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Worldbuilding Power: Underwater

Worldbuilding Power: Underwater


Use aquatic realms in character development, worldbuilding, and adventures! When we think of underwater realms, we often think of Atlantis. The fictional island, first mentioned by Plato, sank deep beneath the sea following a series of violent earthquakes. It’s only in relatively modern times that we’ve imagined survivors, adapting to life beneath the seas and rebuilding their...   [click here for more]
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Worldbuilding Power: Elementals

Worldbuilding Power: Elementals


Use primordial creatures in your worldbuilding, character development, and storytelling! Elementals are the embodiment of the four classical elements, air, earth, fire, and water. The modern conception dates back to ancient Greece, but similar ideas existed in Babylonia, India, and Japan. The notion was that everything in the world was comprised of these elements. By the...   [click here for more]
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Worldbuilding Power: Fey

Worldbuilding Power: Fey


Use faerie folk in character development, worldbuilding, and adventures! The fey, also called faerie folk or fairies, originate in European folklore. In pre-Christian traditions they were often cast as minor deities, household spirits, or even the souls of the dead. Some tales saw them as demoted (rather than fallen) angels, or even a category of demons, after the spread of Christianity....   [click here for more]
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Worldbuilding Power: Forests

Worldbuilding Power: Forests


Use the woodlands in character development, worldbuilding, and adventures! In the real world forests are the dominant ecosystem, covering around 30% of the Earth’s landmass. They hold most of the species of plant life, and can exist across a broad range of climates and habitats. There are boreal forests, or “snow forests”, near the poles comprised mainly of conifers like...   [click here for more]
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Worldbuilding Power: Alteration

Worldbuilding Power: Alteration


Use transmutation magic in character development, worldbuilding, and adventures! The magnum opus, or Great Work, of alchemy is the transmutation of base metals like lead into precious metals like gold. This is arguably the foundation of alteration and transmutation magic in fantasy roleplaying. The ability to turn one thing into another, even temporarily, can be both useful and frightening....   [click here for more]
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Worldbuilding Power: Enchantment

Worldbuilding Power: Enchantment


Use mind-affecting magic in character development, worldbuilding, and adventures! Enchantment, also known as charm spells, is magic the affects the mind of the target. A talented enchanter can alter attitudes and emotions, convince them to change their opinions and behaviors, and even compel them to do things they normally would not do. Antagonists will seek to leverage the same effects,...   [click here for more]
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Worldbuilding Power: Evocation

Worldbuilding Power: Evocation


Use energy-harnessing magic in character development, worldbuilding, and adventures! To evoke is to call forth and manipulate various types of energies and forces. These include fire, electricity, heat and cold, light and darkness, and even eldritch energy itself. It is the magic of raw power. Unlike other categories of magic, evocation comes with no innate moral and ethical considerations...   [click here for more]
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Worldbuilding Power: Constructs

Worldbuilding Power: Constructs


Use artificial creatures in character development, worldbuilding, and adventures! Constructs are artificially created creatures. Typically mindless, they are programmed to obey their creator. Because they are technically not living, they lack the weaknesses of hired henchmen and mortal monsters. They are unfeeling, relentless, and can be virtually unstoppable. That’s what makes constructs...   [click here for more]
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Worldbuilding Power: Necromancy

Worldbuilding Power: Necromancy


Use black magic in character development, worldbuilding, and adventures! Necromancy is magic that deals with the dead. That covers a lot of ground. It includes communicating with spirits as a form of divination. The unliving can be summoned, and usually commanded, by the caster. Raising the dead, as skeletons, zombies, or fully resurrected living beings is included in this category as well....   [click here for more]
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Worldbuilding Prompts

Worldbuilding Prompts


Develop Settings, Character Backgrounds, and Adventures Worldbuilding is essential to good fiction, regardless of the genre or medium. It creates the context for the characters and the stories that they’re involved in. The information necessary to understand the motivations of the villains, the goals of the story, and what’s at stake if the protagonists fail, are all tied up on the setting...   [click here for more]
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Lighthouse System Core Book

Lighthouse System Core Book


A simple, universal storygame system. The entire Learn the System section can be read in the Full-sized Preview link, above. This book contains everything you need to create settings, characters, and stories and play them out. Players narrative duties with the guide, making the system highly collaborative. Bid on the degree of success you'd like... as well as...   [click here for more]
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Worldbuilding Power: Dragons

Worldbuilding Power: Dragons


Use iconic monsters in character development, worldbuilding, and adventures! Dragons exist in folklore as far back as ancient Mesopotamia. Massive, serpent-like creatures can be found in the legends and mythologies of Egypt, Greece, and Northern Europe. In Western cultures, the image of the fearsome, fire-breathing dragon first appeared in the Middle Ages, an amalgam of the various traditions...   [click here for more]
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Setting Design [Black Box Edition]

Setting Design [Black Box Edition]


Design dynamic settings that support 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 for your...   [click here for more]
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Worldbuilding Power: Cities

Worldbuilding Power: Cities


Use centers of trade and culture in character development, worldbuilding, and adventures! A city can be a lot of things. It might be a crossroads, the place where trade routes converge and merchants ply their trade. Some see it as a place of opportunity, to gain wealth and power, politically and otherwise. Others find it to be center of culture and the arts. It can be a refuge, where those...   [click here for more]
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Worldbuilding Theory

Worldbuilding Theory


Create a setting with character development and storytelling in mind! Any System! Any Setting! Worldbuilding is essential to a good fantasy adventure. It creates the context for the characters and the stories that they’re involved in. The information necessary to understand the motivations of the villains, the goals of the story, and what’s at stake if the protagonists...   [click here for more]
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Worldbuilding Power: Conjuration

Worldbuilding Power: Conjuration


Use the ability to call forth and command forces in character development, worldbuilding, and adventures! The word conjure stems from the Latin coniurare, to swear together or conspire. It means to command an oath, as in a pledge of duty or loyalty. Around the 14th century it took on the magical connotation of constraining a demon or spirit, forcing it to do that caster’s bidding....   [click here for more]
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Worldbuilding Power: Aberrations

Worldbuilding Power: Aberrations


Use strange beings and alien creatures in character development, worldbuilding, and adventures! People frequently want to add Lovecraftian horrors to their fantasy games, but they’ve been there since the beginning. Thing that are beyond the day-to-day existence of a standard high fantasy setting. Creatures so strange that their aims and desires are unfathomable. Beings that are so unlike...   [click here for more]
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Worldbuilding Power: Mountains

Worldbuilding Power: Mountains


Use perilous peaks in character development, worldbuilding, and adventures! Mountains are places of mystery. Rising above the surrounding landscape, they are seen by all but only known to few. Myth and legend names them as the home of the gods. Rivers and streams originate there. Dangerous creatures dwell there. The terrain is often steep, and cold, and sometimes even volcanic. The perfect...   [click here for more]
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Culture Theory

Culture Theory


Using Fantasy Cultures and Races to develop Characters, Worldbuilding, and Adventures In the context of a fantasy world, culture can mean a lot of things. Often people reduce it to what tabletop games traditionally call race. Elves are magical, learned, and like nature. Dwarves are sassy, temperamental, and like to party. It’s not so much a collection of cultural markers, or even ethnic markers,...   [click here for more]
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Worldbuilding Power: Underground

Worldbuilding Power: Underground


Use Underground Realms in Character Development, Adventure Design, and Worldbuilding The concept of an underground world comes straight out of the classic hero’s journey. The hero leaves home, descends into the underworld to be tested, and returns a changed person. It’s the part of the story where the challenges are faced, the glory is earned, and the treasures are acquired. Other...   [click here for more]
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Worldbuilding Power: Illusion

Worldbuilding Power: Illusion


Use arcane deception in character development, worldbuilding, and adventures! Illusion is the tricking of the mind, and the distorting of the senses. As a category of magic, its purpose is to alter the target’s perception of reality. The definition of illusion magic has expanded over time to include spells that act as disguises, defenses, and forms of attack. Illusion allows casters...   [click here for more]
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Worldbuilding Power: Celestials

Worldbuilding Power: Celestials


Use the highest order of good beings in character development, worldbuilding, and adventures! Divine beings don’t get the attention they deserve in fantasy roleplaying games. They should somehow play a larger role than they do in the cosmology of our favorite fictional universes, given that they are the extraplanar exemplars of all that is right and good in the multiverse....   [click here for more]
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Arcane Theory

Arcane Theory


Using Arcane Magic to develop Characters, Worldbuilding, and Adventures Arcane magic is a foundational element of tabletop fantasy. Whether you’re drawing upon the concepts of Vancian magic as interpreted by Gygax and Arneson, or embracing pseudo-historical tradition of Hermeticism, the ability to manipulate supernatural energy and cast spells is an important part of the genre. With no arcane...   [click here for more]
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Worldbuilding Power: Divination

Worldbuilding Power: Divination


Use Magical Insight in Character Development, Adventure Design, and Worldbuilding Divination comes from the Latin word divinare, which translates as “to be inspired by God”. As a category of magic, its purpose is to help the caster gain insight, if not direct answers, to a wide variety of situations. The definition of divination magic has expanded over time to include...   [click here for more]
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Character Theory

Character Theory


Create characters with relevant connections to worldbuilding and storytelling. Any System! Any Setting! You’ve created fantasy roleplaying characters before. Odds are that the focus of the system you used was on the crunchy bits. The process tacked background details on at the end that may not have been relevant to the adventures you played. Most of the time, your character’s...   [click here for more]
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Worldbuilding Power: Beasts

Worldbuilding Power: Beasts


Use Ordinary Animals in Character Development, Adventure Design, and Worldbuilding Let’s be honest and admit that ordinary animals don’t get the love they deserve in fantasy roleplaying games. In fiction, as in real life, we love a cute cat or a precocious dog. They’ve got personality. Other beasts, like horses, rabbits, and monkeys, get a lot of affection. At the table,...   [click here for more]
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Adventure Theory

Adventure Theory


Create adventures with compelling stories, character development opportunities, and worldbuilding moments! Any System! Any Setting! Plenty has been written aboutencounter design, a lot of it system-specific. This book is about story. The only sort of “game balance” you’ll find referenced herein will refer to balancing the needs of the gamemaster,...   [click here for more]
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Worldbuilding Power: Abjuration

Worldbuilding Power: Abjuration


Use Protective Magic in Character Development, Adventure Design, and Worldbuilding Abjuration comes from the Latin word abjurare, which translates as “to forswear”. As a category of magic, its purpose is protection and defense. The definition of abjuration magic has expanded over time to include spells that act as armor, prevent magical intrusion, and banish...   [click here for more]
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Divine Theory

Divine Theory


Using Divine Magic to develop Characters, Worldbuilding, and Adventures Divine magic is an element of tabletop fantasy with that’s seen a lot of changes. Originally intended to help emulate vampire hunters in Hammer Horror films (seriously) by allowing characters to turn and disrupt the undead, it’s grown to encompass a whole spectrum of real-world religious influences, mythology, and...   [click here for more]
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Story Structure [Black Box Edition]

Story Structure [Black Box Edition]


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 you leverage...   [click here for more]
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Building Characters [Black Box Edition]

Building Characters [Black Box Edition]


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 and story...   [click here for more]
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Party Theory

Party Theory


Leverage the party concept for character development, worldbuilding, and adventure design! Any System! Any Setting! In the past four decades there have been millions of words written about character creation. There are scores of books on worldbuilding, and notable volumes on fantasy adventure design. For some reason, though, little has been written about the nature of parties....   [click here for more]
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Story Design: Mystery Stories

Story Design: Mystery Stories


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 doesn’t...   [click here for more]
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Story Design: Journey Stories

Story Design: Journey Stories


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]
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Story Design: Search Stories

Story Design: Search Stories


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]
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Story Design: Breakout Stories

Story Design: Breakout Stories


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]
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Story Design: Seduction Stories

Story Design: Seduction Stories


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]
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Premise: 100 Fantasy Plot Ideas

Premise: 100 Fantasy Plot Ideas


More than simple plot hooks or adventure seeds! Click on Full Size Preview for a sample! A premise is the heart of a story summed up in a single sentence. It should provide a general overview of what happens, without spoiling anything. A good premise contains, explicitly or by implication, four key elements of the story: who the protagonists are, what the goal of the story...   [click here for more]
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Story Design: Payback Stories

Story Design: Payback Stories


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]
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Story Design: Duel Stories

Story Design: Duel Stories


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]
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Story Design: Chase Stories

Story Design: Chase Stories


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]
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Story Design: Rescue Stories

Story Design: Rescue Stories


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]
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Story Design: Dark Horse Stories

Story Design: Dark Horse Stories


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]
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Premise: 100 Horror Plot Ideas

Premise: 100 Horror Plot Ideas


More than simple plot hooks or adventure seeds! Click on Full Size Preview for a sample! A premise is the heart of a story summed up in a single sentence. It should provide a general overview of what happens, without spoiling anything. A good premise contains, explicitly or by implication, four key elements of the story: who the protagonists are, what the goal of the story...   [click here for more]
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Premise: 100 Science Fiction Plot Ideas

Premise: 100 Science Fiction Plot Ideas


More than simple plot hooks or adventure seeds! Click on Full Size Preview for a sample! A premise is the heart of a story summed up in a single sentence. It should provide a general overview of what happens, without spoiling anything. A good premise contains, explicitly or by implication, four key elements of the story: who the protagonists are, what the goal of the story...   [click here for more]
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Cleric Theory

Cleric Theory


Using Clerics in Worldbuilding and Adventure Design Any System! Any Setting! Clerics bring a sense of mythology to a fantasy world. They validate the existence of deities. Their beliefs reflect the morals and ethics of their religion, if not the broader cultures of the setting. The magic they utilize is different because it is divinely bestowed for faithfulness...   [click here for more]
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Story Design: Curse Stories

Story Design: Curse Stories


Add a sense of alienation to your metamorphosis stories and 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 of the antagonist’s need...   [click here for more]
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Premise: 100 Superhero Plot Ideas

Premise: 100 Superhero Plot Ideas


More than simple plot hooks or adventure seeds! Click on Full Size Preview for a sample! A premise is the heart of a story summed up in a single sentence. It should provide a general overview of what happens, without spoiling anything. A good premise contains, explicitly or by implication, four key elements of the story: who the protagonists are, what the goal of the story...   [click here for more]
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Premise: 100 Weird Fiction Plot Ideas

Premise: 100 Weird Fiction Plot Ideas


Stories at the intersection of fantasy, science fiction, and horror! Click on Full Size Preview for a sample! A premise is the heart of a story summed up in a single sentence. It should provide a general overview of what happens, without spoiling anything. A good premise contains, explicitly or by implication, four key elements of the story: who the protagonists are, what...   [click here for more]
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Wizard Theory

Wizard Theory


Using Wizards in Worldbuilding and Adventure Design Any System! Any Setting! The appeal of the wizard is that in many way it’s the most iconic of character classes. Nothing screams fantasy like an arcane spellcaster, able to manipulate the forces of magic that set your fictional realm apart from the real world. While this means, in most systems,...   [click here for more]
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