Ryan McRae

Ryan McRae

Creator of Burn the Tavern Down.
Bringing Creativity Back to Gaming.


TL;DR. A welcome and thank you. My Netflix obsession. I have ideas! My dice giveaway.

Shout out to my Reddit Family

Just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who has joined me due to some Reddit posts. I mentioned my newsletter and everyone was super kind and encouraging. I was really touched.

So I’m grateful. (If you joined due to reddit, you should dig the bottom of this email.)

Netflix Obsession and your Game

Right now I’m deep in the show Mindhunters. It’s about how the FBI started profiling serial killers. They have some fantastic actors who make you believe that they are the serial killer. They had Charles Manson and it was freaky how convinced I was.


What if your game had a serial killer?

Fantasy like D&D: You have someone inadvertently under a curse. She or he picked up the wrong item and they are compelled to not only kill, but the memory is wiped from their mind when they sleep.

Your players have to find the serial killer and figure out the pattern.

  • Type of race or class.
  • Location (maybe on a map it spells a word or sigil.)
  • Relationship. The serial killer knows the victims but it isn’t clear who the connection is.

Not only that, but the players have to figure out that it’s the cursed item that is the cause not the actual person. And maybe, just maybe, they have to deal with the cursed item so that justice can be done. Who created the curse and why? Do the characters have to deal with the entity that made it? I don’t know, man. It’s your game.

Space theme: You have a serial killer, but they are going from space station to space station murdering a certain race of people. Clues are left at the scene. A drop of blood. A cargo manifest. A weird little tricorder thing. Maybe they infect their victim with a disease, because the serial killer is infected by some sort of host parasite. And the disease can only affect certain races.

Pulp or Urban Fantasy: Someone is murdering lesser known magical beings. They are half-breeds: they have some werewolf or faerie blood, but they are all in all human (with convenient side effects) But someone is making sure these “diluted” humans are taken care of because of some bull&$*% race issue. Or they are using it for spell components because to go against the real thing would be a mistake.

Ideas I’m Trying To Flesh Out

A caravan gets stolen and there is some terrible, terrible blackmail out there. There is a race to not only get it back, but control it. Or one of the items is ssssssuuuuuuuper cursed and things could get bad (sort of an origin story for the above idea.)

Your players help out a clockmaker or a toymaker and instead of offering your players money, she offers to enhance the player’s items. Maybe a secret poison flask in your rogue’s dagger. Maybe a helmet that just folds on the player’s head (think Starlord from The Guardians of the Galaxy.)

Different torches that when lit offer different powers or abilities to the player’s holding them.

A campaign setting where the more wondrous your art is, the more powerful your spells are. Simply creating art fuels magic. The inspiration of it and also, sadly, the destruction of it.

Blog I Like!

I’ve always wondered how to run games at a convention. I want to be a brave chimera and just do it. But alas! Fear!

And this article has quelled my fear with such haste! It’s from my new friend Moe at Tabletop Bellhop (THAT NAME, AM I RIGHT?!) I’d go deep into that blog. It’s pretty sweet.

Game I Like! 

Just played Harada and it’s like a sped up 7 Wonders. You draft cards and have to control your cities resources so you don’t get left behind. Once you get the rules down, the game goes quick, like 30 minutes.

Highly, highly recommend.

With my new gaming group, my Chicagoans, I’m going to start King’s Dilemma.

It’s about being on the King’s court and helping him make decisions while making sure you do what’s best for the kingdom (j/k: you want to do what’s best for your house because I mean, come on.) I’ve played it a couple of times and was super sad when the night was over. Super sad.

The Great Game Giveaway

I’m nearly at 400 subscribers and I wanted to do something awesome to celebrate. So I’m doing a giveaway!

Here’s the giveaway!

  • 1st Place: A Complete D&D Rulebook set, 3 sets of dice and 3 game trays from BoardGame Geek!
  • 2nd Place: 2 sets of dice and 2 game trays from BoardGame Geek!
  • 3rd-9th Place: 1 set of dice and 1 game tray from BoardGame Geek!

All you have to do is click this link or the picture to enter! Hope you win all the things. (I’ll put this in the bottom of the newsletter as it’s running, but I’d share this mo-fo quick!)

Thanks and keep rollin’.

P.S. If someone passed this email on to you, you can subscribe here, and get to Burn the Tavern Down weekly. You’ll get emails on how to simply game better.If you’re a regular reader, I’d love if you shared it on Facebook! Just click here to make it happen.

And here’s what I’m currently into!

Missed an issue? Here are the back issues! Also, any affiliate links above support this newsletter and the ability to feed my face.

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