The Dungeon Master Experience - I Got Your Back

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The Dungeon Master Experience
I Got Your Back
by Chris Perkins

My campaign draws more inspiration from real life than fiction. In fact, one of my major campaign villains was inspired by a crooked scientist on display in London's Natural History Museum.

Talk about this article here.

 I'm somewhat of a random student of history, but I love using it for inspiration - both as a DM and as a player.
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I have a character, a warlock from an isolated village of hereditary warlocks, whose people's 1000-year-long backstory reads like an early-American history slideshow - I referenced the Puritans, the Quakers, the Amish, Joseph Smith and the Mormons and the Mountain Meadows Massacre, the Salem Witch Trials, even the Donner Party, lol.
Another character's backstory is a modified version of the life of real-life Irish pirate Gracie O'Malley, and a third strings out the Lizzie Borden story into a six-generation-long tale of murder and madness "possibly" (specifically left entirely up to the DM) brought about by the possession of the family heirloom - the hatchet (magical handaxe) that my ranger killed her parents with and still uses as her primary weapon.


 - There was one adventure where I set up a fairly large battle that the party was supposed to participate in. I'd drawn a great deal of inspiration from stuff I'd read about a somewhat Biblical-era battle (can't remember for the life of me which one, though) that seemed thematically appropriate to the adventure, and had used modified versions of the real names of places and certain pivotal NPCs.
 One of the players, who was Jewish and a bit of a history scholar, suddenly turned white as a sheet. I knew he'd figured it out, lol. When the other players asked him if he was alright, I took an indecent amount of pleasure in watching their reactions as he told them I'd placed the party squarely in the most heated part of the battle...on the losing side...
(The whole point of the battle was that they were supposed to lose in order to set up the next part of the adventure, but I certainly didn't tell them that, hehe.)

 - In one campaign I ran, the party accidentally set off "World War 1" by preventing the assassination of "Archduke Ferdinand"...

 - In another, a war campaign, it was basically the Roman (i.e., the "good and civilized" Empire) conquest of the European barbarian tribes (i.e., orcs and a couple of other random humanoids) with the players starting out briefly working for the Empire before discovering that it was corrupt and illegitimate and that the orcs were simply fighting for self-preservation. The leader of the orcs was one of the most brilliant generals of the age, modeled off of Boudicca, Braveheart and several others.

 Every time I read a history book or watch the History Channel, I end up coming up with ideas for scenes, adventures or whole campaigns.


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I am the Magic Man.

(Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.)

 

I am the Lawnmower Man.

(I AM GOD HERE!)

 

I am the Skull God.

(Koo Koo Ka Choo)

 

There are reasons they call me Mad...


 I'm somewhat of a random student of history, but I love using it for inspiration - both as a DM and as a player.
Show
I have a character, a warlock from an isolated village of hereditary warlocks, whose people's 1000-year-long backstory reads like an early-American history slideshow - I referenced the Puritans, the Quakers, the Amish, Joseph Smith and the Mormons and the Mountain Meadows Massacre, the Salem Witch Trials, even the Donner Party, lol.
Another character's backstory is a modified version of the life of real-life Irish pirate Gracie O'Malley, and a third strings out the Lizzie Borden story into a six-generation-long tale of murder and madness "possibly" (specifically left entirely up to the DM) brought about by the possession of the family heirloom - the hatchet (magical handaxe) that my ranger killed her parents with and still uses as her primary weapon.


 - There was one adventure where I set up a fairly large battle that the party was supposed to participate in. I'd drawn a great deal of inspiration from stuff I'd read about a somewhat Biblical-era battle (can't remember for the life of me which one, though) that seemed thematically appropriate to the adventure, and had used modified versions of the real names of places and certain pivotal NPCs.
 One of the players, who was Jewish and a bit of a history scholar, suddenly turned white as a sheet. I knew he'd figured it out, lol. When the other players asked him if he was alright, I took an indecent amount of pleasure in watching their reactions as he told them I'd placed the party squarely in the most heated part of the battle...on the losing side...
(The whole point of the battle was that they were supposed to lose in order to set up the next part of the adventure, but I certainly didn't tell them that, hehe.)

 - In one campaign I ran, the party accidentally set off "World War 1" by preventing the assassination of "Archduke Ferdinand"...

 - In another, a war campaign, it was basically the Roman (i.e., the "good and civilized" Empire) conquest of the European barbarian tribes (i.e., orcs and a couple of other random humanoids) with the players starting out briefly working for the Empire before discovering that it was corrupt and illegitimate and that the orcs were simply fighting for self-preservation. The leader of the orcs was one of the most brilliant generals of the age, modeled off of Boudicca, Braveheart and several others.
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" /> Every time I read a history book or watch the History Channel, I end up coming up with ideas for scenes, adventures or whole campaigns.





I am Alexader and I approve this message... That is all.

 - In one campaign I ran, the party accidentally set off "World War 1" by preventing the assassination of "Archduke Ferdinand"...



That is not the least bit implausible. In fact, about the only implausible twist on how that war started, that I can think of, is that it didn't start.
"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
 - In one campaign I ran, the party accidentally set off "World War 1" by preventing the assassination of "Archduke Ferdinand"...



That is not the least bit implausible. In fact, about the only implausible twist on how that war started, that I can think of, is that it didn't start.



You mean because his party prevented the assassanation (War in game) or becuase you have some sort of unique and haughty historical perspective on WW1?
"The real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development." -Albert Einstein Resident Left Hand of Stalin and Banana Stand Grandstander Half of the Ambiguously Gay Duo House of Trolls, looking for a partner Wondering what happened to the Star Wars forums?
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Star Wars Minis has a home here http://www.bloomilk.com/ and Star Wars Saga Edition RPG has a home here http://thesagacontinues.createaforum.com/index.php
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141722973 wrote:
And it wasn't ****. It was subjectively concensual sex.
57036828 wrote:
Marketing and design are two different things. For instance the snuggy was designed for people in wheel chairs and marketed to people that are too incompetent to operate a blanket.
75239035 wrote:
I personally don't want him decapitated.
141722973 wrote:
And do not call me a Yank. I am a Québecois, basically your better.
And the greatest post moderation of all time...
58115148 wrote:
I gave that (Content Removed) a to-scale Lego replica. (Content Removed) love to-scale Lego replicas. (ORC_Cerberus: Edited - Vulgarity is against the Code of Conduct)
 - In one campaign I ran, the party accidentally set off "World War 1" by preventing the assassination of "Archduke Ferdinand"...



That is not the least bit implausible. In fact, about the only implausible twist on how that war started, that I can think of, is that it didn't start.



You mean because his party prevented the assassanation (War in game) or becuase you have some sort of unique and haughty historical perspective on WW1?

Hardly haughty. The political situation in Europe at the time was a powder keg waiting to explode. The assassination was just an excuse. If it had not happened, something else would have very likely triggered the war.

 - In one campaign I ran, the party accidentally set off "World War 1" by preventing the assassination of "Archduke Ferdinand"...



That is not the least bit implausible. In fact, about the only implausible twist on how that war started, that I can think of, is that it didn't start.



You mean because his party prevented the assassanation (War in game) or becuase you have some sort of unique and haughty historical perspective on WW1?

Hardly haughty. The political situation in Europe at the time was a powder keg waiting to explode. The assassination was just an excuse. If it had not happened, something else would have very likely triggered the war.




Obviously. But, it did, so I don't understand your previous comment.
"The real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development." -Albert Einstein Resident Left Hand of Stalin and Banana Stand Grandstander Half of the Ambiguously Gay Duo House of Trolls, looking for a partner Wondering what happened to the Star Wars forums?
Show
Star Wars Minis has a home here http://www.bloomilk.com/ and Star Wars Saga Edition RPG has a home here http://thesagacontinues.createaforum.com/index.php
Show
141722973 wrote:
And it wasn't ****. It was subjectively concensual sex.
57036828 wrote:
Marketing and design are two different things. For instance the snuggy was designed for people in wheel chairs and marketed to people that are too incompetent to operate a blanket.
75239035 wrote:
I personally don't want him decapitated.
141722973 wrote:
And do not call me a Yank. I am a Québecois, basically your better.
And the greatest post moderation of all time...
58115148 wrote:
I gave that (Content Removed) a to-scale Lego replica. (Content Removed) love to-scale Lego replicas. (ORC_Cerberus: Edited - Vulgarity is against the Code of Conduct)
 - In one campaign I ran, the party accidentally set off "World War 1" by preventing the assassination of "Archduke Ferdinand"...



That is not the least bit implausible. In fact, about the only implausible twist on how that war started, that I can think of, is that it didn't start.



You mean because his party prevented the assassanation (War in game) or becuase you have some sort of unique and haughty historical perspective on WW1?

Hardly haughty. The political situation in Europe at the time was a powder keg waiting to explode. The assassination was just an excuse. If it had not happened, something else would have very likely triggered the war.


I wouldn't say that Europe at the time was a powder keg waiting to explode.

I would say it was a powder keg with the lid off, surrounded by people throwing lit matches at each other. 
"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
Obviously. But, it did, so I don't understand your previous comment.


That is not the least bit implausible. In fact, about the only implausible twist on how that war started, that I can think of, is that it didn't start.

Basically, he was agreeing with Mad_Jack's initial storyline, adding that the only approach that would be implausible would be one in which the war was prevented from happening.

Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
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