Articles By Author - Brian Suskind

Midgard Expanded: The Travels of Lucano Volpe, or the Province of Hariz and the City of Tabur

Part Four, On Traveling Eastward Let us pause a moment and speak on the decision to leave for the East via the city of Tabur. There are some who would advise a traveler to depart instead from the fortress city of Sarkland in the Gizmiri province. This advice is the height of folly. Though it is true that the Campaign Trail does stretch to the East from Sarkland, that road wanders through endless fields of the empire’s past battles with...

Midgard Expanded: The Travels of Lucano Volpe, or Betik and the Book

Part Three, On Betik, Province of the Book A prominent province indeed, Betik is well known as one of the greatest provinces of the entire Mharoti Empire. The road from Qiresh to Betik runs some 550 miles through high passes of the Dragoncoil. Yet this is not a hard journey as well-appointed hostels and waystations dot the trade road. Once clear of the peaks, the land opens to pleasant valleys, scattered with lakes and rivers. The slopes are so...

Midgard Expanded: The Travels of Lucano Volpe, or On the Road to Mharoti

Part Two, Qiresh and the Roads of the Mharoti Empire On the coast of the Ruby Sea is the town of Qiresh, which is a bustling centre of trade. You may depend on it that spices and cloths and all manner of valuable things from the interior are carried to this town. Qiresh possesses a sheltered harbor flanked by high cliff walls, and it is upon these cliffs that the town itself resides. It boasts the great Ringing Temple, the second-greatest...

Midgard Expanded: The Travels of Lucano Volpe, or So It Begins

Introduction, In Which We Meet Our Narrator and Learn Of His Reasons YE emperors, kings, dukes, marquises, earls, and knights, and all other people desirous of knowing the diversities of the races of Midgard, as well as the diversities of kingdoms, provinces, and regions of all parts of the East, read through this account, and I will relate the greatest and most marvelous characteristics of the peoples especially of Beldestan, Khandiria,...

The Imajaghan: Blue Turban Paladins of the Desert

In the Southlands Kickstarter, backers just unlocked some martial traditions for the blue turban warriors. To give you a sense of what’s in store for the blue turban paladins, Brian Suskind provides you with another quick peek! Read on! Wearing indigo-colored cheche, a garment that is both veil and turban, and flowing white robes, the Tamasheq of the Crescent and Sarklan Deserts are a simple tribal people journeying endlessly from oasis...

Oddities and Items of the Abandoned Lands

In the center of the Southlands is the great Kusini Plains: a serengeti-like savannah home to countless numbers of wildlife, megafauna, and towering dinosaurs. Many kingdoms and civilizations have risen and fell in this massive area, leaving only remnants and ruins behind. With the detritus of so many destroyed and once overlapping cultures littering the landscape, characters are sure to run across strange oddities and mysterious bits of junk....

The Aeromancers of Aerdvall, Masters of Air Magics

Join us for another look at the colorful and evocative gaming options provided by the Southlands project, which is currently being Kickstarted. On the opposite side of the crescent desert from Nuria-Natal lies the wondrous sky-city of Aerdvall. Roughly 2,100 years ago, refugees from far Sikkim raised their city to hover high above the foreboding Black Lotus Mesa. Today, seven bridge-connected districts orbit the Celestial Waterfall, which is a...

From Screenplay to RPG: Noncombat Conflict

Without looking too hard, you can find tons of adventures teeming with interesting encounters all of which have built-in conflict. They have monsters to fight, devious traps to disarm, and cunning puzzles to solve. But what about the other encounters in the campaign world? What about the traveler the heroes met on the road, the gate guard or the shopkeeper? All the stuff that happened before and after the fighting—those encounters need conflict...

From Screenplay to RPG: Interweaving Plotlines with a Three-Act Structure (Part Two)

Last time we looked at how to construct three-act subplots, and I used three example subplots from my own campaign. Remember, you are not limited to any number of plotlines. It’s just a question of how many balls you can keep track of. Layering the Subplots in a Three-Act Structure Using the examples from my campaign, here’s how I would layer the three subplots together in an overall three-act structure. Act One Learning about the Revenant...

From Screenplay to RPG: Interweaving Plotlines with a Three-Act Structure (Part One)

Warning! Possible Railroading Ahead! Okay, now that the disclaimer is out of the way, we can delve into the realm of plotlines. Interweaving plotlines within a campaign can be amazing, but it can also lead to your players feeling like you are forcing them down certain paths. The trick is to build layered subplots without limiting choices. The Three-Act Structure Typically, screenwriters build their scripts out of three “acts.” Each act has a...

From Screenplay to RPG: Character Arcs

When I’m writing a screenplay, one of the first things I focus on is how my protagonist is going to change over the course of the story. This is the “character arc.” In Star Wars, for example, Lando begins as a self-centered, selfish rogue, but by the third movie he is volunteering to lead a desperate attack on the second Death Star. To do this in a roleplaying game, establish what your character is like right now. Even a vague idea, such as...

From Screenplay to RPG: Character Backgrounds (For the GMs)

Welcome to the second part of the article that covers character backgrounds for GMs! You can read the first part here. This time, Brian discusses weaving together the backgrounds and more, so take a look. Interweaving the Backgrounds of the Party After you have carefully examined each character’s background, you can then interweave the elements—naturally drawing some characters together or spawning organic conflict between others. When two or...

From Screenplay to RPG: Character Backgrounds (For the GMs)

When you get your players to develop detailed histories, they will see them as ways to explore their own characters, but you, as the GM, know what they really are: game generating fodder. When I’m writing a screenplay, I interweave my plot with the backgrounds of my characters. Often I find ways for the plot to intrude on the character’s lives in order to create emotional conflict. It is why, in action movies, the bad guys break into the hero’s...

From Screenplay to RPG: Character Backgrounds (Part 1—For the Players)

Whether it is a few questions on an index card or a twenty-five page questionnaire, character backgrounds serve two important purposes in RPGs: For the characters they provide motivations and personality, and for GMs they provide ammunition for plot hooks, nonplayer characters, and campaign ideas. Why does Indiana Jones hunt for treasures? Why does Emperor Palpatine hunger for control and power? It’s not just because one is an archaeologist and...

Seafaring Creature: Carnivorous Ship

Looking for some seaworthy creatures to use in your game? Well, the carnivorous ship just might fill that need for you. You can also take a look at Journeys to the West for more useful seafaring material for your campaign. Also called a ship mimic, the carnivorous ship sprang out of the turmoil of an ancient arcane war. Its creators designed it to be used against a naval foe, and now it runs amok and plagues the seas worldwide. The carnivorous...

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