The D&D 5e Disclaimers

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on July 3, 2014

dnd-logoToday marks the official start of 5e D&D (formerly called D&D Next). The D&D Starter Set is available at some FLGS today and will be available everywhere on July 15. The Basic Rules for Dungeons & Dragons are now available online at the Wizards of the Coast website where you can download the 110-page PDF for free.

Wizards of the Coast made the following disclaimer on page 1 of the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Rules PDF.

Disclaimer: Wizards of the Coast is not responsible for the consequences of splitting up the party, sticking appendages in the mouth of a leering green devil face, accepting a dinner invitation from bugbears, storming the feast hall of a hill giant steading, angering a dragon of any variety, or saying yes when the DM asks, “Are you really sure?”

As I started looking through the D&D Starter Set I found another disclaimer on page 31 of the D&D Starter Set Rulebook.

Disclaimer: Wizards of the Coast is not responsible for the consequences of any failed saving throws, including but not limited to petrification, poison, death magic, dragon breath, spells, or vorpal sword-related decapitations.

This clearly sets the tone of 5e. I think I’m going to like this edition.

Watch for our review of the new D&D Starter Set tomorrow on Dungeon’s Master.


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D&D Encounters: Dead in Thay (Week 8.)

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on July 3, 2014

dead-in-thay-coverAt the end of the last session things got a bit out of hand for one party at our FLGS. They were in heated combat with a Lich and called for help through the telepath circlets. Two PCs from my table ran to the nearest black gate and teleported to assist. They eventually defeated the Lich but the parties were in disarray.

This week at Hairy Tarantula North in Toronto we had so many players we had to add another table. We ended up running four tables for 23 players. For the past couple of weeks we’d been running three very large tables so the DMs got together and decided that we would break off and form a new party this week. That meant my Barbarian disappeared into the ether while I took on the mantle of DM again.

Table 1 (DM: Craig) had six players, table 2 (DM: Hillel) had six players, table 3 (DM: Tim) had six players, and table 4 (DM: Derek) had five players. My table had an Elf Druid and Gnome Mage (no longer undead) from table 3, an Elf Cleric/Mage from table 2, and two brand new players who ran the Elf Mage and Human Monk pre-gens. The rest of the tables shuffled players to ensure a suitable balance among the groups and we were off and running.

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Friday Favourite: Dividing Treasure

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on June 27, 2014

On Friday we comb through our extensive archives to find an older article that we feel deserves another look. From March 26, 2012, Dungeon’s Master once again presents: Dividing Treasure.

DM – You’ve defeated the skeletons. As you search the bodies you realize that one of them was carrying a +1 frost weapon.

Ethan the Rogue – As the striker I should get the magic weapon. The more often I hit the faster I can drop monsters.

Barrack the Fighter – Now hold on a second. I may not be a striker, but as a defender it’s important that I hit monsters ignoring my mark. I think I should get the magic weapon.

Delian the Paladin – Excuse me, guys; this was an item from my wish list. I’m working on a whole cold-theme and already the feats Wintertouched and Student of Moil. Using a frost weapon will give me bonuses when I make cold-based attacks.

Sterling the Warlord – You’re all forgetting that it’s my turn to get the next magic item so I believe the frost weapon is mine.

How often does this happen in your game? As soon as it comes time to divide the treasure everyone tries to lay claim to the best stuff. This is usually a bigger issue when a party is lower levels and there aren’t as many items to go around, but even when the group advances into the paragon tier there can still be some bickering about the division of items.

Over the years I’ve seen many groups handle the division of loot in many different ways. There are certainly pros and cons to all methods and it’s really up to the groups themselves to figure out which method works best for them.

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D&D Encounters: Dead in Thay (Week 7)

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on June 26, 2014

dead-in-thay-coverDuring the last session my PC travelled through four different sectors along side two different parties. My original party had a relatively easy time going from the Far Realm Cysts to the Golem Laboratories – one of the other parties at my FLGS did not have such an easy go of things. The party in the Temples of Extraction called for help via the telepathic circlet so I answered their call and joined them. This week we continued onward through the Temples of Extraction.

At Hairy T North we actually had to turn away players for the very first time. It seems that with summer upon us and the new edition of D&D coming out in just a few weeks more and more people are coming out to see what D&D Next is all about.

Table 1 (DM: Craig) had seven players, one new to our FLGS, table 2 (DM: Hillel) had seven players, and table 3 (DM: Tim) had eight players. I was playing at table 2 this week. My party consisted of the following members: Warforged Paladin, Human Monk/Bard, Elf Cleric/Wizard, Elf Cleric/Rogue, Drow Druid/Monk, Elf Ranger, and my Dwarf Barbarian/Rogue.

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On Friday we comb through our extensive archives to find an older article that we feel deserves another look. From August 27, 2012, Dungeon’s Master once again presents: What’s In Your Backpack? A Healthy Dose of Reality.

When it comes to fantasy role-playing there are a lot of things you have to just accept in order for the game to function. Magic exists. Dragons exist. Elves exist. I have no problems with any of these things. They may be fantastic but they’re familiar and acceptable. But when it comes to the amount of gear a typical adventurer can carry in his backpack many players believe that anything goes. This is not a fantasy that I’m willing to accept. There needs to be some common sense applied some of the time to D&D and for me the buck stops with your backpack.

The way I see it there are two real issues when it comes to the reality of your backpack: 1) How much can it hold, and 2) How easily you can grab something out of that backpack in the heat of combat. I have had way too many players push the boundaries of what is actually possible in both cases that I’ve had to introduce a house rule when it comes to equipment the first thing that goes into any character’s backpack is a healthy does of reality.

This month Game Knight Reviews wants to know “What’s in *your* backpack?” as part of the August RPG Blog Carnival. I expect we’ll see a lot of posts where people list off their favourite must-have items. Here at Dungeon’s Master we’ve decided to approach the discussion from a slightly different angle.

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D&D Encounters: Dead in Thay (Week 6)

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on June 19, 2014

dead-in-thay-coverDuring our last session the party befriended Otyughs and released them into the Forests of Slaughter. After that we convinced a Beholder that we were not working with the Red Wizards and helped the Eye Tyrant escape the zone in which he was imprisoned.

This week at Hairy T in Toronto we had a great turnout. Table 1 (DM: Craig) had six players, table 2 (DM: Hillel) had five players, and table 3 (DM: Tim) had nine players. One of the players at table 3 was new to D&D Next but had extensive experience playing 3.5e.

At table 3 we ended up with the following party members: Human Cleric, Elf Cleric, Gnome Druid, Elf Druid, Halfling (Kender) Rogue, Warforged Monk, Tiefling Wizard, Gnome (undead) Wizard, and Dwarf Barbarian (my character).

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Friday Favourite: Embracing the Silly Aspects of Fantasy Gaming

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on June 13, 2014

On Friday we comb through our extensive archives to find an older article that we feel deserves another look. From October 25, 2011, Dungeon’s Master once again presents: Embracing the Silly Aspects of Fantasy Gaming.

Sometimes we focus so much on the serious aspects of D&D that we forget the importance of the humorous and ludicrous. This is a fantasy game in which magic is commonplace. So with that kind of framework doesn’t it seem right that there should be some outrageously silly things that are just accepted as a part of the fantastic world?

That’s not to say that things shouldn’t make sense. There needs to be some explanation for the unbelievable and the unexpected within the established framework, but the players don’t always have to take it so seriously. By throwing in a few humorous things every once and a while the players come to realize that just because they think something seems bizarre and out of place doesn’t mean that their characters feel the same way.

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D&D Encounters: Dead in Thay (Week 5)

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on June 12, 2014

dead-in-thay-coverWe left the party in the Far Realms Cysts sector of the Doomvault. They’d just cleared out the Caverns of Chaos zone. The Gnome Druid’s soul had been trapped in a potion which she drank… and then shrank since it was a Potion of Diminution.

This week we saw a noticeable drop in the numbers at Hairy T North in Toronto. We expected to lose a few regulars week in and week out over the summer, but not so many in one week. Table 1 (DM: Craig) had four players, table 2 (DM: Hillel) had five players, and table 3 (substitute DM: Derek) had five players.

That’s right, I got to DM again this week as our regular DM was out sick. So our party was down a Barbarian, but the five remaining party members at my table were a Warforged Monk, Halfling (Kender) Rogue, Gnome Druid (1/10 her normal size), Human Cleric, and Gnome Wizard (currently an undead PC thanks to the Walking Dead option).

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Friday Favourite: Taking a TPK Like a Man

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on June 6, 2014

On Friday we comb through our extensive archives to find an older article that we feel deserves another look. From June 8, 2012, Dungeon’s Master once again presents: Taking a TPK Like a Man.

It doesn’t happen often, but when it happens it really sucks – a Total Party Kill or TPK. In 4e it’s incredibly hard for DMs to kill just one character in a party. I’ve seen plenty of PCs fall unconscious but usually the leader has them back in action before they even need to make a death save or an adjacent ally makes a Heal check and triggers their second wind. Worse case scenario they stay down until the encounter is over and then they get the benefits of a short rest. Before you know it they’re on their feet and ready to face more monsters. The only way to guarantee that characters die is for the DM to wipe out everyone with a TPK. After all, if no one’s left to face the remaining monsters once the last guy falls unconscious it stands to reason that those same monsters will take necessary steps to ensure you don’t get back up… ever.

Because the TPK is (or should be) a rarity in D&D it’s understandable that many players are not really sure what do to when they see the writing on the wall. I realized this when we were face-to-face with an inevitable TPK just this week during D&D Encounters. Players can react very different to this situation so I felt it was a good idea to document so ground rules and suggested behaviours that all players should be mindful of when their PC falls unconscious, or worse yet, is just one of the dominos falling in the impending TPK.

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D&D Encounters: Dead in Thay (Week 4)

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on June 5, 2014

dead-in-thay-coverLast week the party faced a Red Wizard Lich whom they destroyed, an ooze the size of a room which they managed to talk their way past, and a Red Wizard alchemist from whom they stole a Glyph Key and managed to escape unscathed. Let’s see if they’ll be as fortunate this week.

At Hairy T North in Toronto we ran three tables: table 1 (DM: Craig) had five players, table 2 (DM: Hillel) had seven players including one person brand new to D&D, and table 3 (DM: Tim) had eight players including me.

Our party had the following members this week: Tiefling Wizard, Human Cleric, Elf Cleric, Warforged Monk, Halfling (Kender) Rogue, Gnome Druid, Gnome Mage (currently Walking Dead) and Dwarf Barbarian (my character).

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