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Author: Robin Miller

Nerdarchy > Articles posted by Robin Miller (Page 6)

Credible D&D Threats and Challenges — Raising the Stakes Without Being a Killer DM

Salutations, nerds! I’m talking to the fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Masters, today in particular, so strap in. We’re going on an adventure that has to do with creating credible D&D threats and challenges without being labeled a “killer DM.” We want our players to feel like the game has stakes. We want them to feel like death is a possibility without feeling like that is specifically what we have in mind for them. After all, what fun is it if it’s too easy, right? But it’s also no fun to feel like the DM is actually trying to kill you on purpose. And as DMs it’s our job to strike that balance.

5 Reasons for Your D&D Adventurer to… Adventure?

Salutations, nerds! One of the big things that comes up a lot in terms of characterization is, “What reason could your character possibly have for wanting to risk their life in a dungeon?” And that’s what we’re going to talk about today. I give you five reasons a character might want to be an adventurer.

5E D&D social villains

5E D&D Villains: Social Villains

Salutations, nerds! We’ve reached the end of my list of kinds of villains to talk about finally, and we’re bringing it to a close with social villains. These are going to be best if you’re playing something that leans more toward political intrigue, like Houses of the Blooded or Vampire: the Masquerade, but they can add some spice to any social heavy situation whether it’s 5E D&D or whatever tabletop roleplaying game suits your fancy.

5E D&D Villains: Rivals and Frenemies

Salutations, nerds! Continuing on with talking about 5E D&D villains, this time I want to take a moment for one of my favorite kinds of bad guys, and the kind that tend to go over the best at my table personally. I’m talking rivals. Also known as frenemies. Players love this type of villain because it doesn’t get more personal. If you do it right, a rival can be an incredibly multi-faceted character, and by turns both a help and a hindrance. Sometimes, even a romantic interest. So let’s get down to business, shall we?

D&D Villains: The Charming Monster

Salutations, nerds! I’m back, and ready to hop back into some villainous discussion, and today we are going to be talking about the charming monster. I’m talking about the succubus who smiles even as you know she’d flay you alive if you let your guard down. The nobleman with the winning smile who pays the party with one hand while he’s bribing a pirate mercenary to shake you down for the artifact you refused to sell him with the other. The comely vampire with a high body count. These are the villains who try to charm their way out of trouble. The ones who might try (and sometimes succeed) in seducing party members— often to horrifying results. There is no disgusting description to go with this monster, I’m afraid, they simply are a picture of beauty and grace and are made monstrous

Player Agency and Why Some Curses Are Total Garbage

I promise you I’m not finished talking about Dungeons & Dragons villains, but something came up this week that requires my immediate attention and I will get right back to those as soon as I’m done with this one. Yeah, we’re going to talk about player agency in 5E D&D. I can hear people groaning already. The thing is, player agency has kind of lost its meaning in the midst of all of these discussions about it and I hear it used incorrectly as often as I hear it used right.

D&D Villains: Sympathy for the Devil

Salutations, nerds! Today, I’m going to talk about villains again, and this time we’ll be discussing sympathetic villains in your fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons games. I’m talking about the wizard whose been vivisecting people trying to come up with a cure for his wife’s ailment and save her life. I’m talking about the planar being who has cut a swathe of chaos across the land trying to get home. I’m talking about the blackguard who was betrayed by his people and had his heart stained in darkness. These are the D&D villains you almost want to fix. The ones who tug your heartstrings and make you hesitate to kick their butt. These are the Mr. Freezes, the Princess Lunas, and the Magnetos of your D&D campaign.

Villains: The Enemy With the Inhuman Face

Salutations, nerds! I want to talk a little bit more about designing and running the bad guys in your fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons game. Specifically, I want to talk about the kinds of bad guys that cannot be reasoned with. Dark creatures that could never be mistaken for “human.” I’m talking dark gods. I’m talking the tarrasque. I’m talking the massive thing on the horizon that just swallowed the cathedral and made the party feel so small in Session One in a single bite, yes. I’m also talking about smaller demons. I’m talking about the insectoid creature that keeps hollowing out people’s bodies and using their meat puppets to its own ends. These are the inhuman monsters so alien there is no connecting with them and the only chance you have is running them through before they do more damage. If you even can. If you’re even sure where to hit it.

Villains: The Hierarchy of Heinousness

Salutations, nerds! I’ve been on a bad guy kick recently and because of that I want to talk about D&D villains and how to use them. This is going to be broad strokes — a top down look at how bad guys can interlock to make a Dungeons & Dragons campaign feel more connected. I’ll get back to this topic again soon and get into some more specifics.

D&D Treasure

Handling D&D Treasure Troubles: Tips for Counting Coppers

Salutations, nerds! Today we’re going to talk about party funds and how to manage your gold flow in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Hilarious that I’m the one talking about this one, right? If you have a Dungeon Master who doesn’t like to dole out a ton of treasure, or if you’re playing the early levels, here are some tips and tricks for making your gold pieces go farther and streamlining treasure distribution at the table.

5E D&D archmage spells

Giving Players Chores at the Table to Keep D&D Running More Smoothly

Salutations, nerds! I want to talk about the division of labor at the table during a Dungeons & Dragons game! Now, I know you may be saying, “The Dungeon Master is doing most of the work, the players are just playing their characters, right?” But that’s not always the case. As the DM, giving players chores at the table is sometimes the prudent choice. A lot of the upkeep can be done by the players to keep the DM’s brain power free to keep the game rolling. So today I’m going to go down a list of chores you can give to your players to keep D&D running more smoothly.

Dungeons & Dragons Tavern Menus and Fantasy Culinary Culture

Salutations, nerds! Today I want to talk about Dungeons & Dragons taverns and things you can acquire in them. Specifically, let’s talk about the tavern menus. Are you the kind of Dungeon Master who likes to give your players a handout of a menu that’s prefabricated or do you prefer to make it up on the spot? Either way, there are useful things to consider when it comes to your taverns and the food that is available in them.

RPG Character Types and the Sliding Scale of Tactical Characters vs. Heroic Characters

Salutations nerds! Today, I want to talk about RPG character types, in a way that directly lines up with playstyle. See, a lot of the players I know fall into patterns, somewhere between a couple of polls, and now that I’ve noticed I can’t help but find it kind of fascinating. I’m talking, of course, about tactical characters and heroic characters. They’re both awesome.

Worldbuilding: Different Styles of Monarchy in D&D Political Campaigns

Salutations, nerds! I’ve been giving a lot of thought to fantasy governments and how they tend to be portrayed in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Most of the time you’ve got a pretty standard monarchy in D&D set up and that’s all right if you’re playing a kick-in-the-door style game, but sometimes you want more out of a D&D political campaign than that. Today, we’re going to talk about monarchies (by which I mean ‘one ruler’ more so than the specifics given in the Dungeon Master’s Guide) and a bit about feudalism for worldbuilding.

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