Make Maps | Leave Gaps – 3 Ways to Balance World Detail In Game

I was thinking recently about the RPG design philosophy ‘Make Maps, Leave Gaps.’ Basically, this sentiment translates to ‘have some details, but leave space for inspiration/player interest to create the environment.’ Which, for me, has me wondering what level of granular detail is appropriate (or even desirable) for a world building project. This is especially true as I continue to write about my setting (originally posted here on Tribality) The City of Salt in Wounds.

On the one hand, I don’t want Salt in Wounds (or any world I build) to feel

A Lich for Every Class: The Paths of Transcendence (Part 2)

This is the second part of a multi-part series about the character classes developing until they become ‘lich-like;’ that is, following the path of their power until they become something more or less than human. You can read the first part here. To summarize:

The Path of the Lich – Wizards ‘kill’ their bodies and senses to free their mind in order to better study & master the arcane.

The Fantasy Cold War: Synoma

‘Adventuring’ is weird. In a geopolitical sense, you have these supremely powerful beings (aka murder hoboes) exploring the world, thwarting (or occasionally enacting) plots that represent an existential threat to the planet, and (perhaps more intriguing) recovering artifacts & magics that are -essentially- weapons of mass destruction. This ignore the fact that the adventurers themselves are *becoming* walking, talking weapons of mass destruction. This is usually explained within a ‘points of light’ context where, while there may be towns and kingdoms with a varying degree of civilization the world at large is monster haunted and adventurers are the only ones equipped to deal with the horror. Or -perhaps more plausibly- they have a unique mix of power and gullibility to be truly useful to scheming monarchs who make exorbitant promises knowing that they won’t have to pay 9 times out of 10.

Alternate Magic: The Power of Sensory Deprivation

A friend of mine was telling me about the concept (via 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons) of the Shadowfell; a dark reflection of the mundane regularly leaking into the prime material world. Or, alternately, even when you thought you were walking through the ‘regular’ world you could really be travelling into and out of Shadowfell. Specifically, we discussed dungeons in this context; that this framework supported the (oftentimes totally implausible) existence of huge dungeons (the construction of which could serve no discernible purpose). There’s similar shenanigans going in in Golarion (the Pathfinder setting) specifically around the God Zon-Kuthon and his puppet state, Nidal. Alternately, I think the film version

A Lich for Every Class: The Paths to Transcendence

This is Part 1 of a Multipart Series | Part 2

Inspired by this post on the fabulous Goblin Punch blog about an immortal, evil, ‘lichlike’ path available for fighters, I’ve been thinking about Liches and the ‘other class’ equivalents to such things. I’ve always liked the idea that as an adventurer gains levels they slowly lose/supersede their humanity (elevanity? tieflinganity? you know what I mean). I’ve also always thought that liches slowly replace their essential humanity with a certain expression of magic, and that this is baked into the progression of certain wizards.

Most undeath is totally unrelated to class (zombiehood, ghostdom, vampirism, or ghoulification) but for liches it is the development of arcane magic that provides the path (and it might be why certain individuals choose the study wizardry in the first place). Moving forward, assuming that each class represents an equivalently valid ‘path to power’ what would each class giving up their humanity to increase/merge with their chosen power path look like?

System Agnostic: The City of Salt in Wounds is Back – Bigger & Better!

Hey all you tribality peeps. If you regularly follow this (much neglected) column then you might know about my setting The City of Salt in Wounds that I was writing about regularly before taking a break. If you’re unfamiliar, Salt in Wounds is the economic powerhouse built around the perpetual butchery of the unkillable, regenerating tarrasque (fantasy godzilla). Well, I just wanted to let you know that I’ve launched Salt in Wounds as its own site, with custom art work (that’s still coming in) and I’ll be posting about it weekly.

Check out the Salt in Wounds Setting

I also set it up so there are distinct For Players and For GMs sections. If you are planning to run a game you can send your players a link so they can get a taste, learn some of the lore without having the deep dark secrets of the place spoiled like so much rotting monster meat. (Of course, they might peak anyway.)

Be sure to let me know what you think! And thanks for bearing with me as I got the site set up.

[Art by Jeffery Chen, commissioned specifically for Salt in Wounds]

Survivalist Gaming Ending, System Agnostic Irregularity, and the Future of Salt in Wounds

Hey there gentle tribality reader.

J.M. Perkins here, proud to have been able to write my two weekly columns for Tribality for the last three months. The time has come for me to make a couple changes with my writing here, and I thought I’d post about it to give ya’ll a heads up.

-I’ll be stopping my survivalist gaming column. It’s been a blast to write, but I feel like I’ve wrung out all of my ideas (for now at least).

-I’ll be shifting to an irregular posting schedule for my ‘System Agnostic’ instead of the weekly schedule.

But I’ll be doing all this to make more time to…


Right now, I’m busy transferring the Salt in Wounds material to its own website. I’ve also commissioned an artist to produce some art based on my specifications. My goal is to do a weekly post just about Salt in Wounds. I’ll have more information for you (including how to sign up for updates) soon. (And here it is!)

So if Salt in Wounds is your jam, I should have some exciting stuff for you soon. And if not, I hope you continue to enjoy all the awesome work here on Tribality (I know I do). Anyway take care, and be sure to wish me luck in expanding Salt in Wounds in the comments below.

System Agnostic: Fisher Binding (Epic Spell)

This epic level magic binds a specific office (a kingship, mayoral office, or other… although lesser offices can usually not afford the incredibly steep material costs of the spell) with a specific land. While this spell is in effect, the mood, health, and alignment of the office holder will have direct effects on the land bound or overseen. This binding is then transferred to the new office holder upon the death or retirement of the previous office holder. This office so bound to a specific land is hereafter referred to as a Fisher King even though the office holder need not be a king.

System Agnostic: The Ring of Vainglory (Magical Item)

The Ring of Vainglory (usually -falsely- referred to as a Ring of Courage) is a intricate, looping band of platinum set with beautiful obsidian inserts. Even without knowledge of its magical nature, the ring is an stunning work of art made by a master craftsman that could fetch a high price upon the open market.

System Agnostic: Salt in Wounds [pt 4] – Briddu Yittano, Journeyman God-Butcher

New website for Salt in Wounds!

Briddu Yittano

Race: Human, Male

Age: 35

Affiliation: God-Butchers (Journeyman)


Briddu Yittano is a large, heavily muscled man with black hair and gray eyes. His face is well lined from a hard life, his skin is light brown except for his right arm which is an enlarged wrap of throbbing muscle, red as though it were meat devoid of skin except where large brown scales have grown over the exposed flesh. Briddu has a near-permanent scowl on… Read more here!

[Art by VergasMike]