‘D&D’ Encounters DM Report: Elemental Evil Session 6

Adventurers League

Tonight’s Encounters session wrapped up a three-part storyline called “The Necromancer’s Cave.” Because this adventure was spread over three weeks, the players were not given a long rest… meaning that spell casters were all out of spell slots and those players who had not yet died and burned up their hit dice during a few short rests were most likely very low on HP. This was a slog, pure and simple… and the players were definitely on their guard tonight (sort of). Continue reading

‘D&D’ Encounters DM Report: Elemental Evil Session 5

Adventurers League

Things are getting a bit crazy on the outskirts of Red Larch–who could have guessed this small town would have so many unusual activities and dangerous locales within walking distance? This week, Session 5 picked up where Session 4 ended… the players had begun exploring a cave where a few of the town constable’s deputies went looking for trouble… and found it. Continue reading

‘D&D’ Encounters DM Report: Elemental Evil Session 4

Adventurers League

My players hadn’t even been back in town for an hour after last week’s Big Chicken Hunt when they were asked by the town’s unofficial leader, Elak, if they might undertake a rescue mission. Continue reading

The Dice Section #26: ‘Pathfinder Adventure Card Game’

Dice Section - Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

In this episode, Dave and Mike check out the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game and talk about race cars, spring break, and having a sense of humor about Kickstarter. Continue reading

‘D&D’ Encounters DM Report: Elemental Evil Session 3

Adventurers League

Session 3 — The Haunted Tomb. With a title like that, I had to come up with something a little more involved than what was provided in the DM handout. The basic adventure provided to DMs allowed for a two-room tomb and a couple of encounters, but I wanted to give my players something special — they’re rooting around in an unknown tomb, the final resting place of someone who’d never done them a disservice, so come on… don’t they deserve any harsh punishments that come their way? Continue reading

‘D&D’ Encounters DM Report: Elemental Evil Session 2

Adventurers League

Things are rolling again with the Adventurers League–the new season has started with the Elemental Evil theme, and I’m back in the weekly DM chair for at least another four to five months. Before I get started, I can already hear a bunch of you asking “where’s the DM report for Session 1?” I’ll give a little summary shortly of what happened last week, but the truth of the matter is I had just returned from spring break with my family and was completely swamped with work when I returned. But not this week… NOPE! I had a chance to sit down and do some prep work for what I hope my players really enjoyed. Continue reading

The Dice Section #25: ‘Wrath of Ashardalon’ and the Perfect Dungeon Crawl

Dungeon crawling with The Dice Section

This week on the podcast, we talk about the perennial geek favorite: the dungeon crawl. Why does the lure of loot always get us back down into those dark, dank catacombs? What makes the perfect dungeon crawl experience, and why do so many games fall just short of what we’re hoping for? We play Wrath of Ashardalon, one of the Dungeons & Dragons Adventure System games, and talk about everything from Descent: Journeys in The Dark to Diablo III. Continue reading

‘The Folio’ Fantasy RPG Campaign & Module: ROS1 Beneath Roslof Keep

Folio 1 Maps

I know how time consuming it can be for DMs to create custom adventures for their players. If you’re a DM looking for that help or a player with a new AND nervous DM, you might just want to check out a new resource from Art of the Genre that has me grinning ear to ear.
Continue reading

‘D&D’ Encounters DM Report: A History Lesson and Math Is Your Friend

Adventurers League

Between Season 1 (that ran 18 sessions late last year) and Season 2 that begins in a few weeks on March 18, I’ve had the pleasure of DMing for 8 of 9 weeks. Continue reading

‘Chainmail’ vs 5th Edition ‘D&D’ — Miniature Combat Compared

Chainmail Rulebook

While I enjoy playing (and DMing) Dungeons & Dragons, I have an even bigger interest in the history and rules development of my favorite RPG (and so many others). Continue reading

Original ‘D&D’ and 5th Edition, Some Side-by-Side Comparisons Part II

D&D Logo

In the previous post in this series, I began a comparison of elements from the Original Dungeons & Dragons (OD&D, 1974) boxed set to today’s 5th edition D&D (2014). For Part I, I selected elements for comparison from the 35-page Volume 1: Men & Magic relating to character classes, races, experience and spells. Let’s now jump to the challenges and rewards that those early OD&D players faced. For this, an examination of the OD&D monsters and magical items is needed, and that information was found in Volume 2: Monsters & Treasure. Let’s take a look at this 40-page booklet and see how it compares to today’s 352-page 5th edition Monster Manual. Continue reading

‘D&D’ Encounters DM Report — “A Bright Light,” Part II

D&D Logo

Last night, my six players wrapped up the second-half of my latest mini-adventure titled “A Bright Light.” Now that it’s over, I can share many more details than I was able to share last week. Please keep in mind that if you’re a player looking for something different, you might want to ask your DM to read this post (and Part I) and see if he or she is willing to run it. Reading any further will spoil some of the surprises, so consider yourself warned. Continue reading

Original ‘D&D’ and 5th Edition, Some Side-by-Side Comparisons Part I

D&D Logo

For the past few weeks, I’ve been doing some investigations into “classic” Dungeons & Dragons for an upcoming Adventurers League three-week (six hours) session. Way before Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, and even before the Basic Set (1977) that was my starting point with the game. I’m talking about what many folks refers to as Original D&D or OD&D. Continue reading

‘D&D’ Encounters DM Report — “A Bright Light,” Part I

Adventurers League

Spoiler alert: If you are a regular player and have a DM, you might ask your DM to read this post FIRST and decide whether they’re interested in running it. I tell you this only because if you continue to read, you’ll be exposed to some major giveaways for this week’s two-part adventure I’ve titled “A Bright Light.” Continue reading

The Dice Section #22: ‘Dungeons & Dragons’

The Dice Section: Dungeons & Dragons

The Dice Section is a podcast about tabletop games and what makes them great. On and off for the past few years, my co-host, Dave Kirby, and I get together and talk about what we’ve been playing and why. We try to go in-depth with the games we love and explain what’s so special about them, how they fit in with our own personal day-to-day stories, and why we keep coming back to the table to play more.

I’m excited to bring the show over to the GeekDad Podcast Network and host it here. Continue reading

‘D&D’ Encounters DM Report — ‘Sholla’s Dream’ Part II

D&D Logo - Stacked

I continue to enjoy my return to the DM’s chair, and I hope my players are enjoying the custom adventures I’ve been developing to hold them over until the new campaign starts up in a few more months. Last week, my six players found themselves on the water. They are on a mission to intercept a caravan of cultists that will be arriving in Baldur’s Gate a few days after they are scheduled to arrive via the River Chiontharr that runs between Elturel and Baldur’s Gate. First, a small abandoned raft (with cargo still in place) was investigated — the party was attacked by a single ghoul and two zombies. The mystery starts. The next evening, the sloop almost collided with a large cargo ship anchored in the middle of the river. An investigation of the cargo ship provided some clues to a larger mystery yet to reveal itself. We wrapped up last Wednesday night’s event with the players fighting a wave of ghasts and ghouls on the top deck. While victorious, a few of the players were injured… and there were still two lower decks to investigate. Continue reading

D&D Encounters DM Report — Sholla’s Dream Part I

Adventurers League

Wednesday nights are D&D Encounters sessions (for novice and veteran players) at Titan Games & Comics in Atlanta, GA (and at other locations around the globe), and for the last few weeks I’ve enjoyed my return to the role of Dungeon Master. Last week concluded a two-part adventure that had the players encountering a group of cultists hiding out in a cavern beneath a crypt where they were performing a dark ritual to strengthen a young black dragon. The players were successful in defeating the dragon and collapsing the only escape from the cavern after narrowly escaping a chase around a circular four-level ramp that led to the bottom of said cavern. RIP cultists.

This week, the players found themselves in the city of Elturel, hunting down Leosin, a monk who had given them an earlier mission to try and discover information on this new dragon cult. The players made their way into the city where they would need to find Leosin as well as the Order of the Gauntlet to receive the reward that was promised them when they defeated the black dragon and cultists. Continue reading

Prepping for D&D With Obsidian Portal Campaign Wiki

Obsidian Portal campaign wiki

Prepping for a roleplaying game doesn’t have to take hours. With the help of Obsidian Portal, I only spend about half an hour a week on mine. Here’s how to use campaign wikis to up your Dungeon Mastering game. Continue reading

D&D Encounters DM Report — Running a Chase & The Road to Elturel Part II (Conclusion)

Adventurers League

Last night as I was setting up my table for the night’s game, I began to receive some fun and interesting comments about my 3D creation for running the second-half of my mini-adventure, The Road to Elturel. Our game night coordinator, Topher, continues to call me an over-achiever. I can live with that. I’ve always tried to push myself to give my players a memorable game; when I was younger, I would create props and sketches to hand out at different points in a game. Now that I’m a bit older and wiser (and have a debit card), I’m finding I have even more fun and interesting ideas to toss at my players… such as the situation where my players found themselves tonight. Continue reading

D&D Encounters Report — Digital DMing and The Road to Elturel Part I

Adventurers League

For this week’s game, I chose to create a two-part mini-adventure that takes place on the road halfway between Greenest and Elturel. Given the cultists and a few other bad guys/creatures encountered in earlier sessions, I decided to try and create an adventure that would be loosely linked to the goings-on along the Sword Coast. Joining my table for the night were the following adventurers:

Essie – Human Fighter
Chi Tan – Human Fighter
Oenn – Dwarf Cleric
Rolann – Elf Ranger
Edaliu – Gnome Bard
Borax – Dwarf Cleric Continue reading

Roll an Adventure Using the 5e Dungeon Master’s Guide — Part IV (Conclusion)

Rollin'

I remember many years ago being asked whether I preferred to DM or to play. Even though when I first started playing D&D (well, AD&D to be more specific) I had to take on the DM duties mainly because no one else had the DM Guide or the interest, the real secret was that I did enjoy the role. Being a DM scratched a creative itch that has never gone away. Even now, with the three new 5th edition D&D rulebooks out… I still reach out for the Dungeon Master’s Guide over all others. That’s the role I prefer. And the DMG is the book for me. Continue reading

Traveling the Planes of Dungeons & Dragons

A collection of Dungeons & Dragons books.

When I was a kid, I drooled over the inside covers of Dungeons & Dragons books, marvelling at all the different campaign settings and splatbooks. Out of everything, the Planescape setting was the most fascinating. Continue reading

Roll an Adventure Using the 5e Dungeon Master’s Guide — Part III

Rollin'

Over the last few weeks I’ve had a chance to sit down with the new 5e Dungeon Master’s Guide (DMG), the latest book release for the new 5e Dungeons & Dragons and, in my opinion, a grand-slam for Wizards of the Coast. Along with the 5e Player’s Handbook (PH) and the 5e Monster Manual (MM), players (that includes Dungeon Masters, or DMs) now have access to everything they need to host and play some legendary adventures of their own. Continue reading

D&D Adventurers League: Session 18 Report and Player Wrap-Up

Adventurers League

Last night’s session was a little bittersweet for me, I must admit. For the last eighteen weeks, I’ve sat side-by-side with a number of new friends as we took on the evil cultists in the Hoard of the Dragon Queen adventure. I’ll go in to a bit more detail about this shortly, but as I begin preparing for my role as DM (starting on Jan 7, 2015), I have to bid farewell to Niloshis, my (now) level 4 sorcerer. Continue reading

The Original Metamorphosis Alpha Is Back and Ready for Play!

Collector's Edition Box

Over thirty years ago, I was dropped off at the Sears in Pensacola along with a friend — we’d been invited by some older kids we knew who were playing some unique games we’d not seen before. Tucked into a back room on the second floor of the department store, there were (if memory serves) maybe 20-30 people divided up over three or four tables. We were spotted, invited to a few open chairs, and handed some paper. One of the people at that table told us we’d had good timing and proceeded to help us create what he called a character. I rolled some dice (all six-sided) and came up with a name, but had no real idea what was going on. The referee provided my character with some mutant abilities and some defects. The game was Metamorphosis Alpha. Continue reading

D&D Adventurers League: Session 17 Report

Adventurers League

Tonight’s gathering of players included our long lost Rolan D’Crits, wood elf ranger. In addition to Rolan, returning players included:

Essie – Human Fighter
Borax – Dwarf Cleric
Edna – Gnome Bard
Anton – Human Rogue
Umbra – Drow Ranger
Niloshis – Half-Elf Sorcerer

Yep… seven players. Missing was Chi, Human Fighter (and his human player). When we left Session 16, the party had destroyed two dragon eggs (one black, one green) and our sneaky Drow ranger was trying to sneak a second black dragon egg by the group. Wasn’t happening, and when the party left the large cavern and returned to the altar room, the question was whether we would try to take a short rest or flee the cave. And so, Session 17 started with all but Rolan in the altar room. Continue reading

Roll an Adventure Using the 5e Dungeon Master’s Guide — Part I

Rollin'

Earlier this week, I wrote about the newly released 5th edition Dungeon Master’s Guide and how much I had enjoyed reading through it and uncovering some great tools for creating custom campaigns and adventures.

Well… it’s time to put the book to the test. And have some fun, obviously.

After finishing up with the 5e DMG, I thought it might be fun to try and create a mini-adventure using the new book’s content. Any experienced DM will tell you, however, that a good adventure will often require some (or a LOT of) tinkering once you’ve created the skeleton framework. My goal here is to create that framework and try to avoid going too deep into the nitty-gritty details that can either be made on-the-fly during gameplay or after the framework has “stewed” a little in my head. Continue reading

D&D Adventurers League: Session 11-15 Report Summary

Adventurers League

My original plan had been to summarize my first 10 sessions of the Adventurers League Encounters event for GeekDad.com and share with readers my thoughts and experiences as I returned to the most important game of my youth. I planned on continuing to play each Wednesday night at Titan Games & Comics in Atlanta, GA but would discontinue my session reports. Apparently that was a mistake. For the past few weeks, I’ve continued to receive email requests to “keep going.” Continue reading

D&D Adventurers League: Session 10 Report

Adventurers League

This week, I was fortunate to be sitting at a table when a brand new player, Ryan, walked in. He’d never played D&D before, and only understood basic concepts of levels and XP from the video games he’d played. It’s important to remember that the Encounters events are designed for new players; although almost everyone at my event has past experience with D&D, it’s still nice to see how a novice is welcomed and made to feel at home. We got him up to speed on the rules, provided him with a pre-generated character (a level 1 Halfing Rogue) and we had a good mix of combat and role-playing provided by DM Martin. When the night’s game was over, Ryan told us he’ll see us next week… a good sign that he enjoyed the night’s adventure. He tells us he’s going to create a custom character, too… can’t wait to see what he comes up with. Continue reading