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
It’s never a good sign when you find the dungeon master watching Silent Hill with a notepad in his lap. Yet this is how the story of The Gaunt began– by observing the terrifying, the cringe-inducing, and the flesh-crawling moments of one of the grittiest horror films from the last decade. My notes, and thoughts, went something like this:
Horror is most effective when it’s something that can’t be controlled, killed, or turned aside. When horror is a force of nature it becomes more like a nightmare than a bad zombie movie. If it can be stopped with good detective work (The Ring) trapped by arbitrary rules (Dracula) or killed because of a grammatical error (Lord of the Nazgul) then it’s not really horror. It’s a scary monster, like everything else we fight in Dungeons and Dragons. Continue reading
Your gaming group has seen it all. They’ve slain more Orcs than Aragorn on a bender. They’ve thrashed more demons than your average ICP concert. And they’ve laid with more elf wenches than…well, Aragorn. What’s left to throw at your party, when it feels like every adventure is a re-tread? How do you keep your players involved? What more could you ask of the stoic, chisel-jawed men around your gaming table, quietly brooding in a sea of mystery and depth?
Forgive us, it’s opposite day.
If you’re anything like me the quests you write will escalate in danger and importance, slowly climbing the mountain of epic, until the party is eating ancient monsters for breakfast and shitting legend. Their equipment is so expensive that one character could stabilize Middle Earth’s economy by dying abruptly in a national bank. And the monsters that can actually scare the party could only be described as “so rare they were only added to the bestiary on a dare.” Continue reading
Sweet tap-dancing Jehova, what’s wrong with you? Must you “do” every bar-maid that serves drinks to the party? Is it your mission to out-creep all the other creeps at the table? Do you really want your poor dungeon master to reenact another awkward tavern flirtation after your bard gets handsy with the wench? No? Cause that’s what’s going to happen. DM Ted is going to strain his voice trying to hit those high notes on “No mister, I’ve never seen a singing cockatrice.”
No, don’t start rolling CHA checks. Good lord man, keep your D-20 in your dice pouch. And put away that wand. It’s not even consensual if charm spells are involved.
You know what… fine. If we’re going to do this, let’s do it right. Think you can handle the awkward? Is this what you wanted? You got it. Here are 4 ways to include romance in your game (that won’t be creepy as hell) Continue reading