5 Excuses To Fill Your Dungeon With Monsters

Google Images / Skyrim

Why are there so many monsters in your dungeon?

I realize there are certain expectations in tabletop games. I understand that a dungeon in Dungeons and Dragons is bound to be harboring horrible beasties–otherwise why play the game? I get that every RPG, from Pathfinder to Savage Worlds, and even some from the Sci-Fi end of the pool, must feature subterranean labyrinths from time to time. But why the hell are they always brimming with monsters?

Do monsters in the RPG world eat rocks? Undead warriors guarding crypts, I understand. But what business does a Hellhound have roaming the blank, featureless corridors of an isolated cave? Why is a goblin tribe living so far underground, away from a ready food source, on a glacial mountain with nothing growing on the surface? Or, an even worse offender, inside an active volcano? What are the giant spiders eating? And what does the Minotaur do for fun between murders? Does he just stare wistfully at the bloodstains in his corner of the cave, year after year, reminiscing about the adventurers he’s slain?

Why are there so many monsters in your dungeon? This is such a tiny, insignificant question in the grand scheme of the game. Yet 90% of dungeons I encounter have a bafflingly diverse array of subterranean creatures who seem to have no biological imperative to eat, reproduce, or nest. It’s as if their entire existence is centered around their desire to kill player-characters. Continue reading

Loot In Tabletops (Adjusted For Historical Accuracy)

This was originally written by J of Statbonus.com and re-posted here for posterity. I’ll also include a few endorsements at the end based on my experience with his loot system.

Check back next Monday for an all new article.


Let’s face it: your players are thieves. Sure, they may wait until after they murder someone to take their shit, but take their shit they will, and afterwards they’ll complain that the shit they took was barely worth the effort to commit those murders. Worse yet, players have a tendency to view any loot they acquire like prepaid debit cards Continue reading

Axis & Allies – 3 Home Rules to Spice Up Your Game

Axis & Allies Spring 1942 Setup

Note: This post marks the 4th article (of 6) by Statbonus writer and guest to this site; J. The last few will be featured over the next few weeks, after which we’ll return to our usual Sunday posting schedule. Please enjoy.


I never could just leave things be. Once you become a rules tinkerer, sooner or later every rule-set becomes a victim of your perverse attention. So rather than learn something that would be useful in life (like underwater basket weaving) I wasted a good portion of my youth pushing plastic soldiers to their death.

I refer, of course, to Axis & Allies. The board game that lets you replay the worst military conflict in human history to your little black heart’s content. Continue reading

What I (Eventually) Learned From Shadowrun

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Note: This is our 3rd installment from our guest-writer J, who we are reposting before our sister-site Statbonus.com sinks into the briny deep of the internet. If you’d like to hear more from J in the future (or if you’d like to dispute him) leave a message in this article’s comment section.


There is no doubt Shadowrun is an acquired taste (Ewww! You got elves in my cyberpunk!) with clunky–some might even say broken–mechanics. And although Shadowrun 1st edition was not my first RPG it is still the standard by which I measure all others Continue reading

Never Tell Me The Odds (Of My Defective Dice)

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Note: For those of you keeping track this is our second featured article by guest writer J, revisited from a series he wrote for Statbonus.com. Please enjoy.


So, as much as it pains me to do it, it looks like I owe the D20 system an apology. For years (well, decades now- eek!) I have disliked the D20 family of RPGs. Having cut my fangs on Shadowrun and GURPS the idea of classes and levels never set well with me. I never liked hitpoints. I downright hate rolling a single die at a time (regardless of the type) and the D20 rolls like a beach ball. It’s way too easy to lose the result because of an accidental nudge- which forces another roll, which inevitably travels the full length of the table, over the edge and into some dark corner room. But more than anything, D20s just never roll well for me. Continue reading

The 7 Deadly Sins of Gamemastering

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In an effort to consolidate 1’s and 0’s we’ve decided to let Statbonus (our sister site) go the way of the dodo. Mostly because it’s pointless to post the exact same content in two separate places every Monday. So for the next few weeks please enjoy a re-visit of some of our favorite Statbonus-exclusive articles by regular commentor/contributor J.


Continue reading