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.

[click to continue…]


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.

[click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

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.

[click to continue…]


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?

[click to continue…]


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.

[click to continue…]


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.

[click to continue…]


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.

[click to continue…]


Merry Christmas

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on December 25, 2014

The Dungeon’s Master team wishes all of our readers a safe and happy holiday season.

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who visited Dungeon’s Master during the last year. Your continued support by visiting our site regularly and commenting often has helped make us successful. We hope you continue to visit during 2015 and we’ll keep providing relevant and interesting content.

In 2014 we saw the official release of D&D 5e and with that came the revamp of the organized play program in the form of the Adventurers League. It was a fantastic year for D&D and hopefully next year will continue to be just as great for gamers and the gaming community.

Although we didn’t put out as much new content in 2014 as we’d have liked, we’ll make a stronger effort in 2015 to get back into the habit of providing new articles that will help you make your gaming experience better.

If there’s a particular topic you’d like use to write about, please let us know. Also, we’re always looking for guest bloggers so if you’ve got something to say about D&D that you want to share with other gamers, contact us and we’ll see about giving you a shot.

If you’re still looking for a great gift to give yourself or someone in your gaming group, we have a suggestion that’s in everyone’s price range. Give the gift of D&D content directly into your inbox weekdays throughout 2014 by subscribing to the Dungeon’s Master RSS feed.

Looking for Instant Updates?

Subscribe to the Dungeon's Master Feed for up to date info from your favourite D&D site.


Friday Favourite: Holiday Shopping Skill Challenge

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on December 19, 2014

On Friday we comb through our extensive archives to find an older article that we feel deserves another look. From December 11, 2009, Dungeon’s Master once again presents: Holiday Shopping Skill Challenge.

‘Tis the season for giving and receiving gifts. Regardless of your personal or religious reasons for celebrating during the holiday season, everyone likes getting gifts. This is no secret to retail merchants. They know that you’ll be shopping for everyone on your list at this time of year and they want you to spend, spend, spend.

Shopping for Christmas presents can be a lot of hard, grueling work. It’s the part of the holidays that I like the least. So I decided to look at a challenging, real life situation through my D&D coloured glasses (as I so often do). A few months ago we put together a skill challenge called Battle for the Remote. It’s in that same vein that I present a holiday themed, real life skill challenge called Holiday Shopping.

[click to continue…]


Friday Favourite: Should Monsters Employ Smart Tactics?

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on December 5, 2014

On Friday we comb through our extensive archives to find an older article that we feel deserves another look. From June 17, 2011, Dungeon’s Master once again presents: Should Monsters Employ Smart Tactics?

As the DM it’s my job to control all of the monsters during a fight. Each player runs his own character but everyone else involved in the battle is my responsibility. In some cases the Monster Manual provides tactics (albeit very basic tactics), but in the vast majority of situations it’s completely up to me to decide which monster attacks which PC and what power they use.

As the DM I have to decide if the monsters are going to do what’s most tacitly sound (basically, what’s best for the monsters), or are they going to do what seems most fair to the players at my gaming table? For a long time I’ve been doing what’s fair and paid little attention to tactics. But the more I’ve been thinking about this approach the more I think that it’s hurting my game.

D&D isn’t (or shouldn’t be) the DM vs. the players. It’s a cooperative, story-telling experience with a lot of thrilling combat thrown in. Although we often joke about winning D&D when the PCs defeat all the monsters during an encounter, this is obviously not the case. Yet if a PC dies during combat the player certainly feels like he’s lost the game. For this reason I generally try not to pick on one PC and have the monsters gang up on him. After all, no one like it when their PC dies. But am I really doing the players any favours by not having the monsters employ sound tactics?

[click to continue…]