Preview: The Sun Below: Sleeping Lady

Numenera; Adventure; The Sun Below: Sleeping Lady; Cyper SystemComing soon, The Sun Below: Sleeping Lady, another epic adventure for Numenera.

From the Synopsis

Mor-Klish needs help. He left his team down in the numenera mines, and he asks the characters to bring them out. He waxes poetic about the wonderful new chambers they just unlocked – vast spaces full of numenera and pulsing with energy and perhaps intelligence.

On the way, the PCs encounter a sleep-walking young woman (Storm, manifesting as Sun Storm), and her daughter Lebby. Lebby tells the characters “You really should leave now, or find me another sleeper.” The pair vanish before the party can find out more. As the PCs explore the interior of Orb Mountain, they have more encounters with Storm in her various manifestations, often with her daughter Lebby. Lebby wants to wake Storm and will try and get a character to agree to take her place. What all this means is not immediately clear.

The PCs also find the crow-like murken skulking around and may find a broken automaton who has a story to tell if the characters repair it.

At this point, two forces have been set in motion. First, Orb Mountain is repairing itself and if not stopped, will take flight and become the lost moon Liluna, destroying the slithik town of Bursang. Second, Gothnor is slowly gaining control of the data nodes inside the moon and, if not stopped, will return to the world and put an end to both reality and sanity.

An adventure for all tiers, with new creatures, cyphers, and artifacts.

Cooperative World Building

I’m so busy editing The Sun Below: Sleeping Lady, plus two other soon to be announced games, I don’t have much time for blogging.

But I read a great blog on Cooperative World Building, so that counts, right? I thought I’d share what the Roleplayer’s Guild had to say.

What’s extra cool is that as an example of this group worldbuilding, you get to watch a great video with Wil Wheaton and friends. And beer.

Run Away! or Always Win? Game Masters’ Roundtable of Doom #6

run away run fastThis month’s topic comes to us courtesy of Lex Starwalker:

At one end of the spectrum is the style and belief that the PCs should be able to overcome any challenge that comes their way, that challenges should be “appropriate”. On the other end of the spectrum is the style and belief that the world should be realistic, that every fight shouldn’t be able to be won, and that one of the requisite skills of the game is knowing when to fight and when to run.

Where do you, as a GM, fall on this spectrum, and why? Should the PCs always be able to win?


Games should be fun. That’s kind of the point, isn’t it?

While you might think a constant stream of “winable” encounters would be fun, I haven’t found that to be true. Why is that?

My guess it that it’s too predictable. The only challenge becomes how well you win, not if. Why not play on autopilot?

In a great story you always see the protagonist on the brink of defeat. And sometimes they lose. I’m looking at you, George RR Martin!

A great gaming experience can do do the same.

Defeat can be in combat, intrigue, or social. The risk of defeat wakes up the player behind the character, gets the adrenaline flowing, and creates a memorable session.

At the same time, setting up a trap where the PCs will be killed no matter what they do isn’t likely to be fun either. Remember the discussion around TPKs?

way outSo in a combat encounter where the PCs are overmatched, I’ll always leave a way out. It might not be obvious at first, but they can always retreat. 13th Age has a rule that lets the PCs always retreat from any fight, but if they do, they suffer a story defeat. The kidnapped victim gets sacrificed, the cultists summon their demon, the nice alchemist who used to sell healing potions to the PCs just got his shop burned down.

Intrigue defeats tend to be temporary and the PCs can just keep on going, perhaps on a different playing field. Your faction is down, the opponent’s is up, but tomorrow is another day.

Social defeats are similar. Games like Hillfolk have rules that force a PC to accept defeats every so often. How the character deals with the defeat becomes part of the story.


The Game Masters’ Roundtable of Doom is a meeting of the minds of tabletop RPG bloggers and GMs. We endeavor to transcend a particular system or game and discuss topics that are relevant to GMs and players of all roleplaying games.

See what the other Doom Heads have to say:

How can you submit topics or become a participant blogger?
by emailing gamemastersjourney@gmail.com

Remembering to Ask

Back on Wait! Something Important, I talked about not remembering to do things I know I should do as a GM.

feedbackI just finished a 14 month campaign, and asked everyone what they thought about it. I got a ton of great feedback: More images/drawings for visual types, less combat for more investigative types, more character advancement,intrigue would be great. Next campaign could we have intrigue?

Great feedback. So what’s the problem?

I got this at the end of the campaign. If I had asked a half a year earlier, I would have gotten very similar feedback. And could have made that six month more fun for everyone.

Now, some players will give you feedback unasked. But most of mine will not.

OK, new rule. First game of the month, I ask for feedback on the campaign.

What do you think? Do you have methods to get feedback regularly?