Adventure | Design

Medieval Horror – Lands of the Dark Wicche

One of my favorite old-school videogame RPGs was 1992’s Darklands. Set in medieval Germany, the game was brutally difficult, seeped in superstition and folklore, and — way ahead of its time — a massive sandbox you could explore. It was also incredibly buggy, had UX issues, and required some some serious autoexec voodoo to get […]

Continue Reading...

Adventure | Design

5 Ways to Make Urban Adventures Great – The Moon of Thorns

Fantasy roleplaying games are home to many magnificent, fictional cities. From the sprawling metropolises of Waterdeep, Lankhmar, and Sigil to the corrupt and insidious Arkham, Menzoberranzan, and Bögenhafen, these great cities connect players and stitch campaigns together. How many adventurers have had an ale in Baldur’s Gate? How many investigators have saved Arkham from cosmic […]

Continue Reading...

Adventure

Is Slasher Horror Impossible? The Mound in the Yard

The slasher film is a popular take on horror. In RPGs, slasher adventures are utterly underrepresented. For Halloween this year, I went on a search for a great ’70s or ’80s style slasher killer adventure. I almost came up empty. I found RPG-adjacent storytelling games like The Final Girl and Slasher, and I also found […]

Continue Reading...

Adventure

Playing Villains – Minutes Not Hours

Steve Jackson Games has produced some of the best roleplaying material on the market for Mission Impossible-style action games. Even if you’re not a GURPS player, if you’re a GM looking for modern action ideas, grab the Exploits supplement. It covers everything from audio surveillance and lockpicking to dumpster diving and grand theft auto. It’s […]

Continue Reading...

Adventure

Writing Savage Fantasy – Conan’s Queen of the Red City

There are many sub-genres of fantasy adventure — high fantasy, low fantasy, style sword and sorcery, whatever Planescape is, and lots more. But my favorite type of fantasy for a one-shot adventure is savage fantasy. Savage fantasy’s defining pillar is that it is dangerous, unpredictable, and unbalanced. Tough and unpredictable adventures are perfect for one-shots, […]

Continue Reading...

Adventure

Use Your Outtakes – The Curse of Sekhmet

One of my favorite pieces of movie trivia is that the famous mine car chase from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was originally planned for Raiders of the Lost Ark. If you read the original Raiders screenplay, you’ll find the scene at the very end. After Indy and Marion recover the ark from […]

Continue Reading...

Adventure

Lovecraft in the Ice Age – Canyon of the Snow Cairns

The ice age is probably the most ignored RPG setting. It’s also one of the best historical settings for Lovecraftian horror. Let me make my case: Every element of the setting makes for sheer desperation. In the ice age, civilization is viscerally surrounded by the dangerous unknown. Night IS dark and full of terrors. This […]

Continue Reading...