Polymorph, Wild Shape, and Owlbears

(The owlbear in the D&D movie trailer prompted me to finally write this article, which I’ve been meaning to do for over a year now!) Back in 2012, there was a discussion on the Paizo boards that led to talking about shapechanging spells, specifically ones that let you turn into an animal, and what those…

Trivia & Anecdotes: Into The Dragon’s Lair

This is a story about the very first 3rd edition D&D Forgotten Realms adventure, Into the Dragon’s Lair, and wow it’s a doozy. It’s the year 2000. Wizards of the Coast is about to release the 3rd edition of D&D. We’d had a lot of positive excitement about this edition, helped by some great Gen…

Dollar Bill

Sean’s Adulting Class

I’m teaching a once-a-week class on “adulting” at a Seattle middle/high school. This is the outline I’m using for the class. As a person who considers himself an “extremely competent adult,” everything on this list is something I think a reasonably competent adult should know how to do (barring some sort of illness, injury, or…

It’s Just a Punch to the Neck

This is a true story that happened to me on December 19, 2012. I had it posted on my Facebook and now I’ve migrated it to here. (First of all: I am unharmed.)This morning [December 19, 2012], I went to Starbucks as usual.There was a guy right outside the entrance smoking.As I walked through the…

I Dreamed Of Heroes

(Years ago I wrote this memory of a dream, and at the time I posted it as a FB note. Anyway, I’m slowly cutting stuff from my FB page and putting it on my blog, so here we go…) I have problems sleeping.Sometimes I take melatonin to help with that.I don’t usually remember my dreams.Melatonin…

Cypher System Descriptors as Character Species

At this year’s GameHole Con I ran several sessions of a one-shot Ptolus adventure[1] using the Cypher System. I brought pregenerated characters so we could get right into the gaming. Two different groups had a player ask, “some of these say ‘Dwarf’ or ‘Elf,’ does that mean the other characters are human?” Specifically, three of…

Claim the Sky: Sean’s History of Superheroes

Back in December, MCG had a Kickstarter to create some RPG books about superheroes. The first of those books, a high-action MCU-style rulebook and setting called Claim the Sky, is now on preorder. On the last day of that Kickstarter, I posted a whole bunch of things on Twitter talking about my own history with…

confused troll

Write What I Pay You To Write

(This used to be a Note on Facebook, thought I should move it over here where others can see it, especially as I’ve left FB because they’ve played a big role in enabling fascism and the alt-right these past few years.) When I do game convention panels about how to be a good freelancer, I…

Cloak & Dagger

(Trivia & Anecdotes is a series of blog posts about weird and sometimes funny behind-the-scenes facts about various books I worked on, in chronological order of when they were published. I stopped doing these articles in 2015 when my life went off the rails for a bit, but I’m starting them back up again!)This feels…

RIP Peter Archer, friend and editor

My friend and colleague, Peter Archer, passed away unexpectedly last night at age 67. Here’s the (very short, not particularly exciting) story of how I got to know Peter. As best as I can remember, summer/fall of 1995 was the last time TSR hired anyone. For RPG R&D (the team that worked on D&D), that…

Against the Giants: The Liberation of Geoff

(Trivia & Anecdotes is a series of blog posts about weird and sometimes funny behind-the-scenes facts about various books I worked on, in chronological order of when they were published. I stopped doing these articles in 2015 when my life went off the rails for a bit, but I’m starting them back up again!) 1999…

Using My Fingers to Track Roll Difficulties

Two important points to know about the Cypher System before I explain what I’m doing here, just in case you’re not familiar with CS: • Players make all rolls. The level of the target is the level the player needs to roll. Level 6 creature attacking? Player makes a defense roll against level 6. Player…

What are GM intrusions?

(Hey, GMs, please read to the end of the next sentence before deciding to close this tab!) GM intrusions are a game mechanic for the Cypher System game, but you can use them in other RPGs too, and in this article I’ll explain what they are, how they work, and how to use them in…