Showing posts from January, 2020

Expanding Your D&D Setting's Campaign Guide

Last July, we explored how to build a campaign guide for our unique Dungeons & Dragons setting. Of utmost importance was a solid description of the world, a brief timeline, a lightly-detailed map, a set of tenets that define the world, multiple race and class points of origin, and a basic pantheon. If we enjoy worldbuilding, though, we can continue to expand our guide. Sure, some players might not read all fifty pages of our world bible, but that’s why we usually write a one to three page summary of our campaigns before we start them. This campaign guide is for us and players deeply invested in the lore of our world. We write it to further develop our world and help those who want to build characters who are connected to it. So, without further ado, let’s learn how we can expand it with examples from my world, Eldar. Other Continents Campaign guides usually focus on a single region or continent of our world. Before diving into it, we should quickly explore the rest of

Don't Be Afraid of Using Powerful Foes in D&D

Our Dungeons & Dragons campaigns are littered with creatures. Some are weak: crafty kobolds, gibbering goblins, or wailing harpies. Others challenge our parties: militaristic barbed devils, zealotus drow, or angry froghemoths. A select few, in the grand scheme, stand above the rest: ancient dragons, sinister pit fiends, or megalomaniacal liches. As Dungeon Masters, we shouldn’t be afraid of using the latter, powerful foes in our D&D campaigns. As players, we should understand the role these powerful foes take. DMs can use powerful foes in a variety of ways. They can be the big bad villain of a campaign, a backdrop in the campaign, or a message that the world is dangerous, unpredictable, and real. A crazed ancient gold dragon could be the campaign’s primary antagonist, interfering with the party using divination spells such as scrying. Despite the party not being anywhere near strong enough to battle the gold dragon, it can still play a role in the story. A cult of w

Examining Rise of Tiamat

The pre-written modules and adventures for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons aren’t for everyone. Some people love, play, and swear by them. They use them because they enjoy them, don’t have enough time to create a story of their own, or they don’t want to. And that’s okay. For those of us who do enjoy weaving tales of our own, in our free time or on slow days at work, these modules are fountains of lore, plot hooks, characters, monsters, twists, and fantastic locations. They can be used by us for the betterment of our hand-crafted stories. However, they can be long and some folks might not want to read them if they’re not running the adventure. Well, that’s where Best Bits comes in. Welcome to the second Best Bits article, a series in which we pick through the pre-written adventures of Dungeons & Dragons, mining the coolest pieces of them for use in our own games and worlds. Previously, we went over Hoard of the Dragon Queen, the first hardcover module for fifth edition.

Interview With a Dungeon Master: RJ

From the beautiful country of America to the wondrous deserts of Egypt, Dungeon Masters help spread the joy of Dungeons & Dragons to folks young and old. D&D doesn’t care about our age or occupation, where we live or where we went to school; it only requires a mind that’s open to imagination, creativity, and collaboration. These types of minds are becoming more common as D&D continues to grow in popularity, mostly thanks to those who create worlds and host epic games: Dungeon Masters. There are tens of thousands of Dungeon Masters in our world, each with a distinct style of play. Some enjoy pitting their players against impossible trials of combat. Others take on a hundred different roles in one campaign, from a biting jester to a maniacal balor demon. However, none of these styles trump the others. Instead, they give others ideas on how to improve or spice up their unique Dungeon Master mind. By learning how others Dungeon Master, how they began, and how they’ve b

How to Build a Unique Culture for D&D

Atop the harrowing heights of the Isen’s Maw, frost giants peer over the vast sea of grinding ice floes, whaling ships, and winter wolves on the hunt. They know an invasion from the depths is coming, they saw the future — a blessed boon handed to them by their mysterious oracle. In the nightmarish Usanni Fissure, battalions of sahuagin ready their chilled tridents, dragonscale armor, and trained narwhals. The frost giants’ grip over them is already strained — this assault will be their undoing. A clash between these two distinct cultures is moments away. Who will emerge victorious? Being unique cultures, each has their own set of strengths and weaknesses developed over many years of growth and destruction. Whether we know it or not, we all strive to create unique cultures for our Dungeons and Dragons world. Rarely do we directly tear a group or people from Earth or another setting and toss it into our games. Instead, we subconsciously take what we like and mesh it with aspects of