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Group Size, Enjoyment, and D&D

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Different dungeon masters have different tolerances. Some can handle ten, fifteen, or even twenty players at a time; others have a maximum of two or three players. Recently, I discovered what my limit was, and had to take a few unfortunate measures to remedy the problem. ‘Twas necessary. Since performing this surgery on one of my Dungeons and Dragons groups, my enjoyment of that particular campaign has gone up immensely. I no longer dread playing with that group, thinking, "I am the one solely responsible for keeping each and every one of my players entertained for four to six hours." Now, I can focus on making each player feel special, among other things.

Regardless of my limits, from my personal experience and conversations with others, there’s a couple of boons from playing with large groups. But truly, small groups reign supreme. This week, we’re exploring group size and how it affects our enjoyment of D&D.

By the end of today’s article, I hope you walk away with a …

Building and Preparing

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Dungeons and Dragons can be a full-time hobby. Sure, most of us spend the majority of our time playing the game with our friends and acquaintances, building the story, world, and characters in real-time, but there are others who arrived at this amazing pastime for a different reason. They didn’t pick-up D&D to simply prepare and play; they started playing D&D because they sought to create a world. I’m one of those folks.

Alas, I’ve learned that those two aspects of dungeon mastering correlate greatly. Building a world helps you prep for a D&D campaign and preparing for D&D helps you build a world. How, exactly? Well, in a few hundred words, you’re going to completely understand why.
Having a Foundation Most dungeon masters, at the very least, have a vague understanding of the world they’re playing in. If you’re exploring a premade setting like the Forgotten Realms, Eberron, or Dark Sun, you have plenty of material to build upon this understanding. However, when you’re…

Sources of Inspiration

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It’s Thursday night. My surroundings are serene: A lovely lamp emits a faint glow over my paper and pencil, calming, old music plays in the background, and my kitten, Kaya, sleeps beside me, feet in the air, eyes heavy and closed. I’ve sat down to build my world, Aelonis, an ancient landscape rooted in magic, rife with wilderness, and teeming with adventure in dungeon, urban, and rural environs. However, my mind is aching after an arduous day of work; I need a source of inspiration, a helpful key to unlock the thoughts deep within my mind. Luckily for me, inspiration is found everywhere.
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Where do we get inspiration for our Dungeons and Dragons games, campaigns, and worlds? The answer is obvious: Everywhere.

This week, we’ll be discussing the best places to gain inspiration for D&D. Of the myriad of places where we can find it, we’ll take a gander at the top three: D&D sourcebooks, works of art, and our world’s history.

Let’s roll.
Ideas From D&D Sourcebooks If …

All About Monstrous Player Characters

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It’s Saturday night. The players of my Yatar group have gathered around the table, prepared to face the wilds of Zaza Isle: Poisonous plants, cruel creatures, and an insane grung tribe. However, there’s a new face at the table, my friend, Anthony, and he won’t be portraying a normal player character. We’ve planned something special. As everyone settles (for the second time), I recap last session’s events, reminding them of their unpleasant airship crash, dead crewmates, and grung enemies. The party ended the last session in their makeshift camp, constructed between enormous, steady trees and smoldering airship wreckage. As we begin, their characters converse about the next course of action: They need to assault the grung village and recover what remains of their crew. The plan starts to take shape, but then, from the thicket surrounding them, they are attacked by grung! Venomous, wooden arrows fly, red-skinned spear wielding tree-frogfolk charge in, and a burly grung riding a bulbous,…

Acute Adventures: Down the Wishing Well

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Townsfolk who wander near Westport’s wishing well have been experiencing strange occurrences: Feverish dreams, rampant sleepwalking, and more. A wizard of Westport suspects the worst, and calls out for adventurers to delve into the wishing well to discover the source of this peculiarity.

New adventure today, folks. It's based on last week's article all about aboleths.
It involves a crazy halfling wizard, scaling a deep well, and fighting an immature and vengeful aboleth. 
Here's the link to the .pdf of Down the Wishing Well, if you'd like to read/print it.
Enjoy!
Down the Wishing WellTownsfolk who wander near Westport’s wishing well have been experiencing strange occurrences: Feverish dreams, rampant sleepwalking, and more. A wizard of Westport suspects the worst, and calls out for adventurers to delve into the wishing well to discover the source of this peculiarity.
NPCsTalon Windrite: An eccentric halfling wizardTraechnaa-vu: A relatively young but blind aboleth. She…

Aboleths: Deities of the Deep

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Listen. Follow. Attack. Kill. The voice continued in the barbarian’s head, drowning out all other thoughts. Her legs kept moving despite her best attempts to cease all movement; her head remained steady and forward facing even though she tried to lower it; her greataxe stayed firmly held in her hand though she tried to drop it. Listen. Follow. Attack. Kill. The voice bellowed again, shattering another piece of the barbarian’s sanity. She felt herself fading. The final front, her mind, and consciousness waned with every word. The beast of the deep was taking her, taking all of her, knowing with her body and abandoned mind, it could easily tear her party apart. Her pace quickened as if anticipating the proximity of the slimy creature. Listen. Follow. Attack. Kill. The barbarian’s eyes went white and her body completely stiffened. Nothing real was left inside, no mind, no heart, no soul. ‘Twas gone. Dead, as her party soon would be... at her puppet hands.
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Yep. You read th…

Acute Adventures: Into Toko Hill

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Good day, folks. Today brings the second of my adventures. Into Toko Hill can be played as a continuation of last week's The Horror of Kwaka; both can be effortlessly weaved into the Tomb of Annihilation module by Wizards of the Coast.

If you prefer, here's the link to the .pdf.
Enjoy, everyone!
Into Toko HillIn the jungle of Iwanagig, human natives and vegepygmy invaders vie for dominance over a mystical spring. Terrified of venturing into the moldfolk’s domain, Toko Hill, the village seeks braver souls to take out the vegepygmies for them.

Note: Into Toko Hill can be played as part two of the prior adventure, The Horror of Kwaka, or as a standalone adventure. Feel free to use NPCs or encounters from the Horror of Kwaka in this adventure to further flesh it out.
NPCsEztli Ka: A beautiful but grizzly human female of Kwaka. She leads and trains most of the village’s warriors, and has fought the most with the vegepygmies of Toko Hill.Agari the Azure: A navy colored myconid cover…

Voices in My Head

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It’s Friday night. My Enoach group is searching for information about the Aphid Alliance, a region-wide thieves’ guild of thri-kreen. To do so, they’re scouring the desert town of Asudem for clues and talking to everyone they can. They speak to Iviriel Alorro, a locally despised elf wizard and their patron. When Iviriel departs for an important and secret journey south, they quickly converse with Iviriel’s only apprentice, a shy and greasy human wizard named Fazil Sanmis. Soon after, they travel across town and pass by the recently vacated Storm Temple of Talos and make words with the captain of the town watch, Zir Carver. Pleased with the conversation, they walk toward the Shrine of Zet and encounter Glo Imixson, fire genasi wizard and member of the Black Zar Cabal. Not long after that, they meet Rev Sandriven, a halfling cleric and high priest of Zet and catch him up on the latest happenings with the corrupted clergy of the Storm Temple. 
From the shrine, they shamble to one of the …