Posts Tagged ‘RPG Blog Carnival’

I love this month’s RPG Blog Carnival theme, “How Do You Inspire Your Players?” This month’s carnival is hosted by Johnn Four over at Roleplaying Tips. What a great theme he’s chosen. As game masters keeping players engaged is our number one job. If no one is having a good time, what’s the point of playing?

Here are a few tips from me to help keep your PCs engaged at the table.

Give Them What They Want

Odds are you know your players pretty well. Engage them by playing to their sensibilities and giving each player type at your table an engaging encounter at least once per session. Let the power gamer take on a pile of enemies, the actor talk to interesting NPCs, and the explorer wander some unknown cave or lost temple. Making sure you engage each player once per session in this way will keep them invested in the other parts of the game. It also makes them want to come back to the table week after week. Change up the amount of time spent on different encounters. If most of one session takes place slugging it out in the arena, maybe the next should be spent negotiating with the corrupt pit bosses to get the winning fees and other rewards the party earned.

What if you don’t know your players so well? Even if you’ve been playing together for years it never hurts to ask your players what they want. Once you know what they’re looking for make sure you’re crafting worlds and stories which they find entertaining. If no one in your group likes gothic horror but they love science fiction, maybe put away Ravenloft for some other players and grab Mike Shea’s Aeon Wave instead.

Reward Daring

I say it’s not enough to have players simply be engaged in the story. I want my players to take bold risks. Die Hard would be a pretty boring movie if John McClane simply snuck out of the building and let the authorities handle Hans Gruber. Let your PCs be heroes. Have them drive the story. When my group waffles with the decision-making, I reward the first person to take action.

Don’t get me wrong. I love it when my PCs are planning. I don’t like when they spend 30 minutes arguing about how to handle an encounter with four kobolds. Anytime a player takes a calculated risk (as opposed to doing something stupid for no reason), I reward them. Most games have some built in mechanic for rewarding cool actions like fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons’ inspiration mechanic. Of course if my players need a little bit more of a safety net to get in the game, I’m not above adding a (patent-pending) bravery bonus to a roll when a PC does something cool and risky. Those are the kinds of actions I want to encourage my players to take.

Allow for Automatic Successes

When an action is described in a particularly amazing way by a player, I have been known to grant an automatic success. This encourages my players to not only take risks, but remain engaged in the game. The more actively they listen to the story, the better they can describe their actions and get the payoff of an automatic success with a great description. I use this technique sparingly since it is a game-breaking reward.

A great example of this is in the 2012 Acquisitions, Inc. PAX game around 1:51:00. Watch as Wil Wheaton describe’s his character’s acrobatics.

Use Their Backstories

A great way to inspire the players to get involved in your story is to use the stories they create. Every great PC has a great backstory the player has put time and energy into creating. The same way you want the players to invest in your story, invest in theirs. Challenge yourself to weave at least one PC backstory into the campaign in some way each session. It doesn’t always need to be a big dramatic showdown with the villain who killed the fighter’s father every time. Maybe an old mentor shows up with some helpful information or a PC’s friend is in town and they run into each other. That sort of thing keeps the players engaged and delightfully surprised.

Call Them Out

When all else fails, feel free to call your players out. I play most of my games through Roll20 at a time after all my players have gone to work. Some work longer hours, others are fathers, and all have the distraction of a computer connected to the internet right in front of their faces. There are times when I feel I’m doing my best GM song and dance, throwing out all sorts of inspiring tidbits, and no one seems engaged. It is at those times I will remind my players to get their heads in the game with the phrase, “Now is the time for heroes.” I’m telling them, “Stop reading Facebook, and start taking action to save the world.” Don’t be afraid to let your players know you need them to be more actively engaged. A big part of what they get out of the game is what they put into it. Encourage them to give it their all and be the heroes they’ve built.

Upcoming for the Blog

I also need to announce some changes here at World Builder Blog. Over the last two years I’ve worked very hard to make sure this blog was updated twice a week with longer posts like this one every Tuesday and Thursday. Starting next week the blog will only update with these longer posts once a week on Wednesdays.

I’ve been spending so much time blogging and podcasting that it helped me get some other RPG design jobs to which I want to dedicate time. More information on those as they develop! I also want to dedicate time to putting out the Exploration Age Campaign Guide and making it the best it can be. I can only do so much in a week, but never fear. This blog will continue to update regularly, though less frequently, than it did. Thank you all so much for reading over the years. Let’s keep making awesome stuff together. You rock.

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, check out my podcasts, find my products on the DMs Guild, tell your friends about the blog, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

I want to thank everyone who helped make this RPG Blog Carnival a huge success!!!! Organized by Johnn Four over at Roleplaying Tips, the carnival is hosted by a different blog each month. The owner of the hosting blog picks a RPG-related theme and then invites other bloggers to write at least one post on that theme in their own blogs. In December this blog hosted with the theme of Homebrew Holiday gifts and the entries were all super awesome. I’m not lying, the bloggers brought the heat.

So without further adieu… here are the entries!

5th Edition D&D Homebrew Creations

5e GrognardGoblins of Eska – A PC race of awesome for fifth edition from Jon Bupp.

5e GrognardHuan’anpan of Eska (Dog men) – A new PC race of canine humanoids and an updated wand of teeth (magic item) for fifth edition.

5e GrognardObsidian Giant – A fifth edition update to an obscure, but awesome monster.

Connors CampaignsD&D Slave BG – A new background for PCs who were slaves.

Daemons & DeathraysBizarre Bazaar – Fantastic Items for the Planes for D&D Fifth Edition Brian Rubinfeld provides five new magic items: diabolic firebrand,  bottle of dream salve, brass ring of the efreeti, channeling hilt of Zerthimon, and token of he who smiles.

Daemons & Deathrays – Gnolls – A Ferocious Race for D&D 5e Gives the classic race a story and stats for players to make PCs.

Loot the Body5 Magic Items For Magic Users – New magic items from Chris Delvo for those who cast. Take a peak at gauntlets of efreet, idiot’s guide to being a wizard, baby’s first homunculus, and amulet of the twins.

Loot the BodyBone Fly Swam – A monster – it’s a swarm of undead insects!

Loot the BodyGrippli Zen Monks – A monster – gripplis are some kick butt tree frog humanoids!

Loot the BodyTreasure Type Z: The Revised Hunter – A variant ranger class – this revised archetype seeks to change that which has left many unsatisfied.

Loot the BodyUnearthed Arcana Review: That Old Black Magic (plus a new Tiefling!) – A (sub)race – kyton tieflings carry the blood of their namesake.

Merric’s Musings5e Encounter: The Stone Spider A preview encounter from an adventure Merric Blackman himself is writing! PCs enter a tunnel ready to fight a cockatrice, but find something much more sinister waiting for them…

Power Word KillHey, Hey We’re the Monkeys (and Apes) Monster stats for monkeys and apes from Babblemancer himself.

Power Word KillTyger Tyger Burning Bright Monster stats for big cats!

World Builder Blog – Happy Holidays A free adventure which provides monster stats for Santa, Mrs. Claus, a small race of elves, hot chocolate elementals, and animated toys. It includes a map of Santa’s workshop as well.

System Neutral

Arcane Game LoreMr. M’s Equipment Emporium Tom Stephens provides the first of his two-sheet locations (complete with maps): a large store that’s got all the goods any sci-fi or fantasy adventuring party needs.

Campaign MasteryPieces of Creation: Lon Than, Kalika, and the Prison of Jade Mike Bourke gives us three new NPCs with rich stories that can be worked into any game.

HellahexiLead Mine & Manufactory A great map, history, and description for a rich kobold lair!

Moebius Adventures12 Random Gifts for PCs Out of the Blue Brian Fitzpatrick, who had the most creative entries in the carnival, provides gifts that can become quest hooks, complications, and relationship developers. Random tables included!

Moebius AdventuresGifts From Your Frenemies Provides some great story ideas about how a GM can use conflicted relationships with NPCs to shake up the game.

Moebius AdventuresPast Lives: The Gift That Keeps on Giving Brian gives suggestions on a how a PC’s past life can influence its current and provides more random tables!

Moebius AdventuresThe Gift of Giving (Evil) Get ready for some inspired story ideas about how gift-giving can really be part of a sinister plot!

Moebius AdventuresWhat’s In the Box? Want to give a PC or NPC a random present or put something strange and awesome inside of a chest? Then these random tables are for you!

Tales of a GMRed Fungus Maze  Phil gives us a new location outside of Sigil (part of the Planescape campaign setting) and it sounds awesome. Beware the infinity worm!

Other Systems

Arcane Game LoreMapping Port Loren Tom Stephens recreates a digital map of Port Loren for the Star Frontiers RPG.

Connors CampaignsCypher Force Flavor Cypher flavor for the typical Jedi to bring Star Wars into your game!

Leicester’s RambleThe Children’s Crusade RPG By far one of the most ambitious entries, V.A. created AN ENTIRELY NEW RPG plus an adventure wherein the players are heroic kids!

Lizard’s Gaming BlogBoredom in Pathfinder A genius idea that could be easily converted for most systems, Lizard gives us new variant rules for what happens when a CHARACTER gets bored during an adventure.

World Builder Blog – Shadow of the Demon Lord Pregens Provides Starting, Novice, Expert, and Master pregens for your Shadow of the Demon Lord games.

Check out that bounty of homebrew goodness! And if I missed an entry, let me know ASAP and I’ll add it.

If you crave more hombrew content, check out the Free Game Resources section of this site.

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

I’m on vacation so this is a bit of a shorter update. Homebrew content is the theme of this month’s RPG Blog Carnival being hosted right here on this very blog. You’ve got one day left to get your submissions in. The exact theme is “Homebrew Holiday Gifts.” I’m asking bloggers everywhere to share their RPG creations for their favorite systems with me. At the end of the month I’ll make a list linking all participating blog posts so everyone can checkout the fine homebrew creations in one place. So get those entries in, friends! I can’t wait to see what you make.

If you missed it, there’s a new fifth edition adventure for level 20 PCs called Happy Holidays on the Free Game Resources section of the site. Santa‘s gone crazy and it’s up to the PCs to figure out why and put an end to his gifting of exploding coal. The adventure is complete with easy-to-print maps that can be brought into any virtual table. Check out the adventure for level 20 PCs.

Thank You for a Great Year!

I wanted to give a quick thank you to the folks who are following this site. World Builder Blog had an amazing second year. We more than tripled the amount of views on the site. Thanks for spreading the word. Here’s what I accomplished this year in the world of gaming with the help of many other awesome people.

  • 190 posts on World Builder Blog
  • 77 podcasts recorded for The Tome Show (including interviews with Ed Greenwood, Jeremy Crawford, Greg Tito, Susan J. Morris, R.A. Salvatore, Charlie Sander, Jon Gabrus, Erin M. Evans, Rob Schwalb, Rich Baker, Kenneth Hite, and so many other awesome people!)
  • 98 PDFs added to the Free Game Resources section of this site (including three adventures)
  • 3 articles published in EN5ider magazine (more to come in 2016)
  • 2 weekly Exploration Age games going strong
  • 1 successful monster submission to Kobold PressTome of Beasts

You are all amazing. Here’s to an awesome 2016!

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

Hey out there! This will be a shorter update since it’s the holiday season here in the United States and I’m on vacation. If you missed it, there’s a new fifth edition adventure for level 20 PCs called Happy Holidays on the Free Game Resources section of the site. Santa‘s gone crazy and it’s up to the PCs to figure out why and put an end to his gifting of exploding coal. The adventure is complete with easy-to-print maps that can be brought into any virtual table. Check out the adventure for level 20 PCs.

Speaking of awesome homebrew content, it’s the theme of this month’s RPG Blog Carnival which is being hosted right here on this very blog for all of December. The exact theme is “Homebrew Holiday Gifts.” I’m asking bloggers everywhere to share their RPG creations for their favorite systems with me. At the end of the month I’ll make a list linking all participating blog posts so everyone can checkout the fine homebrew creations in one place. So get those entries in, friends! I can’t wait to see what you make.

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

It’s time to kick Santa’s butt!

As many of you may know for the past several weeks I’ve been working on a holiday themed adventure for fifth edition. It all started with me deciding to create a stat block for Santa Claus. Then I went a little further and created stats for Mrs. Claus and the rest of Santa’s crew (including the crowd-pleasing hot chocolate elementals). The reaction to these creatures was so great that I decided to create a free adventure as a holiday gift for the readers of this blog. Well now you can grab it in the link below!

Happy Holidays

With the Winter holidays ruined by a rash of explosive coal gifts, adventurers must venture to the North Pole to discover what’s making Santa punish the nice and reward the naughty. Happy Holidays is an adventure for four to six 20th level characters which uses fifth edition rules.

Maps

Here are the maps I made using Pyromancers’ Dungeon Painter. It’s a free easy-to-use online mapmaking tool. Take a look at the gridded and gridless options of the map below. You should easily be able to bring the 51×51 map into any virtual table.

map51x51 grid map51x51 no grid

Blog Carnival

I should also mention that this blog post is part of this month’s RPG Blog Carnival, which is being hosted right here on this very blog for all of December. The theme is “Homebrew Holiday Gifts.” I’m asking bloggers everywhere to share their RPG creations for their favorite systems with me. At the end of the month I’ll make a list linking all participating blog posts so everyone can checkout the fine homebrew creations in one place.

More PDFs

Check out the Free Game Resources section of the site for more free RPG goodness. You can grab several maps there with gridded and gridless options (and their corresponding adventures) along with free PDFs of fifth edition magic itemsmonsters, backgroundsD&D fifth edition rules modulesspells, and more created by yours truly.

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

I heard that a lot last week.

I’m creating a holiday themed adventure for the season and kicked it off with two different blog posts where I showed off Santa Claus and his crew. There was a lot of people responding with the joke above saying, “Don’t give Santa stats! Then your players will kill him!” Here’s the thing though – I want Santa to have stats so he can fight the PCs.

There’s really only two practical reasons to give a creature combat statistics in Dungeons and Dragons.

  1. The PCs are going to fight it.
  2. The PCs are allied with the creature and it’s going to fight beside them.

The third (and somewhat impractical) reason would be that it’s just fun to create stats. I digress. In my case I designed Santa and his minions because my group of players is going to take him on in a holiday themed royal rumble. Why? Well check out the adventure background and synopsis below.

I should also mention that this blog post is part of this month’s RPG Blog Carnival, which is being hosted right here on this very blog for all of December. The theme is “Homebrew Holiday Gifts.” I’m asking bloggers everywhere to share their RPG creations for their favorite systems with me. At the end of the month I’ll make a list linking all participating blog posts so everyone can checkout the fine homebrew creations in one place.

Happy Holidays is a short fifth edition adventure for four to six level 20 characters. The adventure assumes the high level characters are well known throughout the land.

Adventure Background

It is a time of evil at the North Pole. Santa’s workshop, normally a cozy den of cheery work ethic, has been plunged into darkness. Santa, Mrs. Claus, and many of their friends and guardians at the North Pole are under the influence of an evil empyrean with an axe to grind named Narese Lathanya.

It all began centuries ago, when Santa put Narese on the naughty list for the murder of her sister. Narese’s twin, Bellatros, bested her in a contest of strength. The gods awarded Bellatros with a crown of bewitching enchantment which allowed her to charm others. In the night jealous Narese killed her sister as she slept and took the crown as her own. Santa, who sees all, moved Narese’s name over to the naughty list at once. Coal began appearing in Narese’s holiday stocking and she swore Santa would pay.

For the next three hundred years, Narese traveled back and forth across the North Pole searching for Santa’s workshop. Tried as she might, she could not find the place. Santa’s magic shields the workshop from the eyes of evil beings. Frustrated by the uselessness of her labors, she took a different tactic. She visited scholars across the land and using her crown persuaded them to tell her all they knew about Santa. She learned that any letter or package addressed to Santa by a child pure of heart would magically arrive in the workshop next day. She found an enormous box and an innocent little boy who fell under the sway of her crown. The next day she was inside Santa’s workshop.

Once inside Narese took control of Santa and Mrs. Claus’ minds with the crown of bewitching enchantment. This magic trickled down through Santa to the Winter elves and guardians of the place. Narese, jealous and eager to punish those on the nice list, had Santa switch the names with those on the naughty list. The empyrean charmed Santa into sending all creatures on the naughty list dangerous and explosive coal for the Winter holidays.

Adventure Synopsis

The characters get wind that something is amiss in the North Pole by getting their own explosive coal and then hearing about similar incidents throughout the land. Based on their reputation for past deeds the children and parents of the world write to the PCs and ask them to save the Winter holiday. From there the characters travel or teleport to the North Pole, storm Santa’s workshop, fight the man himself, and confront Narese to break her hold over the jolly celestial.

Making Santa Work in Your Game

In the real world Santa Claus is a mythical creation who gives well behaved boys and girls presents during the Christian holiday of Christmas. Your own game world may not have Christianity as a religion and thus there is no Christmas in the world. Fear not! Santa isn’t so tied to religion that you can’t play this adventure. Instead use the Santa lore below to work him into your world and have him deliver gifts on any Winter holiday, harvest, or even the solstice.

Blog note: Santa’s lore can be found in this blog post.

Hook: Blow Up the Holidays

The PCs awake on a Winter holiday to find presents placed at the foot of their beds. Santa has been there! As the PCs open their presents they find each perfectly wrapped box contains a single lump of coal. The coal explodes, dealing 1 fire damage to the person who opened the box. While this isn’t a huge problem for the PCs, good creatures everywhere are opening similar boxes and getting the same surprise. For some, like younger children, the results are serious injuries.

The PCs get word or witness this curious occurrence. They also get wind of naughty children and evil creatures being rewarded with toys and beautiful gifts. Cheating spouses, thieves, and politicians all sport new jewelry, clothing, and more. One of the PCs’ evil enemies might resurface with a new magic item given as a gift from Santa.

The next day a mail carrier comes to visit the characters with letters from parents and children throughout the land, begging the well-known band to investigate what happened to the Winter holiday. What’s wrong with Santa? Can the characters please find out? Describe letters from children who might draw crude pictures of the PCs riding around in Santa’s sleigh, drinking hot chocolate with Winter elves, and opening gifts. Parents may call for the head of Santa or have more anger in their letters demanding justice for the exploding coal which ruined their holiday. These can be humorous letters, but should get the PCs moving to the North Pole. If they need more of an incentive, a wealthy individual could offer them lots of gold to look into the matter or a kindly wizard could offer each character a magic item from her collection in exchange for finding out what happened to Santa.

Getting to the North Pole

At 20th level the characters probably have a few options for traveling to the North Pole. They can teleport or use other magic to get their quickly. Maybe they own special mounts or a fantastic vehicle like an airship. They might have a powerful friend, like a silver dragon, who offers to fly them North to investigate what’s happening. You might even allow characters to use the same technique Narese did and have them find a child who agrees to mail them to the North Pole.

Of course your party could end up traveling one of the more mundane ways to the North Pole. On foot, on mounts, or by ship. If this happens feel free to play out the trip and roll for random encounters along the way. Odds are this will be a very long journey if magic doesn’t speed it along, so be sure that’s the kind of thing your group will enjoy before you dive headlong into lots of walking and random battles.

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

As you may know this month I’m hosting the RPG Blog Carnival. The theme is “Homebrew Holiday Gifts,” and I’m asking bloggers everywhere to share their RPG creations for their favorite systems with me. At the end of the month I’ll make a list linking all participating blog posts so everyone can checkout the fine homebrew creations in one place. That brings me to my second entry for the month – MORE Shadow of the Demon Lord pregens! Now you can get starting, novice, expert, and master pregens below!

I recently played a wonderful game of Shadow of the Demon Lord. Game designer Rob Schwalb has put together an amazing RPG with fun, easy-to-learn rules. At first glance this appears to be a simple dark fantasy tabletop RPG (which would be awesome by itself), but read beyond the table of contents and you’ll find it’s a world of deliciously wicked rules that twists tropes and archetypes you know well into something original and different.

You can hear more about Shadow of the Demon Lord in the Gamer to Gamer podcast I recorded with Rob back in March when his (super duper successful) Kickstarter launched. Since then he’s published the core rulebook and a ton of adventures by many amazing designers you can buy.

I noticed that since the game is new there aren’t many pregens online, so I made a few of my own. Below are pregens for starting (level 0), novice (level 1), expert (level 3), and master (level 7) PCs. You can always grab these pregens on the Free Game Resources section of the site.

Starting

Changeling

Clockwork

Dwarf

Goblin

Human

Orc

Novice

Changeling Magician Level 1

Clockwork Warrior Level 1

Dwarf Priest Level 1

Goblin Rogue Level 1

Human Priest Level 1

Orc Warrior Level 1

Expert

Changeling Magician Witch Level 3

Clockwork Warrior Fighter Level 3

Dwarf Priest Paladin Level 3

Goblin Rogue Thief Level 3

Human Priest Cleric Level 3

Orc Warrior Berserker Level 3

Master

Changeling Magician Witch Technomancer Level 7

Clockwork Warrior Fighter Weapon Master Level 7

Dwarf Priest Paladin Healer Level 7

Goblin Rogue Thief Acrobat Level 7

Human Priest Cleric Astromancer Level 7

Orc Warrior Berserker Brute Level 7

Hey if you want more RPG homebrew goodness, check out the Free Game Resources section of this site. You can find a lot of fifth edition D&D resources there like backgroundsmagic items, monstersD&D fifth edition rules modulesspellsadventures, and more created by yours truly.

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

Bones for the Demon Lord!

As you may know this month I’m hosting the RPG Blog Carnival. The theme is “Homebrew Holiday Gifts,” and I’m asking bloggers everywhere to share their RPG creations for their favorite systems with me. At the end of the month I’ll make a list linking all participating blog posts so everyone can checkout the fine homebrew creations in one place. That brings me to my first entry for the month – Shadow of the Demon Lord pregens!

I recently played a wonderful game of Shadow of the Demon Lord. Game designer Rob Schwalb has put together an amazing RPG with fun, easy-to-learn rules. At first glance this appears to be a simple dark fantasy tabletop RPG (which would be awesome by itself), but read beyond the table of contents and you’ll find it’s a world of deliciously wicked rules that twists tropes and archetypes you know well into something original and different.

You can hear more about Shadow of the Demon Lord in the Gamer to Gamer podcast I recorded with Rob back in March when his (super duper successful) Kickstarter launched. Since then he’s published the core rulebook and a ton of adventures by many amazing designers you can buy.

I noticed that since the game is new there aren’t many pregens online, so I made a few of my own. Below are pregens for starting (level 0), novice (level 1), and expert (level 3) PCs. You can always grab these pregens on the Free Game Resources section of the site.

Starting

Changeling

Clockwork

Dwarf

Goblin

Human

Orc

Novice

Changeling Magician Level 1

Clockwork Warrior Level 1

Dwarf Priest Level 1

Goblin Rogue Level 1

Human Priest Level 1

Orc Warrior Level 1

Expert

Changeling Magician Witch Level 3

Clockwork Warrior Fighter Level 3

Dwarf Priest Paladin Level 3

Goblin Rogue Thief Level 3

Human Priest Cleric Level 3

Orc Warrior Berserker Level 3

Master

Changeling Magician Witch Technomancer Level 7

Clockwork Warrior Fighter Weapon Master Level 7

Dwarf Priest Paladin Healer Level 7

Goblin Rogue Thief Acrobat Level 7

Human Priest Cleric Astromancer Level 7

Orc Warrior Berserker Brute Level 7

More Shadow of the Demon Lord pregens to come! Gotta get those master ones out there!

Hey if you want more RPG homebrew goodness, check out the Free Game Resources section of this site. You can find a lot of fifth edition D&D resources there like backgroundsmagic items, monstersD&D fifth edition rules modulesspellsadventures, and more created by yours truly.

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

To my friends in the United States – Happy Thanksgiving!

Since I started this blog I’ve been taking part in the monthly RPG Blog Carnival. Currently organized by Johnn Four over at Roleplaying Tips, the carnival is hosted by a different blog each month. The owner of the hosting blog picks a RPG-related theme and then invites other bloggers to write at least one post on that theme in their own blogs. Those bloggers then provide a link to their posts somewhere in the comments of the host blog’s introductory carnival post. At the end of the month, the blog hosting the carnival gathers up all of the links in a new blog post and puts them together in a nice little package for all to see. Check out November’s carnival theme “A Stack of Surprises,” hosted by Mike Bourke of Campaign Mastery.

In December, I’ll be hosting the carnival. If you’ve been following me for a while or you’ve checked out the Free Game Resources section of this site, you know I love crafting homebrew creations. For fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons I’ve created numerous backgroundsmagic items, monstersD&D fifth edition rules modulesspellsadventures, and more. I’ve also been on a Shadow of the Demon Lord pregen creation kick recently, since there don’t seem to be many out there for this new game yet.

Now I’m inviting others to join in the fun. This holiday season, give the gift of your gaming creations. Create a new monsters, feat, spell, force power, weapon, magic item, NPC, PC, adventure, map, world, background, rule, society, or anything else you can dream up. It could be for your favorite game system or something system agnostic! It doesn’t matter. Heck get into the spirit and stat out Santa or go dark and make a murderous longsword forged in the blood of demons. Your imagination is the only limit. No creation is too small if it’s one that came right out of your brain.

Leave links to those creations in the comments below and at the end of the month I’ll post them up in a nice blogtastic package for GMs everywhere to steal for their games! Give the gift of gaming, my friends. There’s going to be plenty homebrew fun to come from this blog as well, so stay tuned!

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

NOTE: The creatures previously featured here are now part of my Pay What You Want DMs Guild product Arachnids, Wraiths, & Zombies.

Halloween season is now in full gear. The costume shops are open, the bags of candy line the store shelves, and the RPG blog community is exploding with great posts about Halloween creepy crawlies and other nasty DM delights. This month’s RPG Blog Carnival theme is “What Walks Into Town?” from Scot Newbury over at Of Dice and Dragons. Great theme! He hosted the blog last October and inspired me to create a whole month of blog posts’ worth of monsters. Scot does Halloween right.

I’ve been playing fifth edition with my group for a little over a year now and they’re now within the upper level echelons of the game. I find myself flipping through the Monster Manual in search of worthy high level challenges and I often come up short. Yes I could throw 50 orcs simultaneously at my players thanks to bounded accuracy, but that’s fun for my group exactly one time per campaign. After that single time it becomes a tedious, time-sucking grind. I’ve decided this theme will be a good excuse for me to create some higher level horrors to keep my PCs on their toes.

Now what should I create? What higher level monsters do I need? What fits this theme and this holiday? What terrifies me beyond recognition? Giant arachnids.

Yes I’m an arachnophobe. I don’t mind tiny spiders and scorpions so much, but when they get bigger than my ham fists, that’s when I bust out in the cold sweat of terror (and yes I’m aware that the small ones can be more deadly). I have trouble looking at my large spider miniatures without shuddering. That’s why I love to use them in my game. Like a twisted DM version of Batman I paraphrase, it’s time my players shared my fear.

I remember the third edition Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual had a spider and scorpion for every available creature size. I think fifth edition D&D needs their arachnids to grow beyond size Large and into Huge and, yes, Gargantuan beasts. So what’s walking into town? A big ass spider.

From the apparently movie Big Ass Spider!

Monstrous Vermin

Most seasoned adventurers know there are spiders and scorpions as large as horses, but many would be horrified to learn some grow as large as houses or even as large as the tarrasque itself.

In the underdark, dense forests, and vast deserts of the world, certain breeds of arachnid have be able to grow to enormous proportions. These nocturnal terrors must survive many years in harsh environments to grow so large and those years provide experience and cunning which only make the beasts more dangerous. Their enormity means they pursue much larger prey than normal-sized vermin. Most humanoids are the perfect-sized meal for these creatures. When they are desperate for food, monstrous spiders and scorpions have been known to wander the outskirts of settlements at night to drag off a meal.

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