Our 13th Age campaign is blossoming into one of the most amazing, highly improvised RPG campaigns I’ve ever played. So much so that I consider it one of the high points of my GMing career. I decided it was a good time to share some of its highlights and show you how we made the 13th Age Dragon Empire our own.
In this part of the series, I’ll talk about how to create monsters, traps, and puzzles for your deathtrap dungeons in a way that embraces Dungeon World’s mechanics and philosophy. In addition, I’ll explain why hard moves are the most important part of your deathtrap dungeon toolkit, and present a list of 20 hard moves you can use in your game tonight.
Specifically for my needs, 13th Age does not have an obvious way to emulate “duel of wits.” I’m aware I could just “roleplay” them or make use of the generic difficulty ratings and “failing forward” concepts. In spite of that, I still felt like something’s missing from my 13th Age GMing toolbox.
In this 3-part article series, I’ll share some of my tips for running deathtrap dungeons using the Dungeon World roleplaying game. By drawing on the lessons of my recent deathtrap dungeon campaign, Black Plume Mountain, and by using my conversion of the Tomb of Horrors as a guide, I hope to give you the tools to design and run exciting, dynamic, and brutal delves.
I have an article in the 2nd to last (for now) issue of Dragon, and it’s a redone version of my most popular article on Critical Hits. It was also my first paid piece in my RPG designer career.
Lords of Waterdeep for iOS brings together two things I already like, so you can probably predict the result. So to say I was excited about these two coming together, announced months ago, would be an understatement. And thankfully, the end result is as good as I’d hoped.
Last week, I was scrambling to prepare for my bimonthly 13th Age game session. We’d just completed the campaign’s first story arc, one I’d run with tight narrative control (That’s fancy jargon for “railroading”). I wanted the next arc to be more episodic in nature and allow players to chose where to the story would go. I am, however, well aware of the chaos and paralysis that can occur on both sides of the proverbial gaming screen if the GM opens up the world and waits for the players to do something. As I was brainstorming to find a good compromise, I stumbled on an idea.
It comes as little surprise to me, then, that when I look back on all the really good DM’s I’ve ever played with, I see a 10d6 fireball made out of people skills. These people manage to complete the cat-herding ritual that is holding a weekly game night. A lot of them work with their players individually to give each one something personal to enjoy in-game. They manage interpersonal conflicts, both in and out of game. They manage the expectations of their players. And they do it while running a game.
I feel like this post should start with a Star Wars crawl: “It was a time of great change in Dungeons & Dragons…”