Results for tag: DM'ing Made Easy
Posted by: Gargs454 on Dec 23, 2010 at 11:18:11 AM
Its been a while since my last post and I apologize for that. Unfortunately the real world has a way of messing things up and the last few weeks have been stressful to say the least.
On to the topic at hand though. One of the new "innovations" that came with 4th Ed. was the creation of minions as monsters. Minions were designed to provide that epic battle feel with lots of monsters without requiring the monsters to be so weak as to not be a threat to the party. In many respects, minions fill that role very nicely, but in many other ways, they fail to contribute much. Today, I'm going to look at ways to make your minions more effective in combat so that they can bring back that "shock and awe" factor. First a shout out though. Many of the...
Posted by: Gargs454 on Nov 26, 2010 at 03:29:27 PM
In honor of Black Friday, today's post is all about the DM's Buyer's Guide. I'll be giving my recommendations on what items a new DM should be looking for, and which items (again in my opinion) can wait until later. Naturally, these are just my personal opinions, if some title that I have rated lower really appeals to you, then by all means, pick it up.
First, I am going to assume that if you are interested in being a DM, you have already picked up, at the bare minimum, a Player's Handbook (either PHB1 or HotFL/HotFK), as well as a DMG or DM's Kit. You really should have both of these items to start out. You don't need all of the players handbooks; however, as each of the PHB1 and the essentials Heroes books have the basic rules (which will be...
Posted by: Gargs454 on Nov 2, 2010 at 10:05:15 AM
In my last [url=community.wizards.com/gargs454/blog/2010/10/28/dming_made_easy:__the_recurring_villain] post[/url] I discussed how to implement recurring villains into your campaign. Now, I'll take the time to show you an example of one of my more favored villains over the years.
Meet Hektor Irnalion. Hektor is a monk and a general in the army of a country that just so happens to be a more or less eternal enemy of the goodly kingdoms. Hektor's boss, the ruler of his land, is a nasty individual who is a favored acolyte of the evilest of gods (this was a homebrew world). Hektor also died a really long time ago, but fortunately for him (or unfortunately for the PCs) he was turned into a vampire.
Hektor is charismatic and a smooth talker. He enjoys the finer things in life (or unlife...
Posted by: Gargs454 on Oct 28, 2010 at 07:43:27 AM
Every hero has his or her villain. Luke had Vader and the Emperor, Superman has Lex Luthor, Batman has the Joker, heck, even MacGyver had Murdoch. A key element in many great stories is a great villain. Whether its Sauron, Khan, or Vader, etc., the audience loves the villain. The struggle to overcome or understand the villain is what makes the story great. Sure, killing orcs is fun and all, but killing Sauron is huge. D&D, at its heart, is a game about telling story, which means, its a game that craves a great villain or BBEG (Big Bad Evil Guy).
The problem with villains in D&D is that they tend to have very low survival rates. Most monsters are generally designed to stick around for a single encounter before exiting stage left. PCs are often among the most merciless beings...
Posted by: Gargs454 on Oct 22, 2010 at 07:24:12 AM
A while back, I wrote about creating a campaign arc for your campaign [url=community.wizards.com/gargs454/blog/2010/08/07/dming_made_easy:__the_campaign_arc] here.[/url] If you've been following this series and have read that entry, you'll note that although I advocate creating a campaign arc early on, its certainly not set in stone, nor does it need to encompass every single encounter your party will face in the campaign. This of course means that during the course of your campaign, you will have to adjust adventures, write adventures, come up with new side plots (or even main plots), etc. The problem with this is that, particularly when you are playing on a regular schedule, it can at times become difficult to keep coming up with material that is new, fun, and interesting (though...
Posted by: Gargs454 on Oct 13, 2010 at 07:15:17 AM
One of the bigger themes to be developed in recent years is the concept of saying "Yes" to your players. This topic, naturally enough, has stirred a fair amount of debate amongst the D&D crowd with many on both sides of the debate crying foul. So, at the risk of starting a flame war, while at the same time trying to help out, I'll try to tackle this issue, at least a little.
The Big Idea
The idea behind "Saying Yes", is that when a player asks "Can I . . . ?" your answer, as DM, should, more or less, be "Yes." That's simplifying it a bit of course, but I'll go into the complexity of it below. At any rate, the theory here is that the game will be a lot more fun for your group if you are saying "Yes" as opposed to saying "No." As a general rule, its a fairly good one in my opinion....
Posted by: Gargs454 on Oct 4, 2010 at 07:05:27 AM
One of the biggest hurdles I've seen in getting players to go behind the screen is not only the amount of work involved, but the fear that either they won't be good, or that they'll make a mistake of some sort. Well, for those of you who have not gone behind the screen yet, I have a secret to let you in on, well actually two: 1) Very few people are great at DM'ing right out of the box, and 2) even great DM's make mistakes and have bad days.
First, just a brief point about #1. Its likely true that you will struggle when you first start. Of course, this was also likely true when you started as a player. Whenever we start a new trade, hobby, skill, whatever, we are not great. I'm sure there are a few naturals out there, but they tend to be the very small minority. If your friends...
Posted by: Gargs454 on Sep 23, 2010 at 07:01:27 AM
Last time I discussed the issues that a DM with a small group faces, though I largely focused on specific encounters. It's important to keep the size of your group in mind though when you plot out your campaign. The size of the group can have a significant effect on the campaign structure.
Verisimilitude refers to the appearance of truth, likelihood, and/or probability in a campaign. Obviously, when playing a fantasy-based game like D&D, not everything will be realistic (last time I checked there weren't any beholders running around). However, monsters and NPCs also have intelligence, motivations, etc. You want their actions to seem plausible in the general scope of things. Now with a standard party of 5, you are frequently left with a pretty open plate in terms...
Posted by: Gargs454 on Sep 17, 2010 at 09:06:04 AM
One of the best things about D&D is that its a great way to get a bunch of your friends around a table to joke, laugh, and just plain have fun. Of course, the flip side to this is that getting a bunch of friends around the same table can often be rather difficult -- even moreso it seems as you get older. Work and family get in the way, and worse, sometimes those friends move away, or you have to move yourself. The result is that getting 6 people around the table for a regular D&D game can be difficult at best. That does not; however, mean that just because you do not have 6 people in your group (the standard 5 players and 1 DM) that you cannot still play. In fact, its possible to play with as little as 1 player and 1 DM. I suppose its possible to play just by yourself as both...
Posted by: Gargs454 on Sep 8, 2010 at 07:47:34 AM
First, my apologies on the delayed posting, but life unfortunately has a tendency to get in the way from time to time.
Anyway, onto the topic at hand. The Grind. If you've played much 4th Ed. D&D you know that one of the biggest potential issues with 4th Ed. is that combat can be a long, slow, grind that eventually deteriorates into little more than a slog. The PCs line up against the monster(s) and start throwing at-wills every round because they've run out of Encounters and Dailies. Even the monsters are using basic attacks unless they maybe have a recharge ability. The problem with these fights is that while they are long, they are often far from dramatic. In other words, it often becomes clear early on that the PCs have the situation under control, but now its just a matter...