Just finished the first draft of my world's map and I thought the reader might be interested in seeing it: You can also find a link to the file here. It might be familiar ~ it's the continent of Cerilia, from the Birthright campaign setting. It's larger than the published map. That's partly because published... Continue Reading →


What It’s About

From a recent post on the Tao of D&D: . . . before we settle down to play poker, I just want to let you know that I will be trying to play the game well enough to take your money. Part of my goal, here, will involve moments when I purposefully distract you, or... Continue Reading →

Why We Sandbox

I picked up a new play table for the kids. It's for those wood train sets, Melissa and Doug, I think. I set it up in the basement and showed my kids where we could put their toys ~ it has a few drawers in the frame we're using to hold blocks and Lego pieces.... Continue Reading →


I've been puzzling how to handle social interactions in the game. When a player approaches an NPC, it's often with a specific objective in mind. The players aren't out there to make small talk or to socialize or engage in pleasant niceties. While some of us aim to recreate these interactions, the reality is that... Continue Reading →


Discussions of "railroad vs. sandbox" are common enough among gaming circles. For the most part, we assume we know the meaning of these terms. But what if we don't? In all conversations, the ability to communicate relies on a common understanding. We need to know the terms and concepts we're using, else we'll be talking... Continue Reading →

Writing Rules

Let's get one step ahead and see what we can come up with. To paraphrase: Incorporate time and space. Produce more than one possible path to success. Spread out the dice rolls. Produce a reward that encourages participation. The rules should simulate the real world without bogging down the game. I probably don't fully grasp... Continue Reading →


My son is five. We play "war" with his toys, where we line up the Army men and the GI Joe's and tanks and Transformers and dinosaurs and dragons and whatever we can find, and they fight each other. One day, I brought out my dice. I told him we'd roll for each attack and... Continue Reading →

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Following up on the last post, let's take a moment to better define the game. I propose a five-level categorization system. Each level is assumed to build upon the previous (the exception being the third level which offers additional rules systems that can be added to a game as the DM desires). We can use... Continue Reading →


Fuzzy Skinner offered his take on the recent podcast, a sentiment that is shared among many in our online communities. Alexis politely shut him down, a response which is entirely within his right, particularly when you consider that he's maintained pretty much the same position on his blog for about a decade. For myself, it's... Continue Reading →

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