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Category: Running The Game (Page 1 of 3)

How To Run Urban Campaigns in D&D

While cities in Dungeons & Dragons are jam-packed with adventure potential, it can be much harder for DMs to find the drama in an urban setting, versus that of the dungeon or wilderness. This is largely because the Dungeon Master’s main tool – monsters – can’t be deployed with the same frequency and credibility in […]

How To Run An Epic Gladiatorial Adventure

The other day I saw that Sly Flourish answered a question on his RPG talk show about running gladiatorial arenas in D&D. Given that I dedicated 1.5 years of my life writing an epic 300-page arena adventure, I figured this is probably a topic I should also address on my own media! Especially since writing […]

Zone of Tedium… The Truth About ZoT!

Recently, I have run two big trial scenes in two separate D&D campaigns. The first led to one of the most dramatic sessions I have ever run (or so the players who took part told me!), full of twists, turns, revelations and surprises. The second was full of prevaricating, repetitions, belligerent brow-beating and farcical pretence. […]

How I Fixed “Too Much Gold And Nothing To Spend It On”…

It’s a common lament in 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons that players accrue bags and bags of cash, but have very little to spend it on. Inquisitive players start to wonder why they bother delving into dungeons, or accept life threatening missions, to amass more and more gold, when they can’t even spend the coin […]

Dirty Jobs: An Urban ‘West Marches’ Campaign

If you’ve been playing Dungeons & Dragons for any reasonable length of time, you may well have heard the enigmatic phrase ‘West Marches Campaign’ dropped into your D&D discourse. What is a West Marches Campaign? West Marches was the solution of Dungeon Master (and game designer) Ben Robbins to the age-old issue of RPG scheduling […]

Designing & Running Heists in 5e D&D

“Heists don’t work in D&D!” retorted my friend and fellow Dungeon Master, when I announced I was excited to get my hands on Keys from the Golden Vault. It’s a common refrain, usually followed by: “You should try Blades in the Dark!” According to its many detractors Dungeons & Dragons is, in fact, a terrible […]

7 Haunting Horror Stories for Halloween

As the nights get darker and the days get colder (at least for those of us tuning in from the northern hemisphere!), it’s become a tradition at this time of the year for D&D players to embrace the scarier side of fantasy. Now, given that our favourite tales of horror are often rooted in helplessness […]

Challenge Player Resources with ‘Adventurers Rests’

In my last post I complained that 5e spellcasters have too many spell slots. They almost never run out of the buggers. This can cause issues in all kinds of scenarios, and one of them, on my table, is during travel. I’m not one for hand-waving travel, nor do I want to make travel an […]

Let’s Talk About Slots, Baby…

…let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be… 🎶 Well it’s mostly good things, let’s be honest, especially if you are full caster. Spells are freaky powerful in Dungeons & Dragons, and once you hit 5th level you basically never run out of slots to cast them with. At […]

Passive Skills Checks… A Solution to Swingy Dice?

One of D&D’s most infamous foibles is how frequently improbable, and even nonsensical, results are generated by the use of the d20, the game’s main determinant die. The classic example is the wizard (with 8 Strength) hoisting up the portcullis that the barbarian (with 18) failed to shift; with the barbarian later deciphering the esoteric […]

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