Author: Walt Ciechanowski

About The Author

Walt Ciechanowski

Walt’s been a game master ever since he accidentally picked up the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set in 1982. He became a freelance RPG writer in 2005 and is currently the Victoriana Line Developer for Cubicle 7. Walt lives in Springfield, PA with his wife Helena and their three children, Leianna, Stephen, and Zoe.

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Hot Button: Rejecting Canon

Assume that you are invited to join a Star Wars campaign (RPG system doesn’t matter for this exercise). As you sit down, the GM mentions that the first movie (Star Wars IV: A New Hope) is the only canonical source. The GM then informs you that the campaign starts...

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Mashing Genres: Medieval Superheroes

With the release of Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition I’ve decided to run a fantasy campaign again. One of the things that’s bothered me about D&D and its emulators over the last decade or so is that they don’t “feel” medieval. When every village has clerics with magical healing...

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From Con to Con: 2014 Edition

Hey all! This year’s GenCon was a whirlwind for me! I worked the Cubicle 7 booth in addition to my usual event-coordinating/running and meetings. I got to visit one of my favorite steakhouses with my fellow Gnomies (and met an epic waiter!) and finally tried Fogo de Chao. I...

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Stopping Short

If you find yourself ending an adventure with significant session time to spare, do you stop short or introduce the next adventure? For most of my GMing life I’ve been in the “if there’s enough game-time to set a scene or two then do it” camp. If everyone set...

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I Was an Origins Virgin

This year I decided to try the Origins Game Fair. For years I’d contemplated going, as it is actually a bit closer to me than GenCon (although almost negligible flight-wise) and I’ve heard great things about it. Conversely, I’d also heard it was in decline, so in any event...

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But We Don’t Want to Learn a New System!

With her year-long Pathfinder campaign finally wrapping, Gemma couldn’t wait to get started on her next campaign. “What an awesome finale!” she said excitedly. “Starting next week we’re starting a new campaign. I’ve decided to run Shadows of Esteren, which is a gothic horror fantasy game with Celtic trappings.”...

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Moderating Instant Advancement

Whether the campaign starts at a higher level than usual, a new player joins midway through a campaign, or a PC meets an unfortunate end and needs another to take her place, one issue all Game Masters eventually face is the introduction of “experienced” player characters. A complicating factor...

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Should Players be Forewarned of Endings?

Should you forewarn your players of campaign endings or should you keep them a surprise? It’s never occurred to me not to forewarn my players when the end of a campaign is imminent, even if it’s just a quick announcement at the beginning of the session. I’d always felt...

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The Reunion without the Epic

You don’t always have to raise the stakes. Recently, I got a call from an old gaming friend who was coming to town for a few days and wanted to game with “the old group” again. As it happens I am able to pull everyone together for a one-shot...

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Equestria Knights

Tired of evil lycanthropes having all the fun? What about a lycanthropic (or, in this case, alogothrope) force for good? Enter the Equestria Knights! The Equestria Knights are chosen by a Force for Good in your campaign and each is endowed with a supernatural power representing “harmony” in your...

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Avoiding the Familiar

When running adventures, especially in published/licensed universes, it can be tempting to add familiar adversaries as we often feel our players would appreciate it. After all, who wouldn’t want to face down Daleks or Sontarans in Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space, engage in a firefight with stormtroopers...

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Alleviating Cowboy Syndrome

A recent thread over at RPGNet reminded me of something I’d heard long ago. I can’t remember the game designer that said it or the exact quote, but it went along the lines of “the problem with Western RPGs is that there are two types of characters; the good...

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