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The Dead Isles of Altarin

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My first “campaign” was over. The Savage Front campaign, in my eyes, had been a failure caused by me, the Dungeon Master. Under ten sessions long, one total party kill, and a few failed plots was enough for me to end the story and start a new campaign. Did I quit? Yes. Looking back, I could have handled it much better and saved the Savage Front without beginning something new. Alas, that’s not what happened; instead, me and my friends began a new campaign called the Dead Isles of Altarin. This time, I decided against doing mountains of preparation beforehand and instead started with a simple idea: an archipelago ruled over by a trio of three liches called the Dread Admirals. Under them, common folk lived and thrived but a revolution was slowly brewing against the undead. As the party entered the world, they’d have to take a side and decide the fate of the Dead Isles of Altarin. This campaign, I was going to prepare little, improvise a lot, and go with the flow of the story. Well, how…

Connecting Worlds: Charr

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On the continent of Tyria, very few cultures match the ferocity and tenacity of the charr, a race of large, feline creatures whose livelihood is driven by conflict. For hundreds of years, they’ve dominated the continent, waging war against humans, Branded beasts, and even each other. The latter, many think, will cause their eventual collapse. The Iron Legion seeks alliances with other races and organizations: humans and sylvari, the Pact and Vigil. The Ash Legion skirts from shadow to shadow, watching and waiting, their loyalties and goals shrouded in mystery. The Flame Legion is fully split; some seek retribution and reunification with the other legions and others refuse to accept that their time at the top is truly over. And the Blood Legion prepares itself for battle, for with all threats dealt with for the time being, a bloody war is surely on the horizon.

The past month has been rough. My final school semester is well underway and I’m still working, so my mind is usually draine…

Your World’s Creation Myth

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In the beginning, there was only magic. The element floated amidst the vast nothingness of the multiverse until by chance or the power of some creator, magic began to take form. It twisted and combined, cracked and boomed, eventually becoming the first sentient creature of the multiverse: Satyavati, the Magic Primordial. This entity began to weave together magic to create entities like itself, beings that represented Satyavati. They were its children, four Primordials formed of fire, air, water, and earth. Alongside their creator, they started molding the multiverse: deities, the planes of existence, the planet of Eldar, and the moons and stars In this primeval universe, all was beautiful and serene…

How was your world created? It’s an interesting question to pose when making a D&D setting. The origins of the deities, who the first creatures were, and why the planes of existence exist are all big questions. While it might not immediately play a role in your game, it’s definitely f…

The Savage Front

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Fifth edition D&D and being a Dungeon Master were both foreign to me when I started this campaign way back in September 2015. I had tried to run the first module released for 5E, Hoard of the Dragon Queen, but quickly learned I loved to create my own adventures, plots, and characters in the spur of the moment. Hell, when I ran that adventure the first session wasn’t even in Greenest; it took place in a tiny village next to it and saw a blacksmith’s shop burnt down, his magic item stolen, and him left in a hole off the road. Where was the cult’s assault on the keep? The soaring Lennithon? Kobolds jeering at commoners and warriors alike? On hold while the party destroys the life of an innocent blacksmith. Oh well, that’s how it goes sometimes. That’s why we all love D&D, is it not?

We all start somewhere. Sometimes it’s in a game store playing with a group of strangers, awkwardly squeezing voices out of our mouths. Other times, we’re with the comfort of friends in family, in a w…

Building the Story with Dice Rolls

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Remnants of the black half-dragon’s acidic breath fade from the air as Qoyish attempts to mount his injured shadow wyvern. If she succeeds, she’ll be able to stab the beast where his wounds are already dire. If she fails, she risks falling directly under the wyvern’s venomous stinger that drips black venom. And if she truly stumbles, the wyvern might immediately lurch at the already hurt ice elf, leading to her demise.

As the debate with the human lord grows more and more heated at the grand feasting table, a minotaur rebukes him with a firm statement. If his words land, the lord will cow to their demands. If they fall flat, he might order his dragonborn guards to carry them to the dungeons below his keep. If they sting the lord’s fragile ego, he could order the party’s death on the spot.
Hearing his water nymph companion’s call for help down the tiny passage, a minotaur forces himself into the hole. If he succeeds, he’ll squeeze through the stone, sahuagin corpse, and sharp spike tr…

Session Starters

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The table is set, all my players are here, and I’m ready to begin today’s session of Dungeons & Dragons. Before I give my brief recap of last time’s events, I ask everyone a question, “Do you have an irrational fear? If you do, do you show it to others, or try to keep it hidden away?” Everyone starts to think; they’re putting themselves in the mind of their characters. Alovnek is terrified of cultists of Bhaal, god of murder. Ra is terrified of losing his clan, the Tarsa. Grobbolith cannot stand creatures that surpass his own power. And Qoyish is fearful of minotaurs, despite one being a member of their party. We all laugh and prepare to delve into tonight’s story. I begin the session. “Previously in the Karlith Straits…”
For some groups, it’s terribly difficult to start a session. People talk, grab food, and meander around the table, still set in their real-world ways. In my latest campaign, I’ve put into use an idea I found in the wild a while ago I now call session starters. W…

How to Introduce a New Party Member

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In the nasty sewers conquered by the Ratskin wererat gang, the group frees a kobold warlock from his shackles. Desperate for revenge against the lycanthropic thieves’ guild and their wizard master, he joins the party. With powers derived from his fiendish patron, he freezes and pierces the thieves’ defenses and immediately proves his worth. In the trials to come, he'll surely do so again and again, until he meets his fatal end in the dungeon of Underkeep.
Far from her woodland, a water nymph tries to communicate to two creatures locked in conversation inside a hill fortress. Her fey patron sent her to this tropical archipelago to find them and she didn’t plan on letting a stone wall or window interrupt her quest. She sends in her watery pseudodragon familiar to get the minotaur and lizardfolk’s attention so she can unite with them as soon as possible.

As the party recovers from their spit with a giant roper, they hear wet footsteps coming from the passage to the south. To their s…

Your D&D Setting's Campaign Guide

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Multiple days of strife, countless hours of creativity, many minutes of preparation, and more than a few seconds of ingenuity have led up to this moment: you’re ready to begin your Dungeons & Dragons campaign. Your setting’s tenets? Finished. Your setting’s pantheon? Fleshed out. Your setting’s map? Made. Your setting’s major powers? Created. Your campaign’s starting point? Prepared. Some people may believe they’re ready to go on the warpath and kickstart their campaign. They can do that, but I like to take one more step before beginning. Today, we’ll be taking that extra step together; let’s create a campaign guide for our D&D setting.

Luckily, most of this should have already been finished after reading the Worldforge articles preceding this one! If you haven’t read them, check out the Worldforge Library before moving on.
Describe the Setting Create a new document, name it, “ Campaign Guide,” and think about what is special about your setting. What sets it apart from the For…

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The Dead Isles of Altarin

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