Posts

Languages: Cants (Thieves & Other)

Working on Creatures & Catacombs today and finally realizing this is definitely not going to end up the minimalist dream I'd originally intended.  While trying to give at least a little description to the various PC races, the idea of language came up, and I started wondering if I should include Thieve's Cant.  This further got me wondering what the heck a "cant" even is.

Wikipedia turned up the definition:
A cant, cryptolect, argot, anti-language or secret language is the jargon or language of a group, often employed to exclude or mislead people outside the group. Each term differs slightly in meaning, and their use is inconsistent. This was frankly fascinating.  It inspires the idea of sub-languages spoken by various in-groups concealing the secret or semi-secret in broad daylight.  Not sure I'll manage to include this gracefully when running my own sessions, but I'd like to put the idea in there so it's available if I need it.  The real temptation is…

Why Dragons Actually Hoard Treasure

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Another response to a Quora question.
Choose one or roll 1d20:


1) Dragons are the bower birds of the monster world. They need to make their lairs as shiny and full of cool stuff as possible to attract a mate.

2) The riddle:
In marble walls as white as milk,
Lined with a skin as soft as silk;
Within a fountain crystal clear,
A golden apple doth appear.
No doors there are to this stronghold,
Yet thieves break in and steal the gold. Actually alludes to dragon eggs, the embryos of which require gold during certain developmental stages.

3) There was once a more common form of vegetation called Glintweed, whose leaves had an iridescent sheen when viewed in direct sunlight. For various reasons this plant functioned as ideal nesting material for dragons.
Unfortunately, as humanoids began to mine large quantities of precious metal ores, dragons started running into a variant of the dragonfly / oil problem: To the instinctual side of a dragon’s brain, lustrous higher atomic weight refined metals l…

Mommy, why am I a Tiefling?

A Quora user asked the question:
In DND, can a Tiefling be born from two human parents?
My answer to any question along these lines is almost always going to be:
Yes! (setting norms permitting)
To find out why mummy and daddy are human and you're not, pick or roll 1d20:

Thauma-genetic manipulation at the fertility clinic.Surrogate birth.Cuckoo demon left an extra bun in their oven while no one was looking. Your twin sibling looks perfectly human though.Parents made a pact with the Infernal powers, dedicating their next child to the Grand & Decadent Cause. (ANGSTY TEEN TIEFLING: Jeez! Lay off mom and dad! I don't wanna do your stupid dark destiny plans!)One of your parents used to be an infernal pact warlock before you were born. They turned from that path a long time ago, repented, and tried to make amends for the things they did during those times. But a part of the pact they'd overlooked ensured their first born would be a Tiefling. So here you are. Sorry honey.The car y…

Scraps from a Dwarven Cookbook

I've come to realize that most of the RPG related ideas I come up with end up shuffled away to some forgotten corner of Quora, never to be seen again.  So, to collect them all in one place for easier reference, a few of those I liked better are getting transferred here.

If you found an ancient Dwarven cookbook in a long forgotten ruins in Dungeons and Dragons, what recipes might you find?

Recipes and cooking advice found in dwarven cookbooks tends to fall into one or more of the following categories:

References to rare monsters (ones not listed in the MM, or listed by an untranslated dwarven name), but only described in detail as to how to gut and cook them. Might mention poison glands or horns or such, but not always directly helpful in identifying how to combat the thing.References to some highly prized ingredient (like Silphium) which was key for so many things, ultra healthy and made everything better, but which can no longer be identified. May not exist anymore or is super rare…

Ugh! Please just no.

For various reasons, some people have difficulty handling specific themes, situations, or individual details which arise during role-playing games. I can easily accept how this sort of occurrence might come up either with advance warning or unexpectedly during the course of play, suddenly turning someone's experience from light and enjoyable to awkward or anxiety-inducing.

The issue has been discussed for years within various RPG communities, with different solutions proposed. But in recent months a few specific posts (by Cass Kat, Emmy Allen & Scrap Princess) have helped me sort out a few thoughts on the subject.

There are three main "tools" I'm aware of that have been used in the past to help people avoid or deal with these situations are:


The X Card - Literally a card with an X which is displayed when an uncomfortable or problem situation arises.  This is a cue to stop play and discuss or and work through or bypass the elements causing a problem.  The primary p…

Paragons & Pantheons

Disclaimer: Any views indicated here are from my own amateurish lay study of the subjects. Please consult an appropriate theologian or appropriate lore source for more accurate information on real-world religious and cultural beliefs and practices.

On Twitter Kiel Chenier asked:

One thing I struggle to do in #dnd5e is use gods effectively.
Gods and pantheons never really interested me. Chalk it up to growing up around abusive zealots. As a consequence I often use fantasy religion as an evil force in my rpg writing, which feels limiting now.
How fix?

In response Erik Jensesn suggested:
Hang out with some people of faith (who you get along with) who don't have those same scars and chat about how their religious practice intersects their daily living.

As someone "of faith" who has been largely insulated throughout my early life from abusive zealots, this is something I've struggled with myself over the years, at least in the way that D&D clearic-type-magic works.  It pr…

Tales of the Space Princess - AP Report: Space Port Hassle

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Starship Yesterday I finally got around to running a session of John Stater's Tales of the Space Princess for my wife, daughter (10) and son (8). Although my son lost interest about a third of the way through (sitting still was not going well), in other regards it was probably among the best games I'd ever run. My wife laughed probably the hardest I've heard in a quite awhile.

Player characters had been generated months in advance.  They included:
Chednaa Human Psychic (Wife)Star Llama a Llamoid Alien Scoundrel (Daughter)Fire the Freeze or Freeze the Fire a sentient, chair-sized, burning block of ice, also a Star Warrior (Son) The scenario itself was created as an afterthought to a pirate base raid adventure I'd written notes for earlier.  But after detailing how the pirate scenario would run, I realized it might be best to have an earlier scenario to establish some key setting details and background.  Which led me to more hasti…