Friday Favourite: Adventure Hooks – The Dangers of the Underdark

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on October 30, 2015

On Friday we comb through our extensive archives to find an older article that we feel deserves another look. From April 24, 2014, Dungeon’s Master once again presents: Adventure Hooks – The Dangers of the Underdark.

The Underdark is the vast subterranean network of interconnected caverns that run beneath the surface world. The Underdark is filled with creatures living and thriving underground, uniquely adapted for life without sunlight. It’s the perfect place for adventures to explore when seeking fame, fortune and forbidden knowledge.

The most popular of the Underdark’s denizens are the Dark (Drow) Elves. Wizard has published plenty of books and articles on Drow if you want to know more about them. However, a lot of the hazards and dangers that Drow face are equally problematic for other races and PCs wandering aimlessly through the Underdark. So even if you don’t want your campaign to get bogged down in Drow details, you can still leverage some of the other stuff from those materials.

Besides Drow there are plenty of other monsters that you can use to thwart and challenge your party while they traverse the Underdark. Remember that PCs will likely need light to see, whereas many of the monsters they’ll face will not. If the PCs aren’t careful, target their light source and force them to fight or flee in pitch black.

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D&D Encounters: Out of the Abyss (Episode 3.1)

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on October 28, 2015

out-of-the-abyss-coverLoud voices arguing and accusing one and other alerted the Kuo-toa patrol that interlopers were nearby. Undetected, the Kuo-toa surrounded the party and sprang forth to ambush them.

This week at Face to Face Games in Toronto we had a noticeable dip in our numbers. We had to merge two groups together just to get my party up to four players. Only one of my regulars was present. Overall we had about 20 players at four tables. My party consisted of a Human Rogue, Aasimar Cleric, Drow Paladin, and Human Monk (new player to the store).

Unfortunately the dangling mystery of who killed the NPC Halfling they’d met last session and the fate of the false Dawnbringer sword had to be put on hold as the key players involved weren’t present this session.

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Friday Favourite: The Oil of D&D – Residuum as a Natural Resource

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on October 23, 2015

On Friday we comb through our extensive archives to find an older article that we feel deserves another look. From March 28, 2012, Dungeon’s Master once again presents: The Oil of D&D – Residuum as a Natural Resource.

Oil. In the real world it is one of the most precious resources on the plant. Those who have it are rich for possessing it. Those who don’t have it are willing to buy it and kill for it. In an industrial world run on oil there’s nothing more valuable. But in D&D oil isn’t important. After all, very few game worlds are mechanized and those with any industry use a more abundant resource: magic.

In fantasy role-playing is there an equivalent to oil? Something so precious and integral to society’s prosperity and advancement as oil is in the real world? Again the most likely answer is magic. But magic isn’t a limited resource. After all, magic is, well, magic. It doesn’t have any real tangibility and certainly doesn’t have to follow any rules or logic. It can be whatever the game needs it to be. But that’s not to say that a campaign world couldn’t be made more interesting if magic was a finite resource.

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D&D Encounters: Out of the Abyss (Episode 2.2)

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on October 21, 2015

out-of-the-abyss-coverThe PCs began the adventure in the custody of Drow slavers. They managed to gain the trust and support of the other prisoners, and together they all escaped. But surviving in the Underdark isn’t easy. They spent days wandering aimlessly in search of food and water, all the while trying to avoid dangerous cre3aturs of any pursuers. During last week’s session the PCs decided to ambush whoever or whatever was following them. With a carefully laid trap and coordinated attacks, the party got the jump on four Drow scouts. With the immediate threat of pursuit eliminated (for now) they followed Shuushar’s lead as he led the party towards his village of Sloobludop.

Our numbers continue to hold stead in the low 20s at Face to Face Games in Toronto. We managed to run five tables again this week. My group had four PCs including a Human Druid, Dragonborn Fighter, Elf Wizard, and Human Rogue.

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D&D Encounters: Out of the Abyss (Episode 2.1)

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on October 14, 2015

out-of-the-abyss-coverIt’s been a few weeks since I’ve had a chance to play or DM D&D Encounters. Games have proceeded at the two FLGS where I’m playing this season, but neither of my tables ran for the past two weeks. Sometimes real life just gets in the way of fantasy role-playing and you have to accept it.

When last we left the heroes they’d made a daring escape from the Drow outpost, Velkynvelve. The party’s Orc Fighter expected to die and wanted his sacrifice to be meaningful. He fought as many Drow as he could, engaging the two priestesses and numerous guards. In the end he remained behind, battling any Drow pursuers as he tried to give the rest of the party and the accompanying NPC prisoners a chance at escape.

This week at Face to Face Games in Toronto we ran five tables. We had 22 players and five DMs. My group of four consisted of the following members: Half-Orc Barbarian, Dragonborn Fighter, Elf Wizard, and Human Rogue. The Dragonborn Fighter was a replacement character for the player who lost his Orc Fighter in the last session.

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Friday Favourite: Prove Your D&D Superiority

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on October 9, 2015

On Friday we comb through our extensive archives to find an older article that we feel deserves another look. From December 14, 2010, Dungeon’s Master once again presents: Prove Your D&D Superiority.

When I play games, I play to win. I want to be the best and I want everyone else to know that I’m the best. For most table-top games there is a clearly defined way to identify the winner. In fact many games – including Monopoly, Scrabble and Chess – all have tournaments or championships to crown the best of the best.

When it comes to D&D it’s just not that easy. How do you prove to the guys at your table, and more importantly other gamers, that you are the best at D&D? I’ve given it a lot of thought and I’ve got suggestions for determining the best of the best once and for all.

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Friday Favourite: What Does Your Character Look Like?

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on September 25, 2015

On Friday we comb through our extensive archives to find an older article that we feel deserves another look. From September 21, 2009, Dungeon’s Master once again presents: What Does Your Character Look Like?

Describe your character? It sounds like a simple question, but it’s more difficult than you think. I’m not asking you to tell me your class or level; I want to know what your character actually looks like.

Most characters are described by their race, class and equipment and that’s it. But if I tell you that my PC is a Half-elvin Paladin wearing plate armor that doesn’t really give you a good idea of what I looks like.

Imagine that our PCs have never met before but need to meet in a very public or crowded place. All you have is a vague description of me. What kind of details will make your job easier? Knowing that I wear plate armor is helpful if you’re looking for me on a battlefield, but what if you’re trying to find me at a social function? I’m not likely to be wearing armor at all. So what other details will you need?

Most character sheets have a place for race, sex, height, weight, hair colour, eye colour and skin colour. All excellent details that help define your PC. But how much thought goes into the rest of your PC’s description?

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D&D Encounters: Out of the Abyss (Episode 1.2)

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on September 23, 2015

out-of-the-abyss-coverDuring last week’s kick off session the PCs awoke in a Drow prison cell with no equipment, no armor, no weapons, and no spellbooks. Also in the cell with the PCs were 10 other NPC prisoners. Some were friendly and willing to talk and share info, while others were either unable to communicate because of language barriers or unwilling to speak because of their general disposition towards the PCs. What the heroes learned was that they were to be sold as slaves in the Drow city of Menzoberranzan.

While they waited for the caravan that would transport them to their doom, they realized they should try to escape. Finishing their lives as Drow slaves was not a palatable option for any of the PCs. So while on work detail in session 1 they plotted, schemed and gathered information to make their escape more successful. When we finished last week two prisoners (a PC and an NPC) had thrown caution to the wind and started a bloody rampage, attacking and killing Drow guards indiscriminately. Read on to see how that worked out for them.

This week at Face to Face Games in Toronto we ran five tables. Two were starting from the beginning as they spent last week finishing off Princes of the Apocalypse, while the other three tables continued right where they left off last week. There were 27 players all together, I had five at my table. Four of my players were with us last week, the fifth player started with another group but decided to join us after some real-life conflict at his table last week. My party consisted of the following members: Half-Orc Barbarian, Half-Orc Fighter, Elf Wizard, and two Human Rogues (one from the other table, the other a change of PCs from the person playing the Ranger last week).

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Friday Favourite: 6 Tips for Making Potions Fun Again

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on September 18, 2015

On Friday we comb through our extensive archives to find an older article that we feel deserves another look. From July 2, 2013, Dungeon’s Master once again presents: 6 Tips for Making Potions Fun Again.

potionsSome of my fondest memories of D&D involve a situation where a character drinks an unidentified potion. The results were usually chaotic, hilarious, or both. However, as D&D changed so to did the mystery and wonder that potions can bring to the game.

In 4e D&D the system became so magic heavy that potions were of little consequence. At low levels when a potion can actually make a difference, identifying them is automatic during a short rest. I can’t remember the last time characters had a potion in their inventory that they couldn’t identify.

I’ve recently started using the D&D Next rules during public play and in my home games. It draws heavy influence from the older editions of D&D where magic was rare (much more so than it is in 4e). It’s been so long since I’ve played in games with limited magic treasure that I’ve really had to change my gaming mentality to keep things interesting. By thinking back to those fantastic campaigns I was part of in my younger years, I remember the awe and wonder in the simplest elements of the game. Everyone in the party doesn’t need a +1 sword to make their character interesting and to have fun. But when magic is introduced, it’s a big deal.

In a system with limited magic items, even consumables such as potions and scrolls are deemed valuable and important. They always have been, but when there are over 100 other magic items in a party, no one cares about a simple potion. But in a party where there are only one or two magic items, discovering a few potions in the treasure horde is a real find.

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D&D Encounters: Out of the Abyss (Episode 1.1)

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on September 16, 2015

out-of-the-abyss-coverWelcome to another exciting season of D&D Encounters. This is season 21 if you count from when the program originally launched, or season 3 since the launch of 5e. The new storyline is called Rage of Demons and this season’s adventure is called Out of the Abyss. The Encounters season has the characters wandering the Underdark as they struggle to learn what’s happening and why there are so many Demons wandering around. Along the way they meet numerous interesting NPCs and begin to understand that the Underdark is a dangerous and beautiful place. However, it will take all of their skills, wits, and magic to survive long enough to reach the safety of the surface world once again. Do you have what it takes? Visit your FLGS and find out.

We had a great turnout at Face to Face Games in Toronto. We ran four tables of six (24 players total), but will be expanding to five tables next week as we know more players will be participating this season. At Hairy T North we had five tables that could barley handle the 29 players who showed up. Everyone wants to play this season of D&D Encounters.

My table had the following PCs: Gnome Wizard (Folk Hero), Gnome Fighter (Sage), Half-Orc Barbarian (Folk Hero), Half-Orc Fighter (Outlander), Elf Ranger (Outlander), and Elf Wizard (Acolyte). We’ll see how the absence of any healing magic works out this season. I’m guessing badly.

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