The Architect DM: Structural Dungeon Design

Back in one of my earliest Architect DM posts I said that structure was one of the most overlooked elements of dungeon design. These days most of the published dungeon maps that I see are not bad with regards to structure, but from what I’ve heard this is still something that a lot of people would like to learn about for their personal, hand drawn dungeon designs.

The Architect DM: The Ise Grand Shrine

I’ve sat through more hours of architectural history classes than seems reasonable for a human being, everything from the crude Dolmen tombs of early Europe to weeks of studying the various gothic cathedrals that all look pretty much the same. I never got the chance to take an asian architecture course, but one of the most memorable asian structures that I learned about was the Ise Grand Shrine.

The Architect DM: Call for Questions

For those of you that don’t know, there hasn’t been an Architect DM post in several weeks because my wife and I welcomed our first child into our lives in early March and she’s been running things ever since! What this means is that I have a lot of small periods of free time on the internet at random points throughout my day. What I’d like to do in the meantime is help you, yes YOU, with anything you might need help with in your roleplaying games.

Dungeons & Dragons of Future Past

The 4th Edition of D&D brought about the only long campaign I’ve ever managed to run, and I attribute a large part of that to the ways the new edition changed the role of being a Dungeon Master and the tools it provided. After D&D Next was announced the online RPG community went crazy, and I saw a number of people sharing lamentations that 4th Edition was now “old” and “going away”. I’ve finally managed to wrangle my thoughts about D&D Next, and they are overwhelming in their hope that whatever D&D Next is it allows me to continue running 4e D&D.

The Architect DM: Winging It

Let me know if this situation sounds familiar to you: You’re the DM/GM for your gaming group and you’ve just wrapped up an adventure, and you have at least a whole week until the next one. You sit down the next day, or even that very night, and start the adventure planning process. Over the next few days you stay on track but before you know it the next adventure is looming and you feel like despite your best efforts the game is still not as ready as you feel it should be.

Why I’m Starting to Love Epic 4e D&D

I started playing and running 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons right as it was released. I started my current ongoing campaign back then with a party of 1st level characters and now three years later I’ve run over 50 adventures and the party is up to 24th level characters. The campaign has had its share of rough spots and tough times, but overall I’d say it has been an incredibly fun experience and something that I look forward to every other weekend. Dave was also running a campaign that was on the same track as mine only slightly ahead, but due to a myriad of reasons a few weeks ago we ran a day long, jointed finale that closed his game out in style and unrestrained awesomeness. What I’m discovering more and more over the last few weeks is that running epic level 4th Edition is some of the most fun I’ve ever had running or playing in any D&D game.

The Architect DM: Last Minute Planning

Charrette is a word that most likely means nothing to you, unless of course you studied Architecture or Design in school then it is a word that can mean quite a lot and the emotions it brings up vary widely from person to person. Charrette is a word used among architecture students to describe a design crunch/cramming session that derives from the French word for “cart”. The term became popular because schools in Paris would have carts pushed around to collect student’s drawings and it was not uncommon for students to continue working on their drawings for as long as possible by riding in the cart. For better or worse, the term has stuck through to this day and architecture students are still as bad as ever at finishing their projects before rigid deadlines.

Let’s Talk About Superhero Movies

I know a few people who are getting sick of superhero and comic book movies, and with good reason considering this year’s offering of Thor, X-Men: First Class, Green Lantern, and Captain America to name a few. Back when I was extremely young you could still consider superhero movies to be a new thing, but here in 2011 we have more comic book movies than I could have ever dreamed possible as an adolescent. You’ll notice I use the terms “superhero” and “comic book” interchangeably here, but that is simply for ease of use – rest assured I am well aware of the inherent differences and that there are non-comic book superhero movies and non-superhero comic book movies.

The Architect DM: Creating Histories – Part 2

Last week in my first post tackling the subject of creating histories for an RPG world I discussed relatively “meta” and experimental concepts. This week I’d like to get down to some specifics and hopefully address the concept a bit more directly. The exact question/suggestion that inspired this topic was worded as, “In my homebrew, creating histories in specific territories is a challenge – particularly linking them to the whole world.”

The Architect DM: Creating Histories – Part 1

World building can be one of the most intimidating tasks for DMs and GMs when it comes to running their own RPG campaign. No matter how much advice you read or receive from your friends, creating a world of your own or modifying someone else’s world can still feel incredibly daunting even for people who are experienced at running their own games. In my last solicitation for questions and suggestions to discuss in this series on twitter, clampclontoller said this, “In my homebrew, creating histories in specific territories is a challenge – particularly linking them to the whole world.” Since this is an issue that I’ve struggled with many times myself, it feels like a good topic worth exploring here!