The D&D 30 Day Challenge: Day 17

Favorite Insect.

Animals, insects and arachnid. I can’t say I just a lot of them. The arachnid I’ve used so far never had a real impact (maybe that’s just my fault). Animals are also not really the thing you use when you want an epic encounter, so most often the animals that come into play are the ones the druid changes into.

That is why my favorite comes out of the insect category.

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Favorite Animal/Insect/Arachnid

The Ankheg. A gigantic bug that you do not want in your house, or on the road to the next village. Part of my love for the creature comes because I did some good researched on it when I wrote my first encounter compendium post “Ankheg: Dead From Below“.

In my head Ankheg’s are something like tarantulas in our world. They exist and as long they do not jump on you everything is fine.

I also really like the idea that they become smart or get a hive mind. The possibilities to use them are endless and that’s why I love them.

The D&D 30 Day Challenge: Day 16

What does molds, ooze, and lawyers have in common?
They’re all slime.

Not so many to choose from today but in general Oozes are a lot of fun to use. In most of my campaigns they make a few appearances. They can be in a random hallway, drop from the ceiling or maybe inside a pit trap. All great and deadly.

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Favorite Ooze

Sometimes the classics are the best. In the case of oozes that is true. My favorite is the gelatinous cube. I think they are just an awesome invention to mess with dungeoneers and to make traps and rooms interesting.

The fun thin about these cubes is that you don’t see them coming. You can walk through a hallway and suddenly you are stuck in a colorless pudding who tries to eat you.

The best way to use them in later levels is in addition to traps. Or a creature that uses these cubes to guard things.

In a one-shot I once encountered a talking gelatinous cube and that was also a lot of fun!

The D&D 30 Day Challenge: Day 15

Liches are the best undead.

We are halfway the thirty-day challenge now starts a series of favorite type of monsters. Starting with undead is a challenge in itself, there are so many. strong and weak to pick from. I reviewed most of them and in the end I had to pick between 3 monsters. So an honorable mention goes to the Dracolich and Dead Knight.

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Favorite Undead

Living in isolation from the world the all-mighty wizard sits in his tower studying his newly acquired tomb of spells. He has all the time in the world since he can’t die, well unless you find his phylactery. My favorite undead is the Lich.

The Lich is a perfect big bad evil guy you can use as the end boss in your campaign. They are evil and want to gain power. To stay alive they need to sacrifice souls another reason to stop them.

Part of defeating the Lich is finding out what his phylactery is. Without destroying it the Lich will just come back to life. So you can create an interesting quest to find out what the phylactery is and how you can destroy it. After that an epic final battle with the party against the lich and his minions can be the perfect ending of a campaign.

There are a lot of possibilities a Lich can interfere with the parties plans (even from earlier levels) so the possibilities are endless.

Liches are awesome.

The D&D 30 Day Challenge: Day 14

Ever had a boring NPC? Well I guess most DM’s and players have in the past. Creating a good NPC is a challenge every time and you never know how the players might react.

I think it would be rather pointless to talk about the favorite NPC of my own worlds since you won’t now him. But one of the best and most memorable NPC’s I’ve had in my game comes from Barovia. Strahd von Zarovich.

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Favorite NPC

When Strahd is close he immediately brings a lot of emotion to the table. Fear, anger, sadness or maybe even a change to gain power. Depending on the players and how you play him the story can go a lot of different ways.

He is one of the most famous (and beloved) bad guys in Dungeons and Dragons history. The lore about him dates back to the early 90’s so he has a rich background you can use.

In the Curse of Strahd adventure he is a force you need to overcome. When the party first meets him they don’t stand a chance. But slowly the PC grow stronger and eventually visit his castle where they can finally slay him.

I enjoyed playing Strahd and every time my players had an encounter with him it was a moment to remember.

 

The D&D 30 Day Challenge: Day 13

The will-o’wisp sandbox.

The trap we are talking about can be rather deadly so use at your own risk.

dd-30-day-challengeFavorite Trap

It might not be a big surprise that one of my favorite traps comes out of my favorite Dungeons and Dragons adventure The hidden shrine of Tamoachan.

The will-o’wisp sandbox: In this trap you see a light flickering around the corner, once you come closer the light moves away always staying just out of sight and behind the next corner.

If the party follows it long enough suddenly they step on a pressure plate, in front of them and behind them a stone wall falls down. They hear a grinding sound coming from above them. Roll for initiative.

Lifting the walls self should be a though challenge. A DC of 20-25 depending on the level. After 3 rounds sand starts to poor into the room. Making the terrein difficult to move in. After a few rounds strength checks are needed to move in the room.

To make matters worse after 1 round the light that the party was following. A will-o’wisp moves back in the room and starts to attack to party. Preferably the ones doing the lifting.

The longer they take to find a solution the more dire their situation becomes. The best solution is probably lifting the gate or teleportation. Let the players be creative but it should be a tense and dangerous situation.

I find this trap very thrilling, but it can be deadly make sure you now what to do when the players die in here. Roll now characters, get dig up a few hundred years later, that kind of things.

Enjoy.

 

The D&D 30 Day Challenge: Day 12

Wizard Towers are bae.

A good story can almost always make a location interesting. But some locations are more fun to start with.

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Favorite Dungeon Type/Location

Filled with magic and wonder, not one is the same, it is a classic location that needs to be in every campaign. The mystical wizard tower.

Once in sight the hero’s know something is up. Why is this random 8 story high tower standing in the middle of the desert? What is inside? Is it still inhabited, and more important will there be treasure?

This location is the perfect place to dive into the strange and weird stuff of the world. Maybe there are no stairs in the tower. Maybe once inside you see there are no floors above you and you can only use the ladder to go downstairs. After descending a whole session the  PC’s reach to main floor again.

The things living inside can be so random as you like. Things created by the wizard like Golems or enslaved pixies, maybe behind a door is a vault filled with golden dolphins. Nothing makes sense and it shouldn’t.

It is the perfect opportunity to use the monsters you want to use but never get the change to and to test the players as well with some nice puzzles or riddles.

And that’s why the wizard tower is my favorite dungeon.

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Wizard Tower by jcbarquet

The D&D 30 day Challenge: Day 9

Five the barbarian ranger.

I think most DM’s have characters prepared they maybe one day want to play. I certainly do. For more than a year I have a character sitting on the shelf waiting to be played. Five.

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Favorite PC you’d like to play

Five is an orc who’s parents deemed unfitting and to weak to be part of there family. Instead of giving him a name the just called him five because he was their fifth child. The shunned him from the tribe keeping him in their tent to do small and unimportant tasks like washing their clothes.

When he got to old and big and they had to provide food for their failure of a son they abandoned Five in the woods and said to never come back.

Now 20 years of being mainly by himself and surviving in the wilds he has found a civilized land where he can life. He is now looking to prove his worth to the world and maybe find some a parent figure or mentor to hone his skill as a ranger/barbarian.

The D&D 30 Day Challenge: Day 4

My favorite setting, Collabris.

We all know Dungeons and Dragons is a great game. You know what can make your game even better? An awesome fantasy world to play in. The worlds I have played in are Ravenloft, Forgotten Realms, my own homebrew and Collabris (with a lot of my own stuff in it).

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Favorite Game World

For me it was a hard choice between Ravenloft and Collabris. Ravenloft has this great feeling of dread and horror which I really enjoyed when I was DM’ing it. But the first place will go to Collabris.

Collabris is a world created by Matt Colville and his community. There runs a big mountain range right through the continent dividing the world in two sides.

There are multiple countries, and places that all create some great tension. Almost all places are detailed but only in a few sentences so it’s so easy to adapt and do your own things with it. Combined with the PC’s background stories we are having an awesome time playing this world.

Broken Spine pre timeskip

The D&D 30 Day Challenge: Day 3

My favorite class is Paladin and it should be yours too!

After talking about favorite race it was inevitable that favorite class had to be discussed. Enjoy!

dd-30-day-challengeFavorite Player Character Class

I find it really hard to choose a favorite class I honestly enjoy them all. Often if I need to roll up a character I just roll a d12 to decide what to play. But there is one class I really love.

Paladin

Knights in shining armor, devoted to do the right thing. In my eyes this class comes the closest to being a real hero and for me Dungeons and Dragons is all about being hero’s.

They will stand against evil and against all odds they will succeed and make the world a better place, they are just freaking awesome.

If feel a lot of people think that to play a paladin you need to be Mr. Lawful Good, never do anything wrong or fun. That is just plainly wrong, there is so much room for nuance. In early editions you had to be LG but 5E has thrown that out of the window, for the better I think. Look at any superhero movie (or awesome anime like boku no hero) they all want to do the right thing but all have different reasons and motivations.

Paladins are great and we should all play them a bit more often!

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Art by Josh Corpuz

Updates and stuff

What I’ve been up to and plans for the future.

Hi all,

I’m writing this post as a small update to what I’ve been doing and what’s going to happen in the coming weeks. Recently I took a trip to Amsterdam to play and DM DnD for a whole day, I also got a chance to play test my first adventure (it went great). I’m also going to use this opportunity to talk about the Campaign Diary and Encounter Compendium.

So lets start with the beginning the trip to Amsterdam. We did two one-shots, one by one of my players who wanted to try DM’ing for the first time and the play test game by me.

One-shot

The one-shot was a lot of fun. We played a low-level adventure about wolves who suddenly were a lot smarter, and could even talk. They were terrorizing a local town and we had to save them.

I played a giant fat sad violinist who had a big interest in magic, food and exploration (he was going to be the main NPC in my one-shot later that day).

The adventure itself was straight forward. Save some shepherds, find out whats up, more wolves and a boss fight. I did think the encounters itself were a bit to strong for our party. In one of the earlier encounters my character died. Because the DM felt guilty and wanted me to be able to play the final of the adventure he said he that after combat I regained consciousness. He should not have done that in my opinion, I would have been perfectly fine watching the last part. Now dying in the game had no more meaning (I might write a post about this in the future).

The boss fight was heavy. We failed our stealth when we were scouting the wolves den and so we had to fight the encounter in front of the den and the boss fight at once. To add to our misery one of the wolves could breath fire. In the end half the party died again, this time for good. The two survivors made a deal with the wolves to leave them alone if they stop killing sheep and that was how the adventure ended. It was fun and our first time DM did a good job.

wolves of welton

Play test

After a pizza break it was my turn to shine. As some as you guys might now, I’m in the progress of making my first DnD adventure for the DM’s guild so it was a perfect opportunity to do a play test.

The summary of the adventure is the following: A fat wizard has shrunken some creatures and put them in his body to help him with some of his physical problems. After a few months he becomes weaker everyday, with his stomach feels stingy, he gets constant migraine attacks, and does sudden strange jerky movements with his arms. He also just feels a lot weaker than he should. To solve this he called upon the hero’s. He shrinks them as well and they have to kill the stuff inside his body that’s tormenting him.

I’m not going to reveal to much of the adventure today but it is a silly adventure. The wizard is in a hurry and if the players don’t stop him to ask questions they get shrunken and have no clue what to do inside of his body.

There are three encounters to solve. Not all can be solved with combat. And afterwards they find out they need to escape the wizards body to get back to normal size.

The adventure itself was a lot of fun, and honestly one of the more amusing sessions I’ve ever ran. For my group tho it fell a bit short, only 2,5 hours. I might need to put some extra stuff in before the next play test. But I guess if you put this into an ongoing campaign it can take a bit longer. It’s a one-shot for a party of level 8 so if ran with newer player it will probably also take a bit longer.

I don’t feel like adding stuff for the sake of it so perhaps I just keep it the way it is.

Current series on my blog

So for the small duration of my blog I’ve been posting focusing on two types of post. Campaign Diary and Encounter Compendium. I must admit I’m starting to have doubts about the formula of the diary. I don’t think it has a lot of value to outsiders so in the future the formula will change a bit. It will take 3-4 more post to catch up on the campaign and after that I want to change to focus more to lessons I learned running the game. So you’ll still have a story but DM’s might as well get some nice advice from it.

The Encounter compendium I really enjoy writing and it had been received well in the small community that I’m building. They take some research and time to write but more will follow soon. I might use social media to decide what monsters follow next.

So whats next?

For the coming two weeks focus will be on school. Reexamination are here and they take priority during that time. So I expect I won’t be able to make a lot of post. During this time there won’t be a new Encounter Compendium. I am going to try to finish a Campaign Diary post.

After that post will be back to regular schedule. Monday a campaign Diary, every other Friday an Encounter Compendium. I’ll also try to post some opinion/advice/reviews in the future on random days or in weeks without an encounter post.

The goal of my DM’s guild adventure is to have a finished product by the end of September. It will be named “The Inside Job”

So now you are up to date with the Backfip Dungeon.

Have a nice day

DrBackflip