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

Loot In Tabletops (Adjusted For Historical Accuracy)

This was originally written by J of Statbonus.com and re-posted here for posterity. I’ll also include a few endorsements at the end based on my experience with his loot system.

Check back next Monday for an all new article.


Let’s face it: your players are thieves. Sure, they may wait until after they murder someone to take their shit, but take their shit they will, and afterwards they’ll complain that the shit they took was barely worth the effort to commit those murders. Worse yet, players have a tendency to view any loot they acquire like prepaid debit cards Continue reading

5 Realistic Ways To Roleplay An Alcoholic Character

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If I ask you to pretend to be drunk right now, you might try stumbling around the room like a marionette with half its strings cut. Or you might emulate the inebriate’s native language; the slow-drawl moist-lipped slur. Or, if you’re especially imaginative, you might act confused, like a geriatric with dementia waiting to be wheeled back into your room. These are the common signs of intoxication the media has embedded in our minds. These are the behaviors players will adopt if they check the “alcoholic” box on their character sheet’s list of flaws. And, without exception, these are wrong. 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