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Why the DnD5E DM Screen is Almost Perfect (perfect is impossible, BTW)

Tweet I just opened my DnD5E Dungneon Master’s Screen, and I am delighted. This is by far the closest a preprinted GM screen can come to perfect. The perfect GM screen would include information about the PCs, like weaknesses or disadvantages, but that’s impossible for a preprinted screen, of course. Why is it so good? Here’s why: Random NPC Tables The left-most panel of the DM side of the screen contains about the most useful information a GM can have at-a-glance. It features five random tables for fleshing out NPCs. Your players meet a shopkeeper and they start up conversation with a poor bloke who doesn’t even have a name. No problem. These five table will give you a fleshed out PC with a few dice rolls. These tables give you a randomized version of the PC background … Read entire article »

Filed under: Misc, Reviews

2014 RPG Podcasters Award Winners

Tweet Announcing the 2014 RPG Podcasters Peer Awards The RPG Podcasters Community would like to recognize the following RPG podcasts for excellence in entertainment, content and production quality for the year 2014. For Best New Podcast for 2014: Numenera: The Signal –  http://numenerathesignal.blogspot.com/ For Best Actual Play Podcast for 2014: RPPR Actual Play -http://actualplay.roleplayingpublicradio.com/ For Best Industry News Podcast for 2014: All Games Considered -http://www.agcpodcast.info/ For Best Podcast of 2014: Fear the Boot – http://www.feartheboot.com/ftb/ The RPG Podcasters Community on Google+ is open to all producers and hosts of podcasts covering the tabletop RPG hobby. This community established the RPG Podcasters Peer Awards this year to recognize the best shows, whether members of the community or not, based on the opinions of people who are familiar with the production process of such podcasts. All nominations and awards were determined by vote among the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Misc

PC Back Story Example

Tweet A little more on PC backstories. I like them short, concise and packed with ideas. To illustrate, I’ll give you an example backstory for a cosmic horror PC. The son of a respected professor father from a prestigious university and a renown physician mother, Dr. Arthur Stillman lived a comfortable life, attending the best schools and universities. After finishing his post graduate work, he struggled finding employment until he received a position at Rhinefall University in west Pennsylvania as a professor of parapsychology. While respected by most of his colleagues, his unconventional theories have drawn criticism and ridicule from several prominent academicians in his field, most notably,  the coldly skeptical Dr. Henry Turn from Carrow College in upstate New York. Within these two paragraphs and three sentences, we have plenty of plot hooks … Read entire article »

Filed under: Adventure Design, Advice

The Perfect Backstory

Tweet Tomorrow night on Happy Jacks RPG Podcast, sponsored by Crone, the RPG, by the way, we’re going to talk player character backstories. Specifically, we’re going to talk about the sorts of item in backstories that GMs love to see. So in preparation of that discussion, I’d like to detail a few things that I love to see in PC backstories. One: Generates NPCs When gearing up a game, one of the most time-consuming tasks is developing a cast of non-player characters. Crowd sourcing this to your players is a great way to lighten the work load. It doesn’t just have to be parents and other family members, though those can be fun too. And it doesn’t have to be mortal enemies either. It might be a local fence that a thief knows and trusts. Perhaps … Read entire article »

Filed under: Advice

The Firewall is Dead

Tweet Note: this article is not about RPGs, but rather about the RPG business. Full disclosure: I was a member of the Featured Reviewer Program and I continue to post affiliate linked banners and links to DTRPG and other OBS properties.  Update: this article has been edited since originally written, as I have conversed with Morrus at ENWorld, and it became clear than his implication that my experience with OBS as a Featured Reviewer was exaggerated with unintentional, and he has since edited the article in question.  Morrus at ENworld quoted me in a news article about Drivethrurpg and their policies and directives to those of us who were in their “Featured Reviewer” program. He followed this with a statement from Onebookshelf (the company that runs DTRPG) wherein they do not address any of … Read entire article »

Filed under: RPG Industry BS