D&D Encounters: Dead in Thay (Week 12)

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on July 31, 2014

dead-in-thay-coverThis is it; the grand finale! Four parties entered the Phylactery Vault with the goal of destroying any and all phylacteries they might find within. As each group entered one of the three sepulchers on their respective levels of this pyramidal area and destroyed the evils found inside, a Demi-Lich appeared to stop them from doing any further damage. The final fight was about to begin and some PCs would surely give their lives in the ensuing battle.

This week at Hairy T North in Toronto we ran four tables. A few of our regular players were absent and we thought we might have to condense back to three tables; however, five brand new players showed up and we were good to go. Table 1 (DM Craig) had seven players, table 2 (DM Hillel) had five players, table 3 (DM Tim) had six players, and table 4 (DM Derek) had six players.

My group had three returning PCs from last week’s session and three of the brand new players. The party ended up with a Human Fighter, Dwarf Fighter, Human Cleric, Half-Elf Bard, Half-Orc Barbarian, and Elf Ranger. For the first time in 12 sessions I didn’t have a Mage at my table.

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D&D Encounters: Tyranny of Dragons Kit – Preview

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on July 24, 2014

tiamatWith the release of the new 5e Dungeons & Dragons comes a new look and feel to D&D public play. D&D Encounters as we know it is changing as it becomes part of the broader public play program known as the D&D Adventure League.

The first adventure in the Tyranny of Dragons story arc is Hoard of the Dragon Queen. The D&D Encounters adventure, which your FLGS can download for free, provides enough material to advance PCs from levels 1-4. The story continues for PCs of level 5 and above in the for-sale product of the same name, Hoard of the Dragon Queen, on sale August 19.

As part of the new 5e public play kick off game shops everywhere will be receiving Tyranny of Dragons Kits full of great free stuff for DMs and players. Today we’re going to share everything that you can expect to find inside including Faction Packs for players, and DM packs that include magic item certificates. Read on.

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D&D Encounters: Dead in Thay (Week 11)

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on July 24, 2014

dead-in-thay-coverDuring the last session the PCs learned that a group of Red Wizards were trying to reset all the black gates and undo everything the heroes had accomplished so far. With consequences so dire, three tables (16 PCs) came together to face off against these foes. It was a bit of a grind but in the end two parties of 8 stormed the Masters’ Domain and stopped these Red Wizards from succeeding. The PCs levelled up and most used the Seclusion Crypt to gain the benefits of a long rest before heading into the final fight.

This week we began part 1 of our 2-part grand finale at Hairy Tarantula North in Toronto. We had 22 players split among four tables, including two brand new players. The party I ended up running had all the newbies (including Alton from the Recounting Encounters podcast). The roster included a Human Fighter, Elf Ranger, Human Cleric, Elf Mage, and Halfling Rogue.

Tyranny of Dragons. We just received the kits for the next season of D&D Encounters: Tyranny of Dragons. Be sure to visit Dungeon’s Master later this afternoon for our preview article.  — Ameron

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Friday Favourite: How To Introduce A New PC

by Wimwick (Neil Ellis) on July 18, 2014

On Friday we comb through our extensive archives to find an older article that we feel deserves another look. From April 28, 2010, Dungeon’s Master once again presents: How To Introduce A New PC.

It happens in almost every game, a PC dies and now you have to figure out how to introduce the new character. Or a new player joins your group and you struggle to explain why they should join the party? There are a many ways to go about answering these questions. From the serious role-playing that this type of event triggers, to the inane and superficial. How you approach this aspect of death and dying in Dungeons & Dragons will come down to the play style of your own group. Different approaches to the game will result in different introductions for new PC.

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D&D Encounters: Dead in Thay (Week 10)

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on July 16, 2014

dead-in-thay-coverThis week we tried something a bit different and a bit off-script as we approached the end of the adventure. The idea was sound but the execution was not as smooth as we’d hoped. It made for a memorable adventure but not for the reasons we’d expected.

At Hairy T North this week we ran four tables. We had three players who were at D&D Encounters for their second time and one players new to D&D and public play. At the beginning of the night the tables were pretty evenly divided up. Table 1 (DM Craig) had six players, table 2 (DM Hillel) had four players, table 3 (DM Tim) had six players, and table 4 (DM Derek) had six players.

Normally I list off which characters are in my party. I’m going to wait and do it later because the tables merged and the parties reformed about 10 minutes into the session. What is important to note is that we have a disproportionate number of Mages at our FLGS giving the parties access to a lot of Fireballs.

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Friday Favourite: Design Encounters That Reward Cooperative Play

by Dantracker (Kenneth McNay) on July 11, 2014

On Friday we comb through our extensive archives to find an older article that we feel deserves another look. From October 19, 2011, Dungeon’s Master once again presents: Design Encounters That Reward Cooperative Play.

D&D has always been a game where players work together to accomplish a common goal rather than compete against each other for a prize. It is a game where the DM provides a backdrop for character conflict. Players are likewise not competing against the DM. Instead everyone should collaborate to create a great story and a fun experience.

In order to provide a backdrop where players can develop their characters, we need to let go of the tendency to design encounters to challenge the party’s damage output. The story should advance by developing such themes as characters actively helping others, conquering foes, and overcoming afflictions or wounds. If we use valid rewards for contributing to a team effort this will inspire others to reciprocate.

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D&D Encounters: Dead in Thay (Week 9)

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on July 10, 2014

dead-in-thay-coverThe heroes are still running around the Doomvault dungeon wreaking havoc and killing Red Wizards, but now the PCs know they need to disrupt the black gates if they want to reach the Phylactery Vault and stop the Lich-lord, Szass Tam. Last week my party teleported from gate to gate disrupting them as they went. This week they planned to continue with this plan, but faced tougher obstacles on their journey.

At Hairy T North in Toronto we continue to see new players every week. The release of the D&D Starter Set for 5e and the release of the D&D Basic Rules on the Wizards of the Coast website have peaked the curiosity of many players. We expect to see an influx of new players who want to try the new edition, and this week we got three.

We ran four tables again this week: table 1 (DM Craig) had six players including one of the new players, table 2 (DM Hillel) had five players, table 3 (DM Tim) had six players, and table 4 (DM Derek) had five players including two of the new folks. My group had a Human Cleric/Mage, Gnome Mage, Human Monk, and the two new players used the Elf Mage and Halfling Rogue pre-gens.

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Review: D&D Starter Set (5e)

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on July 4, 2014

starter-set-coverWelcome to D&D 5e. Yesterday Wizards of the Coast officially launched the 5th edition of Dungeons & Dragons by releasing the D&D Basic Rules online and the D&D Starter Set in select FLGS (Friendly Local Gaming Shops). For the past year and a half many D&D enthusiasts participated in the playtest of the new rules dubbed D&D Next. Although the D&D 5e rules look a lot like the final version of the playtest there have been some changes and dare I say improvements made since then. The playtest is over and the real thing is here.

It’s been a long time since Wizards released a new gaming supplement that you could by at your FLGS and hold in your hands. The D&D Starter Set is the first product released in the 5e lineup with the other iconic rulebooks coming out over the next few months.

The D&D Starter Set is like a delicious appetizer. You knew you were hungry when you ordered it but you didn’t realize how hungry until you took your first bite. It’s delicious and it leaves you wanting more. You know that the main course is coming soon, but this will certainly hold you over until then.

Before I go on and talk about what’s in the box, let me tell you that I haven’t yet looked at the D&D Basic Rules available on the Wizards of the Coast website. The D&D Starter Set is supposed to include enough details that you can open the box, read the materials, and begin playing. I wanted to look at this product with that mindset.

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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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