Archive for the ‘Gamemastery’ Category

XP for death and failure; and other interesting uses for Experience Points

I recently came across an interesting post at Gothridge Manor about one of AD&D’s weirder rules: experience for death. The 1st edition Dungeon Master’s Guide rules that a character who dies and is subsequently brought back to life earns 1000 experience points (XP). In old-school D&D, you generally got XP for defeating monsters and gaining […]

My love-hate relationship with random encounter tables

Of all the skeletons in my GMing closet, perhaps the darkest is this: I almost never use random encounter tables, even when running games with a deliberately “old-school” vibe. Why do I ignore this staple of roleplaying? Well, my experience with using random encounters can be summed up in these two memories, both of them […]

I fought the law, and the law rolled a natural 20: staying off the grid in an RPG

If you’re a character in a roleplaying game, chances are you’re wanting by a government that doesn’t understand why you had to firebomb that warehouse full of cultists. So how do the PCs stay “off the grid”?


Here’s a fun one: an automatic dungeon generator that creates not just a map, but also a complete list of encounters for a dungeon based on the parameters you set. The results are surprisingly game-able, in an old-school sort of way! File this one away for the next time you find yourself at the game […]

Resurrecting the Mountains of Madness

In my last post, I lamented that my youthful days of marathon gaming sessions were probably over, and resigned myself to a roleplaying future consisting largely of one-shot games and very short campaigns. But there is a part of me that secretly hopes against all odds that one day, a wealthy Patron of the Arts […]

The ultimate GM screen?

Now this is a real GM screen! I spotted it while browsing a thread on the Call of Cthulhu forums at I’d love to get ahold of an evocative screen like that for use in CoC games–I don’t currently have a CoC-specific GM screen, and this would be perfect. Unfortunately, the designer’s website seems […]