Blog has gotten pretty big. . .

I'm reorganizing the index to make it more useful (Updated 8/22/14)

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The Quantum Ogre

The complete series is worth a read: The coda explains all the most common misunderstandings regarding the series. If you haven't read it, you should.

On How an Illusion Can Rob Your Game of Fun
On Slaying the Quantum Ogre
On Resurrecting the Quantum Ogre and Having Him Over for Tea
On the Corpse of the Quantum Ogre

Adventure Design

Gygax Design

Design Demon

On the Virtual Matrix of the Demon of Design
On Binding the Design Demon
On Banishing the Design Demon and Having a Cup of Tea

Set Design

On Set Design
On Expanded Set Design
On Reader Mail: Set Design
On Treasure Design
On Boxed Text

Bugbear Roadblock

The Problem With Rules for the Bugbear Roadblock
On What to Do About the Bugbear Roadblock

Managing Campaigns

On the Turning Point: Creating player choices that don't feel like work
On the Superiority of the Railroad Method over Sandboxes: Using linear techniques to enhance an agency rich campaign

Secrets of Illusionism

Adventure Design Series

On Adventure Design: An introduction
On Line Structure and the Flowchart Style
On Space Structure and the Sandbox Style
On Time Structure and the Schedule Style
On Power Structure or Spider Web Style
On 'The Scene' in Adventure Design
On Design: How to Throw a Party with Murder: Using the adventure Design tools, an example

Objective Design

On Objective Design
Player Types (The only useful article on the subject ever written)

General Design Discussion

Player Skill Versus Character Skill
Light and Dark Ages
Effects of Third Edition Design
Saves, Skills and Design
Good Skill Design
Why Skill Light is Not Pixel Bitching, Nor DM Fiat
Save or Die
On Initative
On the Creative Crocodile Conundrum
Planned Encounters in the Megadungeon
On the Importance of Agency
Classic Problems and The Framework
The Canonical List of Agency Destroying Design Structures (AKA A List of Ways You're Ruining Your Game)
On Monster Weakness (Why they don't have or need a Strength bonus)
Pillars of Megadungeon Play
Useful Feats
Rates of Success (Reinforcement Schedules during Play)
On the Definitive Inadequacy of Boxed Text and Boxed Text Feelings
On Heroism
On Advancement Mechanics, Experience
Old School Pathfinder, XP for Gold mechanics in modern games
On Experience for Combat in a New School Game
On 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons versus Pathfinder
Fear of Play
Arrow of Time
Meaningful Choice in the Dungeon

Principled Profit

Principled Profit page IV

Theory Defined

Top 10 Lists

The Top 10 Different Magic Systems
The Top 10 Names for the Dungeon Master
The Top 10 Different Styles of Initative
The Top 30 Problems at the Brewery (and 10 wolf-hybrids)
The Top 30 Quest Rewards
The Top 10 Kinds of Non-Traditional Currency
The Top 10 Weapon Affixes
On the Top 10 Versions of Dungeons & Dragons
The Top 10 Prestige Classes
The Top 10 Bruiser Monsters
The Top 10 (11!) Mastermind Monsters
The Top 10 Resources in the Dungeon
The Top 10 Types of Magical Currency
The Top 10 Underplayed FLAILSNAILS Classes
The Top 10 New and Old Ideas about Wands (more Wand Theory, Even more Wand Theory)
On 10 Differences Between TSR and the OSR
On 10 Ways to Open a Chest
Top 10 Ways to Balance Wizards against Warriors
On 10 Basic Secret Doors
On 10 Reasons for Why Wizards Live in Towers
On 10 Things you Don't Know About Hit Points
On the Contents of Cells in Prisons
On the Top 10, er 20 Really Disgusting Things in a Goblin Bag - no one should read this
On the Top 10 Sandbox Locations
On the Top 10 Crypts
On the Top 10 Parlor Games in Dungeons and Dragons

Other Fun

Player Level

Hidden Resources

The Metamorphica
Stable of Horses
Hackmaster Basic for Free
Phonomicon Ex Cultis
600 Ioun Stones
An OSR Rosetta Stone
Portrait City

Game Transcripts

On Missed Treasure
On A Proper Approach
Character Creation
Unfortunate Death
Lucid Agency
First attempt at transcript. Colored. Fascist.

Monster Ecology

Gelatinous Cube
Oozes, Slimes, Jellies, and Puddings
Giant Space Hamster
Collective Nouns For Fantasy Monsters

On the Monsters That Were


Dungeon Mastering Advice

On a Guide for New Dungeon Masters
On DM best practices
On the Deadly Difference
Encounters, Rumors and Foreshadowing (Here: In Practice)

Player Advice

On Commandos
What King of Player to Have?
Old School Gaming
On a Guide to Illusions: Figment Creativity
On a Guide to Illusions: Spell Types

Classes & Races

On The Expert
Blue Mage


Villain Force
Collected Mechanics
Strong and Weak Henchmen Forces
On the Wandering Monster
On Movement and Dispersion During Travel
Wilderness Codices
Useful Knowledge Skills
Combat Skill I
Combat Skill II
Patron Rules
Insect Crossbreeds
Ability Score Auctions
Equipment Degradation
Falling Damage
Locks and Keys

Classic Tropes/History

The Black Reservoir
The Sub-Level
Monster Powers
Pit Trap
Comic Adventure I
Comic Adventure II
Comic Adventure III
Castle Greyhawk
Deadly Touch and Pseudodragon
Ancient Conflict (Forum exchange between Monte Cook and Tracy Hickman)
Requiem, Final Episode of the D&D Cartoon
Raising Monster Young

5th Edition Style Backgrounds

Carney (Coming Soon)
Outlaw (Only Available in the Patron Edition)
Physician (Only Available in the Patron Edition)

Classic Imagery

A Wizard Smoker on a Die and a Unicorn
Paladin in Hell

Iconic Characters


150 Dungeon Entrances
A Village Generation Resource
100 Random Spellbook Themes
On a Table for Disarming a Trap
On Never Being able to Find a Table (Lists)
On Never Being able to Find a Table (Random)
On Sorrow I
On Sorrow II
Spellbook Traps
Planetouched Templates
Megadungeon Hooks I
Megadungeon Hooks II
Mission Generator
Magical +1 Swords
Magical +1 Weapons
On a Magical Shield

Effects of Magic 1st Level
Effects of Magic 2nd Level
Effects of Magic 3rd Level
Effects of Magic 4th Level
Effects of Magic 5th Level
Effects of Magic 6th Level
Effects of Magic 7th Level
Effects of Magic 8th Level
Effects of Magic 9th Level
Effects of Magic Cantrips and Rules

OSR New Wave Interviews

Greg Gorgonmilk
Gus L
Chris Tamm
Scrap Princess
Patrick Stuart
Ian Johnson

Reader Mail



Reflections in Wildspace (Thoughts on Rules)
Wildspace Deluge (Images and Themes)
On The Intersection of Gonzo and Awesome (Why Spelljammer is so great!)


On Skills

Skills: Deconstruction of Skill List (3.5/Pathfinder Skills, deconstructed)

Old School Theory

On Experience for Growth
On why minimum statistic requirements are a good thing.
On Why Old School Characters are Not All the Same
On What You Don't Know About Save or Die
On why ThAC0 and Descending AC is superior.
And Reader Mail on the Love of THAC0 
On Why "White Room Balance" Is Flawed, i.e. the Spherical Cow Assumption.
On why 1st edition fighters rock, and what new school changes did to harm that.
On why race as class is pretty cool.
Character Builds and Ruining the Game for the Common Man
On why party initiative (d6) is superior to individual initiative.
On why 'can only be hit by magical weapons' is a better solution than damage reduction.
And a continuation of the post On the Unharmable Monster
On hit points, called shots, abstraction and realism of hit points, or how I found a system I liked and am sticking to it.
On the superiority of abstract saving throws! (and a suggestion for modern games)
On why modern "realism" in D&D is childish, and level limits, Vancian magic, saving throws, and experience for treasure are good.
On statistics and the lack of a dump stat in old school games, and why all modern wizards need stupid statistics.
On the Sublimity of Third Edition
On the Sublimity of Fourth Edition
On why death, raise dead, and resurrection are fine.
On why talents, skills, and level are mostly irrelevant.
On why letting wizards select spells breaks the game.
On letting go of your 'ideal' version of D&D to actually play a different game.
On why 'being in character' isn't really 'role-playing'.
On why skills like 'search' and 'perception' suck.
How to not suck while playing an old school game - a list of player guidelines and advice for being a player in an RPG (not a tactical combat simulator)
Core articles that have influenced my idea of old school play.
On why comprehensive rules suck.
On broken traps, and rules not preventing people from being jerks.
On why fudging is cheating, and death and consequences are awesome.
On the line that should make player agency go f-*k off.
On Trading Items
Fantasy Realism
On Why you are Allowed to Be Bad at RPG's and Fail.
How Clerics Actually Work
Death & Dying in Dungeons & Dragons

On the OSR

On the OSR versus TSR eras


Threshold #1
Threshold #2
Lost Mine of Phandlever

If you like the above posts, you might find the posts below this line will raise your cackles . . . or your insight. Proceed forward at your own risk

On Gaming Philosophy

What is necessary to understand the Historical Series:

On Poor Communication
On Civility and Consensus

The Historical Perspective Series

On the Confusion of Role and You're Role-Playing Wrong
On a Historical Perspective
On a Comment on Historical Clarity
On the Culpability of Historical Clarity

On expanding a single bad experience into broad hatred, an all too human trait:

Battered Player Character Syndrome

On Creativity

On Failing as a Game Designer
On the Unbearable Visible Absence of Color
On Having A Better Blog.
On Being Smart
On a Selfish Message
On Fracture
On Why we Produce Content
And on the Augury of Unknown Realms

I'm sorry, I wrote a lot.
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