Arcane April Writing Prompts

#ArcaneApril writing prompts. Just for fun. Follow along if you wish. Create a magic item, spell, monster, or artwork for the generic fantasy setting (d20) of your choosing.

Writing prompts are a great way to stay on track and out of trouble with my blog.

Please create a (preferably balanced) magic item, spell, monster, or artwork based on the writing prompts below for the fantasy rules of your choice. I will be posting these under #ArcaneApril on social media. It’s just for fun. I might eventually compile these as a supplement of sorts.

  1. Jester
  2. Wood
  3. Electricity
  4. Positivity
  5. Speed
  6. Magnetism
  7. Queen
  8. Heart (Love)
  9. Sports
  10. Communication
  11. Information
  12. Dice (Luck)
  13. Fright
  14. Loop/Ring
  15. King
  16. Time
  17. Darkness
  18. Light
  19. Freedom
  20. Automaton/Golem
  21. Healing
  22. Elemental
  23. Prince/Princess
  24. Gold
  25. Negativity
  26. Ethereal
  27. Wish
  28. Movement
  29. Madness
  30. Evocation

Content Creators aka Influencers…

TLDR: This is NOT an attack or attempt to harass anyone. These are observations and opinions based on my experience. This is hopefully a clearer post than the one the other day. No one is named specifically. I have outlined what I believe Wizards of the Coast is doing with their recent efforts. No judgments.

Who am I compared to someone with 100K+ followers on social media? Who am I compared to the mighty Wizards of the Coast? It’s just my opinion. Thank you.

Please do not mistake this article for an “attack.”

By definition influencers hold sway over an audience. It’s somewhat easy to forget those massive follower counts when you see them on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and even LinkedIn every day and they talk to us as if we’re all friends. Or rather it’s easy to forget those follower counts represent people (and probably a percentage of bots, alts, or fake accounts (which is everyone, not just social media influencers.)

God help you if you get on the wrong side of one of these people! Nothing like having even 1% of their rabid fanbase angry at you on Twitter. By that, I mean it sucks. Don’t even use their names if you can avoid it. It’s not worth the hassle, trust me.

You can heap praise on them all day and never even get noticed. You can defend them publicly and no one will bat an eye. But Lord have mercy if something you say with an influencer’s name on it can even be construed as “attacking them.” I guess disagreeing with someone or asking people to use some discernment is an attack nowadays.

No one is being attacked here!

Now, if I had to guess somebody is probably already freaking out because I’m “attacking content creators” for accepting WotC’s gifts and getting paid to go to a Summit, etc. Which is absolutely NOT the case! I’m not even saying “bad Wizards of the Coast.”

Have fun hanging out in Washington. Rack up a massive bill on WotC’s corporate dime. Eat prime rib and a big salad for me. Enjoy it. Seriously, I wish I was going. Who wouldn’t?

Honestly, are a lot of us “little people” rotten, stinking jealous? Yeah, probably. Full confession: I know I’m jealous. (*But I wouldn’t want to get accused of “building a platform based on misery.”)

It’s not a bribe, okay?

Someone famous said, “I can’t be bought off with a box of toys.”

Great. That’s true. WotC sends their gifts and perks out in good faith with no overt expectations that any Content Creator will act on any future information they might receive. Seriously. It’s always a choice. That is fact, not criticism. Ask any professional in PR, marketing or advertising.

Again, who doesn’t like getting a big box of free stuff in the mail? I don’t know any gamers that would turn that down. If worse comes to worse, accept it and donate it to someone. Or just have fun with it.

Wizards wants good public relations.

Yes, I’ve acknowledged previously that the big companies in the entertainment industry hand out goodie bags, trips, dinners, and so forth all the time. I used to hang with an employee of Ingram Entertainment. Trust me, I get it. There’s nothing new here.

WotC gives me the impression they’re trying to make nice with the D&D Community after the whole OGL debacle. That’s every corporation in America, right? Every company wants us to like them and their various products from alphabet soup to Zambonis.  Sincerely, nothing wrong with that.

But hey, I’m one very small voice barking in the dark out here. I took plenty of Public Relations as part of my BA in Journalism. I know what Wizards of the Coast is likely doing, and they’re succeeding at it. Good for them.

There is not a damn thing I’m going to say on this blog, social media, or anywhere that’s going to even be a blip on the friggin radar to anyone involved with WotC, their PR people, or even YouTube celebs. (I know this from all the times I’ve mentioned all the above on this blog, and no one gave two shitz then, either.)

What does all this mean?

Wizards of the Coast, the big corporate cog in an even bigger corporate machine (Hasbro) controls the narrative on D&D. They’re attempting to reign in a bunch of Content Creators aka Influencers to extend their control over the narrative even further. The one who broadcasts the loudest at the largest crowd of fans is going to be all that is heard.

Seriously, does anyone think what I have to say stacks up against someone with 100,000+ followers on Instagram? Or 10,000+ followers on Twitter? Why would they even care? I’m 0.000,001% or less of an Influencer’s audience. That’s like being the kid who sneezed in line outside of the movie theater showing Star Wars in 1977. Who cares?

You think anybody in the D&D community cares much what I have to say? It’s all WotC’s narrative. The people that are squarely in the WotC D&D camp are going to continue to shout down or have dozens of rabid fans shouting down anyone who dares disagree with WotC’s narrative.

That’s not a poke at any influencers, either. That’s what Public Relations does. It’s just part of the cycle. It’s how large corporations behave. They want to influence public opinion of their company.

I love my small, humble audience. You guys rock. But we’re not a community. We’re more like a very large family and I mean that in the nicest way possible.

So, I’ve worked it all out. I’m going to take a big old step back from talking about Wizards of the Coast, the Content Creator Summit, the movie, and any kind of “Influencer.” Someday, I might very well look back on this whole situation and know I was right about what was going to happen, but we’ll see.

I’m going to go back to writing more about games than gamers, influencers, whatever. If you don’t like my monsters, items, spells, or plot ideas, umm,,, Don’t use them? My social anxiety is much better for not engaging when I know better.

I’m going back to eating junk food and playing Fortnite now. I’ve got monsters to build and articles to write about magic items later. Hope you all have a good weekend, too.

Thank you for being here. I appreciate all of you. If I ever hit 10K, I’ll still be here for ya.


I was of two minds when writing this article. First was the voice saying, “Let it go.” The second was the gnawing in my gut that felt there was more to say about the whole topic.

All of us in the #ttrpgcommunity are seriously passionate about our games and even the industry. Much like every other community, we don’t always see eye-to-eye on everything. It happens.

Wizards of the Coast is the single largest company in the TTRPG industry. D&D is still top dog in terms of sales and brand recognition. Given that we’re all really passionate, is it any wonder many of us tend to go off on WotC? Unfortunately, we sometimes blow up at one another, too. It’s natural.

It is just my opinion. If you don’t agree, that’s cool. If you DO agree with what I’m saying, that’s great, too. I’m always open to a dialogue about that. If you don’t agree with me, please- write your own opinion, go on your channel, put your opinion on social media. I respect that even if I don’t necessarily agree. You can also contact me directly on social media or via email. I’ll do my best to listen with curiosity.

For those who may not know me, I’m not a huge fan of authority. I especially don’t like large corporations. Unfortunately, this ain’t my first rodeo and I know how large corporations like to operate.

Honestly, this whole controversy with the Creator Summit along with all of the arguing has been a bit too much for me. Yeah, I’m envious of people going to this thing, or conventions, or even leaving the house sometimes. I miss running games and meeting people occasionally…

I wish WotC would do more about the D&D game and for the fans. That’s the heart of the whole matter. Some of us just have different ideas about how to make D&D more awesome than ever.


Three Gladiator’s Magic Items

3 magic items for use in a generic fantasy setting (D20 Rules For when things get gladiatorial.

Use at your character’s own peril for most d20 Fantasy games.

Photo by Budgeron Bach on

Gladiator’s Sandals:
Once properly attuned, these sandals provide an extra 5′ move per turn when activated. This extra move may only be used 3 times per day (long rest.) Additionally, the wearer may call upon the goddess of speed and grace to grant an extra bonus action once per day (long rest. )

Gladius of Glerth:

This weapon functions as a +3 Shortsword of Sharpness, but there’s a catch. Each time the Sharpness effect is triggered, it ages the wielder by 1d3 years of their life. As far as anyone knows, Glerth lived a long and happy life and died of old age.

Gladiator’s Magnetic Buckler

This +1 Magic Buckler provides +2 AC when used in the off hand. Additionally, it may be used as a Light off-hand bludgeoning weapon that deals 1d4+1 damage.

This item is also mildly magnetic and will pick up a maximum of 5 lbs of metallic items it passes over. The items can be removed and discarded as a free action. This effect is always active and can’t be removed without destroying the item’s magical properties.

Thank you for stopping by today. We’re back to less controversial content for a while. I appreciate you so much for sticking with me.

OGL and CC-BY-4.0 Link.

Random Tidbits

Just a lot of random thoughts. Some serious, some not as much. Some about the TTRPG Industry, others more personal. It’s my opinion.

I need to slow down a bit today.

March 20th was pretty awful if I’m being honest. I’m just going to throw a lot of random stuff out there today. I originally had a much longer creature feature that I was working on. It’ll keep another day or two.

Content Warning: Suicide

We Almost Lost Someone.
Shortly before the rest of my world went to pieces, I learned a dear friend of mine attempted to take her life last week. She’s recovering in a psychiatric hospital last I heard. Fortunately, she’s still with us.

I’ve made a lot of friends on Twitter and Instagram. Some I get to know through their posts, others via direct messaging. We’ve lost other members of the #ttrpgcommunity , #ttrpgfamily , and elsewhere due to suicide.

I’m usually around if anyone wants to talk. I’m not a professional or a qualified counselor, but I am someone to talk with. All I can do is offer compassion and understanding.

Please, if you’re having thoughts, TALK TO SOMEONE!

Trans People.
I have met many transgender gamers and other folx since being on social media. They are some of the kindest, most sensitive, caring people you’ll ever meet. All the negativity being spouted by the various religious and political factions is garbage. Trans people are people. Please be kind.

(*Onto a completely different subject.)

My Blog, My Opinions.
I would like to politely remind everyone that all of the opinions expressed on my blog are mine unless otherwise noted. It’s the Internet. Chances are, someone has said worse. Also, I’m available on a lot of platforms to chat privately if you’d like to engage in a dialogue.

I Never Claimed to Be the Expert on Everything:
Yeah. Hi. (*I’m not going to degrade myself here.) I will say that if I screw up, I’ll own it. I’m not so arrogant as to believe I know it all and I never make mistakes.

All anyone can ever do is say what they see from their perspective, regardless. That doesn’t make it a fact. It’s all perception.

Kind Intentions Most of the Time.
I’m more than willing to dive back into an article, change text, pics, whatever. I’m not on here to cheese people off. Yes, with opinions it’s going to happen. But there is such a thing as damage control. 😅

YouTube Icons:
Normally, if I mention a YouTube channel or a TTRPG community icon, it’s because I admire their work. That was the case yesterday only it didn’t come across that way in the slightest and I apologize once more.

Wizards of the Coast:
I will not apologize for anything I’ve said about WotC and their corporate drones. I don’t trust them. I don’t like what they’re doing to the game I love. I don’t like their corporate McCulture. Their PR people are doing a wonderful job of trying to cover up their mistakes back in January. (Or are they?)

HOWEVER! That is not intended as a slight toward anyone on YouTube, Twitch, etc. Content Creators/Influencers are the lifeblood of the D&D Community. Please understand some of us little people are nowhere near trusting WotC ever again, and they’d have to go a long way to get me back personally right now.

Please Don’t Believe Everything WotC Tells You.
I know I’m barking in the dark again. I’m just trying to save people from what very well might be the disappointment of One D&D and their VTT platform. Right now their people are trying to put a shiny new coat of paint on a very big pile of bullsh🦆t. Hasbro/WotC just wants us to open our wallets for them again.

The same goes for Kyle Brink. He’s only as good as the script PR feeds him. He can lie through his teeth one day and they’ll find a way to completely spin it around the next. Don’t think I’ve forgotten his quote, whether it was misquoted or not. I have my interpretation.

But don’t take my word for it because-

I’m Small Potatoes.
I’m just one guy with a blog and a few social media accounts. I have some very wonderful regular followers and subscribers. I’m grateful for every last one and know a lot of them by name. I love you all.

Yes, I occasionally drop a name like G***** *i or Matt Mercer. The one damn time someone big read my blog, it blew up in my face completely. Not my best day on the Internet or anywhere else.

Up until recently, I didn’t think anyone such as the big names I do drop from time to time ever read anything I wrote. Holy buckets, that’s cool. Now if we could just have notice taken of something more significant than this WotC hubbub. It’s great to see someone cared briefly, though…

One Thing Wrong.
I’ve heard more than once, “Do a hundred things right and no one bats an eye. Do one thing wrong and pretty much everyone notices.”

Well, that’s super true. I try to say a lot of good things about people, gaming, and other things I’m passionate about. But, I’m always going to call it like I see it whether someone with 183K+ followers agrees or not. I will not be a purveyor of toxic positivity. That said, I’m not trying to be a dick to most people, either. I’m especially not trying to arouse the ayre of 183K+ people on Twitter. (Just sayin… )

I’ve Fought Many Battles Across the Interwebs.

Family, I’ve been around since Usenet News. I’ve been a keyboard warrior, a crusading muckraker, even a fanatical lunatic on some issues. But if getting flamed and trolled repeatedly has taught me anything, it’s when not to pursue an argument.

I will go silent or back off on a good number of things these days. Forgiveness, kindness, and even empathy are a much better road. There are very few things worth slugging it out until the bitter last word (or a until a forum thread gets locked.)

Meditation Helps.
I used to say this a lot. I’m still a big believer in meditation for a lot of things. I need to get my own daily practice back on track. It’s surprisingly difficult with four kids in the house even in the wee hours of the morning. (LOL Not even kidding, though.) If you quiet your mind, everything comes into focus more clearly.

Back to Eating Cheetos in Nacho Cheese and Playing Heroes of the Storm.
Believe it or not, some bad habits can be good if you don’t overdo it. For me, it’s junk food and video games. It takes my mind off of things almost as much as meditation and helps me blow off steam.

We’re Blogging TTRPG Content Tomorrow, Darn It!
I’m dead serious when I say that. I want to get back to writing about monsters and starships instead of all of this more serious stuff. Let’s have some fun.

Thank you ALL for being here. I appreciate you. My foot is not always magnetically attracted to my mouth. Is Mercury in retrograde right now?

Secrets of the Sylvera Academy 1 Preview.

I’m excited for The Secrets of Sylvera Academy. It’s got good spell mechanics. Some of the spells harken back to ye olden days of AD&D 1E and others let it rip in 5E. So much goodness in these pagers.

A wonderful new 5E supplement by Single Step Gaming now on Kickstarter.

Here’s the link on Kickstarter. Highly recommend taking a look. The pledges are very reasonably priced and the content is pure golden dynamite so far. I was lucky enough to get a sneak peak at some of the content and I’m blown away.

Caster Dueling.

The first thing one will notice are the rules for caster duels. This makes counterspelling more than just counterspell. Enemy throws fireball? Block with Cone of Cold and so on. It nicely emulates two wizards blasting it out until they’re completely out of spells or one of them goes down to a mighty blast from the other. One could also do a bardic battle of the bands with this system. The possibilities are pretty wild from settling bar bets to taking down BBEGs.

The spell section of this book is intense.

There are a LOT of great spells in this supplement. I’m not going to go level by level on all of them, but I’ll mention some that definitely stand out. There are definitely some I want my (family) group to test out. I would have given $10 to have some of these back in the day. I love utility, illusion, and shadow spells. This book has all that and more.

Clap of Thunder is a cantrip with a tiny amount of damage and 5′ of knockback. Good old knockback. Castable by Sorcerer, Wizard, and Warlock among others. I think it would be fun to use on a Monk/Sorcerer multiclass.

The other outstanding Cantrip to me is Combined Casting. For every 2 acolytes assisting the caster, a spell can be cast one level higher. It makes me think of witches’ covens, warlock cults, even bardic troupes coming together to make a lower level spell something spectacular. Somewhat ceremonial, but definitely a keeper.

I also liked the utility and some of the damage components of Hedgerow, Infernal Weapon, and Stonespike. I like Druid casting, and I think Hedgerow is going to be useful in and out of combat. I think Infernal Weapon is handy for Bards and a possible staple spell for Warlocks.

First, Second and Third Level Spells of note:

Air Shield is a solid Level 1 utility along with Faelyn’s Flaming Armor. Glamur reminds me of the good old Illusionist days. Charged Bolt and Hailstone are great replacements for Magic Missile. Nature’s Speed for Rangers and Druids would be incredible. The spell grants climb or swim speed equal to the target’s movement for 8 hours.

The Level 2 spells really stood out, perhaps more than some of the other levels. Arcane Sling is a magical slingshot with some pretty respectable damage. Gill Growth is a great 8 hour replacement for Water Breathing. Shield of the Dead is very cool. (*I don’t want to give too many spoilers.) Void Sword is another must-have for Warlocks in particular.

I want to talk about Summon Vehicle specifically. This spell totally rocks. My group would have gone bonkers for this back in the day. It’s a 24 hour summonable cart, coach, rowboat, or whatever transportation the caster desires. As a huge fan of the old Mouse Cart magic item, I can’t recommend this spell too much for any party. It gets the job done.

Third Level spells are interesting and useful. Blur Reality is just bizarre as the name suggests. Eamon’s Hear Traps is a very strange, but useful utility. It takes some of the surprise out of the “Click” rule. (*I’ll go over that one elsewhere.)

Haloras’ Knowledge of Other Lives. Hats off to whomever thought of this spell. D&D has needed this for a while now. The caster reaches back into their lineage with a d12 roll and pulls out features from another class. Man, I sure hope some of my character’s ancestors were Paladins.

I also want to really praise the spell, Traveler’s Sanctuary. It creates a 15′ radius sphere safe from the elements for 1 hour. Higher level castings grant more time. This might be a good one to cast with the Combine Spell cantrip.

Spell levels Four, Five, and Six have some noteworthy items.

At Fourth level the spells are really friendly to Warlocks and Necromancers in particular. Rain of Blood, Shared Torment, Shadow’s Touch, and Wall of Shadows are all in that kinda “Dark Arts” category. There’s even a spell called “Defense Against the Void Arts.”

At Fifth level, Beam of Brilliance reminds me a lot of Sun Ray. Ice Prison reminds me of a Diablo spell effect which is to say it’s cool. Armor of the Dead is also kind of in the Diablo vein of things. I like it!

There are only five Sixth Level spells in this supplement. I absolutely have to talk about Scythe of Armageddon. The material component for this thing is the bone of a CR 10 or higher creature. The caster snaps it and unleashes

a Void energy war scythe that does insane amounts of damage + poison. How to make your BBEG cry in one hit.

Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Level spells are short, powerful lists.

Part of me thinks these spells are underrepresented in a lot of books, but how many campaigns get to caster levels high enough to throw these around nowadays? It’s rare to get to cast the groovy high end stuff. Some of these make good use of it, though.

Folklore (Seventh) plus and kind of scrying tool is likely going to ruin the DM’s well laid master plans. Wall of Force will make archers lose their marbles. Stonewall reminds me of some Old School D&D. I like it a lot.

Unspeakable Nothingness- cool name for a spell. World shattering effects for an 8th Level spell. Kudos for coming up with this one. I pray my characters never get hit with it.

Dalton’s Traveling Taproom and Orb of Transport at Level 9 turn the most intense casting levels into something super useful. These two spells are an especially good choice for a Wizard who knows long rest is on the horizon. The Ending of All Things is aptly named and does what one would expect. Yikes.

Conclusion and overall impression

Overall, this book delivers on mechanical elements. Some things looked tough to adjudicate, but upon thorough reading it has so far turned out not to be broken. So far as I can tell there’s nothing in this supplement I would object-to as a DM. Others might not rule it that way given it’s a third party book.

Maybe it could use a few more graphics with some of the spells? I know how hard it is to score good art, though. Smaller publications like this one struggle. After about Fifth Level Spells, art would have been useful to break up some of the blank spaces. It’s a small thing.

I would have also liked to have seen a little more flavor text with some of the spells and more about the academy itself. There’s a low key Strixhaven or even Hairy Potter vibe going on. I would have liked to have seem more text similar to the snippet on Page 6 (or thereabouts.) I think Sylvera Academy has some good lore possibilities.

Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate it. Please go take a look at Sylvera Academy now on Kickstarter. Special thanks to Single Step Gaming for providing this preview copy.

Two New Exciting Calls for Submissions Announced.

RPG Superstar and Everyday Heroes are putting out calls for submissions. Sounds promising if I can get around my anxiety and do the things.

I’m pretty excited about both.

So, originally this article was going to be about how Wizards of the Coast put out a survey in some vague effort to engage the fanbase. The two announcements today made by independent publishers are just way better news. One of these projects has been around a while now, RPG Superstar. The other is a new project from a relatively new company. Woot!

RPG Superstar has big prizes!

RPG Superstar used to be a Paizo venture. Paizo is the company best known for Pathfinder RPG. Roll for Combat’s Stephen Glicker took over in 2019. It’s no surprise the submissions are being submitted for Pathfinder 2E.

The intro video on YouTube is here.

The website for RPG Superstar is here.

Publishing credits (*Which is AWESOME!) aside, this contest promises cash prizes and could possibly lead to bigger things in the TTRPG industry. Writers of the winning entries (allegedly) have gone onto other gigs in the game industry. Judging is a bit of a popularity contest with pro and popular votes. This is my first time and I’m hearing people have won this thing multiple years in a row?

Okay, officially I’m terrified now. Maybe I won’t do this one. I don’t need that kind of rejection. I dunno. I was psyched for this until I listened to the podcast on YouTube video above. Yikes. We’ll see.

I should probably mention a contestant can enter up to three creatures. According to the podcast, multiple past contestants have won with more than one entry. Does that seem a bit suspicious to anyone else or is it just me?

Deadline for submissions is May 28. Then lots of judging all the way up to September 2023. If your monster isn’t used, you at least get the rights back so you can use them on your own project. I guess that’s kinda cool.

I will say submitting a monster is great. There’s dropdown menus and a really nice template to fill in over on the RPG Superstar Website. Honestly, I wish that was a program I had access to year round beyond 3 entries. (Or I haven’t found it yet. Don’t judge me.)

I’ll be dropping a couple of Pathfinder 2E monsters here on the blog to get used to writing for that system again. It’s not my first dance, but I might be a bit rusty with Pathfinder. It’s been a good minute.

Evil Genius Games Reboots Urban Arcana for Everyday Heroes.

This one is a change of pace. The link is here. Evil Genius Games first rocketed onto the scene last year with Everyday Heroes RPG, a reboot of the D20 Modern game. Hey, I was just excited for some of the titles launched under Everyday Heroes including Highlander and Pacific Rim.

Urban Arcana was a premier setting for D20 Modern RPG, released under the 3.0/3.5 OGL by Wizards of the Coast. Big names in gaming, many of whom are still around in the industry, chimed in on the original. Evil Genius is looking for someone to, “…create the backdrop for our Urban Arcana setting – a magical world set in modern times, complete with the origin of magic and the fate of elder races such as elves, dwarves, and halflings,” according to the blog.

The call for submission starts at a 200 word pitch. If that is accepted, it goes up to 1,000 words to expand on the original pitch. If selected, the writer then gets to build a 50,000 word history of the setting in Everyday Heroes RPG. (For those who don’t know; NaNoWriMo is a 50,000 word submission.)

Wow. An entire world treatise is huge. Nothing has been said about payment, etc for the chosen entry. Hey, I’ll be happy to get to submit a 1,000 word entry. If they don’t want it, there’s always my own work, I guess. If the elevator pitch wasn’t good enough, it’s not like they’re going to give a rip what I do with it afterward.

If anyone needs me, I’ll be huddled up under my desk.

I really want to do both of these entries. My own personal and social anxieties might prevent it. I honestly can’t handle criticism or even any real feedback at this point. It’s a bizarre phobia for a writer to have in some ways. I get it.

Yeah, cash would go a LONG way right now, even $25.00. I don’t plan on leaving the house unless I absolutely have-to. But, for actual cash money I might start considering some things… Just don’t make me, ya know, “people” and we’ll be fine. Oddly, telling this to total strangers on the Internet doesn’t phase me one bit.

I have a preview of a Kickstarter coming in the next day or two. I’m excited to talk about Sylvaera Academy. It should be a lot of fun from I’ve seen so far.

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you even if I sound like a basket case sometimes. You could be the next big RPG Superstar, though.

Contemplating Percentages.

Talking about random number generation from 1-100. There are multiple ways to achieve the same results. Some are easier to use than others.

Let’s discuss some different ways dice can emulate a span of 1-100 as it comes up in RolePlaying Games.

Different games have different die types and rolling conventions, but it all still comes down to a span of numbers 0-100. We’ve had various physical dice through the years, but they all do basically the same thing.

In the stone ages of miniatures wargaming, in the before time- 1970, when dinosaurs walked the Earth and people listened to disco music, we had twenty sided dice numbered 0-9 twice. First roll is first digit. Second roll is second digit. Good to go, right?

Then came our friend in dice, the d10. Roll it twice. Once for the first digit, second time for the second digit. Done. Easy mode.

My gaming group for Marvel Superheroes RPG used to roll two dice and call the color of the first digit. I had a player (Travis) who liked to change up the color of the first digit die. This led to way more hits than misses.

Then came the argument over whether or not the result of 00 + 0 was to be read as 0 or 100. One is usually a catastrophic hit or a horrid miss depending on the system. Don’t look it up on the Internet. We can’t decide on there, either. I leave it to the individual GM to decide. Depending on the game we either roll between 1 and 100 or 0-99. Either way, game on.

Another way a wise friend once explained it, is EVERY d20 based game functions on percentages. 1d20 x 5 = a span between 5 and 100. Oh looky, percentages.

That’s a 60. I called Yellow first.

Then, someone in the glorious 1980s made a miracle die- the d00, or double-digit ten sider. I love these dice for percentages. No more arguments over which die went first. The d00 always determines the first digit. Easy.

The mighty Zocchihedron!

There’s one die I haven’t mentioned. Everyone’s favorite golf ball, the Zocchihedron, an actual 100 sided die. One roll and done.

Through years of working in the game industry, I’ve also seen d50s and d100s that look like gigantic ten sided dice. The only downer is many of these dice are hard to read. (Sorry, no pics on these as I don’t own any.)

There are also digital 00-99 counters that offer up a new number at the push of a button. I haven’t seen any lately, but I know they’re out there. I hear they’re cool. Obviously we all have dice phone apps and office applications capable of generating random percentages, but what fun is that?

We could potentially oversimplify the whole process and roll 1d10 x 10 or the d00 by itself. We’re just omitting that pesky second digit. Oh well. All good, yes?

Okay, cool math rocks, but why are we here?

I’m still working on my own TTRPG engine that is theoretically going to cover Fantasy, Cyberpunk, AND Mecha Starship Sci Fi. I cut my teeth on Cyberpunk 2020, Mekton Z, Rifts, and Robotech back in the early days. Of course I also ran a lot of Marvel Superheroes and AD&D Basic-2E AD&D. I’ve called for my share of percentage rolls. I’ve seen the mighty d20 at the best and worst of moments.

It’s all about the manipulation of probability. A +1 to a d20 roll is the same as 5% A +1 to a d00 roll (both 1d00 + 1d10) is a drop in the bucket at a paltry 1%. However, a +1 to a 1d10 roll gets you a 10% bonus, and that’s pretty good.

I want a system where a +1 bonus really means something again. I’ve noticed a tendency for a lot of d20 based games to hand +1 bonuses out like parade candy. What I intend to do instead is have a 1d10 based system where skill really counts. So the base roll in my system will be 1d10 + Attribute OR Skill level vs target number. The higher the target, the tougher the challenge is to beat.

That’s how skills and combat will likely work. I’m also bringing back my beloved AD&D 2E initiative system since it ran on a 1d10 roll with bonuses/penalties. Of course, there will still be times when the d00 is rolled. We’ll also discuss warping of percentages by using dice cleanly indivisible into 100. (In other words, there is no way to get a d6 or a d8 to emulated a 1-100 chance without crunching some more serious math.

Thanks for being here. In the next article from this series, we’ll talk about dice pools and advantage/disadvantage concepts. We’ll also discuss the probability curve of rolling two or more dice together. I appreciate you. Have a wonderful day.

Random Encounter: The Recovery.

“Beep beep-beep bee-be-beep bee-beebeep. Beep. Beep. Beep.”

An encounter for almost any D20 Fantasy TTRPG.

This encounter works ideally where technology/science fiction elements are available. It can be played as humorously or seriously as the GM desires. This is not intended to be a combat encounter, but it is possible OO-P5 has a combat mode for when it logically deems hostility is necessary.

1. The find.

The group is mid travel when they find a large, round, silk sheet with strings attached to it. There is a hole in the center of the sheet as well that would seemingly serve no logical purpose as a bed sheet. The ropes all seem to be attached to a metal framed backpack suitable for a medium creature. It’s almost as if the sheet fell from the sky.

Robot Pilot from “Hare Lift” Bugs Bunny 1952. From Warner Brothers Animation.
2. Further down off the trail.

A short while later, assuming the group is paying attention, they find a crater approximately 5′ in diameter. At the bottom of the crater is a dark gray, rectangular, metal box. There are no footprints around the crater and there’s no sign of local wildlife. It’s almost if the box was slammed into the ground by a greater force.

The box is very heavy. There are etchings on the box along with 00-P5 painted in black on one side. On the opposite side is a white button that seems to have survived the fall undamaged.

When the button is depressed, the box begins to shake a big. a port opens on top. A foot long metal rod with a small glass globe appears. “Bee=Beep Beep Beep.” is heard.

The globe lights up with each beep. The rod points the globe around at each party member as if looking them over before standing straight once more. “Bee-Beep Beep?” is heard.

Further investigation of the box.

If the group gives the strange “inhabitant of the box” no logical reason to fear them, its arms and legs will eventually protrude from its body and it will stand up. To the group it may seem like a strange golem or automaton. They will eventually be able to translate the robot’s beeping into a sort of rudimentary language. The party has gained a lifelong friend and ally or an oddity to be sold at the first opportunity.

While OO-P5 doesn’t seem terribly cold and lifeless, its logic processors can only handle so much. Emotions might be a bit too much. The real challenge of the initial encounter is to coax 00-P5 into trusting the group and coming all the way out of its box. Damage to its processing unit has left it unable to process its current whereabouts or origins.

Things the robot understands:

  • Self preservation. (Parachuting from a crashing spacecraft, for example.)
  • Preservation of close “friends.”
  • How to assist humanoids without violating the first two principles.
  • Threats to itself and friends.
  • When communication is important to it.
  • Basic machine learning. How to fire a crossbow. How to fix a cart. How to drive a cart. How to play simple games.
  • What its physical and mental limitations are.
  • How to use the rudimentary tools it is equipped with in order to repair itself.
  • Understands most languages, just can’t record or speak back due to mechanical limitations.
  • Small, furry, cute, cuddly, and innocent things are friends.

Things 00-P5 does not understand:

  • Animal behaviors.
  • Medicine.
  • Magic. (Completely freaks it out.)
  • Complex human emotions.
  • Humanoid interactions.
  • Why beings treat each other the way they do.
  • How to speak anything other than “Beep.”
  • How it got here.
  • Religion, philosophy, psychology, or sociology.

00-P5 does not have any sort of flight recorder or memory technology to explain where it came from. 00-P5’s quantum particle battery will last for approximately 99 more years unless someone tampers with it. The robot is not armed, but will seem to understand how to operate a crossbow or ballista instinctively. Its sensor dome only extends 120′ in all directions and much farther when plugged into a starship sensor system.

It will do whatever it deems logically necessary or whatever its close friends tell it to do as long as it or no one else will get hurt as a result. It’s about as intimidating as a pair of bunny slippers in combat, appearance aside. It will always try to assist wherever possible by lifting, carrying or repairing things. 00-P5 can be used as a sentry in a pinch, although mileage may very when it comes to some humanoids and small, furry, innocent animals.

00-P5: Init +0; Atk +3 Fist melee (1d6); AC 14; HD 7d6 (36) ; MV 25’; Act 1d20; SP immune to mind control, regular heat and cold temperatures, eating, drinking, sleeping and breathing; SV Fort +2, Ref +1, Will +0; Approximate Str: 12. Int: 10. Equipped gear: Flashlight (lightbulb protrudes from chest.) Basic auditory, Infrared, UV, and visual sensors. Starship piloting and gunnery programming suites. Basic tools (Claw hammer, screwdrivers, knife, scissors, pliers, wirecutter, electrical tape.) Starship/computer interface ports. It also understands how to pack and use a parachute.

Additional uses: 00-P5 could also be a refugee robot in any given post apocalyptic or science fiction campaign. It will most likely appear as a relic from a long-past era or civilization.

There is a much longer backstory I will share about this robot at a later date. Have fun with it if you decide to run the encounter. Thanks for stopping by.

Wizards of the Coast Content Creator Summit.

I’m sure a speak for a large crowd of gamers who didn’t need an all-expenses-paid trip to my living room to figure it out. We don’t need WotC or their take on D&D any more. I’ve pretty much given up on Wizards of the Coast. They can go rot with whatever official titles come next. There are very few things they will ever do or say to win my trust back.

Please allow me to better clarify my position on this.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with WotC calling a Creator Summit. There’s no grudge or beef with the attendees of said event. Actually, I’m wicked jealous, to be honest. But, good for them. I’ve made it a point since starting this site to praise the success of others as long as no harm was done.

I admire a lot of folx in the YouTube arena. I could list probably twenty people who I respect and admire greatly. I’m not going to single anyone out, however.

I admire a lot of people, but I don’t always agree with them.

Someone pointed out on Twitter that a lot of the “Content Creators” being invited to the summit don’t actually write much of anything, with a few exceptions. I see a lot of endorsements and sponsors on the channels of various Content Creators. Again, all good.

They all work very hard at what they do. I’m not sure how “Influencer” became sort of a negative term, but it describes what they do so much better. YouTube videos, social media posts, liaising with various other writers, creators and corporate types are just part of their daily agenda. Anyone who has ever edited a YouTube video can probably tell you it’s not as easy as it sounds.

So, yes. Great for the people going to get wined and dined by Wizards of the Coast. Is it the best approach by WotC? That remains to be seen. Make no mistake, this is a (smart) Public Relations move. WotC isn’t paying for good previews/reviews. However, I kinda suspect that’s what the corporate overlords are expecting out of all this.

Here comes one of my theories.

What if, maybe, just possibly, this has been planned all along? It’s almost Machiavellian in its conception. IF/F the OGL debacle was manufactured, then some of the subsequent PR maneuvering would be intended to build more support for the new video game, err…Virtual TableTop using the Unreal Engine. (Just like Fortnite, *cough.*) Even if the OGL disaster hadn’t occurred, my educated guess is this was already in the works.

Wizards’ various teams have been plotting and scheming. Sometimes Team A has no idea (supposedly) what Team B is doing. The Hasbro overlords’ teams sometimes do things the WotC teams have no idea are happening. It’s all about the franchise, the lifestyle brand, these days.

Content? Not in the gaming sense of the word. Mark my words- what goes into the books is tertiary or even irrelevant to selling the brand. Advertising, promotion, and selling merchandise are super important to WotC. Books? Pfft! “Do we sell those?” they ask. They need “Content Creators” to promote the brand. They don’t need actual game content.

Remember, One D&D was already pretty much in the bag before they even announced it. WotC’s focus has nothing to do with the game itself at this point. They’re entire effort is going into marketing, merchandising, and virtual space. Screw the game. They just want money because they own the name and they have a dim view of the fans.

Someone highly respected by the community mentioned “gatekeeping.”

In my heart of hearts, I almost wish Linda Codega was wrong about gatekeeping, but I know they’re right. That snarky comment Kyle Brink made about “old white guys (like him) can’t flee the hobby fast enough” might be the new standard in gatekeeping for D&D. The new “cool kids” are turning away the section of the fanbase that launched the entire TTRPG industry.

As others have commented, WotC “left us” the SRD 5.1 and the OGL. WotC doesn’t see editions. They see dollar signs. All of us old codgers and Grognards can play the older editions of the game or pretty much do anything we want in the old sandbox. The new faces of D&D are coming, and chances are there won’t be one old white guy with a bald head and a long beard anywhere among them.

Hasbro/WotC want tons of sales of merchandise, action figures, D&D lamps and gimmicky transformable d20s. They’re banking on the Honor Among Thieves sales and views to propel D&D into the future much the same way Star Wars took off back in the 1970s. Getting a bunch of YouTubers onboard with the new VTT and kicking all of the old white guys to the curb are just another phase of the marketing plan.

The way I see it…

We’re headed into a new era. This new era will be pretty much free of official WotC publications. There plenty of companies out there in the #TTRPGIndustry who will take our money. If WotC wants to blow a pile of money on bringing a bunch of YouTubers in to try to coax more people back over to One D&D, and the video game masquerading as a VTT, good for them.

The brain trust at Hasbro/WotC has forgotten the hundreds of YouTubers they didn’t invite. The old guys like Erik Tenkar and The Dungeon Delver probably never make the list. Why? WotC doesn’t want honest opinions. They want public relations.

WotC wants YouTubers to go on the air and sing the praises of One D&D and the shiny new VTT. They want the microtransactions that work so well for video game companies. They weren’t lying when they said they want to monetize the players. Remember, we’re dealing with WotC execs that think D&D is a video game and nothing more.

Again, there’s really nothing terribly wrong about what WotC is doing. Yeah, they want to make money. I think other TTRPG fans and I would rather they went about things differently, but we’re not their crowd any more.

I can name dozens of other fantasy TTRPGs that can easily be mistaken for D&D. These other titles are eventually going to completely replace D&D. Let WotC do whatever the heck they want to do. Good luck with One D&D.

I’m sure a speak for a large crowd of gamers who didn’t need an all-expenses-paid trip to my living room to figure it out. We don’t need WotC or their take on D&D any more. I’ve pretty much given up on Wizards of the Coast. They can go rot with whatever official titles come next. There are very few things they will ever do or say to win my trust back.

Update: As of March 10, I have not received any word from Wizards of the Coast on the best way to contact them. Obviously they want the fans’ opinions so badly that there’s no way to contact them. I call bullsh🦆t on their whole operation at this point. I really get the impression no one in those offices wants to be my friend.

Thanks for reading this far. You rock. I appreciate you. I like having online friends. Keep on gaming your way.

Compilation of Interviews, Streams, & Podcasts.

Sean Reynolds is a well established game designer. Please go check out his page.

Please go check out Sean Reynolds’ page. He’s a great guy. I admire his work.

I’ve put together a list of links to interviews and streams I’ve appeared on. This doesn’t include the things I’ve posted on my (long-neglected) YouTube channel. Ideally I’ll get these all in chronological order. I’ll add more as I find them! 1997 SciFi Channel documentary Masters of Fantasy about TSR (I briefly appear at 11:11) […]

Compilation of Interviews, Streams, & Podcasts
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