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Crumbling UpKeep: Campfire XP

Player’s have this long and elaborate backstory. They have 20 some years of tragedy written out, just waiting for that moment their character can be vulnerable and explain what dire straights have forced them into this life of adventuring. Normal well adjusted people don’t want to go sleep on the ground in the cold woods to save the world from whatever abominable threat has reared it’s head this time. Hell, I get cranky if I just skip breakfast.

But what if that moment of vulnerability never comes? What if the heroes are so busy running around killing the baddies and solving the mysteries that they just don’t get that opportunity? Sometimes I want to know about a character’s first love, what their favorite smell is, what keeps them awake at night, and their best drinking stories. The players generally want to share that with you if you just give them an opportunity.

Enter Campfire XP.

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Crumbling UpKeep: Elements of Horror

Once upon a time, I was a young DM playing Dungeons and Dragons 2nd Edition. Yes, that does date me a bit. Long before Curse of Strahd was a thing, there was the Ravenloft box set, which contained all the world building and additional rules you need to play in the demiplane of dread. Vampires, ghouls, zombies, and mists that would wrap you up and take you away. It had all thing things it needed to be scary.

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A Traveler's Guide 0

A Traveler’s Guide to Samsarras: Samsarras.

Before all things, there was the void, the realm of Sribinet. It would become the demon realm and birth the first of its kind. Braxult, Queen of Death and Peace, would create the world below, the Isles of Samsarras. They would torture the races of their making and bask in their screams. The songs of agony floated into the heavens. Continue reading “A Traveler’s Guide to Samsarras: Samsarras.”

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Crumbling UpKeep: Giving Your Cities Character

Heroes can spend a lot of time out in the wilderness. There is a lot of action outside of town, what with monsters ravaging the countryside, forgotten dungeons, and that pesky environment to contend with. Eventually, the characters are going to come to a settlement, however. Maybe they just want to grab supplies or have a long rest without worrying about pesky Anhkegs for once. Perhaps the city is actually a focus, and you’re planning to run an urban campaign. Whatever the reason, the forests and plains are giving way to wood smoke and buildings. How do you make this community stand out? Continue reading “Crumbling UpKeep: Giving Your Cities Character”

Samsarras 0

A Traveler’s Guide to Samsarras: The Dark Garden of Mak

The citizens of Mak are subjected to beauty all their lives; It does not stop with death, however. Those that die in the city are interred in The Dark Garden, a series of fields and catacombs that are as lovely as they are macabre. The monuments to the dead rival the structures built for the living. The death of a prominent citizen is the last chance for them to contribute to their artistic legacy. Continue reading “A Traveler’s Guide to Samsarras: The Dark Garden of Mak”

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Crumbling UpKeep: Campaign Prep in Bullet Points

When I’m running a streaming game or recording an episode of our podcast, it’s not enough that I have plans for whats going to happen in the game; I also need to know when it’s going to happen. I prefer to have each episode reach some sort of completion. If there is a cliffhanger, I want that to be intentional.

So how do I keep a game going where I need it to go? I think in threes.

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Samsarras 0

A Traveler’s Guide to Samsarras: The Baths of Ederanin at Mak

Huge marble columns rise into the air, holding aloft a roof adorned with a mosaic of Myrlita. The bright tiles catch the light of torches through the steam filled air. Joyous voices discuss business and pleasure as the populace unwinds after the toils of the day. The gentle current of the baths carries away the dust and grime of work, leaving the people of Mak clean in both body and soul.

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Samsarras 0

A Traveler’s Guide to Samsarras: The Captivating Horde of Mak

The people of Mak have termed the grand palace “The Captivating Horde,” following the naming conventions of the Dragon God Myrlita herself. It’s ornate marble halls are where she makes her home in the city, with the throne room being made to house her in her illustrious dragon form. When in the rest of the palace, however, Myrlita walks though it in her graceful elven guise. Continue reading “A Traveler’s Guide to Samsarras: The Captivating Horde of Mak”

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Crumbling UpKeep: Bringing Madness to DnD

Most people play dungeons and Dragons to be heroic. They want to save the day while staring gruesome monstrosities and certain death in the face over and over again. Their characters just grit their teeth, look demons in the eye, and spit. Unlike real life where I get startled when there is a knock at the door, nothing scares a D&D character.

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Samsarras 2

A Traveler’s Guide to Samsarras: The 13 Favored Families of Mak

Members from the 13 Favored families of Mak form the Beautiful Assembly, the policy makers of the city of pleasure. They have been hand picked by the Dragon God Myrlita as rewards for their contributions to the city. They set laws and handle the administrative actions that the god herself does not wish to. It is the most prestigious position in the city.

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Crumbling UpKeep: Traps. Who does this to their home?

Traps are a classic part of Dungeons and Dragons, so much so that entire books have been made about them. They grown to be ever more complicated through the years, always adding more pulleys and strange fail safes in an effort to confuse and trick the players. Until recent editions, they were one of the big reasons you always had a thief in the party, as no one else had a chance to notice them.

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Samsarras 2

A Traveler’s Guide to Samsarras: The Tiered Garden of Mak

The inside of the north wall of Mak is a sight people travel from far across the continent to behold. Those approaching the city from the ocean see the wall to the south with slight bits of greenery peering over top. There is nothing to tip them off to the splendor that lies inside. Once they enter the city, they see it for what it truly is.

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