Dungeon Master Chris’ Complex Custom Content

One of my strengths as a DM is my ability to create customized, interesting content. I normally wouldn’t assert this because it includes a value judgment and is based on preferences, but part of the nature of customized content is adapting things to fit the interests of the people involved. It can be incredibly exhausting to do when the various players have very different interests (shoutout to my lovely but incredibly interest-diverse D&D group that meets no more than once every other week), but it is incredibly satisfying when it works out.

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The Best D&D Story Genre Is Mix-And-Match

I’ve begun introducing some elements of horror into one of my D&D campaigns. One of the BBEGs of the whole homebrew world is essentially nothingness that is something. The Void, since I can’t help but enjoy an allusion to a common phrase. Because when you stare into The Void in this homebrew D&D world, it literally stares back into you. It provides a great tool to mechanism ennui, doubt, and questions about the purpose of it all in a D&D game where some of the players are interested in asking those questions.

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A Verbose Guide to Vexatious Villain Introductions

It is always dangerous (and frequently difficult) when introducing a villain in dungeons and dragons, especially a big villain meant to last a while. If they’re near the players in power initially, there’s a good chance the players might just take them out immediately, bringing their villany to a premature end. If they’re too powerful, the players might take a shot at them and be wiped out by the response. Additionally, there’s the stretch in credibility that comes when a super-powered entity doesn’t just lay waste to the plucky young heroes at their first meetting. You can make a good story out of the villain taunting the weaker protagonists, egging them on for some dramatic final confrontation, but that requires a certain style of story and it is difficult to smoothly employ in a shared storytelling medium like a tabletop RPG.

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Playing Outside The Session

I’ve been experimenting with different ways of playing Dungeons and Dragons lately. Not in a “these are the rules of the game” kind of way, but in how the sessions are formatted, how time passes, what kind of activities are available during those times. That sort of thing. I was prompted by my desire to run three d&d groups combined with my inability to run three groups every week. One game stayed weekly, another is monthly, and the third is sort of every two or three weeks, depending on people’s availability during the one time each week we all had available.

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Delving Into A New Dungeon

Post-Publication Edit: One of my friends on Twitter helpfully pointed out that one of the creators of this game, Adam K., has been involved in some awful controversies and, as these horrible things have shown, was apparently never a terribly nice person despite the persona he cultivated online. I can’t suggest buying the book at this point since I don’t think this guy should get any more money, but the other creator seems to be grappling with the failings of this system (e.g. the fantasy racism spread through the examples of how to use the rules and narrative guidelines in play) and his co-creator in a potentially healthy way (I’ll admit I’ve spent only an hour reading up on all this so there might be stuff I’ve missed), so I suggest getting fully informed before you make a decision.

As you’ll see below, I like the narrative style of the system and the light, story-centric rules, but those are common to most Powered by the Apocalypse games, not just Dungeon World, so I suggest you look elsewhere in that system if you want a fun game that doesn’t support someone whose actions are antithetical to my primary principles as a storyteller and GM.

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A Focus on Power Fantasies Ruins TTRPGs For Everyone

I saw someone post on Twitter that Dungeons and Dragons is all about power fantasies and, as a result, most people play characters that are like them in an effort to roleplay situations that make them, personally, feel powerful. I have a lot of mixed feelings about this idea and a WHOLE lot of thoughts about how it can play out in actual games. Part of the problem, of course, is that making any blanket statement based on your personal experiences shows your personal biases, privelege, and frequently overlooks the experiences of people who aren’t like you. I’m going to try to avoid making any such statements here by talking about my experiences specifically, but I will have to generalize a bit unless I’m going to write an entire novel. Which has a certain appeal, but this isn’t really the medium for discourse at length.

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I Hate When I Can’t Share This Cool Story I Wrote

One of the worst feelings I have that isn’t a result of my questionable brain chemistry and varying mental health is having a fun, interesting creative work that I’ve produced but cannot share with the people who would be most interested in it. I love creating stuff just to make it, but I want to share the things I create and like with other people. Partly to help make them (the stuff I’ve made) better, partly to share something I think people will like, and then also partly for the good, good serotonin hit I get whenever someone likes a thing I’ve created.

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Play A Barbarian

For those of you who aren’t familiar, this is a parody of the song “Madam Librarian” from the musical, “The Music Man.” I came up with it one morning while putting a D&D game together to fill my then-empty Sunday evenings, since I was one confirmation short of a 4-person party. My friend was expressing some hesitance because he didn’t have much free time to dedicate to the game, but didn’t want to just phone it in either. On the spur of the moment, I wrote the sentence “play a barbarian” and heard it in my head to the tune of this song. I followed it up with a couple more lines of a possible parody for my own amusement, but my friend recognized what I was doing and commented on it. So I wrote the whole parody. Which you can now enjoy.

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Player Engagement Is a Key GM Skill

I have not always been a good DM. I think it might still be presumptive to call myself a good DM and that I would be more comfortable saying I’m a decent DM with a few specialities, but I think I wouldn’t argue against anyone if they called me a good DM. I think the lesson I learned that made me an alright DM was to never, under any circumstance, take away player agency. They’re free to do whatever they want in the game and I should support their endeavors, but they’re also free to suffer the consequences of their actions.

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Post-D&D Glow

There’s nothing quite like that post-D&D Session high. It’s like exhaustion, a headache, and a stomach bug all rolled into one. Basically a hangover. So incredibly unpleasant, but a sign of great times now over.

I don’t really drink much these days, so maybe that’s me romanticizing my early to mid twenties than a reflection of how I feel about hangovers, so maybe don’t drink to excess.

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