Getting information to our players and to our GMs can be challenging. We want to do it in character, or as a character. Sometimes it’s just easier to break the 4th wall. 


Random Encounter

Timothy Stone calls one in

Edwin emails us on hex crawls

I listened to and had a bunch of thoughts on your chat with B about exploration and hex crawls. I think a lot of it comes down to reactive v. proactive story telling. I exploratory hex crawls become fun as story emerges (reactive), while traditional scenarios are more proactive. A good random encounter or random treasure table is great for someone who enjoys reactive improv, while a nice set piece can allow someone to really prepare. It sounds like Forgotten Realms allows for super fun emergent story through interesting success and failure options—assuming players are up to the challenge of spinning hay into gold.

Akodoken comes up with a question from Pull in Mechanics from other RPG’s

We all talk about things to add to our toolbox, but what about the junk drawer? Anyone have any mechanics/tools they’d love to use in their games but can never find a way to work them in?

Kevin comments on pulling mechanics in from other games

Howdy Folks!

I have definitely pulled some various mechanics into other games. The ones I can think of are FFG Star Wars Initiative Slots, Clocks from Blades in the Dark/Powered by the Apocalypse Games, and DCC RPG XP tiers.

I really like FFG Star Wars Initiative Slots as both a player and a GM. My group has been using them in just about every game we have played since we first encountered this mechanic and it works like a dream. It really promotes teamwork and setup within an encounter. Though, there are some hiccups that you have to work through. For example, everyone has to pay attention and remember whether or not they have acted during this turn, or what do you do with mechanics/effects that say they last until the end of your next turn and when you act is variable? For this question we looked at what the intention of the effect was. Is the effect meant to boost/inhibit someone for one turn? Then it lasts until everyone has “lived through” that effect, etc.

Clocks from Blades/PbtA are an excellent mechanic to track a lot of different things. Time, guards, chases, general suspicion, etc.

DCC RPG XP Tiers are where the amount of XP a character gets per encounter is based on how difficult/what happened during that encounter and is usually listed as a number from 0-4 (I think…it might be 0-3). Basically, did the party breeze through the encounter while expending no resources…0-1 XP. Did the party experience a character death and barely survive by the skin of their teeth…3-4 XP. I did have to do a little digging to find a table/XP numbers that made sense based on 5th’s expected amount of XP to level. What I found and used was the XP Thresholds by Character Level table on pg. 82 of the DMG. What this did was replace the 0-4 chain with the correct line based on the character’s level.I used this in the Tomb of Annihilation game that I ran for my group in 5th Ed D&D and printed off the XP Thresholds table for each player/placed them around the game area. Each player was then responsible for tracking their own XP and leveling up at the appropriate time (over a long rest) and I just started whether each encounter was Easy-Deadly. I enjoyed this mechanic a lot as a DM but my players did express some difficulty tracking it (they wanted Milestones instead), though, the also had fun pointing out when a character was knocked down or killed and salivating over the expected XP reward coming later. It was an interesting experiment and I enjoyed trying it out for that game.


Die Roll

  • Inspiration for this came from Matt Colvile’s Information video
  • Starbucks and Target, radio drama featuring Josh Wallace as The Target Master. A fan-favorite winner from Spring 2021 digital Serials! Grab it here!
  • Robert E. Howard art chronology, kickstarter coming soon
  • Matt Colville’s Kingdoms and Warefare available in pdf now!

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About the Author
The 'S' of Gaming and BS podcast. Besides producing and hosting the show, Sean enjoys long walks on the beach, running rpg's, and killing player...characters.