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Ken Writes About Stuff: Vol. 3
by Pelgrane Press

Each month in Ken Writes About Stuff, Kenneth Hite turns his considerable writing talents and encyclopedic knowledge of game design, history, the occult and all things Mythos to bear on new topic. From hideous creatures to GUMSHOE innovations, from Moon Dust Men to martial arts, in 5000 word missives, the sub runs April to March, and includes all this year's issues straight away.

Ken Writes About Stuff: Vol. 3
 
 Hottest Genre, Any system / system-agnostic, MOBI
 
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Roleplaying Theme

Roleplaying Theme


How can you use the literary concept of theme in a roleplaying game adventure? Yes, roleplaying games are different in structure than other forms of fiction, and the needs of the story, the people telling the story, and the audience are all unique. They’re still stories, and embracing theme is a relatively easy way to make those stories better. It’s infinitely more interesting...   [click here for more]
Dancing Lights Press  $5.00

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Story Design: Decline-and-Fall

Story Design: Decline-and-Fall


How can you add more empathy and suspense to your story of tragic descent? Story Design Volume 20 - In a decline-and-fall story, the protagonist starts out in a high position, possessed of fortune and glory, having everything they could ever desire. This could be literal or metaphorical; they might have moral or ethical riches rather than money and possessions. The protagonist...   [click here for more]
Dancing Lights Press  $2.00

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Story Design: The Obsession

Story Design: The Obsession


How can you add more danger and tragedy to your story of wretched excess? Story Design Volume 18 - In an obsession story the protagonist goes too far with something, and bad things happen as a result. The object of their excess can be an actual physical or psychological problem like alcoholism or drug addiction; it could also be an unhealthy fascination with a goal, a person,...   [click here for more]
Dancing Lights Press  $2.00

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Story Design: The Revelation

Story Design: The Revelation


How can you add more action and conflict to your story of discovery? Story Design Volume 17 - In a revelation plot something is discovered that has serious implications for the protagonist. It may mean also have a serious impact on a supporting character, or the world. The actual discover could be something good or something bad, but it is startling and disruptive to the...   [click here for more]
Dancing Lights Press  $2.00

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Story Design: Rags-to-Riches

Story Design: Rags-to-Riches


How can you add more hope and excitement to your story of dreams and aspirations? Story Design Volume 19 - In a rags-to-riches story the protagonist starts out poor, unknown, and without any power or authority. This could be literal or metaphorical; they may be intellectually or spiritually poor, rather than without material wealth. Over the course of the story they rise...   [click here for more]
Dancing Lights Press  $2.00

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Story Design: The Sacrifice

Story Design: The Sacrifice


How can you add more drama and pathos to your story of selfless heroism? Story Design Volume 16 - A sacrifice story finds the protagonist pursuing some noble cause or higher purpose. In order to accomplish their objective, they will need to give up something of great personal value. This might be other goals, a close relationship, or even their own life. They may survive,...   [click here for more]
Dancing Lights Press  $2.00

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Story Design: The Romance

Story Design: The Romance


How can you add more conflict and characterization to your love story? Story Design Volume 14 - A romance plot features the protagonist falling in love with a supporting character or even a co-protagonist. The antagonist doesn’t want this to happen, and conspires to keep the lover apart. There is often some misunderstanding or miscommunication that creates a rift in...   [click here for more]
Dancing Lights Press  $2.00

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Never Unprepared: The Complete Game Master's Guide to Session Prep

Never Unprepared: The Complete Game Master's Guide to Session Prep


"Gnome Stew has hit another home run for the Game Master. Never Unprepared has earned a permanent place in my GM toolbox, right along side the likes of Robin’s Laws of Good Game Mastering, Hamlet’s Hit Points, Play Dirty, Eureka, and Masks. Highly recommended." -- RoleplayDNA review 2013 Origins Award nominee for Best Game-Related Publication - 2013 ENnie Award...   [click here for more]
Engine Publishing  $19.95 $9.95

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Story Design: The Taboo

Story Design: The Taboo


How can you add more intrigue and danger to your forbidden love story? Story Design Volume 15 - In a taboo plot, the protagonist becomes involved in a forbidden romance. From the start everyone knows that the affair will fail because social forces don’t approve of the pairing; what makes the relationship unacceptable will vary with the genre, place, and time of the...   [click here for more]
Dancing Lights Press  $2.00

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Unframed: The Art of Improvisation for Game Masters

Unframed: The Art of Improvisation for Game Masters


Twenty three short essays from twenty three exceptional Game Masters and creators that will invariably aid you in your quest to make your games better because they reflect what happens, rather than what you have planned.” — Sean’s Pick of the Day review 2015 Golden Geek Award nominee for Best Supplement and Best Artwork & Presentation Improvisation...   [click here for more]
Engine Publishing  $19.95 $9.95

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Story Design: The Mystery

Story Design: The Mystery


How can you add more thrills and dramatic tension to your mystery adventures? Story Design Volume 7 - The word mystery carries a lot of cultural baggage. From a genre point of view, it’s typically associated with murder. The story goal is to discover who did it, although more modern variations focus on figuring out how it was done, in order to prove who did it. A mystery...   [click here for more]
Dancing Lights Press  $2.00

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Story Design: The Seduction

Story Design: The Seduction


How can you add more dark danger and wicked fun to your temptation adventures? Story Design Volume 10 - A seduction story has the protagonist trying to avoid doing something they know they aren’t supposed to do. It could be lying, cheating, stealing, breaking an oath, succumbing to addiction, or anything that has serious consequences. The thing that the protagonist...   [click here for more]
Dancing Lights Press  $2.00

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Story Design: The Duel

Story Design: The Duel


How can you add more conflict and suspense to your competitive adventures? Story Design Volume 8 - In a duel story, the protagonist and antagonist are competing against one another. They may be fighting to obtain the same objective, or simply trying to insure that the other doesn’t get what they’re after. The rivalry might be a sports competition, a race to make...   [click here for more]
Dancing Lights Press  $2.00

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Story Design: The Breakout

Story Design: The Breakout


Have you ever wanted higher stakes and deeper meaning in your escape adventures? Story Design Volume 5 - A breakout story involves a protagonist trying to escape from a situation that’s not of their choosing, and possibly not of their making. Their captivity can be literal, like being locked in prison or stranded on an island. It may also be figurative, like an abusive...   [click here for more]
Dancing Lights Press  $2.00

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Story Design: The Dark Horse

Story Design: The Dark Horse


How can you add more heroic struggle and vicarious thrills to your underdog adventures? Story Design Volume 9 - In a dark horse story, the protagonist and antagonist are not evenly matched. The odds are stacked heavily in favor of the antagonist. Initially no one takes the protagonist seriously, but over the course of the story they shake off their underdog status to become...   [click here for more]
Dancing Lights Press  $2.00

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Story Design: The Search

Story Design: The Search


How can you add more emotional resonance to your quest adventure story? Story Design Volume 2 - In the search plot, the protagonist is looking for something. It might be an object, a person, or a piece of information. The thing they’re searching for might be real, or it could be metaphorical. It doesn’t actually matter, because this is really a character-driven...   [click here for more]
Dancing Lights Press  $2.00

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Story Design: Coming of Age

Story Design: Coming of Age


How can you add more character focus and a slice of life to your adventures? Story Design Volume 13 - In a coming of age plot, the protagonist gains maturity. This is often literal as the character moves from one stage of their life to another, like from childhood to adolescence, or young adulthood to middle age. It can be metaphorical as they embark on a new career, learn...   [click here for more]
Dancing Lights Press  $2.00

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Story Design: The Journey

Story Design: The Journey


How can you put more action and excitement in your traveling adventure stories? Story Design Volume 1 - In the journey plot, the protagonist travels and has an adventure. It’s a simple as that. There’s no deeper meaning or existential crisis underlying the trip. There’s hidden message, or a need for the character to experience personal growth. It’s...   [click here for more]
Dancing Lights Press  $2.00

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Story Design: The Payback

Story Design: The Payback


How can you add more retribution and gratification to your revenge adventures? Story Design Volume 6 - In a payback story the protagonist, or someone close to them, has somehow been wronged by the antagonist. Seeking to balance the scales or settle the score, the protagonist goes on a mission of revenge. It’s a story about a person seeking justice by taking the law...   [click here for more]
Dancing Lights Press  $2.00

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Odyssey: The Complete Game Master's Guide to Campaign Management

Odyssey: The Complete Game Master's Guide to Campaign Management


If you’re planning on running a campaign, you’ll want this book.” — Critical Hits review 2014 ENnie Award nominee for Best Aid/Accessory - 2013 Golden Geek Award nominee for Best Supplement Do you ever wish you had a guide to help make running ongoing campaigns easier and more fun? Then you need Odyssey: The Complete Game Master's Guide...   [click here for more]
Engine Publishing  $24.95 $11.95

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Story Design: The Curse

Story Design: The Curse


How can you add more character-driven action and a sense of alienation to your metamorphosis adventures? Story Design Volume 11 - In a curse story the antagonist feels that the protagonist has done something wrong. Maybe they have, and the antagonist’s actions are justified; maybe they haven’t, and the antagonist’s wrath is misplaced or unfair. As a result...   [click here for more]
Dancing Lights Press  $2.00

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Roleplaying Emotion

Roleplaying Emotion


How can you express your character’s feelings without embarrassing yourself? Sometimes the hardest thing to do in a tabletop roleplaying game is engage with the roleplaying part. It's not that we have a shortage of ideas on how our characters would behave. Their abilities aren't a mystery to us, and we know how to use them to our tactical advantage. Things break down when we have to...   [click here for more]
Dancing Lights Press  $5.00

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Story Design: The Change

Story Design: The Change


How can you add more inner conflict, fear or change, and wonder of discovery to your transformation adventures? Story Design Volume 12 - In a change story something upsets the protagonist’s life in a significant way. The character then has to adapt and come to terms with that change. It can be something normal yet tragic, like the death of a loved one or being diagnosed...   [click here for more]
Dancing Lights Press  $2.00

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Story Design: The Rescue

Story Design: The Rescue


Have you ever wanted more suspense and peril in your rescue adventures? Story Design Volume 4 - A rescue plot is an action-heavy structure where a supporting character (the victim) is being held against their will by the antagonist. The protagonist’s job is to locate the victim and escort them back to safety. There are variations possible, but the core of a rescue story...   [click here for more]
Dancing Lights Press  $2.00

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Story Design: The Chase

Story Design: The Chase


Have you ever wanted more danger and excitement in your pursuit adventure stories? Story Design Volume 3 - In a chase story, one character is pursuing another. The antagonist may be after the protagonist, or vice versa. The person being chased is often in possession of something valuable or important, has committed a crime and is fleeing justice, or believes...   [click here for more]
Dancing Lights Press  $2.00

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Focal Point: The Complete Game Master's Guide to Running Extraordinary Sessions

Focal Point: The Complete Game Master's Guide to Running Extraordinary Sessions


The heart of roleplaying is the gaming session, that point when everyone is gathered around the gaming table — and exactly when so many of your game mastering skills are most needed. To the best of our knowledge, there's never been a system-neutral book focused on running great sessions. Until now. Focal Point: The Complete Game Master's Guide to...   [click here for more]
Engine Publishing  $24.95 $11.95

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Story Structure

Story Structure


How can you use time-tested story structures to create better adventures? All great stories need a beginning, a middle, and an end. On that basic structure writers and storytellers throughout the ages have woven variations and created masterpieces. We keep coming back to the same foundations today for one very good reason: those structures are versatile and continue to work. This book helps...   [click here for more]
Dancing Lights Press  $7.00

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Horror Stories (Genre Structure Vol. 1)

Horror Stories (Genre Structure Vol. 1)


How can you add more terror and suspense to your horror adventures? Horror Stories (Genre Structure Vol. 1) helps you to develop and tell frightful tales of dread and darkness. It is an essential sourcebook for creating fiction and tabletop adventures. Written for writers and roleplayers, with clear step-by-step instructions, you can: Determine which horror genre elements...   [click here for more]
Dancing Lights Press  $7.00

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Building Characters

Building Characters


How can you create memorable characters with great story potential? At the heart of all great stories are strong characters. It doesn’t matter whether you’re reading a short story, writing a novel, or watching a play. The characters found in TV series, comic books, and games are more alike on a creative level than they are different. The symbiotic relationship between character...   [click here for more]
Dancing Lights Press  $7.00

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Setting Design

Setting Design


How can you design dynamic settings that supports telling great stories? Setting Design helps you to assembling the critical details that you will need in order to tell a story. More than mere worldbuilding, this book shows you how to save prep time by focusing on just the elements you'll need and use. With clear step-by-step instructions, you can: Create a clear premise...   [click here for more]
Dancing Lights Press  $7.00

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Masks: 1,000 Memorable NPCs for Any Roleplaying Game

Masks: 1,000 Memorable NPCs for Any Roleplaying Game


"What I'm saying is that GMs out here need this book. You may be fine coming up with awesome NPCs on your own and don't think you need something like this, and what I'm telling you is that this book is more than just a thousand characters, it's a million stories." -- Dave Chalker, Critical Hits review 2013 ENnie Award winner for Best Aid/Accessory - 2012...   [click here for more]
Engine Publishing  $34.95 $16.95

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Fantasy Stories (Genre Structure Vol. 3)

Fantasy Stories (Genre Structure Vol. 3)


How can you add more wonder and enchantment to your fantasy adventures? Fantasy Stories (Genre Structure Vol. 3) helps you to develop and tell spellbinding tales of magic and imagination. It is an essential sourcebook for creating fiction and tabletop adventures. Written for writers and roleplayers, with clear step-by-step instructions, you can: Determine which fantasy...   [click here for more]
Dancing Lights Press  $7.00

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Eureka: 501 Adventure Plots to Inspire Game Masters

Eureka: 501 Adventure Plots to Inspire Game Masters


"Much more than a simple book of plots, Eureka! stands as one of those essential tools that GMs and game designers will find themselves reaching for again and again." -- Game designer Wolfgang Baur, Kobold Quarterly review 2010 Golden Geek Award nominee for Best Supplement Featuring a foreword by gaming industry legend Monte Cook, Eureka contains 501...   [click here for more]
Engine Publishing  $34.95 $16.95

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Science Fiction (Genre Structure Vol. 2)

Science Fiction (Genre Structure Vol. 2)


How can you add more excitement and bold vision to your science fiction adventures? Science Fiction (Genre Structure Vol. 2) helps you to develop and tell tales of discovery and possibility. It is an essential sourcebook for creating fiction and tabletop adventures. Written for writers and roleplayers, with clear step-by-step instructions, you can: Determine which science...   [click here for more]
Dancing Lights Press  $7.00

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Roleplaying Group Dynamics

Roleplaying Group Dynamics


How can you get your game group to work better together and have more fun? Most of you don’t need to be told how to play well with others. Unfortunately, you’ll run into people who do. For whatever reason, they never learned this particular set of social skills. Sitting down to play a game with them can be like herding cats — occasionally entertaining, but mostly frustrating....   [click here for more]
Dancing Lights Press  $5.00

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Looking Glass: Hong Kong

Looking Glass: Hong Kong


Looking Glass: Hong Kong is a “Low and Slow” city setting for many possible GUMSHOE games. This look at one of Asia's most cramped and chaotic ports features the lay of the land, including markets and masses, and three unique backdrops for the main setting - a scenic or thematic element, or just somewhere to stage a fight scene. It also details Hong Kong's factions, from...   [click here for more]
Pelgrane Press  $5.95

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A Scandal in Bohemia (A Study in Storytelling #1)

A Scandal in Bohemia (A Study in Storytelling #1)


How can you adapt a classic Sherlock Holmes mystery into your own adventure? A Scandal in Bohemia (A Study in Storytelling #1) helps you to deconstruct the original story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. You can then reimagine, remix, and recycle the story elements into any genre or setting. Designed for writers and roleplayers, use it to create original fiction or tabletop adventures!...   [click here for more]
Dancing Lights Press  $5.00

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A Case of Identity (A Study in Storytelling #3)

A Case of Identity (A Study in Storytelling #3)


How can you adapt a classic Sherlock Holmes mystery into your own adventure? A Case of Identity (A Study in Storytelling #3) helps you to deconstruct the original story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. You can then reimagine, remix, and recycle the story elements into any genre or setting. Designed for writers and roleplayers, use it to create original fiction or tabletop adventures!...   [click here for more]
Dancing Lights Press  $5.00

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Roleplaying Alignment

Roleplaying Alignment


How can you make alignment more useful and meaningful in your roleplaying games? Roleplaying Alignment presents a system for using the traditional nine-point alignment system to enrich your game. It presents alignment as a means for customizing your character's personality, goals, and beliefs. Simple mechanics reward characters who embody the tenets of their alignment, and...   [click here for more]
Dancing Lights Press  $5.00

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The Red-Headed League (A Study in Storytelling #2)

The Red-Headed League (A Study in Storytelling #2)


How can you adapt a classic Sherlock Holmes mystery into your own adventure? The Red-Headed League (A Study in Storytelling #2) helps you to deconstruct the original story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. You can then reimagine, remix, and recycle the story elements into any genre or setting. Designed for writers and roleplayers, use it to create original fiction or tabletop adventures!...   [click here for more]
Dancing Lights Press  $5.00

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The Lazy Dungeon Master

The Lazy Dungeon Master


You love Dungeons and Dragons. As an experienced dungeon master you've run dozens, if not hundreds of games. You put a lot of work into making your games great. What if there's another way to look at how you prepare your game? What if it turned out you could spend less time, less energy, and have a better game as a result? It's time to unleash the Lazy Dungeon Master. Written in the style of Sly...   [click here for more]
SlyFlourish  $5.99

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Blowing Up the Movies

Blowing Up the Movies


TWENTY-FOUR ACTION MOVIES EXPLODE Robin D. Laws, game designer by day, cinema super-enthusiast by night, sets his analytic laser sights on action and thrills in a collection of essays sure to supercharge your tabletop roleplaying experience. As the countdown ticks and the bullets fly, Robin takes you inside the workings of 24 action movies, from the stone...   [click here for more]
Atlas Games  $15.00 $7.95

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Play Dirty 2 - Even Dirtier

Play Dirty 2 - Even Dirtier


15 years ago, John Wick's book of GM advice, Play Dirty, took the gaming industry by storm. Some called it monstrous. Others refused to read it all together. Some retailers even refused to carry the book. Now, John Wick is back with a whole new tome of dastardly tricks to keep your players guessing and your table humming: Play Dirty 2: Even Dirtier. Take a tour through twelve new chapters, each...   [click here for more]
John Wick Presents  $19.99 $9.99

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Ken Writes About Stuff: Vol. 3

Ken Writes About Stuff: Vol. 3


Ken Writes About Stuff Vol. 3 KWAS Vol. 3 is a collection of supplements written by master Lovecraftian writer and GUMSHOE guru Kenneth Hite. Discover hideous creatures, manage the global war against aliens in a campaign frame, or learn to command the alchemical elements in this collection of fear and fun! In the ENnie-award winning Ken Writes About Stuff series, Kenneth Hite turns his considerable...   [click here for more]
Pelgrane Press  $24.95

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Alchemy

Alchemy


Chemistry or magic? Madness or miracles? Poison or power? Blend all those elements — and more — with Alchemy, the latest Zoom in on a historical magic system for GUMSHOE gaming. Operating at every level from the base dungeon-crawl to the Awakened Working, this magic system gives you the secrets of matter — and maybe a touch of mercury poisoning. Alchemy...   [click here for more]
Pelgrane Press  $2.95

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Play Dirty (15th Anniversary Edition)

Play Dirty (15th Anniversary Edition)


John Wick's monthly game master advice column in Pyramid was the most controversial in the magazine's history. It was seen by some as revolutionary and dismissed by others as outright dangerous. Collected here for the first time are all eleven episodes including "Hit 'em Where it Hurts," a new introduction and closing statements by the author. Learn the worst, most despicable,...   [click here for more]
John Wick Presents  $19.99 $9.99

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Las Vegas: 1968

Las Vegas: 1968


Las Vegas: 1968 takes you to Sin City in the heyday of Howard Hughes and the Rat Pack, the mob and the Mormons, the fear and the loathing. Everything’s for sale and nothing’s for certain, except the house wins. Featuring happening hooks for vampire conspiracies, esoterrorism, and THE FALL OF DELTA GREEN Mythos machinations! Las Vegas: 1968 is included...   [click here for more]
Pelgrane Press  $2.95

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Ideas and Inspiration for Fantasy and Science Fiction Writers

Ideas and Inspiration for Fantasy and Science Fiction Writers


If you want to spark new ideas for worlds, plots or characters, you want Ideas and Inspiration for Fantasy and Science Fiction Writers. Medicinal corpses, the jargons of thieves and carnies, Nazi UFOs, the colonization of space and green children from nowhere are only a few of the topics covered. This sourcebook is for all writers of fantasy or science fiction--whether novels, short stories,...   [click here for more]
Good Looking Corpse  $0.99

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MAJESTIC Overwatch

MAJESTIC Overwatch


President Eisenhower established Project Moon Dust in 1953 to locate, contain, and coordinate everything known about the alien presence on Earth. The Moon Dust Men are the tip of the spear. MAJESTIC-12 aims it. Manage the global war against the aliens with this new GUMSHOE subsystem. Do you build retro-engineered Aurora craft, or bioroids to fight on the Moon? Do you launch satellite...   [click here for more]
Pelgrane Press  $2.95

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Die Glocke

Die Glocke


According to the legend, in 1944 the SS built a mysterious device deep in a Silesian mine shaft. Its bell-like shape gave it the nickname “die Glocke,” or “the Bell,” but the purpose of “Project Lantern-Bearer” remains a mystery to this day. Was it a time machine? A zero-point energy generator? A gateway to another world? Die Glocke cuts through...   [click here for more]
Pelgrane Press  $2.95

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