Welcome to 2018 at Kismet's D&D! I have finally finished my work on an article about women as gamers and game producers, after years of having other matters get in the way. I have added a means for you to link to this site and receive a link in return, as well as a link to my new favorite gaming music site. I hope against hope to have the time to write more for my blog about Thay, since we have begun playing our campaign there again, but we'll see what the gaming gods have in store.
I've added a number of links to the links page to various pages that support me (thank you for using and linking to my resources!) and the link to my Spring article in BUST Magazine.
In honor of Stewart Wieck's recent and untimely passing, I present to you two character generators for DMs and players to use. I have felt the desire to create more, share more, and enjoy more in gaming, and so far I've been very happy with the results. Please let me know what you think and if there are any changes that would help improve them.
We recently had a character background contest on my fan page, Kismet's Gamer Gathering. We had so many fun entries, and one fan suggested putting them together in a readable format. I was able to obtain permission to do so from most of those who participated, and I've placed the winning entries here, along with a link to the entire book (which right now runs some 36 pages in length). I hope you enjoy it!
Now that I've had a moment to breathe, I've been taking a look around the site. I noticed that one of my drow name generators needed tweaking to produce better names, so I went about fixing it. I also realized that I could to a lot better work on my treasure generators, so I did. I hope they work much better now.
Thanks to a reader's tip, I've had to remove a dead link, but I was able to take her suggestion for another resource to my gaming links page. I have also added a link to my latest project, a blog for my new Dragon Age tabletop campaign. It looks like I won't get to run D&D for a while, but you never know when I'll get the chance again. In the meantime, I am really looking forward to exploring Thedas in a new way, via the tabletop rules. You should be able to find more recent articles at the blog.
I have added some resources to the Homebrew Creations page for the Dragon Age RPG, which I've been reading and want to run. One resource is an extensive collection of PDFs that a cadre of fans assembled to expand the offerings of the tabletop game based on things found in the video games. The other resource is a generator I put together for organizations, since the game has some neat, streamlined rules for groups the PCs might run, be part of, or go up against. I'll be putting anything I make for DA here until I decide I have enough to start a site/blog for it.
I've been expanding my Sex and Romance section with the article on adultery I started years ago and forgot to complete. It's still not 100% done but the draft is available in the Google document. Once it's complete, I'll be posting it here, as well.
I've also been adding to my Guide to Thay blog whenever I have the chance.
I have revamped my Sex and Romance section so that it is less D&D specific and more applicable to fantasy games in general. In response to a request I received some time ago, I have also collected the entire guide into a Google Doc for easy reference. It is free and a work in progress, but I hope it will be of use to folks looking to add some love and/or lust into their games.
I suppose nothing inspires you to work on your web site like having it nominated for an ENnie!
I've added links so that you can use the location generator right away without having to download files. I've added two reviews I had posted elsewhere but forgot to put up here: one for the Globetrotter's Guide to London and another for Darkest Age.
I also posted an article about some sins of game design (as well as GMing) that really bother me. I've updated some information and language in a few articles to reflect more recent developments in gaming.
I am now offering an editable Google spreadsheet for my character palette, which is a tool to develop characters for gaming or writing in greater depth. If you run your mouse over the cells, you will find instructions on how to use it.
I've also added a good number of pieces of art from generous artists. I hope you enjoy them! If you haven't visited in a while, be sure to refresh your browser to see the changes.
I have added a new type of location generator to the one I had offered here before. It'll roll everything up for you and is very customizable! I hope you will give it a shot and let me know how it runs for you!
I have also recently started a blog about Thay that builds on what I've established on this site but goes into greater depth, with more daily details, voices, and color. It has been a lot of fun for me to write so far and I hope it will be half as much fun for you to read. I have bigger plans for it that I am afraid to share just yet because I don't want to jinx myself.
I also have to react to seeing Kismet's D&D nominated for an ENnie award this year in the Fan's Favorite Publisher category. It was one of the most pleasant surprises I've had with this site, and one of the last things I expected to see at this late date. I've never had enough time, energy, or means to do the kind of work here that I've wanted to do, but I've kept the lights on and come back to add things. I know it's not as fully optimized as it should be, isn't well connected, and is a relic of an older time, since it's not a blog but a standalone web site. But it's been part of my home online since 2002 and it makes me happy.
I've had quite a few pleasant moments due to Kismet's D&D. Whenever I get feedback - even if it's just receiving an email that someone found something they can use - it always gives me a lift. It was this site which enabled 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming to find me, which led to offers of freelancing work, some great new friends, and continuing projects with Purple Duck Games down the line. But it was a complete surprise when I went to vote for the ENnies and saw my name. I had to click the link to make sure it was the right site that was up for a vote. I took a screen capture so I could wrap my head around it. I want to thank whomever it was who nominated my little corner of the web, as well as anyone who has reached out to let me know you've had fun here. You inspire me.
I've added some advice about what to look for when you are deciding whether a Kickstarter is worth pitching in on. It also isn't a bad guide to basics you should cover if you're starting a Kickstarter of your own. I've also added a discussion about why players should open up to what their DMs want to try, which I wrote last year and forgot to post here.
I've added a page about the roleplaying books I've contributed to as a game writer, so you can see all of them in one place and get a basic idea of what they're about. Some of them are older now (since I started somewhere around 2010) and I've learned a lot over the years, but I'm still glad to have worked on them.
I've also added a page all about my drow book, Drow of Porphyra. It brings together an overview of the whole book and then breaks it down chapter by chapter, and there are links to a purchase site, in case you're interested in snatching them up. As the book grows, I will add more.
Rob McCaleb has created an epic and beautifully detailed map of Thay and in the process he made an Excel file for my Thayan name generator to help him create place names. It generates a list of 100 random names each time you open it or type in any cell, and it is very much what I'd wanted to offer all along. I'll be using it myself and with his kind offering, I'm able to share it with you. Happy gaming!
I've added some new mapping resources to my links page.
Last summer, I started updating some of my pages on Thay but I lost the changes before they could be uploaded when my computer died. I have had the privilege of running our evil campaign again since the end of the year and so I have gotten back to expanding my work on Thay as a whole. Lately I have worked on the general timeline and the city of Eltabbar, but I hope to flesh out a lot more soon.
I added some resources to my gaming links page based on suggestions from folks who frequent my Facebook fan page (and thank you very much, Gamer Gathering!). I also made some Pathfinder-friendly adjustments to my Red Wizard variant class.
As a part of reviewing the pages on my site and working on things behind the scenes, it has been amusing and bittersweet to find a few pages that should have been entirely in the past tense but weren't. At first I noticed that I missed a few verbs on the pages about my first campaign and then I discovered that a whole page needed converting. I remember how difficult it was when I first understood that I had to admit that that campaign was over. Our group had split for good (the couples in it having fallen apart after long relationships) and half of us had moved on/away. I cried while altering the first few pages about that campaign but I got through it. I didn't cry today because I have managed to remain friends with my ex and one of them, my Niki, is a premiere presence in my life. We still game together when we can and our evil campaign has been so much fun lately. But what a reminder!
I have been working on a location generator for the longest time and tonight it is finally ready to be shared. I started on it ages ago and forgot about the project, and then went back to the task of narrowing down the options with some serious thought that took longer than I intended. I almost published it while forgetting a few categories but saved myself from that at the last minute. I don't know if anyone besides me will ever find it useful, but since I got it put together and it's already been inspiring me, I offer it here for your perusal.
Lately I've been updating matters behind the scenes, adding more art, and making small corrections. I just added a few more 5 minute book reviews of books I've used for years but had forgotten to include.
As a part of updating the look and navigation of this site, I've also updated the following: Kismet's Blackguard (now a more recently used Pathfinder variant from my evil campaign), Kismet's Paladin (updated to a Pathfinder variant), My Game Journal (the full journal is now available at nearly 100 pages), D&D Links (added several great ones), D&D Music (added more recent services and soundtracks), and Thay By Region (now has art to represent the various regions). New art has been scattered throughout, with all grateful credit to the artists (and links, because these folks often sell prints and they do great work!). If anything isn't working, please let me know.
Although things have been quiet on this site lately, that doesn't mean that I don't have big things planned. I'm in the middle of completely redesigning the site, for one thing. I've also had the first chapter of my book on the Drow released just a week ago, so I've added links not just to that chapter but to all of the other gaming books I've contributed to. The material here is free and will always be free, so don't worry about that. The books I've worked on aren't free but I must say that they're very reasonably priced, attractively laid out, and full of options. I'll always be learning to develop gaming material but I'm proud of what I've put out thus far and I'd like to share it with all of you in the hopes that you'll find even more material you can use.
If you'd like to see everything I've worked on and support my voice in gaming, you can find the lineup here. I've also added direct links from the pages on my site that are about similar topics. If you do buy something, I'd be very grateful if you would leave an honest and constructive review and rating. I'll be just as grateful if you share what you find with your friends. =)
Since I am working on our return to Thay, I ended up digging into the population numbers I all too quickly drummed up when I first started working on it several years ago. Tonight I discovered (and fixed) my errors across the board, re-estimating and recalculating totals for all regions and major groups that I use.
I went with the starting population listed in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting for 3rd edition (4,924,800 souls all told, with humans at 62%, humanoids at 25%, and dwarves and halflings at 7%, together). I estimated nobles to be 1% of the 62% of humans, or 30,533. Commoners were estimated at 18.50% (915,767), humanoids numbered 1,231,200, and slaves were 55.70% 2,747,300.
I reworked the populations for each region, basing the total percent of the population in each on the descriptions given in the Unapproachable East supplement. The Alaor, for instance, is a small chain of islands used for shipping and defense just off the coast, with only so much space; 5% of each population category might be a little generous, but I kept the ships and mortality rate in mind.
I also added some ideas for the populations of the various noble houses, and I now know how many nobles are in all the branches of House Valgon. I don't know if this information will ever be valuable to anyone else, but I put it up here just in case.
It's been nearly a year since I've updated here, but it's been a very busy year with less gaming in it than I hoped for. The good news is that I'm getting homesick for D&D and might not be able to resist working on it for much longer. In the meantime, I posted something I had been working on but forgot to release before: a breakdown of the Thayan city of Tyraturos!
I've added a button to the bottom right-hand side that will enable you to send me feedback from any page on the site! I've also started updating and expanding my information on Thay, since I've started running my evil campaign there again. I can't promise anything, but I wouldn't be surprised if some more updates showed up here before the end of the year. ;)
I've done some cleanup that should speed things up a bit and reworked some images that other sites were hotlinking from mine. (Seriously, who does that?!) I've reordered the navigation links up top and have redone the entry page to the site to explain what each section is for. There is also a Google search box for you to use to search everything here.
I've decided to put ye olde guestbook to work as a way for readers to submit and see their comments on this site. It's moderated, so spam entries should never be seen, and this way it won't be buried; it'll actually (hopefully) see some use. I'm thinking of using it on my World of Darkness site as well, which is why I'm leaving it with a more neutral color scheme. Let me know what you think!
I've added a map of the Forgotten Realms to the Thayan timeline page to show the locations of all the cities that host Thayan enclaves, as mentioned in Lords of Darkness.
I've finally posted my much-delayed review of Naughty & Dice: An Adult Gamer's Guide to Sexual Situations.
After some nostalgic review and cleanup, I've made the first chapter of my first campaign's game journal available in PDF (with the gracious permission of Nathan Sundberg, who worked on it all those years). I've also included some advice on how to get and keep a reliable journal going in your campaign, and hopefully after a look at how it worked out for us, you'll want to try it.
I've also expanded my information about Thay's nobles, its regions, and names. I even added a name generator for you to try. (If you do end up using it, please let me know how it works out for you!) I've also done a full family tree and write-up for the branch of House Valgon that we're currently using for our evil campaign.
And for the hell of it, I did a quick rewrite of an old article I did on town governments and alignments.
In more technical news, it looks like the service I used to gather your feedback on each page of this site has gone off the grid for good, so I've removed it. I'll be looking around for something better, and if you know of anything that's reliable and free, please let me know!
I've updated my D&D links page considerably, removing (sadly) dead links and adding a whole pile of new ones. I've added over 600 names to my character name list, both in the PDF and on the pages themselves. I've also updated my Thayan campaign with the new branch of the family we're playing with, and I'll probably be doing more updating on all of the information on the setting. I've been putting too much work into it not to share.
I'm probably jumping the gun, but after hanging out with my group last night and tossing some ideas for starting up a game again, I had to come back here and update the information about our evil campaign.
After posting it in sections on my Facebook group, I put up a full article on what I've learned from playing and running campaigns through email.
I've cleaned up my reviews of 4 Winds books and written up some quick recommendations of some of my old favorites. Welcome to the new year, and don't think I've gone away! I'm running a World of Darkness campaign currently, but I'll be back to D&D again sometime soon, in all likelihood.
After developing some ideas on my Facebook group, I have put up the final results for three half-drow variants. I am also rewriting and restructuring my women in gaming pages to make them more accessible (and hopefully to pave the way for new content in that section).
I put up a Pathfinder sorcerer bloodline for the aranean, which is designed to complement my previous aranean template. I also updated my page that explains why I made my templates the way I did. I don't know why I feel compelled to explain such things or if anyone will ever care enough to read it, but I did a quick write-up, anyway.
I added the aranean to my small collection of racial templates and did some minor modifications to my other templates (as well as to a few other creations) so that they are more Pathfinder-compatible. I updated the PDFs associated with them, as well.
I've added a few more suggestions to my page on Suggested Gaming Music. I also added a small addition to my Reasons for Taking Captives page, based on a reader's observation. I am slowly but surely putting in a little work on my next article and I would like to update my pages on Thay soon to reflect the current state of our campaign. Alas, real life will require most of my attention for a while longer, but as soon as I get a break, I am looking forward to going on a gaming bender!
I have taken an in-depth look at how you can use and portray divorce in your games as a part of my section on sex and love in D&D. I honestly hadn't thought there would be so much to say, but then I started translating the usual mess into game terms and the article wrote itself. Even if player characters never get divorced in-game, they can use it as a part of their character's backstory. DMs can weave it into their storytelling as a major problem facing NPCs of all descriptions, from followers to friends to enemies.
After reading over my old page on creating and portraying nuanced NPCs, I decided to rewrite it so that it is entirely more useful. It is meatier, covering everything from initial concepts to personal histories, and built with examples taken from play. I hope that it turns out to be a better reference all around.
I got an interesting question from a visitor to this site a little while back, and I've been composing this answer in small stages (which is all I've had time for lately). Now that it's done, I present to you DM Tips & Tricks: Adding Depth to a Campaign.
I also got word from Facebook that my original group is going to be archived, since they are phasing out the old group format. So I've started a new page to post updates, gaming links, observations, and other gamery things on a regular basis. Drop on by and click 'like' to join the stream!
The next week's update is being posted a little early, since I'm not sure I'll remember to do it during the week. It focuses on Reasons for Taking Captives and is a part of the new Slavery in D&D section. When writing something like this, you see the reasons why real-life slavery is so terrible and why it should have stopped ages ago. It's the kind of horrible that we should only see in stories.
This week's update is the addition of a discussion I've wanted to get to for years: Slavery in D&D. I've used it in good campaigns and it is a major feature of my current evil campaign, and I've seen it in other games, as well. A while back I dug up an old thread on my message boards - from 2007 - about how much I wanted to write more in-depth material about it. As the walrus said, the time has come.
Although it's placed in the Dungeon Master's section, I'm going to be writing it with players in mind, too. Right now it's just an introduction, but I have quite an outline I am eager to fill in.
I know I'm posting this on April Fool's Day, but the update to the Character Name Compendium PDF is no joke! Over 1,000 names have been chosen and added, and though I tried to remove any duplicates, if you catch any, feel free to let me know!
On a related note, April marks the ninth anniversary of this web site and the meaning of that has just started to smack me upside the head. I'd hoped to have even more written and available here, but I'm really glad for what I have done because it reflects a decade of gaming and it allows me to share resources with other gamers. It's also been a source of fun that I've been able to return to despite everything else going on in my life. There's a special kind of relaxation I feel when I sit down just to work on something here and there's a particular happiness that I get when people let me know that they've enjoyed my stuff.
It's in that spirit that I will be trying to update more often, and if I can manage it, I'll see if I can get something up each week this April. Even if it's just a blurb, even if it seems like free time is more precious than gold pieces, it'll be worth it.
Today I received some nice feedback from a visitor who suggested I update my pages about my first campaign - and then I realized that I hadn't put a notice up that my first campaign has come to a close, at least for the foreseeable future. I know that I tried to write something about it a couple of times but I ended up being too upset to continue. I haven't had many responses about that section, so I figured I wouldn't need to explain.
I know how silly it sounds to get upset about such a thing. I know that most people will not understand how a game can come to symbolize a time in your life and the relationships you cherished. And since I try to keep my private life out of my gaming web sites, you have no way of knowing why this has such emotional resonance for me, even now. I had a lot of fun with my first campaign and am very proud of all the care we put into it, and I might try to cover some of the later developments in future updates. But if I can't write this much without tears, it'll be a while before I can manage more.
I have worked on bits of site cleanup that you probably won't notice (but it makes me feel better!). All of the pages should now be converted to the newer layout. I took down my old version of the sorcerer class, since I had meant to ditch it a long time ago and was never very happy with it. I realized that my links page was not linked to the site, so I renewed that. I do have some new content in the pipelines, but due to real life, it will probably take a while for it to be ready.
The new year on Kismet's D&D starts with a favorite pastime of mine: name gathering. Today I realized that I've generated a good number of names for my evil campaign, all chosen along a theme, and hadn't shared a one of them here. Now that's changed! Behold the Thayan name list!