I know this is random, but I always liked this shot from my time at JOTC in Panama.

Posts on TTRPG worldbuilding, managing campaigns, running sessions, and thoughts on tabletop roleplaying as a hobby.

Over a decade ago I spun up my first tabletop roleplaying site, Unpossible Journeys. It’s still alive, but I post there even less frequently than I do here. That’s largely because the original intent of the site (to inform people about the tabletop roleplaying hobby) is now redundant. Everyone and their dog knows about tabletop RPGs, and most people prefer listening to podcasts or watching videos to reading blog posts.

Also, I’m just not as interested in attempting to keep track of everything that’s going on in the hobby any more. I’d rather write about the aspects that interest me most. Hence the creation of Setting First.

Anyway, while I’m gradually letting go of UJ, there are a few posts that fit the narrower Setting First vibe. I’ve collected them here:

Thoughts on Worldbuilding

Check This Out, Worldbuilders – If you fiddle with longstanding notions of how human civilization came into being, you wind up with all sorts of interesting possibilities.

Planning A Post-Apocalypse Campaign: The World Without Us & The Knowledge – What would the world be like after an apocalypse, and how might humans rebuild? Read these two books to find out.

Words to the Wise: Worldbuilding Through Dialogue – Sure, everyone likes to talk about accents, but the words people use and the way in which they deploy them matters just as much (if not more) when conveying information about the speaker.

Tips for Planning and Running Campaigns

Tips for a Sustainable Campaign – A successful long-running campaign is more than a bunch of sessions strung together. Through much trial and error, I’ve learned a few things about how to keep a campaign dynamic and fresh.

Gamemastering Complex Settings – Middle Earth, Glorantha, Eclipse Phase, Degenesis – these are examples of settings with deep, deep lore. Many GMs get scared off from complex settings, but I’m here to tell you, the rewards outweigh the challenges as long as you are willing to put in the effort.

On Running A Post-Apocalypse Campaign – I’ll freely admit to being a bit of a post-apocalypse nut. Having run a wide variety of games in all sorts of different post-apocalypse settings, I can offer a few tips.

Gamemastering Tips

Running an In-Campaign One-Shot – Sometimes you need to mix it up, but you don’t always have to leave your campaign to do it.

Inspiration: Whiteout – Whiteout is a classic graphic novel for good reason. It also demonstrates techniques that apply to gamemastering campaigns as well.

Gamemastering Inspiration from The 100 – Many of the tricks used by showrunners to keep a series dynamic and interesting can be applied to your campaigns.

Tropes: Subvert with Care – It can be fun to put a twist on a well-worn trope in your campaign, as long as you don’t accidentally take it too far.

Tattoos in Tabletop Roleplaying Games – My friend Erwan Roudaut wrote this marvelous exploration of how the use of tattoos can enhance almost any RPG setting.

Posts About the Hobby

In Praise of In-Person Play – Yes, online tabletop roleplaying is pretty much the default now. But in-person play is worth cultivating, and not just because it’s how the hobby started.

The Three Factors Revisited – A few years ago I came up with a new way of categorizing tabletop RPGs. My aim was to create a pragmatic, useful scheme without any ideological baggage. I think it works, but as always with these sorts of things, your mileage may vary.