Author Archives: David Hartlage

The Gates of Firestorm Peak (1996): Greatest D&D Adventures Since 1985—Number 10

The Gates of Firestorm Peak (1996) is a second-edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons adventure by Bruce Cordell for levels 5-8. When TSR introduced the second-edition Player’s Option books, new designer Bruce Cordell drew the job of writing an adventure highlighting … Continue reading

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Why Did So Many Classic Adventures Come From 7 Years of D&D’s 45-Year History?

When Dungeons & Dragons fans rate adventures, the ones published early get the most accolades. In 2004, Dungeon magazine listed the greatest adventures of all time. Of 30 adventures, 20 came from 1985 or earlier. TSR started publishing adventures in … Continue reading

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Why Dungeon & Dragons Dropped Assassins and Renamed Thieves

Why did D&D’s second edition drop assassins and its third edition change thieves to rogues? Continue reading

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Strong Moral Dilemmas in D&D and the Unwanted Kind that Keeps Appearing

The best tales climax when the heroes must choose between what they’ve learned is right and an easy route to what they thought they wanted. In fiction, such moral dilemmas reveal character. When a woman who only ever wanted to … Continue reading

Posted in Advice | Tagged , , , , , , | 11 Comments

My Two Most Controversial Posts Prompt a Trip Into the Comment Section

The last two months included the two most discussed posts in the 7-year history of DM David, which calls for another trip into the comment section. In Should a Dungeon Master Invite Players to Help Create the D&D World Beyond … Continue reading

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In 1981 a Troll Named Grimtooth Set a Path for Today’s D&D Books

Starting in 1981, Flying Buffalo Games published a series of Grimtooth’s Traps books. They featured diagrams of traps that showed heroes on the verge of being folded, spindled, and mutilated. For instance, one sample shows a covered pit trap where … Continue reading

Posted in D&D fifth edition, Role-playing game history | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

How Well Do You Understand Invisibility in Dungeons & Dragons?

Lately, I’ve played in some high-level Dungeons & Dragons games with enough invisibility to make me study how the feature works in the game. Despite all my years playing D&D—or perhaps because of them, invisibility in fifth edition often defies … Continue reading

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Reader Reactions to 6 Things In D&D I Fail to Appreciate

For my post 6 Popular Things in D&D That I Fail to Appreciate, I aimed to air some trivial, possibly-wrong gripes in an amusing and thought-provoking post. Usually I avoid bitching in favor of a positive slant, but my earlier … Continue reading

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6 Popular Things in D&D That I Fail to Appreciate

I’m used to having fringe tastes: I love Dungeons & Dragons, fantasy, and science fiction. These days, none of these passions rate as weird, but only because of a recent flip in popular tastes. As a teen, all these interests … Continue reading

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The History of Traps In Dungeons & Dragons

In original Dungeons & Dragons, the three brown books only include one rule for traps. “Traps are usually sprung by a roll of a 1 or a 2 when any character passes over or by them.” That’s it. Except for … Continue reading

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