Indie RPGs saved my relationship (and they can save yours too)

I was, on reflection, probably too busy with the other elements in my life to dedicate the time and the attention she needed. She was inflexible, demanding, frustrating, a source of great joy that left me burnt out and miserable.

D&D is a harsh mistress. We had a difficult relationship for many years, through 4e and 5e and variations on 3e, and it took something new to change that. Indie games turned my relationship with gaming right around, so a big thanks to their creators and to the November RPG Blog Carnival for prompting me to get out of my rut and blog about how much I love them!

Indie RPG books
My collection so far

I have said it before: the moment I read and played Stars Without Number and Dungeon World it was like a light went on in my head. Suddenly I saw so many other, better, ways of doing things in my games. Better ways of prepping, organising, running, and playing games. Better mechanics and frameworks, better tools, better abstractions.

On the painting table: Infinity Nomads

I've been pretty busy with work and life recently, but I have picked up the new Infinity starter and managed to get a couple of games in.

Having new minis means I really should get back into painting, here's progress so far including my first real attempt at edge highlights. Comments welcome.

Billie the bot, an Alguacil, and a WIP Sombra

In other news I'm playing in a weekly 5e game which is a great break from DMing. Got plenty of ideas in my head for upcoming games but haven't had enough time to get them down on the blog.

Happy gaming until next time, stay safe.

Go Build a Dungeon!

A better-late-than-never wrap up of all the great posts from August's RPG Blog Carnival, plus bonus gems on the subject of dungeon building:

If you build it, they will come... Image (cc) Kanut55

Lapidary Ossuary gave us this series of insightful posts detailing dungeon building from the ground up, with the finished product as a showcase. As a reader of dungeons/adventures, the layout analysis is particularly interesting.


Codex Anathema goes all out with posts on dungeons in both Eberron and Ravnica, and guidance on building dungeons and running dungeons in your games!

Dreaming Dragonslayer provided an excellently referenced framework for dungeon building, with an example 5 room dungeon, with a well reasoned argument for keeping the number of rooms in the 5-9 range.


All rounded off by shorter posts from Rising Phoenix on building dungeons from terrain pieces and from The Other Side on exploration in the Vault of the Drow.

Bonus: a classic post in this vein is Goblin Punch's Dungeon Checklist from 2016; seven timeless things that every RPG dungeon should actually have (in my opinion too)

Now go build a dungeon (and let us know how you get on) and don't forget to check out September's RPG Blog Carnival over at the Five Foot Square!

Join the August 2021 RPG Blog Carnival - Let's Build A Dungeon!

I want to get better at building adventures.

Dungeons are essentially adventures where the shape, flow, and structure is clearer, so August 2021's RPG Blog Carnival topic is "Let's Build A Dungeon", hosted right here.

This is an open invitation to all RPG bloggers, please feel free to join in:

  • Write a post taking us through your dungeon building process or
  • Write about any good dungeon building advice, methods, resources, or tools you love or
  • Write a post taking apart a great published dungeon and explaining what makes it great or
  • Grab a cool map and/or some random tables and go where your imagination takes you - just tell us what you did and what you think of the end result - or
  • Write a post about any other aspect of RPG dungeon building, map making, or design!
(And of course, "dungeon" can refer to pretty much any point-and-node shaped or location based adventure really)

Drop a comment on this post with a link to your carnival post so we can come and see it. Go see everyone else's too!

Need a map for inspiration? Image (cc) constantly-confused

(Blogger requires you to use HTML in the comment to add a clickable link; don't worry if you can't or don't want to, just post the URL and I'll sort it later)

Early September I'll put up a summary/digest post linking to all your carnival posts, and the Carnival will move on to another blog, so you have the month of August to write and submit an entry. Looking forward to reading them all!

I'm going to have a go too. If I can learn how to build a better dungeon I can extrapolate out to building a better adventure. Or at least that's the plan...

My Gaming Notebook (or how I am learning to embrace order)

Let's start by saying I lean somewhat toward Chaotic. My notes, traditionally, are scribbled on margins, envelope backs, and other blank spaces sighted within my apathy radius.

I also have real difficulty with parsing text or writing while I'm talking or listening.

In that context, let's talk about July RPG Blog Carnival topic of "The Gamer's Notebook".  This post sat in my drafts since the beginning of the month as I wanted to take the opportunity to actually think about what I should be doing and if my emergent process is actually any good.

As a GM:

When I run a game I have started trying to keep separate reusable reference sheets for different things depending on their purpose and just reference the ones I need that session. I dread flicking through monster lists at the table as much as I do looking backward and forward in a published adventure looking for a certain piece of information.

Generally I'll want to have:

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