Showing posts from June, 2016

Campaign Creation - Part 2: Campaign Systems & Settings

Last time we decided what campaign we were going to run with; something short, sweet, and story-driven. Now that we know what we're doing, we ought to figure out where we're doing it. A campaign setting adds a level of personality and depth to the story you are trying to tell. The more rich and diverse the setting, the more you have to work with as far as your story is concerned.

But settings aren't just locations where you tale takes place. They're systems and genres that define the tone of the game both mechanically and thematically. While I won't be showing you how to create your own campaign setting here, you can take a look at my series "Let's Build A Campaign Setting" for some tips starting out. Instead, what I will be doing in this article is help you to narrow down what kind of setting best suits the kind of game you want to run and that your players want to play.

And hopefully, get my own campaign straightened out. Allons-y!

"It's Fre…

Racial Bias: Half-Orcs

Hang on to your horned helms, my friends. We are about to get 50 Shades of heavy metal today! There are many badass races that have graced the pages of our favorite role-playing games, but few can hold a candle.. screw that, few can hold a roaring torch to the monumental badassery that is the half-orc; a creature that might as well be a walking, talking Black Sabbath album (The ones with Dio)!

Half-orcs are my all time second favorite race of all time, just barely edged out by the dwarf. If only half-orcs had better beards, it would be a cinch. Sadly, they don't... because it was probably hacked, slashed, ripped or burned off in a fight with something God-awful!

Just the way it should be.

Best Of Both Worlds
Half-orcs have the glorious distinction of having the best parts of both orcs and human. From their orcish kin, they gain powerful muscles, insatiable bloodlust, and stubborn ability to tell death to wait his goddamned turn! From the human stock, they experience the ability to…

Campaign Creation - Part 1: What Kind Of Campaign?

Last week I wrote an article asking you to send me an idea that I could build a campaign off of. After sorting through all the submission (of which there were many), I am happy to say I found one that definitely jumped out at me.

The winning idea for the brand new campaign we are creating is...

+Luis burset! Luis wrote: "I've been struggling with this one for a while, mostly cause I can't seem to lock the idea down. I want to start with a prophecy foretelling the rise of the PCs and the fall from grace/betrayal of one of them, and making that PC the BBEG"

The premise of this interested me. The idea of a player character foretold to fall or betray their companions is pretty . Most players would try their best to avoid such a fate, but what kind of pressure would that create? Would there be a snapping point? Right here, I think we have the heart of the campaign, the dark cloud that will hang over the heads of our players for a good chunk of the game's run.  

But h…

My 6-Year-Old Designed A Dungeon, And It's Terrifying

Well met, adventurers! Today I am going to do something you have not seen me do before. Something bizarre and unexpected. I am going to gush about my kid. I had meant to write this prior to Father's Day weekend, but things here at BardCo have become somewhat hectic, what with school letting out for the summer, sports programs beginning, and new multimedia ventures coming to fruition. Suffice to say, this is a little late, but still retains much of its potency.

There are two things you should know about me. The first is that I am a fan of the old Gygaxian dungeon crawls of yore, with its pitfalls and terrors beyond reckoning. They were punishments disguised as fun, and damn it if he didn't accomplish both. Never have I had so much fun being rent asunder or crushed to death, or boiled alive, or having my soul torn out or... well, you get the picture.

The second thing your should know about me is that my young son has a strong desire to play D&D or Pathfinder. He can't d…

Player Advice: A Short Guide On How To Write A Good Backstory

Every player wants their character wants a cool backstory. This is a fact, backed up with science and other irrefutable things to place your faith in. And why wouldn't you? Your character is one of the main characters of the campaign. If this was the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you would have your own movie prior to the big team-up that is the game you are playing in. You want to be interesting, you want to know who your character is and where they came from. Mostly, though, you want them to be cool. Thus, a cool backstory.

Only, sometimes we players can fall a little flat on our backstories. It seems that these days everyone's parents were killed and they have all sworn revenge for one reason or another. Personally, I just think it's depressing how many orphans there are running around. Hell, at this point, with the number of adventurers orphanages turn out per capita these days, we should start calling them "Adventuring Schools".


...And just like that, a ca…

GM Advice: How To Design A City

Cities have captivated the minds of role-players for decades. From the splendors of Waterdeep to the impossibly tall towers of Sharn, to the metropolis of Absalom, cities have always been rich with a constant plethora of happenings and events. Anything a PC could ever want can be found in a big enough city if they are willing to pay the price (which isn't always calculated with coins). It is little wonder why Game Masters enjoy building them.

To the new GM, the idea of building an entire city can be daunting. With populations reaching into the high tens of thousands into the hundreds of thousands, and a countless number of shops, sights, and locations, some might feel a bit overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of such an undertaking.

Fear not, though. Your beneficent bard is here to show you exactly what you need to build your very own sweeping cityscape, with every little who, what where, when, why, and how.


When plotting out your city, the first thing you want to look a…