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Showing posts from March, 2020

Don't Be Afraid to Change Your D&D World

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Dungeons & Dragons worlds are malleable. Being creations of imagination, they are subject to change at will. An enchanted valley rife with woodland fey can easily become a desolate wasteland scoured by devastating magic years ago; all it takes is a decision by its creator to change it. However, being Dungeon Masters, they must be sure to enact this one key rule: once characters interact with a part of the world, it becomes a real part of the world. If the party enters the enchanted valley and meets an elf queen and her fairy servants one day and returns to the area a week later and it’s become a desert skittering with thri-kreen, something is wrong. Once characters visit a place, meet a person, or use an item, it can’t be changed nonchalantly. Before that pivotal moment, the world is malleable.
Changing the World I had this important realization as I was soaring over the Pacific Ocean toward Hawai'i. I brought along the fifth edition Dungeon Master’s Guide to reread and, as I…

RJD20 on YouTube

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For the past month, I’ve invested quite a bit of time into my YouTube channel. In addition to a new article here on rjd20.com every Friday at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time, I’ve released at least two videos a week on YouTube. Most of them are audio versions of my articles, starting all the way back at the first article I wrote in 2018. Slowly and steadily, I’m moving closer to the present day.

Here's my current schedule, videos & all; I've held to it since early February:

D&D videos on Wednesday @ 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time on YouTube.D&D articles on Friday @ 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time on RJD20.com.Path of Exile videos whenever inspiration strikes or news hits.
My D&D videos are mostly for people who prefer listening to content being read to them over reading it themselves. Though the audience over there is small and I get very few views, I think it’s worth it in the long run. YouTube isn’t dying anytime soon and I don’t plan on stopping my articles anytime soon, so I think h…

How to Keep Battles Moving in D&D

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A massive roper flings its tentacles at a crouched wood elf shadow, thrusting him into the air. A half-devil dragonborn lets loose a bolt of electricity that arcs across the battlefield, zapping multiple tiny ropers. On the other side of the cavern, a blue dragonborn monk leaps into the fray, pummeling the massive roper with reinforced fists and claws while dodging his companion's lightning strike. And then a halfling bard — is not prepared. He fumbles with his lute, unsure of what to do. Unfortunately, the battle stalls to a halt.
Everyone wants a battle to go smoothly. Everyone takes their turn, one by one, until one side achieves victory. All of the orcs are slain. The kobold prisoners are saved. The abyssal portal is closed. The mercenary reinforcements arrive. The green dragon concedes. However, there are plenty of possible hindrances to a smooth combat.
One of them is a player, including the Dungeon Master, not knowing what to do on their turn.
How can we solve that problem…

How to Phase Out Player Characters in D&D

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As a rainstorm rages in the coastal city of Merlint, Merk and his party stand in a dark alleyway near the Moon Castle. Merk is overtaken by a foul desire to grasp Ruaka’s sentient blade, Flindlint, for his shadowy patron, Scopos. The hexblade entity whispers to Merk and begins to materialize in the mortal world as the party readies for combat. Merk is frightened, he’s not sure whether to side with his party or his warlock patron. In a flash of black smoke, Scopos emerges from Merk’s trident and tears through Ruaka, reaching for the magma sword. Confidently, Alovnek steps forward, holy symbol in hand, and banishes Scopos back to the Shadowfell. Everyone gasps in the rainy alleyway, relieved, but Merk knows he must leave his companions behind or risk Scopos’ darkness overtaking them — and him — in the future.

Not every player character is meant to survive until they’re slaughtered by an orc warlord’s sentient falchion, incinerated by a red dragon’s fire breath, or lobotomized by a min…