Mother of Monsters Super-Adventure for 5E D&D!

August 16, 2019
I've had the privilege of contributing adventures to an exciting upcoming product: an entire adventure path for 5E D&D called Mother of Monsters. This is a fantasy Greek-themed adventure path set in a vibrant world with a lot of adventure opportunity. It's Kickstarting now, and you can back it right here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/zagoragames/mother-of-monsters-the-awakening-of-naehurdamia

Several things really impressed me from the beginning with the way Adrian set this up. He'd obviously put a lot of deep thought into the world he wanted to create, right down to inventing a Greek-like language that all of our in-world names could be drawn from. Rather than "fantasy Zeus" or "fantasy Poseidon," he put a lot of thought into who the gods were (hint: not really gods at all), how they interacted with each other, and how they different from a straight-up mythological copy. In addition to a well-thought-out campaign outline, he even had a few "demo" adventures to showcase the world and the feel he wanted to evoke. All very useful stuff for an adventure author!

So get the Mother of Monsters adventure path. And when you get to 11th level (tier 3 of D&D play) and things really seem to be getting wild with an extra-legendary feel and titanic consequences, you're in the two back-to-back adventures that I wrote!
 

Intrepid Heroes Take Flight!

August 15, 2019
I've done a LOT of gaming in my time, but I'm doing something totally new now. My Starfinder group--which recently finished Dead Suns to the great enjoyment of all--is starting up the Dawn of Flame adventure path. This time, though, we're podcasting it! You can check out our episodes at IntrepidHeroes.net. Each one is around 45 minutes to an hour long.

We're looking to fill a particular niche here: actual gamers at play. I've seen a lot of the "actual play" genre get overwhelmed with professio...
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RIP Blake Wilkie

August 14, 2019
I just learned that one of the artists I used for several Run Amok Games products, Blake Wilkie, passed away yesterday. The look of Run Amok Games products wouldn't be the same without Blake, and I regret I didn't have the opportunity to express my appreciation before his passing. My favorite cover art he did for me was the cover of The Underdelve Menace, but his distinctive comic-book style shows up a lot. RIP Blake.
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How I Redeemed Lawyers

August 9, 2019
Here's a quick story about my hand in the creation of Pathfinder Second Edition.

There are a lot of backgrounds in the book. Backgrounds give you, among other things, training in a skill and a specific skill feat. These skill feats map to the skills: you might get the Medicine skill and the Battle Medic feat, but the background shouldn't grant a mismatch between a skill and a skill feat. In reviewing the backgrounds, though, I noticed precisely one mismatch: the Barrister background gave you t...
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Second Edition Tips!

August 7, 2019
I'm back from GenCon, and one of the best things about it was being able to finally talk, in full and unvarnished detail, about the new Pathfinder rules. No more saying, "wait and see," as it's now here! If you're an adventure author for Pathfinder Second Edition, here are a bunch of things, in no specific order, to keep in mind when working with the new system.

* New XP. There's a new method for calculating experience points, and it's entirely based on the level of challenges compared to the ...
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Teeth of the Storm - for Second Edition!

August 2, 2019
Great news! Pathfinder Second Edition launches today, and I've partnered with Rogue Genius Games to present (on launch day!) a Second Edition update of my popular 1st level gothic horror adventure, Teeth of the Storm. No simple conversion, this is rebuilt and re-imagined from the ground up with Second Edition in mind. Teeth of the Storm is the perfect way to kick off a new Pathfinder Second Edition campaign--if your heroes survive! You can get it here!



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My GenCon Schedule!

July 26, 2019
Hey, I have my GenCon schedule finalized at last! Generally speaking, you can find me at Paizo's booth in the Exhibit Hall during Exhibit Hall hours, talking about our new edition. I have lots to say about it, so come by!

I'm also presenting in three panels. These are all in ICC:212, the Paizo seminar room (which is the same seminar room as last year).

Thursday, August 1st
In the Exhibit Hall pretty much the whole time it's open. There will be long lines for our new book!

Friday, August 2nd
Dungeo...
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Feeding the Fandom

July 23, 2019
When you're writing an adventure, don't think of yourself as writing a book for a casual reader (despite the fact that many of your readers will, in fact, be casual readers). Instead, think of yourself as writing for your fandom: a group of people who will dissect everything you provide, question it, review it, and build on it all on their own. This means you should keep a few things in mind:

* Make motives crystal clear. When an NPC does something, spend the words to make sure you're clarifyi...
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Converting Adventures

July 19, 2019
I've done a fair amount of adventure converting this year, to and from Pathfinder First Edition, Pathfinder Second Edition, Starfinder, and Dungeons and Dragons. I thought an overview about how I approach an adventure conversion would be helpful. I've broken this into nine steps. I'll use "native" for the original rules set and adventure, and "target" for the new rules set and adventure you're producing.

First, read the whole thing. Mark it as you go along for strange things that were expressl...
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Map Duplication

July 16, 2019
I now have a couple projects in the works that use the same dungeon map twice. Earlier in an adventure (or in an earlier adventure), the heroes go through the dungeon. Later, they come back to it, and go through it again. Why on earth might I do such a thing? A few reasons:

* Familiarity. A reused map takes away some of the burdens of exploration (in the parlance of my prior blog post, the heroes jump right to phase two), allowing more focus on the events at hand.

* Encourage In-Game Thinking. ...
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Three Phases of Dungeon Exploration

July 12, 2019
I've said for a long time that there are three phases of dungeon exploration as a player:

First, you are just entering the dungeon, and you don't have any solid information about its scope, denizens, or dangers. (This is the phase when players tend to be the most paranoid, checking carefully for traps, and so on.)

Second, you have a sense of the scope of the dungeon, but you haven't yet "mastered" it; there's still several unknown areas and, most importantly, you haven't yet encountered the "bo...
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How I Wrote 15,000 Words in Two Days

July 8, 2019
I'm back from vacation! I hosted a family reunion over the week of the 4th of July at my house. And I had an adventure milestone (of about 17,000 words) due the following Monday: today. If I'd been more rigorously scheduled, I would have finished this milestone before my vacation. But I had fewer than 3,000 words together when my family all arrived. I had grant plans of working a few late nights during the reunion, but those opportunities, unsurprisingly, vanished. All I had time to do during...
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More Torg Writing!

July 6, 2019
Hey, my contribution to the upcoming Torg Kickstarter has been revealed and unlocked! Pick up the new box detailing the fantasy realm of Aysle to get my adventure! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ulissesspiele/torg-eternity-aysle
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No Secrets

June 28, 2019
Secrets are a great part of an RPG narrative: the ally who is secretly a traitor, the supposed villain who is really someone in need of help, or the simple general store that's a front for an evil cult. Even secret doors have a long tradition in RPGs. But when you're writing RPG adventures or rules, you should absolutely not be keeping secrets from the GM. You're not being clever writing about the Cult Master through the first third of your adventure and then...surprise! The Cult Master is re...
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When Games Reflect Real-Life Trauma

June 21, 2019
It's exciting to put very tense or dangerous situations in roleplaying games. Part of the fun--for some, the largest part of the fun--is participating in thrilling danger without actually being in any danger. RPG authors create the atmosphere for that. Yet RPG authors need to keep in mind that some concepts of danger or trauma can be triggering for players who've had similar traumatic real-life experiences. 

This came into the news recently when a gamemaster at UK Games Expo ran a game purport...
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Second Edition Publishing License: What's Different?

June 19, 2019
So, Paizo just released their updated Compatibility License for Pathfinder Second Edition! What does it look like? Well, a lot like the Compatibility License for first edition. But it's not the same, and you can't use the first edition license for second edition products. You need to agree to the new license if you want to produce Pathfinder Second Edition products. But it's so much legalese! Is there anyone who can put these side-by-side and let an overworked third party publisher know what'...
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Avoid Punting from the Outline

June 14, 2019
My freelance workload is currently such that I prepared several adventure outlines at roughly the same time, then simultaneously built them into full adventures. This gave me a good look at my process, and specifically where a shortcut in my outline made much more work for myself in the adventure writing phase. So I though I'd share my list of "never do again" phrases from an outline (because I'm learning they make MUCH more work for me down the line). It's fine to punt on things like a speci...
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File an Evacuation Plan

June 11, 2019
I've talked before about thinking critically about how your monsters actually live in a dungeon setting--how they interact with their neighbors, the tasks they do on a day-to-day basis, and so on. Sure, undead and constructs can simply stand immobile for decades on end, but living creatures should have a bit more verisimilitude in how they utilize their home. One good way to think about this is to do the same thing you should be doing for yourselves--have an evacuation plan!

This process works...
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Understanding Your Contract

June 6, 2019

Hooray! You have a contract for your work! You look it over and are met with a wall of legal gibberish. But these things are probably standard, so you make sure the rate is correct and sign it and send it back in. You’re not a lawyer, after all, you’re a freelance writer. But in the back of your mind, you wonder (and maybe worry) about what you don’t understand in that contract. I’m here to help, with a breakdown of standard contract provisions! Complete with “Buts,” “Ands,” a...


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My Own Jargon

June 3, 2019
Last week, I posted about how using natural language instead of jargon in your game is useful, but I acknowledged that sometimes jargon can be necessary or helpful (such as when presenting game statistics). That got me thinking about some of the jargon I use in this blog, and how I'm long overdue to explain what I mean by some of these jargony terms. If these are all well-known to you, that's great (and you probably review lots of games and game blogs). I try to explain terms I focus on, like...
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Jargon in Your Games

May 29, 2019
I had a great PaizoCon last weekend. It felt more relaxed than last year, even though I participated in more panels, because I chose to "run" laid-back games of the revised Pathfinder Adventure Card Game rather than typical RPG sessions. As a big fan of the previous edition of the PACG, and the related modern-day game called Apocrypha, I was eager to give the revised PACG a try. I was a bit worried, because "old" PACG uses a lot of natural language on the cards, but Apocrypha uses so many sym...
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My PaizoCon 2019

May 22, 2019
We're gearing up for another great PaizoCon, where the company plans to show off a lot of the Starfinder Beginner Box, the revised Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, and (of course) Pathfinder 2nd Edition. Here's what I'll be doing:

Friday 5/24
8:15 am to 10:45 am: Helping with registration and handing out swag bags
11:00 am to 12 noon: Secrets of Golarion seminar (Cascade 13)
12 noon to 1 pm: Dungeon Dissection seminar (Cascade 13)
2 pm to 4 pm: Helping out at the Delve
4 pm to 5 pm: Solving Puzzles ...
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Final Push for the Gauntlet!

May 17, 2019
Sunday is the Gauntlet, the board game event for charity I'm participating in (along with the spectacular Joe Pasini, Katina Davis, and Whitney Chatterjee, we make Team Paizo). Please consider donating at at this link!
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Hand It to Your Players

May 14, 2019
Many adventures use player handouts: things the GM prints and hands to the players to look at. I'm personally a big fan of these, and an adventure can't have too many of them. They immerse the players in the adventure in a tactile way. But what materials make for a good player handout? What good are they? There are many answers!

* Art. First and foremost, player handouts are designed to be looked at. Although it's possible (and, in fact, common) to have a text-only player handout, it should st...
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Freelancing Process 4 of 4: After You're Done

May 10, 2019

Hey! If you've liked this blog series (or my blog in general), please consider donating to the Gauntlet, a charity board gaming event I'm participating in on May 19th. The link is here: https://thegauntlet2019.causevox.com/RonLundeen

Rather than talk about the nuts and bolts of rules and adventure design, I'd like to take a step back and talk about freelancing for a bit: specifically, some thoughts around freelancing RPG work for another company. This is the fourth in a series of four blog pos...


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Freelancing Process 3 of 4: When It All Goes Wrong

May 7, 2019

Rather than talk about the nuts and bolts of rules and adventure design, I'd like to take a step back and talk about freelancing for a bit: specifically, some thoughts around freelancing RPG work for another company. This is the third in a series of four blog posts on this topic.

It’s not uncommon for something to go wrong during your writing. Here’s how to handle some of the common problems that come up; nearly always, it involves talking to your developer (the person who assigned the pro...


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Freelancing Process 2 of 4: Day Planner

May 3, 2019

Rather than talk about the nuts and bolts of rules and adventure design, I'd like to take a step back and talk about freelancing for a bit: specifically, some thoughts around freelancing RPG work for another company. This is the second in a series of four blog posts on this topic. 

Once you’ve gotten your assignment, understood its scope, and signed (and returned) a contract, it’s time to dig in! But how?

Schedule Your Days. I’ve written before about how important it is to know your writi...


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Freelancing Process 1 of 4: When Not to Write

April 30, 2019

Rather than talk about the nuts and bolts of rules and adventure design, I'd like to take a step back and talk about freelancing for a bit: specifically, some thoughts around freelancing RPG work for another company. This is the first in a series of four blog posts on this topic.

It’s exciting to get the opportunity to write game material, and even more exciting when you know you’re going to get paid for it! Before you start any writing on a freelance assignment, however, you should do the...


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Building Connections

April 25, 2019
Something I run into frequently when writing (or developing) adventures is how to connect encounters in a meaningful way. Although there's nothing technically wrong with a string of unconnected encounters (fight an ooze in this room, fight some orcs in the next room, and so on), an adventure seems far more authentic if there's some connection between the heroes' fights. I talked about this in an earlier blog, remarking on how dungeon denizens should know their neighbors, but I wanted to branc...
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Your Half of the Trailer

April 22, 2019
My good friend Del, years ago, would hand out bonus rewards in-game (action points, hero points, possibilities, or whatever) for what he called a "trailer moment": when one of his players would do a stunt so awesome or produce a quip so funny that it would be in the trailer for the game, if it were made into a movie.

As an adventure writer, you'll want to think about how your adventure would look if it were made, beat for beat, into a movie. More importantly, you want to think about what the t...
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About Me


I'm Ron Lundeen, developer for Paizo, Inc., active gamer, and RPG freelancer. I've recently had products in print for Paizo, Wizards of the Coast, Raging Swan, Open Design, Headless Hydra Games, and Rite Publishing. I'm still taking freelance writing assignments, but also focusing on writing for Run Amok Games.


 

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