Articles By Author - Kiel Chenier

Don’t Look Now: Handling Fear & Suspense in Fifth Edition, Part 4

Part 4: Deep Dark Places After reading the previous three articles, you now know how to describe things to elicit fear, you have learned how to make a monster frightening, and your players have a group of characters with their own unique fears. Now all you need a spine-tingling place for them to explore and adventure in. This is the easiest aspect of designing and running a horror-themed adventure or campaign. The fantasy middle-ages are filled...

Don’t Look Now: Handling Fear and Suspense in Fifth Edition, Part 3

Part 3: The Monster After You Monsters are an important staple of horror-themed games. They are the threat that keeps player characters wary about entering the next room, or nervous about peering around the next corner. Unfortunately, scary monsters don’t frighten characters in fantasy tabletop games quite the same way they do characters in a horror movie. Why? Because experienced players already know their tricks. Werewolves, vampires, oozes,...

Don’t Look Now: Handling Fear and Suspense in Fifth Edition, Part 2

Part 2: Appealing to the Senses One of the hallmarks of a spooky or suspenseful RPG adventure is how the environment is described. Every part of the world surrounding the player characters should unnerve, unsettle, and frighten. One important trick gamemasters use to do this is to appeal to all five of their players’ senses, paying close attention to foreshadow some events with sights, smells, and sounds, while providing misdirection with...

Don’t Look Now: Handling Fear and Suspense in Fifth Edition

Part 1: The Birth of Something Creepy When running a horror/suspense-themed game, you can have better results when player characters have something about them that makes them vulnerable: an element to their character that triggers a fearful reaction. It can be something as simple as a common phobia (spiders, heights, and so on) or it can be a deeply rooted fear that permeates their every action (scars, terrible memories, nightmares). Flaws,...

Rare Magic: The Magician, a Fifth Edition Wizard

Magicians are performers and charlatans of the highest caliber, fooling even the most seasoned warlock or witch into believing they perform real magic. In actuality, their powers are far more mundane, but no less clever. They rely on sleight of hand, optical illusions, and the power to mystify through grandiose speeches and gestures. Only they themselves, and those closest to them, know the truth. The Cost of a Great Illusion Magicians require...

Rare Magic: The Wildling, a Fifth Edition Druid

Wildlings are those who have made the wilderness their home, whether by choice or by circumstance. Rather than draw upon magic, the wildlings’ power comes from their ability to blend into the wild, to mimic the form of its many creatures, and to use the wilderness to their tactical advantage. Cunning of Nature Wildlings revere nature, using it as their home and their means of defense. They study animals for long periods of time, learning how to...

Rare Magic: The Friar, a Fifth Edition Variant Cleric

Friars are the spiritual leaders of their community, protecting the bodies and souls of their people from the temptation and evil that plagues the hearts of humanity. Friars are ordinary men and women who are made powerful by their faith in their deity, and the faith their followers have in them. Healers and Inspirers The power of a person’s faith can be just as strong as any magic. It can renew strength, give them the confidence to fight, and...

Rare Magic: Variant Fifth Edition Campaigns

Magic is a wondrous, awe-inspiring, and sometimes scary force in roleplaying games. Although fifth edition handles it well mechanically, it can also make magic seem kind of mundane. Cantrips make magic a common occurrence, and now that every class has a spell-focused player option, it’s more common. So, you might be left feeling that because everyone is special, no one is special. Because magic is the power to bend and shape the universe to...

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