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Kobold Guide to Game Design Wallpapers

It’s December, and everyone’s gaming! So here’s a rolling set of wallpapers for your computer, your smartphone, or whatever electronic device you’ve got. This month, we’ve got a piece from Kobold Guide to Game Design, 2nd Edition. Let’s brighten the season, adventurers! ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Please, click on the image you want to download to expand it into a downloadable...

Cult Activity: The Toys of Hariq al-Naar

The name Hariq al-Naar is likely a pseudonym. Many sorcerers have claimed to be the famous trickster and fire aficionado, but none could quite manage to match all of the pyromancer’s accomplishments. Whomever al-Naar truly is or was, their name lives on amongst the people of the Southlands through the myriad inventions and magical devices that bear the creator’s mark. Often clever, sometimes genius, and universally hated by those they are...

Welcome to Midgard: Cursed Lines and Arcane Weather

The magical turmoil and strain has warped the terrain into supernatural badlands. Travelers report entire patches of dunes where all magic falls dead one day and is augmented the next. The absence of ley lines makes spellcasters nervous, and some spells perform at maximum capacity or sputter out for no discernible reason. Teleportation, shadow roads, and other magical forms of transportation are extremely risky, since without guiding ley lines,...

The Amber Bazaar: Double-Edged Magic

Traveler! Come close. You like magic, yes? Everyone loves magic. You’ll find great deals here. But fair warning, magic often takes as much as it gives. And these magic items bite back. Take heed. Arrow of Ancestral Annihilation Weapon (arrow), legendary (requires attunement) Fletched with bloodhawk feathers and charred black by demonic fires, this arrow of slaying is attuned to kill one specific person. The claimant of the arrow also gains the...

A Midgard Harvest Festival

The nights are longer in Midgard now that the harvest season is upon us. As they begin to swap out their fair-weather garments for the warmer cloaks indicative of the changing weather, the different regions of Midgard prepare to honor the bounty during the Harvest Festival. Given the geographic confines of the various locations, the expectations for how to celebrate are not unilateral. Most of Midgard is not actively cultivating a harvest by...

Inbar’s Guide to the Northlands: Arrival in Stannasgard

Dearest Mother and Father, The journey has been long, but my feet have now touched ground in the Northlands. We saw what remained of a ship, abandoned in the water. A crewmember explained it had likely been set upon by pirates. It had sustained some damage, and the captain gave it a wide berth. Once, the barrelman said he saw something in the distance and claimed it to be a kraken, but we never saw it up close. The Journey The port city of...

Warlock’s Apprentice: Cogs and Gears

Patients with the strange metal-transforming disease I have spoken of in the past have been appearing at the hospital in greater frequency. I have been able to confirm that the strange rust covering the gearforged patient I went to see is indeed the same disease that infected my previous flesh and blood patients. How a mechanical body could so be infected by disease is still beyond me, but that is not the most troubling news. The disease rust...

Unlocking the Warlock: A Look at the Warlock Grimoire

If there is something that I think sets the world of Midgard apart from other campaign settings, it’s not the depth of the world building, deep though it is. After all, there have been quite a few very complex roleplaying game worlds in the past. (Glorantha, I’m looking at you.) What makes Midgard unique to me is how immanently playable its worldbuilding is. We’ve heard it said before how there are “powder kegs baked into the setting.” What...

The 4th Pillar: Rethinking Encounter Design

The most interesting stories, the ones we share the most over the years and that stick with us longer than any others, are those that defy the odds. That inherent unfairness is what can make for the most satisfying, beautiful, and rewarding experiences possible. If the stories of David and Goliath or Frodo Baggins and the Fellowship were “balanced,” they wouldn’t have nearly the same impact that they do. When it comes to...

Out of the Frying Pan: The Bones of Aurgelmir

This is an unkind land, a cold, colossal place of treacherous glaciers, cloud-piercing mountain ranges, and scalding geysers. A domain of ice and stone and fire—and giants. The “Bones of Aurgelmir” they call it, and it’s been their home since time immemorial. To most on Midgard, it’s Jotunheim, where it’s said that even gods tread lightly and to breathe its air is to taste magic leftover from the forging of the world. Encounter 1: The Midway...

From the Archives: Islands at the Edge of the World

The first adventure I ever bought from Kobold Press was Wolfgang Baur’s brilliant To the Edge of the World. Published in 2012 for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, it’s an adventure for 2nd- and 3rd-level PCs, motivated by the Head Kobold’s desire to provide low-level characters with “epic-level fun.” To the Edge of the World is intended to be a break from the narratives that often see beginning adventurers relegated to fighting giant rats,...

Expanding Codex: Void Giant

The Expanding Codex series fleshes out monsters from the Creature Codex, giving GMs ways to modify the existing monsters to surprise well-prepared players or to introduce monsters to a campaign. Alternate Traits and Actions The following changes allow GMs to alter a void giant without modifying its challenge rating. Deep Void Casting (Recharge 4–6). As a bonus action, the void giant can infuse a spell with powerful void magic. One creature that...

Mastering the Mechanics: Roll for Initiative

Initiative is a mechanic that you can customize as much as you want, even more so than with other parts of the 5th Edition ruleset. But if you want to learn how initiative is designed to work, whether for organized play or streaming, to have an authoritative rule for your own home game, or to understand the nuances of game design, this article is for you. Let’s examine the “rules as written” regarding initiative: “Initiative determines the...

Kobolds at PAX Unplugged

Are you going to PAX Unplugged? Do you want to meet the cast of Kobold Press’s “The Last Heir” actual play D&D5E show? Because those two can be one and the same! The GM and cast of “The Last Heir” will be at the Kobold Press booth (#4039) at 5 pm on Saturday (Dec 7). Guests include Dan Dillon, Jim David, TornPixie, Jesse Neon, Stonefly Ky, Gnome, and Vee Mus’e. In addition, Kobold Press will be running...

Tome of Beasts: Rusalka

A barefoot woman with long hair and almost transparent skin sits upon a willow branch. Her hair and clothing are wet, as if she has just returned from a swim. Her smile seems friendly enough. When a woman drowns, her dripping body may rise again as a rusalka. Some claim the drowning must be a suicide. Others say that the water itself must be tainted with murder or some great evil spirit. Near Water. Rusalkas dwell in the water where they died,...

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