Category Archives: Design

The Joys and Horrors of Passive Perception

In the beginning, when a party of adventurers encountered a group of monsters, both sides rolled a six-sided die. If a side rolled a 1 or 2, that side was surprised and had to stand by while the opposing side … Continue reading

Posted in D&D, D&D 5E, Design, Play Advice | 13 Comments

More on Improvising Sessions

At my current point in life, I’m finding myself extremely busy with work and with running Dungeons & Dragons, but with very little time to set aside to preparing adventures (or writing reviews or blog posts). I steal what time … Continue reading

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On Introductory Adventures

My first real experience with a DM was with the adventure Keep on the Borderlands, a classic adventure that many, many players had as their first adventure since it was published with the introductory Basic D&D rules for about a … Continue reading

Posted in D&D 5E, D&D Basic, Design, Play Advice | 3 Comments

War and Nations in Dungeons & Dragons

Throughout the history of Dungeons & Dragons, the primary focus has been on the exploits of bands of adventurers, typically exploring dungeons, killing monsters and gaining treasure. However, every so often, there’s a glimpse of an older style of play: … Continue reading

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Using Published Adventures in a Homebrew Campaign

One of the more unusual products to cross my radar was The Ultimate Fantasy Collection. Curated by Glen Cooper, this product gathers together nine adventures from the early days of the DMs Guild, adds in three supplements, and provides the … Continue reading

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More on D&D Initiative: Weapon Speeds, Teamwork and Ranged Combat

As I’ve mentioned before, D&D combat is not really the most realistic of systems. This doesn’t matter much, because it’s fun! However, with Mike Mearls talking about providing an alternative initiative system, it’s revived my interest in the various initiative … Continue reading

Posted in D&D 5E, Design, Initiative | 1 Comment

A Look at Initiative Systems in Dungeons & Dragons

Combat in Dungeons & Dragons is not particularly realistic. Its mechanics exist to make a good game rather than accurately relate what would happen in a real fight. The current initiative system can be described as a cyclical system. At … Continue reading

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Dungeon Exploration: Wandering Monsters and Tracking Time

Dungeons & Dragons began in the dungeon. It’s the form of the game that I keep returning to, because dungeons are cool. They provide an environment that allow the players to make interesting choices, whilst allowing the DM to easily … Continue reading

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Adventure Structure: Curse of Strahd

One of the bigger problems with Princes of the Apocalypse is that it has an adventure structure that allows the players to very quickly end up in areas that are far too dangerous for them. However, the story is pushing … Continue reading

Posted in Curse of Strahd, D&D 5E, Design, Play Advice | 4 Comments

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

Posted in D&D, D&D 5E, Design, Play Advice | 1 Comment