Hit Points – Abstraction?

It happens every couple of weeks, it seems. Someone posts somewhere lamenting about hit points in D&D and how they don’t make sense. An argument ensues about what hit points really mean. These arguments are almost always as poorly informed and poorly thought through as they are passionate. Here are my thoughts on it, collated …

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Tips for DMs Series – Critical Fail?

If a natural 20 is OMGTOTALLYRAD, a natural 1 should suck. That’s what most D&D people these days say, right? Roll a 1, something bad happens. What’s the problem with that? It’s stupid, that’s the problem.

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Tips for DMs Series – Manage Expectations

Manage expectations. This is the first and fundamental mission you have as a Dungeon Master.

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Tips for DMs – Passive skills?

The Skills section of Ability Scores portion of the PHB gives a rule for Passive Checks. This is usually only ever used with Perception; there’s even a special spot on every character sheet I’ve ever seen for passive Perception. That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. If Perception can have a passive …

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Fudging die rolls – good or bad?

It’s a common question in gaming discussions online. Should I, as the DM, fudge die rolls? It crops up with distressing frequency. I have a standard answer, and I’m sick of typing it out over and over again, so I decided I’d toss it on my blog and refer to that from now on.

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Tips for DMs Series – Fire That Player

That’s the very first thing to learn. Don’t be afraid to fire players.

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Tips for DMs Series – Managing Combat

There are basically two types of player when it comes to combat: The Tactician and The Thespian. The names are fairly self-explanatory, but they deserve a bit of detail.

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Tips for DMs Blog Series – The 3 Most Important Words

Many moons ago, I offered to run an OSR campaign for D&D players who hadn’t played anything other than 4e. They took a long time to  learn that they could try to do stuff that wasn’t specifically listed on their character sheets. They took a long time to learn the three most important words a DM can …

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New weekly blog series – Tips for DMs

I’ve been really remiss about posting to this blog. That’s because I’ve been way too busy writing other stuff! I finished a super-secret project a week or so ago, and just put the finishing touches on my latest Guild offerings. (You can get my Castle Spulzeer conversion and the latest Aristobulus’s Artificers catalog, if you’re …

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Priceless DM advice

A pretty much constant question asked among RPG referees is “What do I do about this problem player?” Now, I’m connected to a ton of online gaming communities, so I see it multiple times a day. But every “DM help” group I watch sees this scenario multiple times per week. Here is all the advice …

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