5 Ways To Be A Better Roleplayer

Fundamentally, I look at D&D campaigns as stories. Each adventure or event is a chapter and the campaign as a whole is a novel. It should have set-up, background, main characters, side characters, plots, sub-plots, victories, losses, triumph, and heartbreak. Maybe characters will die along way (Boromir) and maybe new characters will come to the party late (Lando). There should be some twists and a few unexpected detours and the end result should never be certain. Danger should be stalking you at every turn. But most importantly there should be fun, excitement, and camaraderie. If those three things are present, the story will almost write itself.

Monkey See, Monkey Shift: Edition-Agnostic Options for Shapechanging and Summoning

Wizards are often referred to as the Swiss Army knives of spellcasters, having access to a wide variety of high damage and utility spells useful for any occasion. But do they really? Wizards (or Magic-Users, if you prefer) are still limited by the spells they have in their spellbooks, or have discovered during their adventures. Even in the earliest editions of D&D, specialist wizards such as the illusionist provided players with interesting ways to use magic that didn’t involve the Holy Trinity (mage armor/sleep, magic missile, shield). In later editions, specialist wizards became the main focus of the class, creating a range of arcane casters from fireball-throwing evokers to contemplative diviners.

As a writer, I’ve always believed that limitations inspire imagination. When it comes to spells like summon monster, polymorph, and shapeshift, and class features like the druid’s wild shape, the open ended nature of these abilities make them increasingly uninteresting and reduce what could be one of the most fascinating powers to generic catch-alls.

In this article I will present simple ideas for both shapechanging and summoning that can inspire the imagination of your players while drastically reducing the “paralysis through analysis”, blandness syndrome, and Min-Maxing issues that often occurs with these abilities.

A Roleplayer’s Guide To Awkward Moments

If you spend enough time roleplaying, either as a player or as a DM, you will eventually encounter a situation that is supremely awkward or makes you feel uncomfortable. It is almost inevitable given enough experience. After all, many roleplaying groups have at least one or two outspoken/strong-willed members who aren’t afraid to say things or even do things that would make the rest of us pale. Additionally, roleplaying is a social game and sometimes being social means stepping to uncomfortable situations or having awkward conversations.

Should Roleplaying Be Taught in Schools?

Do you think that the education system would benefit from roleplaying being taught to junior high and high school students? This week I want to explore the potential benefits that roleplaying can bestow upon all of us as well as the types of skills and proficiencies (puns intended) we can teach to our real-world students.

6 Ways to Improve Your Combats

Running a good combat situation involves many things like finding a good match between the characters’ skill level and the foes’ abilities, keeping the action fast-paced, and trying to find that sweet spot where the characters feel challenged but not overwhelmed (unless of course, that’s what you are deliberately trying to do). However, adding a few surprises or some bells and whistles can make a good combat a great one.

System Agnostic: The Ring of Vainglory (Magical Item)

The Ring of Vainglory (usually -falsely- referred to as a Ring of Courage) is a intricate, looping band of platinum set with beautiful obsidian inserts. Even without knowledge of its magical nature, the ring is an stunning work of art made by a master craftsman that could fetch a high price upon the open market.

5 Bad DM Habits

All DMs make mistakes and pick up bad habits from time-to-time. It’s natural and mostly unavoidable when dealing with live PCs and complex game mechanics. The trick is to admit when you’re wrong, fix the damage, learn from the experience, and move on. Unfortunately, some DMs occasionally go too far or are not willing to admit when they are wrong. This compounds their mistake or bad habit and can force them into a corner that requires the situation to get even worse before it can get better. You can call these instances epic fails, or deadly sins, or selfish moments, or whatever you want. The point is this: recognizing and accepting these mistakes/habits are the DM’s keys to solving them.

Interview with Award-Winning Cartographer Christopher West

Christopher West is best known for his work on the d20 Star Wars RPG and miniatures combat line, as well as both Wizards of the Coasts’ Maps of Mystery project, and Monte Cook’s multiple ENnie-winning Numenera RPG (including the 2014 ENnie for Best Cartography).

Chris currently works freelance for his own company, Maps of Mastery.

The Millennium Falcon

Let’s start off with a question I’ve been dying to ask. One of the things you’re known for is creating the official floor plan for the Millennium Falcon. Didn’t they have one already? How did that come about?