5 Excuses To Fill Your Dungeon With Monsters

Google Images / Skyrim

Why are there so many monsters in your dungeon?

I realize there are certain expectations in tabletop games. I understand that a dungeon in Dungeons and Dragons is bound to be harboring horrible beasties–otherwise why play the game? I get that every RPG, from Pathfinder to Savage Worlds, and even some from the Sci-Fi end of the pool, must feature subterranean labyrinths from time to time. But why the hell are they always brimming with monsters?

Do monsters in the RPG world eat rocks? Undead warriors guarding crypts, I understand. But what business does a Hellhound have roaming the blank, featureless corridors of an isolated cave? Why is a goblin tribe living so far underground, away from a ready food source, on a glacial mountain with nothing growing on the surface? Or, an even worse offender, inside an active volcano? What are the giant spiders eating? And what does the Minotaur do for fun between murders? Does he just stare wistfully at the bloodstains in his corner of the cave, year after year, reminiscing about the adventurers he’s slain?

Why are there so many monsters in your dungeon? This is such a tiny, insignificant question in the grand scheme of the game. Yet 90% of dungeons I encounter have a bafflingly diverse array of subterranean creatures who seem to have no biological imperative to eat, reproduce, or nest. It’s as if their entire existence is centered around their desire to kill player-characters. Continue reading

The Big Flocker – Pranks About D&D Terrain Taken Too Far

flocker_01A few years back one of our contributors, J, introduced me to the world of terrain building. More specifically; how to build tabletop battlegrounds for Dungeons and Dragons from scratch. Like anything else in the world of miniatures, crafting custom set-pieces takes time, materials, and effort.

Given that my spirit-animal is a soggy beanbag chair, my natural instinct is to find the cheapest, laziest shortcut possible. That is how I found my one true love–Flocking. Continue reading

What I (Eventually) Learned From Shadowrun

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Note: This is our 3rd installment from our guest-writer J, who we are reposting before our sister-site Statbonus.com sinks into the briny deep of the internet. If you’d like to hear more from J in the future (or if you’d like to dispute him) leave a message in this article’s comment section.


There is no doubt Shadowrun is an acquired taste (Ewww! You got elves in my cyberpunk!) with clunky–some might even say broken–mechanics. And although Shadowrun 1st edition¬†was not my first RPG it is still the¬†standard by which I measure all others Continue reading

The 7 Deadly Sins of Gamemastering

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In an effort to consolidate 1’s and 0’s we’ve decided to let Statbonus (our sister site) go the way of the dodo. Mostly because it’s pointless to post the exact same content in two separate places every Monday. So for the next few weeks please enjoy a re-visit of some of our favorite Statbonus-exclusive articles by regular commentor/contributor J.


Continue reading

Miniature Spelljammer Part 2

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Two weeks back I posted about the miniature Spelljammer ship I was building for my Dungeons and Dragons campaign. If you want to check out the initial foam-core build, which shows the process from the keel up, you can find it here.

In today’s post we’ll cover the added features; the grates, portholes, paints, and the EULA my players have to sign. Continue reading

Your Badass D&D Character Would Be A Terrible Soldier

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A few weeks back I talked about how archery is misunderstood by fantasy gamers. And wouldn’t you know, someone disagreed with me. But the respectful counter-argument raised about my archery post wasn’t in defense of the impossibly accurate Legolas’s of the D&D world. Or much about archery at all, really. The argument seemed to focus on the plausibility of a small, elite fighting group having real effect against ranks of archers or a phalanx of spearmen. The points made against my post also came from a source I respect.

So here, for the first time, I will write a rebuttal about why your average D&D character would be diced into Gnomechow if they went up against a real organized military unit. Continue reading

5 Facts About Arrows (That D&D Players Neglect)

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LOTR-Wiki

You’re wandering through the badlands and Orcs ambush your party. You, as the party tank, stroll confidently forward and deliver your battle-cry; “For Procrastinitus The Unfinished!” and in return you’re struck by an arrow.

DM: Take 5 hitpoints.

No problem. You’ve got over 60 total HP left, an unspent surge, and the Cleric still has healing spells. A minion’s arrow is a drop in the bucket. You raise your sword to the heavens and charge into battle.

DM: Take 2 hitpoints, and move at one-quarter speed. The arrow was a bodkin point and pierced your thigh, meaning your leg-meat is stapled to the inside of your armor.

Okay, now the DM is just being petty and pedantic, but whatever. Fine. You remove the arrow first and…

DM: Make a constitution check. Removing the arrow without pushing it through tears tissue on the way out, and you could only push it through if you removed your armor.

Goddamnit, whatever. Fine. Fine. Fine. You make your check and you’re still conscious. You use the surge to heal some damage, and we’re back in business. Now on to the Orcs–

DM: You’re dead. Continue reading