A fever dream of dragons, design, and historical dialectic

The Firebird by Ivan Bilibin


A fever dream of dragons, design, and historical dialectic

Hi, I’m Nick Stefanski

Historian by training, UX and instructional designer by profession, I write ttrpgs in my spare time.

On the blog, you’ll find backstory about Eastern European history and folklore in the media and how design for learning can overlap with rpgs and play.

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Recent posts…

Garden fountains surrounded by embroidery-like patterns of hedges.

Domains of Delight

Although it is a horror setting, there is something rather silly about how the varied “Domains of Dread” in Ravenloft serve to recreate the entire Universal pictures horror franchise within the D&D cosmology. Still, there’s something endearing to me about creating a knock off mummy, wolfman, and Dr. Frankenstein to go along with the game’s […]

Koschei the Deathless by Ivan Bilibin: an sickly, skinny old man with a long beard wielding a scimitar and riding a horse

Liches and Witches

The Russkies are back in Stranger Things 4! In other times, I might have talked about the typecasting of Russians as villainous in American media, but given that Russia continues to commit atrocities in its imperialist war against Ukraine, I don’t really feel like that right now. So let’s talk about Vecna! Yes, if you […]

tablet featuring the Glagolitic script and Latin equivalents


Glagolitic is a writing system devised in the 9th century by Saint Cyril, a missionary from Thessalonika, to translate scriptures and holy books into the slavonic language of Great Moravia, centered on modern Czechia and Slovakia. It was the earliest known writing system for Slavic languages, though it quickly went into decline; in Moravia and […]

A Tier 1 adventure for D&D’s 5th edition: Leave Strixhaven campus for an extracurricular adventure through six magical taverns. Who will be the first to reach… The Pub that Crawls? Find it on DMs Guild

image of a hut walking on chicken legs

Check out ‘The Pub that Crawls’ for #dnd5e: https://t.co/F1SL4AvWcf