Author Archives: Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan

Escaping the Transylvanian Whirlpool

The action in the original Dracula novel takes place in a handful of locations – Transylvania, Whitby, London, and then back again. The Dracula Dossier expands the reach of the vampire count, and brings in the globe-trotting vampire-hunting action one expects in a Night’s Black Agents campaign. England and Romania – Edom and Dracula – are the two poles around which […]

The Plain People of GenCon

Coming to you live… Well, obviously not live live – while I may be writing this from a hotel room in Indianapolis, it won’t be up on the Pelgrane site for a week. And for that matter, I’m hardly alive either, after the arguably best but very definitely longest four days in gaming. Let us […]

The Plain People of Gaming: Six Tips on Convention Games

With Gencon upon us like an amorous gorilla of fun, here are six precepts that have served me well when running games at conventions. 1. Know The Player Characters The PCs are the players’ interface with your adventure. If there’s one bit of preparation you can never skimp on, it’s the player characters. You don’t […]

The Plain People of Gaming – Lost Loot

Even as I write this, the indefatigable Chris Huth toils into the Canadian night, putting the finishing touches to The Book of Loot, our upcoming compendium of new magic items for 13th Age. The book’s crammed full of wonderful treasures and potent creations of sorcery, along with several items that we ourselves call out as utterly unforgivable puns. […]

The Plain People of Gaming: Cthulhu Ctherries

In all GUMSHOE games, there’s a benefit for having 8 rating points in Athletics – your Hit Threshold rises by 1. Night’s Black Agents expanded this to all General Abilities – if you invest eight of your precious build points in a particular ability, you get a cherry, a special ability that shows off your […]

Correspondents in Trail of Cthulhu

In him, however, the family mentality had veered away from practical affairs to pure scholarship; so that he had been a notable student of mathematics, astronomy, biology, anthropology, and folklore at the University of Vermont. I had never previously heard of him, and he did not give many autobiographical details in his communications; but from […]

The Plain People of Gaming: Alternate Ashen Stars campaigns

Under the glorious new regimen, my articles get upgraded to a column with a running title, which is like an academic getting tenure. Bear with me a moment while I suckle at the pelgrane’s noisome teat. * * * Accretion Disk, the Ashen Stars expansion book, continues to live up to its name. More and […]

Cluebats and Flashbacks – Unusual Clues in GUMSHOE

In The Zalozhniy Quartet, there’s a scene (not really a spoiler) where the PCs are outmatched and are ‘supposed’ to flee, leading into a tense chase. Expecting player characters to take a particular action is always hazardous design – you can set up a situation where there’s only one valid route for the PCs to […]

Treasures of a Past Age – Dominions

Last month, I compared the 13th Age rulebook to my beloved Rules Cyclopedia, and talked about how cool strongholds were and how they’d work in the looser, more narrative Archmage Engine style. This month, it’s Dominions. There comes a time in every adventurers’ career – sometime between slaying that first dragon, and well before going […]

Treasures of a Past Age – Strongholds

The Eyes of the Stone Thief campaign pits the player characters against a vengeful Living Dungeon that steals things from the surface. Castles, mostly, but also wizard’s towers, druid circles, enchanted waterfalls, dragon’s lairs, unholy temples, kobold-infested gold mines or unattended oceans. One of the amusing consequences of this is that the GM can throw […]

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