Get to Know the Death Knight

It wouldn’t be Halloween without a good slasher film or show. The slasher genre is one of my favorites, as it deals with a single threat (usually), a well-defined location (ideally), and the mythos is surface-level enough to give you the deets without getting bogged down (until the sequels). It also lends itself to genre deconstruction in a way that can nail the deconstruction while staying firmly within the genre, something not exactly easy to do (Scream is a goddamn masterpiece in this regard, and the TV series of the same name is actually pretty phenomenal. Yeah, both seasons).

The Schemes of the Archfey, Part Three

At last we come to the third part of the Schemes of the Archfey, in which I offer story hooks and political interactions for the archetypes of Archfey (archfeytypes) that I described earlier in this series. This article covers the Mother of Redcaps, the Dream-Tyrant, the Winter Lord, the Muse of Steel, and the Eldest. Particularly with the Eldest, I’ve tossed out story ideas every time I’ve mentioned them, just because I think most DMs will be less familiar with how to use them.

Bluebeard’s Bride – Horror RPG Kickstarter by Magpie Games

There is a new role-playing game Kickstarter that you will find very interesting. It is Bluebeard’s Bride, and it is a mature feminine horror themed game based on Bluebeard’s fairy tale. There are several stretch goals already met that add a ton to the game that looks to be already full of awesomeness. Here are the details from Bluebeard’s Bride Kickstarter page:

Bluebeard’s Bride is an investigatory horror tabletop roleplaying game for 3-5 players, written and designed by Whitney “Strix” Beltrán, Marissa Kelly, and Sarah Richardson, and based on the Bluebeard fairy tale.

In this game you and your friends explore Bluebeard’s home as the Bride, creating your own beautifully tragic version of the dark fairy tale. Investigate rooms, discover the truth of what happened, experience the nightmarish phantasmagoria of this broken place, and decide whether or not you are a faithful or disloyal bride.

Back the game, download it from our first update, and give it a try!

Bluebeard’s Bride is based on the Powered by the Apocalypse system used in Apocalypse World, Dungeon World, Monsterhearts, Masks, and more. It’s a simple system; when your character takes an action that fits a move, the move tells you what happens, or you roll two six-sided dice to find out. Since this is a horror game, we have modified it so that the majority of moves use no dice; this harkens back to telling ghost stories around the fire.

Widow’s Walk – A Betrayal at House on the Hill Expansion by Avalon Hill

Avalon Hill recently released Widow’s Walk Expansion for the popular board game Betrayal at House on the Hill. The main game has a lot of replay with the numerous haunts and game board changes each time you play. We have had the original game for a while, and now with the expansion, we are excited to add 50 more haunts, room tiles to the game, additional cards, and another floor to explore in the house. Widow’s Walk released October 14th, and I would recommend that if you don’t have House on he Hill then you pick it up, and the expansion.  You will need the base game in order to play with the expansion.

betrayal_gallery_2_0If you have never played Betrayal at House on the Hill, it is not a complicated game, and I think the rules are easy to understand. It is a perfect cooperative game to play during your game night for 3 to 6 people, and when we play a game usually lasts about an hour. After playing the expansion for a few sessions, I have to say that the new expansion haunts are incredible. They blend well with the previous haunts from the original game. They’ve added a dumbwaiter to some rooms; so players can travel between floors more easily, as well as additional tokens that can help with room ability tracking and new monsters.  We have only played through a fraction of the haunts so far, but it is nice to now have 100 haunt scenarios and just make this great game better!

There is also a special bonus “mega haunt” that is triggered when all of the explorers have completed specific haunts.

You can pick up the game on Amazon here:

D&D Volo’s Guide to Monsters Previews Collection

Volo’s Guide to Monsters, a new hardcover book of monsters for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, is releasing very soon (November 15, 2016 or earlier in gaming stores). The book features new monsters for a Dungeon Master to unleash on his players, lore and lairs for classic monsters, and new playable races. Here are some previews to look at while you wait to get this book in your hands.

The Warlock Class, Part Zero

So, funny story, I was digging through boxes and boxes of books and Fantasy & Science Fiction magazines at my parents’ house the other day, when I found my old copy of Player’s Option: Spells & Magic. In case you’re not familiar with the Player’s Option series, they more or less constitute a 2.5 edition of D&D. I’ve mentioned Skills & Powers several times in the course of the History of the Classes. Spells & Magic picks apart the magic system and offers variant classes, spellcasting rules, and lots of new niche-use spells. Anyway, thumbing through this tome for the first time in… uh… sixteen or seventeen years, I was flabbergasted to discover that there are rules for warlocks here, as (somewhat) distinct from wizards. Since this clearly pre-dates Complete Arcane, which I foolishly labeled “Part One,” I’m obligated by the unholy power of numbers to label this article “Part Zero.” (God help me if I should learn of a 1e or OD&D warlock as a discrete class.)

Get to Know the Crossroads

After a diversion into some discussion of Nemesis, I return this week to encourage people to get to know things. In the name of this spooky season, I am continuing with demons, devils, ghoulies, ghosties, goblins, and so forth. Ok, so I covered a type of devil and scarecrows thus far for the month and that’s it. Whatever, let’s not make a big deal about it. Rather than discuss a particular creature, I wanted to instead talk about the folklore of the crossroads, and the supernatural beings that are said to patronize them. Don’t worry, there will be some discussion of D&D critters, though maybe not the ones you think. If you’ve missed the rest of the series so far, you can catch up with it here.

Too Much of a Good Thing: Success and Magic Items

Instead of helping people get to know D&D creatures and their lore, this week we will discuss something completely different: magic items and player success. So very often, these two things go hand in hand. The players accomplish a task (saving a village, killing a monster, etc.), and not only enjoy the victory, they are compensated materially. Sometimes, the goal itself is the attainment of a magic item. The discussions in which I have participated tend to agree that groups questing for items for each other is a good way to provide story for everyone, while linking it to an item. The warlock wants a spellblade that once belonged to a fallen paladin in order to forge a stronger link with her patron and power her magic with the broken oaths. Sounds like a good, terrible quest for everyone.

Upwind Project from Biohazard Games

Imagine Bakshi’s classic animated film Wizards has a head-on collision with Disney’s Treasure Planet and the resulting fire is put out with a whole lot of Studio Ghibli’s Castle in the Sky. That, in an unexpected, animated mash-up, is Upwind.

Upwind is a narrative style RPG set in a strange alternate world of floating island nations, flying sailing ships, long lost technology, wild elemental powers, looming war and forgotten legacies.

Upwind is powered by the Q-system, an original stakes-based, playing card-driven mechanic that gives every encounter consequences with meaningful, narrative-building outcomes. With its unique bidding rules, Upwind plays as fast as you can tell your story.