Author Archives: Brent

About Brent

21st Century Renaissance Man. My gamer resume: http://brentnewhall.com/rpg/doku.php?id=brent_s_gamer_resume

Hit Points Don’t Represent Physical Wounds (Necessarily)

What does a loss of Hit Points mean? Some of you already “know” the answer to this, but it bears repeating, and there’s a hidden message. As the 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook puts it: Hit Points measure your ability to stand up to punishment, turn deadly strikes into glancing blows, and stay on your … Continue reading »

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How to Run Practically Any RPG Concept with Risus

Ben has a concept he wants to run as a tabletop RPG, but it doesn’t fit any system he knows. It’s a weird mashup of genres. Ben decides to go for it anyway. Because the players won’t have crystal clear ideas for their characters, Ben ideally wants to create characters during play. He’d prefer to start with … Continue reading »

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Monster Monday: Heavy Dragonrider Patrols

The feared dragonriders of Elyslanta patrol the skies of their domain, their riders searching for trouble and reporting back as necessary. The Royal Dragonriders maintain both light and heavy patrol units, using younger and older dragons, respectively, for each type. Heavy dragonriders are only used in the skies around the capitol, or when a serious threat appears in a … Continue reading »

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Faction Friday: Come See Shortfoot’s Stupendous Circus! (And Blood Cult)

A few years ago, the Shortfoot family of traveling halfling tinkers happened upon a clutch of giant lizard eggs (left behind when a group of adventurers attacked a family of giant lizards and both groups perished). They cared for them, hatched them, and turned them into a small traveling circus, which can be used either as … Continue reading »

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I Ran Tomb of Horrors, and It Was Awesome. Here’s How.

Recently, I ran the Tomb of Horrors for a handful of friends. They had a blast, and repeatedly said so. For what it’s worth, Tales from the Yawning Portal hadn’t come out yet, so I used a 5th Edition conversion I found online, combined with the original module. In pitching the Tomb to the players, I explained … Continue reading »

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In defense of the Tomb of Horrors

It’s become fashionable to decry the Tomb of Horrors as a paragon of bad design. It’s got things that will kill characters outright. It’s got things that will kill them without a saving throw, even. Surely that’s a sign of bad dungeon design, right? No, it’s not, given the module’s parameters. I’m going to give you two reasons why Tomb … Continue reading »

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Monster Monday: Light Dragonrider Patrols

The feared dragonriders of Elyslanta patrol the skies of their domain, their riders searching for trouble and reporting back as necessary. The Royal Dragonriders maintain both light and heavy patrol units, using younger and older dragons, respectively, for each type. Light dragonriders typically fly in pairs. They will deal with minor dangers, such as a few … Continue reading »

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Faction Friday: The Cult of the Werecat

Tharren Ironshield really likes cats. Granted, cats are excellent companions underground, hunting vermin and finding warm spots to nap. Several dwarf clans maintain large numbers of cats as companions and vermin control. But something happened about ten years ago that made Tharren obsessed with cats. He was cursed by a jilted lover to become a werecat (same stats as a … Continue reading »

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Game Design Hour: How to Get Useful Playtest Feedback

Playtesting your game is thrilling. You’ve finally gotten your baby game in front of other players, you’re seeing what works and doesn’t work. And then the session comes to a close. You say, “Okay, do you have any feedback?” and stare at your playtesters, waiting for them to fall over each other to give you a wealth of … Continue reading »

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As the GM, I Split the Party…And It Went Great

My favorite RPG convention panel, “Improv DMing,” occurred at GenCon several years ago. It was mostly a Q&A session about how the panel’s host improvs games. Someone asked what he does when the players ask to split the party. He explained that he tells the group that half of them will have to pack up … Continue reading »

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