Navigating Terrain

When a D&D party is traveling in the wilderness, you as the DM should consider the terrain they’re navigating. Sure, getting them lost is fun, and attacking them with wandering monsters is better, but what do you do in between? Difficult terrain. When the heroes encounter difficult terrain, they should make periodic checks (every hour […]


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Add Politics to D&D

Dungeon Masters often like the idea of adding politics to their campaign but have no idea how to go about it. It’s a very different animal from regular adventures, but it doesn’t have to be daunting, and a little goes a long way anyhow. You can choose to add politics at any level, so consider […]

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Renown for Adventurers

In the first few editions of Dungeons & Dragons, the mechanic for advancing in level to get more powerful was for the dungeon master to award experience points for killing monsters and gaining treasure (at 1 XP per gold piece). Modern D&D sticks to handing out experience for killing monsters and solving puzzles, at least […]

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Dice Countdown Timer

There may be times in your RPG game-mastering that you need something to happen eventually, but you want it to be a surprise to you as well as to your players. The thing in question might be a wandering monster, a guard on patrol, the rain, a war, or any other thing on any timescale: […]

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Utter Madness

Someone on Reddit asked for how to integrate Call of Cthulhu insanity checks into D&D, and I responded with some rules I’d cooked up. This is slightly changed from that. Depending on the nature and power of the horror, shocking, terrifying, and horrifying encounters may cause a character to have to: Temporary Madness (1d20) 1d20 […]

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The Lowest of Low Fantasy

I dislike technology in my fantasy fiction and gaming. I prefer straight medieval fantasy with swords and sorcery and no firearms, explosives, ray guns, or magic that emulates them. I’m particularly annoyed when people metagame by “inventing” technology, like rifles or a radio or chlorine gas or a train or, yes, a nuclear bomb. In […]

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Fixing D&D 2nd Edition

On the Dungeons & Dragons OSR (old-school renaissance) subreddit, someone asked for everyone’s house rules, so I wrote up mine for 2e. The idea (mine, not the original poster’s) was to fix the game by filling in holes, modernizing certain aspects, and generally making it faster and more fun in as short a space as […]

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Stop Playing D&D in the Old West

It never ceases to amaze me how many D&D games ostensibly set in the Middle Ages are really set in the American Wild West. Most people don’t have a good grasp on medieval culture beyond knights and castles, so they imagine it was pretty much like the oldest thing they do know about: movies set […]

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