Articles By Author - Ben McFarland

Gen Con: One More for the Books

Gen Con 2019 is done, and I’m on the long road back to upstate NY. This was my fifth year of seriously coordinating convention games for Kobold Press. We’ve had wonderful volunteers in years past, and this year was no different. We hosted 50 tables, offering a dozen scenarios in three different systems. We had nearly every table full. It was one of our largest if not our largest year yet. We had two new adventures—one from veteran...

Warlock’s Apprentice: Debris of the Great Mage Wars

The departure of the elves and the resulting conflict shaped Central Midgard in fundamental ways. At its core, the Great Mage Wars rise out of the hubris of the Fulgurate Society and leave behind a monument to humanity’s capability for destructive spite. Legacy of the Fulgurate Society It began as a joke, a thumbing of their collective noses at the Elvish Empire of Valeran, the snide comments about humans being “all thunder and no lightning,”...

The Dwarves of Dwergvald

In the Southlands, the Dwarves of Dwergvald differ from the traditional dwarven ideal. Less martial, these dwarves focus on craftsmanship and community. This isn’t to say they don’t have warriors or martial elements—far from it! But the God-Kings of Nuria-Natal strongly patronized their guilds, and in doing so, they created relationships between the greatest sculptors and stonecarving artisans of the dwarven culture and the River...

Review—The Gathering: Reuniting Pioneering Artists of Magic: The Gathering

I wasn’t expecting my copy of The Gathering: Reuniting Pioneering Artists of Magic: The Gathering for at least a couple of weeks. The Kickstarter notifications had recently gone out, and with the polar cold tightly gripping the Northeast, I presumed I’d have to wait a bit before I’d be allowed to thumb through it. Imagine my surprise when a copy arrived on my porch, along with a request from the incomparable Jeff Menges asking...

Cranberry Ooze

The result of alchemical experimentation by insane arcanists with a penchant for oozes and jellied fruits, the cranberry ooze has a deep maroon color, with bits of fruit peel, pit stones, and the yet-undissolved parts of unfortunate victims still suspended within its form. When I first saw one such monstrosity, it crept along the floor toward me, and I heard a distinct sucking noise. Then, without warning, a second identical ooze fell from the...

Coolest Virtual Gen Con Project Ever

As part of the “Coolest Virtual Gen Con Project Ever,” Kobold freelancer Ben McFarland recorded the opening encounter of Grandmother’s Fire, an adventure out of the anthology, Tales of the Old Margreve. While his voice is a little rough—who are we kidding, he could do stand-in work for the Cryptkeeper—it seems that the table had a great time, facing down ghoulish knights, ghostly coursers, and terrible lich hounds. And...

Deep Magic: No More Handwaving

For me, magic was all about the handwaving. Unsurprisingly, I spent a lot of time as the DM. Plenty of stories involved an evil priest or foul wizard, or even the clever ogre mage preparing some terrible ritual spell which would unleash a demon or open a portal into the outer planes. My villains were never big on sustainable dark empires, what can I say? I tinkered with spellpoints, gobbled up articles in Dragon magazine on magical colleges or...

Kobold Press Gen Con Events

We’re inside the 100-day mark! Sure, there are still many hours until registration opens for the Best Four Days in Gaming, but you’re going to want to know what grab in that mad scramble when the electronic gates lift on May 19th. We’re here for you…well, we’re here to show you where to find Midgard in Indianapolis. A kobold’s gotta have limits. ;) These are the events Kobold Press has scheduled and live for...

Midgard at Gen Con 2013!

Are you going to Gen Con 2013? Want to run a session of Midgard and show folks just how much awesome the kobolds can pack into 4 hours? Please email Ben McFarland (brickk@gmail.com) if you’re interested in running Midgard adventures at the convention. (Today would be best, but soon will work, too!) Hope to see you in Indianapolis from August 15-18th! They are the holy days of our people, and the planning is underway. We will quaff...

From the Deep Dark Woods of Gen Con…

Some days, it just feels like the stars have aligned and everything is falling into place. That was the Friday of Gen Con 2012—and I don’t mean the fact that the panels went well, or that a seat opened up at the Ars Magica game, although that contributed. I mean that I sat down to run “Grandmother’s Fire” from Tales of the Old Margreve and had it rocking on all cylinders, exactly as it was supposed to be. To be fair, I...

Everyone Loves Tentacles: Arts and Crafts Edition

As recently stated in Dork Tower, Cthulhu is the bacon of gaming. And you can’t have Cthulhu without tentacles. To help you create interactive tentacle minis of your own, I will show you how you can make them for mere pennies. What you will need: Scissors Tape Pipe cleaners ($2.19 / 100 @ Office Depot, see Michaels or another craft store) Large “spacer” washer ($0.38 apiece at the hardware store, but a quarter can substitute...

Play It Like You Stole It!

Thank you. Five years ago, I was writing Living Greyhawk adventures as a volunteer for the RPGA. We were trying new ideas and having fun, but I wanted to do more. I joined Empire of the Ghouls as a senior patron and started learning with the community at Open Design. I playtested, I punched up stat blocks, and when I saw a chance to write an adventure, I asked Wolfgang, “Put me in, coach, I won’t disappoint you.” That was...

Krampus Christmas Carnival: Enter the Krampus! (Part 1 of 3)

The dark cohort of old St. Nick, the Krampus is the sinister creature tasked with punishing the little boys and girls who fail to listen to their parents throughout the year. Presented here for your holiday entertainment, we’re providing you with a collection of Krampuses, a bundle of badness who are intent on leaving behind lumps of coal and teaching a few fear-inspired lessons for a trio of game systems! So, tell your players to be good, lest...

Kankodraa, Scion of Dagon

(Illustration by Jeff McFarland) Fetid, gore-choked breath—you smell the abomination before seeing her. Taller than two men, this massive creature stares down from a crazed woman’s face of cerulean skin, the color of the deepest seas, wreathed in a wet tangle of blue-green, kelp-like hair. Her eyes are obsidian, her mouth a twisted, oversized gash of 2-inch ragged teeth. The distended jaw does not mask the wicked, open grin of brutal hunger or...

Open Design Meet and Greet

I arrived in Indy, bright eyed and excited for the unofficial first day of Gen Con. I zipped to Will Call, grabbed my badge, and checked out the awesome costumed folk already wandering the halls. Tickets in hand, I escaped into the air conditioning for a bit before the Meet and Greet. Sure, there are few scheduled events, but Wednesday is the day for finding old and new friends, plus for grabbing a cold drink and enjoying a good story while you...

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