Railroading or Player-Centric plot?

Good evening everyone and welcome to a bit of a discussion around Railroading or Player-Centric plot.

When it comes down to the definition of railroading it boils down to, basically the following. “The DM taking control of the outcomes of the adventure despite the actions of the players”.

The beginning

When I was a 5 year old boy learning D&D from my dad railroading wasn’t a concept. No really. It wasn’t. You would play an adventure, go from point A-B. You would track the bandits to their lair that had been overrun with stirge’s, find the mcguffin and bring it back to the nearby village. That was it. The adventure really became a single road leading to adventure, combat and loot. Even the adventure books that came out during that time also were of the same page. A single adventure, albeit longer, where you went from A-B and then to C after you had found out that NPC1 was really BBEG2. Or something like that.

This made it easy to DM. In fact all you needed was one adventure, the plot hook and all you had to do was run it using your prep sheet. You had to improvise around the decisions during the adventure of course but this wasn’t hard to do. As the DM you knew your NPCs, the map and the creatures. You didn’t have to worry about what was off the beaten track and your players knew it.

The players came in expecting adventure, they were trained mercenaries, henchmen or heroes and they had a job to do. They had to explore the hidden dungeon, find the mad alchemists lair and defeat the golems within. These heroes didn’t care for the nearby keep – that was another adventure and this alchemist was dangerous. And so the adventures went like that. Each session a new adventure, a new story and new things to see and explore – but all prepared for by a Dungeon Master who spent hours on it for the players, and their, enjoyment.

The shift

You remember Skyrim? maybe it was your first RPG. For me Neverwinter nights was my first digital RPG and boy was it great. You could move through the towns, buildings, dungeons and sewers and learn and do anything. But there were doors that needed keys and those keys were kept by holders of the plot. You couldn’t continue to the next town until you had done the quest before hand. And you couldn’t do that quest until you completed the one currently assigned to you. Yes the bakers wife would ask you to kil lrats in her basement as a side quest – but you didn’t leave the city until much later.

With the rise of open world games and bigger RPGs, like Skyrim, we saw the humble style of fun weekender-one-shots step aside for long winded campaigns that were completely driven by players decisions. This makes it harder to plan and organise for the DM, which is 100% fine. But the counter argument is if the story is that an evil wizard is in a castle to the north you want the party to find that castle. You don’t want them exploring the swamp-islands to the south where the cannibalistic tribes of Kuthrapika hunt the marshy waterways. Though – that does sound fun now doesn’t it?

Railroading or Player-Centric plot?

The rise of “your decisions, your story” is putting the classic “Your decisions, my quest” in a negative light in some circles. This unrealistic expectation of the DM shifting, changing and maintaining multiple story lines and bending the game that they facilitate (yes.. the big F word..) makes it harder to convince players to come along with you on the journey through the adventure you have crafted.

The old saying of “it takes two to tango” is so true with D&D these days and the real quest is getting the players to care about your story enough and stick to it and not go looking for adventure but trust that you have it in spades, waiting for them to come along for the journey.

Well that’s it for me tonight. Don’t forget to come back tomorrow night where I will take you through the weekly write-up and look to finish up this month. If you have a different view on railroading let us know, let’s talk about it openly from players and dungeon masters alike as the game has changed heaps since I was a kid and the adventure needs to work for both DM and player.

Don’t forget to read up on the past week, look out for new stat-blocks and potential new items for our adventurers in the coming posts and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

Trading Post

Tonight I want to put a bit of inspiration out there whether its the beginning of an adventure or the plot of a one shot time will tell. Traditionally D&D adventures start in a tavern, or an Inn but what about a Trading Post – someplace that’s not soo different to the norm. So let me know if you believe that it would be a good start to a campaign, all campaigns (instead of the traditional “you meet at an inn” or the theme of a one shot adventure.

So sit back, have a mug, or bucket, of coffee and enjoy.

Brazen’s Trading Post

As the last of the walls came up and boxed in the frame he stood there as his faithful animal companion honked next to him. Reaching out he scratched the ears of the oddity and looked to the cart it carried which held several lengths of timber for the beams of the roof.

“Well old girl, its the end of an era. We wont be going on many adventures any more but we can at least help those that still have that drive.” He said as he grabbed a large fibrous bag of kibble for the creature. The creature honked, a weird grunting honk, in thanks as it chewed down into the food whilst he began to move the beams off the cart. His arms flexed as they braced for the weight, the solid redwood beams still felt heavy despite the enchanted gear he was wearing.

Lifting the beams up onto the next level of scaffolding was slow work, getting up the three levels of the new building wasn’t the hardest part though. Squeezing the large materials for the building between his new building and the two neighbouring established houses was. Duck honked a warning just in time for him to catch the beam before it crashed through the wall of his new neighbours. “Thanks Duck” he called down who dug her head back into the bag, at least he thought she was a she.


As the sun began to set he leant against the large quadruped and looked up at the frame for his new building – a trading post. A place where he could provide experience, wears and services to the new and experienced adventurers. Like he once was. Looking a the scars, scratches and patches of missing fur he remembered the final battle he had taken Duck into, the large reptilian form snaking its way around the pillars. The sheer volume of fangs was daunting enough but the panicked honks increased from Duck as he stood and loosed volley upon volley at the creature. In the end Duck had saved him.

Throwing herself at the creature as he sustained a tail swipe that broke his arm and shattered several ribs. Healing potions kept him alive is what the other adventurers said but he knew differently. The weird creature that he had raised as a chick from a egg is the reason. She is the reason why he gave up adventuring to build this place. A place where his experience, items and knowledge could help those who would befall similar fates to him.

A trading post of not just goods and services but knowledge. Something more valuable than enchanted swords, crossbows or armour. Something that holds the only the truly strong manage to obtain.

Walking down the street with duck walking beside him pulling the empty cart he looked back at their dream. The frame was there, good and strong and tomorrow the roof goes on, then the walls. He glanced to the one finished room he had on the block of land – a stable for Duck where she could be safe and warm. He owed her more than that but she didn’t seem to care – she was just happy to be nearby.

Saying farewell

Hi all and thanks for dropping in for tonights writeup around saying goodbye to a character or NPC.

Now occasionally we will have a PC die and how we handle that generally is based on the circumstances around said perishing. But what about NPCs?

Now I’ve had some campaigns where a random NPC becomes a mascot or sorts and the party would’ve mourned thier passing under most circumstances but as a DM we have full control over when and how NPCs die.

This month, really its been rough for the NPCs, we have had a few NPCs die whether from the Nat attack or after that in defence of Kyoko. Deciding the right time to pull that level and watch the players reactions, who deal with death daily is something that is hard to come to a decision on and for me I am myself a few questions.

1. Is their death driving the plot forward? If the plot progresses and the chance for more adventures and growth for the players and their character then it could be a good time to move on.

2. Does the NPC growing and taking up more and more “screen time” then the players? If yes then its another indicator that it could be the right move.

3. Will the players continue down their adventuring path without this NPC, are they still relevant for future sessions? This one is tricky. If its a no then you can move on easily, but if its a yes then you may need to consider what else you can do to help drive the narrative as a side player. A magical journal that contains the knowledge of the NPC is a common crutch to fall on, or, bringing them back as a guide or spirit. It cheapens their existence and can also grate on some players nerves but if the answers to #1 and #2 were also yes then #3 is almost always a sign for the tigger to be pulled.

I’ve been looking at what can be my mid campaign shift and the migration from one arc to another for a while now and moving from having ” a guide with a plan” to being relatively blind is probably the next step for kyoko and the Party. It outs more emphasis on the party to do more but also fits well with the goals of thr NPCs so it doesn’t feel like a “rocks fall” moment – as much…

When deciding to remind an npc in full or partially from the scene as long as it benefits the story and players then normally it will end fine.

Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for the last of the months Brazen Wolfe Tabletop content and as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,

The Brazen Wolfe

Inspiration points

So I find myself at a crossroads tonight – having had to regretfully pause my games (of Soulbound or dungeons and dragons) for some time but that doesn’t stop my imagination running with the smallest inspiration. Hanging out clothes and having an Ant bite my foot this morning, looking at my ice-themed dice set on my typing desk, the dozens of miniature paints littered through my room or the two odd book shelves, different in so many ways but suiting the same purpose – inspiration can some from single word, a single spark and for me its a constant, distracting and enriching thing to experience.

So tonight I want to share a days, my day today, worth of inspiration with you all.

Animals can be a big inspiration for adventures, taking the smallest (and maybe least favourite – except for centipedes, those things are the worst!) of creatures and one that people are naturally fearful of we can create two adventures complete with hooks, sub hooks, NPCs and places to explore. Let’s look at two animal inspired adventure hooks.


For a very long time ants have always bothered me, mainly for my dislike of socks and the enjoyment I get while walking bear footed across paddocks, roads, yards and so forth. For the town or Berokovia the ants have changed.

Ants the size of dogs have appeared in the villagers barns and houses and the farmer that killed a single ant was seen being dragged into the soil by an ant the size of an ogor. The crops are slowly dwindling but not as fast as the herds of animals which seem to be the preferred prey for the invertebrates. Regardless of aid coming in with the depletion of their livestock and land there isnt much hope for the town of Berokovia.


“Demons!” the first shrieks from a frightened city watch guard filled the tavern as the door slammed shut behind him. “There’s demons in the street, swooping down on large wings to grab at any they can find” behind the panicked shrieks chittering could be heart from the streets.

Giant bats, larger than their normal giant kind, have suddenly started to attack the the City of Milfords Rest, built up around mining in the nearby mines. A new rich gold deposit had been found and the miners, the merchants and prospective prospectors have flocked to the city to work and earn their fortune – however a few nights before the winged mammals appeared in the city people started to go missing in the mines, near the new tunnels opened and all but one were lost. The one that was found was a husk, dried, shrivelled and his face frozen in fear and pain.

Objects. Easily enough I have a set of dice on my table and the d100 is nearly perfectly clear with the sligtest tinge of blue which makes me think of ice. On the other side of my desk is my kids tea-set. A saucer, tea cup and a little wooden spook which was left there from a earlier tea party. Both can inspire adventures just as easily as ants or bats.

Permafrost Dice.

“Woah, hold your horses on that one.” the merchant said as my hand hovered over a nearly clear single dice. “That dice has story behind it and its not a good one” he said as he massaged his, actually quite terribly looking beard.

“They say that the dice belonged to a priest of Lathander who trekked into the far north, past where the sun sets and into the frozen waste lands beyond. There he found a keep which belonged to an ice witch who worshiped one of the devil-rulers from the coldest layer of hell – sworn to end the morning lord. When the two opposing powers finally clashed Lathander ultimately won but not before a blast of frigid hell-rime hit the priest high in his chest – where he kept his lucky dice pouch, they say the dice saved his life that day. He had a complete set too but they have been slowly pawned and distributed across the lands but the owners all die in some way and each time the dice move closer together. I had two of them until a day ago a street urchin ran up and snatched one. I dare say the other dice will be stolen soon and end up in the same horde as the first – but the thief” the man paused tsking. “he will be cold as death soon.”

Tea party

As the party enter the Birchwell woods they come across a curious scene, a man, a dwarf and a sprite sitting down around a felled log having tea. The man and the dwarf look up with fear and sadness in their eyes and start shouting towards the party but some trick of the thick birch trees catches their voices but it looks like they are asking for help.

When the party approach the two they burst into tears. “We told you to run, not to approach. Its too late now, he has seen …”

“why hello there, greetings and good salutations. I am Pix, the Pixie and I want you to join me for a tea and some games!” Pix the blue pixies exclaims excitedly as he flutters overhead an removes a piece of old fabric from a chair revealing the skeleton of what appears to be an elf from quite some time ago. Pushing the bones off the seat and to the forest floor he gestures for the party to come and take a seat. “come, once you start you never want to stop! I promise!” Turning and running as fast as they can the other way the party turn a corner out of the clearing and looking up they see the same scene – Pix grinning at them. “Take a seat, I implore you”

Cinema. It’s now new-age practice for people to borrow plot ideas from cinema. Rings of power, magical swords, wizards, vampires that sparkle instead of burning in the sunlight.. ok maybe not the last one – but movies and TV shows are an easy way to get inspired for adventures and I have two sources today – but they are a bit different to normal inspiration.

200 yards

As the boots met the ground the crowd of spectators cheered for their favourite team, one city against the other, a dozen warriors either side ready to fight – but with a difference. Today they put aside their regular armour and their weapons of choice and today they fight with spiked boots, padded armour with flowing tabards and balls made from leather and magic.

The two sides met in the middle and greeted each other, there was no hostility which was for such a clash as The Blue Wolves were fighting against the Golden Giants – two elite forces who had clashed before. An intense rivalry could be felt across the field into the stands as the two captains stood in front of each other but before the ball could be thrown between the two teams four players from the Blue Wolves fell over, their heads bouncing on the field as they lay motionless except for the steady rise and fall of their chest.

The team was short 4 players and, as it so happened the party had been gifted with front row tickets from a mysterious benefactor just that morning which gave them the chance of filling in for the team if there was need. The captain jogged over and looked worriedly over the party. “Well, you’re not my first pick but let me explain the rules pups. Apart from killing anything goes, we need to get past the other team and throw or kick the ball between the two obsidian pillars. That’s it. If we lose Clovia will take control over the fishing contracts of the northern lake which will cost the city a wagon full of gold. Without those contracts our city will starve. We are relying on you” the captain said as the field guard handed over blue and grey robes and padded armour for the party to don.


As the man moved his troops into a steady line to ward off the right side of the battle board he grinned at his opponent who looked at the encroaching lines with worry. The cavalry, their horses restless for battle moved behind the line troops ready to counter charge, their warriors restless and eager for their blades to meet flesh.

Seeing an opportunity to counter play the opposition requested that his archers advance, peppering the horses with arrows as they did so, but the horses either didn’t feel the sting of barbed tips or didn’t care.

“I need a break, need to replenish the supplies.” the man controlling the cavalry said as he stood, the massive chair he stood on pushed back against the great stone blocks.

Sighing and resting his head on the table the young man looked at his warriors – who looked back.

“Why are you making us do this” they asked, their fear of the giant now not as great as they feared the zombies and undead cavalry who moved across from him. “We don’t want to be part of this sick game! Please let us go home. I have a family.” shouted another.

The giant wiped tears from his eyes. “I am sorry, truly, this is the only wan I can get my family back. He controls the slave market and he agreed that If I beat him in a game of his choosing then I will get my family back, but if I lose then I don’t.”

His elite troops, ones that he had paid a considerable lump of gold for stood near the other humans who were bound by magic in much the same was as the undead were bound to un life. Moving closer to them he spoke as lowly as he could.

“I am counting on you, my heroes, this is the last chance I have and I can’t lose my mother in the same year I lost my father. Please help and I will ensure you are set free with any riches that you want”

Both of these are simply taken from two videos I watched today. 1 – The Australian football Rules I walked in on whilst trying to get my son towards bed and 2, watching a video for a Warhammer reveal today – both can inspire adventures. One was relevant to the genre, one was not but inspiration can come at any moment.

Hopefully what inspired me today can inspire you on your next adventure. Take a moment and consider how the small things, the mundane to us could be magical or mystical – how things taken for granted in our every day lives could actually be something that adventures are made out of.

Thanks for dropping by, don’t forget to come back tomorrow for the end of week writeup and as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

You don’t always need new..

Welcome to a Saturday night pondering system where I out forward the ideas, methods and principles I have for my RPG systems.

Now tonight I wanted to touch on something that I break constantly but never need to, what already exists out there in the dnd 5e ruleset. What I mean by this is, taking last night’s post as an example, you dont need to create new spells to suit a characters play style, theme or otherwise. As an example the creation of an, albeit stronger, new spell that functions like mirror image was primarily to have a bit of flavour added to the spell and make the combat feel foreign and exotic. But just changing the mirror image spell to create bodies made from insects instead of being an illusion would have easily sufficed. The same can be said for, well the original 5e players handbooks list of spells having only a very small number of cold based spells. Changing fire bolt, burning hands, shocking grasp, melfs acid arrows or even fireball to look like frost based spells (ignoring the damage element shift for now) can give the thematic shift that we care about but avoid the balancing act of creating a new suite of spells for our cryomancer.

But if the cold damage replacing the fire damage is really important then the dm (us) can make the changes if it makes sense and doesn’t break the game. From fire to cold isnt that different but from fire to force or radiant/necrotic? Yeah thats something that could have ongoing issues.

We would’ve seen moments on our favourite live play adventure videos or podcasts where the spell is different to what we know it to be, the visuals are different and cool, exciting and fresh and thematically significant for the player. Having a water genasi summoning water bolts and throwing four of them to batter and pierce their enemies as a flavoursome magic missile spell is cool. A cleric of Gond, worshipping artifice and craft could have cogs, gears or divine engines powering their spells like guiding bolt or sacred flame. To take it further that same cleric may summon a mechanical golem or a steampunk piston driven axe as their spiritual weapon. The amount of flexibility and creativity is only stopped by us saying “thats cool, I dig it, what does that look like to you?”

Monsters also come under this. The oni from a few weeks back would have been ideal for a lift and rename from the hobgoblin, and they almost were. Adding or adjusting some flavoursome abilities to suite your campaign can be a great thing, or additional effort for very little value. Instead of making the Toad-kin I could have just given the goblin statblock amphibious trait and call it a day to fit my idea of these toad-like people.

Everytime we go to make a new item, spell, creature or whatever its a balancing act between effort, balance and value. Sometimes the simplest option of a re-skin is the best and can wow your party just as much.

Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for the end of week write-up and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,

The Brazen Wolfe


Hi all and welcome to a bit of a mixed up weekend. Tonight I wanted to briefly talk about something that I discovered in my DM journey, pacing.

Now when I remember back to my early dungeons and dragon days, let alone when I started dungeon mastering, the adventures we had back then were akin to one shots. Quick, to the action and simple – the story was over after one or two sessions. So when I started to DM in campaigns with bigger stories every Adventure was as action packed as I always had them. Every week a new bad guy, a new dungeon or problem to fix which was normally at 100%.

This was fundamentally bad for the game and despite my party of action-JRPG-hack and slash video game playing group loving the sessions the pace was way off. It wasn’t until I introduced a friend, who loved graphic novel and story driven games, to dungeon mastering that I understood pace.

Two to three sessions with no combat and very in little dice rolling made for a slow and tedious Adventure and I was there for it. Enjoying just being a player for the first time in years, about 10 of them, I was fine to throw my gnome fighter who loved tinkering into every session possible including the impossibility dry political intrigue plots that had almost entirely too much reliance on the players (not characters) ability to navigate political intrigue which would put some jrpgs to shame. This taught me the need for pace and having periods of lower action as my friend did it very well (the lower action part.. not pacing..)

The Eureka moment came for me when I started to look at world building and theory around story plot – trying to flesh out my approach where I had these imaginary pins on the board for key moments in the campaign story arc where the party initially discover the villains of the sorry (first 5 sessions) they work towards trying to find and defeat the villains while uncovering information to the world which would be critical in defeating their supposed BBEG (10-15 sessions) and then realising that their efforts accelerated the breaking of the divine seal (keeping the all-father of undeath bound to a magically created second moon) which saw the plot accelerate mid campaign to a new peak, revealing that the quest had grown and was far from over.

Having waves where your party is frantically fighting for their life or helping a farmer find his lost sheep gives players the time to appreciate the peaks and troughs but also doesn’t burn out US as Dungeon Masters if we keep going at 95% all the time.

Now, giving it our all, all the time is a good thing. But to bring the big guns, keep the pedal to the metal, to have the party on the edge of their seats every session is detrimental to the game. To look at a favourite quote of mine and tweak it slightly.

And when everyone’s super… no one will be.

Syndrome – the incredibles

To adjust it to.

When everything is awesome… Nothing is

Some dude

We can begin to understand that those peaks we work our party towards. Slaying the red dragon, confronting their old peer and mentor, Botherson, or to save a prince from their evil father’s plot and sacrificial altar isn’t that special if we do it every week. Let the troughs create your peaks naturally and when they do come watch your parties faces as they savour and relish that moment and bask in the knowledge that you gave them that feeling of wonderment and enjoyment.

Thanks for joining me tonight, don’t forget to come back this week for anyone month long Adventure and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,

The Brazen Wolfe

Quick Adventure Challenge – April 30

So it’s been a while since I did one of these and I wanted to try and do one again tonight. So as per the other challenges for the sake of tonight I will enforce the below constraints:

  • 30 minute time limit
  • 1 protagonist
  • 1 location
  • 1 randomly generated enemy
  • “randomly generated pot” (tonight we are using one from here: https://blog.reedsy.com/plot-generator/fantasy/)
  • Grammar and spelling (ONLY!) can be fixed outside of the 30 minutes if required.

So let’s kick off.


A witch, who is abrasive.


An enchantress-in-training, who is soft-hearted.


It’s a low fantasy story about defying destiny. It kicks off in an enemy camp with someone important being kidnapped.

Ok, Cass a soft natured Enchantress who is currently studying under Arabel – a ruthless and efficient witch at the academy has been given her final assignment – Enchant one of the visiting elven dignitaries, a hard task at the best of times, and make them commit an embarrassing act that will send their reputations with the human population into turmoil.

The Academy is located in the City of Gurmish – a rough and dark city that specialises in black market goods, dark dealings and darker deals committed for the right amount of coin. It is however a completely neutral city where dignitaries can find anything and everything including “safe places” to conduct business – such as the current deal between an elven cities royalty and the local human and gnome coalition who wish to trade with the elves and establish mining rights for their advancement in technology.

However as the plan is set into motion the elf dignitary, a lesser prince, is kidnapped whilst in the city, vanishing from one of the better reputed houses of ill repute and both the human and elven governments start the search for him.

Weeks pass and Cass is unable to complete her final test – but her mistress, the witch Arabel has ordered her to locate the prince, complete the task or she will never be granted the title of Enchantress and be welcomed to the council of nine- an order of mages who preside over a school of magic with the high witch being there to break ties between the schools. Cass is next in line to take over the mantle of of high enchantress and be able to sit in the council.

BUT – Cass organised the fake kidnapping – going so far as to seek out the prince, warn him that he was in danger and being targeted and then ferried him away to safety, out of the public eye until she can work out a way to get his name off the list. The reason for this is Cass believes that this prince is actually her brother – discovering late in her life that she was half-elven from when her mother had an affair with an lower elven lord.

The Witch Arabel isn’t stupid though and wonders if Cass has the right mettle for the task – she has recruited the party to investigate the disappearance and find the prince – the reward is access to the counsel’s magic vault and the selection of one magical relic, artefact or goods from within. What the party doesn’t know is that the vault is nearly dry – a handful of items remain as the council is moments from ruin and the conflict between elves and humans was the only thing that was keeping gold in their purses.

The party would need to skirt the dangerous streets of Gurmish – bandits, thugs and worse lurk the streets and aren’t afraid to take what they see as theirs – including anything the party have. Futhermore the humans and elven councils are also looking for the missing dignitary so they will have their own men and women after the prince and his location – so there are many people in the race for information, a location and the prince!

The party would need to start their search with finding his last seen location by talking to his guards who have taken place up in a local inn for dignitaries – The Broad Boar, the guard will tell them, with sadness, that they left him to watch a dance and have some drinks and then when they returned from their own dances (which they will say they were patrolling the area) he was gone. Arabel sends the party to the guards with a token (forged) which she tells them will allow them to convince the guard, magically, that the party are guards of the city who are on official business.

The dance hall is called The Pink Lilly, a place for drinks and dances – of the adult variety. The matron will know of what happened but she wont see anyone unless something is wrong with her house of ill-repute – so the party need to make a scene, bribe their way to her, or work with one of the dancers in the venue in order to see. The Matron, Galadea (Gal-a-day-ah) is half drow, strong and quick witted and is not to be trifled with – however for the right leverage (DMs discretion) she will tell the party that the prince was seen leaving with a singled armed guard – who was not a guard at all! “Obviously an illusion, a poor one at best. You could tell that the way the cloak danced in the light that it was fake. Childs play to detect such petty magic for someone experienced such as I”. Flattery will worth with Galadea somewhat but she will play with the the party members who think that they can manipulate, charm or coerce her.

When asking about the guard people on the streets, shop owners and beggars will ask for coin, a few silver or a few gold depending on the venue. Eventually when the Party pay a homeless dwarf – who watches everything acutely (Insight check DC14 after spotting the dwarf DC13 perception) – if the party buy him a hot meal and a few mugs of ale at his favourite tavern “The Spitted Manticore” then he will tell the party (after eating and drinking for an hour) that he saw the guard and the elven prince move to a alchemical supply shop – “All that Glitters could be gold” and that she guard and prince never left. He also mentions that the same info was given to some mean spirited elves and humans – except that he said that it was a different shop – same street though – they would be getting close to uncovering the princes wheareabouts.

“All that glitters could be gold” is in the employ of Cass – she being a long lasting patron she has organised use of a hidden back room for keeping the prince hidden. However the elves and humans are also closing in on the venue and time is of the essence.

The prince is shocked to see the adventurers, as he is not in the room and is flirting with the shop assistant when they walk into the building – the party need to convince him to leave with them instead of the elves and humans – deception is best as he is a bit gullible but not overly stupid.

Cass walks in as the party are leaving and then pleads with them to her her out – casting a spell to turn them all invisible to all but each other as she walks them to a nearby house. She explains why she kidnapped the prince and asks them to not take him back to the elves and humans yet until she works out what to do with Arabel. At that time several thugs break into the room and surround the party, prince and Cass – Arabel walks in and asks the party to make a decision – help the soon to be excommunicated Cass and prince – or help her murder the prince, blame it on Cass so that she can create war with the elves.

Parties choice.

Time commenced: 5:25

Time completed: 5:53 (2 minutes spare)

Some inspiration taken from the 8 schools of magic

Well tonight it just flowed – the plot generator helped point somethings in the right direction (and I didn’t use all of it as I didn’t have time to write a whole novel!) but it was good to do this challenge again.

If you like what you read tonight let me know! Better yet if you have a suggestion for a future one let me know below and I will try and deliver the random adventure in 30 minutes based on the restrictions and requirements you give me.

Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for the end of the week write-up and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

NPC refinement

Hi all and welcome to another night here at Brazen Wolfe Tabletop! Tonight I wanted to touch on how we can refine our important NPCs just that little bit more so that when a player asks us them a question like “Whats your family like?” we are prepared with a well thought out answer – whether or not the NPC chooses to disclose this answer is another story.

So taking a leaf out of the Soulbound core book I wanted to delve a bit more into the idea of refining those key NPCs. I wouldn’t suggest spending hours on these questions for all NPCs but maybe limiting it to a quick minute for each significant (not Key) NPC so we can look at having something prepared for for when our players do ask these questions (or similar ones).

Now instead of “What is your name?” “What is your quest?” and “What is your favourite colour” these questions are designed to prod and poke a bit further and to encourage character development.

“5” Questions

What was your childhood like?

This question really drives a few deeper thoughts, did they have present parents? A guardian? A community? No one.? Was there siblings or people they got along with? What was their social economic status like? Wealthy, poor, somewhere in between? Happy, sad, filled with fear or love or both?

This question poses a few bigger thoughts and can probably be enough to flesh out enough of a basic character that the party doesn’t spend a lot of time with.

Who do you least want to run into and why?

Old romantic interest and how did it end (if it did)? What’s their name? How did you meet? What did they do to you? What did you do to them? Where would be the most common place to meet them and why?

Establishing a connection can help drive narrative and quests or at least adventures for the party. Having a person responsible for grief, anxiety or fear means that there is a response when that person is encountered by the party which drives the story and character development.

What motivates you to do what you do?

What do you desire? What do you fear? What are you running from or towards? Why are you doing this?

This one is maybe a bit of a bigger more ambiguous question but it can help with an important question – what motivates the character to do what they are doing – plain and simple.

What do you think is overrated in this world?

A virtue? A freedom? Money? Food? What is it that they think the world could do without?

This one isn’t too difficult and I would maybe save this one for those really deep and importance characters that you just want to really develop and refine. This could help identify character flaws, their alignment (Evil-good), refine their motivations and potentially get a bigger glimpse at their personalities than what the other questions could reveal.

What can’t you live without?

A pet, item, trinket or other possession? A substance (addiction)? A person? A faith or belief? A talent or skill?

Short of the obvious (food, water, air, sunlight) this can introduce interesting little character flaws, dependencies or traits that make the character who they are. If they have an alcohol problem but believe in the guidance and forgiveness of Torm then this is also something that can be explored and used by a good DM to drive plots, stories and the Player character development by interacting with this individual.

The above questions, although maybe not as comprehensive as some that are out there like this one (The Ultimate Character Questionnaire) could be used to flesh out an important NPC or Character in general to help shape and drive their involvement in the stories you write or facilitate (as the players are the real story tellers in our games).

Thanks for joining tonight for a little refinement workshop on NPCs, I will practice the above and hopefully this week come back with a more full and refined character for our D&D campaign.

Don’t forget to come back again tomorrow to look at the midweek madness that is twists, turns and pivot night where we look at what else can shape the adventure we are working on and what can enhance the adventure we create.

And as I wish and remind you each and every night, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

Captain of the Red fleet.

Tuesday has come yoo quickly and like a few Australians the return to work has not been an easy transition from holiday mode to work mode. But I can say that the return to a normal rhythm is definitely appreciated and has helped refocus my attention on what I need it to focus on. Building and exploring my craft.

Now today being Tuesday we are here to look at NPCs so lets kick off with two that I hope you will find interesting enough to weave into your own adventure’s.

Kyoko Harimasu & Hurane

201TuKyHa & 201TuHu

Kyoko sighed as she looked across the table as the two men from the Daye city watch left her cabin through the ornamently carved door. She had anticipated some resistance at first but being openly welcomed then having the proverbial doors slammed in her face was not expected.

“what do we do captain?” Hurane asked, his masked face distorting his normally smooth voice. “We came here to trade and establish new trade routes for the betterment of our people. If we can’t do that then we must find somewhere else.” He said with genuine concern.

Pressing her index fingers to her temples she pondered her next action. The city guard had come just after noon and placed restrictions and curfews on her people leaving the ships within an hour of dusk and dawn which is when many people are out and about on the streets wanting to experience new sights and delights. The curfew would not just make it hard to do business it would nearly make them staying herr impossible. Looking over the papers that were left here, reports of sightings of figures in the night and items being moved or disappeared it sounded like the guards were accusing one of her people of being the culprit.

“find out what you can from our troupe. If we are responsible we will deal with it and clear our name. If we can’t handle this we will be left with no choice but to leave and I dont think we can afford another endeavour like this again” Kyoko said looking through the papers again. Hurane saluted to her and went to leave the cabin to begin his questioning. “And Hurane, if no one talks, let’s get the Lotus involved, we can’t fail here.”

As Hurane left Kyoko sat back on her chair and had a look over the occurances. It wasn’t just reports of a thief, it looked to be searching for something specific based on the reports. Maybe it wasn’t a person but a thing. She looked at the book her father had left her that contained stories of warriors from this continent that visited her home land years ago. Warriors that defied the Oni and fought against the spirits in the swamp to free entire villages. Perhaps she could find such warriors in their home land, maybe a party of adventurers is what she needs.

Ok so starting off a bit slow this week but so far I’m liking the direction that we are going with so far.

Come back tomorrow to look at secondary hooks and twists as well as to get more insight in whats happening at Daye. Don’t forget to let me know if you like what you read and as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,

The Brazen Wolfe

Dice-ember day 27

Welcome to dice-ember day 27! Admittedly the end of year catch-ups with family and friend’s is reducing the days that are available.

So today will reflect this end of year dynamic that occurs for most if not all of us.



During the adventure putting the sense of a time pressure or constraints can add to the adventure. It they have only a few hours to catch up to a certain NPC then every interruption, each encounter and each character who stops the party could cost them their mission. Only, it wont. The perceived delay, whether random combat encounter or request for aid, doesn’t actually have to impact the time frame applicable for their quest.

As long as it conveys the message that it could potentially delay them it will have the intended effect that we want for the party.

The alternative is making it so that each side track or distribution does impact the progression of the quest. If we, the DM, choose to run the game this way we need to make sure the distractions are manageable if not completely optional so that we don’t force the party into a lose-lose situation where two competing quests or jobs (or one main quest and a distraction).

A bit of a short one tonight but something that will come up on any adventure in the market place (or in Merchants Glen). Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for more Dice-ember content and as always don’t forget to roll with advantage,

The Brazen Wolfe