The Many Worlds of D&D, part two

Oriental Adventures

Dungeons & Dragons started as an offshoot of wargaming, but it grew quickly. TSR, the company that owned the game, soon saw that people wanted more than just dungeons and wilderness areas for their heroes to explore. They wanted a semblance of a living fantasy world filled with history, personalities, and adventure.

The earliest settings, which I described last time, grew at the speed of adventure – new information got added as needed for a given module rather than in an atlas-like book. By the 1980s, though, D&D was realizing its media crossover potential. This led to a new wave of campaign settings that had a reach far beyond gaming tables.

Read more at the Screamsheet!

The Many Worlds of D&D, part one

Dungeon Master

Dungeons & Dragons has never been about one single fantasy world. In fact, beginning in the 1980s, the game spawned a multiverse that stands on par with anything churned out in the comic book industry. Through the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition years especially, D&D became home to dozens of parallel fantasy worlds.

Read more at the Screamsheet!

What is the Most Important RPG Rule?

Player's Handbook

Role-playing games are filled with rules, sometimes spanning dozens of different books and supplements. However, most games lead off with some note in the preface that highlights the most important rule. This is Rule 0, and it’s usually there so everybody remembers to have fun. What Rule 0 is, though, varies from game to game and person to person.

Read more at Panic in the Skies!

The Best D&D Comic Ever?

Fell's Five

Thanks to its roots in pulp fiction, the fantasy gaming genre goes very well with comic books. Sure, the mechanics and the fiction don’t always line up, and yes there are a fair share of duds out there. But overall, comics based on popular role-playing games is a consistent, if not high-profile, part of the industry.

There have been a lot of good fantasy RPG comics, from the fun albeit rough in quality Advanced Dungeons & Dragons series of the 1980s to 2016’s extremely fun Pathfinder: Worldscape, which mashed up the Pathfinder RPG with classic heroes such as Tarzan, John Carter of Mars, and Red Sonja. But my personal favorite RPG-based comic is the series that ran in the Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition days.

Read more at Panic in the Skies!

Remember when RPGs Equaled Satanism?

Satanic Panic

As a tabletop gamer from the early 1990s, it’s a little weird to me that the hobby is so mainstream these days. Most people know of Dungeons & Dragons or a similar game, and shows like Community celebrate the hobby. It wasn’t too long ago that playing D&D meant you were in league with Satan.

I’m serious – if you played a role-playing game in the 1980s or 1990s, your parents probably worried at some point or another that you were getting involved with Satanism. Just as heavy metal supposedly had satanic lyrics if you played the album backwards, D&D was believed by many to be a tool of the occult.

How did this get started? As with most cases of moral panic, it began with adults scrambling to explain senseless tragedies.

Read more at Panic in the Skies!

Return to the Sidekickcast

Pathfinder Character Sheet

Once upon a time, I had a column called Beer and Pretzels on, where I shared my thoughts on the wonderful weirdness of role-playing games. All was well for a good long time, but then some dastardly hackers ruined everybody’s fun.

Fortunately, the Sidekickcast has returned in a new form, this time with a broader focus as Panic in the Skies. And I’m happy to say that my contributions to that group has also returned. My first blog entry, detailing the wonderful surprises hiding in RPGs, is now online.

Head over the Panic in the Skies and check it out!

Gaming Stories: Return of the Deck of Many Things

Deck of Many Things

For more than 15 years now, one of my main GMing strategies when I run a D&D or Pathfinder campaign has gone something like this:

  1. Give the PCs the deck of many things.
  2. Wait for them to draw from it.
  3. Have fun with the results.

If I ever doubted that the deck of many things is the greatest magic item in the game, those doubts were dispelled at my last Pathfinder session.

Read more at the Screamsheet!