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<![CDATA[Pen & Paper Games - Blogs - LordNightwinter]]> http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/blog.php/8466-LordNightwinter Pen and Paper Games hosts a very powerful, but easy to seach and join database of players and game masters in the United States and Canada. Our forums are also a great place to find the most recent news, product releases, tips, and rpg discussion. en Mon, 29 Aug 2016 14:41:43 GMT vBulletin 60 http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/pnpg_style/misc/rss.jpg <![CDATA[Pen & Paper Games - Blogs - LordNightwinter]]> http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/blog.php/8466-LordNightwinter DMs-R-Us http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1672-DMs-R-Us Wed, 26 Oct 2011 12:25:48 GMT A lot of the time I get weird questions and interesting scenarios posed to me by my players and other DMs. Well the suggestions and advice I dish out... A lot of the time I get weird questions and interesting scenarios posed to me by my players and other DMs. Well the suggestions and advice I dish out go largely forgotten because of my own poor memory. Recently I was approached by another DM, one of my 'disciples' as I call them and she wanted to create a blog for DM/GM advise. So consider this a shameless plug!

http://dmsrus.wordpress.com/ ]]>
LordNightwinter http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1672-DMs-R-Us
DMing for the New Guy http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1664-DMing-for-the-New-Guy Tue, 11 Oct 2011 12:24:31 GMT Being a DM or GM can be difficult at times, but also rewarding. It takes some imagination, patience, and a dash of masochism at times depending on... Being a DM or GM can be difficult at times, but also rewarding. It takes some imagination, patience, and a dash of masochism at times depending on your players. When I started out I was awkward and unsure of myself and I had a very basic grasp on the rules of 1st edition Dungeons and Dragons. During my first session I was a nervous bundle of “Um”, “Let me look that up”, and “I don’t know just roll me something!” and all of that is to be expected. Nineteen years later I can quote rules straight from the book and run a very successful and memorable (at least that’s what my players tell me) campaign from level 1 to level 14 without sitting down to plan or prepare.


So new we down to the point, here are some tips for the new guy running a campaign. I’ve compiled a list of blurbs and advice that I’ve given out to my players as they’ve branched out and begun to form their own satellite gaming groups out there in the world.



  • 1.) Your campaign will not follow the ‘tracks’ you lay. No matter how much you try your characters WILL find a way to either derail you or break everything you’ve had planned. So what do you do? Put an impromptu path down that leads to almost the same scenario, redress it and remake it to fit what your characters end up doing. That way you don’t lose your work and your characters don’t feel as if they’re in a video game following a pre-set path.
  • 2.) Improvise! If your characters spend an entire hour debating in character about a murder mystery and have come up with a viable solution or scenario there’s nothing wrong with adjusting the campaign to reflect it just to give them that big morale boost.
  • 3.) Don’t improvise! On the same note as above if your player character’s solution doesn’t seem right sometimes you have to give it to them straight. It can keep things interesting, but make sure to balance it out with a few wins, drop them a hint or two. Sometimes you win sometimes you lose.
  • 4.) Flavor text can make a game but don’t go all Stephen King on them. There have been some campaigns or scenarios where I have started off with a blurb of flavor text, usually involving the same god that always gets them into trouble. I got a standing ovation from them one time. It was hilarious and touching at the same time.
  • 5.) Re-skin things to keep it interesting. Killing kobolds, higher level kobolds, then even higher level kobolds can get very tiresome. Give them something different but in flavor only. Use stats from the monster manual but throw a new monster at them. For example, change the fire beetle’s damage to cold and turn it into a lizard.
  • 6.) Throw different terrain at them. Sometimes your average dungeon is a great setting but dungeon after dungeon gets boring. Give them an underground jungle lit by an odd floating orb that represents the moon and sun. Give them a series of ships lashed together after an orc raid burned a string of fishing villages, sort of a floating village turned abandoned floating dungeon. Give them a series of tunnels carved into a glacier.
  • 7.) Have a reoccurring villain. Have a villain that keeps popping up and causing trouble. Maybe he gets away, maybe he doesn’t. Maybe his dark masters resurrect him, maybe he reanimates using ancient magic he pilfered for just such an occasion. Have him turn up as a diplomat working for a rival city which grants him immunity and lets him scheme and plot with relatively few consequences. Eventually your characters will kill this villain, but who’s to say his employers won’t send another of their agents after the party in retribution.
  • 8.) Have the characters meet themselves. From time to time my players decide they want to start over or we side track when another DM takes over. Sometimes we just decide it’s been long enough and we need to start over. If that happens then bring a memorable character to bear as an NPC! Unless the character is retired make sure that the owner is cool with that. Be respectful to their characters. A powerful wizard is not going to just give his magic staff away. However if the characters perform an astounding service for him, or find him a replacement that’s another story.
  • 9.) Follow the rules but be ready to bend and break them. The rules of any given system cannot cover everything. That would be impossible. So be ready to fudge a few rolls and make some things up on the fly. There have been several times when I’ve made up a ‘luck roll’ behind the screen using percentile dice and an arbitrary number depending on what the characters are trying to do.
  • 10.) Player vs. Player never turns out well. I do not pit characters against one-another. Even if I did I would not do it without the consent of the entire group. Before running through a scenario such as this I make sure to talk to my group and make sure they’re comfortable with it. Inevitably it can have consequences.
  • 11.) As the DM you’re not there for WINNING, WINNING. Your job is to spin the tale and stimulate the player’s minds. Give them something to think about. A puzzle, a scenario, a murder mystery, or a good old-fashioned dungeon run. Your ultimate goal is not a TPK (Total Party Kill).
  • 12.) Above all else, have fun! You and your characters are there to have fun, which is the bottom line to playing these games. You’re there to socialize and imagine yourselves in a faraway land doing incredible things.
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LordNightwinter http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1664-DMing-for-the-New-Guy
Anticipation and Dark Sun http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1228-Anticipation-and-Dark-Sun Wed, 16 Jun 2010 14:28:04 GMT When tax return season came around my wife and I gave each other a good chunk of change to spend on anything we wanted. I opted to purchase and... When tax return season came around my wife and I gave each other a good chunk of change to spend on anything we wanted. I opted to purchase and pre-purchase every single D&D 4th edition book I could get my sweaty little nerd-gamer hands on. This included Dark Sun's two manuals and the Psionic Handbook that is coming out.

Seeing those two fated words together brought me back to my youth. I still own both editions of the Dark Sun campaign setting. Indeed I still own EVERY RPG book I have ever purchased back to 1st edition and even some of the more odds-and-ends books like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Other Strangeness. Out of every setting I've ever played Dark Sun is the one I remember the most fondly.

It was raw, gritty, and, for lack of a better word, hardcore. I remember running my first gaming group through the sample adventure and having two of them die within the second session. Everyone enjoyed it regardless and with some funky DM magic they were miraculously saved by a generous benefactor (Who in the end was the one who had killed two of them in the first place). With the new D&D Encounters season containing some of the unreleased Dark Sun material I was hoping to join in but apparently no stores in my area participate. Attempts to contact Wizards of the Coast to see if I could host one locally at another venue came back with a stern tongue lashing. In the end I am going to have to wait along with so many other poor slobs as we all drool collectively. I hope we don't flood the desert with said slobber because that would defeat the purpose of a dry unforgiving desert.

Anyway I plan on immediately stopping any and all running campaigns in favor of Dark Sun when it finally does reach my door step. Until then I will have to satisfy my appetite for abuse by rolling characters until I go blind. My mother warned me that the proverbial playing with myself would turn out poorly. ]]>
LordNightwinter http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1228-Anticipation-and-Dark-Sun
Running games in your own home. http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1227-Running-games-in-your-own-home Wed, 16 Jun 2010 14:17:24 GMT I have been DMing for a very long time. Previously my gaming groups have consisted of friends and family all gathered in my mother's living room. When I moved out it migrated to my own living room. Now that I have my own place and plenty of room, the perfect table, miniatures, battle mats, scenery, books, and everything else you need I am hesitant to let strangers into my house to game. Especially since my daughter (Now over a month old) is born and in the house.

On top of the time restraints and feeding a hungry screaming newborn I am afraid to let people I don't know into my home. My entire gaming group, which consisted of my brother and his friends, has moved. So obviously I have no choice but to search elsewhere for a group. Also on the obvious note it's hard for me to help my wife care for our daughter if I'm not home.

So in the end I suppose that I could meet the players before hand somewhere else just to get a feel for them but how much can you know about a person when you first meet them for a few minutes.

My alternative is video conferencing with Skype. Either way it is going to be difficult to coordinate. So my question for the community out there is this: How have your experiences in either of these scenarios panned out? ]]>
LordNightwinter http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1227-Running-games-in-your-own-home