Dyson Logos Jam - The Barrows Hunger

It's been a while! Been working and traveling, so I've fallen a little behind on blogging and RPG business in general. To get back into the swing of things, I've started working on my entry for the Dyson Logos Jam ! I've used Dyson's incredible maps so many times for my own games, it's about time I did something public facing with them. Time is still a little short, so I'm going to be posting my progress as mostly stream of consciousness thoughts and raw notes. Please forgive the info density! Stone Head in Sergievka Park - St. Petersburg, Russia As always, I'm incapable of keeping it simple and want to do something different than a straightforward dungeon. After driving through the Dakotas twice in a week, my brain is filled to overflowing with images of tourist traps, dusty "museums" out in the middle of nowhere that have little to offer but gift shops. I'm also missing my open table Barrowmaze game that ran aground about 6 months ago whe

John O'Dreams

Boat by the Shore (1888), Torsten Wasastjerna  Death is common in most fantasy games. Whether the PCs are in danger of crossing the veil or are regularly sending the deserving (🙄) monsters of the world to meet their maker, Death is a presence. A character in and of itself, especially when we decide to anthropomorphize it. Gods of death are numerous, and generally of a familiar vein. They are evil, spooky, loaded down with skulls and crows and other on-the-nose paraphernalia. Or they're cosmic and unknowable, dark and empty and unyielding, just barely recognizable as something intelligent, the ultimate void. But death is not an enigma, not really. It's something, someone who we all know to some degree. Who we will all know intimately, one day. So why should they be sinister, or terrifying? Death is an old friend, awaiting our return to their quiet company. That's why my Death is different.

The Cyclopean Organ: I Haven't Had Time to do Layout Yet Edition (TM)

This is just a quick heads-up that I've released a single-doc version of my Cyclopean Organ  funnel project that I blogged through over the last couple of months. I haven't had time to fancy it up layout-wise, or to pass off an art brief to my talented fiancé , but I will be doing so over the next few weeks and hopefully have a thing of beauty by the end of September. If you'd like to support the Organ Beautification Project (or would just like to support my blogging endeavors), you're welcome to throw a couple of bucks at my itch page. You're also well within your rights to grab the thing for free. More than anything I'd love to hear from folks that give it a try - my limited playtesting has been a ball but I could always use more data. There have been some minor corrections and tweaks since I've blogged out all of the bits of this thing, but it's largely just a compiled version of the individual posts that made up the adventure. As always, thanks for r

50 Sights to Stumble Upon in the Bolewood

I've been going feral waiting for my copy of Into the Wyrd and Wild . Anything woodsy is of instant interest to me. The woods have always been a special place in my life, a place that feels safe and welcoming and somehow like home. Weird horror is also very much my jam, though, and it's fun to tweak what feels like a comfortable and pleasant setting into something that's occasionally more sinister. I've also been on an anti-pdf kick lately. It's so much more engaging and feels more special to read things in print than on a screen. So I've been holding off on actually reading Wyrd and Wild until I get the thing in my hands. To help stave off the hunger, I've been developing a setting in my new game inspired by some of my fever dreams about what might actually be in the book. I think it's a lot more fairytale and less spooky than what I know of the book, since I'm also hoping to fold in  inspiration from  Dolmenwood   content. Still mostly pleasant and

10 (More) Relics for Cairn

  Yes, more of them . They're too fun to write, and it just so happens that the campaign I'm working on now has some haunted forest vibes, so I figure these will be useful to me in the near future anyway. Hope you can use these to break your woodsy game (in a good way)! Mug of Good Health , 3 charges - An oversized mug of cracked earthenware. When filled and raised with a hearty toast, everything in earshot capable of hearing must pause what they're doing for a moment and return the toast, raising whatever item they hold in their hand. Recharge - Offer to share a drink with a hostile creature, then convince them to do so of their own free will. Wrenpenny Bit  - A small copper piece in the local style, save the chubby little wren printed on its transverse. Its most recent previous owner always has an instinctive idea of the direction the coin lies in, and in their presence it will let out a chittering birdsong. Sanguine Lantern  - A rectangular lantern with frosted, brown-st

10 Magical Relics for Cairn

Part Two Here! I've been getting restless as I wait for a chance to playtest the Cyclopean Organ - I'm kind of in a weird spot game-wise right now, a long-running campaign being revived, a couple of other campaigns starting up and all the impatient anticipation that goes along with that. So I've been wanting to work on something  in the meantime, even though my time is limited. It just so happens I had a blast working with Cairn on the Organ, especially the template for Relics. Giving most items limited charges and a specific criteria to recharge them gives you so many cool levers for balance and extra opportunity for flavor. Ever since I first read them I've been fixated on the potential for little recharge mini-quests in my games that can serve as instigators for exciting, dangerous, and silly tangents. Yochai Gal , Cairn's designer, mentioned that he was planning on throwing together a larger list of Relics, and I got excited by the prospect, so here we are. Po

Tables and Flavor - The Cyclopean Organ #4

The Goat and the Bear  - Late 19th century Lubok Nearly there! It's been a busy week, but I spent the last couple of days assembling the secondary tables for the Cyclopean Organ to complement the Depthcrawl Engine . I'm really excited about the possibilities for the Organ's unique mechanics - the Sheet Music and Console Glitches for funnel victims that attempt to bend the Organ's power to their own will. I originally wasn't going to include a "loot the body" table, but given my playgroup's proclivities I'd like to have something on hand. You could easily replace it with whatever you usually use, as it's not terribly specific to the adventure. In terms of Treasures, I went in wanting to try to make my own RAW Cairn Relics. I think they're genius, especially the recharge mechanic. I also tried to introduce magical or mundane items that have built-in prompts for future adventures or arcs or complications for the continuing campaign. That's