Prescriptive vs. Descriptive D&D

The book Art & Arcana is probably the first of its kind: a history of the art of Dungeons & Dragons. Interlaced in the text is the history of D&D itself: its creation, rise to popularity, controversy, business changes, edition changes, fall in popularity, and apparent renaissance. The first generation to grow up in an age where D&D was popular have become the first elders of a tribe, transmitting for the first time the culture of playing D&D to a generation of players that is larger than any that came before it.

But what is D&D? Defining D&D has proven difficult for a long time, because the game is played slightly differently at every table, creating a broad spectrum of experiences that each claim, with basically equal authority, to be D&D.

Some are theatrical, with improvised acting, accents, or even props/costumes, where a disagreement between the dice and the drama should be resolved in the latter’s favor. Others are tactical challenges that dare the players to plan and execute character builds and combat tactics that will keep them alive in a meat-grinder of a dungeon with little grand design behind the function of presenting the challenge. Still other games are downright goofy, where characters are named after pop culture icons and the NPCs are there to be punchlines. Most games have a mixture of these. Some are even more esoteric.

This is still the most accurate statement of “What is D&D?”

On the other side of that experience, the books those groups are using might be different editions: there have been 5 official editions, but there were certainly more forms before 1st edition, 2nd edition had optional rulebooks that vastly changed the game, there was both a 3.0 and a 3.5 edition, a 4e and a 4e Essentials, etc. Depending on the mix of books at the table, the game worked very differently. Even if two tables used the same books, house rules can change the experience extensively.

Beyond that, there are a number of games built using the same building blocks as D&D: the six attributes, armor class, hit points, d20, etc., but which have never been called Dungeons & Dragons. Some of these used the material released under the Open Game License from 3rd edition days (and renewed to some extent in 5e), like the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, while others took the mechanical inspiration of later editions but reached back to the simpler, grittier gameplay of editions that predate the OGL, like Castles & Crusades, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, and other OSR games.

One thorny issue in defining D&D is deciding what is not D&D. Is the use of the D&D logo the dividing line? The use of the OGL?

I want to explore the proposition that, at least for some purposes, all of them are D&D, from TSR, WotC, Paizo, or Troll Lord Games.

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The Ash Wood (Campaign Diary #1)

In the far north of Tyr Alona, on the banks of the Silverrun River which flows out of the Mountains of Madness, lies the city of Greywatch. A continent-spanning mercenary guild called the Sapphire Legion operates a franchise of adventurers there. Recently, the unfortunate adventurers–known as the Sapphire Hares–met their demise in the depths of an abandoned dungeon outside the city.

Occupational hazard, you see.

Five new recruits from Ebonholde have been hired to fill their shoes. They hired a cart driven by an older gentleman named Berny to take them to Greywatch, where they would meet their Sapphire Legion liaison and manager, someone by the name of Exard Shaley.

These five recruits are:

  • This, the Wood Elf Ranger
  • Winnie, the Firbolg Druid
  • Jewel of the Mountain, the Tabaxi Rogue
  • Hyperion, the Aasimar Paladin
  • Cora, the Halfling Rogue

As they entered the last day of their journey, the cart entered the Ash Wood, a cursed wood full of menacing fairies and terrifying monsters, according to rumors. The mist seemed to thicken, obscuring what little the adventurers could see through the dense foliage. The air grew chill, and the din of nature was seemingly silenced.

An hour into the Wood, a scream erupted from around the next bend. Berny knew better than to stop on this road, so the cart rounded the corner to find an ornate carriage surrounded by four guards on horseback focused on the eastern side of the road, crossbows drawn. Arrows streaked out from the foliage, hitting the carriage and one of the horses, which reared up, throwing its rider to the ground with a crash.

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Power, Politics & Intrigue in D&D

Dungeons & Dragons-like games are carried by their combat systems, which have a very distinct way of creating tension and presenting constrained choices within a system to try to resolve that tension in your favor. In the 1970s, D&D built on decades of wargame experience, and today’s games have built on decades more of experience fine-tuning the mechanical apparatus of combat. Where D&D and TTRPGs in general have struggled is everything outside of combat, which lacks that focus and tangibility: players are usually left to either talk or roll dice at things until it resolves itself or turns into a combat scenario. Today, I want to talk about politics & intrigue.

Oh, yeah. We’re going there.

One of the event-based adventure types listed in the 5e DMG is Intrigue, and it describes a couple of options for the premise of an intrigue and whether there may be no villain or multiple villains, and suggests tracking influence with each faction or even each individual somehow. That’s a start, but it’s quite far from enough to understand the apparatus that supports an engaging intrigue. Just as a battle has well-defined parameters of what is possible and how likely things are to work (even if there is a significant amount of room for creative choices and rulings), a grander intrigue needs those same structures. Instead of jumping immediately to abstract game structures like faction points and tension levels and so on, I find this is one area where thinking of the in-universe mechanisms at work is the best starting point.

While “intrigue” refers to the fascinating or mysterious quality of the scenario, the actual substance of the intrigue is usually politics: the contest for power within a social system of some kind. When you want to go full Game of Thrones with the greatest power in the local world up for grabs and want to create the tension and present constrained choices within a system to try to resolve it in one side’s favor, you need to flesh out the full context significantly, so that players can at least somewhat accurately predict the consequences of their actions and be agents in the political world.

The political intrigue plots that are the spine of e.g. GoT hinge on manipulation and power plays, whether those are in personal relationships, political affairs, or war. The tropes here are the naked accumulation, manipulation, and exercise of power, which tends to overshadow the exploration of other themes.

So, for a game to feel like that, you have to 1) have individuals that run factions with certain power, circumstances or relationships, and goals, and then 2) have them go about growing, manipulating, and exercising their power. So let’s talk about power real fast.

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D&D Combat Strikes Back

Michael Shea just wrapped up a series of articles over on D&D Beyond about running D&D in the Theater of the Mind (meaning without miniatures or a grid), why to do so, how to do so, and how games like 13th Age have developed guidelines to steer it, and how to borrow mechanics from less tactical games like the FATE RPG. TotM combat is a great tool with a little elbow grease, but it necessarily rounds off some of the corners of the base rules, like the many races and classes that have differing movement speeds, weapon/spell ranges, and differences between areas of effect.

But what if we want to swing the other way? Make D&D combat more tactical, not less. Could it be more engaging throughout the round instead of just on your turn? In a game of 5 players and 1 DM, each player goes on their turn, and then sits out the rest of the round unless they need to roll the occasional save. So in an hour-long combat, each player is only active about 10 minutes. Could you change all of that while not slowing down combat and maybe even speeding it up? Where could we find inspiration for that kind of thing?

But before we get there, there’s another, more theoretical reason I want to talk about these specific rule ideas (scroll down to “Obi-Wan Has Taught You Well” if you’re impatient).

You Must Unlearn What You Have Learned

In 2012, I wrote an article describing an epiphany I had about D&D combat: dealing damage isn’t interesting. Especially if you are a martial character (e.g. Fighter, Barbarian, Rogue), you spend your turn attacking an enemy, but whether you succeed or fail, the tactical landscape is entirely unchanged. Sure, rolling really high damage for a crit or a sneak attack is fun, but damage itself? It’s hard to engage with.

So I slapped together a damage/HP-less idea for combat, where you either killed the target outright (crit success), had a chance to kill them (success), did nothing (tie or marginal failure), or they had a chance to kill you (significant failure), or you were killed outright (crit fail), based on your margin of success or failure. So you could kill the other guy on the first hit or be killed yourself on your own turn, if your attack was that bad against their defense. And then a bunch of other things would ride on your attack, as well.

It was riddled with problems from a conceptual level, which several comments pointed out. Underlying those criticisms was an important counterpoint to my article: just because damage/HP isn’t interesting in itself does not mean that it is unnecessary. Damage and HP still play a critical role: pacing.

The primary utility of damage/HP is pacing: you will have ~X rounds to fight monsters until they kill you, and vice versa. Things like damage resistance or immunity, healing, temporary HP, and regeneration add in puzzle elements or other complications in that X gets shorter or longer if you have the right tool for the job, but the sine qua non of damage/HP itself is a pacing mechanic: the tension starts low and ratchets up as your HP goes down.

HP is dressed up like “toughness,” but it’s not really about toughness: armor doesn’t interact with your HP, though that is a common variant rule because it seems like it should if HP is toughness. The Player’s Handbook defines HP as “a combination of physical and mental durability, the will to live, and luck.” In other words, they’re basically plot armor so that you can handle an appropriate amount of enemy without much urgency, and some more with a lot of urgency before you’re really in danger of death. Put another way: a pacing mechanic. QED.

This is why systems that put the cart of “toughness” (e.g. using HP inflation as a major part of power growth) before the horse of the pacing function often end up with one of two problems in higher levels: either a fight is a huge slog because damage doesn’t keep up with HP bloat (the padded sumo effect), or, if there are effective-enough save-or-dies available, it’s over too fast because players learn to just use those until one hits (rocket launcher tag). In the latter case, it has effectively turned into a damage/HP-less game, with no real pacing mechanic built in, like the one I whipped out for the old article.

So leaping from “damage isn’t interesting” to “let’s get rid of damage” was ill advised. But the basic premise, that just dealing damage is boring, still holds true. Every turn should do more than just move the pacing mechanic along: the tactical calculus should be different after you hit than before, even if just slightly.

Cham outlined the seed of the right idea in another article: his point was that to get the dynamic movement we’re used to seeing in action media, where the opponents range over the environment as they clash, remaining stationary had to be lethal, a result you took only if you were cornered or surrounded, and the default action then should be to move away from your attacker.

Obi-Wan Has Taught You Well

Enter, wargames. Specifically, the Middle-earth Strategy Battle Game by Games Workshop, which uses what I assume was once a version of Warhammer rules. Let’s look at how combat works in MESBG, and then adapt some of that to a D&D context.

In MESBG, each player commands a squad of creatures and instead of turns, each round is separated into 5 phases: Priority, Move, Shoot, Fight, and End.

In Priority Phase, both sides roll off to see which has priority for the round. This becomes important.

In the Move Phase, the side that has priority moves their creatures up to their movement allotment in inches. If you move within 1 inch of an unengaged enemy creature, though, you must charge into melee with that enemy and can no longer move. Once an enemy creature is engaged by an ally, it no longer threatens that area, so other creatures can move within 1 inch of it. Creatures with reach weapons can engage enemies from immediately behind allies already engaged with them (i.e. they can attack from the second rank, and some even from the third). All engaged combatants will resolve their attacks in the Fight Phase. If a creature has Magical Powers, they can typically be used only during the Move Phase. If a creature moves more than half its movement, it cannot make a ranged attack in the Shoot Phase. After the side that has priority finishes moving their creatures, the other side can move their unengaged creatures, if any.

In the Shoot Phase, the side that has priority makes any ranged attacks from its unengaged creatures that moved half their movement or less. There are rules about how difficult it is to shoot a target based on distance, how much of the miniature is visible from the perspective of the attacking miniature (as in yes, you bend down so that the miniature is at eye level and look at how much of the target is covered by the model terrain on the board), and whether the miniature is engaged in combat or not. The other side then makes any attacks from its unengaged creatures that moved half their movement or less.

In the Fight Phase, the engaged creatures are grouped into their distinct melees, breaking into as many distinct melees as possible with the side that has priority settling any ambiguities about who is fighting whom. The side that has priority then decides in what order to resolve the melees. Fights have three steps: Duel, Loser Backs Away, and Winner Makes Strikes. Both sides roll a contested Fight check to determine who wins the Duel. The loser(s) must back away 1 inch from the winners: if the loser cannot do so because they are surrounded by enemies or cornered by geography, they are considered Trapped. Then the winner(s) roll to land a Strike on their retreating opponent: if the opponent is Trapped, they roll twice the dice, meaning they can inflict more than one Wound. Most creatures in the game are defeated after taking 1 Wound.

Finally, in the End Phase you resolve certain effects, clear away casualties, and get ready for the next round. Then it goes back to a new Priority Phase where both sides roll for priority again, so the side that controls movement and melee resolution often switches.

You’ll Find I’m Full of Surprises

You can import a few of these concepts or a lot, with varying degrees of elbow grease to make it work in the context of D&D:

At the low end of the spectrum, there are ideas you can adapt without changing much. For instance, take the Priority Phase and team initiative ideas:

At the beginning of each new round, every creature rolls initiative to seize the initiative. The team of whichever creature rolls the highest goes first. Creatures on the same team can move and take their actions in any order, then initiative passes to the next team, until all teams have taken their turns.

Optional rule: A creature can use Inspiration to act out of order at any time.

This does not require any other change to the game to work and has several benefits:

  1. You get into combat quicker because you only care about the highest initiative score on each side: it actually removes the several-minute process of rolling and recording 5-15 initiative scores.
  2. Higher initiative bonuses are noticed more often because they get to help more since it is rolled more than once per fight.
  3. Combat is much more dynamic when the turn order varies from round to round, including times where one team will go twice back-to-back (e.g. losing initiative in the first round while winning it in the second).
  4. It encourages more active cooperation and strategizing, because turn order on a team is fluid, so you can make a plan and then immediately execute it. (Of course, so can the enemy).

Now, if you’re willing to take things one step further, implement the movement/engaging rules and the backing away/Trapped ideas into melee combat:

Opportunity Attacks are removed.

You can Engage an enemy within reach of your melee attacks as part of an Attack Action or as a Reaction. You and your target are both Engaged. An Engaged creature cannot leave the other’s reach, cannot Engage another creature (though other creatures can Engage them), and cannot attack any creature other than a creature with whom it is Engaged. A successful melee attack or taking the Disengage Action ends the Engaged condition.

When a creature is hit by a melee attack, it can move 5 ft. away from the attacker, which does not count against its movement for the round and does not trigger an Engage Reaction. If the creature still has movement for the round from its speed, it can move beyond the free 5-foot step away. If the creature does not or cannot move away from its attacker(s) (because terrain or other creatures block any path away), then any successful attack is considered a critical hit, regardless of the die roll.

If a creature can make multiple attacks, it can roll them simultaneously or separately. If simultaneously, the target only moves back once. A creature can Engage an enemy, attack, push the enemy back, then move and Engage/attack/push all over again as many times as it has attacks and movement.

If more than one creature on one team is Engaged with the same enemy creature, all the Engaged allies should resolve their attacks together before the enemy moves away (if possible).

These rules make tactical positioning much more important, and also creates a dynamic battlefield where players will be keeping an eye on exit routes at all times, trying to set up flanking or cornering an enemy before they are flanked/cornered themselves.

Unlike Theater of the Mind, which diminishes differences in reach or movement speed, these rules emphasize them. A level 5 Monk has five attacks to make (Attack action = 2, Flurry of Blows = 2, Martial Arts Bonus action = 1) and 35-45 feet of movement (depending on Race) to make them across: that means she can potentially maneuver an enemy across a battlefield in a single turn, or clear away multiple enemies, allowing an allied Rogue to punch through the enemy line to the spellcasters in the back.

The added stickiness of Engage relative to Opportunity Attacks means that front-line types are more effective (albeit by cannibalizing some of the benefits of the Sentinel feat). At the same time, the added movement means that people move more, and the right tactical movement can quickly change the tide of a fight.

But why stop there? You can fundamentally change the structure of combat with just a little more tweaking in a way that still adds value.

Each combat round is divided into 5 phases: Initiative, Move, Shoot, Fight, and End.

During Initiative phase, every creature rolls initiative to seize the initiative. The team of whoever rolls highest holds the initiative for this round.

During Move phase, the team that holds initiative first moves into their chosen positions, and the other team(s) follow.

During Shoot phase, the team that holds initiative first makes any ranged attacks or casts any spells (but not melee spell attacks) it wants from creatures not Engaged in melee, followed by the other team(s).

During Fight phase, the team that holds initiative determines in what order to resolve the melees that have formed. Attacks from all creatures in each Engagement are rolled simultaneously, and whichever team rolled the highest attack value is the winner: the losers’ attacks deal no damage, and all losing creatures must move back or suffer an automatic critical if the winner’s attack value(s) hits their Armor Class. The winner can choose which loser or losers its attacks hit.

During End Phase, all ongoing effects are resolved, including Death Saves.

A character can use Inspiration to move and take actions at any time, outside the usual order.

This changes things. A lot. It would require at least a tweak if not a rewrite of many abilities and possibly rebalancing HP and damage since melee attacks that otherwise would hit and deal damage simply won’t when the other side rolls higher and wins the Fight, though criticals might happen more often with flanking/cornering.

But it solves one of D&D combat’s most entrenched problems: the fact that you rarely have to pay attention to anything outside your turn. It breaks down what was once a “turn” into its pieces and allows near-simultaneous resolution of similar actions, so the flow of combat is more energized and streamlined: it draws you into the tactics as a team, not just as an individual character on your turn.

And Fight Phase is way cooler than D&D melee. Instead of two chunks of HP slapping each other at arm’s length until one falls down, the two combatants actively seek out a good position or create one for themselves, and when your raging Barbarian is surrounded by 4 Goblins but wins the Fight anyway, pushing them all back, it is 10x as exciting as each Goblin missing you on their turn and then you hitting one or two on yours. That dynamic drama in melee is sorely missing in vanilla D&D combat.

You can take this all one step further and replace the 1-inch square grid with a tape measure or ruler: now you’ve gone truly old school.

I Am Your Father

Role-playing games split off from their parent hobby wargames back in the 70s. One avenue of development for them in the decades since has been to get more abstract and “rules-light,” relying on conversation and the Theater of the Mind to reduce the complexity of combat. Even then, folks find it useful to write down zones on cards to off-load the mental task of tracking the space their characters are in.

On the other side of the spectrum, there are rulebooks that have many layers of derived statistics for each character and a modifier for every circumstance. But what “rules-heavy” systems usually lack are rules that make use of the grid-and-minis that D&D assumes when it measures distance in 5-ft. increments, gives varying movement speeds as class/race features, includes reach weapons, and features a wide variety of spell shapes. These wargame-inspired rules do not make the character sheet or dice rolls any more complicated, they just make movement more possible and more important, while using a new structure for combat that minimizes “zone-out” time and makes melee far more interesting.

It’s fascinating that looking to wargames has revealed what might be a shot-in-the-arm for D&D combat. Instead of teaching an old dog new tricks, the old dog is teaching new dogs its tricks. I intend to write up a tweaked Combat chapter to work with these rules, a sample of play, and then to go through and write tweaks to races, classes, and spells for them, too. That will be an ongoing project, but this is the groundwork. Maybe this will all change as I bump into problems. Gutting the action economy and making something new in its place is going to have weird consequences that I won’t understand until I just try and run it through all the permutations of D&D 5e’s options. Hopefully I’ll figure out some rules of thumb for how to convert categories of things in vanilla 5e combat into this more tactical setup, so that I can prepare a total package document. We’ll see how it goes!

Comments and feedback always welcome.

Endgame…?

tap tap tap

This thing on?

Hey, internet.

If you find this recording, don’t feel bad about this. Part of the journey is the end.

Just for the record, being adrift in cyberspace with zero promise of rescue is more fun than it sounds.

Free time ran out five years ago. Partner started his own thing two years ago. Sparkling cider’ll run out tomorrow morning. That’ll be it.

When I drift off. I will dream about you. It’s always you.


Hours later…

Stubbazubba lies in a half-conscious state, staring at the porthole into the various webpages projected across the horizon beyond his dying ship…

His eyes close, and his lips mouth the word “Rosebu–“

KNOCK KNOCK!

He startles back to consciousness. Outside the ship he sees Spider-Man (Peter B. Parker), Spider-Man (Miles Morales), Spider-Gwen, Spider-Man Noir, the SP//dr suit piloted by Peni Parker, and Spider-Ham all looking through the porthole at him.

“Man, he looks terrible,” says Miles.

“I know terrible,” adds Peter B. Parker, “this is just pathetic. Did he really just rickroll his entire follower-base for his first post in almost five years?”

“We should leave the poltroon here in his ice box,” sneers Spider-Man Noir.

“I don’t know what that means,” says Spider-Ham, “but I agree with it.”

“Whu–where did you all come from?” Stubbazubba asks, disoriented. “Did, did Film Crit Hulk send you?”

“Um, no,” says Spider-Gwen, arms crossed. “Pretty sure he has bigger things to worry about.”

“I picked up your distress signal,” Peni says with a smile.

“And I convinced them there would be something worth saving here,” says Miles.

“Yeah, I think I won that bet, you owe me $20,” says Peter.

“Not so fast,” Miles replies. “Look, we’ve all been pinned down at the bottom of a hulking rubble pile that no one–even you–thinks you’ll ever get out of. Ending up there doesn’t make any of us, or anyone else, a failure.”

Gwen cracks a smile at Miles. Peter rolls his eyes and looks away.

“Languishing for five years without a post?” says Noir, “That’s not a mountain of rubble from a confrontation with evil, that’s just a milksop giving up the fight.”

“Well, which is it?” Gwen asks. “You’re down, you’re on the verge of giving up. But can you get back up again?”

“No matter how embarrassing showing your face around here might be?” Spider-Ham adds, wiggling his snout.

“I… I don’t know that I have what it takes to keep this up. I mean, this space–superhero movies, Dungeons & Dragons, a nerd podcast–it’s all so saturated these days. I’m not Matt Colville, Hello Future Me, or Lindsay Ellis. I’m not even Dael Kingsmill. There’s a whole subreddit for amateur movie rewrites. I don’t have a gimmick, a niche, or an insider perspective. How could I possibly be interesting? I’m just…some random guy.”

“No, you’re not him, either,” says Peter.

Miles shoots Peter a glance, then turns back to Stubbazubba. “If you think you need to be special to belong here, to have a voice, you haven’t noticed who you’re talking to yet.”

Peter raises an eyebrow. “A bunch of closet geniuses who are also radioactive spider people gifted with superhuman strength, agility, the ability to climb walls, and PTSD that manifests as a guilt complex?”

Spider-Ham puts his hands on his hips, “And one genius, radioactive, gifted, traumatized spider pig, thank you very much!”

“No, no,” Miles shakes his head, “I mean them,” he gestures to the audience out in cyberspace, “the readers. They’re hungry for quality, not gimmicks. You have that inside you. It’s a little unpolished, but you’ve got…a spark. Y’know what I’m saying?”

“I…I think I do.”

“All those people, and much bigger personalities–I’m talking Matthew Mercer, Marques Brownlee, Hank Green, you name it–started out as just another nobody having fun and sharing it with the world. Anyone can do that. And if you stay in it long enough, be consistent, take the good feedback, roll with the punches, and keep quipping, you can be a friendly, neighborhood internet personality, too.”

Stubbazubba stands and locks eyes with Miles. “You’re right. I can do this. I have everything I need, even without a gimmick or a following. I’m gonna get there, one step at a time. No matter what’s come before. Thanks, Spider-Man.”

“Don’t mention it, man.” He pulls his mask over his face, and the others follow suit. “See you in the feeds!” He shoots a web into the distance and leaps away with a wave goodbye.

Gwen eyes Stubbazubba. “You’re his project, now. Don’t you disappoint him.” She turns and shoots a web, then turns back. “Good luck,” and she leaps after Miles.

Peter grasps Stubbazubba’s shoulder. “You’re right about one thing: just ’cause you messed stuff up before is no reason to put off doing the right thing now. Remember that.” He turns and follows the other two. “Hey, Miles, you know I was joking about that bet, right? Miles?”

Spider-Ham extends a hand, which Stubbazubba shakes. “Hey, I’m trying out a new tagline, tell me what you think: Excelsior!” he exclaims as he swings away. “Pretty great, huh?”

“One of the best!”

Spider-Man Noir looks to the left and right, then back at Stubbazubba. He whispers, “I thought, y’know, the thing? It was hilarious.” He turns and leaps after the others, humming to Rick Astley.

Alone, Stubbazubba smiles. Then he realizes something. “Uh, guys? I’m still stran–“

“Power’s back!” Peni and SP//dr pop out from around the other side of the craft. “Pretty easy fix, really.” The craft hums back to life.

“Um, wow. Didn’t see that coming. Thanks!”

“Ha ha, it was nothing! Gambaru!” Peni and the bot swing away, as well.

Stubbazubba closes his eyes and focuses for a moment. He opens them and walks back to the center of the craft, sits at a roll-y chair in front of a large computer screen, and taps the keyboard, bringing the monitor to life.

Let’s try this again.


Hey, internet.

Enough navel gazing: long time no see. Ready to pick it up again?

I’m finally in a place where I can devote a bit of time to writing again, and boy, have I got stuff to write. More movie fixes, D&D house rules, musing on game design, and a campaign diary that follows the exploits of a small-time adventuring party trying to make it in a big city DM’ed by yours truly. Besides that, I’ll be walking you through the D&D world that Cham and I have made for…well, it turns out for like a decade at this point. There’s a lot going on there, and we’re both quite proud of it. Last, but not least, I will be posting some fiction that takes place in that world or others.

All that being said, I don’t want to set expectations overly high, and I don’t want to burn myself out. So the schedule will be, at least for now: monthly posts, aiming for the last weekend in a given month. We’ll see how that goes for a quarter, and then see about going biweekly. Hopefully, as I get better at it and have multiple projects/series to work on (so I’m not just waiting for random inspiration), post volume will increase. As we roll into Q3/Q4 I might even start looking at making videos (one obvious difference between myself and most of my influences linked above).

I hope you enjoyed this little interlude. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is excellent, by the way. Not perfect, mind you, but certainly on par with many of the best super hero movies of the last several years. No spoilers for now, but that one’s going in the queue.

For those of you subscribed, I hope you’ll stick around for the new content starting in a couple weeks. For those of you just finding this, there’s a backlog of stuff I wouldn’t entirely disown even though it’s at least five years old. Both more of that and new things are coming, so go ahead and subscribe if you’d be interested in seeing it when it arrives. Or don’t, you’re pretty sharp, you don’t need anyone to tell you how this works.

Now I need a tagline. JARVIS, put that in the queue, too.

Now, how do I turn this thing–ah, here it is.

Uh, toodles?

Power down sound.