Tag Archives: role playing

How N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God Changed D&D Adventures For Good

When Dungeon issue 116 ranked the 30 greatest Dungeons & Dragons adventures, N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God landed at number 19. Ed Greenwood summed the 1982 adventure as, “Detective work, hunting for villains, some monster-bashing, and a … Continue reading

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The surprising benefits of giving an adventuring party a guide

When I started gaming, people tended to play Dungeons & Dragons with larger parties than now. When game session fell short of 8 or more players, dungeon masters often added their own character to fill the group. To me, the practice … Continue reading

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What game masters (and their monsters) should say during a combat encounter

During a combat encounters, I focus on keeping play moving. A faster tempo means players spend less time waiting between turns. Waiting never adds fun. Despite my focus on tempo, I do more than count initiative and tell players when … Continue reading

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Never split the party—except when it adds fun

Everyone who plays role-playing games learns the Dungeons & Dragons adage never split the party. In the hobby’s early days, when dungeon masters were referees and players chose difficulty by dungeon level, never splitting the party always made good strategy. … Continue reading

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If you want to write games for everyone, game with everyone

In the 80s into the 90s, I would see convention panels or magazine interviews where game professionals said that their game writing left them no time for game playing. Those writers might admit to an occasional session of Call of … Continue reading

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Create better encounters by considering what your monsters want

Sometimes Dungeons & Dragons worlds seem split in two. In the towns and hamlets, players exercise charm and guile. In dungeons and lairs, every creature attacks on sight and battles continue to the death. When TSR printed Dungeon magazine, the … Continue reading

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4 popular beliefs Dungeons & Dragons defied in the 70s

The media keeps telling us how we, the geeks, have won popular culture. Golfers chat about Game of Thrones at the country club. A minister I know boasted that she was a member of her high school Dungeons & Dragons … Continue reading

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My first impression of inspiration proved wrong

In an earlier post, I leveled criticism toward the inspiration mechanic based on Mike Mearls’s preview in “Roleplaying in D&D Next.” I listed two gripes: Awarding inspiration seemed to put the dungeon master in an uncomfortable role. Mearls wrote about … Continue reading

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The D&D fifth edition Basic Rules Introduction

The toughest part of writing the core rules for a role-playing game comes on page one, when duty and tradition force the author to describe how to play a role-playing game. When you sit at a table and see a … Continue reading

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Actions players always take and choices players never make, part 2

This post continues a list I started in part 1. Players will not mix and mingle. Adventure authors come from a secret coterie of role players who enter a tavern or a royal ball and then spend the evening mixing and … Continue reading

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