Archive | Meta Thursday

AaWBlog Closing, New Adventurer’s Chronicle magazine coming Spring 2016


We regret to inform our avid readers that the AaWBlog is being retired (sans Tales from the Tabletop). We would like to take this opportunity to recognize the entire AaWBlog team: Mike Myler, Justin Andrew Mason, Rory Toma, Lance Kepner, Tim Snow, Stefanos Patelis, Brian Wiborg, Jonathan Ely, and the rest of our fantastic contributors. AAW […]

Stealing Stones: Subterranean Adventures

subterranean adventures

Subterranean environments are one of the most beloved locales for exploration or adventure in tabletop gaming. Synonymous with the concept of “dungeon delving,” underground realms have been a consistent trope used by GMs for decades. That’s not to suggest that explorations into the world below don’t have their place or serve a very important function—there […]

Mendacious Materials: GMing and Clues – Drinking Horses

did you get that thing - That thing that I sent you

Whether you’re running a prepared adventure, using the AaWBlog as part of your table’s story, or running a campaign all your own, clues are likely to play a critical role in the overall structure of the game. The best sessions don’t reveal information right out with a skill check, however, and sometimes incorporating nuanced clues […]

Mendacious Materials: Blood Thrall Template

blood thrall template

Blood Thrall Template (+2) Although the debauchery of the Cultus Sanguineus were disrupted and upended by adventurers last year, the metropolis of Mohkba still suffers from the corruption brought to it by some of its greediest, most bloodthirsty nobles. One of the most curious—and disturbing—instances are blood thralls, maddened creatures perpetually caught between life and […]

Strange Salve: Aquatic Encounter Deck

aquatic encounter deck 13

The Aquatic Encounter Deck has 30 different encounters for waterborne adventures, including floating debris, sea monsters, troublesome harbor bureaucrats, shipwreck survivors, pirates, and more! As soon as a link for physical cards is available we’ll let you know and update the page, but check out the rest of Strange Salve and the 2015 AaWBlog Adventure Path until then (unless […]

Meta Thursday (Lands of Ludolog): Vertical Dungeon Design

vertical dungeon design 1

Vertical Dungeon Design This week’s Lands of Ludolog articles are loosely based on a favorite childhood vertical platformer video game (Kid Icarus) and today we’re considering what elements of those level designs might be applicable to fun map layouts based on the same general premise—a vertical dungeon. A typical dungeon already has multiple levels, but […]

Meta Thursday: Isolate Don’t Incapacitate


While doing my first ever seminar panel at Aethercon [available here! -MM], I stumbled on a great, simplification of a principle that applies equally well to both monster design and game design in general: isolate don’t incapacitate. My favorite example of this is the temporal filcher, specifically the time filch ability. This wonderful grappler snatches […]

Meta Thursday: Confessions of an Evil GM (Sandbox vs. Railroading)


When I started playing RPGs, railroading was the only way ahead. Then something called a sandbox came along. I initially thought, “isn’t that where children play and cats do their business?” That’s only partly accurate; sandbox design is a way of making the campaign world more alive. More alive? I just wanted to kill things […]

Meta Thursday: Empowering Experience – Setting aside CR


Everyone has their own concept of what an ideal tabletop experience should entail. Sometimes this means a rigid adherence to every detail to really drive home the simulation and aspects of reality inherent in a roleplaying game, right down to the carefully maintained inventory of carried equipment and penalties for anyone a pound past the […]

Meta Thursday (Uralicans Uncut): Xyrx Psionics!

xyrx crystal

The subject of psionics—as a GM, as a player, and as a regular about-the-town fellow in the RPG industry (specifically in the D&D and Pathfinder genres)—comes up often. Some people hate them, some people love them, some don’t care either way, and of course, some folks don’t even know about them (if you’re still playing […]

Meta Thursday (Uralicans Uncut): Insanity and Psionics

Image_Portfolio_101_Fantasy Jason Walton 07

One the biggest misconceptions within many roleplaying games revolves around insanity; this isn’t to say that it should not have a place in RPGs, or implemented in one particular way, but that generally it is overzealous and harsh in the depiction of high mental states without showing the progression of the actual condition. One might […]