Author: Matthew J. Neagley

About Matthew J. Neagley

First introduced to RPGs through the DnD Red Box Set in 1990, Matt fights on 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.

The megadungeon is a historical and exciting campaign model with a simple appeal that’s a convenient platform for pickup games, but building one can be an intimidating challenge. There are probably as many approaches to building the megadungeon as there are approaches to the megadungeon proper. Here is one such approach. Step 1: Start with the “Swiss Cheese Assumption” This assumes that the ground is full of natural caves, passages, burrows, etc… You don’t need this assumption to hold for your entire campaign world, it […]

Most RPG settings feature the same level-tiered setup. The PC’s home base is surrounded by an area populated by first level monsters, while the next concentric area is populated by second level monsters and so on.  It’s usually a bit more complex than that, but that’s the basic model. Problem is, the basic model, and any models flowing from it are bullshit. Of course, it’s always done that way for playability, not realism, but there’s no need for it to be that way.  A more […]

Think back to the scenery from the last public restroom you frequented.  Chances are you were treated to a visual smorgasbord of human expression. In that 15 minutes or so, you were probably exposed to more poetry, art, comedy gold and political satire than you were for the rest of the week (if you’re a social recluse like me anyway). People graffiti whenever they have sufficient motivation and feel the chance of being punished is slim (or the reward is worth it).  Thus, in the […]

If you’re like me you’ve found yourself thinking the following: “I need to make an encounter table for this area. It’s a swamp, so I’ll just go though all my monster books and make a list of all the monsters that can live in swamps…” and then three pages of paper and way too much time later you succumb to information overload, shelf it and go do something else. A simple template can help reduce option paralysis and provides structure for an encounter list. Guidelines […]

It’s that time of the year again, where as a belated holiday gift, I hand out my accumulated B-string campaign ideas from the previous year. Lucky you!  The real gift however, is the ideas in the comments section from readers. These are not only great campaign ideas, but they can be dropped into an ongoing game as a new location hook. And if you’re on the lookout for a new campaign idea, maybe for New Year New Game? don’t forget that we have 3 years […]

Back when I wrote about using 100 Blank White Cards as  tool for world creation, Martin asked for an example. Since Martin is the boss here at the stew, that means you get a follow-up article.  With 30 of our previously created cards, and another 30 blanks, my wife and I set out to create a setting for a fantasy game. With our first two cards, we were off to a good start.  The island on the back of a whale is a unique, fun […]

Often times, the ideas we have in our head don’t translate to paper very well because they’re just too darn complex. Case in point, years ago, inspired by the 1986 adventure Night of the Seven Swords and by the play reports of a friend of mine, I wrote my own adventure “Return to The Carnival of the Damned” and it’s follow up: “Son of Return to The Carnival of the Damned”. Both adventures were intended to be psychedelic horror mystery romps and I conceived of […]