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An Argument Against Spell Lists

On the shelf beside me sits a variety of books detailing wizard spells. From my humble 1984 copy of "The Complete Wizard's Handbook" to my special edition "Dungeon Crawl Classics", they are all packed full of spell lists and detailed descriptions of the magical effects. They are absolutely wonderful. I think it's time to do away with them. Modern D&D has, over the years, tried to undo the power curve of wizard. There is no quadratic wizard in 5e (in part because they are less powerful and fighters are more powerful). Now wizards get cantrips and their most powerful spell (wish) comes with a host of restrictions. Wish being restricted so much is pretty egregious, but I digress; wizards are now "balanced". Zzarchov Kowolski does a great job of summarizing the origin of this imbalance, in his blog post Everything you think about Game Mastering is probably wrong: Part VI Assumptions about game play , Kowolski points out that we've only assumed
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A Quick Method of Character Linking

I do not like cold starts. Opening in a tavern or what else kills the believability for me. It also lacks any hook for why the party should be working together instead of apart. To alleviate this I exclusively have some sort of starting condition. Most recently a caravan of refugees traveling across expansive, empty steppes. This is better than starting out nowhere but I still think there should be some glue to bind the party before they set out on adventure. To accomplish this, I've devised a method of quickly "linking" characters together, and then actually putting that to good use by making the players actually think. So here is my session zero character linking rules: Every character will roll a die. Which die is dependent on how many players you have and what the starting conditions are. A a larger die (such as a d10) will result in less relationships, while a smaller die (such as a d4) will result in many more relationships. A d8 tends to work well. In small groups,

Tomorrow's Sky

Let me begin by saying thank you to all of you who have taken the time to read the posts prior to this one about Drier Deserts, Hotter Suns, as well as all of you who have taken the time to read the early version of the game. So before I get into rambling, I would like to announce that DD/HS is now available to all on, I'm so very excited to get this game onto people's tables. So please, reach out if you haven't already if you have any thoughts on the game. Drier Deserts, Hotter Suns (Playtest Rules) by Daniel Harris   This is part 3 of a series detailing Drier Deserts, Hotter Suns, a space western rpg. Click here for part 2 This game has gone through a lot. Having always been a fan of Star Wars and Sci-fi in general, I've always yearned for a RPG system about flying fast spaceships. I'm sure there are many, but during my brief anime phase in high-school, Cowboy Bebop become the catylist that finally convinced me, an already new TRPG fan, to write a

Cowboy Design

With the Space Western being such a diverse genre, writing rules has proved to be difficult and it has taken years of revisions and lessons learnt to get to a solid place. Through that, a set of design principles have emerged to help guide the formation of the current rule set. In this post, I'll go over some of those concepts and also reveal some of the mechanics that these concepts have informed. This is part 2 of a series detailing Drier Deserts, Hotter Suns, a space western rpg. Click here for part 1 DD/HS is now out on! Go download it here Modularity , The rules should be light enough and not bound together so tightly that tearing things out or adding them screws the game. Systems should be loose while the game remains cohesive. This means that hopefully you can fit the rules to your style of play or world. There are no rules for alien species as player characters, but it should be easy enough to add that to your game. Meanwhile, removing the swordplay rules

Space Cowboys

Around 2012, when I first became deeply interested in roleplaying games, I had a deep and unfaltering urge to write one. My GM experience was limited but I had played enough that I felt confident in my ability to produce a fully fledged book. Years later, I realized I was a touch misguided back then. Today I am on my fourth (that I can count) prototype of the game I started working on all those years ago. Only after absorbing as much rules and game content as I could, DMing and writing adventures as much as I could, have I managed to put together something that I am confident in. The Game, currently titled “Drier Deserts, Hotter Suns”, is a love letter to the space western genre. The design has hopefully been refined to make players feel like they are a part of the action. In the coming weeks I will give some insights on the game as well as some of the rules I feel contribute to my design philosophies. I will also hopefully detail the failed prototypes and timeline of the project, up


Welcome! The time has come for me to start posting blogposts. I may be late to the game but I think the whole "a wizard arrives precisely when he means to" thing applies here. So first, a bit about me: A software developer by trade, I've been playing table top RPGs for nearly 10 years. Not many to some but more than many. I started with D&D fourth edition then quickly regressed through third, second, and then to advanced with OSRIC, B/X with LOTFP, and now back to the future with fifth edition D&D. I've stumbled my way to competency as a dungeon master and in doing so I've honed a love for writing rules, map making, worldbuilding, and heavy weird fantasy. Aside from TRPGs I nerd out about all sorts of niche things and my collection of hobbies are vast. Hopefully I'll be able to explore some of those here. This blog, as I intend to keep it, will be a place to share my DMing tips and OSR creations. Keep an eye out for Homerules and the fruits of ru