Author: Matthew J. Neagley

About The Author

First introduced to RPGs through the DnD Red Box Set in 1990, Matt fights an ongoing battle with GMing ADD, leaving his to-do list littered with the broken wrecks of half-formed campaigns, worlds, characters, settings, and home-brewed systems. Luckily, his wife is also a GM, providing him with time on both sides of the screen.

2

Make your NPCs Flawed

I was recently tossing out notes for a game and I wrote the following: NPCs – get a list o’ NPC traits- NPCs should be larger than life, quirky, flawed Ex: the mage’s guild is just one guy in a town this size. It’s a mid-sized town but he considers it a hellish backwater. He has the finest silks and delicacies shipped in from the big city and is decadent and opulent to the core. Ex: the prince who runs the place is haughty and arrogant and expects everyone to suck up to him constantly. He’s not opposed to...

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0

Commentary On The Unίcorn

As promised in our Patreon video, I’ve recently begun my studies into the unίcorn, a beast related to the mythical unicorn, but constructed of imaginary numbers. Not only have I been able to successfully confirm several of the commonly held beliefs about these fleeting creatures, but I have discovered two new subspecies of unίcorn, one a product of the common variety and a pathological beast, the other a transcendental  product. The Common Unίcorn; the beast at right angles to reality The common unίcorn is a product of a more traditional unicorn and one of the outré creatures from outside...

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0

Five Odd Vampires For Your Game

Halloween is around the corner. It’s time to put some creepy vampires into your game. Here are a handful of vampires I’ve made as characters or NPCs over the years. Hope they prove fun for you and your players… if not for their characters. If you’ve had a vampire you particularly liked in one of your games, tell us about them in the comments below. The Captain: An old fisherman, this vampire haunts a large body of water. By day he sleeps in the sunken wreck of his ship. By night he prowls the shores and nearby land searching...

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6

The Poor Man’s Conlang

Conlang is an abbreviated term for Constructed Language, essentially a made up language. Constructed languages are used in a lot of media to give a certain feeling to a setting, race, etc. You can see examples in the names and place names of your favorite RPG fantasy race or alien. Done right they’re ridiculously complex, take many factors into consideration and require a large time investment. That’s why some Conlang professionals make the big bucks. This is not an article about doing conlang right. That’s well beyond my expertise. This is instead an article about making a quick and...

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1

Steal This: No Forests On Flat Earth

Fringe conspiracy theories are often fertile ground for gaming ideas, but the recent “no forests on flat earth” is so amazingly bizarre that it towers above the competition for material to steal for your game. The original video is an hour and a half long and a bit of a mess, but I’ve embedded it below. Of better value is an article from The Atlantic that sums up the “theory” and gives some interesting context that I won’t get into here but is worth reading. The general gist of the theory is this: what we know as trees aren’t...

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2

Custom Player Encounter Type Deck

I don’t think it’s an earth shattering innovation to say that if you’re designing an adventure, it’s a good idea to drop in a few encounters or situations that cater to the strengths of each of your players. An opportunity for the bard to parlay or the hacker to break a security system will give them some spotlight time and make them feel valued. Conversely we’ve probably all been in some games where the GM makes no concessions to a particular class/ skill set/ etc… and the player in question does nothing but say “I hit it with my...

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4

Idle RPGs And Tabletop Game Time

I love me a good Idle RPG. For those of you not in the know, Idle games are games that more or less play themselves with minimal intervention from the player. Progress Quest, pictured above, is a silly fantasy RPG that, once you have made your character, plays more like an operating system installation than a game. All you do is check in every so often and see all the progress your character has made without you. Another of my favorites, Logging Quest 2 allows you to form a party, equip them, tweak their battle strategies, and send them...

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3

Three Horrible Reasons This Town Is So Clean*

Garbage. It’s ubiquitous. Some places are definitely cleaner than others, but there’s always a candy wrapper on the floor, coins under the couch, a discarded glove on the side of the road, and bulky items sitting next to instead of in the dumpster.** Except when there’s not. Here are three dark secrets where the first clue is remarkably clean surroundings. Who knew? Someone is picking up all that trash: Maybe it’s possessed dolls, maybe it’s sentient robots, maybe it’s a colony of eco-fanatics but someone is scouring the streets for trash at night and using it as raw materials...

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3

Three Unconventional Sages For Your Game

Knowledge can be a valuable commodity in RPGs. While sometimes PCs stumble on useful knowledge and want to unload what they know, more often the roles are reversed and they need to hunt down someone with specialized knowledge. While there are sages and experts aplenty in your average setting, here are three more unusual information brokers: The Loremaster Ravens A mortal cabal cursed with immortality and the form of ravens for trying to  outwit a trickster god into revealing his secrets, they now gather secrets of their own. The Loremasters have been around for ages so they know a...

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2

The Four* Encyclopedias of Daniel Cohen

When I was a youngster, one of my favorite books to borrow from my school library was “Monsters Giants and Little Men from Mars” by Daniel Cohen. It features an exposition of all sorts of cryptozoological topics such as the titular monsters (Loch Ness etc…) giants (the Cardiff giants**) and little men from mars (MIBs) plus many others. It’s written from a skeptical standpoint, but that fact went completely over my young monster-loving head (similarly it wasn’t until cartoon network reruns of Scooby-Doo that I would realize that the entire point of the show was that the monsters were never real***). When my daughter became a...

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11

An Olfactory Review of Adventure Scents

Adventure Scents provided us with samples of scent packets to review their Adventure Scents product. Angela Murray wrote up a review and took incredible images for those without video, while Matt Neagley, Darcy Ross, and John Arcadian took part in a reaction video.   Angela’s Review I’m a firm believer in the power certain smells can have to evoke memories and certain feelings, so I was definitely intrigued by the ideas behind Adventure Scents. Heck, I catch a whiff of a particular artificial peach smell and I’m instantly transported back to the age of 13 and riding my bike...

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4

A Rather Mysterious Experience

A few weeks after Christmas this year, I received an unexpected envelope. Inside was another, much older envelope and in that was a letter imploring me to tell no one of my receipt of that missive and to not discuss it’s contents. I immediately started carefully asking around to see who had sent it but no one had a clue. After more of this odd correspondence, including news clippings, postcards, other oddities (and eventually a wooden crate!), I was given the identity of my strange pen pal: The Mysterious Package Company. Normally I would outline what I received including...

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7

Three Explanations for Gygaxian Unnaturalism

Once upon a time Gygaxian Unnaturalism was the default assumption for DnD. In it, the world essentially plays favorites between PCs and monsters (unfortunately, the favorites are not you) and logic is more or less thrown out the window as far as stocking dungeons. Monsters rarely fight among themselves and will instead team up in odd combinations to fight you, doors refuse to open for you but swing easily for them, rooms are randomly arranged and dressed. In short, the dungeon is a bizarre place more the testing ground of a mad wizard than a realistic ecology simulator. In...

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7

The Impact of Re-Roll Keep Highest HPs in 0e

Gnome in Chief keeps his own independent blog over at www.martinralya.com and of course it’s on our slack feed. He often writes about all things OSR and recently wrote an article about the various ways one could roll for hps in 0e. To sum up, there were four methods discussed: Official method 1: roll a d6 and add it to your hps each level Official method 2: re-roll all your hit dice when you leveled up and kept the new roll (if it was lower than your old total, sucked to be you) Method from Empire of the Petal Throne:...

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5

Gming Easy Mode: Ocean Explorers!

My GMing roots lie in the big exploration campaigns of earlier editions, as opposed to the modern dungeon of the week with level appropriate crafted adventures. But these campaigns require a lot of front loaded prep and I’m simply bad at it. I don’t have the stamina to sit down for marathon prep sessions like I once did, and the thought of starting prep at all generally finds me dragging my feet and doing almost anything else. I’ve tried doing broad strokes for the big picture then doing detail work only on the immediately relevant areas, but even that...

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