The dust has settled, the Phoenix has risen from the ashes, and now he’s very confused how he’s going to run a D&D session because he is a bird doesn’t know how to communicate either verbally or through writing.
I was pretty pumped for last week’s D&D session. It was the first session of the new year, the first since we ended the first story arc of the first campaign I’d ever run and enjoyed, and the first time ever playing D&D for our new player.
I’ll cut to the chase. This past session was, in some ways, the worst I’ve ever run. In other ways, it was worse than that somehow. It was bad like a bowl of Lucky Charms with salsa in it. I’ve gone to the dentist after not flossing for months and felt better about myself afterward.
Prepare for neurosis.
When I was first DMing, I spent a lot of time fleshing out every last detail and herding everyone around to each subsequent plot point on the Illusion of Choice Express (woo woo!). I’ve since learned that laying out some probable places to go and things to do is a good plan, and not to […]
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.
Mike Shea and Erik Scott De Bie talk sandbox gaming, specifically in Dungeons & Dragons 4e.
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.
The Architect DM series has covered a lot of different aspects or tabletop RPGs ranging from details of a single encounter to the much larger task of planning out an entire game world. I’ve found myself tending to progress through that range from post to post instead of staying to one end or another for more than one or two posts in a row. With this in mind, today’s post comes from some of my more recent thoughts on Campaign planning and how to build towards running a mostly sandbox style game.
As with nearly every topic I cover in this series, I’ve touched on the idea of adding character to settlements and cities before but now I’d like to put it in the spotlight. Let’s face it, your players will only remember select portions of the adventures you run even on the best of days. The elements that players seem to remember the most are specifically striking elements of a few NPCs, villains, encounters, and social interactions. Generally speaking, they will not remember a location very much unless a specific element of that location ties directly to one of those elements. They may not remember a location featuring a really sweet bridge if you describe it to them, but set a dramatic encounter on that bridge and they’re much more likely to remember the details of that location.
How about that for a title? It’s pretty audacious, acting like I’m about to deliver some sort of authoritative how-to guide. The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that a better title would be, “Crafting MY Adventure,” and still better, “Crafting This One Adventure Once.”
Maybe it’s the gamer in me but when I first read the post title “The 5×5 Method” I immediately visualized a grid. When I read Dave’s post, I got that feeling but it seemed more like a tree than a grid with branches flowing from one another and even sometimes intersecting.