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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Recounting Encounters Podcast – 3 New Episodes

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on September 14, 2015

dd-adventurers-league-logoOn September 9 we began the new season of D&D Encounters – Out  of the Abyss. As D&D Encounters returns to a regular weekly schedule and everyone gets back to playing more or less the same encounters each week we’ll get back to doing new Recounting Encounters episodes every week. Links to the weekly show will be included in the weekly recap articles (the week 1 recap will be posted shortly).

So what have we been doing over the past few months you may be asking? Over the summer some groups at our FLGS continued with Princes of the Apocalypse, and by the end most were at very different points in the adventure with none anywhere near the end. Other groups gave up on PotA once the material in the free DM PDF was completed. Tables at our FLGS who stopped decided instead to run D&D Expeditions to fill the time on Wednesday nights.

With everyone doing different things and playing different games we found it difficult to keep to a regular Recounting Encounters schedule with meaningful content. But we did manage to record a few new episodes. Today we’re sharing those podcasts. You can click the links below to listen or download each episode. These are also now available through iTunes.

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Friday Favourite: DM Compensation

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on September 4, 2015

On Friday we comb through our extensive archives to find an older article that we feel deserves another look. From February 13, 2012, Dungeon’s Master once again presents: DM Compensation.

With another season of D&D Encounters coming to an end this week we’ve been having some discussions at my FLGS about who’s going to take over the reigns as the DM for the next season. I continue to volunteer my services as the primary DM at two FLGS in my community, but in both cases we have sufficient numbers to need additional DMs pretty much every week. During the discussion about who will step up to DM more than one prospective DM asked about compensation. They wanted to know what they got if they agreeing to DM. At first I was a bit surprised that they’d even ask, but as I gave the question more consideration I realized that it’s not an altogether unreasonable question.

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Friday Favourite: Back to School Tips for Gamers

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on August 28, 2015

On Friday we comb through our extensive archives to find an older article that we feel deserves another look. From September 3, 2013, Dungeon’s Master once again presents: Back to School Tips for Gamers.

Yes, I realize we ran this as a Friday Favourite this time last year, but I think this is a good article, and it’s timely, so we’re running it again. Enjoy. — Ameron

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Ameron’s 2015 GenCon Schedule

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on July 16, 2015

gencon-logo-01It’s that time of year again. The time when gamers everywhere realize there’s only two short weeks until GenCon. Ah, GenCon. The Best Four Days in Gaming. It’s more than just a motto, it’s the absolute truth! GenCon is awesome. And it begins in exactly two weeks.

This will be my 8th GenCon and I’m expecting great things this year. Even though I’m planning to spend a great deal of time playing D&D I’ve also got other fun and exciting things on my schedule and today I’m going to tell you all about them.

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