Posts by Brian Suskind

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Oddities in the Southland

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 …

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Aeromancers

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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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Monster Monday: Terlynne Avrronix—Chaos Bringer, the Piebald Jester, the Abomination

An accursed figure rarely mentioned within the borders of the Sultanate and virtually unknown outside of it, Terlynne Avrronix (CN Large pandemonium dragon) wanders the nations bordering the Empire and brings the somewhat questionable freedom of pure chaos to those who are (she believes) trodden down by structure, order, and law. In her natural form, …

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Slaying Dolls

Your breath catches as they emerge from the shadows, each a gore-splattered marionette with black hollows where their eyes should be. Only the jagged, sharpened teeth protruding from their cold porcelain smiles mar their faces. They move like nightmares, limbs held falsely and jerking from motion to motion. Tiny fingers end in wicked steel blades, …

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