By - July 18, 2014 - Leave a comment

“There can be no heroes where there is no doubt.” »

Being that our name is, we often get emails about DMing questions.  Here’s some from one of our readers, Seth, who writes:

So I am an aspiring DM who is trying to sort out my approach for an upcoming campaign. I would really like to dig into the meat and bones psychological aspects of adventuring and explore the feeling of a dark epic horror with less fluffy ‘ooo look they’re dark sorcerers’ and more 
‘but why?’ 

Growing up I remember spending a lot of time sitting around the table with an unconscious and possibly dying hero in front of me. As I’ve continued to play I’ve found very often that the threat of character incapacitation and death as a guiding force in player psychology is often completely avoided by many, if not most DMs. 

So my thought is this: if I wanted to set up the party to be part of much larger group taking on a truly formidable foe which they would not truly be able to defeat on their own, how would one split XP and what would you recommend as far as DMing tactics for allowing them to both prove useful to the battle, but also still have an uncertain chance of survival? 

I’m not opposed to killing a couple characters if I have to. I really think that the players should know, like their characters, that there is always truly a time to run away. There can be no heroes where there is no doubt.” 

Hi Seth!  Love that last line.

The first thing I’d say for any DM is that even before the dice start rolling, you talk about your ideas with the players.  If they’re not interested in the concept or you can’t get them to buy-in to the tone you want the campaign to take, then that’ll be a problem for everyone.  I’d start by sharing with them a piece of fiction or a movie clip that captures the vibe you’re hoping for.  Not only is including the players in the process crucial to their being better involved, they undoubtedly will have suggestions to improve things. So don’t bother with a single character until you’ve had a session or two where everyone can talk about what they’d like to see happen for the campaign.  After all, shared an RPG is not just a story but a collaborative story.

Ok, you’re looking for a way to have the party be part of an organization.  One that is opposed to ‘dark sorcerers’ & while trying to stop them, is uncovering their motivations.  They could be a clandestine part of a church or maybe just in the employ of a witchhunter or inquisitor.  Either way, they’re trying to stop a growing evil that is causing corruption.  You can allow their patron to come to their aid if necessary, but if they do need to call upon a benefactor then that assistance costs in terms of XP.

Now, when it comes to the meat/bones of adventuring, my feeling is that you want to make sure you start by conveying the difficulty of that as a profession.  Track rations.  Encumbrance.    Make selling back any treasure an actual in-game activity rather than an auto 50% off tally.  Then get into the real dangers of the job.  The risks that need to be taken before the rewards.  Have any critical hits cause lasting scars even after the cure spells & potions have brought back HP.  Include rules for horror, psychosis, or other mental issues- Unearthed Arcana has guidelines for Tainted people/places & using Sanity (or rather, losing it) in D&D games.  Finally, make death a permanent thing- ala what we mentioned when telling you guys about Diablo 3.  That’ll make even the bravest PC wonder if it’s time to cut bait.

Well other readers, how’d we do answering Seth’s questions?  What other suggestions would you give?  Any questions of your own? Let us know!


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By - July 11, 2014 - 1 Comment

Gargoyle! »

pen2This is another illustration I did for the Behind the Monsters Omnibus from Tricky Owlbear. I was pretty happy with how it turned out and even happier when the publisher told me the illustration reminded him of those old school illustrations from First Edition AD&D. Since I loved those BW drawings and idolized the artists, such a comment was high praise indeed to me!

I started playing AD&D in the mid to late 70’s when I was around 10 or 12 years old. Since I was also an aspiring your artist (my mom often got comments from my teachers like “Marc is a good student, but can you please get him to stop drawing pictures in the margins of his tests and homework?”) I spent a huge amount of time studying the artwork. In fact, I’m sure I spent more time when I was a kid studying the artwork in the original Players Handbook, Dungeon Masters Guide and Monster Manual than I did actually reading the rules!

Anyone remember the cartoon about these guys?  It had almost every member of STtNG in it.  Seriously.

Anyone remember the cartoon about these guys? It had almost every member of STtNG in it. Seriously.

I alone among my fellow 12 year old gaming friends could identify the work of David Sutherland, David A. Trampier, Jeff Dee, Bill Willingham, Erol Otus. I day dreamed about what it must be like to be one of those guys and actually have illustrations in a D&D book or module. Soon, I also discovered and fell in love with the likes of Jeff Easley, Larry Elmore, Clyde Caldwell and Keith Parkinson and learned to distinguish their art styles. 12 year old me absolutely revered these people – they inspired my dream to become an artist, especially those early BW artists I loved so much!

I owe them all a debt of gratitude and a massive “THANK YOU!”

So, when anyone tells me my work reminds me of old school BW D&D art … well, it makes me smile.

A LOT!!!

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Tell me who your favorite D&D artist from the early days is and why. Best post gets the Gargoyle original illustration

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By - July 1, 2014 - 2 Comments

Console Cleric #3: How Diablo III helps D&D »

imgresAh, Diablo.  Where you went through 16 dungeon levels killing monsters before entering Hell itself to fight a Prime Evil.  If you read (thank you), then you most likely play or at least come across video games.  Console Cleric was a column that looks at various video titles to see what digital counterparts can add to tabletop sessions.  A long time ago in a column far, far away our controllers took a tour of the Warhammer 40K-based Space Marine, but this time we see how the demonically besieged world of Sanctuary in Diablo III is an idea mine for D&D games.

Diablo III takes place 20 years after a demonic horde from the Burning Hells poured out to rampage.  An omen of a falling star from the skies awakens all the ancient evil.  Now 4 new Heroes drawn from the classes of Barbarians, Demon Hunters, Monks, Witch Doctors, & Wizards- are called upon to adventure together.  Along the way they’ll learn the plot through talking to various NPCs and reading journals while breaking barrels/crates/urns to find more stuff.  Through co-operative gameplay they must kill a ton of enemies who grow in power, loot bodies, upgrade the magic items in their 14 item slots, then fight a boss.  Repeat.

While that may sound like stereotypical D&D, consider the following aspects about Diablo III that might be ported to your tabletop RPG games:

1) Monsters can have 24 traits (special powers) to modify them In Diablo III the baddies can be Fast or Plagued or Vampiric or Molten.  So you could be fighting normal skeletons one screen only to later fight Frozen Skeletons- where they explode in a blast when killed & if you’re nearby your guy could be temporarily iced solid.  Other Diablo traits that might fit well for adding to D&D creatures include Fire Chains (burning links between the monsters), Vortex (reverse knockback, pulling characters towards the monsters), Avenger (killing one only makes the remaining tougher, which stacks), & Waller (creates temporarily barriers to separate the Heroes or trap them).  Once you establish what the modifiers from a Diablo trait are, you can quickly add these improvements to any monster in your game & instantly make it more deadly, err special.

2) Health Globes & Health Potions are helpful, but instantly helpful  In Diablo III health replenishment doesn’t immediately work, as it takes several seconds for the cure to be felt.  Nor can you just drink a bunch of potions all at once; there is a 30 second ‘cool down’ before you can get the benefit again. Consider having there be similar delays in between spells & potions in D&D as immediate HP regeneration isn’t as realistic as there being some time for the body to heal.  Half a minute between being able to drink another potion is 5 rounds but you could adjust this for shorter or longer as you see fit.  However Diablo potions restore a pre-set amount (60%) which if using similar pre-determined various totals for D&D healing would save some dice rolls.

3) Magic Items Sets make magic work better In Diablo III some of the magic items fit a theme, & when you are able to pair 2 or more of the pieces in a set together, they all get additional powers.  So in the Captain Crimson’s Finery set, if you have the Captain’s Satin Sash (belt slot) + the Captain’s Bowspirit (pants slot) you’ll regenerate health.  But if you can later find the Captain’s Whalers (boot slot) you’ll also get a big resistance bonus to all elements to reflect no doubt the the Captain’s legendary experience traveling in every climate.  Now, rules for magic item sets can already be found in WotC’s Magic Item Compendium, but if you haven’t had sets in your games consider giving some sort of modifier to characters- or NPCs- who have multiple similar magiks, maybe these influence each other.  So if you were carrying a Bag of Holding as well as an Efficient Quiver perhaps reaching into one reaches into the other as well; i.e. the extradimensional spaces become linked.  Or you have 2 items which protect against fire.  Their abjuration ‘fuses’ making you even safer versus flames but gradually you start to become more sensitive to cold, to the point where it damages you more.  Get the idea?

4) A fallen Hardcore hero cannot be revived  In Diablo III, there is an optional setting called Hardcore that you can create a character on.  It basically makes your guy mortal rather than semi-Immortal. Normally in Diablo, aka Softcore, when you die you just gradually lose 10% of your magic items’ durability, & only have to pay the blacksmith to repair them when they’re broken to zero.  That’s it.  Moreover each time you do die, you can choose to resurrect by your corpse, at the last checkpoint, or even all the way back in the complete safety of town. Hardcore completely erases this triviality. “You have but one life, eager hero.  If you should die, though your deeds will be remembered, you shall not return again.”  Die, you die.  Game over man, game over.  I could go into why this makes the game awesome, but a guy named Alex Sassoon coby already smartly summed it up in a 2012 piece called “If You’re Not Playing Diablo III Hardcore, You’re Doing It Wrong: Nothing is beautiful and everything hurts; why you should embrace death in the Diablo universe.”  So what if in D&D death was final?  Every deity in every pantheon in your universe no longer grants Resurrection, Raise Dead, or even Reincarnation.  Maybe this is from a mutual agreement or maybe they have somehow lost the power for this power.  Whatever the case, the players learn (perhaps after trying to bring back a follower or other NPC) that this is something which can no longer be done.  Imagine how this would change how death is seen.

Although seeming somewhat like just another button masher, Diablo III has a lot to it.  And I don’t just mean Nightmare Mode, Hell Mode, & Inferno Mode.  Or the 100 Paragon Levels you can advance through after you’ve gotten to Level 60.  Or finding the 4 keys from the Keywardens to build the Infernal Machine for 100,000 gold so you can then “open red portals to special dungeon areas where Ubers, super powered versions of certain quest bosses, must be defeated,” in the hope that they’ll drop a Demonic Organ, which, once you have collected 3, let’s the jeweler build you an infamous end-game item, the Hellfire Ring, for 50,000 gold after Squirt the Peddler has sold him the plans for TWO MILLION GOLD.  {cough}  Or even the ‘secret’ Whimsyshire boardwith it’s clouds and ponies.    The monsters, the maps, & the items have a near endless variety due to the randomization from the game’s engine.  But there are clear formulas for everything & if you spend some time with it, various ideas from Diablo III can really have an impact on your D&D games.

Look into it, maybe even give the game a try, & let us know what you think.

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By - June 27, 2014 - Leave a comment

Behind the Gear-spun Curtain: A Purely Steampunk Look at Game Design »

Creating new races or writing for old ones can be a chore. Given that no matter how incredible our idea may be someone somewhere has probably already done it, we think there are a couple key design approaches one can follow to help build a better race.

Races come from the land. This may sound like a natural conclusion, but when you begin to think evolutionarily about how a race or species adapts or is ideally suited to its surroundings, the challenge of assigning environments, attributes, and traits to a race becomes a breeze. As a steampunk setting, our approach with Pure Steam™ has always been to make it as grounded and scientifically rendered as possible, while still allowing for all the fantasy elements gamers have come to expect. We took extra effort in describing our takes on orcs and half-orcs in the campaign setting—making them into distinct races with a shared if not not-so-distinct evolutionary past—so we wanted to do the same when it came time to build races for the new book: “Westward.”

Coming from the land means you have to take into account various environmental stimuli to determine from where one of your races might have sprung, and how their physical characteristics might have influenced their movements on the map, or how their characteristics might have changed after millennia of living away from their ancestral homes. For “manriks,” a race of lizardfolk native to wetter, warmer climes on the continent of Northern Ullera in Pure Steam, the story could aptly be titled, “The Taming of the Beast.” In detailing the middle portions of the continent, we knew we wanted to branch out and start showing more fantastical races and monsters. We also knew we had a wide swath of no-man’s land to cover. The lizardfolks’ scaly hide, predilection for swimming, and hold breath ability gave us a pretty good idea about where to start them, but to give them wider playable appeal to players and DMs alike we chose to grant them optional traits like a climb speed, and an ability to share pain (i.e. damage) between other manriks with the same racial trait—a trait bred into them over centuries of use as frontline shock troops. Finally, we tempered their generous ability modifiers with a slight drawback trait traced from their evolution as reptilians: “Cold-Blooded.” Now, to learn more about this race’s counterpart, and about that oblique Shakespeare reference. :p

With the “zaurto,” a race of kobolds who rule over their subordinate manrik cousins, these choices were more about form than function. In our campaign setting, dragons are all but extinct. The zaurto are their cultural successors, taking cue from their religious beliefs that state they are the dragons’ blood inheritors, evolving a smaller stature and more prodigious reproductive cycle where the dragons’ great size and low birth rate had failed them. Zaurto traits like “Dragon-Scaled” speak to this tradition, and help to paint kobolds in new skins respecting their chromatic ancestors, while affixing them to distinct climatic zones that would fit their evolved bodies. The nifty “Detachable Tail” trait makes the zaurto harder to kill, and pays homage to their reptilian nature. More where form is concerned, we ratcheted up the kobold use of tools and trickery alongside the racial propaganda they use (as descendants of dragons) to explain how they have achieved the dominant position over the bestial manriks, with whom they’ve long shared a common habitat.

Turning monsters into races. As you can see from the above, nothing new is invented where races are concerned; instead our approach dictated that we find the best land upon which to place our races and let the creative process take its turn. You may find that the barrel scrapes dry after exhausting the core races, so looking to suitable monster races to adapt as playable ones is a fine alternative. Even if there’s no simple table or block of text describing how to adapt a monster as a race, creating a new set of ability modifiers by examining the monster’s stat line and converting monster traits to player character ones is but a short bit of research away. There are plenty of books and online guides to help you in this endeavor, so go out and find one and get designing!

Now, let us hear from you below, and give us your thoughts on what makes a good race and why! After commenting below, visit us at the Pure Steam forums, and let us hear more. Until then, happy gaming!

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By - June 11, 2014 - Leave a comment

Behind the Gear-spun Curtain: A Purely Steampunk Look at Game Design »

Pure Steam is first and foremost a campaign setting. Settings are important to films, TV, comics, radio plays, novels, and books of all sorts. Settings are places, but settings are also more important than that. Settings are populated by heroes and villains, filled with wondrous and dangerous locales, and form the backdrops for our imaginations when we’re roleplaying. But how might you put a setting together when designing your own game? Read what we did, then comment below with your reactions and own ideas!

Original vs. Rewritten History
One of the core conceits of the steampunk genre is that of a recent past retrofitted by our then-dreams of the future. The objects, fashions, and activities of those in a steampunk world would all take on this retrofit: not completely taken out of the period in which they were set, but clearly showing signs of a forward thinking aesthetic and design. So you could speculate that wondrous flying machines, man-sized robots, and ray guns existed—anachronistic objects of a certain future—but all dressed in everyday materials of the period and given that otherworldly veneer from a time that never quite did.

As a game designer, all these decisions about your setting flow from how you approach its history. An original history gives you license to say virtually anything about how your setting grew up, but places the onus of believability and continuity squarely on your approach. A rewritten history asks you to follow a pre-rendered course, but helps to ground the setting in world-building ideas the GM and player already understand while guiding continuity. We chose a combination of original and rewritten history in developing our current work, “Westward.” It features a wild west setting (complete with warring rail tycoons, lawless prairie towns, and land-hungry profit barons) married to a robust fantasy milieu (insufferable native kobold and lizardfolk populations, and inscrutable foreign land claimants from the far east [Elves] and the neighboring south [an Aztec-like shamanistic culture]). Already you can see where we blended the two, thus creating an alternate Earth reality set during the late 19th century. Geographically even, we mapped our continent of Northern Ullera onto that of North America (minus a sunken Florida—sorry Floridians, but if global warming has its way, that too will cease to be fiction).

Whether you choose “original recipe or extra crispy” … er, I mean … original or rewritten history, the mantra remains the same: limit yourself. Though our world is set during an alternate Earth 19th century, we decided to avoid the issue of slavery (for obvious reasons). Instead, we made the issue of civil war one less about the ownership of people and more about the ownership of the land they were on, and, to a lesser degree, the removal or relocation of people (i.e. the Native Americans; no less a painful nor dramatic topic from our shared history).

Many times when you’re designing a setting, you have to ask yourself: “What inspires me?” For us, it was about creating a setting that portrayed steampunk in a unique but popular light, while at the same opening the genre up to be enjoyed by a wider audience. An early inspiration for us was to encapsulate the heroic cowboy sheriffs of wild west lore by making them into the mounted paladins of our setting. The fit was a natural one: both strapped to a horse, sworn to police the bad to protect the meek, and honor-bound to use their trusty arms only in the defense of good. But just putting them into the book for the sake of having them wasn’t enough. The setting had to be made to support such an individual. We had already established that our home nation of Ullera wasn’t god-fearing, but inspired by science, and so we developed the pious nation of Rausch as a feasible home for our paladin-sheriffs. Of course, there was a place out west in our rewritten history for that too!—in Utah, the land that Mormons built.

It’s quite liberating to limit yourself. You follow a single idea, instead of being swamped by so many, develop all that comes out of it to the Nth-degree, and let it take you where it will. Take a single race, class, or a piece of signature equipment. How does the language they speak, the way they look, the goods they trade, or the manner in which that thing is made inform you about your setting? Do this, and you’ll often be surprised at how easy the creative process can really be.

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By - May 28, 2014 - Leave a comment

From DM Screens to Poker Tables »

It’s like real-life Revenge of the Nerds. An awkward teenager who grew up on D&D or Magic: The Gathering starts playing poker, soon rakes in a fortune and begins living the high life.  It’s not just every Dungeon Master’s dream: it’s a possible reality.  And after a few successful improv hands in hotel rooms during conventions, it’s a reality I’ve been talking about with my gaming group for awhile now, so apologies if I bend your ear for a bit.

Even without Three Dragon Ante RPGs are the perfect training ground for games like Texas hold ‘em or Five-card stud. Both require strong analytical skills to quickly calculate probabilities. Both require creativity, mental endurance to maintain focus for periods of time, and smart decision making. But only one offers the chance to set yourself up financially for a lifetime- and it’s not the one with fire breathing lizards.  Sorry Expy.

The best example of this role-playing-to-riches that I found was documented in David Kushner’s 2005 book Johnny Magic and the Card Shark Kids. It tells the true story of Jon Finkel, a nerdy kid from New York who would become arguably the best MtG player in the world. He then took his skills to the underground tables of New York City, the online poker world, and eventually Las Vegas itself, where he counted cards at the blackjack tables and won millions at the World Series of Poker.  Sort of the opposite of Ben Affleck.

While money can be made in professional role-playing games, the experience of another guy, David Williams, illustrates just how different the worlds are. Williams was accused of marking his cards in a 2001 World Championship Magic: The Gathering tournament and earned himself a one-year suspension from competition. (I guess he failed his Bluff Check)  During his year off, Williams began to shift his focus and put some skill ranks into poker.  In 2004 he took home $3.4 million for a second-place finish at the WSOP and has collected more than $8 million in his career. In retrospect, Williams was on the winning team in a 2012 Magic: The Gathering tournament with a field of over 1,700 players. He took home $2,000 in prize money.  That’s like Platinum pieces versus Copper pieces.

One of Williams’ biggest hauls came at the 2010 World Poker Tour Championship when he claimed first place to the tune of $1.53 million.  Now Williams’ journey to his big score in Vegas began with a walk to the tables.  But the thing I’ve found out about this is that there are no closed doors or glass ceilings and you no longer need to travel to a casino or find an underground den, ala Rounders, to play. Just like MMOs, poker’s popularity and accessibility extends online.  For instance, gaming hub recently expanded to include options for web-based players in the Garden State. In addition to poker, they have other table games and a variety of arcade-like slots, ala video gaming.  So it’s like Xbox Live but with dollars instead of Gamerscore.

Not that Gamerscore or experience in RPG tournaments doesn’t matter.  In fact just the opposite. According to my Google Fu, the fraternity of WSOP bracelet winners who have roots in professional role-playing games include: Brock Parker, Alex Borteh, Eric Froehlich and Eric Kesselman.  It also extends to other professionals like Justin Bonomo, Noah Boeken, Isaac Haxton, Scott Seiver, Jeff Garza and Adam Levy.  That’s enough people for a whole party of adventurers, a few of whom have taken the Leadership feat.  One day maybe ‘Geoffrey Fuller’ will be on that list.  Or you.

Anyways, when you take away the wizards, dragons and magic spells of our beloved D&D, Williams, Finkel, and thousands of others are essentially still playing the same game.  Just with decks instead of dice. Peel back the layer of fantasy and what is lying underneath is a foundation of strategy, problem solving, risk weighing and chance.

Or, in a nutshell, poker.

Which, if you’d like to include directly in your D&D games, has a medieval version called Primero.  Thanks for listening about the hobby I play when I’m not rolling d20′s.  Have any experience with cards?  Use any games-within-games in your campaigns?  Tell us below.

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By - May 16, 2014 - 4 Comments

Roper; it’s what’s not for dinner »

pen2Behind The Monsters by Tricky Owlbear Publishing was an ongoing series that took familiar D&D monsters and gave them a new twist, adding interesting histories, backgrounds and plot ideas. Recently, they collected all the individual installments of the series into a single volume, the Behind the Monsters: Omnibus. The good folks at Tricky Owlbear commissioned me to do all-new illustrations for each of the monsters featured in the book.

When I got the list of monsters I would be doing, I was tickled to see the roper on that list. You see, when my son was little and just learning to read, he and I used to lay on the floor together and page through the Third edition Monster Manual. He would look at the different pictures and ask me what each one was. I would slowly have him sound out the names for himself until eventually he was reading them all.

Yes, D&D helped me teach my son to read :)

My son is now a sophomore in college studying to be a lawyer and taller than I am. He’s also a fantastic D&D/Pathfinder player – we play together in a weekly Pathfinder game and when I’m writing something, I often bounce ideas off him.roper

Where was I? Oh right, the roper! When my son and I would look through the Monster Manual, his absolute favorite monster was the roper. He LOVED that thing! It’s funny, because growing up playing D&D myself, the roper never made that much of an impression on me one way or the other. But, man, he just loved that monster!

So, getting the chance to do my own illustration of a roper for an RPG book was kind of cool, and more than a little nostalgic for me. Oh, when I was finished with the illustration, I of course showed it to my son. His response, in true male teenager fashion?

“Hey, a roper … that’s pretty cool dad. So what’s for dinner?”

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Speaking of under rated monsters from the game, or monsters that just never made much of an impression on you … tell me yours. Most interesting post gets the Roper original art mailed out to them!

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By - May 13, 2014 - 1 Comment

Adventure Seeds: Time Travel! »

Who doesn’t enjoy a good time travel story? The idea’s been prevalent in fiction for centuries. Whether it’s something where time travel is usually just a framing device like Doctor Who, or whether its integral to the plot like in Back to the Future or Chrono Trigger. The best thing about time travel is that it can fit into almost any setting, whether it’s achieved through magic or super-advanced technology.


Mystery of Ancestors:

A time-travelling villain who seeks revenge against the party travels back in time to kill one of the party’s ancestors, intending to unravel the party member’s existence. However, the party member remains very much intact. It turns out the person the villain killed wasn’t their true ancestor. Now, the party must work to figure out who their comrade’s true ancestor is (and optionally the reason for the confusion), and find them before the villain does.


Time Assassin:

An assassin (or a group of them) is sent back in time to kill the party to prevent some horrible act they commit in the future (either purposefully or accidentally). It could be that they become iron-fisted dictators, cause a mass genocide, or even killed a god. The party must evade the assassin(s), and (at least if the party is good-aligned) try to work out exactly what they will do in the future in order to change their actions to avoid the catastrophe.


Solitary Stream:

Due to an accident (or the actions of a villain), a single member of the party is zapped hundreds of years into the past. This party member was in the possession of the party’s method of time travel at the time, and was sent back with it. However, it was broken during the accident. Without the means to repair it in that time period, the party member must find some way to hide the time travel device in a place where the rest of the party will find it in the future, along with instructions on how to locate them in the past. The rest of the party then must follow their comrade’s clues to find the time machine, repair it, and rescue them.


Worth A Thousand Words:

When the party rolls into a small town, they’re preparing to unveil a great new art exhibit by an artist who originally came from the town. However, mere minutes before the exhibit is set to open, a mysterious thief appears from nowhere and steals the art. The party realize that the thief is a time traveller, probably intending to take the art to the future where it’s worth more money. The town beseeches the party to recover the art.


(For an interesting moral twist on this one: Once the party tracks down the thief, he reveals to them that by his time, the artwork had been lost or destroyed, and he stole the artwork in order to rescue it, leaving the party to work out the moral conundrum)

What are your ideas for a time travel encounter, adventure, or even a full-blown campaign?

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