We previously covered Chapter III and Chapter VI of Sun Tzu’s classic military treatise The Art of War. That means it must be time for Chapter X which covers terrain. Don’t try to figure out my system. Most DMs take terrain into consideration when running an RPG campaign, but we need to consider it as more than a tool for establishing the story setting. Terrain can also be turned into a weapon when running combat. Continue reading Sun Tzu’s Art of RPG Combat: Terrain
Welcome to the second installment in our RPG combat analysis of Sun Tzu’s military treatise The Art of War. In the first post we discussed Chapter III, Attack By Strategem. This post will take a look at Chapter VI, Weak Points and Strong. This chapter advises generals how to exploit the weakness of an enemy and how to use tactics to turn strengths into weaknesses. This second part is especially useful when running monster combat since the party usually has a strength advantage. Continue reading Sun Tzu’s Art of RPG Combat: Weak Points and Strong
When I was in High School I was in a group that played D&D on a regular basis. Aside from me there was Mike who had actually introduced me to roleplaying and our friend Brett. Mike’s younger brother Pete rounded out the group most sessions. We were pretty big on 2nd Edition AD&D back then (I still am because that edition is the shit! THAC0!!) and were starting to get into some of the other worlds like Ravenloft and Spelljammer. Mike and I were so into Spelljammer that we had gone through and created a custom smuggling ship and a crew of motley pirates to play. It was Firefly but on a wooden ship and several years before Firefly came out. We had built them mid-level to play some of the higher level Spelljammer modules and picked from races not traditionally used as PCs such as the Thri Kreen. They were a bad ass crew built to kick ass, but before they got a chance to star in their own adventures they were needed to break up a fight. Continue reading The Time I Fought Myself
One thing that really bothers me are when DMs who don’t put any effort into running their combat encounters. They fill their campaigns with monsters that act more like vending machines for XP and treasure than real opponents. Intelligent monsters rush headlong into combat against the group without any hint of a combat strategy. This is unrealistic and it makes for boring combat. DMs don’t need to be retired generals in order to run great combat, but learning some military strategy can really benefit them. To this end I want to look at one of the most well-known texts of military strategy, Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, and highlight the lessons that can be applied to RPG combat. Continue reading Sun Tzu’s Art of RPG Combat: Attack By Stratagem
I received the new Dungeon Master’s Screen last week and wanted to give my thoughts on it. Let me preface all of this by saying that owning the Dungeon Master Screen is in no way necessary to DM a game. It is more of a nice to have accessory. To me a good DM screen needs to serve three functions. First, it needs to be pleasant to look at on the players’ side since they are going to spend plenty of time staring at it. Next it needs to adequately block the players’ view of what the DM is doing behind it. Finally, the screen should include useful information on the DM’s side for quick reference.
A few events in my life over the last week inspired me to write this blog post. First off, I took my daughter to Books-A-Million on Saturday to replace a book that she left in Las Vegas. While she perused the children’s book section I took the opportunity to check out the small RPG section in the store. Two products drew my interest: the 5th Edition Shadowrun Core Rulebook and the Pathfinder Core Rulebook. I was seriously thinking about picking them up, but ultimately decided not to. A few days after passing up on those books I finally downloaded all of the Torg content that I had purchased from the Bundle of Holding sale. It ended up being nineteen different PDFs that were included in that bundle. I put all of these documents directly on to my tablet with the other RPG downloads that I have. Continue reading Why Isn’t There More Digital 5E?
Long campaigns are a staple of tabletop roleplaying games, but many players don’t have the time to commit to these endeavors. One-Shot Adventures will provide adventuring hooks for stand-alone adventures that can be ran through in one or two gaming sessions.
It’s hard to think of the Halloween season without thinking of horror movies. A classic subsection of horror movies is the demonic possession movie. We all know the story behind films like The Exorcist; an innocent is taken over by an evil power from beyond our realm and men of faith must answer the call for aid. A demonic possession story lends itself well to a fantasy roleplaying system and can provide a nice break from killing kobolds. Continue reading One-Shot Adventures- The Possession
There comes a time when, no matter how well developed your characters are, no matter how exciting an adventure is and no matter how great your group of players is, your fantasy set RPG sessions may get a little stale. There are many ways to liven up these sessions, but one that I enjoy is fighting a war. There are plenty of preexisting tabletop games that allow you to command space armies or medieval armies, but what I’m suggesting is taking established PCs and having them command troops on the field of battle or survive the siege of a castle. The introduction of armies will give your players the opportunity to use strategy and be rewarded for it. Plus it can be a refreshing break from slaughtering kobolds and raiding treasure chests. Continue reading This Means War!
I am fairly particular about how the dice are rolled in a role playing game. A DM or a player that doesn’t agree with my preferences can make or break a gaming session for me. One of my big pet peeves when it comes to dice are secret rolls. For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, secret dice rolls are instances where the DM rolls the dice, often on behalf of a player, and doesn’t immediately reveal the results. Secret dice rolls can create a needless barrier between the players and the DM. That’s why I usually avoid them. However there are instances where secret dice rolls make the game more realistic. Here are three examples. Continue reading In Defense Of Secret Dice Rolls