Friday Favourite: Addressing Your Weaknesses

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on February 21, 2014

On Friday we comb through our extensive archives to find an older article that we feel deserves another look. From January 5 & 15, 2010, Dungeon’s Master once again presents: Addressing Your Weaknesses (Part 1 | Part 2).

When we make characters we often focus on their best ability score. We do whatever we can to get our key ability as high as possible right out of the gate. When we hit level 4 and level 8 we use that opportunity to push our best score even higher. But what about the scores on the other end of the scale? If you started with a 20 Strength it probably means that you’ve got an 8 in something else. How does that 8 affect your PC?

In previous editions of D&D the starting attributes were determined by dice and that meant the possibility for really low scores. Even less random methods of character creation like point-buy weren’t foolproof. Racial penalties to starting attributes still meant a chance of having a couple of really low starting ability scores. The revised point-buy system in 4e and the elimination of racial penalties means that you’re less likely to have any abilities lower than an 8, but even 8 is still just on the low side of average.

So what impact does a starting ability score of 8 have on your PC and how you play him? That may depend on how you explain your lowest score.

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D&D Encounters: Scourge of the Sword Coast (Week 1)

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on February 20, 2014

scourge-of-the-sword-coast-coverThis week we started season 17 of D&D Encounters. The adventure is called Dreams of the Red Wizards: Scourge of the Sword Coast. It’s the third of five adventures that crossover with The Sundering storyline. Scourge of the Sword Coast is also billed as part 1 of 2 adventures that concludes next season with Dead in Thay.

The PCs began play this season at level 2. Wizards of the Coast has only provided support for D&D Next despite rumours that they would keep supporting 3.5e and 4e through this season.

At Harry T North in Toronto we’re running four tables this season; three using D&D Next and one using 4e. This season I’m running a D&D Next table. My party had the following characters this week: Half-Orc Mage, Drow Paladin, Elf Rogue/Cleric, Elf Ranger, and Half-Orc Paladin. We’re also saving a seat for another regular who couldn’t make it this week so we’ll top out as a party of six.

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Friday Favourite: The Valentine’s Day Skill Challenge

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on February 14, 2014

On Friday we comb through our extensive archives to find an older article that we feel deserves another look. From February 14, 2012, Dungeon’s Master once again presents: The Valentine’s Day Skill Challenge.

Today is Valentine’s Day so we decided to take a light-hearted look at the day most associate with love. All the members of the Dungeons’ Master team are happily married or in a long-term relationship, so we felt that we should do our part to help those looking for love. However, we are by no means experts on the subject so please take the advice provided below with the good humour in which it is indented.

It’s unfortunate that many envision the gamer stereotype as a lonely guy who’s awkward around girls. Although there are certainly a few gamers out there that fall into this category, in my experience many gamers are not really that much different that the rest of the non-gaming masses. Everyone is looking for someone and hopes to avoid painful rejection along the way. With that in mind we’ve put together some tips in the form of a skill challenge. By framing this advice in a familiar wrapper we hope that it will make it easier for all those gamers looking for love on Valentine’s Day.

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D&D Encounters: Legacy of the Crystal Shard (Week 12)

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on February 13, 2014

legacy-of-the-crystal-shard-coverThe heroes finished last week’s session inside the Audience Chamber of the Black Ice tower. The fought and killed the Bear Tribe King and his loyal followers and were ready to take the winding staircase up to the next level.

This was the final session for season 16 of D&D Encounters. At my table we’re using 4e and the PCs are level 5. We only had three players at first, but knew a fourth would be along after the first hour. One of the players decided to run him as an NPC until he arrived. The party ended up with the following members: Tiefling Warlock, Tiefling Paladin, Dragonborn Cavalier, and a Gnoll Barbarian (run as an NPC until the player arrived). We also had Hengar the Human Warlord tagging along, but he mainly threw around some Inspiring Words to revive fallen PCs and offered free attacks when needed.

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D&D Encounters: Scourge of the Sword Coast – Preview

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on February 8, 2014

scourge-of-the-sword-coast-coverOn Wednesday, February 19, we begin Scourge of the Sword Coast, season 17 of D&D Encounters. This is the first of a two part story arc called Dream of the Red Wizards that concludes next season in the adventure Dead in Thay. Scourge of the Sword Coast is also the third of five adventures in current story-line running through all Wizards product lines called The Sundering.

Any players or DMs who are familiar with the adventure Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle may recognize some of the locales and NPCs in Scourge of the Sword Coast. The events of this season’s adventure take place after those of Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle.

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Friday Favourite: Running A Game With New Players

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on February 7, 2014

On Friday we comb through our extensive archives to find an older article that we feel deserves another look. From February 3, 2012, Dungeon’s Master once again presents: Running A Game With New Players.

Over the past couple seasons of D&D Encounters I’ve had the opportunity to play with a lot of new players. Many of these players (usually the younger ones) were completely new to D&D or any RPG for that matter. While some of the DMs have found it frustrating to run tables with so many inexperienced players, I’ve found it to be quite rewarding.

During this time I’ve come up some guidelines for running games with new players. Although I put these together to help me manage tables of newbies, many of these points are still good to keep in mind when running any table, no matter how much experience your players have.

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D&D Encounters: Legacy of the Crystal Shard (Week 11)

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on February 6, 2014

legacy-of-the-crystal-shard-coverDuring last week’s combat filled session the heroes proceeded deeper into the Verbeeg Lair where they fought Cultists of Auril, more Goblins, and two very large Crag Cats and their handler. They defeated all comers but it was taking a toll. The party needed an extended rest, but knew they could not do so while still in the cavernous lair.

With only two weeks left in this season everyone’s making an effort to be present. We had excellent attendance this week at Harry T North in Toronto as we continue running four tables each week, three using D&D Next and one (mine) using 4e. My group was the only one missing players so we were back down to four. Those present included the Dragonborn Cavalier, Halfling Rogue, Tiefling Warlock, and Gnoll Barbarian. I also had the NPC Hengar (Human Warlord) in the wings ready to assist the party if needed.

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100 Things 4e D&D Players Never Say

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on February 3, 2014

I’ve played D&D a long time and over the years I’ve heard a lot of players say a lot of things – funny things, strange things, gross things, imaginative things, inappropriate things, and awesome things. I can confidently say I’ve pretty much heard it all when it comes to conversation at the D&D table.

But in all the time I’ve played D&D there are some thing that I’ve never heard players or DMs say at the gaming table, specifically when playing 4e. So I decided to put together a list; a collection of things that you might expect to hear at the gaming table but don’t. What I thought would be a short list of a dozen things ended up reaching triple digits in a hurry.

After culling the list I managed to pare it down to a lean 100. These are things 4e D&D players never say. Some of these quotes are universal and equally applicable to other editions of D&D or other RPGs. In some cases it’s not that the quote is never heard, but heard very rarely. I’ve done my best to rank the list with the best, rarest, and funniest making up the top 10.

I encourage you to read through the list and see if you agree that theses are 100 things 4e D&D players never say. If you can think of a few more examples we’d love to hear them. Please leave your additions to the list in the comments below.

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Friday Favourite: The Honor System

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on January 31, 2014

On Friday we comb through our extensive archives to find an older article that we feel deserves another look. From September 4, 2011, Dungeon’s Master once again presents: The Honor System.

What do mafia hit men, Wild West gunslingers, Japanese samurai and the Knights of the Round Table have in common? They all work under a code of honor. Despite the danger, brutality and violent nature of their jobs, each of these examples has a strict code that helps them define what actions they are willing (and not willing) to do to get the job done.

Aside from alignment, most PCs don’t have any strict code that dictates their actions; although in previous editions of D&D the Paladin did have this restriction. Now it comes down to the player running the character. The only honor your character has is that which you instil in him. Honor, however, is certainly subjective. Two players who play their PC with an honor code are likely to have some differing opinions on what is allowed and what is not.

A common aspect in the code of honor is that women, children and innocent bystanders are usually exempt from any part of an ongoing conflict. If you’ve got a beef with a local merchant you won’t kidnap or harm his family as leverage. His business might be fair game, but his son or grandfather is not to be harmed. Assassins generally have a similar code; remember Leon’s motto in the movie the Professional: “No women, no kids.”

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D&D Encounters: Legacy of the Crystal Shard (Week 10)

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on January 30, 2014

legacy-of-the-crystal-shard-coverAfter missing all the action at the Easthaven docks, the PCs decided to follow the tracks of two large Crag Cats who had brazenly attacked and killed some of the local townsfolk who wandered off the city’s beaten paths. Although the PCs didn’t actually run into the Crag Cats last session they were ambushed by some crafty Goblins guarding a cavernous lair in the mountains. The heroes battled two small groups of Goblins before deciding to take a short rest as they prepared to explore more rooms within the Verbeeg Lair.

We were down to only three tables this week at Harry T North in Toronto. One group who all travel to the store in one vehicle was unable to come this week. But the other three tables were all full – six players at each of the two D&D Next tables and I had my five regulars at the 4e table. The party now consists of the following PCs: Gnoll Barbarian, Tiefling Paladin, Dragonborn Cavalier, Halfling Rogue, and Tiefling Warlock.

We took a quick poll of our players over the previous few sessions regarding preferences for next season and it looks like we’ll have four new DMs next season running two tables of D&D Next and two running 4e. Both Craig and I have DMed many season in a row so it will be a nice change if we get to hand over the reigns to fresh DMs next season.

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