DM Corner: A Sense of Time

DM Corner: A Sense of Time

We’ve all done it, as DMs. The players come into town with a sense that things aren’t quite what they seem. There’s some simmering evil lurking just under the skin, and it’s up to the players to stop them before it achieves its goal. The Dragon Queen is rising, and if the players don’t stop her cultists, the world is doomed. The Giants are marching across the mountains with the intent of committing to a siege against the capitol of the human lands. All situations the players are asked to stop something before bad happens, but real life isn’t like that and that’s what I’m hoping each DM thinks about before they write their adventure: at what point in the villains story do the players enter? The dragon queen rising is an interesting one, because it’s a quest that Wizards of the Coast wrote themselves. A way to punch it up, from a DM perspective, would have been simply to have the cults already won. The adventure would go from “Let’s stop them from getting treasure to the well of wyrms” to “how did they raise a dragon queen from her prison?”. The players would have to seek out those knowledgeable in dragon lore, ask them how going about raising Tiamat works and then finding a way to lock her back up (or defeat her entirely). Likewise, the players could instead arrive so early, evil hasn’t happened yet. Looking at the Giants, maybe the town wants to establish a diplomatic line of communication with the Giants. The players are assigned to escort the ambassador to the Giants kingdom. They don’t know (although it’s...
DM Corner: Beastial Civilizations

DM Corner: Beastial Civilizations

Last night I was discussing with a friend the various ‘enemy’ races. These are the guys that everyone ‘knows’ is a bad guy. Orcs, Goblins, Hobgoblins, Kobolds, Gnolls and the like. Now of course, each of these are different but if the players are thinking they’re so similar then obviously something needs to be done to differentiate them. The answer to “why bother” falls somewhere between “because we can” to “it’ll make a more interesting encounter”. The image above shows the Charr race of Guild Wars. Initially ‘bad guys’ they’ve since joined the rest of the world as another civilization. So firstly, we need to answer the five basic questions of who, what, why, where and how. Who are they, on a philosophical level? What is it that makes them unique (a good time for creation myths)? Where do they dwell and where do they stand in the world? How do they interact with the world? How do their daily lives work? Why would someone interact with them? Why do they matter? I’ll give an example of Orcs that I like to use myself, but these aren’t hard nor fast rules. Who are the Orcs? A race bent on the ‘Might Makes Right’ mentality. The strongest lead, although they also have a superstitious side. What makes the Orcs unique? Because they respect power, they will accept anyone as ‘family’. They believe all power stems from Grumish. Where do the Orcs live: Orcs live in the inhospitable places where few dwell. Mountain ranges, steppe plains and other places where it’s hard to survive. Why do Orcs matter: While some find them vile,...
New Content on the Site

New Content on the Site

Something not video game related, I’ve added a page for Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition home rule content over here.   I’ll soon make this a sidebar...