What Makes A Good Dungeon Master?

What Makes A Good Dungeon Master?

What makes a good Dungeon Master? I saw this asked online recently, and I saw a lot of answers. My answer is simple. Fun, A good DM makes the game fun. Now, there are many ways that can be done. There are not really any wrong ways to do this, unless it stops being fun. A few years back I busted out my Tome of Horrors Complete. They have all sorts of nasties in there. I found the Oinodaemon. The idea of this guy was awesome to me. I had planned this whole session pretty much to be unbeatable, because, well, the Oinodaemon is unbeatable. A daemon who is pretty much of a god like level. The description made my imagination run wild. I loved this stuff. The Oinodaemon was more of a title, ruler of other Daemons, and other Daemons were locked in a power struggle for the great power of his staff. A magic item that would pretty much wipe out an adventuring party. I had a whole plot around the Oinodaemon, and how a big baddie was going to try to gain this power and place. I had evil cultists that I loved to role play and I was excited for the game. It sucked. I had great ideas in my head and I’m convinced if you read a book of it or saw a movie of it that it would be entertaining, but it did not make for a good game. Continue reading →

Posted by No Dungeon Masters! in Dungeon Masters, Dungeons & Dragons, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Gaming Groups, Opinion, 0 comments
Converting Between Different D&D Editions Part 1

Converting Between Different D&D Editions Part 1

Converting monsters across editions of Dungeons & Dragons can be quick and easy. It is so easy that I do it at the table on the fly. I do not find it necessary to figure out before game. The best way to do it is to understand what is going on with the monster stats, especially the Hit Points and Armor Class. I run my game often with Castles & Crusades, I consider it the Rosetta stone of D&D. It takes the third edition rule set and brings it back from the more complex elements and delivers a base game that is easy to convert back and forth with other editions. It is a great game to see where the changes occur between editions. It has an ascending armor class, which means the AC number gets higher and the players must roll equal to or over their opponents’ AC to hit. This means a higher AC was better and makes the monster or PC harder to hit. Editions before third had a descending AC meaning the lower the AC number the harder to hit they became. This was figured out a couple ways depending on the edition or rules you were using for the edition. To Hit Armor Class Zero (THAC0) is often brought up here. It might be interesting to note that THAC0 Was a newer element to the game which became an official rule in the late 80s with the release of 2nd edition AD&D. The editions prior to this used charts. The charts were easy for players because only the Dungeon Master had to pay attention to them. They made combat more of a mystery. Often players were not looking at the number they had to roll over but rolling and telling the DM to see if they hit the monster. The DM would look at the AC of the monster and the level and class of the PC and determine by the chart what had to be rolled to hit the monster. I personally find this the easiest of the two descending AC mechanics. Continue reading →

Posted by No Dungeon Masters! in Conversions, Game Mechanics, 0 comments
Vaesen Nordic Horror Roleplaying Game Review

Vaesen Nordic Horror Roleplaying Game Review

A few weeks back I found a new game that just came out. The game store had just got it on the shelf and I took a look. It was beautiful and the front described it as Nordic Horror. Vaesen is a game from Free League. If you are unfamiliar, they put out games like Mutant: Year Zero, Tales from the Loop, Forbidden Lands, Mork Borg and the new Alien RPG. Many of the games use the Year Zero System. It is an open system for other to use. Vaesen was my first chance to run the system. I picked the book up with Halloween in mind. We like to do a Halloween one-shot RPG with our game group, and I thought this would be a change from last year. Continue reading →

Posted by No Dungeon Masters! in Game Mechanics, Halloween, Holidays, Horror, Reviews, 1 comment
Halloween Horror RPGs To give your game group nightmares

Halloween Horror RPGs To give your game group nightmares

If you are like me, Halloween is one of your favorite holidays. It is all about having fun. One thing we have been making a tradition is our annual Halloween game. A spooky fun one shot adventure just for the night. So, we pick a system and go with an adventure. I used to just run a Halloween themed adventure for the night in our regular campaign. But I find it a great opportunity to try out all those great horror games out there now. There are so many good games that you never seem to find the time to start an ongoing campaign of one because of your regular game, or just lack of time. Well, Halloween is a great time to take one of those many games you have always looked at running but never get the chance to run.

This year we will be playing Vaesen. I have been rolling up pre-generated characters for the players to choose from to cut down on the time it takes to make a character so we can jump into the game. Last year I ran Dark Places and Demogorgons. When we were still meeting to play in person as a group before the COVID pandemic this was more of an all-around Halloween party with potluck style food, dinner, and lots of tasty treats. You could take it a step forward and have a costume party potluck for this game. Continue reading →

Posted by No Dungeon Masters! in Halloween, Holidays, Horror, 0 comments
Philip Reed: Delayed Blast Gamemaster & Fantasy Sites Books Review

Philip Reed: Delayed Blast Gamemaster & Fantasy Sites Books Review

When I look to buy Role Playing books I am mostly looking for things I can use as a Dungeon Master to make the game more interesting and engaging for the players. Philip Reed has given me that, and a lot of it. I stumbled on Philip Reeds books this last year on kickstarter. The first one was only a dollar and I got a ton of PDF’s out of it. I was impressed with the quality of content, art and overall product. I started backing the other Kickstarters he did over the last year. He has consistently delivered the products he made faster than any other creator I have backed on Kickstarter. I can not believe how fast I was getting physical copies of books in the mail after backing them on his Kickstarters. Continue reading →

Posted by No Dungeon Masters! in Books, Dungeon Masters, Fantasy, Independent Publishers, Open Gaming, Zines, 0 comments
Dragonlance, Hasbro, Racism and Intellectual Property

Dragonlance, Hasbro, Racism and Intellectual Property

Let me be clear. I am a social justice warrior. It’s not a term I would use as it is largely a right wing pejorative. I am anti-racist and anti-fascist.

Posted by No Dungeon Masters! in Anti-Fascism, Dungeons & Dragons, Intellectual Property, Opinion, Racism, 0 comments
Palladium is Dead Long live Rifts

Palladium is Dead Long live Rifts

Palladium books has been plagued with problems over the years.  Many of us grew up on their games though. I sure did. While Palladium was not my first RPG, I was playing Palladium games years before I even picked up a Dungeons & Dragons book. The experience of Palladium was quite different than that of what I found when I finally played Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. The design of the original Palladium Fantasy Role Playing Game led to many other games. My primary game that I played was Heroes Unlimited. They put out a lot of other games from Mechanoids, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Robotech, Ninjas & Superspies, Beyond the Supernatural and their most popular game Rifts as well as many others.

The Palladium system was Kevin Siembedia’s house rules for D&D essentially. It differed in many ways. One of the main differences outside of mechanics was that the Palladium Fantasy Role Playing Game encouraged players to play the monsters. The idea of the books was to play the most fantastic things out of the Monster Manuals, the outlandish characters that were not normally the heroes. With all the games being based on a similar system they were supposed to create characters that were compatible with each other, despite some of the rule inconsistencies across the books. On top of that, some of the content is really questionable at times, and maybe needs to be revisited or reconsidered. Continue reading →

Posted by No Dungeon Masters! in Game Mechanics, Open Gaming, OSR, Palladium Books, Rifts, 2 comments
Castles & Crusades White Box Review

Castles & Crusades White Box Review

The Castles & Crusades White Box is available on the Troll Lord Games website in print and digital forms. We ran the box using just what was in it. Castles & Crusades is a rich Fantasy Role Playing game system that uses the 3rd edition Dungeons & Dragons Open Game License to recreate the game to be more similar to earlier editions while keeping the parts of modern mechanics that streamline the game and make it run smoothly. Like modern versions of the game it uses an ascending armor class. Many modern gamers at times have expressed some resistance to descending armor class and mechanics such as To Hit Armor Class 0 (THAC0) and the necessity of charts. The 3rd edition changed that. C&C also creates a simplistic resolution system based on attributes called the Siege Engine which mirrors these modern resolution systems and creates a smooth and easy to remember rule system.

The Bad
I am going to start with the bad. The one thing that I noticed while running this was typos. Especially within the adventure Kane’s Gauntlet. The book could use another trip to the editor. I don’t notice typos that often, but I saw quite a few throughout the books and the ones I noticed most were in the adventure we ran.

What’s in the Box?

The box comes with five booklets that contain the whole game. It has character record sheets, a set of dice and a pencil for filling out those sheets. The first book we really looked at was called Men & Magic, it is pretty much just a book for rolling up characters. The book only has four classes in it, Fighter, Cleric, Thief and Wizard. For those of you wanting a lot of options for classes this is not for you. It is designed to harken back to the original Dungeons & Dragons box set from the 70’s before there was an AD&D or a Basic. Continue reading →

Posted by No Dungeon Masters! in Castles & Crusades, Editions, Game Mechanics, OSR, Reviews, 1 comment
The OSR is Anti-Fascist

The OSR is Anti-Fascist

I often disagree with politics of posts online, look, read, and move on. There are limits and boundaries though. I interact with plenty across political spectrums in my day to day life with interpersonal relationships and even when organizing. As one who has organized workers quite a bit over the years, I have worked along side people who are liberal, leftists, communists, libertarians, conservatives and many more. Many of them I consider friends. I can find some common ground with most people. I do not tolerate fascism. There is no common ground with fascists, and we should have no spaces that tolerate fascism. Continue reading →

Posted by No Dungeon Masters! in Anti-Fascism, 0 comments
Digital RPG books vs. Physical RPG books

Digital RPG books vs. Physical RPG books

Digital RPG books vs. Physical RPG books

I love books. I love the feel of them, the weight, the smell of old paper, the sound of the crack of the opening of a book for the first time. I have a lot of books on the shelves. I also have a lot of comics. All this stuff takes up a lot of space. It drives my partner nuts on how much stuff I had. As e-books and digital media became more popular, I began to purchase more of my readings via digital vs. hardcopy. (yes, Amazon has made it really too easy to buy crap.)

 

Photos: not my bookshelves but the shelves of the other contributor of the blog. Continue reading →

Posted by Leonidas in Books, 0 comments