Results for tag: DM
Posted by: Alphastream1 on May 3, 2013 at 07:40:12 AM
Where to Begin
(AOA1-1 The Worth of a Slave)
Now, back to the purpose of this blog series. I wanted to review each adventure from a design perspective, sharing some insight into how the adventure was created, highlighting areas where we tried new things, and sharing what we learned in going from concept to draft to actual play.
In the Beginning
Note: As with all parts of this blog series, there are spoilers within!
I've shared how the campaign started up both on ...
Posted by: Alphastream1 on Mar 4, 2013 at 10:46:42 AM
Ashes of Athas:
I was also fortunate to be on the Misdirected Mark Podcast #48, where I chatted about Winter Fantasy and the conclusion of the Ashes of Athas campaign.
The campaign spanned 7 Chapters, 20 adventures, 84 hours of play time, and a ton of sleepless nights as Chad Brown, Derek Guder, and I worked to create the campaign. Now that it has concluded, I would like to take some time to discuss a few of the individual adventures and the approach we took to design and develop them.
I thought I might start by asking whether there are any particular encounters...
Posted by: Alphastream1 on Dec 18, 2012 at 11:20:30 AM
The Lazy Dungeon Master
A book by Mike Shea (Sly Flourish)
Mike Shea, known by the name of Sly Flourish, has written the above book. This is his third book targeted at helping DMs. You can find an excellent summary of the book and an interview here on The Id DM's site.
I have to admit I was a bit skeptical of this book when Mike first told me about it and asked me some DM preparation questions. I'm of the mindset that preparation is important and even that over-preparation may be important for DMs to help them try things and improve. Also, I felt like I personally liked preparation.
As I traded e-mails with Mike and later in reading this book I came to realize two reasons why this book was really useful for me. First, I need ways to find more hours in a day. There is a lot I do to prepare...
Posted by: Alphastream1 on Jan 5, 2012 at 10:40:28 AM
Making Silt Horror Tentacles!
The finished project: Silt Horror Tentacles!
This all started when the awesome The She DM posted on her blog with instructions for making tentacles for a session of Encounters. I love projects like this, avidly following groups like Roving Band of Misfits (who just finished their water effects version of the tentacles here) and Ben's RPG Pile (they play a lot with mini conversions and terrain and worked on lava tentacles here). Usually I just watch from the sidelines, wishing I had the time to do what they do. Loving Dark Sun, this time I jumped on this project. It was actually really easy. I shared my work here, but I thought I should capture it in a blog so it is more accessible.
What is a Silt Horror?
Silt Horrors are one of the more feared...
Posted by: Alphastream1 on Nov 17, 2011 at 10:36:11 AM
A Gallery of WotC Poster Tile Maps
The excellent Sly Flourish came upon the kind of organizational idea we often have but seldom execute. He took pictures of each of the poster tile maps in a 3E or 4E product he owns and uploaded them so he had a handy reference. He can look at the gallery and see all the maps he has when planning for a gaming session. Need a desert map? How about that poster map that came with the Blue Dragon? Need a river running through underground caves? Several RPGA/organized play posters can fill that need.
I loved the idea, but I wanted to make two changes. First, I downloaded them and renamed them so each file has the name of the map. That way I easily know the product on my shelf that has the map. I can also work with the thumbnail viewer mode in Windows to easily...
Posted by: Alphastream1 on Jun 21, 2011 at 01:14:10 PM
Adventure Hacking in Dark Sun
Home Campaign Example: Session 10
Warning: Spoilers for aspects of Thunderspire Labyrinth below!
I spent the last three blog posts discussing Breaking Patterns in 4E. In the first blog I talked about starting with story and letting that drive the encounter design. In the second installment I provided an example of how I work from a bare set of ideas and adapt adventures to PC choices and flesh out my ideas as the PCs respond. In the third installment I shared how I handle travel and an abstract mini-less combat in 4E.
I really appreciate the feedback I received. It kills me not to be able to blog more often, but since that time I have been hard at work with my other fellow Ashes of Athas admins...
Posted by: Alphastream1 on Feb 28, 2011 at 11:39:27 PM
Breaking Patterns in Encounter Design
Home Campaign Example: Session 9
Wasteland, by Steven James
As you may recall from the original blog, we are talking about breaking established patterns in encounter design. I talked a bit about my approach and shared the process I used for session 8. Session 9 is a good one to share because we broke established patterns to have a strong story-rich wilderness travel skill challenge feel and two abstract combats.
At a broad level, I started with the following from my campaign story arc notes:
Session 9: The PCs are traveling south from the lower end of Dragon's Bowl to the Crescent Forest, seeking a hidden temple.The temple is found near Losthome (see Ivory Triangle, it is settled by halflings that escaped Gulg).
Posted by: Alphastream1 on Feb 18, 2011 at 05:27:08 PM
Breaking Patterns in Encounter Design
Home Campaign Example: Session 8
As you may recall from the previous blog, we are talking about breaking established patterns in encounter design. Last time I talked a bit about my approach and now will share the process I used for one of my Dark Sun home campaign sessions. At a broad level, I had the following:
Session 8: One PC meets with Abalach-Re, becoming her templar. The PCs leave Raam toward their home village near the south of Dragon's Bowl. They want to stop to see the druid that lives near the village, seeking information. I want to hint at a new foe, have some wilderness fun, and have a fight with traditional beasts of the wastes.
Design for Session 8:
1) I want some spotlight time for the PC meeting...
Posted by: Alphastream1 on Feb 17, 2011 at 05:11:02 PM
Breaking Patterns in Encounter Design
(This blog entry is now available in Portuguese here.
If you look at most Dungeon or official WotC adventures you will see patterns. Similar and even slightly different patterns, despite innovative authors, appear in LFR adventures. We can work really hard at creating great adventures and yet still not escape the patterns of conventional adventure design. The patterns confine us to predictable interaction between PCs and DM. They also restrict story opportunities.
Here are some examples:
Posted by: Alphastream1 on Nov 19, 2010 at 05:22:21 PM
One thing I should mention is that I have been DMing for a good many years. The majority of those are not worth mentioning. I have learned a lot. In general I try to keep what I share in my blog relevant to any DM. This post is a bit different. I periodically like to try really strange encounter concepts. In a home campaign with friends you can get away with a lot. I also have enough experience to recognize when things aren't working and to turn them around or at least mitigate the damage.
More than ever before, DMs have access to all kinds of ideas. There are some really smart people out there. One of them is The Jester, who put together some really interesting posts on the subject of