Shake. A poem.

What slumber is this?
How far deep in waking dreams
Did this course of action
Decide progress beyond
Frank anticipation?

Shudder under a veil
Of night as black as pitch
That sinks thought
As dark as tar and deep
Into this vale we’ll toil,
Until the morning sun
Casts glimmers of wistful
Hope on towers pert and bold.

Then shake this sermon
From me with a kiss
.

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

I Tried. A poem.

I tried to make you happy
And not to bring you down
But again I failed so inevitably
Thorny crown upon my brow

I tried to make you happy
But perhaps the stage was set
For another lonely scene of remonstrance
A monologue of regret

I tried to make you happy
But it seems to be my fate
To swim against a surly tide
And to drown in history’s wake

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Sh&t Show. A poem.

This sh&t show never ends
I would change the channel
But the remote’s on the fritz
And there’s nothing else
Worthwhile on anyway
And even if there was
I’m too apathetic to care
And too down to get up today
Too spent to make some change

And too

Too

This sh&t show never ends
Until I
Finally

Tell it to

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Currents and Whirlpools. A poem.

Somewhere along the way
I lost sight of yesterday

Drifting on currents and whirlpools

Threatening to take me
Down to places I’d rather not be

And so I fell as deeply as one could
As far down as one never ever should
A stone and leaden weight
Sinking deeper into fate

Violent currents and whirlpools

Threatening to spin me right around
To run my hard fought world aground
Like a ship without a helm
Like a lifetime overwhelmed

And after all that, I survived
Left somewhat ragged and indecisive
Yet I struggled, rose to my feet
An embittered revolutionary

Fighting currents and whirlpools

(That won’t take me there again
Won’t spin me down the drain)

Although I live with constant hurt
The culmination of this work
I will walk with head held high
Still standing and not crying

And to all those currents and whirlpools

I am not afraid of you

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

My Lady Waits. A poem.

My lady waits in conscious thought,
Precluded and abstaining,
With fickle motions bought
And sold in a moment’s notice.
She stands and lies and shivers,
Like summer rainfall or icy leaves
At winter’s end, when all delights
Must finally shake those fickle traces
And embrace their bitter finality.

My lady waits and presents
Herself to me, and now I shiver
As the wind that fills my heart
And blinded, new swept soul
Lifts me up and casts me aside
In another long felt gesture
Of indignation and unkempt desire.

My lady waits for me,
And I listen for her call.

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Laidback DM – Free D&D 5e Adventure

Hi all,

Here’s a free copy of one of my adventures from Shotglass Adventures volume 1. It was a winner in the 2019 One-Page Dungeon Contest.

This image is 1200 dpi so you can view it easily on tablets and PCs. Just right click on laptop/PC or hold your finger on the image on your phone or tablet to save it, then print and play!

Laidback DM Free Dungeon

And if you like that, why not check out my other products, available at DriveThruRPG!  Click on the link below for more.

Game on!

Steve 😊

 

For more Laidback DM posts, click here.​ ​

You can find my D&D 5e and OSR products at​ https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/13989/Laidback-DM MYPWDF Ad - Laidback DM

Laidback DM – Running Big Parties

Nope – this isn’t a post about hosting huge drunkfests the whole street will remember. But nerdfests? Bring it on…

There’s a reason most modules are written for four players. Over time this was considered the average number of players most DMs could get together for one game session. Times have changed though, and with D&D reaching a level of popularity far beyond the original golden years of the ‘80’s, parties are bigger, tables are bigger and the associated problems of running games are bigger. Yep, facilitating large parties of players can be fun, but they can also be awkward and fatiguing. I’ve regularly run large parties of players. Here’s a few things I’ve learned over the years to help run big games and avoid some of the pitfalls.

  • Set ground rules – this is important for any game, especially big groups as they can become unruly faster than a smaller one. Establish your basic game ground rules early: no insulting, no vilification, don’t humiliate other players, etc. get your players’ input in coming up with ground rules so the group is not only accepting but knows where they shouldn’t go regarding discussions/behaviours.
  • Involve everyone – managing a party of players is like managing a team in a workplace – everyone has different strengths and motivations. Over time you’ll get to know your players well, and you’ll know what best motivates and engages them. Use that knowledge. Directly involve your players in some time of the administration functions of the game. Got some who are rules experts? Ask them for help on rules decisions, if needed. Got overly responsible players? Let them take over roles like organising initiative, mapping, marching orders, etc. Got vocal players? Give them opportunities to role play and describe their scenes. Got quiet players? Be inclusive, give them opportunities to speak and be heard. Give everybody opportunities to shine. In short, let them make your job as a DM easier, while playing to each player’s core strengths and motivations.
  • Manage the pace – make sure the story is moving along. This may sound a little obvious, and it’s true for any game, no matter what size: slow pacing kills engagement. Make sure your game doesn’t drag. If the wilderness encounters are tedious, drop them and so a travel montage instead. Better still, get one of your players to describe the flow of days on the road. If there’s a part of the adventure that’s boring, move through it quickly. And combat? “Many battles do not a good game make,” said Yoda. Even if your party are die hard hack-and-slashers, every game should be a balance of role play and combat, so that everyone gets to do something they enjoy.
  • Let your players contribute to the story – give each of your players the time to describe what they do in down time, or how they react to a new environment or new NPC. But beware the over-talker! If someone’s going on too long and the other players are switching off, acknowledge that player’s contribution and continue to move the game forward.
  • Run faster combats – big parties mean more down time between turns. This is ok for those players who are intensely involved or planning their upcoming turn, but there will be a few who aren’t – playing with phones or side conversations about non-game stuff are an indicator. Use faster combat to keep players engaged. Forego some of the lengthy descriptions of battle. Make the combat fast and keep everyone involved and excited. Theater of the mind becomes tricky the more players and monsters are involved, but it’s still quicker than using a grid. That said, the bigger the party, the better a grid for combat becomes as it’s easier to manage where the PCs are in relation to opponents. It’s your call, just remember to drop the unnecessary bits.
  • Increase the challenges – as mentioned earlier, adventures are generally written for four players. If you have more, up the ante. Parties of eight are easy – just double the number of bad guys. But what about the big bad? Rather than duplicate him/her, increase their hit points. Give them legendary actions. Up their armor class. Give them a powerful magic item to wield (if they don’t have one already). Remember, the more players, the more actions they have and the more hits the bad guys take, thus lessening the threat. You need to counter player character overkill by ensuring each combat encounter and the final boss remain suitably epic.
  • Consider more role playing opportunities – large parties of people respond like large groups of people. Often they split into cliques, or favour particular people in the group they know or identify with. Role playing encounters give an opportunity for groups to play as a party and introduce some ‘game’ conflict into the mix. Just make sure it doesn’t become REAL conflict – as facilitator, maintain control of the flow of discussion and immediately cut off anything that vilifies or denigrates another player.

Big parties are lots of fun to run. Just make sure they don’t run all the way over you.

Game on!

Steve 🙂

PS Do you have any hints for running big parties? Leave a comment! Heck, I’ll even respond to the ones about wild drunkfests.

For more Laidback DM posts, click here.​ ​

You can find my D&D 5e and OSR products at​ https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/13989/Laidback-DM
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Laidback DM: Pathfinder 2e Reviews – Lost Omens Character Guide

I’ve been buying most of the Pathfinder 2e products, so I may as well review them.

Paizo has a monthly release schedule for their products, which is great for those of us with collector mentalities that like to have everything (but terrible for our erstwhile budgets). I was pretty impressed with the Lost Omens World Guide, so it was a no brainer I would pick up the Lost Omens Character Guide.

A slim volume at 135 pages, the Character Guide manages to squeeze a lot of content in. There is expanded lore for all the Core Rulebook ancestries, new heritages and ancestry-specific feats. I was most interested in the new ancestries: the militaristic Hobgoblin; nature guardian Leshies (I love how Gourd Leshies can store physical objects inside their hollow heads); the patient and adaptable Lizardfolk. Each of these ancestries has multiple heritages with specific abilities, and ancestry feats. Want a Lizardfolk from the desert – try the Sandstrider. Or maybe an Unseen Lizardfolk which has chameleon abilities. How about an Elfbane Hobgoblin with resistance to elvish magic? Leaf Leshies are so light they can fall any distance and not be hurt.

One of my criticisms of the P2e Core Rulebook was the lack of new ancestries other than the Goblin, but these additional ones start to make up for that. They are all substantially different from the D&D takes on these races and there is the promise of more to come.

Next up is organisations, with detailed entries on the ostentatious Firebrands, the dogmatic Hellknights, stalwart Knights of Lastwall, the ancient magical Magaambya, and the adventurous Pathfinder Society. Not only is there a wealth of information on these organisations, how PCs join them and how each organisation relates to one other, there’s also loads of new items specific to each group, new abilities and archetypes, and feats galore. The Firebrands have access to an Insistent Door Knocker that whispers hints to you when you’re trying to unlock another door. Knights of Lastwall gain access to the new Sun Blade spell. Magaambyan attendants can gain Mask Familiars.

This book is a treasure trove of ideas for P2e players, especially those who like to get deep into their character’s background story and customise their skill sets appropriately. GMs will be happy, as well. Aside from all the lore available, the end of the book includes an NPC gallery with low and high level NPCs from each organisation, along with guidelines to apply themed templates to create organisation NPCs at differing levels and using other ancestries.

Paizo has impeccable production standards for their products, but it doesn’t make them perfect. I’ve mentioned before I’m not a fan of having rules and information spread out over multiple books. There are feats and archetypes in the Lost Omens World Guide that flow into some of the archetypes in this book. When you look at that book and this one, it seems like one book was split into two to ensure a regular flow of product. I have no problem with companies safeguarding their bottom line, especially when the products they produce are so good, but I usually like to have most things in one place. I’m not a fan of lugging my books around, so I use PDFs on a tablet for reference during games. Even jumping between PDFs can be a pain, but I am happy Paizo had the foresight to include page references when referring to feats or archetypes in other books. I guess I’ll just have to live with an annoyingly high number of rules sources.

Lost Omens Character Guide is a worthy addition to your P2e library (and believe me, with all the content being released, it becomes a library VERY quickly). There’s great content here for players and GMs, and it will definitely add some spice to your herb rack (a terrible analogy, but you know what I mean).

Rating: 9/10

For more Laidback DM posts, click here.​ ​

You can find my D&D 5e and OSR products at​ https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/13989/Laidback-DM
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