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Showing posts from 2019

5e One Shot: Playtest

I trotted out my new quick character generation system, 5e One-Shot, for a game at the local library. And it was a blast!
I printed out the rules and made an accordion-fold screen out of them.

This screen didn't prove terribly useful—the arrangement of the narrow conference room and outsize table were such that no one could really crowd around a see it. But I think it lent my homebrew system an ersatz professionalism that made it easier for people to get on board.

All in all, it worked really well. Everyone ended up with a reasonably realized character with distinct strengths.

Some points of improvement:

Several players lined their 5d6 up in numerical order, which meant they ended up with very similar characters. I'll need to clarify the desire for a randomized spread.The character sheets are class-based, so that they could have lots of the class information pre-printed on them. But class is the last thing you decide on, so the character sheets were useless. I need to make a u…

5e One-Shot: pared down play for getting started quickly

Last time I ran an adventure at the local library, I was delighted to find that one of my players was an octogenarian who knew nothing about D&D but was rarin' to go. What could be better than introducing the game to someone like this?


It caused a real disconnect with the other players. Spending time bringing her up to speed was time where the others were twiddling their thumbs.

It doesn't need to be like that. At its core, D&D 5e isn't all that different than those simple Arnesonian systems. The mechanic you need to know is:

Roll a d20.Higher is better.Your character sheet might give you bonuses to add to this roll. You should be able to start playing with just that. Damage rolls and hit dice and whatnot can be explained when they become relevant.
The character sheet. It's full of a lot of information that takes a bit of experience to get your head around. In this case we were using pre-gens that, unfortunately, also had great slabs of character …

Spiking the Brew with Lessons Learned

For an upcoming public library game, I was handed a first-level adventure of the familiar rats-in-the-cellar stripe, "A Most Potent Brew," from Winghorn Press.

In prepping the adventure and looking for ways to juice it up, I found myself relying on advice gleaned from the OSR and OSR-adjacent community.

1. Slugs are Fun
I thought is was strange, when I picked up David McGrogan's Yoon-Suin, that slug-folk were one of his core playable races—until I used one. Slugs make great NPCs. A slug innkeep serving you a pot of goat stew and sloshing out adventure hooks is much more distinct than, oh, say, a gnome in the same position.

Rumpleslumph the slug-man runs the Fallen Tower Brewery and Inn. He keeps a clean inn, is a good boss to the humans and halflings that work in the brewery, and has let the PCs hang around a little too long while they look for work. Now, he's getting nervous, wondering if they'll ever pay their bill.

When workers break open an ancient wall in the …

5e: Quick Characters

I'm going to run some 5e games at the local library. I don't want to use pre-gens, but there isn't time for a full chargen session. So I'm going to try this very quick piece of life-path generation.

A few assumptions: The PCs are all from the same village, are about the same age, and grew up together. Character creation options have been limited to make the process more fleet and new-player ready.

First, we all agree on the name of the village. Then, as a group, we go through the following steps, one at a time.

1. Background
Who raised you? What did trade they teach you? Did you like or hate this trade?
Roll 1d30