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Tiamat Tuesdays: Maintaining Focus

Tiamat TuesdaysTyranny of Dragons is nothing if not epic. It starts out fairly small, as a tale of unknown raiders attacking towns and caravans along the Sword Coast for loot and ransom. Before it’s done, those raiders will be rounding up prisoners to sacrifice in their dark rituals, dragons will gather in numbers not seen for generations, and every political and military force on the Sword Coast will need to unite against the threat if they hope to stave off an unimaginable evil.

The Forgotten Realms is big enough to allow that kind of story—to absorb the devastating blows that these amassed evil forces deliver and survive. But with so much going on everywhere, we had a big task just deciding what to focus on. The player characters are clearly the heroes of the tale, but by the beginning of The Rise of Tiamat, the Cult of the Dragon is operating across a region that spans thousands of miles. A handful of heroes can’t be everywhere at once.

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Your Summoned Gamer Ally: Convention Game Mastery, Part 1

Dice: An Important Convention Prep ItemThere’s something special and exciting about running an adventure at a big gaming convention like PaizoCon and Gen Con! Are you ready for this experience—especially now that convention season is upon us? If this is your first time gamemastering at a convention or even if you’re a veteran convention GM, here are some helpful tips to make your game the best it can be.

Before the Game

A great GM is a ready GM. Prep as much as you can for your game ahead of time, and you’ll have an easier, more enjoyable game when the big day arrives! Well beforehand, re-read your adventure and make whatever edits you need that make the adventure more accessible for convention play. You may need to modify, delete, or add encounters to accommodate a larger group of players. And don’t forget to account for the amount of time allotted for play. The entire session you have scheduled should include some time to get players situated, plus time to wrap up things. Make those decisions now, or you’ll find yourself harried and dithering at game time.

Additionally, print out any handouts, gather props you’ll need, and select any miniatures you might need in advance. Keep everything together in a “go bag” along with snacks and drinks for yourself. If you’ll be using a battlemap for figures, have it drawn out in advance to save game time. Players get bored sitting idle while a GM carefully draws lines for twenty minutes. Then when the time comes, you can lay down your masterpiece with a smile and say, “Roll initiative!”

Use Art!

Publishers spend good money on quality art and maps. Find some good visuals for your game, print them out, and keep them in a handy folder. Plunder old game magazines for cool art. Slice them out, slip them in plastic page protectors, and whip ‘em out at encounter time! I like to have a cool visual for as many scenes and monsters as possible. It also gives players something to look at while you read descriptive text or while you’re working with one particular player.

Uh Oh! Player Prep Fail!

There’s always someone who’s not prepared, who made a last-minute game change, or who lost their stuff en route to the con. Be the hero of the day and keep extra pencils, erasers, and dice available for your players. Also, always have plenty of pregenerated characters printed out and ready to use, even if players are supposed to bring their own. If someone had a complete disaster and came totally unprepared, how would you be able to help them? Think of what you’d need in a situation like that, and the list that comes to mind can be the one you create to help in epic prep fail situations.

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Enter the Dragon’s Lair: An Encounter Contest

Dragon LairIn honor of one of the deadliest of beasties in fantasy roleplaying games, which we like to call dragons, we wanted to give you all a chance to join in on the draconic fun!

Using rules for the Pathfinder RPG or 13th Age RPG, design a Midgard encounter with a dragon of any kind in its lair and send it to us for judging. The maximum length for entries is 1,500 words, and entries must be submitted on or before July 11, 2014, to be eligible. You’ll find the full details in the rules below.

A panel of judges will pick out five finalists to post on the Kobold Press website. Then we’ll ask the public to vote on the entry they think should win the grand prize!

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Lost Magic: Healer’s Sacrifice

La Miseria by Cristóbal Rojas One of the entries in our Lost Magic contest provides you with an interesting way to heal others. Just be mindful: Casters of this spell need to be very careful about their own health when they do this or suffer a dire fate.

Healer’s Sacrifice

School necromancy; Level cleric/oracle 3, druid 3, witch 3

Casting Time 1 full-round action

Components V, S

Range touch

Target other creature touched

Duration instantaneous

Saving Throw Will negates (harmless); Spell Resistance yes (harmless)

By ritually tracing the wounds on your target’s body and your own, you accept upon yourself a portion of her injuries and afflictions. Her wounds begin to close and fade, while matching ones erupt on your own body. She is healed of half her current hit point damage and half the damage to each of her ability scores. Additionally, half her temporary negative levels are dispelled. You suffer the damage and negative levels that you removed from her. Reduce hit point damage you suffer this way by your caster level. Reduce the number of negative levels and each kind of ability damage you suffer this way by 1 for every five caster levels you have (to a maximum reduction of 3).

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Collection of Curiosities: The Dinghy

"Jiro the Kobold" by Pat LoboykoSometimes the adventurers need a quick getaway from uncertain situations. Sometimes that getaway involves a dinghy, canoe, or other small vessel that can cross water. You can use any of these details as starting points to flesh out some other interesting things if the player characters choose to look around a bit more. If you want to roll randomly for one, use the handy number provided with each entry to figure out your result on a d12. You can also pick the one that works for the area in which your characters currently linger.

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