Because roleplaying is social, creative, fun… and kinda cool!

Category: Running The Game

Stripping Your Players of Plot Armour

When I wrote Dragonbowl, on top of writing the storyline, I found myself including little bits of advice that DMs might profit from in their bid to extract maximum drama from the adventure. Perhaps the most interesting was a box out about plot armour. And the reason it’s interesting (for me at least) is because […]

Describing Spells Like Matt Mercer…

Ever since I watched Matt Mercer DM in Force Grey, I’ve been thinking: wouldn’t it be cool to have a list of Mercer-esque descriptions for all of D&D’s most common incantations to hand come game night? The chance of me being able to ad-lib something as evocative as Matt’s description of tongues, when the target’s […]

Does No One Search for Secret Passages Any More?

Back when Dungeons & Dragons was about clearing out dungeons, there were some tasks that players performed in EVERY room they entered, more or less in this order. Search for traps / hidden monsters Loot the corpses of dead monsters (having killed them) Search the room for additional loot and Search for secret doors / […]

How Surprise Works… And When Never To Use It!

This post was intended to serve as a short tip for DMs saying: “Never surprise a 1st level party!” However, as I started to research the topic a little more, I saw that many folk are confused about how surprise works in 5e. I’ll be honest and say that – after messing up the Ready […]

37 Adjectives To Spice Up Your Monsters

I was reading the excellent Sly Flourish newsletter recently, aka the Lazy Dungeon Master, which delivers his latest blog post in my inbox. The post discussed what was the Minimum Viable Preparation Needed to Run a D&D Game. One of the subsections of the post dealt with monsters, and how anyone can dip into the […]

8 Lessons I’ve Learned from Watching Matt Mercer DM

Unless you’ve just swung into the multiverse swaddled in a stork’s napkin, you’ve no doubt heard of Matthew Mercer. He’s probably the world’s most famous Dungeon Master thanks to the popular Youtube gaming series Critical Role – although I personally discovered him taking charge of Wizards of the Coast’s own web series ‘Force Grey‘. I […]

Group Stealth & Other Ability Checks

Something came up during my last D&D session that got me thinking. We were sneaking around on top of a mountain range, trying to avoid the watchful eye of various baddies and beasties in the vicinity. The DM ruled that my Rogue Assassin (with +14 stealth!) could make one check for the whole party to […]

Always Roll Insight Behind Your Screen

When your character attempts to stick their spear in a yeti (Attack Roll), track a unicorn in a forest (Survival check) or swing across a pit of molten lava on a fraying rope (Athletics / Acrobatics check) they generally know if they have succeeded or failed. However there are some scenarios, particularly those involving the […]

Using Skills Without Proficiency (5e D&D)

Can I use a skill that I’m not proficient in? According to the letter of the rules, yes you can. Page 174 of the Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook states: “Proficiency in a skill means an individual can add his or her proficiency bonus to ability checks that involve that skill. Without proficiency in the […]

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