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!

A Greystone Valley RPG: Character Creation

Fate Dice

Role-playing games are one of my favorite hobbies, and it’s always grand to introduce players to great new worlds. Although not designed with a role-playing experience in mind, the Greystone Valley series introduces a flexible fantasy setting where the players can pretend to be anything from wizards to astronauts.

I recently had the chance to design a new Greystone Valley adventure as a way of introducing some new people to role-playing. Because of its simplicity and flexibility, I chose FATE Accelerated as the system. For those interested in a preview as to how a Greystone Valley RPG might function and as to how easy it is to dive right into FATE Accelerated, here’s a look at the character creation process. Continue reading

Return to the Sidekickcast

Pathfinder Character Sheet

Once upon a time, I had a column called Beer and Pretzels on Sidekickcast.com, 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!

The Goblin Problem: A Short Pathfinder Adventure

Goblin

The goblins of the Greymire are nuisances, but they rarely cause trouble for the village of Ardyne. The freshwater swamp they live in offers plenty of food and distractions, meaning they usually stay away from big folk. Despite a few instances of stolen chickens or raided junk heaps, relations between the goblins and locals are about as peaceful as it gets. However, the two societies have never seen each other as allies…until now.

The old meat and piles of garbage surrounding the goblin home have attracted some deadly pests – a flock of stirges. Afraid of the blood-sucking beast, the goblins have taken shelter and sent one unlucky soul to seek help.

“The Goblin Problem” is a short adventure for four 1st-level Pathfinder characters. It is specifically designed for younger players, featuring plenty of room for nonviolent solutions for those who wish to pursue them. However, it is also suitable for older, more experienced players.

Read more at the Screamsheet!

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!

My Stupid Drawings Caused a Ruckus in my Son’s Class

Goblin

Once upon a time, I decided that I wasn’t going to “parent scared.” That means I wasn’t going to worry about presenting a sanitized version of reality where I pretended that violence and other tough topics didn’t exist. I could expose my kids to this stuff, and they’d know how to handle it.

Then I remembered that kids don’t grow up in a bubble. They interact with others through school, playgrounds, and sports. Those other kids also have parents, and those parents might not always be appreciative of my devil-may-care approach to what content is suitable for children.

My wife and I attended our son’s first school Christmas concert, after which we went back to the classroom and had free time to play around with the art supplies. My son came to me with a piece of paper and asked me to make him a goblin.

Read more at BabyCenter.com!