No Planning Challenge, Part 2

To challenge yourself is a good thing. Especially if it is for a no planning challenge! As you saw in the last post, I set a challenge for myself: To not prep at all, with only the pages I had written in my world of Kavallor Almanac to go by! When we left them, they…

No Planning Challenge, Part 1

I am not sure how many people do this regularly, but this week I set a challenge for myself: Allow myself no preparation at all and only use the pages of my Kavallor Almanac for reference. Admittedly, I usually don’t prep much and let my players drive the story. Most of the time, I just…

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…

Revisiting the Past: Why Cantrips Bug Me in 5e

Way back when the world was flat and I was playing 1e AD&D in the mid 1980s, a book came out that threw a number of monkey wrenches into our nice, ordered existence… Unearthed Arcana. There were some cool things like Cavaliers and extended item lists. There were some weird things like the new stat…

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