City States of Blood (The Vampire Lords of the West)

History is recorded of those periods of time the victors want remembered. But sometimes it’s best to forget. In the many ages of man, there have been peaks and valleys. One of those valleys took place in the City States of the Bloodlords in the far West. During that time, powerful vampire lords ruled with…

The Burden of the Bones

This idea came to me the other night and is burning a hole in my brain. I see all sorts of interesting adventure ideas in the future… ——————– There are a few priests, scattered throughout the world, who swear to uphold the “Burden of the Bones” when they are called upon. It is a sacred…

Masks of Power and Position

Had a strange thought the other day while I was watching parts of Thor: The Dark World and Gods of Egypt… masks seem to be underused items in roleplaying games. If you think about it, we see them in a ton of movies and TV. The Scream and V for Vendetta masks can still be recognized today, but even…

Take a Dip in the Pool…

Amazingly, I am on vacation this week. My goals are simple. Eat. Sleep. Relax. Read. And write, of course. So while sitting in a hot tub with my family, I began to wonder what in fact actually exists in some of those puddles you find in dungeons. Yes, in the bright sunshine I was pondering…

Who will you run into in your next dungeon?

As I work on a first level adventure for Mazes & Perils, I was struck by this odd thought… Why do we never seem to see NPCs in a lot of the dungeons we crawl? Sure, occasionally we have to rescue a damsel in distress or break a friend out of jail, but usually it’s just…

Exploring a Dungeon’s Atmosphere

As I wrote up the “Wolves in the Walls” article about crafting dungeons, I realized I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about next. I’d covered ceilings, floors, and walls. A year ago I wrote about staircases. And I have an entire book about doors. What was left? Turns out, there’s quite a…

The Wolves in the Walls

By now we’ve covered ceilings and floors, I think it’s about time to focus on the walls of our dungeon and see how we might view them differently. If you search the collective consciousness (and the insane number of idioms we have in the English language), you can find some interesting sayings or phrases focused…

Where did that come from? (Item ownership)

Every item in a game world has a story. Sure, it might not be an exciting story, but it has a story. And when you go to a blacksmith or a “general store” you have a great opportunity to use an item’s story to help inspire plots in the world – or at the very…

The Wandering Tomb Table

What? A “wandering” tomb?? What the heck is that? Hold on a second there. Let me explain. In medieval times, especially during times of war, marauding groups would charge across the countryside and die in numerous ways. Battle. Starvation. Disease. Natural disaster. Or simply not stopping to ask for directions. A great leader of the…

15 Noises to Explore in the Dungeon

Put yourself in the same dungeon your PCs are exploring. You see the torchlight dancing across rough hewn stone walls, small puddles of condensation, and in the reflection from the party’s armor and weapons. One of the PCs stops suddenly because she thinks she heard something… but what was it? Sure, you can use your…

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