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

The Toxicity of Anti-Gatekeeping Hysteria

Re-publish. Nobody likes a gatekeeper, particularly in the Tabletop Role-playing hobby. It's a hobby that is entirely perpetuated and refined by the active participation of multiple perspectives coming together to create opportunities for great experiences. In this light, the hobby is actually harmed by the omission of participants. I'm a relative newcomer to the hobby. I started with 5th Edition D&D after my wife and I were invited to play by a 2nd edition veteran who felt his drive rekindled by Critical Role. It wasn't long before the DM bug bit me. Then I started looking into other systems, then game design, and finally, I fell into the OSR. By the time I joined RPG Twitter, I occasionally ran into this term: "Gatekeeping." It's meant to suggest that one is trying to keep people out of the hobby. It's naturally levied toward people who say things like "women aren't good at D&D," "if you can't handle ______, you shouldn

Thoughts on "JeffroGaxian" Timekeeping

I've been familiar with the BROSR for a couple years now, so when Jeffro Johnson discussed his thesis on the latest episode of Inappropriate Characters, I wasn't nearly as shocked as most. Even about the "women can't play" thing. I've made it no secret that I don't agree with them on most things, but I also have made it known that they propose ideas that have value. Their emphasis on strict timekeeping, patron play, and inspirational reading is at the top of the list. However, the topic of this entry is on the nature of my disagreement on Jeffro's interpretation of Gygaxian timekeeping. He asserts that strict 1:1 timekeeping is essential to produce a superior game, so much so that he believes that if a player group is occupied for 20 days on travel, for instance, you couldn't pick up where they left off until the real-world day count has caught up. Now, first I'm going to say that there is a desirable effect that can come from this strict adher