What’s the Crock Pot? Just a simmering bowl of lentils and herbs, with a dash of DMing observations. Don’t be afraid to dip in your ladle and stir, or throw in something from your own spice rack.

Hanging out with merry men

My summer reading has been pretty light. But I picked up one gem that hadn’t been checked out at our local library for two years: “The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood” by Howard Pyle.

This meaty book — 296 pages tucked away in the children’s section — is worth revisiting. Once you get past Pyle’s turn-of-the-century British English, DMs will find a treasure trove of adventure ideas. For instance, “Robin Turns Butcher” is a great form for PCs to play a game of one-upmanship on an adversary. Change a few names and it’s unlikely your players will know they were inspired by a band of merry men from Sherwood Forest.

 Go West, young man

I also picked up “Wyatt Earp” by Matt Braun, a fictionalized account of the Gunfight at the OK Corral. I’m not usually a reader of westerns, but I really liked the feel of this book, which gives a different take on events than the most recent incarnations seen on the big screen. Oh, and it comes with a map of Tombstone, Ariz., circa 1881 — so if you need a mining boom town for your game, western or otherwise, it’s a bonus.

Rah-Rah for R.A.

I can’t say that I’m a particular fan of a certain drow ranger, but I do enjoy R.A. Salvatore’s approach to the Realms. His writing style, sparce and focused on character motivations and paced with bouts of fast action, suits my tastes. Plus, his portrayal of the North is galvanized in my mind.

That said, I’m taking my time digesting Salvatore’s works. A book here, a book there, and in no particular order. Of late I’ve tackled “Streams of Silver” and “Promise of the Witch-King.” It was interesting seeing two sides of Artemis Entreri, basically as villain and “hero” in quick succession.