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.

If you want to gamify your teaching, use UX to up your DM game, or if you just really like Vodyanoi, please subscribe for the latest updates!

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Recent posts…

A wizard making geometric patterns from water

Strixhaven: Back to School Edition

It’s back to school season in the US, so I wanted to revisit an old post about Strixhaven. To recap, when I wrote my Strixhaven adventure, The Pub that Crawls, I was inspired by thinking about how we can learn about different real world subjects from playing RPGs. Last time, I talked about how social […]

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 […]

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