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Rime of the Frostmaiden: The Finale

Dear Readers, due to the…decisions of the party, the campaign ended rather…abruptly. And no, it wasn’t a TPK…Also, the ranger/rogue and the fighter/rogue were gone and we had two substitute players: a halfling and a goliath barbarian.

The battle against the demilich continued, with two new allies joining the fight!

Upon joining, the goliath barbarian tossed threw the halfling at the demilich, landing blows and finding herself below.

The battle raged until the gnome wizard out-thought the demilich by using the spell telekinesis to push the demilich towards the smiting hands of the party’s paladin/barbarian!

With several well placed swings and a couple of critical rolls, the paladin smited (smote? smitten?) Iriolarthas, ending his miserable existence.

Looking around, the party began to look for clues as to the veracity of using the staff of power on the obelisk.

They found, among other things, an instruction manual on how to do just that, using half of the charges in the staff of power.

It was at this point that, while poking a moving doorway with her javelin, the halfling barbarian got sucked into a living demiplane.

Shenanigans ensued, and the plane was destroyed and thereby disgorged its contents, namely a couple of flesh golems and a trio of galven magen.

The galven magen would heal the flesh golems with their lighting attacks while the flesh golems would beat on the party. The party then realized the problem and killed off the magen then worked on taking out the golems.

After that was sorted out, the party went back to Veneranda and, although they had some reservations, agreed to check out the obelisk. The party discussed leaving, but ultimately decided to at least see the obelisk and assess it.

When the party began to get suspicious, it was then that Veneranda attacked the wizard with mind control psionic abilities, eventually getting the gnome to give the staff over to her, who activated the obelisk.

When the dust settled the obelisk was gone, and a brightly colored aarakocra stood and explained the situation to the party. Seeing their surroundings, there was no mistake: the party had been hurled backwards in time to before the fall of Ythryn, sometime around -342 DR.

The fate of the party was thus: the party would be given a ride from a skycoach to the surface to be with their respective peoples, albeit over a millennia and a half in the past. The dwarf decided to go back to his people and begin prophecies predicting the future. The cleric was in shock and awe, and was offerd to be sent to other divine spellcasters to sort out his life. The gnome wizard was offered to be allowed to stay and study with the Arcanists of Ythryn.

What do you think, Dear Readers? What do you think? Was it the kind of ending you would have guessed?

Join us next week for the beginning of our new campaign, Waterdeep: Dragon Heist!

Hearing Yourself is Weird

Short post today, Dear Readers…

For those unaware, we do a podcast recording of my Tuesday group campaign. It’s a lot of fun, and we call ourselves The Inglorious Ingrates.

It’s a really fun bunch of players and we have a really good time playing.

As of now, we’ve recorded four episodes, not including our test recording of an “Episode 0” (the previews of these are, by the way, available to our Premium Subscribers, and will be available for everyone in October when we launch our YouTube channel Your Dork Materials!).

The thing is, I have a really poor memory. It’s a Multiple Sclerosis thing. Although I take good notes, I sometimes go back and listen to old episodes in order to be reminded of what happened in the previous session.

As a result, I have to listen to myself speak. This is the strangest thing in the world for me.

I listen to all of my gaffes, the times I stutter, and all of the other things that I say.

To put it plainly, I am no Matt Mercer, nor am I a Chris Perkins.

But I don’t try to be. I just try to be me.

And I sound weird.

Yes, it makes me a little self-conscious.

But, you know what Dear Readers? I still enjoy playing.

If you ever decide to record your sessions for a podcast, I highly recommend doing just what I do regardless of how horrible I think I sound. Just be you.

Thanks again for just being awesome, Dear Readers.

Until next time…

P.S. – To my premium subscribers: my video editor ended up at the doctor’s office today, resulting in a delay on the videos being done. The Episode 2 and Monthly Game previews will be posted Sunday; thanks for your patience!

This Was Supposed to Be a Different Post..

The original plan was to write a post about running a game for young children who are brand new to dungeons & dragons. Originally, I was supposed to be doing just that tonight.

That did not happen.

When the organizer and I, for this particular event, had arrived, the store event organizer advised us that the kids that were originally supposed to be coming we’re not going to be attending this week. This made me sad for multiple reasons, but not the least of which was because I brought my own young daughter along to meet new friends and play.

Que sad gaming noises.

That said, the organizer and his girlfriend were there and were both gamers. I am a gamer. My daughter is a gamer. My daughter was coming expecting to play. What could we do?

We played. We played, and we had fun.

Sometimes, things don’t turn out the way we expect them to or want them to. I have written on this topic a number of times, and several times in recent history.

Sometimes the DM just has to improvise.

The organizer was indifferent about running or playing, so I said that I would run. I had an adventure already prepared to run for the kids I was playing with, so I ran that.

Hopefully, I will have some additional insights for running games for children next week. Particularly groups of small young girls that are teens or tweens.

For those interested, I was running the beginning of Waterdeep: Dragon Heist.

Even if my daughter did not get the opportunity to make new friends her age, she did get to have some time with her dad playing dungeons and Dragons.

Not a bad evening after all.

Until next time, Dear Readers…

I’m Stuck…

Note: if you are one of my Tuesday campaign players, do not read this until after 11 pm tonight. Spoilers.

Dear Readers, I find myself in quite the quandary.

You see, I’m stuck.

I have about a half dozen projects I’m working on and I’m stuck between them.

I have to finish doing prep for tonight, that is the Inglorious Ingrates.

I have to get cracking on my monthly game and finish the next adventure for them before next Wednesday.

I am…well, let’s just say that I am exceedingly behind in my miniature painting.

Add to that, I’ve got “DM Block”©, a condition where you have a map and are struggling to decide on what to fill it with.

So I’m going to start with the most pressing of those things as I have a game to run tonight:

DM Block

Note: if you want an update as to what’s going on, make sure you read our articles called Player’s Perspective. That should get you updated as to where we are.

As is usually helpful for me, I will write this out like I’m talking it out in order to help get the old creative juices going. Here we go.

So the place for the party is heading to is a burial mound.

There’s currently inhabiting in a group of… goblinoids led by someone or something else.

Okay, so the goblins and their crew has broken into the tomb to use as a base of operations. They plundered the first few chambers. All the party’s gear and equipment as well as other treasures that have been stolen from the townsfolk and passing travelers.

The leader of this particular group will have almost opened the door to the inner chamber. Fight between heat and party ensues.

Before he dies, in a last-ditch effort, he will open the inner chamber hoping that he can either escape or that something in there will assist him. He didn’t exactly do his research.

After fight with this guy, the party will inevitably end up fighting what’s in the main chamber. Accordingly, they may want to, after getting a clue, go further into this burial mound.

I have the main person buried here as well as their two lieutenants.

While doing this, I actually came up with what I was going to do. As a cool preview of one of the things the party will find I finally been able to bring up a stylized version of a symbol they keep finding. This time they’ll find it on an old shield that doesn’t seem to have any enchantment on it other than it will not deteriorate or rust. Here’s the picture:

Believe it or not, I actually did that using PowerPoint.

I think I have enough of the dungeon completed now to get through this session at the very least. Now, I have to pack my gear pick up one of my players, and head out.

Thank you, Dear Readers, for being part of my writing process. As you can see, when you get stuck, sometimes it helps just to talk it out, or in my case, write it out!

Until next time, Dear Readers…

Rime of the Frostmaiden: The Central Spire

Dear Readers, thank you for your understanding while I took some time with my family in my absence. You all are great.

When last we left our heroes, they had just driven off Auril, and had taken a long rest.

Seeing that the force field around the central spire was still down, the party decided to head towards the spire.

Ascending the stairs, the party came to a large set of double doors, which, after opening, led to a huge and grand ballroom, with a party going on. Upon closer inspection, of course, the ball was naught but an illusion. Deciding to press forward, the party ventured further inside.

Their search led them to a chamber with several staffs, one of which was magical, and that only providing some protections against poison and fear. Taking them anyways, the party continued onward.

Eventually, they came to a room with a strange sight…

It was a helmed horror, sans helm, with a floating brain inside a jar in its place!

Interestingly, the strange being contacted them by telepathy introducing itself as Veneranda, formerly an arcanist of Netheril who took this path to save herself.

She told the party that her goal was to restore the city and that upon restoring the city she would reward the party with gold and magic items. All the way we need to do was to go up to Iriolarthas’ study and retrieve his staff. Using the staff on the obelisk in the city, she could restore the city.

The party agreed and set off to the study.

Crossing a bridge made solely of force, the party encountered yet another curiosity: a being made of magic that introduced itself as Everlast, who was created by Iriolarthas himself to help with restoring the city. When the party told them of Veneranda’s plan, he cautioned them that the obelisk was broken and that it may not work.

Seeing the entry into the tower above, the wizard cast fly on the paladin/barbarian who promptly flew up to the door above, opened it, and checked inside.

What he saw was not the entryway was covered in a dome made of some sort of force. Beyond that was a room with only one exit guarded by two sword like objects floating in front of it that seem to be made out of darkness itself. Above the doorway, there was a crystal, glowing and loose in its fitting.

Causing a loud boom, the crystal deactivated, and the party prepared for battle against the black blades. Due to their ranged attack abilities and the flying dwarf paladin/barbarian, the party made short work of them.

Proceeding further, the party came to a series of eight doors in a row before them. Each held a sigil of one of the schools of magic.

Opening two different doors (transmutation and evocation) the party was met with pure darkness and an attack by a pair of barbed devils!

Dispatching them, the party read the inscription above, and realized that they must speak the title and name of one of Iriolarthas’ eight apprentices of their chosen school of magic. Doing so, the party came to a room with eight chairs in a semicircle, in front of which was a sparkling and glittering starscape.

Deciding to look around, the party found a crumbled library, where the party found a scroll of the comet as well as instructions on how to enter Iriolarthas’ study.

Looking at the chairs, the wizards sat in chairs of their chosen school (Vellyn and the gnome wizard), and one of the party who had drank of the chalice back in the academy. Before them opened a portal.

Heading in, the party was met with what was undoubtedly Iriolarthas’ study, with Iriolarthas the demilich floating above his personal library, watching them, along with three nothics.

The party explored the room, the gnome wizard eager to see what he could find. Seeing a few vials of valuable powder, Iriolarthas’ staff of power, his spell book, and another yet unknown scroll, the wizard swept them all into his bag of holding, whereupon Iriolarthas and the nothics attacked.

The paladin/barbarian, with another fly spell upon him, engaged Iriolarthas, hammering him with all his might and using his smite ability. The demilich harassed the party with ability after ability, at one point knocking the wizard unconscious.

Will the party prevail over the demilich? Will they be able to help Veneranda restore Netheril?

Tune in next week to find out!

Don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss our awesome content, and hit that like button if you enjoyed my game summary!

Until next time, Dear Readers…

Current Projects

Dear Readers,

I apologize if there has been a serious lack of substantive content in recent history, but I’ve been feeling really under the weather especially after my short vacation. No I don’t have anything serious, just a cold combined with allergies.

That said I have some updates on some things I’ve been working on.

First up is our Monk. There needs to be some things done to fix her, not the least of which is trying to figure out how to keep her feet from falling off. She’s been… delicate, to say the least.

Next up we have our old boy Acererack.

He’s been interesting to work on, as I am constantly feeling like I primed him the wrong color. Considering that I’m using a shade of black as the color of his robe, but it is a different black than the black that I am using to color his robe, it has been… frustrating.

That said, he’s coming along nicely, if not slowly.

Next, I have been working on my Tuesday group campaign adventure. As I have a number of my players from Tuesdays read this blog, I can’t show you what I’ve been doing exactly, but suffice to say that the next part of their current adventure is done being written and the associated map is completed as well. I am very excited about this.

Lastly, as you all know, Sundays are the days that I run Adventurers League. We are currently having some DM turnover, due to scheduling and other issues, so I have been trying to get new DMs trained and prepped to run.

Add insult to injury, and my MS is starting to flare up again. I don’t think I am in a full-blown relapse, but it seems on the horizon, and I am desperately trying to maintain my stress-management to keep it at bay as long as possible.

For those unaware, I have Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis. It takes a lot out of me most days, so when you aren’t seeing me post out of the blue, you know why. It has an effect on my physical and mental health; the struggle is real, y’all.

Well, that’s enough from me! You all have a wonderful day, and I’ll see you tomorrow with another installment of Rime of the Frostmaiden!

Until next time, Dear Readers…

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TGAPP: Battle of Borest

We find the majority of the Inglorious Ingrates cradling and licking their wounds after their improvised assault on the goblin barracks in Borest. After it was all said and done, they realized they had killed over 8 goblins and a warg that spoke common, and the corpses were arranged to give the other goblins the impression this was a scene of in-infighting. The group had slunk back to the Grey Lantern Inn all the while keeping an eye out for the goblin response to the situation at the barracks, but the group did not have to wait long. By the evening, the goblins began searching every house to find evidence of dissident factions brewing the village, but luckily the party was not subject to further interrogation. However, this development only further pushed the band of companions to accelerate their town revolt as Idris proceeded to send a short message to the mayor: “AT DAWN!”

As the night came and went, the group arose before dawn and proceeded to arm themselves with the loot gathered from the dead goblins. Seeking to draw attention to themselves, the adventures walked down the main thoroughfares of Borest without making the effort to hide their illegal weapons, and their efforts were rewarded as the sun began to rise. They were welcomed by a small contingent consisting of two well-equipped goblin lieutenants, two goblins on wargs, and six regular goblins who proceeded to question the obviously more well equipped humans standing in the middle of the town. Their questions were answered by an arrow from Gye.

While the party was greatly outnumbered by the goblins, the ramshackle revolters were able to hold their own and inspire the weary villagers to initiate their revolt. A few members of the party were able to spot an organized goblin army responded to the revolt, but the numbers of the villagers slightly overwhelmed the goblin threat. Once the Ingrates finished off the last of the goblin leadership, they joined the main fray and quickly finished off the last of the goblins in town. After it was all said-and-done, less than a handful of villages perished in the revolt, but the goblin occupation was far from lifted.

After a short rest, Arkon called in his favor to the town mayor, so the mayor proceeded to organize a breakthrough force to help the Inglorious Ingrates escape the town perimeter and assault the main goblin encampment. As the villagers occupied the sprig perimeter guards, the party was able to dash pass the perimeter. Guided by Arkon, the group continued onward to the main goblin forces in the hopes of freeing the town and reacquiring their gear…

Will they vanquish the goblins? Will they end the torment of Borest? Find out next week…

Rime of the Frostmaiden: Facing the Frostmaiden

The party, when last we left off, was facing off against a ginormous blue toad-like creature with giant claws on each of its hands: a slaad. After their usual tactic of withering ranged fire followed up by the paladin/barbarian smashing its knees in with his maul the beast was made short work of.

Moving inward into the Observatory, the party found nothing on the ground floor, and moved onward upstairs to a curious sight: a green slaad tinkering with a large telescope, totally ignoring them.

As the party was here only to read the inscription, the party read the inscription and left, leaving well enough alone.

On their way to the next tower, the party saw that the force field that had been surrounding the central spire was now gone.

The party then heard a voice, a whispering, cold voice, telling them to leave the city now, or they would face her wrath. Having learned that the Frostmaiden, Auril herself, was in Ythryn, the party decided to find a place to face her, thinking that the museum would be a good place, once the nothics inside were dealt with.

The party heard the footsteps of many coming their way right after the fight…too soon.

It was then that a small horde of cold-walkers, undead with a cold and blinding light coming from their faces, came shambling inside the building. As the party began facing them, it was then that the ranger found Auril behind him!

Auril in her 1st form…

The fighting was fierce, and only timely healing from the cleric, judicious use of fireball from the wizard, constant movement by the ranger/rogue, and the use of the paladin/barbarian’s lay on hands ability to cure the blindness caused by the cold walkers kept the party going.

The party leveled their attacks at the Frostmaiden, finally bringing her down into a melted puddle…or so they thought, as a flurry of snowflakes revealed her second form!

Auril (Second Form)

The party fought hard, the ranger/rogue and the rouge/fighter being trapped inside of a crystal of ice by the Frostmaiden, leading, eventually, to the ranger’s death.

The party fought on, dishing out as much as they were getting, finally destroying this form, only to have a giant floating crystal appear some distance above them! Auril, it seemed, had many forms, and the party realized with horror that it would be difficult to defeat a goddess…

Swearing vengeance and their destruction, Auril departed, leaving the party to rest and recuperate from their wounds.

Where will the party go from here? Will they continue on to the central spire in order to find something to finally defeat the Frostmaiden? Stay tuned for next week to find out!

Until next time, Dear Readers…

P.S. – I am going on a short vacation with my sons beginning tomorrow, so there won’t be a post until Thursday at the earliest.

Thanks for your understanding while I take this much needed break!

TGAPP: The Plight of Borest

We find our merry band of former slaves sailing freely away from the doomed island on a burial ship containing the pirate king’s deceased son and a large amount of sacrificial treasure. While badly wounded and traumitized by their experience on the island, the group still sought to return to their homes, so they set sail for the mainland while healing their wounds. After a few days out on sea, the group finally spotted cherished land as the dark evening overtook the sky, and they were able to find a beach to approach and unload their tired selves and newly acquired riches. The goliath, Arkon, felt compelled to send the deceased prince to a final flaming rest, so the group loaded the extra equipment up onto the boat, lit a funeral pyre, and pushed the boat out to sea.

Soon after the funeral rites had been performed, the group proceeded to hunt and set up camp in the nearby forest, and they all proceeded to take loose watch turns. Soon into the first watch, the exhausted party found itself waylaid by over three dozen goblins and wargs, and rather than fight, the party agreed to be taken into shackles once more. All of the world posessions were stripped from them immediately, and they were pushing into a cart where they met a Jopranie Quid, a traveling merchant who was ambushed along his trade route. They waited and schemed as best they could while chained to the wagon heading to once again an unknown and uncertain future.

By the following the day, the group was commanded by several goblins to get off the cart in the little farming town of Borest, and the members were further ordered to go to the Grey Lantern Inn to find work in the town. Upon their arrival to the inn, the group was introduced to owner Angela Surestout who promptly gave them the history of the town’s enslavement by the goblins. The group also made acquitances with a tabaxi cleric by the name of Musie who also wished to see the end of this town’s enslavement. The group decided they needed to gather more intelligence on the matter before they would act, so they would decide to obey and observe the goblins in the meantime.

Angela further asked Avery to help break up her daughter, Sarah, and a village boy that Angela did not have an high opinion of because the boy sought to take Sarah to a nearby city to start a different life from the one in Borest. The company also talked with the mayor of Borest to discovered the goblins were stealing a portion of the crops and taking to their likely base of operations away from the town. The mayor further divulged that their were mystical powers afoot around the town edge as several villagers had attempted to leave, but others found the attempted runaways as bloody shreds little to no ideas as what caused their deaths!

Arkon, the goliath babarian, was the boldest of the party as he was able to convince several goblins he was ordered to accompany them and offload the wagon filled with the harvested crops. The tiefling wizard, Dacryia, spotted Arkon’s deception, and attempted to follow them in without being noticed. While Arkon and the food wagon exited the town’s perimeter without troubles, Dacyria soon found out what was preventing the people from escaping the town, for she soon found herself facing off against several wooden sprigs. After a brief exchange with the creatures, Dacyria soon retreated back into the town perimeter after receiving several mortal wounds.

In the meantime, Arkon taken several miles to a place that was likely the goblin’s main camp outside Borest. He offloaded the wagon near the place where he spotted the party’s equipment stored, and he was even able to sneak away with one of the wands the group had found on the island. After his work was complete, he was ordered back into the wagon and returned back to Borest. By the time he returns to the village, it is getting past sundown when the party regroups to discuss their findings and the next path forward. The group decided they would start killing several goblins off in the hopes of finding what gives the goblins free passage in and out of the town while also arming themselves to fight them.

Arkon impulsively acts on this new plan by going out to the latrine area for the goblins, and he proceeds to kill two of them and hides their bodies in the defecation station. He is joined by Dacryia and Musie who attempt to leave the village while wearing amulets all containing the same feature worn by all the goblins: a human skull with a blade plunged down through it with a ruby atop the pommel. No sooner then the trio approached the perimeter, they found themselves face-to-face with the sprigs which also alerted a goblin riding a warg to the fray. The group was able to slay the goblin-warg duo and several sprigs, but more sprigs appeared to take their fallen bretheren’s place. Thus, the party returned to the inn with newly acquired knowledge and weaponry.

Having sensed they had out-stayed their welcome, the group devised a new strategy the next morning. Idris, the half-elf pirate, spoke with the mayor, and with magical inspiration convinced the mayor that the town ought to rebel against the outnumbered goblins come tomorrow at dawn. Soon after their meeting, the goblins arise to round up several villagers likely to interrogate and find the culprits behind their goblin allies’ demise. In the confusion, Avery attempted to disguise herself as a goblin, but she soon realized she would have a hard time acting the part since she did not understand the goblin language. She retreated back to the inn and removed her disguise, but unfortunately, a goblin lieutenant witnessed this transformation and assaulted her. She was swiftly knocked out, but luckily Dacyria, Musie, and Idris were able to the goblin under a magical sleep spell. They proceeded to drag his body into the inn, and attempted to murder the goblin. After a slight tussle, the group was able to finish the creature off, but the commotion caused several other goblins to come investigate.

Musie and Avery tried to play off the recent commotion as an attempt to murder Dacyria, but at the same time, Musie and Avery revealed their cleric healing abilities which caused the goblins to chain them up and drag them out the inn. The goblin guards proceeded to drag the two clerics to the goblin barracks in town with orders to heal any wounded goblin they brought. At the same time, Arkon had gone off to seek more armaments when he stumbled upon a lonely hut on the outskirts of Borest. As fate would have it, the goliath barbarian happened upon a ring hid under a rock outside the hut, and he proceeded to put it on his finger. Shortly afterwards, the town mayor came to talk with Arkon, and the mayor quickly questioned the origin of the ring. After a little persuasion by Arkon, the mayor revealed that he was being blackmailed by a woman claiming to bear his child after a night he could not remember. Arkon proceeded to perform a simple goliath ritual to divine that the mayor was the victim of a love potion, and a short investigation of the hut revealed the woman had no such child belonging to the mayor.

The goliath soon gave the ring back to the mayor in exchange for a favor, and he returned to town to find Musie and Avery being placed in the goblin barracks. The goliath corned and made short work of the goblin guards, and he and the others proceeded to arrange the bodies as if though they had killed one another. However, their plan went awry when several more goblins with a warg also appeared. The group at the barracks soon fought the reinforcements with the assistance of Idris and Gye who happened upon the barracks in search of Avery and Musie. In the fray, Gye revealed a new side as she proceeded to charge the warg in a blood crazed frenzy. Once again very luckily, the party was able to dispatch the goblins and set the bodies as if though the goblins had been fighting amongst themselves.

The stranded members returned the inn with fresh and deep wounds from their recent fray, but they had now accelerated their course towards freeing the town from the goblin rule… will they succeed? Can they discover the source of the sprig monsters trapping the village and its people? Find out next week!

How to DM: DMing Kids

As many of you may have read, I have an affinity for kids. I, myself, have a number of them. I love kids.

When I began Adventures League where I used to live, it was really just to get my kids out of the house to give my wife a break (we didn’t have any really young kiddos back then). We had an adventure we played at the new game store in town and we had a good time.

Then they (there were 5 of them total back then) began inviting a couple of friends.

Then they invited some more. So I had one of the teens take over DMing for the new kids that were coming. So we had two tables. And then my middle school son invited a few friends. And then we had three tables. But who would take the table of middle schoolers?

There was only one option that would be able to handle both players new to the game and young enough to need lots of patience: me.

Most of them came at the very end of Tomb of Annihilation. They were there for the end and wanted to play in their own adventure. I had been preparing for weeks in anticipation of the new season. It would be Waterdeep: Dragon Heist.

Dear Readers, the adventures that followed were nothing short of a total blast to DM. The kids thought outside of the box, coming up with solutions to problems that most veteran players I have played with would never have thought of. They played very carefully at first, then decided to just play and let the dice truly decide their fates.

I’ve told the story of Greg the Cabbie, and this was that group. It was absolutely epic.

So how do you DM younger players? Easy:

1) Give them free reign to come up to creative solutions to obstacles. Kids, especially ones new to the game, see things much differently than most adults and even older teens. Encourage this!

2) Encourage the shy or quiet players to speak up and engage in the story. These kids often end up being the most vocal and outgoing players in the long run. Go out of your way to ensure these players are heard and get a say in the group.

3) Make it a positive experience, even when things go horribly wrong for their characters. It can be hard when things go wrong, especially when the dice are particularly cruel that day. Keep things light and laugh at your own rolls to show them it’s okay for bad rolls to happen.

4) Encourage role playing. A lot. This should go without saying, but this helps them develop as a player probably moreso than anything else.

5) Encourage character development and growth; this goes for the players as well, and praise them for it! New and younger players get a lot of satisfaction out of watching and seeing their characters grow, all the while they grow as players. It makes a DM proud to see this, trust me.

6) Reward good role playing, cool moments, and creative solutions that work with DM inspiration. Enough said.

7) Have patience. Lots of it. This one cannot be stressed enough. Kids can be loud, rowdy, and rambunctious. They can get easily sidetracked and distracted. Being patient and keeping them on task and focused on the game is your best bet, and they will have a wonderful time.

What do you think, Dear Readers? Do any of you have experience playing with or DMing younger players? Let me know in the comment section below!

Don’t forget to hit that like button and remember to subscribe to make sure you get all of our updates!

Until next time, Dear Readers…

A Hello and Goodbye

First off, Dear Readers, I am not leaving the blog! Continue reading for my explanation.

A few years ago, I moved to my current location from another state. When I left there, I had been running a small, but successful Adventures League in my local (and, really, only) game store, and had a really cool Dad’s D&D group consisting of dads of kids that played in my Adventures League.

This past weekend, one of these dads, whom I was close to, was traveling through the area (actually taking a detour!) to come see our family. The fact is that our sons had become very close friends. Remember the story where I had almost traumatized a bunch of middle schoolers while playing Dragon Heist? His son was the one who threw the d20 up against my DM screen. But I digress.

We hadn’t actually seen each other for 2 years. When the boys got back together, it was like they had never even been apart. It was very similarly for me and my friend. His wife and my wife seem to get along very well, which I was very grateful for.

Today, Dear Readers, is the day they left to continue on their journey. We got to spend a good day and a half with them. We took them to see local sites, my wife and I took the adults to go out to dinner last night we did a fire pit last night where we roasted marshmallows, and we got to play a really good one shot D&D session today.

And it kills me.

For those of you unaware, it’s really hard for adults to make friends. I don’t just mean people you play D&D with, I mean real, actual, close friends. People that share your values and to have been in your home and whose home you have been in.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore the people in the groups that I play with. I get along really well with all of them. For some of them, I have been in their homes, and for those people I do count them as friends.

Friends like this gentleman however, are a rare breed.

So why am I riding this post? What’s the point?

When you make those friendships, specially when you bond over something as social and cool as a tabletop game, foster those friendships and keep them alive and thriving. Enjoy the time that you have around the game table with the people you get to play with. Create those stories that you will be able to tell for years.

We were all so excited when they came to visit, and as they left, it felt like they had just gotten here. I guess it is true that they had, and I am extremely grateful for the time we were able to spend together.

I guess I just didn’t know how much I miss my friend.

Nowadays, there are many ways to maintain friendships over a game table and I know for my part, I intend on using that to be able to play and maintain that friendship.

Thanks for listening, Dear Readers. You all really are amazing.

Until next time…

How-To DM: Improvisation

Dear Readers, as you may have seen, my Tuesday group has begun a new campaign, calling themselves the Inglorious Ingrates.

You may have seen our Wednesday staff writer, Brandon, who does our “Player’s Perspective” post, writing about their new exploits. If you did not know, by the way, we are starting that group as a podcast to be released when we finally get Your Dork Materials launched in September/October of this year. If you become a premium subscriber here, however, you will get a preview of our episodes, upwards of 4-5 months in advance!! I promise that it will be worth the $5 per month premium subscription.

Okay, enough putting in a plug for our video channel and our premium subscriber content. Back on topic.

As I said, I mentioned my Tuesday campaign to say this: you cannot believe how much improvisation I have had to do in just the first two sessions. I’m not counting anything that happened before the party got to Borest (there will be a session Zero episode released that details part of what happened before the party was captured and taken to Borest; Brandon has written of these accounts), although there was some improvisation done then.

As he hasn’t written up his “Player’s Perspective” yet (he was absent the actual first session post the island adventure that happened before they became adventurers, but he’s going to write a mega-post for next week!), I will do my best not to spoil anything.

The long and the short of it is this: the party was captured by goblins and imprisoned within a town, along with other travelers and the townsfolk. They were left to decide how, when, and where to proceed.

In the adventure, which I wrote, there was outlined several options which the party would likely take to get out of the situation.

Option 1: Wait it out. This would only work for so long before the goblins would start killing townsfolk to force them to work harder (the town was being forced to continue their agricultural work, but for the benefit of the goblins for reasons unknown). This group would never take this option, really. Wait for a day and watch, sure. Not much more than that. And one character did just that.

Option 2: Finding Weapons. This is where things got interesting and comedic. The Goliath in the party, who happens to be a barbarian, decided to find the public latrine. While no one was looking, he pried off several of the boards behind one of the stalls. He waited patiently for a goblin to be using said stall. Hilarity ensued, and two goblins lay dead and buried in a manure pile while their weapons were hidden behind a wood pile. That was just the beginning. I honestly had to improvise the entire thing based on his wacky plan. Who would expect somebody to ambush a bunch of goblins while they are on the pot? This guy did.

Option 3: Begin a Rebellion. This one was really interesting. The mayor, who’s subplot had recently been resolved by the Goliath barbarian (totally by happenstance!), was approached by the bard who talked him into beginning a sort of rebellion. The party realized that there were more people in town then there were goblins. Math followed and it was determined that an acceptable number of townsfolk would perish in order that the town be free. Hey, I never said these guys were truly heroes. Neither are they truly murder hobos. How did he convince the mayor? A bit of role-playing mixed with a casting of the heroism spell. Very well played.

Option 4: Foment Distrust Among the Goblins. This one they did by pure accident while trying to cover their tracks for goblin deaths. For example, after killing two goblins within their makeshift barracks, the party realized a lot of noise was heard. The party began calling out “They’re killing each other!” after arranging the bodies to look like they had been fighting. It was an ingenious plan and their rolls were outstanding.

Option 5: Poison the Food. This one, while technically an option, was not really considered by the party.

Option 6 (and this is where I feel that I show I am an experienced DM): Something Else Crazy. This one is where I had to allow them the space to do what they wanted while I was forced to improvise. Let us consider: what do you do when a player wants to hide a body in a manure pile? What kind of checks do you have them roll? What do you do when a player wants to convince his captors to take him with them to unload the goods at their main hideout? Yeah, this is what I’m talking about.

As dungeon masters, we have to give our players the reins in how they go about completing the tasks and telling the story that we are trying to tell with them together. This means, that we have to be willing to let them take the adventure off the rails.

As I detailed before, a product that I have found useful in this endeavor is The Dungeon Master’s Book of Random Encounters.

Sure, there’s a bunch of random encounters and such inside, but there’s also a couple of tables in there that are much, much, much more useful to me. The tables I am referring to are the random first and last names, the tavern names, and other such things.

When the party asks what the names are of other travelers that have been captured that are in town, as well as what they were or did for a living, I had to have an answer. Guess what? I was easily able to come up with a few names as well as occupations.

Anything that helps us, as dungeon masters, do the improvisational job that we do and are forced to do because of the chaotic nature of players, is well worth the money.

So here are some tips that I have for you on how to improvise better:

  1. Be flexible – a plan is only good until the first encounter.
  2. Be prepared – have tables of random encounters, lists of names, and other such things for when you will undoubtably need them.
  3. Have a plan – at least have an idea as to where you are trying to get the story to go, and let the players figure out how to get there. Players will be players, and letting them try strange and out of the box stuff with a couple of randomly and vaguely tangential DC skill checks, while allowing only those with proficiency to roll, etc…
  4. Roll with it – as #3, but let them do what they do and let the dice fall where they may. Who knows, it might end up being a great story to tell later…

What do you think, Dear Readers? Does this help you prepare your improvisational skills? What did I miss? Let me know in the comment section below, and hit that like button! Also, don’t forget to subscribe to The Blog for future tips, painting updates and techniques, game session overviews, product unboxings, and more!

Until next time, Dear Readers…

P.S. – If you choose to buy something via one of our affiliate links, it goes to supporting our site and future content!

Miniature Painting Update: Gye

You may have seen a previous post where I’m working on a female human looking monk. Miniature is a representation of one of my players characters by the name of Gye.

This is where we last left her.

I’ve made some good strides since then. I started working on her girdle and her sash.

As you can see, touch-ups are required.

Much better.

Then I did some extensive work on the orchid on her head.

As you can see, I also did some work on the cord around her waist. That was kind of a beast. I used a burnished gold as I thought that color for the cord would have been a much better fit than something more brightly colored.

Work on the black trim to the road. This really made me angry, as I kept having to go back over areas with white color that I was using, and in touch up the black, then go back with the white, and so on and so forth.

To add insult to injury? The bottom of the mini broke off at the feet. Again. So I had to glue that back on. The only thing I have left to do is paint the feet in the base around the feet and then work on the shading and dry brushing. After all that, there will be, of course, a dull coat lacquer to put on the whole bit.

So what do you all think? Do you like how she’s turning out? Hit that like and subscribe to the blog to get updates like these!

Until next time, Dear Readers…

Let’s Talk About Battletech

Dear Readers, I am pretty excited. The Kickstarter for the Battletech: Clan Invasion is supposed to come out in the next few months!

For those who don’t know, Battletech is a tabletop war game, where giant, human-powered robots battle it out on the many worlds colonized by humanity after the 30th century.

One of my favorite tag lines for the game, if I remember it correctly, is “Life is cheap, battlemechs aren’t.”

Personally, I prefer the “classic” Battletech game rules over the Alpha Strike rules, although I would like to learn them for larger scale combat.

For those that are interested in getting into Battletech, there is a beginner rules set available for purchase, with the option to purchase the main game rules an expansion sets of battlemechs.

Look forward in the future for videos for tips on how to play Battletech on our upcoming YouTube channel, Your Dork Materials, as well as miniature painting for the minis right here!

Once I get the Kickstarter, you will be the first to see the unboxing!

Until next time, Dear Readers…