Author: Helgi Már Friðgeirsson

Shot in the Dark: Running Horror RPG’S

I have always had trouble watching horror movies as my imagination goes into overdrive for weeks after, disrupting my sleep and hampering my work as I often find myself alone in creepy places in the course of my workday. I am on the other hand addicted to running or playing horror rpg and try to work some horror angles into most of my campaigns. The absurdity of this contradiction is not lost on me but this fascination with horror roleplaying games and how to evoke the feelings associated has in my own opinion sharpened my storytelling wits more than...

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Mind over map: Is theatre of the mind better than models?

I think a majority of us have had an experience similar to this… DM: “You enter a chamber littered with crystal spires glowing harshly in the dark. The Necromoss you encountered back in town is growing in patches around the spires, no doubt originating here, creating a deadly miasma of spores hanging in the air, dancing around in the eerie glow, obstructing your vision. As you advance to pass the spires you are beset by a group of gaunt villagers carrying rusty but sharp farming tools. They seem grim and as you prepare to defend yourself a man you...

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The Endless Possibilities of Eberron

Eberron was released in 2004 after winning the Wizards of the Coast Fantasy Setting Search in 2002. To claim that title Eberron had to slay 11.000 competitors and is as of yet the only published campaign setting in D&D history to have to fight so fiercely for its place among the greats. But what makes Eberron great? At First Sight I instantly fell in love with Eberron when it was released after following its rise through the Fantasy Setting Search. Having always been a sucker for departures from the norm  in fantasy, I jumped in feet first. The setting...

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The Enemy Unknown

There are many campaigns that struggle because the players think they know everything there is to know about their enemy. And the sad thing is that they are often right. Most roleplaying systems release specialised books filled with antagonists to fight and monsters to slay. These books often go into excruciating detail on the creatures’ psychology, physiognomy and culture, all things that are an excellent source for green and veteran storytellers alike. Often this information becomes common knowledge, as is the case with the standard D&D troll’s vulnerability to fire and acid, or with nosy players combing these tomes...

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When is Canon constricting?

I have a complicated relationship with games set in established universes. On the one hand I yearn to experience further some of my favorite stories but on the other hand these types of things often have elements that work very well in a book or movie form but heavily stifle the way we run games. Material such as Herbert’s Dune, Lucas’s Star Wars, Wachowski’s The Matrix, Rowling’s Harry Potter and Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire, novels that provide incredibly interesting settings, often rely heavily on the trope of the chosen one, a single being whose existence is the...

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Campaign Post Mortem: Sleep of Innocence Part V

    So it has come to this. The fifth and final chapter of the campaign post mortem is now a reality. It´s been a wild ride and I thank each and every one of you who stayed with me to the end of this story. The trip down memory lane has been at times hard but overwhelmingly pleasant and I have gotten messages from the people that played this with me that they are enjoying this recap as well. But on to it! When we last left our heroes they had just suffered through the fall of the...

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Campaign Post Mortem: Sleep of Innocence Part IV

    Marching through the sands of drowsiness I attempt to push on with the story of the Phillips children and their adventure in the Dreamlands. We pick up as the children are leaving Nodens temple in the Sunken City and begin their journey towards the polar region of Leng and the city of Kadath.   Out of the Abyss The children’s adventures in the Dreamlands where punktured by dreary days of finding something to do in the real world. Most of their time was spent building a makeshift treehouse in the large tree right outside their bedroom window....

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Campaign Post Mortem: Sleep of Innocence Part III

Retreating from the dreary fog of real life I return to tell you the tale of how the Phillips siblings lost their innocence. We had a slight collapse of the local government and I have been busy organizing for a snap election for which I apologize. But enough about that, lets journey back to 1944 and see how the children are doing.   The Temple of Hypnos   When we last left the children they were going through a test of spirit in the hidden Temple of Hypnos on the mountain of Hatheg-Kla. Most of the children had passed...

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Campaign Post Mortem: Sleep of Innocence Part II

Welcome back to the adventures of the Phillips siblings. I hope the first part shed some light on my campaign creation philosophy and maybe inspired some ideas of your own. In this part we get to the meat of the story and most of my mistakes during the running of this campaign. When we last left the children they had followed the strange animal, given to them by Cornelius the mute groundskeeper, down into the Enchanted Woods through the Cavern of Flame. They had passed the tests of the ancient priests guarding the gateway to the Dreamlands and were...

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Campaign Post Mortem: Sleep of Innocence Part I

One of the things we here at Yawning Portal want to do is to inspire others. Not just discuss general issues, but really share or give ideas, show some of what we have done and discuss our successess and our failures. This is the first of our series of looking back on roleplaying campaigns we have been part of through our time as players and storytellers. Here we wax poetic, recount memorable moments, identify problems with the structure of the story, congratulate ourselves on the stuff that went well, look back on what didn’t and genuinely reminisce on some...

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