Optional Rule

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Experience Still Matters - The Benefits of using XP in 5e.

As we eagerly await the release of the updated version of revised 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons in 2024, it’s an opportune time to re-examine some of the core systems that make our beloved TTRPG tick. One such system that often sparks debate among players and Dungeon Masters alike is the method of character advancement. In light of the recent surge in views on my previous articles discussing the benefits of using experience points (XP) in D&D, I thought it would be valuable to delve deeper into this topic and explore how XP-based advancement can enhance your gaming experience.
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TTRPG Tools for Collboration and Change

Why do some Dungeons & Dragons groups struggle so hard to cooperate and enjoy a game together? Even well-meaning players can have spotty outcomes and TTRPG groups can have a hard time staying together for more than a few sessions. Particularly in an era of safety tools, and assertions of the importance of inclusive play, we seem to be struggling harder now than any other time in the hobby. Many take the position that this is because we are clearing the toxicity of one culture or another from the gaming space, but I would suggest this is wrong-minded. As a community, too many people have given up on the idea that collaboration or real tolerance of different opinions has any value at all. Some may blame an inherent cultural evil for this division but I am not convinced. I suggest the TTRPG community doesn’t have a good set of frameworks or tools to promote collaboration. Yes we have safety tools and, while those can be useful, safety and collaboration are completely different things.
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Gritty DnD Injuries - Expanding Exhaustion

In Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition, the introduction of lasting injuries and effects promises to revitalize the way players approach the game. By infusing combat with the possibility of enduring consequences, this elevates the significance of each skirmish beyond the individual encounter. Health is no longer just hit points to be replenished with the wave of a hand or a nap; it becomes a strategic element of play managed through clever player choices. This shift introduces a layer of tactical depth missing in the vanilla game, requiring players to think critically about their characters actions and their potential long-term impacts on how the adventure plays out.
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Yes, if ... the true secret of crafting adventures

In Dungeons & Dragons, a common practice among Dungeon Masters (DMs) is to hand-wave new rulings for the sake of convenience, or with the belief that they’re enhancing the game by simply saying yes. However, I’ve come to realize that this approach, while seemingly beneficial, may actually be more limiting than many of us think. Simple answers keep things moving but ignore the fundamental truth about creating adventures. Running a TTRPG isn’t just about adjudicating the rules, it’s about creating opportunities for characters to risk it all to pursue their goals. Every question asked in a game is an opportunity to create a new adventure, so let’s talk a bit about this.
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Unlocking the Magic of TTRPG Design

Brandon Sanderson, celebrated for his exceptional worldbuilding and intricate magic system design, stands out as a titan in modern fantasy literature. His principles, while crafted for literary creation, offer invaluable insights for TTRPG design. In an era brimming with new TTRPG systems being developed and crowdfunded, I frequently ponder how Sanderson’s concepts could shape better game design, or at least preserve a diversity in gaming experiences rather than yet another play on heroic-fantasy without risk of failure. Specifically, I contemplate the potential of these foundational ideas to captivate players through effective game design—a crucial aspect often missed in the foundational design of many emerging games.
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DMing is not a Covert Power Grab

The DM is the First Mover in any Dungeons & Dragons campaign. It’s not that they’re superior or more important; rather, the game hinges on the DM’s involvement. As the game’s primary driving force, DMs significantly influence its tone and genre. Moreover, since they orchestrate the world, it naturally reflects their point of view and judgment. This aspect of game-running is a feature, not a flaw. While it’s perfectly valid for players to have preferences about the game’s style, the DM’s creative perspective is not inherently wrong.
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Narrative Landscapes - More Engaging TTRPG Travel

The art of travel in Tabletop Roleplaying Games remains a perennial favorite in community discussions. Despite my earlier posts on constructing Perilous Journeys in D&D 5e, the conversation must go beyond mere obstacles and challenges. The true crux lies in the marriage of narrative and geography - a fusion that is underscored yet often lacks actionable guidance. So, how can we elevate the routine task of terrain description into a thrilling spark for player immersion? Let’s dive in.
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Summon the Unusual - 3 New Spells for DnD 5e

As a fan of magically animated minions, I’ve always felt somewhat limited by the options available in the 5th edition of Dungeons and Dragons. If you’re intrigued by the idea of a “pet” class in D&D, your primary option is to become a Necromancer and use Animate Dead. However, the image of a group of shambling undead isn’t always what players envision. Given the rich narrative tradition of casters animating objects, constructs, or elements, it’s perplexing that these options aren’t more prevalent in the game.
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Gritty Survival in 5e - Breathing life into Death Saves

Ever found yourself scratching your head over the peculiarities of the Death Save system in Dungeons and Dragons (DnD) 5e? In particular, how the system seems disconnected from the gameplay and action. It can seem counter-intuitive when zero hit points result in the same outcome for any character, regardless of how they arrived there. The Death Save min-game is the same, whether you’ve taken a single point of damage, or sustained a catastrophic 150-foot fall. In this post, I aim to dissect the effects of this system on the game and propose a house rule that could shake things up to make the prospect of death an exciting part of the action again.
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Decoding D&D - The Enigma of Armor Class

Delving into the oft-debated mechanics of Dungeons and Dragons (D&D), it’s hard to overlook the perennial discussion points: Armor Class (AC) and Hit Points (HP). While they may seem simple on the surface, these fundamental aspects of D&D often engender misunderstandings and heated debates. Armor Class, though instinctively viewed as a gauge of whether a character is struck or not, is in fact a more abstract concept. Following my recent post What are HPs in D&D anyway?, it’s fitting that we now unpack the intricacies of AC and its symbiotic relationship with HP - the two crucial pillars that underpin the game’s combat system. Rock, Paper, Greatsword! The Genesis of Armor Class