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“Ribbet, Ribbet, WHOOSH” – Out of the Box #26 D&D Encounters

  The Monster Manual is loaded with a lot of gems that seem to go unnoticed. The Templates are but one of them. Templates are a great way to take what the players are familiar with and shaking them up. What this does is two-fold. First, it generates an encounter that the players are not ready for. That is it’s own reward, as it freshens up what would be a very ordinary, and possibly predictable, encounter. Secondly, it takes that omni-present “metagame” aspect and turns it on it’s head. Ask a DM what value they would place on making that one experienced meta-gaming rules lawyer at their table give the “WTF?” expression, and I’ll bet that they’d rate it pretty high.
  The following encounter is intended to do both. It applies the “Half-Dragon” template to something that we would normally not consider. As per the “Half-Dragon” template, we can apply it to a beast, humanoid or giant. That’s a lot of choice. This is but one example of such an application, and might open up a series of encounters where one rather amorous dragon has seeded a campaign with it’s brethren, creating a whole list of choice encounters. One would have to finally convince the dragon of the concept of “planned parenthood” to end this series of events – a discussion I’ll leave to your players.

Continue reading “Ribbet, Ribbet, WHOOSH” – Out of the Box #26 D&D Encounters

I fell into gaming in the oddest of ways. Coming out of a bad divorce, my mom tried a lot of different things to keep my brother and I busy and out of trouble. It didn't always work. One thing that I didn't really want to do, but did because my mom asked, was enroll in Venturers. As an older Scout-type movement, I wasn't really really for the whole camping-out thing. Canoe trips and clean language were not my forte. Drag racing, BMX and foul language were. What surprised me though was one change of pace our Scout leader tried. He DMed a game of the original D&D that came out after Chainmail (and even preceedd the Red Box). All the weapons just did 1d6 damage, and the three main demi-humans (Elf, Dwarf and Halfling) were not only races, but classes. There were three alignments (Lawful, Neutral and Chaotic). It was very basic. I played all the way through high school and met a lot of new people through gaming. My expected awkwardness around the opposite sex disappeared when I had one game that was seven girls playing. They, too, never thought that they would do this, and it was a great experiement. But it got me hooked. I loved gaming, and my passion for it became infectious. Despite hanging with a very rough crowd who typically spent Fridays scoring drugs, getting into fights, and whatnot, I got them all equally hooked on my polyhedral addiction. I DMed guys around my table that had been involved in the fast-living/die young street culture of the 80s, yet they took to D&D like it was second nature. They still talk to me about those days, even when one wore a rival patch on his back to the one I was wearing. We just talked D&D. It was our language. Dungeons and Dragons opened up a whole new world too. I met lots off oddballs along with some great people. I played games like Star Frontiers, Gamma World, Car Wars, Battletech, lots of GURPS products, Cyberpunk, Shadowrun, Twilight 2000, Rolemaster, Champions, Marvel Superheroes, Earth Dawn...the list goes on. There was even a time while I was risiding with a patch on my back and I would show up for Mechwarrior (the clix kind) tournaments. I was the odd man out there. Gaming lead to me attending a D&D tournament at a local convention, which lead to being introduced to my paintball team, called Black Company (named after the book), which lead to meeting my wife. She was the sister of my 2iC (Second in Command), and I fell in love at first sight. Gaming lead to me meeting my best friend, who was my best man at my wedding and is the godfather of my youngest daughter. Life being what it is, there was some drama with my paintball team/D&D group, and we parted ways for a number of years. In that time I tried out two LARP systems, which taught me a lot about public speaking, improvisation, and confidence. There was a silver lining. I didn't play D&D again for a very long time, though. Then 5E came out. I discovered the Adventurer's League, and made a whole new group of friends. I discovered Acquisitions Incorporated, Dwarven Tavern, and Nerdarchy. I was hooked again. And now my daughter is playing. I introduced her to 5E and my style of DMing, and we talk in "gamer speak" a lot to each other (much to the shagrin of my wife/her mother...who still doesn't "get it"). It's my hope that one day she'll be behind the screen DMing her kids through an amazing adventure. Time will tell.
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Game Master Tip- Engaging Individual Characters in a Roleplaying Group


game master tipAs a player, one of the most rewarding experiences you can have in roleplaying is exploring a story which your character has a personal stake in, and which is tailored specifically to your character. It’s one thing to raid a tomb full of undead with your pals, but it’s entirely another to explore the tomb of your ancestors, fighting the spectres of long dead family

members and searching for a priceless heirloom.

Engaging individual characters within the party can be a fantastic way to develop characters
and make players feel badass, and these personal storylines can often develop into entire
plot arcs and adventures. However, the logistics of keeping the whole group entertained
while your game focuses on one character can be difficult. It’s often difficult for people to
find time to game together, and the last thing you want is for people to show up and then
spend the whole session watching somebody else play the game. Continue reading Game Master Tip- Engaging Individual Characters in a Roleplaying Group

I'm Tim Sutherland, a journalism student from Australia, and a huge nerd. I started playing D&D when I was 10, and I've had experience playing and running a number of editions and game systems. I'm also an avid tabletop wargamer and video gamer, and I love using my favorite concepts from other fictions as inspiration for my characters and settings.