New Classic Modules Today conversion complete!

Here is my latest AD&D -> 5E conversion!

The land lies under a curse. Fruit drops to the ground, its pulp black and rotten. Leaves curl and wither on the branches. Animals flee the parched vale, or starve. 

Long ago, the Downs prospered under the care of Druids, but the priests of nature have retreated deep into the woods and rarely show themselves. One old man claims that the Druids have the power to save the valley, if only someone could find their Oracle to seek help. Will you reach the Forest Oracle of the Druids in time? And if you do, can they really lift the curse? 

Or does the answer lie elsewhere? 

Only the most daring and cunning adventurers will save the Downs.

For characters level 2-4

Shannon Appelcline, the author of Designers & Dragons, has this to day about the original module:

N2 The Forest Oracle (1984) is the second AD&D adventure in the novice (N-) series. Unlike its predecessor, it is not intended for 1st-level adventurers, but instead for 2nd level and up.

A Generic Adventure. Whereas N1: “Against The Cult of the Reptile God” (1982) was very clearly set in Greyhawk, N2 takes the opposite tactic: It doesn’t detail the community (“The Downs”) where the adventure starts, nor does it include any specific world detail, thus leaving the novice GM to set it in the world of his choice. There is a generic European / Old World feel to the adventure, which might even make it appropriate for some of the HR campaigns (1992-1994), released much later by TSR.

A Bit of Wilderness. “Forest Oracle” mixes together wilderness adventuring – which was relatively rare in the era outside of Expert D&D – with dungeons, giving novice players the opportunity to interact with a variety of adventuring environments.

About the Creators. 1984 was author Carl Smith’s most prolific year ever in the roleplaying industry. Early in the year he was a member of the Dragonlance Design Team, contributing to Tracy Hickman’s DL1: “Dragons of Despair” (1984) and Douglas Niles’ DL2: “Dragons of Flame” (1984). By mid-year, he’d left TSR to co-found new publisher Pacesetter. Here he contributed to two of their three new games: Star Ace (1984) and Timemaster (1984).


The link leads to my conversion of the original module for use in 5e play. If you’re into D&D classics, it’s worth a look!

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Priceless DM advice

A pretty much constant question asked among RPG referees is “What do I do about this problem player?” Now, I’m connected to a ton of online gaming communities, so I see it multiple times a day. But every “DM help” group I watch sees this scenario multiple times per week.

Here is all the advice you’ll ever be given on solving relationship and personal problems at the gaming table, distilled into a flow chart.

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AD&D Module Conversion live on DMs Guild!

 I’ve been working on this for months. It’s finally finished!

Adventure Pack 1 (I13) was an AD&D bundle of short modules. Many of us Olde Tymers have played through it. They’re pretty good, by and large, if a little dated and trope-y. I’d wanted to convert it since 5e came out, and when Stan Shinn organized Classic Modules Today there was an excellent community to help with that.

So now it’s live, and I’m stoked. Check it out!





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Musing on heraldry and the Forgotten Realms

Thanks to a post on the Candlekeep forums, I was briefly re-infected with the heraldry bug. The conversation was about Daggerford and the canonical armorial bearings of the dukes and duchesses thereof. This is as close as I can get: Argent, on a ford a dagger gules in bend point downwards.

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This is VICIOUS. I love it.

My players don’t read my blog, so I can share this with you:

I cannot wait to throw this at one of my tables. It’s brilliant.

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Thanks for all the feedback!

I’ve been getting some great feedback recently, and I wanted to thank you, dear readers, for that. Without it, we creators exist in a vacuum, just kind of throwing things at the wall to see what sticks. With it, we can create stuff to meet your specific needs. That’s a win-win.

In other news, I just found out that my first DMs Guild product is now a Silver Best Seller! If you’ve downloaded is, thanks for that! If you haven’t, take a look:


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Critical Fumbles. And why they suck.

A post on the Facebook “D&D DMs Only” group worries me.  You can click to go over there and see it for yourself, but you might have to be a member. I dunno.

Anyway, here’s the post:

Your player has just rolled a dreaded ‘1’. A fumble has occurred, what is your go-to story line? ( ” You throw your weapon / Your bow string snaps”. )

There were, at least a few moments ago, a couple dozen comments about the various methods by which DMs punish their players for rolling poorly. I don’t know about you, but that irritates me, because it’s stupid. It’s stupid whether you look at it from a story or game-design point of view.
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A bit of a rant.

I read (or at least glance through) the ENWorld 5e forums every morning. Often there are neat ideas being kicked around, and I can either contribute or let them germinate in my own imagination, see if I can’t come up with a different approach to an interesting idea.

Sometimes, however, the noise-to-signal ratio is too goddamn high.

This morning, for example, there were about seventeen threads on the Warlord, and others talking about prestige classes, and others talking about new classes and archetypes and character “builds.” I swear to god, since D&D Next, there has been a strong contingent of people who basically want 5e to be 3.5e Second Edition, or 4e Second Edition, or Pathfinder Second Edition. They wanted the game they’re already playing, but with…what? Damned if I know.

It makes me want to scream. I can’t rant there, because I’ll get shouted down for causing an edition war or something, so I’ll do it here, in my own living room:

There are any number of games which have prestige classes and Warlords and intricate mechanical character builds all of that shit built right in. GO PLAY THOSE GAMES. Play Pathfinder, or 3e, or 4e, or whatever already has the mechanics to let you do what you want to do. Stop trying to turn one game into another. You clearly prefer that other game, so GO PLAY THAT GAME, FOR FUCK’S SAKE.

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Sandboxing is HARD

The first thing I wrote for DMs Guild was a stream-of-consciousness brain dump of DM-centric advice and trivia. It must not suck too badly, because it became a Copper Best Seller. (You can find it here, if you’re interested.)

Periodically I get correspondence from that. Some of it has to do with clarification. Some is just praise. Some is just snark. Sometimes, I get something completely new. I want to tell you about that.

Recently, Bryan wrote me an email:

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