Should a DM Present Players With Impossible Situations?

Let me tell you a story about a game from about a decade ago. A group of friends were playing 2nd Edition AD&D and I was serving as the DM. During the course of the campaign, one of the players received a Deck of Many Things. I’m not a huge fan of the Deck of Many Things while I’m DMing. In my experience it has a tendency to completely grind the game to a halt since the players want to immediately draw from it. This is exactly what happened in this case, but it was already late in the session so we decided to draw from the deck and then wrap things up.
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Turn A Character’s Death Into An Opportunity For Adventure

Character deaths are often inevitable in a fantasy roleplaying game. Maybe the Dungeon Master set up an encounter where the characters face certain death hoping the players will avoid it and it backfires. Possibly the players overestimate their own abilities and ignore strategy when encountering an enemy. Whatever the cause, the loss of a character is tough for a player. They invested time and imagination into bringing their fighter or cleric to life. They don’t want the character to be dead. Fortunately, in a fantasy RPG like D&D death is not a permanent condition. If a character has died within less than a minute, Revivify can be cast by a 5th level Cleric or a 9th level Paladin (hopefully they aren’t the character who died.) When time is less of a factor the Raise Dead spell can bring a character back to life provided that the party contains a Cleric or Paladin of 9th or 17th level respectively. Death can also be cured by the 5th level Druid spell Reincarnate, but that involves the character’s soul entering a new body which may be a completely different race. In cases where the party doesn’t have the appropriate level magic-user help must be sought elsewhere. Continue reading Turn A Character’s Death Into An Opportunity For Adventure

The Best Bigby #RejectedSpells

The Rejected Spells hashtag from Wednesday was super fun and received an unbelievable amount of participation. Thanks to attention from sites like Laughing Squid and Neatorama the hashtag spread like wildfire (and is still going). There were so many great tweets that it was really difficult to pick the best. So many that we’re going to break them down into categories. Presenting the best Bigby Rejected Spells!

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Making A Warlock Work

After spending some time thoroughly reading through the character class options in the 5e PHB, something that really sticks out is the Warlock class. The Warlock is a magic user who gains access to spells and other powers by making a pact with a powerful entity, but not a god like a cleric or paladin. The player can choose from one of three entities as a patron; an archfey, a fiend or a Great Old One. Each patron has their own set of benefits they bestow on the player. It’s clear that the Warlock is not as powerful in magic as a Wizard or a Sorcerer. The Warlock spell list is not as expansive as either of those two classes. The Warlock also uses different rules for spell slots. This means that a Warlock character will never have the ability to cast as many spells as a Wizard or Sorcerer.
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The Fantasy Atheist

Most fantasy roleplaying games are set in worlds where the presence of gods is strongly felt. Source materials for these realms often detail times throughout history where the gods have directly interfered with the affairs of mere mortals. It is usually assumed that most characters in these games not only believe in the gods of these worlds, but also worship them to some degree. The most extreme case would be priests and paladins who are only able to tap into magic because of their devotion to a particular god. Fighters and other classes may also worship gods because of superstitious beliefs or just blind faith, but the gods have less of an impact on their activities. It could be said that every character in a fantasy RPG is religious to some extent, but is it possible to play an atheist character in these games? Continue reading The Fantasy Atheist

Don’t Give Up On Playing A Cleric

I’ve been hearing something disappointing lately; many players don’t enjoy playing a cleric. Clerics seem to be viewed as a necessary part of a group, but they are deemed by some as being an inferior class. The argument goes that their magic skills aren’t as powerful as a wizard and their fighting skills aren’t as good as a paladin. I have even heard of groups that completely eliminate the class altogether. Why bother including them when some healing potions can easily replace them? This is a shame since playing a cleric can be a lot of fun. I would even go as far to say that they are one of my favorite classes. I believe that building a cleric allows the player to flesh out a character’s personality much more than a class such as a fighter or a paladin. All the player has to do is ask themselves some questions about the cleric they are creating. Continue reading Don’t Give Up On Playing A Cleric

3 Ways to Give Players Money That Will Damage The In-Game Economy

220px-JosephWright-AlchemistThe economy in a fantasy roleplaying game is interesting. Traditionally we think of these worlds as using currency such as gold pieces or silver pieces. Unlike modern currency whose value is tied to a belief in the strength of the economy these currencies achieve much of their value because they are made of precious metals. Strip away the crown or dragon markings on a platinum piece and it is still a piece of platinum. Platinum is a rare element and thus has value. This is the same reason that a diamond has value. This makes a fantasy RPG economy fairly easy to throw out of balance; one simply has to devalue the currency by making precious metals less precious. This isn’t something I would recommend approaching willy-nilly in a game, but it can be done. Here are three ways to give players money that will damage the in-game economy. Continue reading 3 Ways to Give Players Money That Will Damage The In-Game Economy

3 Ways For Players To Earn Money In Game

I was listening to the n00b GM episode of the Gamerstable podcast the other day. It was mentioned that introducing money into a campaign can be a tricky proposition for a GM. You don’t want to give too much money to the players, but you also don’t want to deny them money since they will eventually want to purchase items. If they don’t have the money to do so they may lose interest in the game. A GM needs to be able to provide the right amount of money to the party without just handing out money. Unfortunately, the classic trope of looting dead monsters is pretty lazy since it is unrealistic for goblins or orcs to be carrying around bags of gold. Here are three ways a GM can fill the PCs pockets organically in a campaign. Continue reading 3 Ways For Players To Earn Money In Game

Running Terrible Games So You Don't Have To

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