Player Principles in your Handouts

February 23, 2023

I wrote up a one page Getting Started guide for my last game, Stormwreck Isle. I had one brand new player, but all sort of new-ish. On the back of that one page I added my growing list of "Player Tips". Here's the PDF of my Session Zero doc:

Player Tips
This is your world. You live here. You’re competent and dangerous in most circumstances. Ask the GM for more information if there’s something you think you should know. Your Ability Scores and Skills are important, but don't rely on your abilities and skills:

Ask the NPCs for help, ask them questions.
Your character knows this world, even if you—the player—do not. Ask the GM what you know.
Fill in gaps in the fiction—reveal the hidden details of the world.
Connect the dots on your own.
Coordinate plans and objectives with the other characters.
Explore the world and take notes.
Tie in older events and NPCs you have met.

Do you have to fight?
Sometimes you have to, but if you can, try to talk your way out of a potential conflict.
Can you sneak past the baddies? Can you run away?
Can you trick them or convince them that fighting is a terrible idea?
Can you surprise or intimidate them?
If you have to fight your way out of a situation, get creative with your skills, use the surrounding terrain, and the stuff—even trivial stuff—you're carrying. Do some recon and analysis. See if you can increase your ability to deal Damage and reduce the Damage you may receive from a foe.

Find out what the NPCs know—they live here.
Talk to them. Treat them as if they're real people. Remember the NPCs you’ve met.
Don't burn bridges with the world's NPCs, unless they deserve it.
Ask them for information and ask them for help.
Many NPCs are not violent unless they're threatened.
Not all NPCs are friendly or even nice, but that does not mean they want to throw down with you. Some people are just cruel or filled with hate.

You and your character
What does your character want and why do they want it?
You have narrative control. Ask what your character would do. How do they react?
Think about what you (not your character) would do in the same situation.
Try to speak to the other characters, not the players.
The world can be a dangerous place. How does your character face it?

Failing a roll
Rolling low when you need a nineteen usually isn’t the end of the world.
Use a failed roll to build tension or do something memorable—or even silly.
Handle failed rolls through your character, with grim determination, denial, or panache.
The dice are there to complicate your character’s lives; without complication there is no story.
Make failed rolls as much about upsetting the story as damage or punishment.

Character Death
This game is complex, with different abilities, skills, and powers that can come into play at once, and this complexity, along with the randomness of dice, means that it is possible for your character to die while doing everything correctly. 

Dragons of Stormwreck Isle

October 7, 2022

I'm preparing to run Dragons of Stormwreck Isle (DOSI), annotating maps, taking notes, and creating some NPC portraits, including Elder Runara in human form and Tarak, former member of the notorious Gilded Gallows thieve's guild who has apparently turned his back on his past, and instead turned his attention and intellect to gardening. Characters with a criminal background along the sword coast might recognize the I'll Tie My Own Knot / Gilded Gallows noose tattoo.

Spelljammer ship's navigator

August 13, 2022

Here's what the Spelljammer ship's navigator sees when she plots the course for home—or the next adventure because there's probably going to be trouble along the way. Really inspired after watching @ThatBronzeGirl and @enthusiamy walk through Spelljammer ship combat. 

NPCs & Villains

July 25, 2022

I've been spending more time drawing and painting over the last few weeks, mostly working on an NPC (non-player character) portraits and scenes for a little D&D project. I've also drawn a few with a sketchier vibe, with a dash of surreal thrown in. 

Another concept for my NPC art project, and of course when this guy walks into your tavern at the edge of town on a Sunday evening, your third question might be "What'll you have?" but your first and second questions are definitely going to be "is that a femur, a thigh bone--from what? Where the hell did you get that?"

And the Marsh Guide / Hunter. You might want him around when you're venturing into the swamps and lowlands, even if it's just for a red-fly infestation ointment recipe and battle tactics against mud-tusks. About 4 hours in ArtRage and PSCC2022.

Trust the Rogue

July 23, 2022

A little steel, a few vials of flammables, a pocketful of poison, and some arcane trickery. The rogue knows what she's doing.

I'm painting some NPC portraits for a side project

July 12, 2022

And one of them happens to be a wizard who has a familiar. One more reason to get into Dungeons & Dragons. Come on, you know you want a friendly pseudodragon in your game. 


Just a creative human with a pen and a paint brush. More here: