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Articles & News


Update on Special Delivery

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In April of this year, as the COVID-19 pandemic's reach more deeply permeated the world and the shutdowns and lockdowns became more widespread, I envisioned a project called Special Delivery. The project did not take off as well as I'd hoped, and then my work life became too busy to spend any more time on it. As the year ends, I wanted to give a final update on the project. As of today, this pay-what-you-want product...

Special Delivery – A Charity 5e Project

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I'm a strong believer in synergy, in finding solutions where as many people as possible benefit. Last week I put into action a project called Special Delivery - A Charity 5e Adventure. The goals of this project are numerable and diverse. I want to share some of those goals and hopes with you. If any of these goals and hopes mesh with your own, I invite you to join me in this journey. But first, a little...

Acquisitions Incorporated: The Best D&D Job You’ll Ever Have!

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The Acquisitions Incorporated D&D hardcover is now on the game store shelves, in the virtual warehouses of D&D Beyond, and sitting on gaming tables around the world. I was unbelievably lucky enough to get the chance to get to be one of the designers on the book, one of the many, many talented and creative and dedicated people who contributed to make the book what it is. As I was watching and re-watching episodes of...

Encoded Designs and Engine Publishing — Two Great Tastes…

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As of today, Engine Publishing is now an imprint of Encoded Designs. You should head over to Engine Publishing and read Martin’s statement. Then come back here. Ten years ago, Martin Ralya gave me my first book writing gig as a contributor to Eureka. A few years later, he decided to take a chance on me writing my first solo book, a book all about prep, called Never Unprepared. Over the years, I wrote on every...

The Streets of Avalon Kickstarter

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Welcome to the Streets of Avalon. This massive fantasy city holds adventure, intrigue, and a darkness that comes from its denizens, both above and below. Our Kickstarter is to fund the sourcebook for the city of Avalon along with additional material through stretch goals to add more darkness to the city and provide supplemental material for the world’s most popular role playing game. The Streets of Avalon has a gazetteer of the city covering the people who...

Lessons Learned: The Design of “A Shock at Evenfeast”

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The fourth mini-mission of Defiance in Phlan is the most controversial, the hardest to run for many DMs, and the one that can be the most satisfying to players if everything goes well. As I attempted to highlight each pillars of play within the various mini-missions, this is the one where I decided to let roleplaying interaction have its time in the spotlight. Roleplaying, as a skill, can come naturally to some and harder to others....

Lessons Learned: The Design of “The Dead at Highsun”

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In this series of blog articles, I have so far looked at the design of the Adventurers League Season 1 introductory adventure Defiance in Phlan, including the first two mini-adventures: “The Meeting at Deepnight” and “The Screams at Dawn.” Today I want to take a closer look at the third mini-adventure, “The Dead at Highsun.” In the overall structure of the adventure, I wish I had placed this one second instead of third. In hindsight, this...

Lessons Learned: The Design of “The Screams at Dawn”

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The previous two blog articles in this series at the overall structure, and then the first mini-adventure, in the Adventurers League introductory adventure Defiance in Phlan for the Tyranny of Dragons storyline season. This week I am looking at the second mini-adventure entitled "The Screams at Dawn." For those of you who do not want to witness self-flagellation, turn away now. This is my least favorite of all the missions in this adventure, and I...

Lessons Learned: The Design of “The Meeting at Deepnight”

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Last week, in my blog post called "Lessons Learned: Four Years Designing 5e," I talked about writing Defiance in Phlan, one of the first 5e adventures available to the public, and the first for the D&D Adventurers League. The design restrictions and mandates for that adventure made it one of the most challenging I have every written. It had to introduce a new edition of D&D, a new organized play campaign, be comprised on five...

Lessons Learned: Four Years Designing 5e

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When the Adventurers League launched at Gen Con 2014, in conjunction with the release of the 5th edition of D&D, there were a great many question marks. How would the new edition be received? How strong would sales be? Would the new Living campaign, referred to as the D&D Adventurers League, be a comparable replacement to the Living campaigns of the past? Overall, what did the future hold for D&D in particular and roleplaying games...

Six Years Ago today…

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Wow! Six years ago today I finished penning this article for the D&D website about my work on the lead adventure in the 200th issue of Dungeon Magazine. It is no longer available on the Wizards of the Coast website, but if you have any nostalgia for the history of the game, and for 4e adventures, give it a read. Enjoy! The Enduring Flame The first issue of Dungeon magazine was published when I was in high...

Encoded Designs to Publish The Streets of Avalon

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Buffalo, NY – August 15, 2017 – Encoded Designs, a tabletop game publishing company, announced today that it has signed a licensing agreement with Brett Bloczynski of Gaming & BS to publish The Streets of Avalon, a low fantasy city adventure setting. “I’ve always loved the stories of Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, city based adventures where the magic was more mystical than magical, and the horrors of Howard’s Conan stories,” said Encoded Designs Lead Developer...

Encoded Designs To Publish Expanded & Revised Iron Edda RPG

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August 4, 2017— BUFFALO, NY: Encoded Designs announced today that it has signed a licensing agreement with Tracy Barnett to publish a revised and expanded edition of his Fate-based tabletop RPG, Iron Edda. “This is a great opportunity for both Tracy and Encoded Designs,” said Encoded Designs President Phil Veccione. “Iron Edda is a unique campaign setting that combines Norse myth with epic action through the Fate system. It's Pacific Rim meets Vikings with a dash...

Vote For Focal Point

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I don’t normally put the full court press on people when the ENnies voting comes around. Normally, my annual advice is “Please go vote, and if you vote for something I worked on, great.” This year I am going to be more direct. Please vote for Focal Point in the Best RPG Related Product Category. Here’s why… Focal Point is the final book in an accidental trilogy of books that became the Complete Game Master’s Series. It started...

Q1 2016 Update

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Hello and happy Spring to you all, or for those on the East Coast, second winter. Despite the cold, snow, and overcast skies, there is much to be happy about here at the Encoded offices. We had our second anniversary in February. This quarter was a busy one for us, with some unplanned work coming up that we will talk about below. That unplanned work knocked some of our Q1 and Q2 plans aside, and...

Character Cache Version 2!

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Encoded Designs (designers of Part-Time Gods of Fate, Life and Moon, and Dangerous Space Jail) have teamed up with artist Matt Morrow to create the Character Cache, a collection of characters designed to be used in tabletop RPG gaming. This effort is being supported via a Patreon community. We have recently updated the campaign and are once again looking for supporters. In the new version of the Character Cache, we have expanded the community input, allowing...

The DMs Guild and You!

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Brains crave stories. Some brains want fantasy, some want dramas, or romances, or comedies. Some brains prefer stories delivered as novels or short stories, but just as many enjoy TV or movies or plays or musicals, or video games, or songs, or just hearing people talk. My brain is no different. It wants to hear stories constantly, and it wants to tell stories, and through those stories it hopes to understand actions, emotions, and the...

Q4 2015 Update

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Another three months have passed, and 2015 has drawn to a close. We are getting close to our 2nd anniversary, next month. This quarter has been a busy one for the Encoded team, as the past several have been. With the transformation from writers and designers to publishers, our planning for 2016 looks to make it a big year for us. Before we look forward, let’s look back at Q4. Publications Character Cache The Character Cache is going well. We have cleared...

The Geography Of Elhal

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Elhal is made up of four kingdoms and the wasteland known as the Demon Lands. Each kingdom has its own unique geographical and cultural features which have an influence on those who were born and raised there. Below is a summary of each of the kingdoms and their major regions: Vaasari Known as the Glacier Lands, the majority of the population lives on the Great Northern Glacier, on the northern most boundary of the continent. Their cities...