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In The Ashen Desert Caper- Greyhawk Castles & Crusades Mixed session report

Swords & Stitchery - Tue, 05/17/2022 - 06:16
 During tonight's Castles & Crusades rpg campaign put out by DM Steve, the forever DM myself got a chance to slip from behind the screen to play Asrog The Thief a 6th level PC. The C&C  game setting takes place on the world of Greyhawk where the Warden of Metamorphis Alpha rpg fame has crashed! And the world is one of Sword & Superscience but at a price. The Rain of Colorless Fire was actually Needles
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OSR Commentary - Greyhawk Grognard's Sword of Cthulhu rpg Kickstarter

Swords & Stitchery - Tue, 05/17/2022 - 00:45
 Three or four weeks ago I put money down on BRW Games, LLC's Swords of Cthulhu OSR rpg supplement kickstarter! And I can't wait to grab a physical copy of this Lovecraftian puppy! So why the blog entry after the Kickstarter?! Because I'm way behind on the blog entries folks. Joseph Bloch does amazing good rpg writing &  design work. So why put money Swords of Cthulhu? Because of something that Needles
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Lovecraftian Horrors In Timelines & Alternative 2d6 Time Travel Cepheus Engine rpg Campaign Action

Swords & Stitchery - Mon, 05/16/2022 - 22:39
 This is going to pick right up here from the last blog entry as this campaign comes together.  Could the Earth have ended as time travel basically makes a mockery of physics if it goes wrong!? The answer is a resounding yes! A time apcocalyse brings to mind Michael Brown's Afterday and Cepheus Atom . Trying to escape such a reality & timeline could be the focus for an Empire of Time game unto Needles
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The Grass Isn't Always Greener - Sunday Morning Prayer Breakfast & Beat Down! Play Report! Neon Lords of the Toxic Wasteland Rpg & Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise

Swords & Stitchery - Sun, 05/15/2022 - 14:41
 Our get together on a Sunday morning finds our group of gamer's PC in the grip of alien sentient mutant plants! The gang of player's PC's are on Cha'alt & in the middle of one of the worst neighborhoods on the planet after a night of partying! The players are hired as bouncers to clean out any left over partiers! Except things are not as they seem for our crew of Eighties inspired cybernetic & Needles
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'Alone In The Darkness' - Campaign Commentary On Colonial Troopers rpg & Adventurer,Conqueror, King Rpg Hybrid Campaign Session Report

Swords & Stitchery - Sat, 05/14/2022 - 18:23
 Being a forever DM sometimes is a great thing & sometimes frankly, 'it sucks as a friend of mine' another forever DM says. But there are lots of highlights of greatness take for example last night's Colonial Troopers & Adventurer, Conqueror, King's hybrid campaign. Which picks up from this post on the blog here. And this get's into last night's game session. The player's ship drops out of Needles
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OSR Review - CASTLE OLDSKULL - Oldskull Dragons From Kent David Kelly For Your Old School Campaigns.

Swords & Stitchery - Sat, 05/14/2022 - 06:43
" Have you been wanting to include some classic old school dragons in your campaign?  This book will save you hours of development time!  Many thousands of dice rolls have been made for you, with the results carefully collected into stat and treasure templates for easy reference and use.  Herein you will find 100 pre-generated dragons complete with unique names, combat statistics, spells (as Needles
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Sword & Sorcery Timelines & Alternative 2d6 Time Travel Cepheus Engine rpg Campaign Action

Swords & Stitchery - Sat, 05/14/2022 - 03:50
This is going to pick up right from this rpg blog post here. Time travel is a dangerous & expensive business, alternative Deep Time worlds with humanity or alternative humanity could be far more alien to our 2022 eyes. Reading through the Empire of Time rpg & the Barbaric rpg today there's some ideas that are rattling around my mind. Could the Barbaric rpg actually hold some real potential for Needles
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OSR Review - The Centaur Race By James Mishler & Jodi Moran Mishler From James Mishler Games For Your Old School Campaigns

Swords & Stitchery - Fri, 05/13/2022 - 15:31
" This booklet contains all the information you need to create a centaur player character for Labyrinth Lord or Advanced Labyrinth Lord (and is easily adaptable to other OSR systems). Details include both a centaur race and a centaur racial class, as well as information on creating centaur bands and camps. 12 pages (6 pages of content)."The Centaur Race By James Mishler & Jodi Moran Mishler is a Needles
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OSR Review & Commentary on The Rifter® #21 From Palladium Books For All Palladium Rpg Games

Swords & Stitchery - Thu, 05/12/2022 - 17:59
 "The Rifter is a vehicle to numerous Palladium role-playing worlds. It is a tool for Game Masters and players alike. A place to showcase new talent and exchange ideas for the entire Palladium Megaverse. Every issue, unique and informative." Rifter Issue number 21 is packed with news and coming attractions as well as exicting material for Palladium Fantasy, Heroes Unlimited and Rifts.A giant, 40 Needles
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OSR Commentary On The Empire of Time rpg by Paul Drye from Baggage Games As Alternative Time Travel Cepheus Engine rpg

Swords & Stitchery - Thu, 05/12/2022 - 06:41
 "The 21st century has cracked open the past and future–not historical periods, true, but really deep time. Dinosaurs are a day trip away on a fast ship and your potential stomping grounds range over billions of years. Pit yourself against a future slave-running Empire, trade between human colonies, or just explore a nearly infinite progression of Earths that get ever-more alien as you get Needles
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OSR Review & Commentary - Shemarrian Nation Adventure Rifts Sourcebook By Josh Sinsapaugh, Kevin Siembieda, & Jason Marker From Palladium Games For the Rifts Rpg

Swords & Stitchery - Wed, 05/11/2022 - 00:53
 "PAL0878 Shemarrian Nation Adventure Sourcebook Rifts RPG by Palladium BooksThe Shemarrians, the phantom right arm of Archie Three and a force to be reckoned with in the wild woods beyond the Eastern Wall (the Allegheny Mountains). An in-depth look at the fabricated femme fatales, their false society, and the schemes and dreams that Archie and Hagan have in store for them.- The Shemarrians and Needles
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OSR Review & Commentary On The Free Cepheus Engine rpg Fanzine & Supplement - issue #007 of the Cepheus Journal

Swords & Stitchery - Tue, 05/10/2022 - 20:14
 "Welcome to issue #007 of the Cepheus Journal. Since this is issue 007 we decided to make this a spy themed issue.To that end this issue of Cepheus Journal is taking a hard look at superspies and espionage. Norton Glover provides a short  set of rules for dealing with intelligence networks, a realistic upgrade for starting your adventures when compared with “So you are in a bar when…”, while Needles
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Step by step Battle Board To Be King Bat Rep.

Two Hour Wargames - Tue, 05/10/2022 - 19:26

Step by step Battle Board To Be King Bat Rep.


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Warrior Heroes To Be King and Warring Fleet Combo Pack

Two Hour Wargames - Tue, 05/10/2022 - 18:50

 Compatible with Warrior Heroes Adventures in Talomir our Fantasy RPG

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OSR Campaign Commentary - Palladium Games 'After The Bomb' First Edition rpg By Erick Wujcik From Palladium Games

Swords & Stitchery - Tue, 05/10/2022 - 13:35
 "After the Bomb is a post apocalyptic role playing game by Erick Wujcik and published by Palladium Books for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness, based on the classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic books by Peter Laird and Keven Eastman."First edition After The Bomb by Erick Wujcik holds a very special place in my heart. Supplement for the  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Needles
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How to Bring Player Character Backstory Into Campaigns Without Overstepping

DM David - Tue, 05/10/2022 - 12:30

The Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook tells players to create backstories for new characters. Xanathar’s Guide to Everything adds pages of tables to help players invent their characters’ backstories. The books‘ support for backstory makes sense: Such imagined histories help roleplay and when dungeon masters connect the characters’ backstories to their campaign, the game feels more personal to players.

Like any creative collaboration, using character backstory in a campaign proves harder than it seems. When a DM adapts or elaborates on a character’s backstory to fit the campaign, the additions might not fit the player’s vision. In a game, players only enjoy full creative control over their own characters. They deserve to keep that control without unwanted meddling, and that goes beyond not seeing people in their character’s backstory killed for dramatic effect. When a DM tinkers with backgrounds, player characters may stop feeling familiar and the players may lose a sense of owning their characters. I’m always hesitant to introduce important NPCs from PC backgrounds because I’m worried I won’t do the characters justice or portray the relationship the way the player envisioned it.

One method of incorporating character backstory works without ever returning to the people or places in a character’s history. Create new situations or characters that resemble the events from the character’s history. So if character left magic school after being falsely accused of stealing a valuable tome, put them in situations where other folks face false accusations or face exile from their home. If a character lost someone, don’t try to kill more of their family, but do create new situations that recall those memories. Such rhymes with the past help players reveal their characters.

Of course, most DMs want to go beyond mere rhymes. For a more powerful use of backstory, visit people and places from the characters’ histories. Reappearances highlight a player character’s unique importance to the campaign and follow the Small World Principle, but using characters from backstories takes more care.

I once played in an Adventurers League scenario that the DM started by asking everyone to name someone beloved from their character’s background. I named my monk’s master teacher. Later my teacher and the other beloved non-player characters appeared as prisoners to be rescued by the bad guy. The master my monk idolized died. Although I felt comfortable with the twist, this wasn’t the story I imagined.

Back when few players invented a backstory for characters because new characters died so often, I ran a campaign that included a paladin, and I invented an anti-paladin twin for the character. I liked the drama and failed to notice how trite and campy evil twins would eventually seem. I got lucky. My contribution to the character’s backstory worked. The player liked his character’s special importance as the brother of the group’s arch enemy. And no one mocked the evil twin trope. That was a different time.

Both those examples of DMs meddling in backstory ended fine, but either could have ended with hard feelings because the riskiest method for including character backstory is when DMs surprise players by plundering their histories for cheap motivation or lazy pathos. The motivation comes when, say, a character’s teacher just happens to be kidnapped for human sacrifice. The pathos comes when villain murders your character’s parents. Both combine when the DM opts to make a loved one into a villain. This I’m-your-father twist starts with a backstory that includes kind grandmother, and then ends when the DM turns her into a cult leader spilling blood for Orcus. Surprise!

Such surprises can sink a campaign even though similar twists can work fine in fiction. Writers of fiction create their characters and make them suffer as parts of the same job. In a D&D campaign such tricks can feel like the DM has forced a character into certain choices or trashed the creative work a player invested in backstory. A player could see Nana wielding the sacrificial blade and think not in my world and check out of the game. Early in D&D’s history, such stunts proved so irresistible to some DMs that many players felt most comfortable imagining their characters as orphans without a single attachment to their past.

Finding victims and villains from backstory works in D&D when the DM and player settle which parts of the backstory should be preserved in history and which parts a DM can revisit and elaborate for the campaign. Some players would welcome villains from their backstories as ongoing foes. Some might happily see Nana leading the cult of Orcus and the teacher they idolize captured despite his deadly fists of fury.

Collaborative planning does lose a potential surprise, but only to the one player behind the backstory. You can surprise the other players, the biggest audience for their story.

So, discuss ways to bring backstory into the game before play. As a DM, look over a character’s backstory and ask questions like these:

  • What characters and places from your backstory would you like to revisit in the game?
  • Based on your background, what unfinished business does your character have?
  • What sorts of situations would give your character a chance to resolve those loose ends, and how do you imagine the outcome?

None of this discussion means that you need to let players script situations and outcomes. D&D remains a game with dice, where unplanned twists can add to the fun, but the players‘ answers to these questions can inspire your preparation.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

OSR Campaign Commentary Update & Review - Interface: Cybernetics in Clement Sector By Michael Johnson From Independence Games

Swords & Stitchery - Tue, 05/10/2022 - 01:15
 "We can rebuild you...Interface: Cybernetics in Clement Sector details the use of cybernetics in the Clement Sector setting.  From those who hate and mistrust cybernetics, like those on Harrison, to the Caxtonists on Kingston who feel that cybernetics make them closer to God, you'll find it all in here.   While seen as a bit gauche in a setting where biological rebuilds are more accepted, Needles
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OSR Review & Commentary - SURVIVE THIS!! Vigilante City - Villain's Guide From Bloat Games

Swords & Stitchery - Sun, 05/08/2022 - 21:31
 Sometimes you've got to back off of something to really appreciate it such is the case of recently with Bloat Games SURVIVE THIS!! Vigilante City -Villain's Guide PDF. This book clocks in at three hundred pages of OSR super villain goodness so in other words this is the Dungeon Master's Guide for the SURVIVE THIS!! Vigilante City Rpg. This is the DM tool kit book for the SURVIVE THIS!! VigilanteNeedles
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Exhibit Species 667 - The Nihilist For The Sword of Cepheus Rpg & Your Old School 2d6 Campaigns

Swords & Stitchery - Sun, 05/08/2022 - 16:20
The Nihilist  0kg Outsider, extraplanar flyer, GBJAA0 #App: 1 Treasure: None Athleltics-1, Sorcery-2, Melee Combat-1, Recon-1, Survival-1 Special attack; armor 0; flies 20m/action Neutral; Morale DM+4 The Nihilist is a dread elemental spirit of the planar Winds, famous for its might and guile. • Immune to non-magical weapons. • Immune to poison and disease. • Knows 3D spells. The Nihilist demon Needles
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Sanctuary & The Darkness of Space Between the Sectors - The Thieves World Box Set & the Cepheus Engine rpg

Swords & Stitchery - Sat, 05/07/2022 - 17:20
 Over the last twenty four hours we've been looking at original Dungeons & Dragons rpg & the original Traveller rpg on the OD&D forums here. And up pops up Chaosium's Thieves' World another artifact from an earlier time peroid in gaming. And let's look at the wiki for the  Thieves' World box set; "The Thieves' World Complete Sanctuary Adventure Pack is a boxed set published by Chaosium in 1981, Needles
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