Mastering the Game


  Some of the most iconic adventures in literature and mythology have the hero engaging in a battle of wits with a nefarious guardian of some lost treasure or artifact. The Sphinx’s riddle or unraveling the mystery of eternal life in The Epic of Gilgamesh are, arguably, the most famous. And since Dungeons & Dragons directly and unabashedly references many of these older stories, it is not surprising that some adventures – published or homebrewed […]

Mastering the Game: Puzzles and Player Immersion


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  Your party is doing very well, overcoming amazing challenges and responding to monsters’ onslaughts with ease and now the thing you fear has come to pass; your players are bored. Most DMs respond to player boredom or apathy with increased CR monsters; if the 5 level 6 players are sweeping through the Hobgoblin band led by one Hobgoblin Captain, then maybe two or three, or maybe all the hobgoblins should be captains? While it may […]

Mastering the Game: Monster Tactics


  When players think of foes to defeat, they usually think goblins, trolls, vampires, and dragons; Each more deadly than the last. But what most players don’t know, and what many DMs seem to have forgotten, is that adventure rarely takes place in temperate climes with perfect weather. Often, adventure calls the party to stinking swamps, blazing deserts, frigid tundra, or storm-tossed oceans. And here is where the players will be tested by the ultimate […]

Mastering The Game: The Environment



You have your time slot, your adventure, everyone is at the table, dice are rolling and monsters are being slain. And then it happens. You get off track, lose yourself in the role-play, the rules, the intra-party drama, have to answer questions from new players, or look something up only to realize that you’ve lost track of time. The clock ticks like the thunderous beat of the Tell Tale Heart, the players are looking at their […]

Mastering The Game: Setbacks and Recovery