Tal's Gaming Blog

So Many Characters, So Little Time: a DMs Perspective on Memorable Characters

  I asked him about why he was struggling so much and he replied that he just wanted to have a "memorable character with an exciting part in the story."  That is often a challenge for all players, I think.  We all want and hope to have those "campfire tales" to make these fictional entities we've created as immortal as they can be. At a certain point, though, we all have to choose and lean into one of those roles if we want to have the epic outcome the party would like to experience.  How, though, do we make that character "memorable"?  

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Who Goes There?: Building Suspense, Tension, and Horror in your Game Sessions

Halloween is upon us once again, despite the ever present cloud of COVID-19.   Our family loves this time of year and the limitations have made things a bit tough.  Thankfully, our D&D group has made those challenges more bearable.  This year, I am prepping to run the newly published 5e adventure, "Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden" and I have experimented quite a bit in my weekly one-shot games to develop how to run a darker, more suspenseful, horror-based campaign. Horror and frightening themes can add a new dimension to your gaming sessions if you are able to do it right.  Of course, when done badly, it can create an equally bland and lackluster experience for your players.    Here are some of my thoughts and lessons learned from my own diabolical gaming moments as I have run some scary practice adventures.

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Something Wicked This Way Comes: When Players Decide to Go Bad

Alignment DM DnD Evil PCs Icewind Dale Rime of the Frost Maiden

  Alignment can be one of the biggest challenges in learning how to role-play in character.  A player's character will, most likely, be very different in personality and POV than the player themselves.  Some choose to do an accent or take on a verbal or physical tick to distinguish the character from the player.  Internally, you have to evaluate every potential game decision the party encounters, ensuring that you don't lose focus on the character by thinking strategically about the game rather than acting as your character would most likely act.   It is tough enough when the party make up hovers somewhere between Lawful Good and True Neutral, leaving the "evil" alignments more to the creatures and villains the party will face.  What happens if you have a player who wants to truly go the dark side in your adventure or campaign?

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Traps & Puzzles: the Art of the Setback

   Greetings, fellow gamers.  This past week has been a little trying for our venture due to some issues with loading speed and the like.  Consequently, my blog post got delayed while we sought to get the glitch corrected so you all can get back to shopping.  It's no accident with all the website drama that setbacks have been on my mind for several days.  That led me to my topic for this post: traps and puzzles in your D&D campaign.  These elements are definitely a double-edged sword in that they can become an interesting alternative challenge to the typical...

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Perils of the Peryton: A Lesson in Action Economy

action DM DnD economy monster

 If I have to pick a single rule book as my favorite from the Dungeons & Dragons library, I always go with the Monster Manual.  I'm quite partial to the art within, especially those vintage David Sutherland and D.A. Trampier drawings from the original AD&D edition,  not to mention the vast menagerie of potential foes for PCs.  I have to admit that many of my favorites are criminally underused, with only a happy few DMs  daring to run those off-the-beaten-path creatures in a game session.  Now that I'm finding more opportunities to be the DM, I have returned again to these hallowed pages, mining through them for interesting encounter possibilities.  Turns out, though, that you  have to take care not to bite off more than you (or your PCs) can chew.  

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