Zhilin Campaign Journal #3: The First Assignment

We’ve covered a bit about the group and setting, and then a bit about the optional rules I’m employing at my table. Now, finally, I can talk about that first assignment! Introductions The group made their way to Zhilin, as per the directions from their various recruiters, and were escorted to the guard barracks. Another member…

Zhilin Campaign Journal #2: Rules Tweaks

In the last post, we described a bit about the players, the setting, and the characters involved in our new Mazes & Perils campaign set in the City-State of Zhilin. This time I’d like to cover a bit about some of the rules I’ve added or clarified. Rules. Ugh. I’ve been playing role-playing games since…

Zhilin Campaign Journal #1: It Begins…

Sometimes the stars align properly and opportunities appear. Such is the case with a new campaign we just started last night with a new group. We’ll be playing Mazes & Perils and exploring the unexplored territory of the City-States to the West in the World of the Lost Age. This new series of articles will…

The Strength of Banter

Words. They can make or break a character. They can define or destroy relationships. They can set the tone for the most innocuous-sounding encounter that blows up to something enormous. Without them, I’ve never seen a gaming group succeed. With them, I’ve seen gaming groups last for years and offer fodder for decades of reminiscing.…

Revisiting the Past: Spells — Slow and Haste

Apologies for the longer post today, but I think it’s an important topic for rules design and combat. Recently we had a group playtest one of our upcoming adventures for Mazes & Perils and Bill, the GM, ran into a few issues. Many of those issues were with spells: Missing duration for Shield, Slow, Protection…

Alternate Cantrips in 5th edition (Guest post by William C. Pfaff)

My man Brian Fitzpatrick is seeking some balance between 5E (and 4E’s) at-will damaging cantrips and the poor wizard of yesteryear who would cast sleep and then beg the party to do the same so he could get his lone spell back. I gave this some serious thought and then realized the answer may be…

Revisiting the Past: Trap Detection, Part 2

Last time we talked about three different approaches to detecting traps in a gaming scenario. The Bull in the China Shop, Analysis Paralysis, and the Middle Ground. You can read that post here… In this post, I want to talk a bit more about game mechanics and how traps are handled in Mazes & Perils…

Revisiting the Past: Trap Detection, Part 1

As I’ve gone through the process of revisiting my Old School gaming roots with D&D through Mazes & Perils, I have had to re-examine the art of trap detection. And yes, there is an art to it. Let’s start with the three main methods of trap detection that transcend rules systems entirely: Bull in the…

Revisiting the Past: Insight Checks in OSR

Anybody used to playing older versions of D&D (pre-4e) is probably wondering what the heck an Insight check is. Imagine for a moment that your PC is interacting with a NPC and you want to know whether the NPC’s motives are pure. Are they lying to you? Are they hiding something? Are they being forthright?…

Revisiting the Past: Squishy Wizards

Apparently my last post struck a nerve with some folks. I had a great conversation on Facebook with a bunch of folks with comments like: “It’s a different world. The sooner you come to grips with that, the easier it’ll get for you.” (Rob) “But can be used to cause damage. Like to light a…

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