Month: March 2023

  • Loup-Garou Tactics

    The loup-garou (the p is silent, so it rhymes with “boogaloo,” in both the singular and the plural) is a werewolf with an extra-intense concentration of lycanthropy. Amusingly, loup means “wolf,” and garou is what’s left of the Old French garulf, a cognate of “werewolf.” So a loup-garou is a “wolf-werewolf.” (In modern French, however, garou is a generalized term referring to any kind of lycanthrope. You could, for example, have a lapin-garou—a “rabbit-werewolf,” or wererabbit. Probably the owner of the hole I go down anytime I start looking into etymology.)

    With respect to their combat role, loups-garous (the correct plural, contra the flavor text in Ezmerelda’s Guide to Ravenloft) are uncommonly flexible. With exceptional Strength, Dexterity and Constitution, they can play the roles of brute, shock attacker and skirmisher with equal ease. Proficiency in Stealth and expertise in Perception make them outstanding ambush attackers. They have 120 feet of darkvision, making them deadly at night (it’s always struck me as odd that ordinary fifth-edition Dungeons & Dragons werewolves lack any darkvision at all), and they can Change Shape as a bonus action, meaning that if a different form suits the moment better, they can switch mid-combat without losing time.

  • Kobold Guide to Dungeons Available Now

    Hey, check out where I just showed up! The Kobold Guide to Dungeons gives both new and experienced gamemasters more than 100 pages of ideas and insight into making dungeons great. Contributors include Keith Baker, Wolfgang Baur, Zeb Cook, Dominique Dickey, Basheer Ghouse, Sadie Lowry, Frank Mentzer, Bruce Nesmith, Mario Ortegón, Erin Roberts, Terry Hope Romero, Hannah Rose, Lawrence Schick, Gail Simone, Barbara Webb and yours truly.

    My contribution? I write about escape routes—where to go when there’s no longer any good reason to stay.

    Buy it now from Kobold Press, or preorder from your favorite bookstore (available in stores June 6).

  • Unspeakable Horror Tactics

    Sorry for my silence the last couple of weeks—when the kid gets sick, everyone in the house gets sick, and nothing gets done. Also, thanks to the vigilant readers who’ve pointed out the ways this site has acted weird and buggy lately. Fixing the security hole, which was the most important thing, seems to have spawned a glitch in how the first article of text displays on the home page. I’m hoping that posting a new article clears that up. (ETA: It didnt. Grrrr.) (ETA: Found a fix!)

    Fittingly, I left off at unspeakable horrors, intentionally vague and broadly customizable weirdies that can be dropped into any horror setting—or, even better, in the howling voids between them. These creatures exist for one purpose and one purpose only: to give flesh to their victims’ fears. Categorizing them as monstrosities feels a bit off to me, somehow, but it’s not clear what other category fits them better. Calling them aberrations is equally awkward, and they clearly aren’t undead, fiends or anything else. Monstrosities it is, then.

    With ability peaks in Strength and Constitution, unspeakable horrors are melee brutes, boldly zeroing in on foes to whomp them with their limbs. Their animal-level Intelligence precludes them from coming up with any other plan. Of its four body composition options (Aberrant Armor, Loathsome Limbs, Malleable Mass or Oozing Organs) and its four limb modification options (Bone Blade, Corrosive Pseudopod, Grasping Tentacle and Poisonous Limb), only Loathsome Limbs offers any kind of tactically beneficial modification to this approach, and the accompanying Relentless Stride trait, which provides that benefit, seems in part redundant.


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Praise for The Monsters Know What They’re Doing: Combat Tactics for Dungeon Masters

“I’ve always said, the Dungeon Master is the whole world except for his players, and as a result, I spend countless hours prepping for my home group. What Keith gets is that the monsters are the DM’s characters, and his work has been super helpful in adding logic, flavor, and fun in my quest to slaughter my players’ characters and laugh out the window as they cry in their cars afterward.” —Joe Manganiello

“The best movie villains are the ones you fall in love with. Keith’s book grounds villains in specificity, motivation, and tactics—so much so that players will love to hate ’em. This book will enrich your game immeasurably!” —Matthew Lillard

“This book almost instantly made me a better Dungeon Master. If you’re running games, it is a must-have enhancement. I gave copies to the two others in our group who share in the Dungeon Mastering, and both of them came back the next time grinning rather slyly. Keith is a diabolical genius, and I say that with the utmost respect!” —R.A. Salvatore

Find my short works on the Dungeon Masters’ Guild, or just toss a coin to your witcher: