tabletop RPG


A Child’s First Tabletop RPG

Compared to many, I discovered tabletop RPGs pretty late in life. I was at least 30 before I drove up to my local game store for my first Dungeons and Dragons session. As an adult with a job and a family, playing an RPG can be a challenging time commitment. I’ll never have those all-day game sessions that are nostalgically talked about by people that found the hobby as children. However, I do hope that I can set my kids up to have that experience. I recently decided it was time to try what my son would make of it. So what follows is a three year-old boy’s first RPG experience. Spoiler: It’s not very exciting! Before even pitching a game to him, I had pulled out the D&D Monster Manual. I knew he’d like to look at all the monsters. He was completely in love with the beholder on the cover and thrilled with all the magical things I told him they could do. I took this as an opportunity to suggest we play an “imagination” game. He wasn’t really sure what I meant, so he agreed.  Tell an Amazing Tale

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Out From the Shadows: Background & Set Up

This will be one in a series of running posts about a new custom D&D 5e campaign I am pulling together for the gang. The players will find themselves trapped living in the lower ranks of a hate driven caste system, and they will be struggling to escape. The following is an excerpt from the players guide I am writing for this campaign that gives a true flavor for how abysmal the situation is that the players will find themselves in. Their oppressive upbringing will have hardened them in some aspects, but will create critical flaws for the players as a counterpoint. More to come on that in the next post.Without further ado, the background and first plot point set up to Out From the Shadows. Out From the Shadows You and your comrades find yourself treading the well worn paths criss crossing the ramshackle rooftops of The Corners. Sounds of people moving about your impoverished district can be heard faintly below. A child can be heard crying a few buildings over to the East. The sky has now been gen

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Dungeons and Dragons – Into the Unknown

A Painted Party Once upon a time we played a Dungeons and Dragons campaign we called ‘Into The Unknown‘ for about 2 years or so, it had some highlights, and one of them is coming almost 3 years later. I managed to finish a project. This campaign may have finished a few years back but it certainly left a few lasting impressions. In a bit of a misunderstanding, we may or may not have burned down an entire guild hall, but that’s just hearsay after all these years. Were there any survivors? Even though this campaign took place digitally, it held enough of my interest over the years to take the time to finish it. Generally I paint armies of dudesmen, and painting this group of characters was a lot of fun. Finishing this project has pushed me to start working on our party that’s currently running through the Tomb of Annihilation campaign. I’m even starting this project before we’ve finished the campaign, a notable improvement over my previously slow perform

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D&D Tomb of Annihilation: This Pig Has a Deathwish

The following text is a fictional excerpt from the journal of Taman Brightwood; the character I play in my group’s journey through the Tomb of Annihilation D&D 5e adventure module from Wizards of the Coast. Tomb of Annihilation is a journey through the jungle region of Chult to discover the cause of the “death curse” plaguing the inhabitants of the land. The secret of the curse lies in the necromantic artifact known as the Soulmonger. Undead humanoids, dinosaurs, and undead dinosaurs aplenty cause interesting obstacles in this long winded trudge through the dangerous rainforest covered peninsula. 12th day of Kythorn in the year 1493 DR~ I am feeling incredibly lucky to be among the living. I accidentally ignited myself into a massive fireball which took out several small dinosaurs and a small portion of this cursed rainforest. My companions all seem to be keeping their distance for fear of being caught in the next magical catastrophe I may cause. Today is another balmy sweat coated slog.

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Rats of Tanglethorn Pt.12: Petty Vengeance

The pair of guards walked in, one with a bottle of wine, the other placing the key in his satchel. He lit an oil lamp and then set to lighting the fireplace. Afheesh (played by yours truly) from just up inside of the flue, could hear the second guard pop and pour the wine. He was shaking with anticipation. His vengeance was soon at hand. Two thuds on the floor indicated that their helmets were off. The first grabbed some logs from the woodpile next to the fireplace. Just as the first guard knelt down to place the first log into the hearth, Afheesh picked a chunk of cinder from the inside of the chimney and flung it down. Of course, the first guard poked his head in to check it out. Suddenly, Afheesh dropped down and stabbed him in the neck. Wufcor (played by Isis) leapt from his hiding place under a table stabbing the reeling guard in the back. Sikeek (played by Jenn) sprung from her dark corner and stabbed the wine guard who then snatched a fighting spear from the wall. Afheesh redoubled his efforts against

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Rats of Tanglethorn Pt.11: Dagger for Hire

A few days later, the pair of ratling villains, Afheesh (played by yours truly) and Wufcor (played by Isis), walked through the crowded streets at evening. The pair neared the plaza of the Blue Well and the Dancing Rat Tavern. They were going to drown their sense of loss in a sea of cheap booze. Even possibly work off some frustration in low stakes fights there and then maybe start recruiting for their own gang. The roguish pair stepped up to the saloon doors. Overgrowth partially buried the tavern building underneath the snaking thorny vines of the Thorn-Ring. The hedge of thorns that serves as  Tangelthorn’s city defenses along gatehouses and partial fortifications at all four compass directions. The thorns spilled over the top of the three-story building canopy-like and wrapped tightly around the eastern half, the thorny vines at grips with the alien waxy-orange masonry. The ratling companions strutted into the yellow lit, smoke flooded tavern. The thorn-creepers had extended into the bar itself cramping w

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Rats of Tanglethorn Pt.10: All These Roaches

Three gang members ran in through the shattered front door of the abandoned warehouse armed with loaded crossbows. They spotted out Pabst (played by Jenn) and one took a shot. She knocked the bolt aside with her buckler (more of a targe but virtually the same in game terms). Afheesh (played by yours truly) pulled his paired weapons, matching variants on the sai, and lashed out at the Mantck who was blocking his egress through the rear door. The first blade stung the intruder but the second easily parried by a cutlass.  Afheesh turned to see Wufcor (played by Isis) leap from his hiding place and engage with five more Roaches who had surrounded Pabst. Pabst lashed out with her scimitar missing horribly. Afheesh turned his full attention back to the Mantck. The Mantck slashed with his paired cutlasses, missing badly with one and the other parried easily by the ratling Quickling. Afheesh retorted striking deep with a single strike, the other deflected harmlessly away. Two thugs behind the Mantck pushed their way

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Bizarre Beasties #12 – Ullarhg

The Ullarhg are a fierce herd beast that tramples enemies with their hooves. As well as goring them with their tusks and horns, and resist attack with their spikes and thick hides. A new pregenerated monster for Dice & Glory that will add some danger and awe to any GM’s campaign. These tough and monstrously strong brutes are a challenge to any adventurer. These appear as terrifying bull-boar-rhino hybrids. They are ponderous in weight and large in size. Ullarhg use their boar-like tusks, bovine horns, and rhino-nose-horns to great effect in battle. Their thick rhino-like hide and spikes grant them protection from most weapon-strikes. Bizarre Beasties can be used at the discretion of Game-Masters to add variety to their game worlds easily and quickly. So that GM’s can drop the fully fleshed Ullarhg into game sessions immediately without any prep-work beyond reading the document. Finally, the Wolf-Bat is a great addition to any GM’s bestiary. Bizarre Beasties #12 – 625k Powerful Bull-Boar-Rhino

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Rats of Tanglethorn Pt.9: Merchant Boxing

It was early morning, already the sun was beating down upon the dead yellow dirt, and Afheesh the ratling Quickling was beginning to feel trapped. After a forced march around the parade ground and a breakfast of fruit, veggies, and bread in the mess, Afheesh (played by yours truly) went to the bursar. He collected the previous day’s pay, 95 bronze thorns (pay was 100 but there was the 5% Mezcor tithe). Subsequently, he spent the rest of the morning atop the thorns above the gates spotting for incoming caravans. Only ratlings were assigned the battlements over the gates as the Thorn Crown had grown over the ramparts ages ago leaving only small tunnels through the winding thorny vines. Moreover, the thorns acted as an additional cover for those manning the hidden crenulations of the gate. Therefore, it allowed the guards, armed with darts and some with crossbows, to fire with impunity on any enemies without the gates. It was also horribly cramped, suffocating, and filthy not unlike the hovels of Thorn-runner ra

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Rats of Tanglethorn Pt.8: Ratling Life

With the blood of their enemies still fresh on their weapons and dripping from their faces, Afheesh (played by yours truly)  and Wufcor (played by Isis) dragged Pabst’s paralytic body (played by Jenn) into a boarded up warehouse a few blocks from the South Gate. They just assumed the place was completely abandoned. Soon after, Afheesh wiped his face and donned his guardsman uniform before beating it back to the barracks. Afheesh spent early next morning scouting out the grounds of the south-gate-guard-post finding something of interest: a large building next the bursar. The building was windowless save for arrow slits at least two stories above the ground and built of white stone with an iron portcullis and heavy solid bronze doors behind. Before that intimidating edifice leaned several elite guardsmen. Afheesh soon found out that the place was the treasury of the southern guard. At once, a singular fantasy rippled through his tiny rat-brain, that of ripping off the city guard and fleeing from the curse-pollu

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Rats of Tanglethorn Pt.7: The Tree of Woe

Afheesh shot after Wufcor who was free of his shackles, fleeing, and armed with a stolen dagger. The quickling guard tripped the fleeing canny-jack with his tail. Wufcor flopped onto his back hard with a blast of dust and dry leaves. Afheesh held the tip of his dagger to his former companion’s throat. Afheesh (kicking dirt on the prone ratling): “Drop the dagger gutter trash!” As a result, Wufcor let loose his white knuckled grip on the dagger letting it drop to the ground. Wufcor: “I surrender!” Pabst tried to move in and grapple the traitorous ratling but missed by a mile. Jennifer (to me): “You traitor! I won’t forget this!” Isis (shrugging): “Look Sis I figure he could’ve killed me at any time, so I hope he has a plan.” Pabst reluctantly surrendered under the remaining guard’s spear points and Sergeant Neek’s sword. The prisoners were shackled once again and after another hour were finally led to the Tree of Judgment. A large twisted trunk was before them that sported large thorns here and there over its

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