Skip to main content


How Bingo Can Revolutionize Your D&D Game

In May, I decided to run a very different sort of session for my weekly D&D campaign. My party had already faced off with ghost pirates, dragons, sandworms, and a giant time-controlling robot. This session, I wanted to give them a very different sort of challenge:  A fluffy, filler-y 'beach episode.' (Avatar the Last Airbender, "The Beach") Anyone who has watched cartoons long enough knows what I'm talking about. Danger and peril are set aside, just for a while, in exchange for sunbathing, watermelon smashing, volley-ball-playing, low stakes character development. In a game like D&D, where character development is often so tied to monster slaying, how can a DM mechanically engage their party with a session like this? Just as importantly, how can we squeeze as many of these tropes that we love to see into a 4 hour session? How do we give this game structure? Previously, I might have just run the session as normal, RP-heavy session, calling for rolls every o
Recent posts

Homebrew Souls Inspired Campaign Setting — XP is the Key (Literally!)

  Last time,  we developed the first three regions of our  Dark Souls/Shadow of the Colossus/Breath of the Wild  inspired "Cursed Kingdom" campaign setting, using the basic land types of  Magic the Gathering  as inspiration. Before I go on, I want to compile some of the lore and mechanics that I've written up for this campaign idea so that you can embark on the same journey as me in this strange, FromSoftware-inspired realm. If your character is named Albero, Euphemia, or Myoki, turn back now! Otherwise, let's dive into the world of the Cursed Kingdom. Here is the campaign's central conceit, as I see it: the players come from an outside world where magic and its affects are rarely seen. The long-abandoned "Cursed Kingdom," its true name long forgotten to most of the outside world, is said to be the last bastion of magical knowledge in the world. In the world of our character's backgrounds, the highest "level" that even the most potent and l

Crafting a Soulsborne inspired D&D Setting with the Magic the Gathering Color Wheel — Part 1: Plains, Forest, and Island

  A campaign idea that I’ve been perfecting for years since I first ran a few sessions of it, simply titled Cursed Kingdom , is finally going to see the light of day again and I couldn’t be more excited. The campaign’s premise involves a group of adventurers, each from a different kingdom from around the world (which the players created in as much detail as they wanted while making their characters) traveling to a secluded, ancient kingdom in search of its secrets. Rumors say that the kingdom holds whatever someone could want: panacea, supreme power, great wealth, immortality. The first time I ran the campaign, I flew mostly by the seat of my pants as I created the legendary kingdom piece by piece for each session. As our first session of the new campaign is this week, it looks like I will be doing that again to some degree. However, in this setting, the Cursed Kingdom is as much of a character as the players. Because of that, I want to get a good idea for at least what each of the reg

Varsity Final Development Update and Announcement

Last time I posted about Varsity was over two months ago, when I discussed the game's Break Moves and discussed the game's then-soon Kickstarter release date. At the time, I had lofty goals for the game's art design, direction, and release. I was in talks with a publisher, and was feeling over the moon about the game's release. In the time since that post, a lot has happened in my life—good and bad—which has made me realize that this sort of grandiose planning is better saved for projects in the future. I'm a young adult, a fresh college graduate who's just started a new job, and I don't have the expendable capital or connections to do everything with Varsity that I would like to do at the moment. In particular, I worry that a failed Kickstarter for the game would discourage me from trying something like this again in the future.  That said, I am still very passionate about Varsity  and its mechanics. Besides, the game is finished! It's been heavily p

Exploring Downtime in Varsity — Sports Anime RPG

 Last time, I talked about the playable classes in Varsity, including the popular tropes I emulated when designing them. This week, I'm talking about downtime in the game. While the sports games themselves are obviously the crux of a sports anime game, making up the biggest climaxes and driving most of the narrative arcs in the story. Break time, however, can be just as important—exploring the characters outside of their roles in their team, giving them the space they need to breathe, introducing and interacting with outside characters like family and friends, and showing the ramifications of what happened in a match. I'll first go over the general definition of "Break Time," mechanically and in universe. Then I'll break down each of the moves that you can use during a Break! A Break is considered any time that you aren't in a sports match in-universe. In other words, any time the sports clock isn't counting down is Break time. This includes the smallest

Sports Anime Tropes as Player Characters — Exploring the Playbooks in "Varsity"

  Last week I introduced Varsity , a Powered by the Apocalypse tabletop game that I'm developing that seeks to capture the feeling of the sports anime genre. I talked about the game's basic moves, which are split up between Game Moves and Break Moves, as well as the concept of "key moments" which you fight over during in-game matches. This week I'm going to talk about the 'playbooks,' the classes that you can choose from when making your own "Ace" player character. Each playbook covers a different common trope, and ties into the game mechanics in a different way. I'll go over the trope I was imitating with each playbook, and then discuss a little of how my mechanics reflect those tropes.  If you want to skip around, I'll put the names and descriptions for each playbook first so you can find and read the ones you're most interested in first.  “The Ally”: While you may not be the best player on the team, your connection to your teamma