Where’s Judd?

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These are the places you can regularly hear and/or see me talking about gaming or doing the thing and streaming some play. Links are both in the pictures and in the text beneath.

Here’s the link where I store my links.

You can find me on Mastodon


Daydreaming about Dragons Podcast

The logo for my podcast, Daydreaming about Dragons

In which I have a conversation with you about techniques that are shaking out at the tables where I sit and inspirational media.


The Sixth Ring, a Trophy Podcast

In which Jason and I discuss the Trophy RPG and in doing so end up talking about game culture and techniques that link up to all kinds of tabletop RPG’s.


I’m often gaming on the Actual Play twitchstream channel.

World of Dungeons, Twitch.com/ACTUALPLAY

Municipal Dungeon Delving in the fantasy city of Jaquays (pronounced Jake-Ways) in the wake of the Sorcerer-Kings, who have abandoned this world and have left their toxic labs, wyrd towers and feral pets all over the city-scape. More about the making of this game here.


I’ve been honored to play so much on the Actual Play channel, a place where I’ve made wonderful friends and played wondrous games.


What am I regularly playing off-stream?

On Thursday evenings we play our Thursday night game, founded at the start of the pandemic. We are deciding what to play in 2023 and are playing Into the Megadungeon until we all can get together, put our previous campaign to a satisfying end and get behind something new.


At the bottom of most blog posts you might notice links to my Threadless shop. A few years ago I started combining my librarian’s passion for finding old out-of-copyright pics and general geekery with the Affinity Art Suite and this Threadless shop was born. I set up the shop so the proceeds that would go to me go to amazing organizations. Below is what the shop has earned as of 11/28/22 a total of $346.69 for organizations like Medshare India, Fair Fight, National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network, National Center for Transgender Equity and many more.

Design examples and links to collections below:

Goth Collection
https://shopofjudd.threadless.com/collections/goth-collection
https://shopofjudd.threadless.com/collections/tabletop-role-playing-games
https://shopofjudd.threadless.com/collections/science-fiction
https://shopofjudd.threadless.com/collections/dune-collection
Geek Media Studies
https://shopofjudd.threadless.com/collections/geek-media-studies
Hex Flower: Bastion Political Unrest

Hex Flower: Bastion Political Unrest

I’ve got this ridiculous Hex Flower on a Jamboard that is probably too complicated by a longshot. Maybe it should have half the crap on it. Maybe less. But here it is in all its glory.

A ludicrous hex flower for moving pieces around and getting inspired about the political unrest in the city of Bastion.

Let’s toss some factions into the soup.

Looking at the Oddpedia, Bastion’s Greatest Businesses, page 125, and the Red Ghost Roads and Carriages catches my eye.

Robber barons who pay pennies to laborers, doing back-breaking road building and paving while living in tent towns that move with them. If they perish at work they are buried under the road. Carriage drivers and those who ride shotgun are seen as more skilled labor but are also paid crap, though there are unattainable incentives. Corporate strongarms called the Scarlet Wraiths. I dig it.

I want one of the factions to be an alien incursion of some kind. When I look at the Weird Creation Inspiration on pages 126 and 127 the words Snail and Eerily Beautiful grab me. I roll for the twist. I get 24, a lucky number in my family, Teleports Self. I dig it.

This alien incursion manifests as shells show up in the homes of the rich and the powerful. The creatures within are so beautiful those they are beguiling can barely speak of it. They just wait for their orders, wanting to catch a glimpse. They can’t describe it with words.

Next up should be an Astral Cult. I look at the chart, thinking about rolling until the my eyes blur a bit and I see Sons of the Forgotten Ship. Adventurers who found a ship in the Underground but they need buildings cleared to get a clear take-off. Or that is what they think.

One could trace the Sons of the Forgotten Ship back to former adventurers who now own businesses having to do with demolition and salvage with some members of their family studying stars, navigation and other worlds.

Maybe some revolutionaries from the Deep Country?

Revolutionaries who critique Bastion with violence.

I’ll toss the Bastion Free Library in there because I want someone to root for and I think they are cool.

Driven to gather and catalog rare Arcana and Manuscripts from all over Bastion, the Underground and the Deep Country and provide access to Bastion’s citizenry. Their motto, “Cataloging the stars above / Accessing the mysteries below.”

Alright, let’s toss these tokens on the board and then roll some dice and see what comes of them.

I’ve got this thing set up. The Red Ghost Roads and Carriages is vying for Borough Control with the Sons of the Forgotten Ship and the Snailien Incursion. They could all land on that at once and we could decide that they are allied or controlling different boroughs. Put the Deep County Revolutionaries near Deep Country and the Bastion Free Library near nothing. Library funding is always the first to get cut (support your local library!).

Let’s roll some dice and see what happens.

Round 1

Red Ghost Roads and Carriage takes control of a Borough. The Sons of the Forgotten Ship and the Snailiens are on the same spot, vying for control of the borough; I think this means that they are rivals and know about each other, maybe sizing each other up. Meanwhile, Red Ghost passes stern laws against wandering the streets unattended. These Ghost Road Laws are put into place to encourage people to either hire a carriage or stay the fuck home. Those wandering the streets (walking) after certain hours can be declared vagrants and thrown in jail. The Bastion Free Library moves off the board and on to the other side, getting its hands on a Major Arcanum while the Deep Country Revolutionaries are just meandering.

What does this mean for a game?

Maybe rich patrons urged on by their Snailien overlords hire the players to look into the Sons of the Forgotten Ship. Maybe the Sons of the Forgotten Ship hire the players to look into what is giving certain rich folk in elite, shiny skyscrapers such insight into the Underground’s going’s on.

Do the players put together that the explosions that the press is writing off as gas explosions from bad pipes are actually revolutionaries trying to make a splash? Even though only corrupt foreman and violent constables seem to be catching the brunt of the explosions? Or it could be the players do something to gain a reputation for being against the status quo and the revolutionaries reach out to them, hoping to get some help.

Maybe the Bastion Free Library needs help moving the Arcanum they’ve uncovered without gaining attention. Red Ghost Agents are all over the roads. How can we move this thing across the city without tipping off the company assassins, the Scarlet Wraiths?

Maybe his stuff is just background noise, newspaper headlines and rumors around town.

Rolling could happen when the balance of power is somehow shifted or every game or every couple of games or when I just run out of ideas. I could see times when factions move around because of the players’ actions or events in-game.

This Hex Flower thing is a fun tool. Looking forward to talking about it more with you and hearing about your uses for it.

Psychic Tiger Fodder: Larceny from Above

Psychic Tiger Fodder: Larceny from Above

In which I looked at the One Page Dungeon Contest 2012 and chose the Monastery at Dor Amon, winner of 2012’s Best Library award.

This is an Into the Oddish game (chargen houserules here). Jeb the footpad, Taki and Tabouli and Gus are now the adventuring party – Psychic Tiger Fodder.

Into the
MEGA
Dungeon

with special guests
PSYCHIC TGER FODDER

Quotes of the night:

This hand has seen some shit.

It is a monastery. Of course I brought a goat.

Then they shouldn’t have been evil.

Psychic Tiger Fodder logo with a blue tiger with red eyes and a blue and red lightning bolts and red and blue fire as a subject divider.

What more or less happened:

Jeb got the hang of his cybernetic eye and hand, fell gifts of the Wizard-God.

Gus and Taki worked out a deal with a book-eating devil.

Richter burned the first monk guards with Mage Fire, then used Quietlands Legion to raise their dead bodies and set them after the monks remaining.

I got better at not going to the dice when someone wanted to know something but asking follow-up questions, “What kind of thing are you looking for here? How are you looking? etc.” and then telling them some strange shit that would make the adventure more meaningful because these odd places are better the more strange tidbits these adventuring thieves know about them.

Psychic Tiger Fodder logo with a blue tiger with red eyes and a blue and red lightning bolts and red and blue fire as a subject divider.

Here’s what I want to remember about tonight if I remember nothing else:

After a long day of work, situated in a long week, in the midst of a very hectic and chaotic month, a friend of mine was having a rough time and when we asked what we, his friends, could do he said he just wanted to game and so we gamed. Everything else is details.

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Reddit GM Advice: Grief, God of Mimics, & Alternate Campaign Ideas

Reddit GM Advice: Grief, God of Mimics, & Alternate Campaign Ideas

TEXT: REDDIT GM ADVICE THREAD

PIC: Reddit logo in front of Dice Envy's beautiful rainbow dice set.

I made a list of 3 GM advice subreddits called RefAdvice.

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https://www.patreon.com/emielboven/posts
Emiel Boven's Fun Skulls Subject Divider

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https://www.patreon.com/emielboven/posts
Emiel Boven's Fun Skulls Subject Divider

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
https://www.patreon.com/emielboven/posts
Emiel Boven's Fun Skulls Subject Divider

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https://www.patreon.com/emielboven/posts

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Psychic Tiger Fodder Ascendant

Psychic Tiger Fodder Ascendant

This is an Into the Oddish game (chargen houserules here) using DNGN as the adventure. Jeb the footpad, Taki and Tabouli are now the adventuring party – Psychic Tiger Fodder (t-shirts available, all artist’s proceeds go to the World Wildlife Fund).

Into the
MEGA
Dungeon

with special guests
PSYCHIC TGER FODDER

Psychic Tiger Fodder dragged a Space Wizard cultist’s corpse out of the dungeon. Tabouli’s ability to talk to ghosts paid off again. Plex was killed when he tried to leave the dungeon. Jeb the Cutpurse cut the cybernetics off Plex’s corpse once they dragged him out of the dungeon into the fresh spring air. The dungeon’s entrance opened onto an impact crater that the forest had grown over.

When the Space Wizard God tried to take Plex’s soul, the group jumped into action. Richter threw the ghost his elf rope (mental note, elf rope can be grabbed by ghosts…cool) and Taki blessed the endeavor. Tabouli prayed to his dragon-god, who took Plex’s soul from the Space Wizard. Good stuff.

Psychic Tiger Fodder logo with a blue tiger with red eyes and a blue and red lightning bolts and red and blue fire as a subject divider.

An elder hireling was waiting for them with 3 mules. With the fresh air, the Psychic Tiger’s effects were wearing off. And, because I know Anthony loves airships, an airship was waiting for them, Eberron-style, called the Icarian Delight.

Psychic Tiger Fodder logo with a blue tiger with red eyes and a blue and red lightning bolts and red and blue fire as a subject divider.

The thief died in his sleep, and so the Icarian Delight belonged to Psychic Tiger Fodder made dock at a nearby city.

Mucus joked abounded because I spend my Thursdays gaming with my friends and my dear friends are total monsters. I told them that to the NORTH is the Weeping Ice, to the SOUTH are the Jungle Highways, to the EAST is the 1000 Dukes’ War and the WEST is the Crystal Frontier.

Jeb got his hand taken off by a trusted bone-setter in the city so that the Mummy Rot wouldn’t spread up his arm. He plans to use Plex’s cybernetics, Richter wants nothing to do with the Space Wizard’s influence that might come with the arcane tech.

Psychic Tiger Fodder logo with a blue tiger with red eyes and a blue and red lightning bolts and red and blue fire as a subject divider.

Jeb’s elf-dagger got nabbed by a metal statue’s magnetic pull, sticking to the statue’s body. When Jeb tried to get the dagger back, the statue animated and knocked him unconscious and when he tried again, under cover of Roddy the Shieldbearer’s shield, it broke Roddy’s ribs. Reluctantly, Jeb left the dagger there. There was no talk at all of taking the statue on to get the dagger back. Would it have gone differently if more STRENGTH checks had been failed and more weapons were stuck to the statue? We will never know.

Psychic Tiger Fodder logo with a blue tiger with red eyes and a blue and red lightning bolts and red and blue fire as a subject divider.

Now what? We have to take next week off. Before the next game I’ll toss out some more ideas. We might run with this one a bit but we’re also at a good stopping point. We’ll see.

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Reddit GM Advice: Three 1d6 Tables, Please No Genocide & the Fantasy Table

Reddit GM Advice: Three 1d6 Tables, Please No Genocide & the Fantasy Table

TEXT: REDDIT GM ADVICE THREAD

PIC: Reddit logo in front of Dice Envy's beautiful rainbow dice set.

I made a list of 3 GM advice subreddits called RefAdvice.

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https://www.patreon.com/emielboven/posts
Emiel Boven's Fun Skulls Subject Divider

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So, I’m currently running a campaign from a book – about half way through – and I was thinking I’d like to create my own one for the next game.
However, whenever I try to think of what should be the most basic question: what is the campaign about? – my mind just goes blank. I just can’t think of a single idea, not even a bad one. I’m not a creative person at all (which is an understatement) and I’m worried that if I can’t even come up with the main idea, how the hell am I going to build a whole campaign!
Am I going about this the wrong way? Or is this just a sign that I should stick to published campaigns?
Does anyone else get this? If so, what did you do to get past it? (If you did). And where do people get that ideas from? Is there something you do,bor do they just come to you?
Don’t try to think of a campaign. Try this:
Think of a fantasy realm. Picture it. Daydream about it for a while. How does the government work. What would it look like in a perfect world. Don’t worry about adventures yet. Just daydream about it. Jot down some notes. Maybe a holiday name or what the government looks like or what a city or castle looks like from a distance.
Now, you’ve got this fantastic table.
Kick out a leg. Break it. That perfect government has a problem, a huge problem that is causing more and more issues.
Ask the players to fix that problem.
Go from there.


As mentioned below, you do not have to create a huge sprawling campaign. You can also just run a few one-page dungeons and see what grows out of it.
One Page Dungeon Contest
Favorite One Page Dungeon Thread
And another fav 1 page dungeon thread
And one more…
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Campaign Ideas: Lots of Little Ideas 1

Campaign Ideas: Lots of Little Ideas 1

Campaign Pitch: My goal with these posts is to have a bunch of blog posts that friends could scan when we want to play something new or when gamer friends are visiting or when someone needs ideas. I’ve got a few still baking and so when this reddit thread inspired the above, I thought it might make for a good Campaign Ideas thread with lots of little ideas.

Don’t tell the folks who have been playing lots of “gather pieces of the triforce/One Ring to defeat the Big Evil” that building might look a bit like that. I’d like to think that it will feel different, that hiring artisans and dealing with magic spirits and such will change the face of building.

What is it like building a cathedral when a deity is in direct contact with their worshippers or might even show up?

Watch out for C.I.A. colonial “nation-building” with this kind of idea. I’m not saying it can’t be a fantasy campaign, just know that it is there and what the histories behind these kinds of interactions have been.

Information and data are the treasures. Publishing said data is glory. See also my all-too-dark take on Strixhaven’s fantasy academia. I nixed every running such a game because my friends who work or have worked in or near academia are too scarred to game it.

The key to this one, for me, is that the organization is actually worth building and worth supporting. I’m picturing the org having its own character sheet, like the Crew Sheets in Blades in the Dark.

Revolution makes for fun gaming. We’ve done it. Bonus points if, in order to destroy something, you have to create something else – build allies, be diplomatic, etc.

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Reddit GM Advice: Lore EVERYWHERE, 1st Campaign Set-up, Cyberpunk Vecna

Reddit GM Advice: Lore EVERYWHERE, 1st Campaign Set-up, Cyberpunk Vecna

TEXT: REDDIT GM ADVICE THREAD

PIC: Reddit logo in front of Dice Envy's beautiful rainbow dice set.

I made a list of 3 GM advice subreddits called RefAdvice.

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https://www.patreon.com/emielboven/posts
Emiel Boven's Fun Skulls Subject Divider

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https://www.patreon.com/emielboven/posts
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https://www.patreon.com/emielboven/posts
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Campaign Ideas: Cleaning out the crypts for the republic

Campaign Ideas: Cleaning out the crypts for the republic

Campaign Pitch: Since the feudal system was dismantled, the (not noble, never call them nobles) entitled’s crypts have been exploding with angry undead, irate that the common-folk have had the audacity to rise up and govern themselves.

The Guild is hiring, desperate for steady hands who can delve into the tombs the city was built on. Don’t listen to the undead entitled who will tell you that they are legends and you are nothing, that you have no place wielding weapons and should have been happy toiling for your betters in the fields. Scatter their bones and reclaim their treasure to fund the building of a better world.

Who is in this crypt?

Entitled Myths d66
Olde Titles d6

In the building of crypts, as usual, Dyson Logos has us covered under their blog’s crypt tag or we could rock out with the Dungeon Geomorphs tag, number the geomorphs and make a bunch of crypts.

Make a map of the city (the mercenaries post has fun links for city-making). Daydream about adventure ideas outside the city in distant places where monarchy’s fell lies still have roots. Daydream about how religion is handling all of this.

What game could we run this in?

Old School EssentialsCairnErrantTroikaIronsworn, the Whitehack, World of Dungeons and Worlds Without Number all come to mind as possibilities.

Might have to write up a follow-up blog post with a quick Into the Odd hack (as I’ve been doing lately). That said, if I wanted to get started right away, I think this could work with Into the Odd’s chargen right out of the book without too much trouble.

Might look back on the Republic founded on dead gods to get some setting inspiration.

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astion Free Library
Cataloging the stars above
Accessing the mysteries below

with a pic of a building with a star on its roof and some kind of symbol at its foundation and a book at its center

100% of Artist's Proceeds go to the National Center for Transgender Equality

Shown on a stone-colored t-shirt
https://shopofjudd.threadless.com/designs/bastion-free-library
Reddit GM Advice – Fun Posters, Blades in Waterdeep & First Adventure

Reddit GM Advice – Fun Posters, Blades in Waterdeep & First Adventure

TEXT: REDDIT GM ADVICE THREAD

PIC: Reddit logo in front of Dice Envy's beautiful rainbow dice set.

I made a list of 3 GM advice subreddits called RefAdvice.

Emiel Boven's Fun Skulls Subject Divider

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
https://www.patreon.com/emielboven/posts
Emiel Boven's Fun Skulls Subject Divider

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
https://www.patreon.com/emielboven/posts
Emiel Boven's Fun Skulls Subject Divider

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
https://www.patreon.com/emielboven/posts
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Campaign Ideas: Mercenaries

Campaign Ideas: Mercenaries

Campaign Pitch: Players are the leadership in a mercenary company, hired to hold a city. The monarch who hired you died and you doubt that you will ever be paid. The highborn are dividing up the map and it is only a matter of time before they turn their greedy eyes to you. Also, your soldiers need pay.

Add sorcery and such to taste.

We could spend time discussing the fantasy system (Into the Odd has been a choice I’m fond of lately but I’ve heard good things about MCDM’s Kingdoms and Warfare & Strongholds and Followers) but I’m assuming that you are going to use your favorite system that allows for some kind of strategic mass battle mechanics of some kind. Let’s get to the real star of this thing – the map of the city.

There’s the Medieval Fantasy City Generator, in which the first 2 cities I asked it to make were total winners. There’s a part of one city called Pig Chapel.

We could always grab a beautiful City or Town map from Dyson Logos:

I liked this map making technique that I used to make a Gnome university city:

Or we could get gritty and grab a real medieval city map. The Smithsonian just made a few million assets open source, surely one of them is a medieval map. Revolutionary War Yorktown would totally work.

Direct capture

Looking at the work of Ernest C. Peixotto makes me want to change the whole thing to a fantasy muskets.

Prep I’d want to do:

Factions within the city (guilds, landowners, religious organizations, captured highborn to ransom)

Factions outside of the city (other mercenary companies holding bridges, castles, etc., cities, towns, castles, towers along rivers and roads, knights turned bandit in the midst of war, carrion picking at the bones, merchants profiting from war)

A little bit about the history of the city’s sieges

Anyway, you get the idea – war is hell, so-called nobles are anything but noble, you are in charge of a city without any training or background to running said city – LET’S PLAY. Bonus points if your mercs have hearts because hey, this is fantasy.

The comments and replies on Mastadon have been really cool.

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