Hipsters & Dragons

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

Category: Tips for DMs (Page 2 of 5)

31+ Time Pressures to Put in Your Adventure

The Boon of a Ticking Clock Most experienced DMs and adventure writers are familiar with the concept of time pressure in an adventure, and strive to include them in their storylines. Planting a ticking clock within the narrative really increases the urgency of the adventure (in theory at least… keep reading for when it doesn’t!), […]

There’s A Missing Condition in 5e….

…at least in my eyes. I’ve had the vague feeling about this for a while, but it became concrete after a session I DM’ed led to two characters being stunned by the psychic screech of a deep scion (from Volo’s Guide to Monsters). Deep scions are one of the coolest monsters from Volo’s Guide, in […]

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 […]

The Ready Action: Are you Playing It Right?

Confession time! A recent comment on my Shield Master feat post revealed that I have been playing the Ready action wrong on my table. Ooops! 🙈 Anyhow, I figured there are a probably a few other folks doing the same, and it might be worth revising the exact text of the Player’s Handbook, as well […]

Exceptional Weapons (from 2nd to 5th edition!)

There was a mechanic I loved from 2nd edition that concerned ‘Weapon Quality’ and it was introduced in the Complete Fighter’s Handbook, a wonderful splat book that had rules for every martial aspect of the game from weapon specialisation and combat maneuvers (possibly giving rise to 5e’s Battle Master maneuvers) to warrior ‘kits’ that look […]

The Polearm Master Feat is Crazy Good!

The halberd, glaive and pike: the legendary choice of arms used by heroes such as… erm…. wait…. no, just hang on a minute…. let me think… Ok, nobody. I can remember, even decades ago, looking at the weapons table of my 2nd edition Player’s Handbook and thinking: “What’s the point of these ugly, impractical weapons […]

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 […]

Size Matters: Let’s Buff The Big Fellas

One thing that has bothered me, almost since day 1 of playing 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons, is how little size matters in combat, and how the prodigious Strength of monsters such as ogres, trolls and dragons is barely reflected in the game’s mechanics. Now, I get that D&D is a fantasy game, in which […]

Memorable NPC Name Generator

As any Dungeon Master will attest, but particularly any who write and publish their own adventures, coming up with vaguely credible names you don’t hate for all your NPCs is a major pain in the @&$€. Something I’ve found myself leaning into recently is the classic ‘epithet + noun’ formula for NPC surnames. Names such […]

Jumping (Beyond The Rules)

It’s a core feature of any action movie… the moment(s) when the hero has to jump across the river, rooftop, lava, chasm, pile of bad guys they just sent flying, viper pit, vat of acid, or whatever other obstacle stands in between them and their goal. Often the consequence of failing these jumps would be […]

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