MCDM’s Kingdoms & Warfare lets players raise armies and go to war. For this project, I donned a suit of shining plate and followed Lead Designer Matthew Colville into the fray with his original rules for warfare in D&D 5th Edition. I worked alongside talented designers such as Celeste Conowitch, Gabe Hicks, James Introcaso, Makenzie De Armas, and Sam Mannell to create adventuring organizations, enemy realms, magic items, and world-ending foes for this exciting new system.
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In the creature section of this book, I was tasked with designing two absolute chonkers, both in terms of physical might and challenge rating. One of them was Cthrion Uroniziir, a CR 29 time dragon who consumes entire worlds and melds them together in a cataclysmic churning contained within her demiplanar stomach. She also has cosmic breath. So yeah, that was pretty awesome. Ain’t she a beaut?
Curse of Strahd is such an iconic adventure that we gave it a brand new box tier—and it’s truly legendary! Sly Flourish did an unboxing on his YouTube channel here. This is one of my favorite B&G projects I’ve worked on so far, and coincidentally it’s the first project I was involved across the board from day one: concepting, content creation, promotion, you name it!
Since this is my portfolio, I have to mention my bonus encounters for this supplement, one of which involves an original quest for that pesky third gem. If you want to know where I hid it, you’ll just have to buy the box! (Or you can DM me on Twitter.)
I love working for Beadle & Grimm’s. Honestly, there’s so much to like in our boxes that it’s hard to single out just one thing. After all, my journey with B&G started as a customer and fan. But if you’re going to twist my arm, I have to highlight that we included original, top-down maps comprising all of Castle Ravenloft. You heard that right. There’s like 30 maps in this box. The map tube is thicc.
Convertibots is an action-packed, one-page RPG inspired by Grant Howitt’s Honey Heist. In Convertibots, you play a robot from a war-torn planet charged with protecting a human during all of their Important Activities, like going to coffee shops and taking part in #selfisunday. But beware! The evil Duplicicons are looking for the human. You must protect them.
Icewind Dale will always have a special place in my heart. After running a long campaign up in the Frozenfar, I was thrilled when asked to write for Season 10 of Adventurer’s League in conjunction with Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden. My contribution to season 10 was 10-04: A Cold Benevolence.
Okay, so not technically related to the Adventurer’s League module, but I was actually on a panel for D&D Celebration amidst all the Rime of the Frostmaiden love! It was awesome to join three of my industry heroes—Ashley Warren, Celeste Connowitch, and Lysa Penrose—on the “How to Become a D&D Designer” panel.
For Arcadia #3, I created three original ancestries inspired by sleep and dreams: Lucidlings, Sandspeakers, and Somnians. Each draws from real concepts in oneirology, the study of dreams. Lucidlings are the accidental alien products of sleeping aberrations, such as beholders or aboleths. Sand speakers are so-called “thought thieves,” entering the dreams of other creatures to plant or learn information. Somnians are the architects of dreams, but on the material plane they are master illusionists.
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In addition to the beautiful artwork by Isle Gort, my favorite thing about this article is the “Remembrance” trait of the somnian ancestry. Each somnian character can cast the resurrection spell once, but after they do so—they die! Only a wish spell can bring such a somnian back. Additionally, when a somnian resurrects someone in this way, they can leave them with one memory of their choice. What a tear-jerker!
The spiritual successor to Elminster’s Candlekeep Companion, this 112-page supplement provides a comprehensive history and guide to the most infamous organization in Faerûn: the Zhentarim!
M.T. Black, Anthony Joyce, and I learned a ton since Candlekeep. I’m confident this is the best supplement we’ve ever released in terms of content, presentation, and our amazing team, or as it’s known within the Black Network, “the family.”
Here’s a small taste of the treasures you’ll find within this book:
The never-before-revealed origins of the current High Lord of the Zhentarim, the enigmatic Pereghost, and the current whereabouts of each known clone of Manshoon
An entire chapter on playing “evil” campaigns co-designed by Kienna Shaw, co-curator of the ENnie-winning TTRPG Safety Toolkit
Player options galore, including the Spellthief subclass for the rogue, dastardly magic items such as the body bag of holding, and new spells like Manshoon’s mage hand
Two full-color maps: Castle Darkhold, and Sunset Vale (for which there is a gazetteer)
Perhaps my favorite part about this entire book—and there’s a lot to love about it—is the system for Thieves’ Cant in chapter 2. This section provides a fun, table-ready code for communicating with your Dungeon Master while keeping other players none the wiser. You can use it to subtlety declare your character’s allegiance, extend a job to a character or NPC, or issue a discreet threat in plain view of the rest of the party. Sadie Lowry did a fantastic job bringing my vision of this section to life!
This 84-page supplement aims to be the definitive guide to the iconic library fortress in D&D, updated for 5th Edition. I co-led this project with Anthony Joyce and spearheaded lore-heavy aspects such as introduction, chapters two and three, and the lore in the bestiary. Collecting, reconciling, and adding to the lore was an enjoyable challenge made possible by none other than the creator of the Forgotten Realms himself, Ed Greenwood, who both consulted and wrote for this project.
Speaking of our team. Check out all these awesome folks who made this supplement possible!
Lead Designers: Justice Arman, Anthony Joyce Designers: Trevor Armstrong, M.T. Black, Jeremy Forbing, Laura Hirsbrunner, and Ed Greenwood Editor: Laura Hirsbrunner Graphic Designer: Gordon McAlpin Cover and Interior Art: Bob Greyvenstein Cartography: Marco Bernardini Creative Consultants: Teos Abadía, Enrique Bertran, M.T. Black, and Ed Greenwood
It’s impossible to talk about Candlekeep without mentioning its many towers, which have been cited as being so numerous that they obscure one another, making it impossible to get an accurate count! Not surprisingly, mapping the library fortress was a challenging endeavor, but Marco Bernardini knocked it out of the park with his overhead map of the Castle of Tomes as it stands in 5th Edition D&D. If you’d like to just purchase the high-resolution map, you can do so here.
I’m proud to have contributed to the first-ever Gold Edition from Beadle & Grimm’s for Eberron: Rising from the Last War. In addition to writing articles for the in-world broadsheets and editing, I wrote two bonus encounters for the box, “Murder on the Halcyon” and “Skybridge Skirmish.” The former is a murder mystery aboard a House Lyrandar airship, while the latter is an encounter surrounding the diabolical usage of a frequently underestimated spell.
Each of the bonus encounters in the box have tie-in articles on the broadsheets designed to organically spark adventure once in the hands of your players. In addition, they all make use of one of the spectacular Eberron maps.
Baldur’s Gate: City Encounters includes forty short encounters to enliven the City of Blood and distinguish it from other cities, such as Waterdeep or Silverymoon. I co-led this project with Anthony Joyce.
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In addition to writing and editing, I designed the tension meter. This mechanic ensures the characters’ actions have weight by unlocking new encounters relating to the power struggle between major factions in Baldur’s Gate. For example, if the characters consistently side with law and order, they may tip the scales in favor of the violent Flaming Fist, inadvertently pushing the City of Blood into a period of marshal law!
Baldur’s Gate: The Fall of Elturel is an alternative introductory adventure to Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus. This two-hour adventure is designed to invest the characters in the campaign’s inciting event. It has received high praise from established creators such as James Introcaso and M.T. Black and is currently a Gold Best Seller at the time of writing.
In addition to consulting and editing the adventure, which was written by my good friend Anthony Joyce, I designed three new backgrounds with useful features for the campaign.
I designed the background features to be useful beyond simply granting the characters free room and board. For example, the Hellrider background allows you to secure awarhorse for yourself and riding horses for your companions while in the vicinity of Elturgard. The Flaming Fist lets you arrest on behalf of the mercenary company, entitling you to a portion of any confiscated “contraband.”
Step Right Up is a milk-themed carnival horror adventure. Inspired by the modular train in 6:66 to Mephistar, this adventure features a host of two-part attractions from which the DM can build their ultimate extravaganza. In addition, it includes 10 new monsters, 5 original magic items, a couple of printable handouts, and tips for running horror in TTRPGs.
This adventure has a sweet and spoiled mechanic. Each attraction comes in two parts. At the beginning of the adventure, characters can fully experience an innocent (albeit creepy) carnival and all the sweet attractions it has to offer. However, in the second part of the adventure, each attraction is spoiled, twisting them into a horrifying reflection of what they once were!
Hellbound Heists is a 287-page adventure collection featuring nine heist-theme adventures set in each of the Nine Hells lead by Bryan Holmes. I contributed to this project as a writer, editor, and illustrator.
My adventure, “6:66 to Mephistar,” is a Tier 4 train robbery set in Cania, the Eighth Hell. Designing this hilariously macabre high-level adventure was an enjoyable challenge that had me giggling as I typed. The adventure opens outside a train station on the Nargus Glacier, where shivering, unfortunate souls wait in a mile-long ticket line, hoping that the frozen corpses ahead of them will perish from wind erosion soon.
In “6:66 to Mephistar,” the freight cars aboard Mephistopheles’ Baatorian-green-steel locomotive, the Canian Hellfire Limited, can be customized by the DM to interest and/or challenge their players. My favorite is the memory car, where characters may absorb the memories of another creature who traded them in an infernal pact.
Starting in June 2019, M.T. Black hosted a 1-page adventure contest around the theme of “Saltmarsh” known as The Lonely Scroll Adventure Contest.
My submission, “The Eye of the Storm,” featured a mourning storm giant, a treacherous reef, and a colorful NPC rival. “Eye of the Storm” was awarded Best Wilderness Adventure.
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I wrote the adventure for this contest before both Devil’s Advocate: A Guide to Infernal Contracts and Oath of the Aesir. Even cooler? I’ve included the whole adventure below. All I ask is that if you like it, consider supporting the rest of the awesome entries by purchasing a copy of The Lonely Scroll Adventure Contest: Saltmarsh below.
M.T. Black’s The Lonely Scroll Adventure Contest lit a fire in me that I couldn’t ignore! After submitting my entry, I channeled that energy towards devilish pursuits. I wrote this supplement to give both clarity and inspiration to Dungeon Masters and players preparing for Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus in the form of guidelines, variant rules, roll tables, and a trio of new monsters, the collection agents.
Devil’s Advocate: A Guide to Infernal Contracts was my “big break” on the DMs Guild. Not only was it Pick of the Week, it was also featured on Comicbook.com! Currently, it is a Mithral Best Seller and has sold over 2,500 copies.
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Designed to make the process of administering infernal contracts easier, this supplement contains a prop contract which can be printed, filled in, and administered to a player!
The Oath of the Aesir is a 5th Edition paladin subclass surrounding the battle gods of Norse mythology. The abilities and tenets associated with this oath are inspired by gods such as Odin, Thor, Baldur, and Tyr.
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I am a huge fan of Norse mythology. This subclass translates many of my favorite aspects of popular myths, such as Baldur’s vulnerability to mistletoe, into paladin abilities. There is a 100% full preview of the subclass on the DMs Guild. You can access it via the button below.