The Burnt Offering

Unleash the Tarrasque

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Funeral Rites

The Burnt Offering is where Stu Horvath thinks too much in public so he can live a quieter life in private. 


This is a reprint of the letter from the editor in Unwinnable Weekly Issue Sixty-One. You can buy Issue Sixty-One individually now, or purchase a one-month subscription to make sure you never miss an issue!


Hi there,

This weekend is my bachelor party. Tomorrow afternoon, I will join ten of my closest pals in a cabin in the Pocono Mountains. We will not wander the woods. We will not play paintball. We will not do any of the other things that people do in the Poconos for bachelor parties, whatever they are. No, there, sequestered from the din of civilization, we shall embark on a marathon game of Dungeons & Dragons.

The game itself marks the end of the third act of a campaign I have been running, on and off, since 2005.

Maybe I should get you caught up on the broad strokes.

The bad guys, seven devil-worshipping jerks of various abilities and temperaments, are convinced that a multiversal apocalypse is imminent. Beginning with their world, a devouring void will sweep through all creation, erasing men and gods alike from existence. In order to prevent this, they seek to destroy the world first, beat the void to the punch. The theory is that removing the first domino will prevent the chain reaction that knocks the rest down but whether this would actually work is anyone’s guess. The players, obviously, don’t want to put it to the test.

This is the second time the villains have tried to do this. The first time, they pushed a young man, a seventh son of a seventh son with reality-altering powers, to the brink of madness. While his freak out didn’t destroy the world, it did snuff out the sun, plunging the world into darkness for over a year.

Don’t worry, the PCs got it lit up again.

This time, the villains are trying to wake up the Tarrasque, a nearly unkillable monster (even if you can put it down, you have to wish it dead or it will just get back up after a couple minutes) that is the  equivalent, in D&D terms, of Godzilla. Or maybe  the Cloverfield monster – the Tarrasque doesn’t have a breath weapon.

UW61-smallThe Tarrasque hibernates underground most of the time, so the bad guys want to wake it up early, you know, to get it really angry. To do that, they are going to cause a cataclysmic earthquake. In order to do that, they built a machine powered by souls. Turn it on and it rips the souls out of all the people in a radius of a few square miles. Once it has enough, it converts the energy into a seismic blast and…well, you get the picture.

Oh, and they might be planning to perform a ritual that lets a powerful devil possess the Tarrasque once it is awake.

And there’s probably some other craziness that I am forgetting.

My point is: this is ridiculous and awesome and should be the perfect mix of amazing fun and complete disaster.

And those pals I mentioned? Only five play Dungeons & Dragons regularly. The others are jumping in this weekend with pre-generated characters (and, I suspect, limited attention spans).

If they don’t bury me in the woods, I’ll let you know how it all went down next week.

* * *

This week’s cover story is from William Chyr, who shares a selection of beautiful images from his game Manifold Garden. Rounding us out, Matt Marrone’s iPhone photos take a turn for the surreal, Harry Rabinowitz gets mad about New York’s advertising and Daisy encounters a new foe in the latest installment of Gus Mastrapa’s Dungeon Crawler.

Have a great weekend and may your initiative roll always be high.

Stu Horvath,
Jersey City, New Jersey
September 17, 2015

Burnt Offering, Games, Letter from the Editor, Unwinnable Monthly