Category Archives: Play Advice

Running Curse of Strahd: Ezmerelda d’Avenir

The rider who greeted the adventurers as they descended from Argynvostholt was Ezmerelda d’Avenir, a gift to DMs everywhere. One of the major things that you’ll often need as a DM is a non-player character who can drive the plot … Continue reading

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Running the Sunless Citadel: Kobolds!

Areas 13-24 of The Sunless Citadel contain the first organised group of monsters the adventurers meet: Kobolds! The kobolds of the edition of D&D when The Sunless Citadel was first published in 2000 were not quite the same as the … Continue reading

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Running the Sunless Citadel: First Steps

The Sunless Citadel is the first adventure in the new Dungeons & Dragons book, Tales from the Yawning Portal. This adventure is designed for beginning characters, and is also a very good choice for Dungeon Masters as their first adventure. … Continue reading

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Beware! Tomb of Horrors ahead!

One of the fascinating questions of any D&D game (and most RPGs as well) is “when is it acceptable for a PC to die?” It’s not quite as simple as it sounds. Certainly, it’s rarely “when the player decides” (at … Continue reading

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Out of the Abyss… Making Random Encounters Fun!

The second half of Out of the Abyss is taking my group a little longer to complete than I first thought. There are some tremendously difficult encounters in the adventure, especially if the group hasn’t worked out how to tackle … Continue reading

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Monsters can be Friends, Too! Monster Reactions

One of the rules I never quite understood in the Basic Dungeons & Dragons set of 1981 was the Monster Reaction table. The basic idea was when you encountered a group of monsters, you’d follow the following sequence: Roll 2d6 … Continue reading

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Morale: When Monsters Run

Monsters are people too! They want to go home at the end of the day, settle down with their loved ones, and count their treasure. They certainly don’t want to be killed by adventurers who just happen across them when … Continue reading

Posted in D&D 5E, Design, Play Advice | 5 Comments

The Very Basics of Running Dungeons & Dragons Combat

You’re DMing your very first game of Dungeons & Dragons. Your players enter a cave and see four kobolds. The kobolds rush forward and attack… …and the players look at you expectantly. What do you do? Here’s a few notes … Continue reading

Posted in D&D 5E, Play Advice | 10 Comments

A few thoughts on running Dungeons & Dragons

I first tried being a Dungeon Master over 30 years ago. I was horrid. This is a common experience. It probably would have helped if I’d been older than twelve, but, even so, your first experience of running a game … Continue reading

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Dungeons & Dragons Tips: Know Your Character’s Abilities

Playing Dungeons & Dragons well requires several skills. You don’t need to be great in all of them, but it helps to have some familiarity with all of them. For parts of the game like role-playing and exploration, you get … Continue reading

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