exemplified this aspect of the goddess.

A few years ago, a group of goblinoids discovered the upper entrance and established the upper level as their lair. Originally a set of waiting rooms for visitors to the temple, the goblinoids converted the rooms for their own purposes. The small room closest to the entrance contains supplies--crates and barrels from recent raids--while they use the large room as their sleeping quarters. They converted the rest of the floor into a maze into which they can lure intruders and attack them at range from around corners.

The stairs in the northwest corner lead down to what were once storage rooms, but are now the lair of a giant spider who crawls in and out through a crack in the ceiling. The goblinoids avoid this area.

The stairs in the southeast corner lead down to what was once a large, shared sleeping chamber for guests of the temple. The goblinoids keep any slaves and valuables (the latter locked securely in a large, trapped chest) here.

The middle level remains more or less as it was in the temple's heyday, primarily because of the animated constructs that guard it. The stairwells leading down to this level used to contain wooden stairs, but these were destroyed at some point, so the goblinoids do not descend to this area. Any creature who enters the stairwells activate gargoyles (placed randomly to begin with), which move at a speed of 15 feet per round inexorably towards the party. If the party splits, the gargoyles split up, as well.

The rooms in this middle level used to be the temple's storehouse. Now, its rooms contain a few basic traps--pits, poison needles, etc.--and a few old treasures in the form of statuettes and goblets. The danger in this level is getting trapped by the gargoyles, which can both take and dish out large amounts of punishment.

The lowest level, reached by the huge staircase in the center of the complex, was discovered by a group of mind flayers some time ago. The temple's treasures are of no interest to them, but this level serves as a convenient outpost while traveling through their vast network of tunnels beneath the earth. They have rebuilt this level into a confusing maze of slick, wet passages leading to two rooms. The small room in the northwest (only accessible through a secret door) contains a small stash of half a dozen brains in a small vat, which are tended by several grimlocks. The large chamber in the northeast corner serves as the mind flayers' outpost; when the PCs arrive, the only inhabitant is one mind flayer and its pet intellect devourer. If a mind flayer is too powerful for your party, have it be in the middle of extracting the brain of a victim when the PCs arrive, giving them a round or two while the mind flayer is catatonic in its euphoria.

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Want to figure out the dangers near your civilized base, particularly for a West Marches style game? How about defining them with your players?

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Interesting. Promises to be a complete online reference for D&D 5E -- spell list, monster list, character builder, etc. Right now it contains spells, monsters, items, and a rule compendium.

I've created an account, and it works well so far.

What RPGs exist (except Powered by the Apocalypse) where you just roll a die and look at the result, comparing it to some target difficulty number(s), as the game's primary resolution mechanic? That is, there are no PC-based modifiers to the roll.

That is, in AD&D to check for traps you roll 1d6 and succeed on a certain value, but that's not the primary resolution mechanic. And I know you could run any version of D&D such that the PC's modifiers are applied to the target difficult number, but that's not the way the game's presented.

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The savage continent of Tarakona, where draconic races battle for supremacy! Today I introduce a small-sized foe with an outsized reach, designed to work as a unit. This should surprise your players!

What the lizardling empire lacks in creativity it makes up for in training. Its troopers train with long glaives for month after month until they can handle them as though born to them, despite the weapon's large size. This gives the troopers up to a 10-foot reach on the battlefield.

Troopers also train in a powerful unit charge, where they move forward as a group and deal significant damage. This is important, as a single strike from a more powerful foe can take out an individual Trooper.

Troopers always remain organized into a unit under a Commander (statted out separately), who strides into combat and calls orders back to its unit. Each Trooper considers itself a member of its unit, even if it's the only surviving member.

Seen online: "I don't like remakes, but I spent money to see this remake and...."


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In the future, your board games will always have enough pieces. You'll be able to print replacements for lost pieces for a few cents each.

#boardgames #3dprinting
We lost some buildings for our #Monopoly City Board game, made by #Hasbro so we thought why not create our own 3D models so we can #3dprint some replacements. So this is what we did.

Not as good as the real thing but it certainly means we can keep on playing.

The files are FREE to download at:

So if you have lost some of your buildings why not 3D print your own or even design your own models and 3D print them.


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Need a quick antagonist or ally for your tabletop RPG campaign? Introducing the Rat Cult, which can be used either as a friendly faction that sends the PCs out on a mission, or as a foe that the PCs must overcome. The cult bases itself out of a hideout in the sewer system beneath the city. Edric, a young male wererat, leads the cult of a dozen disaffected youths.

As a friendly faction, the cult's just a group of teenagers who meet most nights to go through strange (mostly made-up) rituals and dare each other to pull pranks. Edric's the intense, obsessed leader who tries to corral them, mostly unsuccessfully.

Plot hook: Edric's worried about the future of his proto-religion. He's heard of a crystal ball buried in an abandoned temple that can be reached from the sewer system. He investigated it, but found it guarded by a natural predator too powerful for his group (oozes, giant centipedes, giant bats, etc.). He hires the PCs to retrieve the crystal ball for him.

As a foe faction, Edric leads an intense cult of a dozen teenagers who despise the regular folk of the city. In the past three months, they've successfully robbed four well-known businesses and destroyed three pieces of public art. The town Watch hires the PCs to find the cultists and stop them.

Click through for a quick, 3-room trapped dungeon where the rat cult lairs.
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