Category Archives: Gaming

Wild Magic Effects Tables

One aspect of Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition that I like is the idea of wild magic areas. However, I don’t like wild magic effects tables that focus on effects that only last a few combat rounds, and I really don’t like ones that have a lot of positive effects, especially healing, which is part of the cleric’s domain.

So I created my own wild magic effects tables focused on what can happen in a wild magic area when magic is used, the effects of which are nearly always bad, and which tend to last for days.

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Defile, the Mountain Pass Race

Continuing to ponder and play around with games, I came up with a race game inspired by the royal game of Ur, an ancient game that has recently been rediscovered by historians.

In defile, two players try to be the first to move their pieces up a mountainside and thru a defile (a narrow pass) to the other side. This is played on a chess board using eight pieces for each player.

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Battle of Wits Game

I got intrigued by the idea of the “duel of wits” mechanic from the TTRPG The Burning Wheel, which has since been reused in Torchbearer and Mouse Guard. It’s also used for some combat as well, but reports are that it is crunchy, requires substantial setup to work well, and can be somewhat unsatisfying dramatically, despite being clever.

It’s based on an expanded rock-paper-scissors idea, with four to six choices and three or more outcomes, but the core requirement seems to be that you must specify three plays at the beginning, which leaves you something of a spectator as the conflict gets resolved.

A battle of wits is a great idea that can be useful for resolving a negotiation with a nobleman or foreign emissary, a civil or criminal trial, a peace treaty, a surrender or ransom, a trade dispute, a negotiation with pirates, or even a romantic entanglement. So I wanted one of my own.

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Carousing Rules for Dungeons & Dragons

I was recently inspired to create table-top role-playing game rules for carousing between adventures, which adds fun and realism for heroes returning from an adventure laden with treasure. The reward is luck, which allows you to reroll almost any die roll.

The basic mechanic is simplified from the medieval dice game “hazard”, which evolved into craps. The player characters go out carousing, and take turns.

The current carouser rolls 2d6.

  • On a 7, everybody gains a point of luck.
  • On a 2 or 12, everybody loses a point of luck.
  • On anything else, only the current carouser gains a point of luck and establishes a “hazard”. However, this luck remains at risk…

Once you, as the current carouser, have established at least one hazard, you can choose to end your night on a roll of 7, 2, or 12 and pass the dice. Otherwise, you keep rolling.

When losing a point of luck from 2 or 12, you can choose to lose one of your hazard points, which clears that hazard.

After each of these rolls, you roll on the Carousing Event table.

If you roll one of your hazards, you lose all your luck from the hazards (not from 7s) and pass the dice. You may want to write down the hazard numbers and cover them with a point token as they get established.


Once everyone has had a turn, everyone who hit one of their hazards rolls on the End of a Wild Night table to see how they wake up in the morning.

Here is a link to the full document on Google Docs with the tables.

Sample carousing events:

You injure yourself trying to show off your strength or dexterity, whichever is higher.

You find a vial that got mislaid in a dark niche and, fairly tipsy, drink it. It’s a spoiled potion. Roll on the Minor Wild Magic Effects table.

You make a gaffe that gets you mocked for your… (1d8: 1=singing; 2=dancing; 3=clothes; 4=looks; 5=wit; 6=adventure stories; 7-8=drunken clumsiness). (+2 for any entertainment skill)

A little drinking, a little music, some good stories…. It’s a fine time! You get into a fascinating conversation about… (1d6: 1=hide tanning; 2=beekeeping; 3=shoemaking; 4=weaving; 5=wheel-making, 6=brewing).

You accidentally get locked in the privy and fall asleep until someone bangs on it. It is a… (2d6: 2=female halfling; 3=male halfling; 4-5=female human; 6=male human; 7=male dwarf; 8=female dwarf; 9-10=female elf; 11-12=male elf)

Good music, good drinks, dancing, good stories, a little romance…. You meet someone who gives you a solid lead on a job or adventure… (1d6: 1=a foreign envoy; 2=a foreign merchant; 3=a merchant; 4=a local official; 5=a royal official; 6=a minor noble passing thru) (Name that NPC and give them a background.)

Sample wild end of the night results:

You wake up with a hangover in jail for creating disorder. Pay 10 gp for bail or spend 1d4 days behind bars. You have no money on you. The constable is… (1d6: 1=hostile; 2-3=irritated; 4-5=amused; 6=surprisingly friendly).

Things got crazy, with lots of drinking and dares. You wake up with a hangover behind a dye shop with both arms… (1d6: 1=red; 2=yellow; 3=green; 4=blue; 5=orange; 6=royal purple).

Things got a bit crazy, with lots of music and drinking. You wake up with a hangover under a canvas tarpaulin in a wagon on its way thru the gate out of the city. You share the wagon with… (1d6: 1=clean straw; 2-3=animal carcasses; 4-5=pigs; 6=horse manure).

You had a bit of a crazy night, most of which is a blur, but there was drinking and dancing, great stories, romance of some sort….You wake up on the floor next to your bed with a hangover. Tucked into your bed is… (1d6: 1=your muddy boots; 2=a piglet; 3=a portrait of a distinguished noble; 4=a raccoon; 5=a jug of wine; 6=a dress stuffed with straw with a melon for a head to “throw off the assassins”).

Note that it references the Minor Wild Magic Effects table, which is something else I created. But many people have created minor wild magic effects tables.