Author: Walt Ciechanowski

Walt Ciechanowski

About Walt Ciechanowski

Walt’s been a game master ever since he accidentally picked up the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set in 1982. He became a freelance RPG writer in 2005 and is currently the Victoriana Line Developer for Cubicle 7. Walt lives in Springfield, PA with his wife Helena and their three children, Leianna, Stephen, and Zoe.


For my first article of the new year I decided to resurrect one of my old recurring themes; “Driftwood” was about taking a rule from one RPG and applying it to others. This time, though, I’m taking a concept from video games and seeing if I can apply it to tabletop RPGs. This article was inspired by a video that was shared with me on Facebook. In it, the author argued that “bosses” in video games aren’t the same as similar adversaries in tabletop RPGs because video games […]


It’s that time of year again. In these parts, whether or not you celebrate Christmas there is a definite chill in the air when it comes to gaming. As an adult married parent with a job and other responsibilities, I’ve already made adjustments to the gaming schedule (short answer: weekly sessions have been gone for years!); December makes it even rougher, as holiday shopping and midwinter vacations disrupt the already precarious schedule. I ran my last session on the first Friday of December. Thanks to […]


Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens this weekend. It is also very likely that many ongoing RPG campaigns will die this weekend. It’s a problem I know well. Reflecting on campaigns past, I recall a lot of them moving forward with all of the creative energy and emotional investment one could hope for in a campaign, only to come to a crashing halt because most of the group saw Batman or Bloodsport one weekend and wanted to change campaigns. I’m quite certain that it’s bound to […]


Usually when I have issues or problems with a campaign, it’s because something is threatening to cut it short. Perhaps I’ve run short of material. Perhaps the players managed to leap ahead towards the end. Perhaps there was a TPK. Perhaps the players are losing interest. Perhaps the game sessions kept getting cancelled. Perhaps one or more players left the group. None of that is affecting my current D&D 5e campaign; it’s running great on all counts. My master plan is intact and the players are progressing […]


Recently I watched the season opener of Arrow and while I found it enjoyable one of the things that bugged me was the final scene, which involved the foreshadowing of a future death. That in and of itself didn’t bother me (beyond the usual “great, which of my favorite characters is going to die?”); what did bother me was the official commentary afterward that indicated that even the show writers don’t know who is going to die. Say what? I’ve had similar issues with other […]


From the time I entered my first dungeon decades ago, material components were treated the same as encumbrance and weapon modifiers against armor class – we discarded them. For those of you who might be scratching your heads, I’m talking about spellcasting in Dungeons & Dragons (along with its many derivatives), in which magic-wielding characters usually need verbal, somatic, and/or material components to cast their spells. Like encumbrance and equipment lists, material components were viewed in my circles as tedious and we ignored them, which incidentally […]


This past weekend was the first episode of the new series (or season, in the American vernacular) of Doctor Who. Doctor Who is a series that has reinvented itself numerous times, usually when the Doctor regenerates but sometimes even without a change in the lead actor, the series has tried to move in a different direction. Similarly, I recently read an article on Heroes that got me thinking about my own RPG campaigns. I’ve had a lot of campaigns over the years that, for whatever reason, either didn’t go […]