Howling Tower

Howling Tower: Cardtography and Multi-Level Dungeons

Multi-Level Dungeons We’ve covered the basics of how to lay out the cards, how to connect the cards, and how to decide what each card represents in a simple dungeon. In this installment, we look at ways to create a more involved, multi-level complex. If we’re talking about a dungeon (and for the time being, …

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Howling Tower: Cardtography, a Simple Dungeon

A Simple Dungeon The purpose of this chapter is to demonstrate why playing cards are such a potent choice for generating our environment. We didn’t choose cards as our randomizers because they’re somewhat room-shaped. That’s a happy coincidence. The real reason is because they have information embedded on them, and we can use that information …

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Howling Tower: Cardtography

Cardtography: The Basics Since the introduction of computer RPGs, randomly generated dungeons are everywhere. Software developers prefer to call them procedurally generated rather than random because they aren’t truly random; they’re created according to a rigid procedure. Developing a procedure that spits out satisfying dungeons is a popular problem among programmers, and the web is …

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Howling Tower: Monster Stats, Part 5

This installment is about deconstructing dragons. The Monster Manual contains 20 chromatic dragons, 20 metallic dragons, 1 shadow dragon, and 1 undead dragon. The Tome of Monsters and the Southlands Bestiary introduce several more. With all those stat blocks spread over three books, you’d expect to find plenty of variety—and you’d be right. But even …

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Howling Tower: Monster Stats, Part 4

This installment, you get a break from graphs and formulas—though not entirely. In honor of Thanksgiving, I had to include some pie charts. Instead of plotting trends, however, this time we count how often certain concepts occur throughout the Monster Manual, to help you get a handle on whether they’re common, uncommon, or rare. Before …

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Howling Tower: Expect Things to Go Wrong

(This is the fifth installment in a series of articles for players hoping to get the best possible experience from their time around the RPG table.) “Adventures, in retrospect, are pieces of extremely bad luck that missed a fatal ending.” ―Lawrence Griswold, Tombs, Travel and Trouble It’s a shame that Lawrence Griswold isn’t better known …

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Howling Tower: Lure of the Unknown

“The unknown” has a hypnotic lure. If you’re anything like me, then you started exploring the dark recesses of the closet the moment you were old enough to switch on a flashlight. After the closet came the basement, the attic, the garage, neighbors’ yards, the woods down the hill, and eventually the storm drains that …

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Howling Tower: A Terrible Place to Visit

How often have you heard the phrase, “It’s a great place to visit but I’d hate to live there?” When designing a fictional world, you’re actually aiming for the opposite reaction: “It’s a terrible place to visit, but I’d love to live there.” Your world is a terrible place to visit because it’s falling apart …

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