Wednesday, September 29, 2021


So I’ve started writing my own game system. Again, of course, but this time I’ve actually followed through and put something together that — on paper — I really enjoy.

Logo design by Jason Chapman, featuring art licensed from William McAusland/Outland Arts.

BURN is a game system that uses a single d6 for determining outcomes. Players have six different stats and 12 points distributed among them that they can “burn” to achieve an auto success and avoid a failed roll, which usually involves a setback or negative consequence.

Once all the points are spent though, a character is “burned out”, suffering disadvantage on rolls until they can take either a rest.

Characters begin the game with six health, and when health is reduced to 0, the character is on The Brink of Death — alive but unable to take any action, until healed/mended by another character or they rest.

Resting restores 1 health and 2 points distributed among the six stats, including putting both points into the same stat.

All attacks in the game are considered successful and deal 1 hit, but rolls of 1 on a d6 will result in triggering a setback as well, such as dropping your weapon, and rolls of 6 deal double damage (so normally that’s 2 hits).

You must be holding a weapon of some kind, or trained in unarmed combat, in order to make an attack.

The game is inspired by Into the Odd, Troika!, a little bit of DCC, and a dash of 4e, among other games. 

Theres still a lot of work to be done to get the game ready to play test, but I feel good about the direction it’s moving in.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Working with Friends

I'm very blessed to be surrounded by amazing people who are creative in ways I can only imagine.

Don’t get me wrong, I know I have ideas, and some fun ones too, but it's more that I have spontaneous bursts of creativity, and I struggle to follow through on those ideas and turn them into something tangible. It might be that it takes too much work or effort, it might be a matter of believing I don't have the time. Whatever it is, I put out ideas and I love doing just that, and I don't really expect of myself that I'll finish any of them.

Except with three ideas I had, not necessarily original, but, well, they are something, and now I'm working with three different sets of friends to turn them into something more. This is what I love; collaboration. It was a big part of the scene I was part of when Google+ was around, and I get to do it in small ways now on Facebook, Twitter, and Discord. Even Instagram occasionally when I post something and someone messages me, but its more rare there.

So anyway, here are three ideas, or collection of ideas or thoughts, and these are now no longer mine, but a collaborative effort:


There’s this artist named JR on Instagram and Reddit who shares these amazing pieces of dark, twisted art, like this piece based on the Teletubbies, and I immediately thought this was gameable. So I got to talking to my friend Hodag (who recently released THE HODAG RPG and you NEED to check it out), and he introduced me to his friend Cónor, who loved the concept and wants to make it into a thing.


I’ve likely talked about Across the Stars years ago, when it was something else. But a few days ago my friend Matthew Adams published a 1-page game called Exploiters as part of the #MSPaintjam (or #MSPaintRPGjam, I’m not sure which) and I love it and the tone was perfect for it. So I got to talking to my friend Richard on Twitter about it and I pitched my old ATS concept and he’s considering helping me develop it into something more.


I wrote up a list of names today, and me friends David and Ted both jumped in and started to help me figure out what it all meant:

Hewer of the Rocks of Santh

Carvers of Eyes

Mandelbrot Columns

Slipstone Golem

Krathickack of the Nine Mouths

Feeder Worms

The No-Beast

Immediately a mine locale comes to mind, where the Hewer pulls out Rocks of Santh, served by and aided by the Carvers of Eyes. The Mandelbrot Columns are alien things, shifting things, mutating columns, maybe of flesh? Maybe of something else. And Slipstone golems are forged from the Rocks of Santh.

This much I know. The rest I have to figure out. Or we do, really.

Oh and the no-beast is a creature that slides through different dimensions. I think it’s lion-like in form, maybe two-headed. Or no-headed.

Let's see what comes next!

Friday, September 17, 2021

Lost in a Dungeon

Hey, have you heard about Down We Go?

So I’ve started blogging here at The Secret DM again, and I also started running Down We Go online on Monday nights, and I’m having a blast, and decided I would blog about the experience.

Which I could have done here at The Secret DM.

But I’m not going to, really, probably not anyway. Instead I set up a new blog: Lost in a Dungeon

Lost in a Dungeon is a new blog dedicated to supporting Down We Go— it will feature my play reports, as well as optional content to enhance play for others. I’m looking forward to developing it there, and I’m very happy to have the support of both Tony Vasinda and Markus Linderum to pursue my plans for Down We Go, utilizing the Together We Go 3rd party license.

So be sure to check out!