Dear Wizards of the Coast…

Not that you care. Not that anyone @Wizards_DnD reads this or anything else the fans are trying desperately to tell you. Out of curiosity, do you think Hasbro is going to be okay with their stock prices plummeting steadily until 2024 when you bring the abomination that is One D&D out to a hostile fan crowd? Your “lifestyle brand” won’t mean sh🦆t if the game itself dies.

A letter almost as “Open” as the Open Game License 1.1.

Dear Wizards,

First off, let me just beg you, please don’t sue me. Thank you. Not appearing in court any time soon is high on my bucket list.

Second, let’s chat a bit about this tragedy called OGL 1.1. See, you might not realize the gravity of what you’re doing to fans, players, and content creators. Oh, not to mention you’re offending the heck out of Dungeon Masters. Some of us depend on third party OGL content for livelihood. Others like that content as consumers.

When you don’t put out enough quality content in a given year to keep us all interested, we like to pick up third party OGL content. As a DM, I particularly enjoy monster supplements. The new OGL 1.1 will have provisions crafted into it that will simply cause a lot of third party creators to simply vanish. As much as you hate competition, you’ll also be killing the game of Dungeons & Dragons. Not to mention causing even more unemployment.

See, I know it’ll sound crazy, but some of the third party content creators are big enough to employ one or more artists, editors, and additional designers. I understand corporate giants like Hasbro do this, but smaller companies don’t tie their employees up in endless meetings that only result in a more mediocre product. The OGL forces licensees out of business because they can’t afford the royalties you’re asking or just plain wipe them out using completely unreasonable legal terms or conditions. Hence more unemployment.

Not that you care. Not that anyone @Wizards_DnD reads this or anything else the fans are trying desperately to tell you. Out of curiosity, do you think Hasbro is going to be okay with their stock prices plummeting steadily until 2024 when you bring the abomination that is One D&D out to a hostile fan crowd? Your “lifestyle brand” won’t mean sh🦆t if the game itself dies.

But the fans love Wizards of the Coast, right?

After the shenanigans with the OGL? No. NO, the fans do not love you. You’ve single handedly managed to unite separate parts of the D&D fan base into one giant mob with pitchforks and torches. See, some of us have family and friends who are content creators and you’re royally screwing them over. Needless to say we think the terms and conditions in the OGL 1.1 are ridiculous and unacceptable.

You say you’re “under monetized.” You want more money from players. Did you stop to consider what the DMs think of this plan? Clearly no.

See, we don’t just spend time fixing all the mechanical errors and filling massive gaps left by your overpaid staff designers. Some DMs like to collect third party content. Some DMs like to produce third party content because the pittance we make covers the new content we consume. Don’t tell me you hate that plan, too?

Right now, the message we fans are getting is pretty clear. You are asking us, players, DMs, and content creators, to basically hand you free material to publish. I understand you want to squash the competition like Microsoft or Hasbro would, but it’s clear you have no actual clue what you’re doing in the TableTop RPG industry.

I’m just getting started. I’m mad. I’m not going away. I won’t be silenced.

More on this topic tomorrow. Thanks for reading all you non-WotC family. I find this topic of the OGL quite upsetting.

Fantaji Role Playing Game Review.

Fantaji is laid out very intuitively to answer questions veteran gamers might have as they read through the book and get ready to play. It’s not your grandpa’s BECMI D&D game by any stretch of the imagination. In Fantaji, character personality matters. Dramatic actions matter. Story matters. Dice rolls merely determine the ebb and flow of the actions.

I’m astonished this game hasn’t gotten more press.

Fantaji is a Universal Role Playing Game, much like FATE, Cypher, or GURPS. It is the brainchild of Calvin Johns and his crew at Anthropos games. I purchased my print + digital copies from DriveThruRPG.com many years ago. The Anthropos website also has some nice character sheets, cards, and so on for your game. There’s a quick start set available to try out if your group is interested.

Fantaji is a good investment even in PDF form if you want a quick game to play at a convention or a quick pick-up game at the Friendly Local Game Shop. It’s also great for long term campaigns if players are interested enough in the setting and the characters you’re using.

It is written by an expert in culture, specifically ttrpg culture.

Fantaji is laid out very intuitively to answer questions veteran gamers might have as they read through the book and get ready to play. It’s not your grandpa’s BECMI D&D game by any stretch of the imagination. In Fantaji, character personality matters. Dramatic actions matter. Story matters. Dice rolls merely determine the ebb and flow of the actions.

The game uses D10’s only. Players might want to have a few blank index cards, tokens, pens/markers in 4 or so colors. Heck, characters fit on an index card if you really want them to. Anthropos does give players some nice character sheets. Creating a character takes less time than most games, but you’ll definitely want some backstory.

Action and combat are not the same fare as other RPGs.

One thing really stands out about Fantaji is the way actions are handled. Your character’s traits and theme are always “played-to” to gain advantages and/or disadvantages in any given situation. Combat isn’t the same old “I whack you, you whack me. Roll for damage.

Combat, skill tasks or even brutal negotiations are handled by determining the traits effective and rolling a die pool against a difficulty somewhat similar to the way World of Darkness does. Difficulty is always 3, 5, or 8 depending. “Playing-to” the scene’s conditions can also help increase the characters’ Drama pool or decrease the GM characters Drama. Successful rolls allow the player to narrate the damage or outcome of the situation more easily. Few battles need be fights to the death if so desired. The system favors less violent solutions in many situations, making the game very new player and kid friendly.

Board game fans will also have an easier time adapting to Fantaji in some ways. The action resolution and combat are done in a way similar to board game style play. Most players can probably pick the game up within the first hour or two of gameplay. Even though it might look a bit intimidating at first, Fantaji is easy to pick up and enjoy. The designers do an excellent job describing the way play flows and what characters can do on their turns.

The experience system or character advancement is a bit different than what some gamers might be used to. By playing to your character and the scenes traits, the character earns Themes. These themes add up over time and can be spent to improve skills and abilities, etc.

Worldbuilding and being a Fantaji GM is very pleasant.

This RPG is not a minis and big dungeon kind of game. Maybe point-based dungeons would be more in line with the gameplay. As a universal engine, the GM can build any game from Cyberpunk to a Saturday morning kids’ show with it. Many of the examples in the Fantaji book are anime themed, which also works quite well. (This system does so well with anime stereotypes and tropes.)

It is very important to hold a Session Zero before a longer campaign or just a quick primer on the setting used before any Fantaji game. That way the players can know what to expect from their characters’ personalities. Campaign setting makes a big difference in how conditions are overcome, too. Bulldozing through a dungeon; killing the locals and grabbing their loot isn’t always a good way to go.

A quick note about NPCs and monsters. They’re ridiculously easy to come up with on the fly and you can create one in minutes or less if you know what their goals and motivations are within the scene. It makes running games on the fly really pleasant.

There are four campaign worlds presented in the main book. The setting will also determine some of the characters’ abilities or what is available to them, as in most games. The GM has to prepare a little bit ahead if building a new world. The campaigns from the core rulebook are pretty cool, though. (No spoilers here.)

No Fantaji specific OGL on this one as far as I know.

There is no mention of a license or licensing agreement in the book as far as I’m aware. It’s a great game to enjoy with friends, but probably not a good game to sell third party content from. I think that’s okay in this case. Not every RPG need be marketable that way. I might still design a few items or even put together a campaign setting eventually.

Anthropos does have a new game in the works this year according to a source within the company. I’m excited to see what the designers do next. I love the more anthropological and sociological approach to gaming as I have a degree in Sociology and have also spent a lot of time in Anthropology classes. Gaming is what actually spurred me into both writing and the social sciences. Fantaji also flows well with a theatre oriented group.

Thanks for stopping by, Please give Fantaji a look if you want something a little more dramatic and a little less crunchy. It’s a lot of fun. I appreciate you as always.

Three Alternatives to Dungeons & Dragons.

The nice thing about all of the games listed is that there is wide open ground for GMs to convert or create fantasy game settings all their own. The systems are all user friendly and players can roll with whatever they imagine their characters to be. All three are just as easy to learn if not easier than D&D.

I felt this might be a good time to discuss some Non-D&D games.

FATE

FATE. from Evil Hat Productions. This game has a lot going for it and cool artwork. If you love the roleplaying element of D&D, then this is probably a good system for you.

It’s easy to learn, easy to run and has cool dice. Honestly, any D6 can work, but their plus, minus, and blank dice are pretty cool. It’s another rules lite game where you can go as in depth or as vague as you’d like. I love it for its simplicity and adaptability as a writer and as a GM.

There is no officially published fantasy realm for this game (as far as I know,) but with little effort, a plucky GM could probably cook one up in a short amount of time. If nothing else, it would be easy to port characters, spells, items, and so on over to FATE from another game.

Cypher

Cypher by Monte Cook Games. Let me preface this mini-review by saying I’ve sold these guys short for years now. (Sorry MCG family. I kinda owe you one.) Originally, many moons ago, I game up on Cypher and recently one of the staffers at Monte Cook mentioned it on Twitter. I dug my copy out, went over it again, and I honestly have no idea why I disliked it now?

*Also, if you visit the Monte Cook Games website, please look around at some of their other work. They make a lot of great games and supplements for 5E. Some of the staff at MCG are gaming royalty having worked in the RPG industry for decades. They also have a really spiffy social media presence.

The system for Cypher will seem intuitive for most players if they are familiar with D&D or other D20 based games. Roll 1d20, add modifiers, and celebrate (or cry.) The Skill system will also look pretty familiar, so might Effort. Then the system takes a diversion from what one might expect.

Cypher is conceptually deep in places. Character generation is more like FATE in that it is based on what you prefer the character does and how well. There are really no hard and fast classes. Also, cyphers are spells, powers, unusual talents, and other abilities above and beyond the normal.

One of the most appealing features for me is that the GM never has to roll dice. Player rolls to attack vs monster’s defense. Monsters (controlled by the GM) cause players to make a defense roll. The GM never has to pick up the dice, leaving them free to come up with cool characters, plots, and control the flow of the action.

Cypher as a system is derived from the acclaimed RPG, Numenera. While Numenera isn’t really what I’d call a true medieval fantasy game, it does have a lot of neat sci-fi and fantasy elements being set in the far future. It’s a well-loved, expanded, fleshed out RPG that sci-fi and fantasy gamers alike can enjoy. There’s also a Community Content page on DrivethruRPG for those who wish to sell Cypher and Numenera content of their own.

Cypher is a core ruleset, much like FATE, Powered by the Apocalypse, Open Legends, or Cortex. As far as I’m aware there’s no official fantasy setting yet, but with the Community Creator program, there very easily could be one in the future. I’ve got a much more in depth article covering Cypher coming at a later time. Thanks Monte Cook Games for producing a real winner.

Open Legends.

Open Legend by Brian Feister and Ish Stabosz. Like FUDGE, this game is community based and basically FREE. It’s another generic system that does fantasy extremely well. You can certainly emulate other genres with it, as shown in the core book. Mixing genres is easy and practically encouraged.

I was attracted to this game because of its, well, openness. If you want to create your own sourcebook for it, they encourage it! Just make sure credit is given where due. It takes the idea of Open Game Licensing to a new level.

Again, it’s a fairly rules lite, easy to learn game. If you can master D&D 5E, Open Legends is easy and fun to pick up. It’s got the wholesomeness of Essence20 and similar games going for it. Roll 1d20+other dice vs Target Number. The spells and equipment are a bit more fluid in this system. It really does look like what a generic set of core rules should look like.

The nice thing about all of the games listed is that there is wide open ground for GMs to convert or create fantasy game settings all their own. The systems are all user friendly and players can roll with whatever they imagine their characters to be. All three are just as easy to learn if not easier than D&D.

Thank you for stopping in. More to come. Game on.

Fantastic February Writing Prompts.

Create an NPC, creature, or encounter for the prompt listed using the Fantasy TTRPG of your choosing:

Create an NPC, creature, or encounter for the prompt listed using the Fantasy TTRPG of your choosing:

  1. Skeleton.
  2. Deep earth.
  3. Pudding.
  4. Horse.
  5. Sword.
  6. Ant.
  7. Luck.
  8. Spider.
  9. Lightning.
  10. Extreme Cold.
  11. Stars.
  12. Metal.
  13. Chocolate.
  14. Love.
  15. Tissue.
  16. Slime.
  17. Axe.
  18. Passion.
  19. .Troll.
  20. Weasel.
  21. Food.
  22. Goblin.
  23. Ring.
  24. Message.
  25. Clean.
  26. Hawk.
  27. Success.
  28. Dragon.

Valentine’s Day is February 14th. Please remember your special someone.

Open Gaming License 1.1. Here we go.

Basically, the gist of the article points to the fact that the new One D&D paradigm is that WotC wants to be the only company on the block making significant money on the game.

A widely publicised copy of OGL 1.1 from Wizards of the Coast got loose on the Internet.

People are pretty upset right now in the #ttrpgcommunity. People have been using the OGL 1.0 to create 3rd/3.5, and 5th Edition content for Dungeons & Dragons since the year 2000. It looks like WotC might be driving one of the last nails in the proverbial coffin.

This news comes following the flap in December 2022 over whether or not there would even be an OGL and accompanying System Reference Document for One D&D, the newest incarnation of the game. (But don’t call it an “edition” around WotC.) Fans were loudly upset and #OpenDnD began gaining traction. Other creators of third party content simply stated they would continue to make materials (and profit) off of 3rd Ed and 5E products. Wizards finally put out a statement that there would be a new OGL and SRD to go with One D&D in an attempt to connect with their customers.

Please don’t sue us?

The tune at Lawyers of the Coast/Wizards of the Court is rapidly changing to ligious and stupid (in my opinion) as of the wording reportedly in OGL 1.1. The Gizmodo article found here points out that legal language aside, WotC wants to squash third party competition. It’s not pretty.

Basically, the gist of the article points to the fact that the new One D&D paradigm is that WotC wants to be the only company on the block making significant money on the game. Companies such as Troll Lord Games, Paizo, Kobold Press, and others who have been making OGL content for over twenty years in some cases, are going to be expected to find another system/game because D&D will simply not be commercially available to them.

I think the WotC McAttitude is that third parties should make all the free content in the world and distribute it to promote the game like the drooling fanboys and girls they think we are. It’s okay to promote D&D and give them money, but WotC doesn’t want anyone significantly profiting from the game except for WotC.

It’s beginning to look a lot like 4th Ed everywhere I go

D&D 4th Edition gets a bad reputation everywhere not just for its mechanics; not just because entire iconic classes were initially removed; not because it looked like pen and paper World of Warcraft; not because of its hellishly slow combat; but because there was almost nothing that could be done about it from the fans’ point of view. Back then WotC had plans to build a massive website, digital platform, and Virtual TableTop full of microtransactions. It would have probably worked had it not been for the tragedy that befell the two lead designers.

But, WotC opted for a very specific, closed, unapproachable game license that very few companies even tried to get involved with. This is similar to the beef I have with Pinnacle’s Savage Worlds and a few other companies in the #ttrpgindustry. To loosely paraphrase these companies, “Don’t use our stuff unless you submit it and we eventually getting around to approving it (Or running to the photocopier and then not approving it.) Do anything on your own and we’ll take you to court.” But they still offer up some game licensing. yay?

There truly was an era when WotC spent a lot of time in court pursuing their Intellectual Property rights. At the time their attitude was they wanted to be the only ones making money off D&D. As a result Pathfinder 1E from Paizo actually took the number one slot in the industry for a while. When D&D 5E happened, WotC not only gave us an OGL again, but created the Dungeon Masters Guild on OneBookShelf.com, the owners of DriveThruRPG. And that was pretty cool up until all of this talk about the language in OGL 1.1 that sounds a lot like the 4E GSL that was friend to no one.

It’s all about the Benjamins, Hasbro.

WotC made it ridiculously clear in their message to stockholders that D&D is becoming a “lifestyle brand.” The brand is reportedly “under monetized” and they want the focus to be on the players spending more money. Honestly, they talk about us like we’re all walking dollar signs and I hate it. It’s one of the things I detest about corporate America and I really hate it in my hobby.

The wasn’t a lot of talk about the GAME of D&D in that little press conference. Even OGL 1.1 gets into non-game issues such as NFTs and VTT licensing. For crying out loud, they’re even talking about cracking down on Actual Play podcasts and streams. Their poster child, Critical Role, might even have to start coughing up the big bucks to WotC in 2024. (*I take back everything bad I ever said about Matt Mercer and CR. Sorry, family.)

What frustrates me even more is Dungeon Masters, who allegedly make up a large portion of the game’s revenue, are basically being left out of much of the conversation. I think WotC believes that we’re just going to fall in line and buy everything regardless. If I’m being realistic, that deserves the middle finger from me and many other DMs out there. Supposedly there was already a shortage and now they’re kinda sh🦆tting on us? Really? Hmm…

Let me deepen the conspiracy a little.

Supposedly, WotC is rewriting the Dungeon Masters Guide to make it friendlier for new DMs. What if that just looks like a tutorial for the online platform. They’ll say something like, “Don’t stress over game mechanics and scary math, kids. Our virtual tabletop has you covered.”

I think WotC expects DMs to just show up and buy whatever module is newest on the site along with all of the virtual (Unreal Engine) dungeon terrain or furniture, virtual monster minis, and NPC skins to run one module. “DMs act now and get this VTT Ancient Red Dragon for just $24.99 while it’s in the shop for a limited time!”

You want me to really make it worse? I’m not trying to fearmonger and this is not established yet, but… What if? Just WHAT IF WotC decides to convert all DMs into players?

What if WotC decides an AI can run the game and they don’t need DMs any more? That way they can squeeze even more money out of all us players. It’s not us writing our own adventures, creating our own worlds, and making it our game. It’s their game, their platform, their world, their AI and we’re just walking dollar signs to them. The Unreal Engine is the basis of the popular First Person Shooter video game, Fortnite, after all.

Now, what about third party publishers?

You can word the OGL 1.1 any freakin way you want. If no one is creating content with intentions of making money, it doesn’t matter. As long as my website does not make a single dime directly anywhere on it, I can give away as much free gaming content as y’all can take in. True story. Love you all. (*A while back I even had that conversation with Goodman Games and that’s how I explained it. They’re happy. I’m happy.)

WotC seems to (stupidly) think that we’re going to go sign some agreement and register our content on their OGL website. Pfft! Who they kidding? I might just be done with D&D after this as far as they’re concerned.

My real concern is for all of my friends and #ttrpgfamily that are making third party content of DMsGuild.com and DriveThruRPG.com . I know one creator who is already scrambling to pull all of the D20 rules out of her newest creations. Why try to bank on a license if WotC can randomly revoke it on a whim? It’s not worth it to many of us. Plenty of other games systems to be found or created.

I’m just talking about the small entities. WotC isn’t demanding much from anyone clearing less than $50K per year. We still have to register to receive their stamp of approval, but that’s about it. I feel really bad for the Kickstarters that break $750,000 before they finish. Troll Lord Games, Kobold Press, and others are really going to get hit hard. They would do well to adopt a new system such as Powered by the Apocalypse or some other game engine designed to go with others’ settings.

What about DriveThruRPG and the DMsGuild? WotC seems bound and determined to monopolize the fantasy RPG market. The wording of the new OGL 1.1 makes it sound a lot like they don’t want anyone squatting on their profits. They want to crush their competition, not support it. Remember how Roll 20 merged with OneBookShelf last year? (The biggest VTT and the biggest PDF/Print On Demand vendor?) Yeah…

Conspiracy time again: What if WotC pulls all their classic material from all the other editions and products over to their own website? That leaves OneBookShelf high and dry. WotC may very well do the exact same with the DMsGuild. Why make some profit and share with OBS if they can make ALL the profit with a little teensy cupcake for the creator over on the D&D website. Between the rather harsh wording of OGL 1.1 and their seemingly new cutthroat attitude toward making money, WotC might crush all of the other VTTs on the market and force them to only show non-D&D, non-OGL D20 products which are a fraction of what is offered for D&D.

I sure hope One D&D is the coolest thing since sliced bread to make us want to buy into it or…

I’m doing my utmost to remain optimistic.Things could potentially still turn around for One D&D. Maybe we’re not screwed yet.

I’m sure my pleas fall on deaf ears at WotC as always. I’m sure the internet naysayers with say I got it all wrong. But, as Battlestar Galactica and The Matrix both pointed out, “This has all happened before, and it will all happen again.”

Back tomorrow with more. Thanks for being here again.

Going Analog?

This website, this blog, is my baby. Every day for the last 276 days in a row I write articles regarding things I am passionate about. A lot of them tend to involve dice, miniatures, printed character sheets and books.

A couple of well known D&D YouTubers have suggested a split may be coming with the One D&D.

Strange for a game that is supposed to be uniting all of nerd-dom under on “lifestyle brand” banner. Of course, I’m talking about Dungeons & Dragons, the world’s most well known and theoretically most played RolePlaying Game ever to exist. Owned by Wizards of the Coast and soon to be in a new incarnation as of 2024.

We’re basically spending 2023 in a weird sort of limbo between 5E and One D&D. This even feels like the gap between 3.5 edition and 4th. (*Oh, ye dreaded 4th.) We don’t know what’s really going on with One D&D beyond what WotC tells us and the mounds of growing speculation about the game.

We do have some playtest material for One D&D, and a survey to go along with it every time. But are the developers really listening to us? Time will tell, I guess. Personally, I think the whole “book” is already in the proverbial can and WotC is spoon-feeding us tiny bits to keep everyone interested and talking about the brand.

We know WotC is planning to build a key digital platform for One D&D.

My opinion- I think WotC is subtly hinting that maybe we’re not going to see much by way of print books in the new edition. What if they had all of the rules, possibly only available in chunks on their website. D&D might start to strongly resemble Fortnite. (*The new digital D&D is slated to run off of the Unreal Engine, also used in Fortnite.)

Want to play a cleric? Subscribers pay $.99 and get a free cleric skin to go with whatever species they’ve chosen. The spiffy Marina the Elf skin is in the shop for $4.99 and you can get her staff for 500 Dragon Gems. You can get a deal on cleric spells because we need more healers for raids. (Oh, wait. That’s World of Warcraft or some other MMORPG) Everything in One D&D is likely going to revolve around microtransactions and subscriptions. They want to squeeze players for every dollar.

That’s where the “experts” say the divide will occur.

I’m not trying to start an argument with the two YouTubers I listen to quite often when it comes to RPGs. I have the utmost respect for both men even if I don’t entirely agree with their approach and apparent attitude toward the new edition of our favorite game.

The great split in D&D might possibly revolve around the new digital age we find ourselves entering in 2024. We’re getting an all new Open Game License (* Which many of us agree that “open” is not the correct term for what WotC is doing.) The great divide might be the players and maybe Dungeon Masters moving to the new digital platform and all of us who stay analog, sticking to prior editions or #OSR retroclones. (Old School Essentials, Basic Fantasy, Swords & Wizardry Light, etc.)

But, hey. Where would the TTRPG industry even be without some kind of separation and duality? I think what WotC means by not acknowledging prior editions is they don’t want to hear about anything prior to 5E. What’s worse is they are now going to have their hands in the pockets of anyone making more than $750K per year. (*So, big Kickstarter companies and bigger name publishers such as Troll Lord Games, Kobold Press, Paizo Inc, and others.) WotC wants to monitor anyone making more than $50K per year and then they start expecting a percentage in royalties as of 2024.

A lot of people are already saying, “Screw this” if that’s what the game is going to come down to. WotC doesn’t make money from all their microtransactions and web subscriptions if all of us stay on the Table Top portion of the RPG spectrum. That’s how the hobby started.

I love the Internet, but my hobby may soon be analog.

This website, this blog, is my baby. Every day for the last 276 days in a row I write articles regarding things I am passionate about. A lot of them tend to involve dice, miniatures, printed character sheets and books.

Third party publishers of D&D materials will keep going even after the the current OGL is rewritten. People will continue playing the same games offline. D&D at its core is a gaming engine. News flash- there are other engines.

One YouTuber has even gone so far as to suggest you don’t even need a gaming license to copy the game mechanics as long as you’re careful to avoid trademarked names. We can still roll a d20 to determine outcomes, have stats named Strength, Dexterity, etc. And other than changing up some nomenclature and adding a few semantics to avoid distinctive likeness, we can create our own game. This is why Pathfinder and the host of aforementioned retroclones work.

My advice is; if in doubt about the legality of anything you’re going to print- Please, please, please consult an actual lawyer first. It might not be cheap, but still less than a lawsuit. Remember, WotC still retains a crew of crack ninja elite hit lawyers who love to crush the hopes and dreams of game designers and would-be world conquerors. (We don’t want them to become Wizards of the Court or Lawyers of the Coast again. Oof.) Please don’t just take the word of some blogger or some kook on YouTube for it.

Pen and Paper gaming might be the future.

The hobby of RPGs was derived from miniatures wargaming for the most part. That meant a lot of guys created a games based around painted lead miniatures. (*Ever wonder why some of us older guys are crazy? We licked the brushes while we were painting…) They didn’t have the Internet back then. Pencils, rulers, graph paper and painted lead miniatures were the order of the day. Maybe some cardstock terrain in some cases, too. No 3D printing, no PDFs, and there were definitely no microtransactions or monthly digital subscriptions.

While virtual gaming became the rule in 2020 due to the Icky Cough-Coughs, we’re getting back to in-person games now. Thank goodness. I do some solo gaming as well as on occasion with my wife and kids. I could literally live off the grid in some cabin and be just fine with pencil and paper. I’d miss the interwebs, but yay peace and quiet.

I find it highly likely we’re going to see a lot more in-store or convention gaming between now and 2024. A lot of people might stick with 5E. We spent this long working the bugs out and playing it. Why switch over to something that is going to potentially cost a small fortune every month.

I like tangible books. I love the look and feel of dice. I haven’t bought a new miniature in over a decade. As long as my group is cool being analog? We’re probably going to stay analog. I still have PDFs that I may print off from time to time or read while I’m out of my man cave. But let me assure you they are not essential to my gaming hobby.

Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate you as always. Have a great day.

Keeping Politics Out of Gaming Pt 3

I don’t entirely agree with Troll Lord Games just as I don’t totally disagree with my unnamed friend from Instagram. I can disagree with someone and still love them to pieces. I have plenty of family and (Internet) friends from all over the political and religious spectrums. I try to get along with all of them.

This isn’t going away any time soon, apparently.

Every time I’ve posted the blurb for these articles on Twitter, I get at least one troll dribbling hateful offal all over the place. I despise having to lock threads. Tbh, I don’t really enjoy blocking people on social media. We’re there for open discourse. Having to shut down trolls seems counterproductive.

I have 4 key points in regards to this whole Politics in Gaming issue:

  1. Loudly proclaiming neutrality or staunch apolitical stances aren’t helping anyone. Stand for something positive, please.
  2. All players are welcome so long as they can be respectful to their fellow players. (Realize that includes out of game in some extreme cases. aka No Nazis.)
  3. I’m not going to tell anyone to cancel a specific game company unless there is evidence that said company has done some really shady sh🦆t.
  4. “Cancel Culture” has the potential to do social justice. It also has the potential to ruin people’s lives just as much as any other form of extremism.

It sounds like I’m waffling, but please hear me out.

I find extreme behaviors very triggering. I suffer from depression, anxiety/social anxiety, and ADHD among other things. Sometimes interacting with people makes me want to go live off the grid in a cabin by the lake with lots of trees around. Trees don’t judge. Trees don’t cause PTSD.

I don’t entirely agree with Troll Lord Games just as I don’t totally disagree with my unnamed friend from Instagram. I can disagree with someone and still love them to pieces. I have plenty of family and (Internet) friends from all over the political and religious spectrums. I try to get along with all of them.

I don’t approve of hate speech. If people can be cool, respectfully state their side of the story from a place of truth and authenticity, I’ll listen. I’ve found most people that yell anti-BIPOC, anti-LGBTQIA, ableist, etc slurs tend to not have much of an authentic base for their opinions. Or their base is just really lacking in critical thinking.

I have a position on a lot of these things, it’s just not always an absolute or an extreme. I think that’s what my friend on Insta and the folx at Troll Lord Games are trying to maybe say even if it’s not crystal clear. I don’t believe in shunning others just because they don’t think the way I do. I don’t believe taking a solidly apolitical stance necessarily means catering to the lowest common denominator. What I think both issues require is clarity.

Maybe we’re not asking the right questions.

What if we could sit down with Stephen Chenault from Troll Lord Games and ask him about the Tweet in question? What if one could just hang out with Stephen in the breakroom at TLG and casually discuss social media? What would that be like? (*Yes, I tend to look up to most gaming celebs.) What was meant by “discussions in which society enjoys to engage?”

The same can be said about my friend from Insta/Twitter. Are they worried about being the victim of “Cancel Culture?” Did something happen to prompt the Twitter thread that started that controversy? (*It sucks I can’t post any of it without a lot of people knowing exactly who it is. I’m not here to name and shame.) Again, stating a neutral or personal opinion does not mean someone is siding with the lowest common denominator.

I won’t tell you what to buy in this case.

I don’t tell people how to vote. (*Because my political views are somewhat bizarre to most people.) I don’t tell people where to shop unless I have mostly positive things to say. If I stopped buying from every company that had one person who offended me, my gaming library would probably shrink considerably. If I like the book, I buy the book. Very rarely do I turn down a gaming book with a few extreme exceptions.

I tell everyone to use their discernment. If you don’t like Troll Lord, vote with your dollars. If you love Troll Lord, likewise vote with your dollars. Not sure? See what they’re offering. Maybe some of it is okay. Their designers have been in the TTRPG industry for a long time.

Troll Lord Games hasn’t committed any hate crimes. They don’t have designers who have declared themselves openly Nazis. As far as I know none of the staff have done something to get themselves banned from a convention. I still can’t figure out why someone shared what should have been a company wide email in public on a social media platform.

One last thought before I put this to bed for tonight.

For all the people who keep saying “It’s just a game. Who cares?” Please remember that BIPOC, LGBTQIA, neurodiverse, women and/or other marginalized people still get turned away from gaming tables. Cultures are still being misrepresented and appropriated for use in RPGs every day.

We can’t change other people. What we can do is represent ourselves and others with authenticity and integrity. Treat people the way we want to be treated. Roleplaying is a hobby for everyone. As long as we still have duality and separation within the human race, we’re just going to have to find a way to either get along or stay with those who resonate the most with us.

Yes, let’s get back to gaming. Let’s get back to writing #Dungeon23 rooms and creating magic items. But please, let’s be kind and respectful to one another?

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you. Have a good one. Stay safe.

Keeping Politics Away From Gaming?

I’ve already seen plenty of comments to the effect of “I’m never buying from them again.” I’ve also seen a good number of (mostly OSR) gamers backing Troll Lord Games. What I’m most concerned about is the divisive polarization in the community. What’s the best outcome here?

TableTop RolePlaying Game Groups Are Like the Coffee Shop Crowd.

A friend of mine once remarked that coffee shops tend to attract very strongly opinionated customers that fit into one of two camps. There were a lot of hardcore, Bible-thumpin, white, male Christians and a lot of LGBTQIA, artistic folx, non-Christians (at least here in Iowa.) I’m sure other places have a different perspective. The coffee shop I worked in had those lines running down the middle of the staff. The crowd did not mix well.

The #TTRPGCommunity is much the same way now. The kind of old guard, the guys who started the hobby and launched Dungeons & Dragons (old, cishet white guys) on the other side of the spectrum from openly LGBTQIA, BIPOC, female crowd. Somehow we all manage to share the same hobby.

Then, this happened on Twitter:

From the outside, it looks innocent enough.

Troll Lord Games makes some pretty cool retroclone games based on 2nd Ed AD&D. They make Castles & Crusades, Amazing Adventures, a wide host of retroclone games and advice for players or Game Masters. Their staff has been around the industry for a long time. Their company often gets lumped in with the Old School Renaissance/Revival/Re-whatever-it-is-this-week movement.

Whether this was done in response to something one of their employees posted earlier in the week or just as a friendly reminder, Troll Lord put this announcement out for their staff. Regardless of its intended audience, it was posted publicly on social media. “Oops,” in my opinion.

The #TTRPG crowd, regardless of what side of any issue one is on, can be extremely loud and opinionated. This one simple post has ignited a virtual inferno on Twitter and elsewhere in social media land. This whole thing comes back to what I’ve been saying for quite a while now. We just need to find a way to coexist and enjoy the hobby.

It wasn’t that long ago that I held similar views.

I’m sure if I dug back through the 465+ posts, mostly from 2022, I can probably find where I said something similar. “Leave your politics at home and just play the game” or “I don’t care what your politics are outside of the game as long as you don’t spout a bunch of crap at the table.”

Well, this year really opened my eyes even more to some of the various injustices and hateful things that exist in the real human world and our growing #TTRPG hobby. It’s difficult to describe because it’s not easy to approach from where I stand. I get identified as being an old, (presumed straight,) non-disabled white guy. (*Which is wrong, btw, for reasons I’ll cover elsewhere.) I get accused of being “woke.” To which I often say, “It’s Awakened, not Woke.”

I’ve been learning that we humans have been lied-to and manipulated for centuries. (*For real.) I’ve been rewiring a lot of the old programs for the last eight or nine years. 2022 taught me that more than ever we need to come together and stop all the hate. Not just in one hobby, but as a global community of human beings. If humans can’t get over small differences, how will they ever get over the big ones?

We’ve got to start being good to one another in the TTRPG sphere. If that means some bitter old Grognards are acting up at the Friendly Local Game Store, then they need to go back to someone’s basement and let the rest of us enjoy the game. I digress…

This is but one example of the uproar.

It’s not as simple as it was 40 years ago.

Looking at Troll Lord’s original post, it makes me question the integrity of the company and whether or not I would ever want to go to an event sponsored by Troll Lord such as Gary Con. (*For those who don’t know- Gary Con is an annual gaming convention held to honor Gary Gygax, one of the original creators of Dungeons & Dragons.) I mean, saying leave it at the door is all fine and dandy, except it means the bigots and other haters who have dominated the hobby for years also get a free pass on moral/ethical grounds. We’re right back to the coffee shop dilemma- everyone wants the same thing, but they don’t want to be in the presence of each other.

Back in the day when D&D, comics, boardgames, and card games were not popular, a lot of us nerds were marginalized. We were pretty far down on the proverbial social pecking order in school and elsewhere. Sometimes this made for strange bedfellows and overlaps with other subcultures such as the LGBTQIA crowd, BIPOC kids, differently physically or mentally abled, goths, artists, writers, actors, atheists and other random oddballs. I grew up in a predominantly white Christian small town in Iowa before the Internet was born and this was most definitely how it went.

We welcomed a lot of very diverse people into the hobby or just as friends. We would often band together out of common non-gaming interests or just because we were being bullied right along with the rest of the kids we knew. All the while we had larger parts of the local community looking at us sideways because last Sunday the Reverend said we were the devil’s kids with our books, dice and miniatures. Nothing brings people together like hate and fear because they don’t understand something.

No matter what Troll Lord intended, this is where we’re at now.

Wherever there is culture, there is counter culture. We can’t just be satisfied and agree to disagree. I truly wish Troll Lord hadn’t released this statement into the wild. It might have seemed innocuous enough when they wrote it. Unfortunately, it seems everything must be politicized these days. I think the thing that blows my mind even more is the two most vocal sides of this debate are diametrically opposed to one another and yet still manage to participate in the hobby.

Sure, we’re hearing from the same bitter, old, white Grognard types that chime into every one of these online debates. They’re upset and offended at being called out, I guess by Troll Lord as much as the community. The folx that normally call out their bigoted, misogynistic, anti-LGBTQIA antics is also calling out Troll Lord.

“Oh no, the social justice warriors are after us.” they cry.

Meanwhile the social justice crowd is feeling extremely justified because the other side of the coin is playing right into their argument. Too bad we can’t write a game as dramatic as the stuff that plays out in and around the #ttrpgindustry.

Others are trying to take a more sensible approach.

I’ve said before in other articles that really no one cares what happens in someone’s private game held in a private location. Have a Session Zero, or don’t. Honestly, if you’ve been playing with the same 5-7 people for years, you might not need one. Which is fine because there are not TTRPG police that are going to come tell you that you’re doing it all wrong.

The problems erupt when we get into public spaces and public forums. Many convention goers that sound like former Hitler youth are now escorted from the premises. If people are paying to play or even just giving up their time to the hobby, they deserve a seat at the table free from fear, hate, and negativity around them. Everyone is welcome at the TTRPG table as long as they aren’t being turds toward their fellow human beings.

Of course, the you-go-your-way, I’ll-go-mine approach doesn’t work so well for everyone. My D&D group was divided right down the middle for years. We had a couple of very conservative Christian guys, myself and my wife, plus a lesbian couple. Needless to say we all knew what boundaries weren’t going to get crossed. But it doesn’t always work out that way and nowadays I’m pretty sure some people would have gotten booted out of the group.

I have some good friends and a family member who is Trans. I just found out about a year ago someone very close to me is trans. I’ve had trans friends for years but not a family member. It took a little time to adapt at first. I’d be pretty sore if someone showed up to my D&D game and openly hated on LGBTQIA folx while sitting at my table. I would be doing a serious disservice to my own family by letting a loudmouth bigot stick around.

People often forget TTRPGS are a great teaching tool.

We’ve talked about slavery in fantasy settings in the past. Paizo took a new approach to it in recent years and banned slavery from their products. Personally, I think it’s okay to discuss in game as long as we were cool with it in Session Zero. I have had fantasy RPG sessions in the past that dealt with genocide, war, and even the holocaust. A lot of us have used Nazis as bad guys in various games. That’s nothing new.

Would I do this for any random group off the street? No. That would be insensitive. Not because I like Nazis (* I DON’T!) but because you never know whose family might have experienced the Holocaust first hand. I can’t play psychologist any more than I can play lawyer or doctor for people in the real world. I can’t fix anything that happens outside of my gaming sessions. I can only do my best to be sensitive to the needs and wants of my players.

If that means we never talk about the icky stuff and maybe make friends with goblins and dragons, okay. If no one every kicks a puppy or knocks a wheelchair over in game, that’s cool if that’s what we wanted to do as a group. On the other hand, if one of my players who is in a wheelchair wants a character who is in a wheelchair, different gender, different sexuality from the player or whatever else they come up with? I’m not going to deny them. RPGs are a place to explore so much. Heck, I’ll do extra research to put in a storyline for a wheelchair using, asexual, polyamorous gnome. I’m not kidding.

I don’t think Troll Lord was bargaining for this fiasco.

They can run their business any way they want. It’s up to them. That’s cool.

I’ve already seen plenty of comments to the effect of “I’m never buying from them again.” I’ve also seen a good number of (mostly OSR) gamers backing Troll Lord Games. What I’m most concerned about is the divisive polarization in the community. What’s the best outcome here?

I have met some of the people from TLG, Necromancer and Frog God via social media and I honestly didn’t see this coming. Game company employees have families to take care of. No business wants to chase people away. I would love for Troll Lord to add more clarity at this point.These guys usually seem pretty cool. From a business standpoint they’ve always been generous and easy to get along with. That’s what makes this so confusing to me.

The fires were still burning on Twitter when I looked just now. More on this subject to come. Personally, I think all should be welcome at the gaming table so long as their presence will DO NO HARM. Let’s focus on that, maybe?

I would love to just get back to gaming. I love making characters, GM tables, dungeon rooms, and so on. But it’s in the spirit of the greatest and highest good of my players, especially the players from marginalized groups, to be shown consideration, kindness, understanding and given more time in the spotlight. I love making game content and I want to help all of my friends from all walks of life. Much love.

Happy New Year! if I don’t see you tomorrow morning. Have a great and safe holiday. I’ll be back with more excitement in 2023.

2023 might be the year of first contact.
Do we really want to show the ugly side of humans?

#Dungeon23 You In?

Who: Magi Elves, two dragons, armies of cohorts.

Where: Massive underground complex aka Mega Dungeon.

When: Centuries before the group discovers them.

Why: The Magi Elves wanted to isolate and exclude themselves.

What: Establishing a more perfect society underground under their control.

How: Via magic, diplomacy, engineering, and intimidation.

Designing a Mega Dungeon one room at a time.

Some have suggested 12 levels, 365 rooms. It’s a mega dungeon to rival The World’s Largest Dungeon. A writing exercise for some, an art challenge for others. I’m giving it serious thought as 2022 grinds to a close.

I picture a “thriving” necropolis with no fewer than two separate dragon encounters, demons, and scores upon scores of undead. I’m also picturing tons of traps. I mean 365 is a lot of rooms to fill. And think of all the loot!

But why would such an awful place exist?

Maybe an ancient breakaway civilization went underground? Perhaps a society of magic-using elves grew tired of being badgered by other elves, humans, dwarves, and halflings. These magic-using elves began to explore darker, frightening, some would say evil magic.

In time these Magi Elves became increasingly reclusive. They began actively using Necromancy and abusing magic to extend their already long lives. They cut deals with dragons, gnolls, lizardfolk and even goblins. As decades grew into centuries they journeyed farther underground, expanding their civilization from underground catacombs into an underground city. The only time they would interact with the surface (even then only by way of their servants) was to secure food and supplies that could not be replicated by magic.

Now that we’ve established why, let’s discuss the how.

Everyone asks me how large underground surfaces could be carved so quickly. Elves are generally very smart when it comes to engineering, architecture, planning, building and most of all; magic. They’re also smart enough to know when they need help underground. In exchange for magic and gold, deep dwarves could act as mining guides. The undead, even humble skeletons, can bore through dirt, rock, and the underground hazards at twice, maybe three times the speed of a regular work force.

Yes, undead are the ultimate workforce. They can see in basically any light conditions. They don’t breathe, eat, sweat, complain, or tire. They never sleep and follow orders to the letter every time. But, the Magi Elves also knew a diverse workforce is a powerful workforce.

For the stuff too intricate or difficult for the skeleton crew, the Magi Elves pressed earth elementals into service. Earth elementals and their ilk, creatures capable of boring through almost anything underground also make very efficient miners. On the off chance they ran into other civilizations underground, the elven masters retained a fighting force of mages, undead, goblins and a dragon. Fortunately, any other beings they encountered were more than happy to either join or move out of the way of the burgeoning civilization.

Let’s get meta for a minute.

Now that we’ve answered the basic questions of

  • Who: Magi Elves, two dragons, armies of cohorts.
  • Where: Massive underground complex aka Mega Dungeon.
  • When: Centuries before the group discovers them.
  • Why: The Magi Elves wanted to isolate and exclude themselves.
  • What: Establishing a more perfect society underground under their control.
  • How: Via magic, diplomacy, engineering, and intimidation.

All we need are game stats. #Dungeon2023 is looking like it might be a lot of fun. I’m going to see how far I can get. Some if not all rooms will appear here on the site somehow. I want a sort of design journal to accompany the dungeon rooms themselves. It’s a pretty big project now that I look at it.

We’ll see what happens. Planning anything in 3D is difficult, and this is definitely a multilevel project. Not every single day might be strictly another room. Boss encounters and critical NPCs need to be considered. Random patrols and loot need to be considered. The Magi Elves and their governance need to be considered. Some rooms will be duplicated, such as living quarters and offal/carrion pits. (Although don’t put it past the Magi Council to pipe in running water and sewage tunnels.) I’m also going to be creating some new species, spells, creatures, and loot for this game. It should all balance out.

This should be a fun project if it comes together. I think the real challenge will be to stick to it. I know a lot of us, even in other professions, sometimes plan a huge project and then life happens. Maybe we get behind or have to quit altogether because of circumstances beyond our control.

Alas, I cannot take credit for this brilliant idea.

Sean McCoy, who created the Mothership RPG and other games proposed #Dungeon23. It has since caught on with YouTubers Roll 4 Initiative, Questing Beast, and The Dungeon Coach among others. You can read more about #Dungeon23 on Sean’s blog, Here.

Thanks for stopping by. More on Dungeon 23 for me as it progresses. Have a great day.

The Ring of Weirdness

13. Wearer is healed for 3d6 hp. Causes the wearer to glow slightly for 1d6 hours. Feels warm and tingly all over. The ring automatically grants this to its new owner when found. It seems harmless enough…

Forget the One Ring. This is more like the 7.69 Ring.

For use with Dungeon Crawl Classics and other D20 Fantasy RPGs.

When found, this ring will use power number 13 when first activated. After that, roll 1d30 to determine the effect. The ring can only have ONE effect active at any given time.

  1. Wearer is transformed into a Troglodyte for 1d6 days IF the wearer is still transformed after 3 days, two more troglodytes appear and insist the character is related.
  2. The wearer’s arms are transformed into venomous snakes under their command. The snakes can’t grasp weapons or spell components. but do 1d6 + poison damage. They probably won’t attack the wearer. Luckily, the effect wears off after 1d10 hours.
  3. Wearer and all of their gear turns gelatinous for 1d12 hours. Immune to all non magic slashing and piercing weapons and half damage from blunt. Takes no damage from falls. Floats. Their gelatinous weapons do no damage. Can still cast spells, but with gelatinous results. Half normal movement. Tastes like lime. Wearer returns with full hit points and all gear at the end of the experience.
  4. Wearer appears to be struck by a bolt of lightning and then explodes messily. Illusionary chunks of the wearer and all of his gear deal 1d6 psychic damage to anyone within 10′, Ref Save DC 10 for none. Turns the wearer Invisible as per the spell for 2d10 rounds or until the invisibility is dispelled or revealed whichever comes first.
  5. Wearer and all gear is transformed into a Large Dire Ape for 2d10 rounds. Intelligence is reduced to 5, but the ape gains a +5 Str bonus. The character may not cast spells or use ranged weapons. The ape character will opt for simple, blunt weapons and thrown objects. May be prone to rage. Leaves the wearer craving bananas afterward.
  6. Wearer can only quack like a duck for 1d6 hours. The wearer may not cast any spells with a verbal component and communication will be entertaining. At the end of the effect, the wearer lays a gem encrusted gold egg worth approximately 300gp.
  7. Romantic violin music begins to surround the character and is audible wherever they go for 1d10 hours. The wearer gains a +3 Charisma Bonus while the music is playing. However, the wearer gains 1d6 loyal followers while the effect lasts.
  8. Wearer turns into a nigh invulnerable stone statue for 1d12 minutes. During this time the wearer may not move, speak, cast spells, use weapons or equipment. When returning to normal, the wearer has full health and any negative effect from spell, etc are removed. The wearer still retains sight and hearing
  9. Wearer sprouts 9 bright orange and white fox tails. The wearer gains a +3 Luck bonus to all attack and damage rolls, saving throws, and armor class for 1d10 hours. The tails move with the wearer’s emotions.
  10. Tentacles. The wearer sprouts 1d10 shadowy black tentacles with suction cups and becomes enshrouded with negative shadowy energy for 1d10 hours. The wearer gains a chaotic evil aura and is detectable as undead and demonic while the effect is active. The wearer also gains 2 actions of any type, fueled by the tentacles. The tentacles and shroud also grant a +2 Shadow bonus to Armor Class. The tentacles are partially composed of energy and may not be removed or cut off.
  11. Super Stretchy: The wearer’s limbs elongate and stretch up to 15′ in any given direction. Adds 30′ of movement per turn. The wearer is considered to have 15′ reach. The wearer may also extend his head up to scout around. Provides +3 AC bonus due to stretchiness. Lasts 1d20 minutes.
  12. The wearer gains the ability to throw firebolts at one per action at any target within 60′. Must make a standard ranged attack roll. Each bolt does 3d6 fire damage + possibly igniting combustibles. Effect continues for 1d8 turns.
  13. Wearer is healed for 3d6 hp. Causes the wearer to glow slightly for 1d6 hours. Feels warm and tingly all over.
  14. Wearer is turned into a Muppet. Triple any knockback distances. Takes half damage from normal weapons. Sounds funny. Lasts 1d6 days. Silliness abounds.
  15. Wearer and all gear is transformed into a pixie faerie. Size is reduced to small including Armor Class improvements.. Gains Flight 20′ movement. Reduces ground movement to 10′. Reduce weapon damage by one step. -4 Str and Con. +4 Dex and Cha. Lasts 1d20 hours. May attract other fae.
  16. Every pore of the wearer’s body begins to secrete molten candle wax until the character is transformed into a candle wax construct. Half damage from normal weapons. +2 AC. Lasts 2d6 hours.
  17. Wearer sprouts adorable fluffy cat ears and a long furry tail. +2 Dex Bonus and +4 Charisma Bonus. Gains +20′ Climbing. +2 Stealth (Hide/Sneak) bonus. Lasts 1d6 days. Incredibly cute. Causes tuna cravings. Causes other cats in the vicinity to follow the wearer while the effect lasts.
  18. <Poof!> Wearer displaces 5′ in a random direction AND teleports with all gear 10′ in a random direction whenever they make contact with anything solid. May still cast spells and used ranged attacks as normal. Melee or touch attacks trigger the effect, making them ineffective. If teleport would place the character in a wall or other object, the teleport trips again until the character ends in an empty space. Lasts 1d10 minutes.
  19. Wearer temporarily dispels all magic on their person and any magic object/item within 5′. Effect lasts 1d12 minutes and automatically effects everything within 5′ of the character. Moving out of the radius returns the magic to its owner, item, etc. All magic functions normally for the wearer once the effect ends.
  20. The wearer and all of their gear become intangible for 1d4 days. Immune to eating, sleeping, all damage except by ghost/ethereal-affecting weapons and gains 60′ Dark Vision. However, the wearer can be seen in the Ethereal (Spirit) Plane. Ethereal creatures may not interact with the character, but they may continue to follow or even speak to them. Characters in the material plane can still see and hear the wearer as a pale, dim, ghostly image speaking just above a whisper.
  21. Anything the wearer touches is covered in a thin layer of delicious strawberry jam. It’s sticky and tastes delicious. The jam may be used for anything one would normally use jam for. Effect lasts 1d4 days.
  22. Wearer and all gear becomes a water elemental for 1d10 hours. As an aside, other characters may drink from the wearer to ward off thirst. Wearer can also be boiled or frozen.
  23. Wearer may breathe a 50′ cone 15′ wide Frost breath for 1d6 rounds. Does 6d6 cold damage. Creatures caught within the cone may make a Fort (Con) Save DC12 for half damage.
  24. <Kaboom!> The ring emits a shockwave of concussive force knocking everything within 5’of the wearer back 10′. Additionally, every creature within 20′ including the wearer is magically stunned for 1d6 rounds. Fort (Con) DC 12 Save for half stun duration minimum 1 round.
  25. Topiary: The wearer and all gear is turned into a bushy plant statue. The wearer may still move, cast spells, speak and hear as normal. +2 AC bonus. Immune to normal bludgeoning and piercing damage. Vulnerable to fire damage. While in plant form, the wearer absorbs nutrients and water as a plant would. Lasts 1d4 days.
  26. Wearer polymorphs into a as-yet-unseen creature. Left leg becomes that of an owl. Right leg becomes as a turtle. Torso becomes scaly and gains large bony plates on the back. Sprouts gills but can also breath normally through the elephant’s trunk. Gains a large, sabretooth mouth with multiple rows of teeth like a shark. Eyes sprout out of the head on long tendrils and wearer gains four additional eyestalks facing in random directions. The character’s ears grow to three times their normal size. Character’s hair grows three feet longer and adds a thick beard if one wasn’t already there. Right arm becomes three octopus-style tentacles. Left arm becomes a scorpion-style pincer. Wearer grows a pair of prehensile monkey tails. Character remains in this bizarre state for 1d6 days. No saving throw to avoid the effect. None but the most powerful magics reverse the effect before it expires.
    Charisma is automatically reduced to 3. Wearer can wield a melee weapon as normal. Gains 2 actions. Gains a +4 Luck bonus on all physical skills, armor class, initiative, and saving throws. Regenerates 3 hp per turn. Dark vision and all around vision. Resistant to Fire, Magic, and Cold damage. Doesn’t need to sleep in this state. When the effect expires, character will be at full health with no negative effects and any/all curses removed.
  27. Wearer can suddenly speak, write, and read in every language except Common for 1d6 days.
  28. A whirlwind of razor sharp blades surrounds the character and moves as they move. Any character making contact with the blades takes 6d6 damage Ref (Dex) Save for half damage. If the wielder is foolish enough to make contact with the blades, they will take damage as well. Effect lasts 1d8 rounds.
  29. Wearer turns into a giant vulture for 1d8 minutes. Magically attracts two more giant vultures that remain after the effect wears off.
  30. Clouds form up around the wearer, lightning crackles in the air around them and then they gain the ability to fire lasers from their eyes for 1d4 rounds. The lasers require a regular ranged to hit roll +2 dealing 3d6 damage + igniting any/all combustibles

Please note: There are no saving throws for the wearer to ignore these effects.

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