Articles By Author - Wolfgang Baur

Midgard Notebook: Writing, Game Design, and the Oral Tradition

Writing, Game Design, and the Oral Tradition I’ve been thinking a lot about exactly how we tell our stories. Mostly, this is at my youngest daughter’s request or instigation, though (given that she is 5 years old) she probably did not intend to induce such writerly pondering. She just wanted me to change the way I tell stories. I’ve gotten pretty good at some parts of that, so maybe “just change it” is a bigger deal than I expected. Change is...

Midgard Notebook: March of History

March of History There’s a sense in some fantasy campaign settings of being entirely encased in amber, and with good reason: players want the world to remain familiar and useful for play. Removing dragons from Dragonlance or advancing a timeline 100 years in a world of your own invention without consulting your game group… well, you would be taking rather a big chance. Change can be a dirty world in the relatively serene halls of fantasy...

Midgard Notebook: Villains and Corruption

Villains and Corruption One of the great elements of Midgard since the earliest days has been its villains and cults. These draw their power partly from their magic and secrets but also from the flaws of each heroic race. In particular, cults and villains thrive because humans are especially susceptible to corruption, such as by devils, ancient shadows, and simple greed, fear, and wrath. That theme continues in the revised Midgard Campaign...

Midgard Notebook: New and Old Schools of Midgardian Magic

Midgardian Magic One of the principles behind the revised Midgard Campaign Setting is the “Dark Roads & Deep Magic” ethos. Not surprisingly, this means additions to player and game master options alike with the incorporation of new schools of magic from the Deep Magic series. The existing school of heavily Midgardian magic are well known: ley lines, clockwork magic, and the illumination school all have extensive support in both 5th Edition...

Midgard Notebook: Thoughts on the Midgard Races

The Midgard Races The revised edition of the Midgard Campaign Setting is coming along nicely, and it’s time to talk about what’s new and what’s changed. This article is part of an occasional series on the process of refining and sharpening the setting to address its development since its first hardcover compilation. One of the earliest decisions made in the rewrites was to revisit the core race mix. The 2012 edition of the Midgard...

B is for Beasts

When I was a wee lad growing up in a rather Germanic household,the Advent calendar was one of the joys of each year. A picture or a chocolate lay behind each of its 25 little cardboard cutouts, and—because you only opened one per day—the last window in the Advent calendar was always for Christmas. It was a brutal way to learn patience; but hey, at least there was SOMETHING every day until the Christmas carnage arrived. Immediate Gratification...

Judge’s Commentary: Monarch of the Monsters 5—Low CR Design

One of the joys of a monster design contest for me is always seeing monsters at the low end of the CR spectrum. It is much easier to design a monster at a medium-to-high power level, because you have more options: the creature can have more powers, more magical fallbacks, and elements that only a medium-or-high level-party can handle. So, I want to shine a bit of the judge’s spotlight on two low-Challenge Rating creatures from the recent...

Special Editions and Forum Discussions: Southlands

Like many Kobold Press projects, the Southlands Kickstarter offers great gaming and great adventure at a good price. But if you’re looking to throw a few extra platinum pieces our way, we will try to make it worth your while. Two of the higher-pledge rewards are the Special Editions and the private forums for design shop talk. Here’s what those are about, for book geeks and for game design geeks in particular. Southlands Special Editions For...

Gnolls! Raiders and Slavers

Come learn more from Wolfgang about the Southlands and its Kickstarter in today’s blog installment about gnolls. One of the best elements of the Southlands, from my point of view, is that it features a hefty dose of hyena-like gnolls and their half-demonic, half-trickster-ish ways. Gnolls and I have been friends since the days of AD&D, when the Monster Manual made it clear that gnolls served a demon lord named Yeenoghu who was somehow...

Let There Be Monsters!

It’s a not-so-secret fact that I’m a total monsterholic. The Monster Manual was the first hardcover book I bought for AD&D, the Bestiaries from Paizo are totally my gaming addiction, and I am always excited to get new and original monsters in my hands, whether it is from a design contest, a book of mythology, or a brainstorming session with fellow gamers. If it’s got claws and fur, I’m for it. So imagine how excited I am by the...

Why I Love the Southlands

For those who love high adventure in mysterious places…lost mines and desert tombs…mighty viziers and powerful djinn…jungle valleys where white apes and dinosaurs guard fabulous treasure…. the Southlands Kickstarter is here. Allow me to confess my deep and abiding love for all things wild and free, dangerous and ancient, roguish, magical, and lost in a distant time. This can be Russian myths or Norse sagas, but it can also be something closer...

Gen Con 2014: Setup and Exclusives

The kobolds arrived from near and far, and built a nice booth. It includes two convention exclusives, including a new T-shirt option and an entire Goblin Brewery adventure available to the first fifty visitors. We give them until Friday afternoon before they are all gone. When the last of them disappears, we will have a new surprise to share. Speaking of surprises: We also have three friendly sasquatches at our booth. Yes, Kobold Press teamed...

ENnies 2014 Nominations Announced

The annual ENnie Awards have posted their list of nominations plus their Judges’ Spotlight awards — and the kobolds are in the running! I’m honored and delighted to see the Kobold Guide to Magic and the Midgard Bestiary: 13th Age Compatible Edition nominated. It’s always gratifying to have a book nominated that’s designed to bring new professionals into the industry; and the Bestiary is the first 13th Age title...

Tiamat Tuesdays: The New Cult of the Dragon

Let’s get down to the basics: The Cult of the Dragon is one of the longer-running and more interesting villain organizations in the Forgotten Realms, and I was delighted to hear that Wizards of the Coast wanted the first big adventures for the new edition of D&D to feature these bad guys. My first thought was, “Dracoliches. Cool!” Well, my first thought was wrong. The Cult of the Dragon is interesting because its members mean to bring...

Kobold Guide to Magic: On Teleportation Magic

The Kobold Guide to Magic is written by a star-studded cast of designers and authors. In this preview of an essay titled “Why I Hate Teleport Spells,” the chief Kobold himself, Wolfgang Baur, tries to talk you out of using teleportation magic in your games.Pre-order the Kobold Guide to Magic at the Kobold Store! Here’s a rundown of things you lose by allowing teleportation magic in a tabletop game world. The Heroic Journey Sure, it’s a cliché...

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