The Dead Isles of Altarin

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…

Can't Play? Build.

Nearly everyone who plays Dungeons and Dragons knows the following truth: The toughest monster to overcome isn’t a rampaging tarrasque, a maniacal pit fiend outfitted with an Unholy Avenger, or a dark and powerful god raising armies of orcs, minotaurs, and more to his service; it’s finding the time to play Dungeons and Dragons.

This is a well-documented phenomenon, from the hundreds of Reddit posts, wishing “I could actually play this amazing character I rolled up/drew/wrote about,” to the grumbling text and Facebook messages between players in my own groups. Especially with the holidays drawing near, those of us who work, go to school, and make time for family lose out on dungeoneering for a few weeks time.

Luckily, there are many ways to appease your inner adventurer during your brief (or long) hiatus from the game you love.

Build Anything

Playing Dungeons and Dragons is merely a single facet of the hobby. During intermediary periods, the single greatest activity you can do is build; build a world, a character, or a monster, a map, a miniature, or a battleground.

Dungeons masters new and old can create worlds. This is what I often do doing breaks from the game; I build pantheons, write history, think-up interesting personalities, and craft locations. This activity involves lots of research and reading and, I admit, it’s subjectively fun. Delving into articles about ancient Egyptian architecture, the Greeks’ philosophy on death, and the tactics of generals like Alexander the Great can be fun to some and a drag to others. That’s okay!

Build a character instead, someone you will play when the times comes for adventuring again. If that doesn’t sound interesting, form your very own creature, a monster of your imagination. Another activity is drawing a map of your world, a battlefield, or a cozy town, something everyone might not be the best at, but is fun nonetheless. For crafty-types, printing, priming, and painting a miniature for a beefy minotaur or a colossal dragon might be your appeasement. Those truly feeling up to the challenge can even create a prop-battlefield!

You might not be able to play D&D, but any of these activities will have you pumped and prepared for your next session.

A short article today, I know. The writing life has been tough, as of late, but I should not let it hinder my creative writing streak. Normal broadcasting shall resume shortly.

Until next time, farewell!

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