Forts & Frontiers The Feast of the Dead: Influences and Inspirations

This article originally appeared in Roleplayers Chronicle on August 16, 2016.

Our primary goal in creating Forts & Frontiers The Feast of the Dead was to bring our love of 17th and 18th century North America to the gaming table in a manner that allows game masters and players to tell deep, engaging stories about this critical period of history. We considered a number of systems as the basis for the game. We also considered designing our own. Eventually, we decided to go with Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. Our thinking was that we can help get games to the table faster by not requiring game masters to potentially familiarize themselves with the period and a new set of rules.


Beg, Borrow, and Steal, Part 2 — Inspiration

In the first post in this series, I wrote about creating unique player roles consisting of activities that are already performed by players and the Dungeon Master in a more informal manner. In this second post, I take a look at a method of awarding inspiration that encourages group reflection and can lead to greater rewards for players.


Beg, Borrow, and Steal, Part 1 — Player Roles in D&D

As many of you know, I’m a fan of roleplaying games in general but don’t have the time to run or play as many different systems as often as I’d like to. These days I seem to run a lot of 5th Edition D&D — which is great fun. Sometimes, though, I find myself thinking, “I really like this mechanic from this system and that mechanic from that system. I wish I was running those games instead!”


Bad at Blogging, Good at Gaming

The third month of the year will come to close this weekend, and this will be my first post of 2018 — thus the title.

Recently, I looked back to the beginning of the year to understand where the time went.


HMGS Fall In! 2017 — Friday

I set out from Brooklyn early Friday afternoon with fellow Metropolitan Wargamers club members Kimber, James, and Brian. After an easy drive through the somewhat idyllic Pennsylvania countryside in all its Fall glory, we arrived at the Lancaster Host late that afternoon. I checked then roamed the halls to get the lay of the land.


Backstory: Star Trek Adventures

My good friend and frequent gaming companion Marco Rafalá wrote a mission for the These are the Voyages: Volume 1 supplement for Modiphius’ new Star Trek Adventures Roleplaying Game. So, when he asked if I’d like to start a Star Trek Adventures campaign, I enthusiatcially said, “Yes!”


On Childhood and the Imagination

I don’t write about my children as much as I should. Between being a husband and father, running a small business, preparing for gaming, gaming, and writing about gaming, there’s, not surprisingly, very little time left.

One Friday, early this past June, was my oldest daughter’s last day at the preschool she’d been attending for the past two years. As we walked our familiar walk along Waverly Avenue — this last time with my wife and youngest daughter in tow — we explained that the block before school, the one with the tall trees lining both sides of the street, was “The Forest”.

What looks like a typical Brooklyn street is actually a magical forest

To the untrained eye, The Forest is not so different from other blocks in this part of Brooklyn. There are brownstones in various states of repair on both sides of the street. There’s a church that provides charity to the homeless on one end and a rehabilitation center complete with methadone clinic on the other.

To the trained and imaginative eye, though, there’s much more to be seen. On the left side of the street, there’s a deep, dark cave complete with a GIGANTIC black bear and a ghost that frequently haunts the empty lot next to my daughter’s school. There’s a unicorn and a puppy that takes baths before and after playing in the mud, and, most importantly, there’s Jackson — a purple water dragon who began his life as a tiny giraffe until he met my old friend Choopachumbra who just happens to be a friendly, green dragon who protects little children. See, I told you. There’s much more to be seen.

I have been amazed by my oldest daughter’s imagination ever since she’s been able to verbalize it. Experiencing it in this form from the perspective of a small child gives me insight into where all of our imaginations originate — and just how formative and foundationally important imagination is to us all.

I encourage my daughter to explore her imagination whenever I can, and I’ll continue to do so for as long as I’m around — well into her adulthood, for sure, when we all have a tendency to stop imagining. Hopefully, she’ll be able to take a page out of her old man’s book and find a way, through art or gaming or music or just plain daydreaming, to keep imagining no matter how old she is.

We should all do the same. I believe exploring our own imaginations is vital as we grow older. I believe it connects us to our purer selves. The selves evident in the wonder of a small child as she does something as seemingly mundane as walking down the same street to spend her day at the same school just as she has done for half her life.

Habitants & Highlanders

I found another set of French and Indian War rules that look like a must read – Habitants & Highlanders by Bruce McFarlane from The Canadian Wargamers Group.


What The One Ring Roleplaying Game Means to Me

I bought the original slipcase edition of The One Ring: Adventures over the Edge of the Wild (that’s what it was called at the time) by Cubicle 7 soon after its release in 2011. Much like the books on which it is based, I immediately liked it.

I read and re-read the rules, ran several one shot demos, bought all subsequent releases, formed a Meetup group, and eventually ran a 16 month campaign before becoming a player in a Darkening of Mirkwood campaign being run by my friend Marco Rafalá.

Like a lot of systems, running and playing The One Ring are different experiences. I recently sat down and wrote up my thoughts on what playing the game means to me. The results follow.


Tools of the Trade: Saga Age of the Wolf Roster Sheet

I’ve found that, with a little bit of work, Google Sheets can be a great tool for managing wargaming campaigns. With the kickoff of our Saga Age of the Wolf campaign at Metropolitan Wargamers, I decided to take what I had learned from a recent Frostgrave campaign and design a Google Sheet to track our progress.

VisiCalc on an Apple IIe

Using a Google Sheet as opposed to just printing out the roster sheets was inspired by this passage in the Age of of the Wolf rules, “At the heart of the campaign is the roster. It records all the information you will need for each SAGA game the campaign generates for you. It is important that the roster is kept up to date and clear, It is not a secret document, any players involved in the campaign can see another player’s roster if they like.”

You can see the results along with some basic usage information here. Feel free to make a copy and use it for your own campaigns.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.