Dungeon Master Appreciation Month – DM Monty

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on February 17, 2015

February is Dungeon Master Appreciation Month. Although I tend to be the DM more often than I’m a player, I have had the good fortune to play under some great DMs over the years. Throughout February I’m writing about a few DMs I’ve had, the best of the best, and sharing stories about what I found most interesting and memorable about them. This is my way of reminding them how good they are at what they do and showing my appreciation for fellow DMs.

Today I’m going to tell you a little bit about DM Monty (a.k.a. Steampunked) and why he’s an outstanding DM. I met Monty at my FLGS when I started playing Living Forgotten Realms shortly after 4e was released. He was a fellow player and I was always fascinated by how much careful thought he put into building and developing his characters. He was an optimizer who always looked for the best way to get the most out of his PC. As we met other players at our FLGS we were both invited to join a newly forming home game and for the next two years we played side-by-side week after week.

One night at our new home game someone started talking about the classic Gary Gygax super-dungeon adventure, the Tomb of Horrors. By then a 4e conversion of the original had been released as reward for public play DMs and there was a 4e hardcover that was positioned as a sequel to the original. DM Monty said he wanted to run the Tomb of Horrors as a 4e adventure and try to make it as deadly and fun as the original had been for 1e D&D. I immediately expressed an interest to be in that game.

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Friday Favourite: Is A Blog Right For Your Game?

by Wimwick (Neil Ellis) on February 13, 2015

On Friday we comb through our extensive archives to find an older article that we feel deserves another look. From February 21, 2009, Dungeon’s Master once again presents: Is A Blog Right For Your Game?

The advent of technology has had a large impact on the RPG community. I can still remember several years ago pulling my laptop out for my regular Sunday night game. I explained I’d found a new mapping program I wanted to use for the game. That was the beginning of Maptools for my group and we haven’t looked back.

It seems everyone is getting in on the digital action. Even Wizards of the Coast has jumped on the digital initiative with DDI. It simply the next step in gaming. 

Blogging is all the rage on the Internet. I personally contribute to six blogs including this one. My favourite blog to post to is The Rise of the Phoenix which belongs to my main gaming group.

So is a blog the right fit for your gaming group? There are several reasons a blog could improve your gaming experience and we’ll look at them individually.

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Dungeon Master Appreciation Month – DM Jay

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on February 11, 2015

February is DM appreciation month and I’m writing a series of articles in which I spotlight and thank some of the best DMs I’ve ever had the pleasure and privilege of playing with. I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve had a lot of good DMs over the years. When you’ve played as much D&D as I have you know when you get a good DM; someone who brings something extra to the table that sets them apart from the rest. Today we look at another one of those great DMs.

Last week I told you all about DM Curtis, today I’m going to tell you about DM Jay (a.k.a. Suddry). Jay and I met at the D&D table about 15 years ago and he’s been a part of my weekly Sunday night home game ever since. When 4e D&D was launched Jay decided that he wanted to take a stab at being the DM, something he’d never done before. It was a new system so why not usher in a new DM along with it. The experience was fantastic and Jay opened our eyes to new possibilities of what a DM could do.

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Friday Favourite: Venger

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on February 6, 2015

On Friday we comb through our extensive archives to find an older article that we feel deserves another look. From April 25, 2013, Dungeon’s Master once again presents: Venger.

My first exposure to Dungeons & Dragons was through the Saturday morning cartoon in 1983. I was 9 years old at the time and the show fascinated me. I could relate to the characters because they were around my age. The fantastic elements of D&D – the magic, the monsters, and the adventures – left tremendous feelings of wonder and awe on my young and impressionable mind. When I was invited to actually play D&D in the years to follow, I was immediately on board.

I’m sure I wasn’t the only player who created characters that mimicked the heroes from the show. This was likely due in part to my limited experienced with the game and limited knowledge of the choices available. But it was just as likely because I thought those characters were cool.

venger-01The other thing I wanted to do as soon as I started playing D&D was to fight Venger. According to the title sequence of the D&D cartoon, Venger was the force of evil in the world of Dungeon & Dragons. He wasn’t just some bad guy, he was THE bad guy. Forget fighting Bullywugs, Orcs and even Dragons, point me in the direction of Venger! I never got my chance to fight Venger, and after a little while I realized that I didn’t need to fight him to enjoy my D&D experience, but a part of me still wants to take him on. After all he is a great villain.

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Dungeon Master Appreciation Month – DM Curtis

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on February 3, 2015

I’ve been playing D&D for over 30 years and during that time I’ve been fortunate to play under a lot of great DMs. This month I’ll be writing a series of articles in which I single out some of the very best DMs I’ve ever played with. This is certainly not an exhaustive list as it would be impossible for me to write about every single great DM I’ve ever had. The DMs I’ll be writing about are the ones who really left a lasting impression and changed the way I see and play D&D (in a good way).

Today I’d like to tell you about DM Curtis (a.k.a. Sterling). Curtis and I have been friends since grade school. We were roommates at university and after we graduated he was part of my Sunday night D&D group for over 10 years. Curtis ran one of the most fun and interesting campaigns I’ve ever played in. He also has the distinction of being the first DM to run me through a 3e game.

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Dungeon Master Appreciation Month

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on February 2, 2015

February is DM appreciation month. It’s a chance for players to recognize the DMs who make the game happen and say thank you. Even though I generally DM during public play and at my home games, I’ve had the privilege and good fortune to play under some phenomenal DMs in my years of play. Throughout this month I’m going to write a series of blog post about some of the very best DMs I’ve ever had. It’s my way to give back to the gaming community and give proper praise where it’s due. I always try to say thank you to the DM at the end of a good session, but sometimes that’s not enough. DM appreciation month is my opportunity to go one step beyond a simple, heart-felled thank you.

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Friday Favourite: The 5 Ws of Treasure Maps

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on January 30, 2015

On Friday we comb through our extensive archives to find an older article that we feel deserves another look. From October 10, 2012, Dungeon’s Master once again presents: The 5 Ws of Treasure Maps.

treasue-map“Among the loot is a treasure map.”

This statement never fails to get the players’ attention. Suddenly the magic sword and the rare gems are forgotten at the possibility of even greater riches. I’ve seen players expend more energy arguing over who gets the treasure map while other magical treasures on the floor right in front of them go unclaimed. The idea that someone hid something valuable and you could be the one to find it really hits a nerve with players. Why settle for this lame flaming sword +3 when I could have something even better? Ah, the insatiable greed of players.

Personally I love treasure maps. They’re one of the easiest and best adventure hooks in D&D (or just about any other RPG). The promise of something valuable, the excitement of following the map’s directions, and the thrill of acquiring treasure appeals to an overwhelming majority of players. Knowing this, it’s easy for the DM to lead the PCs anywhere he wants them to go, because who can resist a treasure map?

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We’re all very familiar with these magic words: “Roll for initiative.” When the DM say this you know something big is about to happen. Many players live for these three magic words, because in their minds it means it’s time to fight monsters.

In D&D (and pretty much all other role-playing games) there is some kind of initiative mechanic; the means by which everyone can figure out who acts in what order. In some cases winning initiative can mean the literal difference between life and death for some characters.

Normally initiative is determined by rolling a d20 and adding your initiative modifier. The round begins with the highest initiative and proceeds to the lowest with each PC or monster acting when their initiative number is called. This has pretty much been the standard way of running initiative since D&D was first created. However, it’s not the only way to determine the order of action. In fact some of the initiative variants are proving to have noticeable in-game benefits which is causing more and more DM (me included) to adopt an alternative approach to initiative.

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Friday Favourite: Confessions of a Gamer

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on January 16, 2015

On Friday we comb through our extensive archives to find an older article that we feel deserves another look. From March 7, 2009, Dungeon’s Master once again presents: Confessions of a Gamer.

Are you proud to be a gamer? Or do you hide the fact that once a week you play Dungeons & Dragons? I’m 34 years old, I’m a gamer and I’m proud to admit it.

I’ve been playing RPGs since I was 10, so 24 years now. And during that time I’ve met many different types of gamers. Most, like me, are proud to be gamers. Others are what I like to call “in the closet gamers.” They loved to play D&D, but would die a slow and painful social death if anyone outside of our immediate gaming group learned this terrible secret.

I’m sure this will not come as a shock to anyone reading this blog, but when I was in high school I was a huge nerd. In fact, I’m still a pretty big nerd. As a teenager, I was not part of the popular crowd and I wasn’t invited to parties. But I had a solid group of friends and one of the hobbies we shared was D&D. Every weekend, while the “cool kids” were getting drunk and partying, we were enjoying a night of role-playing games. And as lame as that sounds, I’m not ashamed to admit it.

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Recounting Encounters Podcast Update

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on January 8, 2015

dd-adventurers-league-logoThursday has been the day we post our D&D Encounter adventure recap for years. But when 5e D&D was officially released the D&D Encounters schedule was tweaked giving your FLGS a lot more time to complete the adventure; more time that most needed. At my FLGS it only took us about 10 weeks to complete Hoard of the Dragon Queen, episodes 1-3. With the official D&D Encounters part of the adventure was done, we stopped the recaps. But that doesn’t mean we’ve been sitting around doing nothing.

Each week Marc, Craig and I have continued recording new episodes of our podcast, Recounting Encounters. We don’t focus on weekly recaps any more, but we still have a lot to talk about. Sometimes we talk about problems we’ve experienced at our gaming table and how we’ve resolved them, other times we explore various interpretations of the new 5e rules. The point is that you can still catch our podcast every week until the new season of D&D Encounters begin in mid-March. Until then we’ll be sure to talk about things that will help your D&D game whether you’re a player or a DM.

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