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AnyDice
If you've ever wondered about the statistical properties of various dice rolls, this website was made just for you. A great resource if you homebrewing some mechanics and want to know the likely outcome of various dice rolls.
dnd  D&D  dungeonmaster  tool 
7 days ago
DunGen Dungeon Generator
This is a really cool utility for generating dungeons for games like D&D. Most tools like this will generate actual maps of the dungeon, ready to be dropped into a virtual tabletop or drawn onto some graph paper; but this tool instead generates a abstract layout of the dungeon, merely showing connections between rooms and leaving the details of how that looks up to you. It's very interesting, and offers the prospect of some flexibility that I find compelling.
dnd  D&D  dungeonmaster  tool 
7 days ago
One sheet Combat Tracker
This seems like a pretty useful sheet for tracking a combat in Dungeons & Dragons. I would probably print out a stack of these if I knew I was going to be running a session without any electronics.
dnd  D&D  dungeonmaster  document  tool 
7 days ago
DM Forge: Call Out Your Players!
A Fistful of Dice's Matt offers some advice for how DMs can smoothly handle the transition from setting a scene to inviting the PCs to act: avoid un-directed questions such as "What do you do?" and instead "call out" a specific player. This doesn't mean asking the same question, just to a particular person, but further giving them something specific to react to. Put a PC on the spot, both in the conversation and the fiction.
dungeonmaster  D&D  dnd 
20 days ago
How to Make D&D Combat Flow
Zipperon Disney thinks a great deal of advice on running combat in D&D incorrectly focuses on speed. Speed isn't unimportant, but more critical according to Disney is ensuring the combat flows effectively. What does that entail?

* Dramatize transitions
* Creating exigency
* Prompt activity
* Compress the resolution
* Keeping things speedy
dungeonmaster  D&D  dnd 
20 days ago
The Philosophy of Jaquaying
Justin Alexander continues his series of blog posts on nonlinear dungeon design with an entry on the philosophy thereof. Questions of verisimilitude, player difficulty, meaningful choice, and "runnability" are addressed.
dungeonmaster  D&D  dnd 
29 days ago
Techniques of Jaquaying the Dungeon
Justin Alexander continues exploring principles of nonlinear D&D and RPG adventure design, detailing various common techniques and tricks one can employ when designing nonlinear dungeons.
dungeonmaster  D&D  dnd 
4 weeks ago
One million square feet of original RPG battle maps free to use
Each one is a grid of 50x50 one inch squares. One inch of gaming battle map is equivalent to 5-feet in the world of the dungeon.
D&D  dnd  dungeonmaster 
6 weeks ago
dndspeak: extra content for your tabletop games
This site is an archive of lists and charts of small bits of content for tabletop role-playing games. Not cornerstones of the fiction of your game, but auxiliary bits of interesting fluff to discover.
dnd  dungeonmaster  D&D 
6 weeks ago
Five Facets of a Compelling D&D Character
RJ Compton outlines a framework for creating compelling characters in D&D. It's clearly written with player-characters in mind, but I could imagine it working decently well for NPCs as well.

The basic gist is to begin by choosing your character's background and associated personality traits, ideals, flaws, and bonds. From here, you proceed to define a number of additional "facets" of your character:

- A connection to some part of the world or campaign setting
- A reason why your character is in this campaign, adventuring with the rest of the party
- A fatal flaw or hangup
- A dangerous secret
- Some kind of connection to some other member(s) of the party
dungeonmaster  D&D  dnd 
6 weeks ago
Dungeons and Geometry
The author of this blog post digs up an old Dungeon magazine article showcasing some layouts of dungeons exhibiting non-euclidean geometry. Perfect next time your adventurers wander into the lair of some power so weird it distorts the rules of space-time.

You can find the referenced Dungeon magazine issue here in the link below. The article in question begins on page 32.

https://archive.org/embed/Dungeon_Magazine_006
dungeonmaster  D&D  dnd 
6 weeks ago
Don't be afraid to run D&D!
Matt Colville briefly outlines what might be a golden rule of thumb for running D&D: you can't start getting better at it until you start doing it, so you better start doing it now.
dnd  D&D  dungeonmaster 
7 weeks ago
Roleplaying 101: Building a Backstory
Earlier in the Roleplaying 101 series, we looked at how to create a compelling character without an extensive backstory. I’ve found that D&D players who consider roleplaying as a key facet of their gaming experience, myself included, tend to get hung up on backstories. Some backstories are so detailed that they shut down any chance of organic character growth through the events played out at the table, while others are so potent that they threaten to re-center the entire campaign aro...
dnd  d&d  dungeonmaster 
7 weeks ago
Weever - Story Visualizer
Story Visualizer and Game Master screen

It's like a virtual pinboard or whiteboard where you can add notes, links, and media and organize them spatially.
dnd  D&D  dungeonmaster  tool 
7 weeks ago
Adventure Lookup
This website is an catalog of adventures written for Dungeons & Dragons throughout its whole history, with the goal of indexing each adventure with metadata about the kinds of monsters it features, the magic items it rewards, the setting of the adventure (e.g. urban, desert, etc.), the adventure's publisher, and the anticipated level of the party.
dnd  D&D  dungeonmaster  tool 
8 weeks ago
Question Answer-Question

Questioning and answering questions are two of the most fundamental activities that occur at the table. While long descriptions and dialogue between players are useful, adventure games are fundamentally about making choices and decisions. Those choices and decisions are bound up with asking questions and receiving answers to them, which inform characters about the world, the effects of their actions, what their capabilities are, etc. It is possible to run an engaging and extremely interesting adventure game session without anyone ever actually acting out dialogue or pretending to see things from one's character's point of view so long as questions, answers, choices and decisions are present.

I recommend that you, whether a player or referee, end almost any and every assertion you make, especially one that answers another player's question, with another question, one that either asks what their response is, what further information they want, what the foreseeable consequences of doing something would be, even just confirming their choice.
dnd  D&D  dungeonmaster 
8 weeks ago
Building for the Three Pillars

If you read deeply into Tomb of Annihilation and Dungeon of the Mad Mage , you'll notice that Wizards of the Coast has avoided a common problem in older adventures. Older adventures often focused on rooms full of monsters that reacted to the characters in basically one way-by attacking them.

The fifth edition of D&D focuses on three pillars of play: exploration, roleplaying, combat. While previous versions of D&D arguably focused more on combat than the other two pillars, 5e has definitely shifted more towards roleplaying and exploration as at least equal partners to combat.

We should build situations that allow for all of the three pillars and let the players choose how they want to interact with it.

When building for the three pillars, we can keep a little checklist to help us ensure we're building around the three pillars:

Is there a way to sneak around?
Are there NPCs to talk to?
Are there factions within the monsters and villains to exploit?
Are there areas to explore and things to learn there?
Are there things to fight without bringing the whole place down on top of them?
Are there different ways to get into and explore the area?
D&D  dnd  dungeonmaster 
8 weeks ago
365 Character Questions for Writers and Roleplayers

It can be difficult to come up with one original character after another, whether you're a writer or a roleplayer. To that end, it sometimes helps to answer one or more odd little questions about your character to flesh her out. This book includes 365 such questions, one for each day of the year. You can use them as writing exercises by creating a random character just for the purpose of answering a question, or you can use them to flesh out a pre-existing character.

Go to today's date and answer that question about your character. Alternatively, flip to a page and pick a prompt at random. Or you might glance through the questions until you find one that suits your fancy. Sometimes you need to look around until you find something that inspires you, but sometimes the best route is to answer a question that seems entirely unlikely--the most unexpected things can result.
dnd  D&D  dungeonmaster  wuq  document 
9 weeks ago
Create a backstory that is good both for you and your GM - Tribality
Make your character have a reason to be with the rest of the party

Make a backstory appropriate for your level

Leave gaps in the backstory

Go weird

Make your character know some other party member

Create two – four NPCs your PC is connected with

Talk with your GM to further fit the PC into the world
dungeonmaster  D&D  dnd 
9 weeks ago
Introducing Towns
Most of our fantasy RPGs, at some point, has us introducing our group of heroes to a new town. As common as it is, however, introducing a town can be tough to manage at the table. It's likely you might overwhelm the players with too much information.

Today we're going to look at some tricks for introducing a town seamlessly into your story. You'll give your players some focus but give them a lot of freedom at the same time.
dungeonmaster  D&D  dnd 
9 weeks ago
Things you need in a city campaign
Tweet me the sort of things you need an endless supply of when running a city campaign?

David Black of The Black Hack RPG solicits suggestions on material dungeon masters commonly need when running city adventures.
D&D  dungeonmaster  dnd 
9 weeks ago
NPC Generator
Website for generating randomized Non-Player Characters (NPCs) with attributes, in-depth and unique descriptions as well as a plot hook.
dungeonmaster  D&D  dnd  tool 
9 weeks ago
Anna's Handbook tabs
MCDM's Anna (Judge in their Chain of Acheron campaign) details how she uses tabs to organize her copy of the D&D 5e Players' Handbook. It seems like a really useful and intuitive system.
D&D  dungeonmaster  dnd 
10 weeks ago
Jaquaying the Dungeon
Justin Alexander details principle of nonlinear D&D and RPG adventure design he terms "Jaquaying" in honor of Jennell Jaquays. He argues that such adventures and dungeons are not intrinsically harder to run, and likely much more rewarding for players.
dungeonmaster  D&D  dnd 
10 weeks ago
Three Clue Rule
Whenever you’re designing a mystery scenario [for an RPG], you should invariably follow the Three Clue Rule:

For any conclusion you want the PCs to make, include at least three clues.

Why three? Because the PCs will probably miss the first; ignore the second; and misinterpret the third before making some incredible leap of logic that gets them where you wanted them to go all along.
dungeonmaster  D&D  dnd 
10 weeks ago
Steven Lumpkin on Fantastic Scenes
So I grabbed Sly Flourish’s Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master and it’s great and you should buy it, AND: In it, Mike talks about establishing a collection of Fantastic Locations to use at the table in your upcoming session. I want to expand on that very briefly.

Steven Lumpkin on Twitter workshops a corollary to Mike Shea's advice on preparing fantastic locations: don't just develop fantastic locations in advance, but also prepare fantastic scenes.
dungeonmaster  D&D  dnd 
11 weeks ago
Having trouble designing Fronts
Reddit user iridiumhatandcoat offers some guidance on designing and using Dungeon World fronts. Although the advice is directed at a Game Master running Dungeon World, it is broadly applicable to most tabletop role-playing games.
D&D  dungeonmaster  dnd 
11 weeks ago
The Big List of RPG Plots
Over the last two decades, The Big List of RPG Plots has been cited, quoted, thanked and excerpted in articles for computer-game design, a book on Hollywood screenwriting, and more than a few pen-and-paper RPGs. I wrote it in 1993 as an article submission for Pyramid magazine (they rejected it). I later tried to shop it to Dragon and Shadis and others (they also rejected it). I became Pyramid's editor in 1998 and decided: nah, that would be lame, to finally "accept" my own rejected article, so instead, it became something I'd offer for free on my own website, the Blue Room, where it debuted in '99 and lives on (now on the Blue Room's bloggy successor, Rolltop Indigo).

If this little item isn't in your GMing toolkit yet, it's time to amend that. It don't cost nuthin' ... but I think you'll find it's worth your time!
dungeonmaster  D&D  document  dnd 
11 weeks ago
The Monsters Know What They’re Doing
Any creature that has evolved to survive in a given environment instinctively knows how to make the best use of its particular adaptations.

That seems like a straightforward principle, doesn’t it? Yet monsters in Dungeons and Dragons campaigns often fail to follow it.

This is a blog full of ready-to-use tactics and strategies for monsters and enemy combatants in Dungeons & Dragons.
dungeonmaster  D&D  dnd 
11 weeks ago
5e monster manual on a business card
Lately I’ve been doing statistical analysis on D&D 5e monsters to see how they’re built, and I’ve learned some interesting things: the DMG monster-creation guidelines don’t work as expected, monster design formulae have stayed stable from book to book, and many of the complexities of the official monster-design process don’t significantly affect its outcome.

Today, let’s come up with simple instructions for creating monsters in line with the Monster Manual, replacing the faulty instructions in the DMG.

Along the way, I think we can streamline the process. The Dungeon Master’s Guide has 9 pages on monster creation. I think we can fit the key rules on one page. Or even a business card. That way, you can create new monsters on the fly, not as a laborious game prep chore.
dungeonmaster  D&D  dnd 
11 weeks ago
Dan Dillon on Game Preparation
Preparation, how I mean it when I say [it,] it’s impossible to overprepare, is not about a script. It’s about having a solid understanding of what’s going on in the world around and adjacent to the action spotlight on the PCs... Many DMs who offer advice amounting to “don’t overprepare” are also DMs who know the campaign setting they’re using like the back of their hand. All of that experience and use leading up to that understanding? That’s preparation!
dungeonmaster  D&D  dnd 
11 weeks ago
Narrative Archetypes of Geographic Features
I want to start with a basic framework for my worldbuilding, a simple system that arises just as naturally as the landscape... I decided to keep it concise with just six archetype tags with which I will flag all the various real-world land features in my Mythic Ecology Series... Of course, you may find my choices sometimes arbitrary, so feel free to submit your own ideas, or to draw outside the lines.
D&D  dungeonmaster  dnd  from notes
12 weeks ago
How to Write an Interesting Character in 5 Minutes!
This video is much more calm and direct than others, please let me know if I should make more. it's essentially a reading of my experience as a DM that I feel a lot of people could benefit from.

Weakness
Need
Desire
Enemy
dungeonmaster  D&D  video  dnd 
12 weeks ago
Gaining Confidence to Run D&D Games
A while back I asked newer DMs on Twitter to describe the hard parts they encountered when running running D&D games. I got back a lot of interesting responses many of which focused on learning the rules, finding players, how to prepare for a game, and learning how to improvise.
dungeonmaster  D&D  dnd 
12 weeks ago
Most Advice for Encouraging Role-playing Stinks, But I Found the Good Stuff
Before I wrote this post, I scoured the Internet for help encouraging Dungeons & Dragons players to role play. Sometimes Dungeons & Dragons players tell me of a session where no one rolled a die because everyone role played for the entire night.
dungeonmaster  D&D  dnd 
12 weeks ago
No-Prep Social Encounters
Running a satisfying social encounter can be a stressful prospect. You want your NPCs to feel like people rather than props, and to do that they need to have their own perspectives and goals.
dungeonmaster  D&D  dnd 
12 weeks ago
Are There Even Enough Women In Your Game Worlds?
I really want to write about how to make your gaming table inclusive for trans and nonbinary people, and how to make sure there is LGBTQ+ representation in your world.
dungeonmaster  D&D  dnd 
march 2019
On Tricks, Empty Rooms, and Basic Trap Design
I can't figure out why I did this!

Inside its thirty pages you'll find:

- A way to randomly determine over 105 empty room types, each defined and given a basic list of what items they contain!
- The differences between a room and a chamber!
- Ways in which empty rooms may be interesting!
- A comprehensive listing of things that a room may contain!
- 17 different categories of tricks!
- A comprehensive listing of trick types!
- Almost 100 example tricks!
- Basic old school trap design, including triggers, special effects, duration, resets, and different categories!
- Randomly generate thousands of different doors and a listing of over 60 door tricks!
- Over 40 different surface tricks!
- Randomly generate hundreds of thousands of different magical fountain effects!
- 69 different interesting curses!
- 100 different things that can be found in pits!
- 100 strange and interesting things that can be found in corridors!
- Randomly generate a nearly infinite number of traps!
- 16 sample riddles and guidelines for creating your own riddles and puzzles!
- Free!
D&D  dungeonmaster  document  dnd 
march 2019
2-Minute Table Top - Virtual and Printable RPG Maps, Tokens, and Assets
Browse our ever-growing collection of hand-drawn battle maps, region maps, tokens, set pieces, and map-making assets. Perfect for Dungeons & Dragons and fantasy RPGs.
D&D  dungeonmaster  dnd 
march 2019
Things that Motivate Adventurers
Let's make a big list of things that motivate adventurers to adventure!

What motivations or hooks draw adventurers into an adventure?
D&D  dungeonmaster  dnd 
march 2019
The so what factor in D&D
Sometimes when I’m preparing for a D&D game, I’ll throw in something crazy and mysterious: an immense stone foot protruding from a cliffside, or a glass mountain with a tiny bird imprisoned inside, or something. I think, “this’ll show ’em the mysterious wonder of a fantasy world! Who knows why this is here? Certainly not me!”

Then, on further consideration, I usually attach a backstory that can be discovered, or a magic power, or something. Because in my heart, I know how things will go down if I don’t.
D&D  dungeonmaster  dnd 
march 2019
Revealing Secrets
Secrets and clues are single short sentences that describe a clue, a piece of the story, or a piece of the world that the characters can discover during the game. You dont know exactly how the characters will discover these clues. As such, youll want to keep these secrets and clues abstract from their place of discovery so that you can drop them into the game wherever it makes sense. This lets the game flow freely, while still allowing you to reveal important pieces of the story at any point where the characters might discover them.
D&D  dungeonmaster  dnd 
march 2019
100 Masks
One hundred rare and mysterious masks with extraordinary powers.
D&D  dungeonmaster  dnd 
march 2019
100 Magical Items with Sentimental Origins
One hundred magic items that have a meaningful background.
D&D  dungeonmaster  dnd 
march 2019
100 Warm Up Roleplaying Questions for Players
One hundred roleplaying questions that you can use to further develop your characters.
D&D  dungeonmaster  dnd  wuq 
march 2019
5 Tricks for Creating Brilliant Dungeon Maps From Will Doyle
If you played the Dungeons & Dragons adventures Tomb of Annihilation or Storm King’s Thunder, you adventured through dungeon maps created by Will Doyle. In an episode of the Official D&D Podcast, D&D’s principle story designer, Chris Perkins, explained why he called on Will.

“I realized I would not be able to justice to the maps unless I brought in someone to help. There’s this wonderful collaborator, a freelancer named Will Doyle. He had done some work for me back when I was editing Dungeon magazine and I was always impressed with the style of his maps and the amount of effort and devotion that he put into them. I’m very, very meticulous when it comes to map creation, and he has those same qualities.”

When I gained a chance to talk with Will, I asked him for a secret to making a great dungeon map. He gave me five.
D&D  dungeonmaster  dnd 
march 2019
The Handout - A Companion Guide
A Campaign Handout is a document, or set of documents, the DM (you!) create and distribute to your players BEFORE you begin your campaign, even before CharGen.

Different to, and usually following The Pitch, the Handout is an informative summary of a singular campaign you'd like to run with your players, where as The Pitch is a listing of several different campaign details you'd like to run, for your players' consideration; the Pitch is the menu, the Handout is the chef's description of a meal.

The Handout lets the players know many things about your campaign, preferably concisely. It makes clear the assumptions about your world and its state at the beginning of the campaign, so when players make their PCs, they fit into that world, are more likely to have fun playing in it, and can build on it with their backstories. It also describes the Central Tension of the world, and how the world may react to player choices during CharGen.
D&D  dungeonmaster  dnd 
march 2019
My table is happy, and is almost turning away players; critique our house rules
I've been playing since the first Basic D&D, and I've experienced most of the terrible situations in the 'problem' threads first-hand. (I'm big enough to admit that when I was younger, sometimes I was 'that guy'.) But, now, my current group is a dream.

I can credit some of it to the 'Gaming Group Charter' we have. It's a document that us DMs wrote, and we share it with every prospective player. If they like what they see here, we've prevented about 90% of the problems we typically see.

It's not the only document, but the others are campaign-specific. For example, in my game I give players a guide to new character creation that gets them oriented in the setting and gives me a back story that has useful plot hooks. (That's for another post.)

I'd like to share this for new DMs, as a model and a starting point. I'm definitely open to critique or suggestions, if you have them.
D&D  dungeonmaster  dnd 
march 2019
Nothing to Do: A Guide on Downtime
Recently my group had just finished an adventure and our DM gave us some downtime. However, finding what you can do with your downtime is a chore due to the fact that it spans across three different books with rules that can differ. So I made this guide with the goal of cataloging everything you can do with your downtime all in one place.
D&D  dungeonmaster  dnd 
march 2019
Trello For Campaign Management
So, I’ve been running the game, 6 or 7 sessions, trying to remember the names of the NPCs or exactly where on the map I put that organization’s base, all while looking through my half-unpacked gaming stuff to see where I threw those notes on that one list, and I finally realize how I should have been doing this all along – Trello. I use it for work, I use it for writing and art direction projects, I use it to organize my daily life, so why the heck am I not using it to keep track of my gaming stuff? I started up a Trello board for my campaign and this is what it looks like.
D&D  dungeonmaster  dnd 
march 2019
As a man, how can I roleplay a woman better?
I rarely play characters of the opposite sex, and I find that I'm not very good at it, at least in my own estimation. This is hampering when I GM because it limits my range, and makes things hard when I do role-play a female. I'm comparing my depiction of females to how I would play a male character, and I'm not seeing any difference, besides the bad falsetto. Women do make different choices and have a different way of arriving at a conclusion than men, but I'm not very good at mimicking that.

How can I improve this ability, and how different should I really make female characters than male? Is this dependent on culture?
D&D  dungeonmaster  dnd 
march 2019
How can GMs make their game worlds more inclusive?
Many published roleplaying settings reflect our own cultural biases, for example, by putting white people in the "core" of the setting with "exotic" (i.e., not white) cultures around the less-detailed edges.

Many home-brewed settings end up being disproportionately full of white people too. I catch myself doing this, even though I'm well aware of my bias and try not to make my geopolitical setups "just like Europe/North America, but with all the minorities moved to the edges of the map."

A trend toward whiteness in settings comes out in many other subtle ways, for example how by default NPCs are assumed to be white unless otherwise noted as "other than white."

For GMs who want to avoid the obvious and subtle ways they can end up with an overly-white settings:

1. What things can these GMs do during world-building to defeat a bias toward making cultures white and to make their own game worlds more inclusive?

2. What things can these GMs do during play to make the world feel more diverse and less culturally monotonous to the players?
D&D  dungeonmaster  dnd 
march 2019
Three Plus Infinite Choices
Whenever you think your players aren't sure where to go or feel forced to go down a particular path, offer them three choices. Each of these three options should be viable directions with clear meaning and motivations. There shouldn't be a clear "right way" to go and it shouldn't simply be a random choice. As a GM, you shouldn't prefer one path over another—players can tell. When you provide these choices, you should be happy to go with whichever one they choose.

With three choices clarified, we now add the "infinite" choice which comes down to "or any other path you think you might like to take".
D&D  dungeonmaster  dnd 
march 2019
Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master
Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master is a book designed to help fantasy roleplaying Gamemasters get more out of their games by preparing less. Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master uses the experiences of thousands of GMs to help us focus on how we prepare our games, how we run our games, and how we think about our games.
D&D  dungeonmaster  dnd  document 
march 2019
Steal This Idea: The Warm-up Question
I would like to take a moment and discuss one of my most useful and simple tricks I use at the table. The humble warm-up question!

Before a session formally begins and we are all seated around the table, I ask the assembled players a single question about their characters and give them a few minutes to think of an answer. Afterward, the players go around the table sharing their answers out loud, round robin style. After the question is answered (and transcribed, shorthand is fine.) the session begins.

The questions can range from silly to complex, but the purpose of the warm-up question is two fold. At the base level, it’s aiding in the transition from friends at a table to characters in play. You have to put yourself into your characters mindset, and formulate an answer. Secondly, and this I think is the real meat of this method is that it provides a nearly limitless array of experiences, moments, backstory, prejudices, secrets, fears and all manner of attributes that make characters really come alive.
D&D  dungeonmaster  dnd  wuq 
march 2019
Looking Back on Dungeon World Fronts
Dungeon World fronts are a great way to move your mind away from designing plots and instead driving the story forward through the actions of the most influential aspects of the world. Fronts are the oncoming storms soon to smash into our PCs.

As written Dungeon World fronts are already nicely stripped down ways to think about the major threats in your shared world. Some of the concepts, however, can be a little obscure and, for some, not as useful. Instead, we can break down fronts into a more simplified form.
D&D  dungeonmaster  dnd 
march 2019
Sharing Secrets
For the sake of this article, a secret is a piece of information previously unknown to the PCs that, when revealed, gives them a tweet-sized bit of useful and interesting information.

This secret may be part of an assassin's plot. It might be a rumor about the mad king's terrible rituals. It might be the secret love interest between the prince of smugglers and the advisor of a duchess of Baldur's Gate. Maybe it's a scrap from the half-burned journal entry describing a villainous quest. Maybe it's a piece of the strange history about the dungeon in which the PCs explore.

Secrets aren't an entire story. They're not complete pictures. They're a single point of data in a large pool of undiscovered information. Through the history of a magical sword, the PCs might learn the origin of the bounty hunter who hunted them. It's not the whole bounty hunter's story, but it's a clue into the larger picture.
D&D  dungeonmaster  dnd 
march 2019
On Set Design
There have been some posts lately on how to label adventures. I think that the old methods and indeed these new methods are unsatisfactory! I run a game based on agency and that has certain specific description requirements. Here is an example of some encounters in my adventures and how I think they should be labeled.

The key things here are speed, flexibility, and creativity. I do it this way, because I am in constant engagement with the players.

I look down at the tick room, and I see enough information to tell me everything I need to run the encounter successfully in seven words. The next time I will have to disengage from the players is to read the Ticks stats!
D&D  dungeonmaster  dnd 
march 2019
In Praise of the 6 Mile Hex
As you can tell from the title, I think that the 6 mile hex is the ideal hex for wilderness adventuring hexcrawls. I used to be a big fan of the 5 mile hex as published by Judges Guild. But someone over at the Necromancer Games (was it Rob S. Conley?) pointed out back in like 2005 that it was actually a lot easier to use 6 mile hexes. And then I learned some more things about hexagons. Check it out.
D&D  dungeonmaster  dnd 
march 2019
Just Three Hexes - Campaign Starters
"It takes just three hexes to start a campaign."

The idea of that you don't have to start big to run a campaign has been something that I've been saying since the late aughts when I was blogging fast and furiously.

Anyway, the idea that prep and content don't have to be ginormous is something that I've preached since Day 1. I mean, I didn't do so much to really start with my ongoing nine year AD&D campaign. I had a little story I'd written and a concept of what I wanted the world to be. Say, three sentences.

So if I were to put this all together, this is what I'd do as a starting campaign, with just three hexes.
D&D  dungeonmaster  dnd 
march 2019
Instead of Plots, Prepare Secrets, Clues, and Leads
Planning a Dungeons & Dragons game around encounters and plots leads to trouble. As an alternative to plotting adventures, DMs can turn to situations. Adventures designed around situations allow both investigations and events, but other techniques make preparing and running such scenarios easier.

Instead of preparing plots, prepare leads.
D&D  dungeonmaster  dnd 
march 2019
Matt Colville on Verbs in RPGs
Matt Colville on compelling "verbs" in role-playing games. If you're going to tell your players what they need to do, be sure to give them a STRONG verb, and not one they'll be uncertain how to act on.
D&D  dungeonmaster  dnd  video 
march 2019
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