Sharing Dreams | ODAM Publishing Blog

Laruna: Age of Kingdoms "Pacing" January 25, 2018 16:37

This tweak is all about pacing. Pacing may not seem like a very exciting subject when talking about a new game, but it is very important. Ever play a video game that takes a ridiculous number of hours to get to a point that you actually feel is enjoyable? Yea, well just imagine playing a board game that takes too long to get to your turn or where you have to wait for a long time just to get to the fun stuff. Not a good thing.

Laruna: Age of Kingdoms - "Complexity" January 18, 2018 19:53

So once you go down the rabbit hole of a heavy, strategic game like LAOK you run the risk of losing sight of the forest for the trees. What I mean by this is that a game of this nature is inherently more complicated than many types of board games people play, thus we allow for much more strain of thought on the player than would normally be desirable for a board game. After all, tactical and strategic thinking is what a fun 4x game is all about. Well, that and the devious laughter when you betray an ally. Or the cheering when you finally Sack another players kingdom. Or the heart crushing feeling of someone playing a spell you didn’t account for. Anyway, you get the idea.

Laruna: Age of Kingdoms "Tweaks & Balance" January 17, 2018 13:54

We’ve reached the “tweak” stage. This is the point where the team feels all the concepts, main mechanisms and designs of the game have reached their final form. What this usually means is that the game from top to bottom is about 90% of the way complete. From here on out it’s all about making tweaks to reach a sort of balance. This is not to say that certain mechanisms won’t change, but the changes made will be less sweeping or dramatic, and more to hone in on specific needs.

Laruna: Age of Kingdoms - "What We Wanted" January 16, 2018 12:26

For Laruna: Age of Kingdoms, I was recently asked about what we hoped to create when we decided to make the game. Like before, we would be drawing upon source material, this time the Dreamscape: Laruna RPG we had published in the prior year. This gave us a very specific, rich world to draw on but it also posed an interesting design question. What did we want from this that only a board game could provide?

Location, Location, Location September 20, 2017 00:00

One of the earliest design challenges we’ve faced, and one I went back to time and time again, is that of player agency within The Shared Dream. In fact, it was probably the first big hurdle I presented to the rest of the team when putting together the core mechanics of the game. How could we ensure that the players aren’t victim to randomness, or even worse, only have one viable pathway through the game?

Side Stories August 21, 2017 18:31

One of the more interesting aspects of converting an RPG to a board game is the natural condensing of the material that has to happen. Some of this condensing is straightforward and easy to decide on – RPG-style combat mechanics that could take a while to resolve obviously won’t fit in a 90-minute board game format. But what about something less concrete, like storytelling?

2016 Update from ODAM HQ January 26, 2016 20:51

2016 is already shaping up to be an exciting year for ODAM.

We're working diligently to have several new products available for our players and thought there was no better time than now to share what's on our very hearty plate. 

We're having a blast getting everything under way. We'd love to hear your feedback by emailing us at or through our social media.

Dreamscapes - The cure for my gaming A.D.D. December 8, 2015 22:48

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is right around the corner and I couldn't be more excited. As soon as the first trailer released, I sent a text to John and asked "Dude (yeah, I still call people dude), would you please write another Sci-Fi story for us?" He laughed and responded "Leave me alone. I'm writing ODAM material." The next month, I'll ask for a high fantasy campaign, and the week after that, I want to play a hard boiled detective story. The poor guy has probably written the intro to a dozen stories in a dozen different worlds. Most, never to be played.

Serious Roleplaying Enhances Campaigns November 25, 2015 23:03

Tabletop roleplaying games are just that - games. They should be treated as such. Is it still better for the overall experience if everyone involved takes the roleplaying aspect seriously? I would answer, yes! Granted, not everyone participating in a tabletop RPG is an academy award winning actor/actress, nor do they need to be, but “staying in character” will improve the pacing of the session (and story), allow the characters to blossom, and allow the other players to stay in the moment.

The Character Sheet - A Piece of Paper or a Physical Representation of your Character? November 14, 2015 10:51

My two cents: I believe the character sheet should give the player a sense of self. At my advanced age (early 30s), I tend to look back on my old character sheets with the fondness one would save for their favorite collectible comic book or something like that. I used to color designs onto the page and make my own subtle graphical enhancements and since those sheets would live with me for the life of the character, they became part of that character's mythos.

All Hail Prince Linchpin November 5, 2015 12:01

I’ve been dubbed with many nicknames, but perhaps my favorite is “Prince Linchpin.” Granted, it’s sort of a self assigned title but it has stuck. Let me explain. When creating a new fantasy based character, I wrote in that the elf was the prince of a forgotten house and roaming the land to blah, blah, blah. I then requested (half jokingly) that I be the focal point of the story. I wanted to be the linchpin. One of my fellow players did not take well to my request and began belly aching that he’s never the linchpin. Hence, “Prince Linchpin” was born.

What makes a great story? | A Quick Guide to RPG Storytelling October 29, 2015 20:11

The Storyteller for RPGs are like goaltenders in ice hockey. They have the load of the team's responsibility and they take on the job no one else seems to want to do. Whether they are forced to do it, enjoy controlling the events of a campaign, or are simply into that sort of thing; they are a rare breed (especially if you get a good one). Coming up with a compelling story is a monumental task. It requires a lot of man hours, especially when you consider that the players hold considerable weight in the pathing of a story. I’ve done my share over the years but always apprehensively.

I'm Not Crazy - Superstitious Gaming August 28, 2015 14:47

RPG gamers are a superstitious lot. We “charge” or “power up” our dice by leaving them on a particular number for extended periods, we store consumables indefinitely because “if I use it now, I’ll definitely need it later”, and we usually check for traps and treasures in every room we enter (gaming or not). We deathly fear that moment the storyteller or errant roll of the dice will rip from us everything we hold dear. We cannot bear to think that the countless hours spent developing, upgrading, and dreaming about our character will end in utter heartache; so we take careful, precise measures to ensure luck is on our side. Ok, maybe it’s a little OCD.

Growing with your Games August 11, 2015 10:12

This morning I came across a fellow gamer who posted a blog entry about the difficulty of playing tabletop RPGs as an adult. You can check it out here. The dominant concern was the logistic difficulty of several adults with busy lives of their own, making room in their schedule to all sit and play together.

Strangely enough, this issue is a commonplace topic I encounter whenever I discuss the hobby among other adults. As children with less responsibilities, RPGs become vast time sinks that allow the players endless freedom to explore every little facet of their character. Entire sessions can be devoted to a single conflict or scene, and this is fine. Unfortunately, time constraints are unavoidable as adults and such depth is often implausible.

All That Remains August 4, 2015 11:50 1 Comment

So after many hours of travel, ODAM Publishing returns home from GenCon. Several days of lugging around books, speaking at the booth, and chatting with fans after hours in our hotel lobby has taken its toll. Our bodies are tired, our feet are sore and our voices are all but gone, but our hearts on the other hand, are filled to the brim.

A Tale of Two Twenties March 7, 2015 09:00

Continuing on from John’s post about dice and how they affect sessions, I wanted to go into some more detail and tell two stories about how the roll of the die has affected games I've played.

There we were, after months of play and a year of in-game investigation. Sian the Jedi Investigator finally tracked down his fallen brethren, and was going to put a stop to him and his illicit cyberware smuggling schemes once and for all.  They faced off for the final confrontation. Initiative was rolled. The player went first.

He rolled a natural 20.  A crit. He rolled again to check for critical damage. Another natural 20.

Dice in Your Games January 5, 2015 02:00

Every table top RPG fan comes to associate dice with the hobby. For some they are the tools of the trade, helping them craft one fun-filled evening after another. For others, they are their weapons of choice, much like a grizzled warrior and his favorite battleaxe. For myself they were an odd fusion of opposing concepts. For the most part, dice remind me of good things, predominately the laughter shared by myself and my friends. The Dreamweaver in me however finds them a strange source of frustration. I’m sure if you've every played a popular RPG you know how dice can play a pivotal role in the game session’s outcome.

How Stories Last a Lifetime December 4, 2014 22:00

This concept is something I feel stands out about tabletop gaming as a hobby. I’m sure any gamer can agree that the great memories they have of their role-playing escapades include the people they shared those experiences with. Together, a group of people take the time to share a story, and since they all experienced it, that story becomes very real to them.

The Beginning | The Foundation of ODAM Publishing October 2, 2014 09:00

So here is the very first entry of our websites blog “The Shared Dream”. I guess it is only appropriate that we start at the beginning. As is normally the case in my world, it started with a dream. Have you ever had one of those dreams that seemed so oddly vivid, so strangely real, that you woke finding it difficult to seperate what had happened when you were sleeping from what happened when you were awake? It was one dream just like that which caused me to begin a several year long odyssey that led to the creation of ODAM publishing.

Welcome to! September 16, 2014 08:30

Welcome to, the new home on the web for Of Dreams and Magic. We are slowly but surely hitting a point where fantasy and reality is intersecting – Of Dreams and Magic is a game about people making their dreams into a reality, and that’s what’s happening right here and right now.