Category Archives: RPG

Story Telling & RPGs (Black Gate)

bg_wraithA couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post over at, comparing the old school approach to Role Playing Games with the more modern one. I used Swords and Wizardry, a recreation of Original Dungeons and Dragons, and Pathfinder. I’m a fan of both systems.

I think that post has turned out to be one of the most popular I’ve written at Black Gate. So, of course, I went back to the well somewhat and this week, talked a bit about how Role Playing Games are about storytelling. And storytelling is what being a writer is about.

I also mention The Iliad, so you know it’s a good post!

If you’re at all interested in RPGs, or wondering how fantasy games with pen and paper can foster imagination, head on over. And add to the comments, please. We get some good discussion and some great points ‘below the line.’


Dungeon! (The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes)

Dungeon_boardWay, way back when I was a kid, I played Dungeon!, the board game that TSR put out in 1975. A few years ago, I bought a recent edition and taught my six year old how to play it. Dungeon! was the father of all dungeon crawlers, like Descent and Dungeonquest.

Today over at, I did into the history of this venerable board game. It came directly out of Dave Areneson’s Blackmoor sessions and really, pre-dates D&D.

Head on over and check it out.



Of Necromancers and Frog Gods (Part Two

FGG_TomeWaaaay back in November, I did a long post on 3rd Edition D&D company, Necromancer Games. It was a pretty neat look at their history. Necromancer evolved into Frog God Games, which is very active with Pathfinder, 5th Edition D&D and Swords & Wizardry.

So, I finally finished my history of Frog God. When coupled with that first post, it’s an almost 10,000 word look one of the major players in the third party publisher field. If you are familiar with either company or there’s D&D in your past (or present), you might want to check these posts out.

While I write more nonfiction than fiction, it’s mostly Sherlock Holmes/mystery genre-related. It was fun to stretch out on a history type of piece.

Not that it’s an Aaron Burr or Monitor vs. the Virginia real history type of thing…

A History of Necromancer Games

Necro_CrucibleI began playing Dungeons and Dragons about forty years ago. Though I don’t play these days (though I still try to board game), I enjoy reading RPG products. Mostly it’s for Pathfinder, and it’s often Frog God Games.

I’ve forgotten most of what I knew about AD&D (1st Edition), so 3rd Edition is my speciality. And I’m a big fan of Necromancer Games’ stuff. Which makes my liking Frog God a natural progression.

Over at Black Gate this week, I posted Of Necromancers and Frog Gods – Part One. It’s a history of Necromancer, with insights from Black Gaters and Necromancer/Frog God employees.

If you were a Necromancer fan, or even played 3rd Edition, swing by and give it a look. I think you’ll find some good stuff. I’m not aware of a free, online history of Necromancer that compares to it.

Part Two (due up next month) will look at Frog God Games’ history. Frog God was created by Necromancer co-founder Bill Webb not long after Necromancer packed it in. It’s very much a successor company in approach to gaming.

There’s even going to be an accompanying post on Frog God’s very active ‘The Lost Lands’ campaign setting, which has spawned a slew of successful Kickstarters (like this one, wrapping up this Sunday at midnight).


One of the many topics on my “To Write” list for Black Gate posts is a piece on how RPGing as a kid and teen helped fuel my imagination and develop my story telling ability. I retain a fondness of the pre-PC RPG world.