Laidback DM: Pathfinder 2e Review

I bought copies of the Pathfinder 2nd edition Core Rulebook and Bestiary the other week, and after a solid read (they are over 600 and 200 pages respectively) here are my thoughts on the game. Pros: Great layout and design – tabs and index make it easier to find stuff. The PDF is also fullyContinue reading “Laidback DM: Pathfinder 2e Review”

Laidback DM: Keeping Secrets

Are you one of those DMs who finds it hard keeping secrets from your players? This may be the case if you see your players regularly, through work, school or at the pub, and enjoy talking about your game. You may find it’s hard not to blurt out some spoilers. But think about it. SpoilersContinue reading “Laidback DM: Keeping Secrets”

Laidback DM: Easier Encumbrance

Do you use the encumbrance rules as written in 5e? I don’t. I find them…cumbersome, if you’ll excuse the pun. Of all the rules brought across from the various old editions, counting weight in pounds and applying it to a factor multiplied by strength is just tedious. There’s enough math in the game without thatContinue reading “Laidback DM: Easier Encumbrance”

Laidback DM: Alignments in Games

Alignments are a leftover from the days of old school role playing. Originally there were three—Lawful, Neutral and Chaotic. Then Mr. Gygax decided in AD&D that he’d spice it up a little by adding Good, Neutral and Evil suffixes to provide a bit more clarity. But are alignments necessary in a D&D game? Players andContinue reading “Laidback DM: Alignments in Games”

Laidback DM: Shotglass Adventures II available in print!

The products from my last Kickstarter, including Shotglass Adventures II, are now available in PDF/print on DrivethruRPG. Here’s a look at the printed version of the book: SHOTGLASS ADVENTURES II For D&D 5e and other OSR fantasy role playing games. • 10 one-shot adventures for characters of 6th-10th level, including murder, dungeon crawl, gauntlet, planar,Continue reading “Laidback DM: Shotglass Adventures II available in print!”

Laidback DM: Playing in the Sandbox

So what exactly is a sandbox? And how does it relate to RPGs? ‘Sandboxing’ is where you let your players loose in the world to do whatever they want. Give them a map and they decide where they go and what they do. Consequently, the world is built around their actions. It’s a bit likeContinue reading “Laidback DM: Playing in the Sandbox”

Laidback DM: Saving Throws – the Nat 20 Bonus

So you scored a natural 20 on that saving throw? Awesome. You passed. Doesn’t sound as great when you think about it, now does it. But what if you got something a little extra to celebrate with? Here’s some ideas that won’t break the rule bank. Obviously you only get to choose one of theseContinue reading “Laidback DM: Saving Throws – the Nat 20 Bonus”

Splitting the Party: strength in numbers? Nah!!

Every time I GM an RPG, whether it be D&D, Stars Without Number, Numenera, Kids On Bikes or another genre, the players take it upon themselves to split their party because some want to do one thing and others want to do another (usually because strong personalities compete). And every time they do it, theContinue reading “Splitting the Party: strength in numbers? Nah!!”

Fantasy Maps – hand drawn vs. digital

I’m a huge fan of maps. I draw lots of them, and occasionally give them away free on this site. But I’m a bit old school when it comes to my preferences. I love hand drawn maps, but I’m not a fan of digital maps. Why don’t I like fully digitally created maps? They takeContinue reading “Fantasy Maps – hand drawn vs. digital”

Flanking: Good Team Work or Unbalancing the Game?

Flanking is an optional rule in D&D 5e, generally used with miniatures (although you can also use it in theater-of-the-mind combat if you want—I do). Flanking is where two or more miniatures ‘surround’ another (which we’ll call the 3rd), on directly opposite sides. The theory is that the 2nd miniature is distracting the 3rd whileContinue reading “Flanking: Good Team Work or Unbalancing the Game?”

Critical Hits – spicing up the natural 20 in D&D 5e

So, you rolled a 1 on d20 attack roll. It means you categorically missed, no matter what your modifier. The opposite goes when rolling a 20 on d20 attack roll. You hit and get to roll your weapon’s damage dice twice, adding any relevant modifier after. I’ve seen lots of items supporting Critical Fails (checkContinue reading “Critical Hits – spicing up the natural 20 in D&D 5e”

Shotglass Adventures 2 Preview

Hi all, Here’s a little preview of the adventures and contents of SA2, currently on Kickstarter! The adventures are for D&D Fifth Edition (the current version of the game) and Old School Revival (OSR) games like Swords and Wizardry, OSRIC, White Box and Dungeon Crawl Classics (to name a few). Here’s a taste: I’ve uppedContinue reading “Shotglass Adventures 2 Preview”

Shotglass Adventures II is Coming!

SHOTGLASS ADVENTURES II is the sequel to the successful Shotglass Adventures Volume 1 Kickstarter in March! Published under the OGL and compatible with 5e and other OSR fantasy role playing games, SHOTGLASS ADVENTURES II  is currently 52 pages long, but will be longer once stretch goals are included. Inside you’ll find: · 10 ‘adventure-on-a-page (orContinue reading “Shotglass Adventures II is Coming!”

Connectable Town Maps Volumes 1 & 2 and Maps for Fantasy RPGs available now!

Connectable Town Maps Volumes 1 & 2 Ever had your players wander into one of those random towns along the road and start raising a ruckus, just because they could? I have. Players are nothing if not unpredictable. In fact, they’re predictably unpredictable. That’s why I put together these little maps packages – Connectable TownContinue reading “Connectable Town Maps Volumes 1 & 2 and Maps for Fantasy RPGs available now!”

Shotglass Adventures available now in Print and PDF!

Hi All! SHOTGLASS ADVENTURES, my first D&D 5e/Old School Revolution (OSR) role playing game book, is now available at DrivethruRPG, the world’s largest online role playing game store. SHOTGLASS ADVENTURES is published under the OGL and compatible with 5e and other OSR fantasy role playing games. Inside this 52-page book you’ll find: 10 ‘adventure-on-a-page’ one-shotContinue reading “Shotglass Adventures available now in Print and PDF!”

Laidback DM: Condition Cards, Initiative Cards and Critical Fumble Cards

Hi All I’ve started selling some products on DriveThruRPG.com, the biggest seller of online role playing game PDFs in the world! My intention is to release more products onto the site for 5e and OSR gamers, including Shotglass Adventures, once the Kickstarter is completed. My handy Initiative Cards are a no-fuss turn order tracker, whetherContinue reading “Laidback DM: Condition Cards, Initiative Cards and Critical Fumble Cards”

Laidback DM: Trading Places

During long campaigns, some players might not turn up for sessions, some might retire, new players will join. There are good reasons for changes in your ongoing cast—work and family commitments, sports, meetings and significant events in peoples’ lives. And some players just move on because your game might not be what they’re looking for.Continue reading “Laidback DM: Trading Places”

Laidback DM: Shotglass Adventures in Print!

Hi All, The print proof for Shotglass Adventures arrived today and I just finished sending rewards emails to all the Kickstarter Supporters (who get a digital copy for free, along with all the digital stretch goal rewards shown at the bottom of this post, and have the option to purchase a softcover book version atContinue reading “Laidback DM: Shotglass Adventures in Print!”

Laidback DM: Free Map – Sewer Neighbours

Time for a free map! I love drawing maps for Dungeons & Dragons adventures. I have far too many, though, so I give away my hand-drawn maps any chance I get. This week: Sewer Neighbours There’s nothing like neighbours who don’t get along. Four lairs, all next to each other, all causing a problem forContinue reading “Laidback DM: Free Map – Sewer Neighbours”

Laidback DM: Have Merc(er)y on Me

Matt Mercer hosts Critical Role on YouTube, one of the many D&D online channels that have helped propel the game’s popularity into the stratosphere, and is arguably one of the best DMs around. A trained voice actor, he has a wonderful storytelling ability and excels at immersive and engaging story telling. And for the restContinue reading “Laidback DM: Have Merc(er)y on Me”

Laidback DM: Villains – upping the ante

Role playing games enable players to take part in their own ongoing TV show—a soap opera of sorts, with a growing number of support characters, a fantastic and evolving environment, and ongoing stories linked to the players’ backgrounds and adventures. As with any melodrama, what can make or break a long form story is theContinue reading “Laidback DM: Villains – upping the ante”

Laidback DM: Free Map – Tinsen’s Bluff

Time for a free map! I love drawing maps for Dungeons & Dragons adventures. I have far too many, though, so I give away my hand-drawn maps any chance I get. This week: Tinsen’s Bluff From a recent adventure I ran for my 13th-level players. Tinsen’s Bluff was a quiet backwater until the people startedContinue reading “Laidback DM: Free Map – Tinsen’s Bluff”

Laidback DM: Free Map – Elemental Cruxis

Time for a free map! I love drawing maps for Dungeons & Dragons adventures. I have far too many, though, so I give away my hand-drawn maps any chance I get. This week: Elemental Cruxis The party have to recover elemental seeds from each part of the cruxis, teleporting from the column room to eachContinue reading “Laidback DM: Free Map – Elemental Cruxis”

Laidback DM: Free Map – Ruined Tower and Crypts

Time for a free map! I love drawing maps for Dungeons & Dragons adventures. I have far too many, though, so I give away my hand-drawn maps any chance I get. This week: Ruined Tower and Crypts Here’s a map you can spring on your players. The labels may be misleading – after all, theContinue reading “Laidback DM: Free Map – Ruined Tower and Crypts”

Laidback DM: Free Map – Mountain Monastery

Time for a free map! I love drawing maps for Dungeons & Dragons adventures. I have far too many, though, so I give away my hand-drawn maps any chance I get. This week: Mountain Monastery Nothing like a remote mountain monastery and temple full of crazed monks for the player characters to discover. Not onlyContinue reading “Laidback DM: Free Map – Mountain Monastery”

Laidback DM: Free Map – Serial Killer Inn

Time for a free map! I love drawing maps for Dungeons & Dragons adventures. I have far too many, though, so I give away my hand-drawn maps any chance I get. This week: Serial Killer Inn The party stops overnight on the road between adventures. It just so happens this roadside inn is run byContinue reading “Laidback DM: Free Map – Serial Killer Inn”

Laidback DM: Free Map – Above and Below

Time for a free map! I love drawing maps for Dungeons & Dragons adventures. I have far too many, though, so I give away my hand-drawn maps any chance I get. This week: Above and Below An interdimensional nexus created by a mad wizard, ‘Above and Below’ features moving corridors and rooms that rise upContinue reading “Laidback DM: Free Map – Above and Below”

Laidback DM: Free Map! Giant Mound

Time for a free map! I love drawing maps for Dungeons & Dragons adventures. I have far too many, though, so I give away my hand-drawn maps any chance I get. This week: Giant Mound You can use this map for any kind of giant insect or burrowing animal you like: Giant Ants (KTOB), BurrowlingsContinue reading “Laidback DM: Free Map! Giant Mound”

Laidback DM: Free Map – Tower and Undertemple

Time for a free map! I love drawing maps for Dungeons & Dragons adventures. I have far too many, though, so I give them away any chance I get. This week: Tower and Undertemple Local villagers have been going crazy after visiting a ruined tower on a peak not far from town. Something has beenContinue reading “Laidback DM: Free Map – Tower and Undertemple”

Laidback DM: Free Map – Big Bad Boss Castle

Time for a free map! I love drawing maps for Dungeons & Dragons adventures. I have far too many, though, so I give them away any chance I get. This week: Big Bad Boss Castle Yep – there’s always an endgame, and the Big Bad Boss is the dude or dudette at the end ofContinue reading “Laidback DM: Free Map – Big Bad Boss Castle”

Laidback DM: Free Map – Clifftop Temple

Time for a free map! I love drawing maps for D&D adventures. I have far too many, though, so I give them away any chance I get. This week: Clifftop Temple After climbing all the way to the top of the cliff, the PCs must bypass the Animated Armours (MM), various traps and crazed ZombieContinue reading “Laidback DM: Free Map – Clifftop Temple”

Laidback DM: Free Map – Entombed!

Time for a free map! I love drawing maps for D&D adventures. I have far too many, though, so I give them away any chance I get. This week: Entombed! This partly collapsed tomb features magic guardian statues in the reception antechamber, a number of sarcophagi with undead occupants, treasure rooms and narrow tunnels, homeContinue reading “Laidback DM: Free Map – Entombed!”

Laidback DM: Free Maps – Four Encounter Settings

Time for some free maps! I love drawing maps for D&D adventures. I have far too many, though, so I give them away any chance I get. This week: Four Encounter Settings Here are four maps that I’d call basic encounter settings: a small mansion, a country farm, a tiny temple and a mountain pass.Continue reading “Laidback DM: Free Maps – Four Encounter Settings”

Laidback DM: New Approaches to Inspiration Rewards

D&D fifth edition (or 5e) has this lovely little bonus for players called ‘inspiration’. It’s an extra d20 that is awarded to the player for doing something cool, great role playing, etc. They can use it to re-roll a d20 roll they’ve failed. It’s a groovy concept, but it is a bit limiting (they canContinue reading “Laidback DM: New Approaches to Inspiration Rewards”

Laidback DM: The Virtues of the Mini-Campaign

I like short role playing game (RPG) campaigns. That’s not to say I don’t like the occasional long-termer, but mini-campaigns (say, around 3-4 months) are my current preference. For those not in the know, a campaign is a series of adventures linked by a common thread or goal—a bit like a season of a modernContinue reading “Laidback DM: The Virtues of the Mini-Campaign”

Laidback DM: Avoiding The TPK

As DMs, we’ve all done it at some time or other: we’ve killed the entire party and drained the fun out of the D&D session. Sometimes it’s unintentional, sometimes it’s mean spirited, sometimes it’s to punish players for being complete d$&@s. But no matter how you look at it, the Total Party Kill (TPK) isContinue reading “Laidback DM: Avoiding The TPK”

Laidback DM: Free Map – Duergar Stronghold

Time for a free map! I love drawing maps for D&D adventures. I have far too many, though, so I give them away any chance I get. This week: Duergar Stronghold Down into the Underdark we go, to a Duergar Stronghold protecting the only bridge connecting north and south for 300 miles! What are theContinue reading “Laidback DM: Free Map – Duergar Stronghold”

Symbaroum – a tabletop fantasy RPG that reeks of deep darkness, blighted evil and drawn out death. Fun!

Originally posted on Laidback DM: SteveStillStanding.com :
(“You and your crazy role playing games,” says Alpha Girl surveying the books, sheets and dice on the kitchen table. “You’ve even got Beta Max involved.” “It’s all good fun,” says Beta Max, rolling a handful of dice and cheering at the result. “Another dead goblin, thank you…

Laidback DM: D&D 5e Rules Summaries

Hi All! I’ve been DM’ing and playing D&D 5e since the new version premiered (and AD&D – or 1e – previously), and like many people I occasionally forget rules. So, I created a few placemats your players can use as reminders. Starter Placemat – Laidback DM – stevestillstanding (just click on this link) This oneContinue reading “Laidback DM: D&D 5e Rules Summaries”

Laidback DM – Free Map! Dungeon A La Carte

Time for a free map! I love drawing maps for D&D adventures. I have far too many, though, so I give them away any chance I get. This week: Dungeon A La Carte A simple dungeon map I drew with a 1st-level party in mind. Some easy monsters, a few traps: the north-east room fillsContinue reading “Laidback DM – Free Map! Dungeon A La Carte”