Using Tarot Cards in RPGs

Tarot Cards are pretty damn sweet . My recent plays of Hand of Fate 2 and even Cyberpunk 2077 have had my wheels spinning on how these incredibly evocative tools can be used for procedural generation. All of this is purely theoretical at the moment, but I'm going to use it in my upcoming games and see how it goes, tweaking as needed. As with any procedural generation in RPGs, you should always be keen to use common sense when randomization ends up in subpar results. Hex Generation This was one of the very first things that popped into mind for me. You've got 78 cards in your tarot deck, so using this process, you could populate up to 78 hexes with a significant variety of landmarks. Simply shuffle your deck, then locate the Emperor. Slap down your capital on a hex of your choosing and start working your way outward. Once you're done, it's time to start filling in blanks on a contextual level. Here's what the cards could mean. Majors Empress - A benevolen

Dungeon Space: Introduction & Torches

Dungeon Space: Why does it matter?        Space, and the clever use of it, is one of the most important aspects of what makes a Dungeon successful. This is the first of several articles on Dungeon Space, and why it matters. Today's article was intended to be all encompassing on the matter of Dungeon Space, but it turns out I had a lot to say just on the matter of tracking time and torches.  So this is the torch one.      But first, why does space matter? The dungeon is a place where tension is at its absolute highest. It is in the dungeon, and nowhere else, that careless resource management can lead to backtracking through monster-laden catacombs in utter darkness. It is in the dungeon, and nowhere else, that breaking down the door is an invitation to be surprised by savage beasts. It is in the dungeon, and nowhere else, that you have such a high concentration of life-or-death moments, whether by trap, by steel, or by claw.      Clever use of space, and of course the tracking o

Stolen Valor in RPG Play

This is going to come across as deeply pretentious, cynical, and cruel. I'm going to have to accept those criticisms should they arise. I feel that this needs to be said. Also, if anyone gets offended by my appropriation of the term "stolen valor," you're just going to have to get over it. Roleplayers are not trained actors, unless they are. If they aren't, they should not be trying to come across as trained actors. This must be highlighted because there are many games being played where people attempt to inject artificial meaning into the game by "acting." Now, this isn't to say that "acting" is an inherently bad thing in roleplaying games. Quite obviously, using your character's voice can add to the immersive element of the game. It's when we get into the realm of dramatics that this starts to rear its ugly heads. Can you convincingly cry on command? Shout in rage with full control of your vocal faculties? Give a passi

Alp (AD&D Monster)

Another creature from Germanic folklore, we have the Alp! For the purposes of D&D, we're shedding some of the demonic trappings of the mythology in favor of the Fey. Alp Frequency: Very Rare NA: 1 HD: 4+3 Movement: 12" AC: 4 No. Attacks: 1 (1d3+1) Special Attacks: Smothering Feast Special Defense: Silver/+1 only Magic Resistance: 50% Intelligence: Average Size: S (4') Alignment: Chaotic Evil In Lair: 80% (day) / 0% (night) Treasure Type: J, K, M (Indv) D (Lair) XP: 205+ 5/HP Grapples as if 400lbs while wearing hat. Surprises on 9-in-10 when not sleeping due to camouflage. The Alp will be referred to as "he," the target will be referred to as "she" for limited confusion. Special Attack: The Alp delights in the suffering it causes others, particularly humans and preferably women. He sneaks into the resting quarters of his prey and sits upon her chest as the victim sleeps. She first must make a Save vs Petrification, or she will be unable t

Identifying Magic Items in AD&D

Somewhere between "Identify doesn't exist" and "Identify is an easily accessible spell that is perfectly flawless," we have AD&D 1E. To which side of the spectrum does 1E lean? Let's have a glance at the spell: All right, so unless a great set of ideal circumstances are in order, Identify can be filed under "Don't Bother." Those ideal circumstances are: -You're high level. -You have Remove Curse on standby. -You're prepared to get bull@#$& answers, or none at all. -You're ready to drink 100gp worth of a pearl. -You have Identify memorized already when the item is found. -You have more than 11 CON. This is a steep price to pay. Further, there are procedural prices to pay as well. With this method as prescribed, the player never truly knows how many charges an item has. They will likely never know what their bonuses are. This means that the DM is left tracking which character is using which

The Epidemic Of 💩 DMs!

Finally, something worth being called a hot take. Shit Dungeon Masters are an epidemic. Why so? 1. Not reading a single Dungeon Master's Guide. Some people can get away with this, but most can't. The DMGs are there to provide context, explain the rules in a way to prevent foolish rulings, to help you expand your game into more than just a monster-fight simulator, to provide guidelines for custom content creation, to give optional rules that (should) fit well with the system, to assist in worldbuilding, etc. It's DEPRESSING to see how many Dungeon Masters complain about 5E in ways that they'd know are inaccurate if they read the DMG. Bottom line, read the damn DMG. It'll make you better. 2. Shit house rules.   Not all house rules are shit, but many are. Why? Because they are done without a comprehensive understanding of the system at large. In many cases, they're done because something "feels bad" in a particular instance. The most common s

I'm A Level1 Cleric, What Does That Mean?

ENTER THE CLERIC! Who can be a Cleric? In AD&D, the PHB tells us that "Only humans will normally  have Clericism as their sole class; thus they are the only Clerics with unlimited advancement in level." We see that among Player Characters, only Humans, Half-Elves, and Half-Orcs can be Clerics. Among NPCs, Dwarves, Elves, and Gnomes are allowed Clerics as well, but anything that isn't a pure Human is severely limited in potential. Half-Elves will never get higher than 3rd level spells, Half-Orcs higher than 2nd level. Gnomes, Dwarf, and Elf NPCs will never get access to 5th level spells, meaning only Humans can Raise Dead, Plane Shift, Resurrect, cast Gate, etc.. This tells us how non-human Clerics are likely to be perceived in the world. Powerful non-human Clerics are practically unheard of, and thus, aspiring non-human Clerics would likely be taken less seriously. The use of miracles would be seen as a means to accentuate their other skills. F