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Building Adventures

Building Adventures


Like any other form of fiction, a tabletop roleplaying adventure works best when there’s a beginning, a middle, and an end. Player characters can pursue a goal without being railroaded into one specific way of achieving it. That same goal prevents characters from wandering aimlessly through an open-ended setting. A balance of styles will respect the players’ creativity and choices, while reducing...   [click here for more]
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Building Characters [Second Edition]

Building Characters [Second Edition]


A new edition of the best-selling classic! Tabletop roleplaying is about characters. It’s something so fundamental and obvious that it’s often taken for granted. If your tastes run toward the wargaming end of the spectrum, a character is your game piece, the way that you interface with the system. For those who lean more toward the storytelling end, your character is a means of self-expression,...   [click here for more]
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Building Worlds [Second Edition]

Building Worlds [Second Edition]


A new edition of the bestselling classic, Setting Design! The term worldbuilding gets thrown around frequently by tabletop roleplayers in reference to the construction of a fantasy realm or even an entire fictional universe. There are maps and ecologies and complex histories involved, with all sorts of engaging little details sprinkled in. While these worlds are presumably being created to provide...   [click here for more]
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Bullet Journaling for Gamemasters, Revised

Bullet Journaling for Gamemasters, Revised


The PDF version has been revised to include photographic examples. Bullet journaling has become something of a phenomena over the past few years. The ability to combine the calendar functions of a day planner, the utility of to-do lists, and the personal documentation of a diary into a single, easy-to-use notebook is appealing and practical. It’s a simple, efficient,...   [click here for more]
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Hippogryph Issue Five

Hippogryph Issue Five


Welcome to Issue Five: Quaranzine Part 2 If you haven’t read Issue Four, I need to tell you that this is not an issue packed with advice converting the classic board game Pandemic in to a tabletop roleplaying scenario, nor is it a devoted to Max Max-style post-apocalyptic settings. Sorry. It’s the second of three issues that I’ve put together in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. I’ve...   [click here for more]
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Hippogryph Issue Four

Hippogryph Issue Four


Welcome to Issue Four: Quaranzine Part 1 A bit of clarification before we begin: This is not an issue packed with advice on running modern-day medical thrillers, developing post-apocalyptic fantasies, or rules for deadly viruses. Sorry. It’s the first of three issues that I’ve put together in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. During this period of social distancing and self-isolation,...   [click here for more]
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Hippogryph Issue One

Hippogryph Issue One


in this issue:  fandom as religion - In the past decade fandom has become contentious and un-fun. With the mainstreaming of things formerly relegated to the fringes, is there any reason to continue supporting an increasingly toxic fan culture? novel-style character profiles - A character sheet is only good for the game system it was created for, but a character profile...   [click here for more]
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Hippogryph Issue Seven

Hippogryph Issue Seven


In This Issue: The Soft Reboot Revisiting the Black Box Movement RPG Manual Cost as Barrier to Entry Game Design: The Man in the Arena Do What You Can Black Box: Everything is a Remix Politics in Roleplaying Settings Black Box and Remix Culture Freebies, Trolls, and What Have You Guide Instead of Gamemaster System Rather Than Rules Why “Player” Is In But “Game” Is Out Dancing Lights Press Forums Current...   [click here for more]
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Hippogryph Issue Six

Hippogryph Issue Six


Welcome to Issue Six: Quaranzine Part 3 If you’re experiencing a bit of deja vu, then you’ve already read Issue Four and Issue Five. Thanks! For those just tuning in, this “quaranzine” special is not an issue packed with advice recreating the 1995 medical disaster movie Outbreak at your tabletop. Nor does it delve into the possible armor class protection offed by hazmat suits. Sorry. It’s...   [click here for more]
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Hippogryph Issue Three

Hippogryph Issue Three


in this issue:  The Necessity of Kindness - Rather than write about horror as originally planned, I decided to focus on being pleasant to one another instead. There is no tabletop roleplaying without people. Play nice.  Paladins Revisited - We think of paladins as holy warriors, but what if we came at them from a more romantic perspective? Rather than devotion...   [click here for more]
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Hippogryph Issue Two

Hippogryph Issue Two


in this issue:  why do a wrestling issue? - If you don’t care about professional wrestling, why are you reading this issue? Well, it’s about unarmed combat, improvised weapons, character development, and storytelling. That’s RPG material right there. characters: wrestler archetypes - How to make RPG characters inspired by professional wrestling. Whether you’re...   [click here for more]
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Hippogryph Issue Zero

Hippogryph Issue Zero


In This Issue: Welcome to Issue Zero - It’s a game system! It’s a zine about tabletop roleplaying! It’s both! An introduction to the Hippogryph project, what to expect in this issue, and what you can look forward to in future issues. How to Create Things - From characters to magic items to worlds, a unified system for creating all of the elements that go into...   [click here for more]
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Revelations in Cold Iron

Revelations in Cold Iron


In Revelations in Cold Iron, players take the role of members of a resistance movement fighting the machinations of a secret occult conspiracy that has taken over the world. Named for the metal believed to repel, contain, and harm malevolent creatures, Cold Iron uses magic to wrest control of reality from those who are attempting to rewrite it. The Cult of Moloch is an international...   [click here for more]
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Lighthouse System Core Book

Lighthouse System Core Book


A simple, universal storygame system. Core Mechanic Roll a d20 and add modifiers. If the result is high (11+) you succeed. If the result in low (10 or less) you fail. When the result is even, you narrate the outcome. When the result is odd, the guide narrates the outcome. Risk When you declare your action, you bid a die. The size of the die dictates...   [click here for more]
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Adventure Design Guides [BUNDLE]

Adventure Design Guides [BUNDLE]


This special bundle product contains the following titles. Bitter Rivals: Adventure Design Guide Regular price: $1.99 Bundle price: $1.19 Format: PDF In a Bitter Rivals adventure, the player characters will be called upon to compete against an adversary that is their equal in nearly every way. The nature of the competition can...   [click here for more]
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Story Design Volumes 11-20 [BUNDLE]

Story Design Volumes 11-20 [BUNDLE]


10 Best Selling Titles to Help You Plan and Structure Adventures! Use classic, time-tested plot structures to create your own stories! Works with any system, any setting, and any genre! Each volume walks you through building a different type of story! Only pay for titles you haven't previously purchased! This special bundle product contains the following titles. , Story...   [click here for more]
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Game Group Management

Game Group Management


When I first started roleplaying, the rule book showed me all about using the game mechanics. I learned how to create incredible characters, balance challenging encounters, and put together fantastic adventures. In spite of the fact that roleplaying is social in nature, it didn’t tell me how to organize a game group. There was no information on how to deal with interpersonal conflicts, or manage...   [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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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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Bitter Rivals: Adventure Design Guide

Bitter Rivals: Adventure Design Guide


In a Bitter Rivals adventure, the player characters will be called upon to compete against an adversary that is their equal in nearly every way. The nature of the competition can be nearly anything, but is centered on the types of abilities and challenges that the PCs are meant to be the best at. During the course of the adventure, they will have to not only do their best, but find new ways...   [click here for more]
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Hot Pursuit: Adventure Design Guide

Hot Pursuit: Adventure Design Guide


In a Hot Pursuit adventure, the player characters will be running for their life to get away from some person, organization, or force that’s chasing them. During the course of the adventure, they will have to run, hide, and do everything they can to slow doing their pursuer and stay ahead in the chase. By the end, they should safely escape, either by resolving the issue they’re...   [click here for more]
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Long Strange Trip: Adventure Design Guide

Long Strange Trip: Adventure Design Guide


In a Long Strange Trip adventure, the player characters will set out to see the world. They know that fortune and fame await them, but it won’t be found at home. It’s a type of adventure that’s more a showcase for your worldbuilding than it is a vehicle for character development. That doesn’t mean that the player characters can’t learn and grow, but it’s...   [click here for more]
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Rescue Mission: Adventure Design Guide

Rescue Mission: Adventure Design Guide


In a Rescue Mission adventure, the player characters will be called upon to locate and save an important non-player character. It might be someone important to the setting, like a member of a royal family, a popular celebrity, or a beloved figure in the community. The kidnap victim could be a close friend or part of the player characters’ family. During the course of the adventure,...   [click here for more]
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Retribution: Adventure Design Guide

Retribution: Adventure Design Guide


In a Retribution adventure, the player characters will suffer some injustice. It might be something done to them, or to people they care about. This requires them to right that wrong in creative and emotionally satisfying ways. During the course of the adventure, they will have to locate the people responsible, plan how they want to get payback, and gather together the resources to pull it off....   [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: Change Stories

Story Design: Change Stories


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]
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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: Coming of Age Stories

Story Design: Coming of Age Stories


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]
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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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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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Story Design: Decline-and-Fall Stories

Story Design: Decline-and-Fall Stories


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]
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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: 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: 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: Obsession Stories

Story Design: Obsession Stories


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]
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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: Rags-to-Riches Stories

Story Design: Rags-to-Riches Stories


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]
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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: Revelation Stories

Story Design: Revelation Stories


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]
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Story Design: Romance Stories

Story Design: Romance Stories


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]
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Story Design: Sacrifice Stories

Story Design: Sacrifice Stories


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]
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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: 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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Story Design: Taboo Stories

Story Design: Taboo Stories


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]
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The Escape Plan: Adventure Design Guide

The Escape Plan: Adventure Design Guide


In an Escape Plan adventure, the player characters will be captured and confined by the antagonist in some way. It should have literal elements, all though some of it could be cultural, political, or religious oppression. During the course of the adventure, they will have to avoid antagonist and make a plan to escape their captivity. By the end, they should be able to escape and finally...   [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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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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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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Hippogryph [BUNDLE]

Hippogryph [BUNDLE]


This special bundle product contains the following titles. Hippogryph Issue Five Regular price: $0.99 Bundle price: $0.99 Format: PDF Welcome to Issue Five: Quaranzine Part 2 If you haven’t read Issue Four, I need to tell you that this is not an issue packed with advice converting the classic board game Pandemic in to a tabletop roleplaying scenario, nor is it...   [click here for more]
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