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.


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

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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

D&D Prop – The Mad Grimoire (WIP)

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In mythology, fantasy, or D&D, the allure of forbidden knowledge is rife with possibility. Tell someone they can’t look inside the box or push the mysterious red button, and they’re on it like stink on rice. Well, here’s an easy way to port that nagging curiosity into your game while simultaneously tricking your players into absorbing some world lore: The Mad Grimoire

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4 Ways To DM for Drunk Players

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One of your players has smuggled a 24-pack of Natty Ice into the game (or paper bag full of industrial glue, we won’t judge) and now half the players are giggly on Irish medicine. How do you, the Designated Dungeon Master, wrangle a room full of inebriated nerds? Is the game even salvageable? Do you just throw up your hands and call the night a bust?

No. Because that’s what quitters and responsible friends do– and you’re neither. Instead, try these 4 easy ways to manage the worst offenders without kicking them out of your game or turning it into an intervention. Continue reading

Tension vs Violence in Tabletops

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The traps aren’t enough of a challenge. Your descriptions of endless mines and yawning chasms aren’t holding attention. The wenches somehow aren’t bosomy enough.  And the players couldn’t give two dusty shits about solving this week’s mystery. Phones have appeared and suddenly everyone has texts to send, tweets to twit, and dick-pics to snap under the table. This week’s campaign is officially a bust, and it was good ole’ fashion boredom that broke it.

So, you do what every dungeon master does. You rip the band-aid off quickly rather than draw it out, and wrap the game up, skipping to the fight scene you saved for the end. And…it works.

Everyone’s engaged. And for those glorious few rounds you remember what it’s like to have players who didn’t stumbled into the game by happenstance, choosing your DM’ing over binge-watching Chuck reruns for the 4th time. Continue reading