How to DM: Adventure Writing

Last time, I wrote about running games as the best way to learn how to DM. And while that is true, you will eventually want to turn one of your cool ideas into an adventure or an ongoing campaign. Let me clarify some definitions for you:

Adventure: a one or more session story with a definitive beginning and end.
Campaign: a series of adventures with an overall story or plot-line, linking the adventures together, even by way of “We are just seeking one adventure after another” (what I like to call an “episodic” campaign, as there is no overarching story, with the adventures being more like episodes of an 80’s action show)

Today I am going to write about adventure planning. Most folks and even the Dungeon Master’s Guide will tell you to plan small and work your way bigger. That’s cool an all, and I get that, but I don’t do that. At the beginning, I told you that I would give you my methods, so that’s what I am going to do.

I start with deciding what kind of adventure I am going to run.

There are several types according the the Dungeon Master’s guide (Chapter 3, beginning on page 71), which they label as Location-based (like a dungeon, castle, or other such place where things happen based on rooms or other such locations), event based (the villain stole the king’s royal crown or there is a crime spree happening throughout the hamlet the Player Characters are travelling through and they are blamed), mystery (the party is invited to a party and the host is found dead, or a strange creature is found terrorizing the townsfolk in the middle of town and nobody knows where it came from), or intrigue (the party is sent as a diplomatic envoy to the elven nation they are at war with, or the king is trying to name a royal successor, and a local noble wants the party’s help to get them named over the other prospects). Some can be a combination of two or more types, or even all four!

Think I can’t do it? I’m coming up with this on the fly as I write, but here it goes: the king has agreed to bestow a fiefdom upon anyone who can find out why an ancient temple (location-based) mysteriously (mystery) rose out of the ocean off of the coast of his kingdom. The party must race to solve the mystery before another adventuring party (event-based as things each party does can effect the other, even within the temple), hired by one of the corrupt nobles in the king’s court, hoping to curry favor with the king in order to be gain standing with the royal household (intrigue).

Don’t like it? I came up with it on the fly. If you think of something better, put it in the comments below. The best idea gets a shoutout next week from me.

In any case, after I figure out what type of adventure I am running, I begin outlining.

Yes, outlining. That is that skill you may have learned as far back as 5th or 6th grade that your teacher said would be important? That.

So, what are we outlining? The adventure, of course! A before, a beginning, a middle, and an end.

Now, since this is can be so daunting, I recommend using a template to help you along. Personally I use this one here (with a BIG thank you to the Welsh Piper for coming up with it!). Let’s take a look at it and you can see why I love it for adventure planning. There are others available online, but I really like this one so that’s what I will use for our example.

Let’s start from the top and work our way down, shall we?

See that grey box? I use that to put in the adventure name. If I know what I’m calling it, based on some theme or such that I’m making in the adventure, I’ll put it there. If not, I’ll leave it blank until the end.

Next we have “Hook.” This is the thing that gets the party interested in the adventure. Unless the adventure hinges on a specific hook (like, “A man walks into the tavern you are at carrying a sea chest, dressed as a sailor, limping on a cane, and falls unconscious as he enters!” or something similar), you can leave this blank for now. We’ll come back to it.

The next is the background and end goal. This is where we answer the question as to what happened before the party got involved in this particular narrative and leading up to the problem to be solved. Remember, D&D is a cooperative story-telling game! If you treat this like telling a story, it becomes much easier. And like we said earlier, a story has a beginning a middle, and an end. The only difference is that an adventure has background to give the antagonist (the “badguys” or other sort of adversaries, who may or may not be “bad” but whose goals are opposed to, in some way, the party’s goals) a reason for doing what they do.

As an example, let’s say your adventure is about exploring a dungeon. At this point you have to ask yourself: why was the dungeon built? Was it built to protect something like treasure or a specific item? Was it made to keep people away from something, like a dangerous magic item or to lock away a dangerous monster? Maybe it is a long forgotten tomb of an ancient wizard. This is all called background. This is otherwise known as everything that happened before the adventurers showed up.

In addition to this, this box is for including what the and goal for the adventurers should be. Should they destroy the ancient evil found beneath? Should they free whatever is trapped inside? Should they find all the treasure? Whatever it is, this is the end goal for the party of adventurers who will be playing this adventure.

The next box is the rewards. This isn’t the box to put down all of the individual treasures that the party will receive at the end, but to generalize. is the reward the everlasting friendship of the Duke whose son they rescued? Is it the treasure that they will get from slaying the dragon? Maybe it is information leading to another adventure. The possibilities here are endless but dependent on the type of adventure you’re going to run (as discussed earlier).

The epilogue is where I generally put how, if it is a campaign, the overarching villain or story runs as a result of what the party does. Even if it’s not a campaign, depending on how the party performs or what their actions are, towns can be on fire, dungeons can be collapsed, and all sorts of other, either positive or negative, consequences can happen as a result of the parties involvement in the adventure.

For the next section, You build the encounters that the party will have throughout the adventure. How do they get from point A to point B? If this is location-based, it is easy to number each of the rooms in the dungeon, Castle, whatever, and put whatever monster, trap, or other such obstacle down for each encounter. Of course, there are only eight slots on the sheet. This is why this is a template and not necessarily an all encompassing worksheet. This section, with eight encounters, is much better for encounter based adventures. It could also work well for mystery adventures or intrigue adventures (which, In my opinion, our types of encounter-based adventures). I simply write in the encounter and what sorts of things happen within the encounter. A short summary works just fine.

Now, as I may or may not have said, I play Dungeons & Dragons 5e. The specific columns under the “Foes” section don’t really mean much to me. For me, I write out what and how many of each monster or NPC is for each encounter.

I will discuss encounter building another time, but suffice it to say that this is where I list out the monsters, if any, for each encounter, numbered as per the encounters above.

You may notice that there is a large grid area on the top right corner of the sheet. If there is any significant locations or possibly even the map of the dungeon can be drawn up here. Personally, I like to draw larger maps on graph paper and attach it to the sheet, with a particularly significant encounter area in this corner grid area (just a note, you can download one with hex instead of grid if you prefer that sort of thing).

Look back over your sheet, now that you have everything filled in. Congratulations, you have your adventure planned out!

You’ll notice that, in addition to not discussing creating encounters, I haven’t discussed describing rooms. I intend on covering that in another post as well.

In the mean-time, revel in the fact that you have, in fact, just created your first adventure!

The Tuesday Chacters

Due to a family emergency, I was unable to run my table as normal this week, so I have an alternative post. Enjoy!

I’ve realized that I’ve done a considerable amount of describing this and that without talking about the individual players. This is mostly on purpose, as I value my players’ privacy.

That said, their characters are fair game. I will be dividing the characters into former and current.

Former: Iul the gnome war caster wizard (dropped due to school), Percell the druid (spore)/cleric (dropped due to table swap), Halen the elven divination wizard (dropped due to family issues), Calvin the human Ranger (dropped due to work schedule), Moe Spots the tabaxi swashbuckler rogue (dropped to DM another table), and Gra’ Kel the half-orc barbarian (dropped due to work schedule).

Current: Dexter the tabaxi blood hunter/sorcerer, Gram-gram the dwarven cleric/warlock, Severn the human paladin, the dragonborn sorcerer, the shadow Monk, and the kobold wizard.

Yes, there are names I can’t remember right now. My bad.

In any case, the party began with all of the former, but included Severn, then became the current over a month’s time, about the time August came around.

I really hate Covid, you know?

How To: Painting Minis

Before I begin, I want to say that I know, for some of you, the idea of taking the blank canvas of a miniature, and turning it into some sort of amazing piece of gamecraft that you are proud of is a truly daunting task.

I get that. I really do.

If you are not one of those people, I envy you. I am on the former.

Looking at a blank miniature, even worse, one that doesn’t even have primer on it, can be daunting as all can be. There are days I don’t even know how to begin! But don’t worry, today I’m going to talk to you about how to prep for painting minis.

Like most things relating to D&D, and dungeon mastering for that matter, It all boils down to your state of mind.

“But Daily DM,” you might say. “I get all anxious when even looking at blank miniatures.” So did I random reader. But you want to know how I got over that? I had, what you could call, a miniature hoarding problem. I have, literally, hundreds of miniatures. Easily half those have never had paint touch them. The worst part is that 2/3 of those actually have primer on them, as they either came pre-primed, or I’ve actually taken the time to prime it.

For me, especially since I have nothing better to do between blog posts, I have decided to paint. And paint I will do. I was discussing this very concept with a good friend of mine, whom I will call “A.”

“A” said something particularly profound. He said, “A blank miniature is like a placeholder. It’s not until you put paint that it develops a story.” Like I said, profound.

Do you know what I did, when I made the decision that my miniatures needed painting? I sat down, I prepared my tablespace, and I began to paint. Now, I won’t say my first attempt was great. I won’t say it was perfect. In fact, the shading job I did on it was pretty shoddy. Am I happy with the job I did overall? Absolutely. I painted a miniature. Granted, I still have to paint the base, but that’s fine. I’ll get to that eventually. What’s important is that the miniature itself has been given life, so to speak.

You may remember me having posted this before. As you can see, I could have done a better job with the shading. Oh well. But this is what I want you to turn your attention to: I put a lot of heart and soul into that miniature. The level of detail on the shield, the detail on the armor, the detail on the gloves and the sword. Here’s the back of it:

See the detail of the back of the shield, the detail of the dagger on the hip. The part where I’m apparently do not touch up the boot and dripped a little paint onto the boot. The detail of the hair.

Now, I’m not trying to brag by any means. I know that there are many people who could have done a better job than I did. But, it was the first miniature I had painted in over 25 years. And even then, I was too intimidated to consider the idea of painting a miniature in full. I had a half a dozen primed miniatures lying around. Most of them painted with gloss paint. I don’t prefer that any longer.

So what did I do? I stripped every single miniature that I had previously done that wasn’t completed, and I began planning on repainting it. I’ll show you some as I get them done. This particular one was just an old pewter mini that I had inherited from my dad’s collection. He looked like he needed to be painted. And so, I took the better part of an hour or two and painted him.

So when I talk about how to paint a mini, you have to get in the right headspace. The headspace that says: it is okay not to get it perfect the first time. It’s okay to do it badly the first time. I mean, seriously, have you ever been picked up anything and been perfect at it the first time? You’re likely answer is no. So give yourself enough grace to be able to paint without judging yourself before you’ve even begun.

If you are really and truly worried, pick up something easy, or relatively easy, to paint. Like a pack of spiders or a gelatinous cube or something of that nature which doesn’t require a whole lot of paints but can still be very fun to throw down on. The idea is that you just start painting.

Now, if I get some requests to do more, I’ll do a couple of posts on my process for painting miniatures as I post pictures of the miniatures I’ve painted.

So you all around!


Just a reminder, you don’t have to be a continuous patron on our Patreon page to buy our merch. You can support us by buying a sticker, coffee mug, t-shirt, or hoodie, or whatever else is up there. First person to send me a picture with a piece of merch look at a free miniature painted by myself!*

That said, I have a wonderful graphic artist working on a new logo. Once I have that, all of my merch will change, so get your “vintage” DDMB logo merch while you can!

*I will need an address to send it to you…

Sunday League

Okay, folks, I can’t make this stuff up…

Everything started pretty normal, right? They continued from the strange room with the illusionary walls, behind one of which was a secret door that the kenku rogue found. Travelling further, they see a set of stairs going down.

Deciding that they had gone far enough and needed to make good on their deal with the fairy dragon, they headed back to the portal that would lead them to the castle.

Still, everything normal.

Gathered in the castle portal room, the kenku opens the door to see a skeletal human with robes floating in the hallway, looking at them. “Oh, look. A party of adventurers…” he purrs. “How…fun…” he says as he casts power word stun on the rogue. Initiative begins, and the party whispers/says/shouts an expletive as I write on my small board lich in the initiative order. Maddgoth came home to his castle, and was not happy to find intruders. The lich went first. The lich was in his lair. The lich has three legendary actions each round.

Now, trying to do a play-by-play of their encounter would be nearly impossible, but here is the summation of what happened:

The party wizard realized, via History check, that this was, indeed, Maddgoth, who is a serial killer, and his favorite targets are wizards. In fact, it is said that his desk and chair are made of the lacquered spellbooks of his victims. Lovely.

Maddgoth casts a spell, and the wizard cast counterspell on it, making the check!! Maddgoth was not…shall we say…pleased with the wizard. The party opens the portal. The party attempts to retreat through the portal. Magdoth used his paralyzing touch ability to paralyze the monk. The kenku, getting unstunned, grabs the monk and retreats through the portal. The wizard is the only one left, and Maddgoth cast finger of death on him, killing him instantly, then follows the party through the portal. The party try running, and the kenku, still carrying the monk, runs right into the lich, who somehow appeared in front of him. The lich cast power word kill killing the kenku, and then left the monk to deal with the rest of the party, who ran right into the lich. The party runs right into the lich and turns around. The lich casts fireball a few times, nearly wiping the party. Repeatedly. The party tries to go back through the portal (at this point, only the tortle cleric), only to find that the door the lich came through is shut and the wizard is laying dead. The cleric casts revivify bringing the wizard back. They head back into the portal, where the rest of the party is bleeding out, dead, dominated, or fighting with the dominated party member. Maddgoth comes into the room casting fireball.

This is where things get…interesting.

The dwarf barbarian is raging. Every time Maddgoth fires off an area of effect spell, if the barbarian succeeds, due to his taking half damage from raging, he ends up taking half of that damage, bringing the total down to a quarter. It nearly saved the party.

The damage from the fireball spell brought the barbarian out of being dominated. Good deal. The cleric tried to run back through the portal to find a squad of 8 mezzoloth with spears coming at him. Deciding that dying by lich is more preferable, he walks back through the portal.

At this point, the lich is getting hacked on by the dwarf. A lot. The dwarf is hitting actual critical hits repeatedly. Frankly, I was very impressed.

That all said, it was a losing battle with the lich, as he was just too powerful, and the party perished. Or did they?

They had brief visions of waking up in individual coffin-like containers with connectors on themselves, and then darkness.

Upon waking, they found themselves in their room at the Yawning Portal Inn. After trying to figure out what happened, they go downstairs to find the infamous Portal bricked up!

Something was not adding up.

After trying to talk to Durnan, the proprietor, the barbarian realized something wasn’t right and informed the party. Turning to confront Durnan, they see him sitting on the bar.

“Hmm…you figured it out sooner than most groups…” he began.

Realizing that they were in some sort of weird illusiory Matrix-like thing, the party demanded to be let out. The entity only agreed after getting the party to agree to several things:

  1. Helping the fairy dragon at Maddgoth’s castle as this helps them help him
  2. Eliminate the Githyanki on level 16
  3. Eliminate the Githyanki on level 17

After this, he says, still masquerading as Durnan, he will let them have safe passage through his domain on level 17, although if they make it that far, he will be asking another favor when they get there and meet in person. The party agreed.

Everything went black for the party and they found themselves back in the portal room in Maddgoth’s castle. Locating the homunculus they agreed to eliminate, they were offered, by the homunculus, to kill the fairy dragon, which was tormenting it and trespassing in its master’s castle. The party decided to kill the homunculus, and then loot the castle.

The party then made out like bandits, finding and destroying Maddgoth’s chair and desk, made of captured spellbooks, as well as several rubbings of a stone spell page from a statue of Maddgoth who was holding a spellbook open to a Mordenkainen’s Sword spell.

Heading back to the surface and selling their loot, the party planned on their next jaunt into the depths of Undermountain…

Saturday Home Game

For reference: my Saturday game is my family game.

The party, having finish taking care of some bandits trying to steal the Duke’s coin molds capturing the leader, proceeded on to a port city having troubles with an alleged ghost ship.

The party, deciding to follow up on this based on the level of reward of 1,000 gold pieces each, looked around for a survivor of the ghost ship attacks. The survivor they found was a man who drank much ale and did not have a whole lot of information that was useful to the party.

Deciding that the reward made things worth it anyways, the party hired a ship set sale looking for this alleged ghost ship.

It wasn’t long and their voyage when the ghost ship attacked.the party fought a tough fight and found it on that these alleged undead were bleeding upon being struck and dropped from the attacks the party was doling out. The fight was hard one but the party came out on top. Having collected the treasure and taking a prisoner, the party said that sale with their new magical submersible ship back to the city of Koll.

You’re going to the heart master and collecting the reward, the Harvard Master was expecting the party to relinquish the ship as recompense for the financial damage that the pirates masquerading as undead had done.

The party argued that the contract did not stipulate that they were to give over any kind of or sort of ship. After threatening violence and deciding to take things to the magister, the party was able to walk away (or sail away, rather) with the ship, but with an edict of banishment for all times from the Port City of Koll.

Setting through the neighboring province, which also happened to be another nation, the party landed in the Port City of Red Fern.

Not long after docking their ship and entering into the market, looking at all the wonderful things offered there, a strange, wing and snake approach them with a scroll to attach to them marked “Open Me.”

Opening the scroll tube, the Party Warlock read aloud the note inside. Some sick and twisted person force the party into a game of finding fireballs frozen in stasis field hitting across the City. The party quickly went to work, solving the cruise, and collecting the crystals housing untold destruction.

Realizing that this city also has the infamous Bruce “Bruiser” Halloway, whom they were responsible for having been arrested in a previous adventure with bandits, the party quickly surmised that this was a distraction to break out Bruce.

Securing the scoundrel and moving him to another secure location, the party finished going after the crystals. After disposing of them into the harbor where it could harm nothing and no one, the party realized that there were eight explosions, and not the seven that they had expected. Realizing that there was a failed jailbreak happening at that moment, the party ran off to apprehend the bandit trying to break out Bruiser.

After some quick thinking from the sorcerer, who put him to sleep with a spell, the party the dude him and turned him over to the authorities. This guard of the favor of the Duke of Red Fern as well as a small reward.

As a capstone to their adventure, the party celebrated in style at the Duke’s estate with a feast.

Why I Am the Forever DM

Yeah, that’s me, the Forever DM. I rarely get to play at a table, and that’s okay. Recently, I had a brief conversation with one of my players after our game session:

Of course, Bubby is his character. His other character, Vaxis is in my monthly game and has the luck of a lodestone.

But I digress.
This is what makes me enjoy DMing. Over the last quarter of a decade that I’ve been DMing, I have had some successful and some…not so successful campaigns. Some of the best long-term games I’ve had were ones that had an engaging story overall, with plenty of opportunities for each character to shine, and me trying to weave the background stories of each player’s character into the narrative.

Would it surprise you to know that I’ve only had a total of five campaigns actually make it to completion (sometimes satisfying for everyone, sometimes bittersweet).

The first was a more episodic campaign that didn’t have an overall story, but was a series of stories strung together. That was from back in high school into early adulthood. It was a great campaign and I had some good players. It predated the dawn of 3rd Edition, and was back when TSR was still a thing.

The second was my (in)famous “Pirate” campaign. That campaign lasted upwards of two years, and actually went from level 1 to 20, and that was back in the 3e/3.5e days. It had a very nautical theme, and I had one player, whose idea it was, as a plant (he was actually playing the sub-BBEG, if you can believe it), who betrayed the party at a penultimate moment in the campaign. Man, the party was both thrilled and totally pissed. I mean, it was that level of betrayal. Imagine, if you will, Luke Skywalker going through the whole series only to have it revealed that Han Solo was the Emperor. It was on that level of betrayal. I could not POSSIBLY have planned that better. It was a one-time campaign that I will never be able to reproduce. So much of it was finding pre-written adventures to string together with the narrative, with storyline in between. Of course, the storyline in between was memorable, but otherwise, it was cool.

The third was my Githyanki Invasion campaign. It was pretty cool, I guess. It was based on a total invasion of the githyanki into the material plane. This was also back in the 3rd Edition days. A lot of good friends, some new some old. Pretty fun with a somewhat satisfying conclusion.

The fourth highlighted the love I had for Dungeon Magazine (I know, I’m dating myself here), and their first full-length adventure path, particularly the Shackled City adventure path. It was easily one of my favorites, with lots of cool locations and highlights. Ended as it should have.

The fifth is my infamous Fallout campaign, using d20 Modern/Future/Apocalypse source books. It ended well, with the Paladin of the Brotherhood of Steel sacrificing himself and the party to stop the BBEG and his army, using a Fatman round rigged to explode when struck against the ground. It was an epic end to an epic campaign. When my family moved away, I received a super mutant Pop! figure signed by all of my players. I still have it proudly displayed in my game room.

I say all of that to say this: I love being the DM. I’m sure many people love playing and I know that many people absolutely hate being DM. Me? I love it. I’m not always great at it. Sometimes I get ahead of myself and don’t take my own advice and I don’t pace the campaign. Sometimes the story I am telling is not as cool on the table as it is in my head.

Despite everything, though, I love it. I love looking at everyone’s various story arcs get resolved, watching the party succeed and flounder, and I love most of all the fact that I can craft something and share it with friends that help make it even better.

Quick announcement: I’ve launched a Patreon in the hopes that, with support, I can expand The Blog and give you more and even better content. I feel I’ve made the awards attractive and I hope to see you all donate!

My Patreon can be found at:

DM Tip: How to DM

So many a DM has shared their processes and tips for this, so I am going to share my own.

Really, it boils down to one thing: run games.

Sure it seems that there is more to it than that, but for new and/or aspiring DMs, my biggest “tip” for you is to actually run games.


Most new DMs will have a great story that they want to tell and will start right out of the bullpen trying to run or write their first adventure module or campaign, starting with the end and having an idea how it begins, but having zero real plans for the in-between. DO NOT FALL INTO THIS TRAP! This rarely works out.

If You have a story you want to tell, if you have a good idea for a campaign, write down some notes about it and hold on to it for later. Trust me.

What you really want to do is find a module that is already been written, known as I published adventure. There are many different sources for this. The first one, of course, are the ones published by Wizards of the Coast. They have a wonderfully large selection. Even better if you can purchase them via D&D Beyond, which is cheaper than buying them hardcover. That and it’s easier to take them with you to read.

Read through the adventure a few times, focusing on the chapter or section that your group of players will likely encounter in a session. Then do it again. And then again. Read over the stop blocks. Then do it again. Then read over the section and the stat blocks. See where I’m going with this?

If you haven’t guessed it, dungeon mastering involves an exorbitantly large amount of reading. Yes, reading. Writing will come later, but reading comes first. I’m not going to say that there aren’t dungeon masters out there that can pick up a pencil and the dungeon masters guide and the monster manual and sit down and write a module. Most of the people that can do those sorts of things have been storytelling coherent narratives for years.

Remember that Dungeons & dragons is a cooperative storytelling game. As a dungeon master, your job is to present the characters with the story that they play out. The more works that you put into the module, the more fun everyone generally has, or so my 25 years of experience with dungeon mastering has shown me. If you think differently, fight me.

In any case, back to the topic at hand: pre-published adventures. The other source that you can find these kind of adventures, even for free for those who are budget conscious, is the DMs Guild website ( They have a wealth of information, to include adventures, new monsters, and short one shots, just to name a few.

Now, there our multiple reasons for running pre-published adventures to start out. The first reason is that it takes the guesswork out of most planning for sessions. All you’d have to do, as I outlined above, is read through the appropriate section a few times to make sure you understand the flow and the general nature of that section of the adventure, and roll with it at game time. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

The second reason is that it exposes you to different kinds and styles of adventure writing. More specifically, it exposes you to how good adventures flow. there are several different kinds of adventures and encounters, all of which you can find in the DM’s Guide. Therefore, I’m not going to outline them here, but having a balanced and buried number of encounters throughout an adventure session is generally considered important for player and DM sanity. This of course assumes that you understand what play style your players want to engage in. Are they the kind that likes to solve puzzles? Give them a few more puzzles than normal. Are they big into role-playing? Give them opportunities to role play, both with each other and with non-player characters. Are they really into kicking down doors and killing monsters and breaking people’s stuff? Give them those Sweet, sweet combat encounters where they can shine. But notice that I’m not saying to give them all one thing or another. People get bored with monotony. Give them a variety still. It’s kind of like your parents telling you that you can’t just eat the main entree, but you have to eat your vegetables. It’s good for a player to have a variety.

The last reason is that, especially for time conscious Dungeon Masters, there’s a lot less work put into preparing your campaign session. I know I’ve touched on this with both of the previous reasons but it cannot be stressed enough how much life can get in the way of session planning. I’ve seen websites, particularly one whose name escapes me for the moment, that posted a how-to guide on Adventure riding and campaign planning in 30 minutes. That is wonderful for experienced dungeon masters, but terrible for new ones. Why, you may ask? because if you don’t have the foundational skill set, one of which is just experience, a lot of that campaign writing counsel is not going to be much use.

The last tip I am going to share for DMing is to actually read the DMs Guide and Player’s Handbook. Now, you don’t have to read it cover to cover, either of them. But you should be at least passingly familiar with the various rules regarding combat and movement and the individual classes and what their abilities are. You don’t even have to read it all at once. These two resources are essential.

Well, those are my tips for Dungeon Mastering for today. I’ll have more tips next week.

Have any comments? Leave them below!

Welcome to DMing…

Tuesday Adult D&D Night

This group is probably the furthest along in any of my campaigns, Sundays aside (mostly because they are tooling around with new characters after finishing Avernus, Lost Laboratory of Kwalish, and then Tomb of Horrors).

They are playing a campaign based on some magical items that I found in an old 2e sourcebook on the Forgotten Realms nation of Netheril: the Nether Scrolls.

Long story short, they sold a magical item that they needed to get into another area of the first place they had explored that began the campaign, which I placed below Old Owl Well.

The party is 6th level and found, via an informer, the man they needed to find was currently residing in Calimshan, particularly in Calimport. Unfortunately, there were no ships in Waterdeep that were traveling directly to Calimport, and therefore had to take a ship to the nearest port, which ended up being the city of Memnon, the city directly north of Calimport, connected by the most southernly section of the Trade Way.

The party found that it would be a four month trip, and so settled in as sailors and guards for the small shipping sailing ship, with the kobold wizard borrowing one of the eponymous Nether Scrolls from their wizard friend Iul, still studying inside the bag of lodging.

About a month into the trip, the ship was attacked by a group of 8 scags (water-dwelling trolls), which the rogue (who was introduced as the ship’s navigator) helped defeat by club hauling the ship to throw off the trolls from the edge of the ship.

After that encounter, the party’s craft watched in the distance as another ship was torn apart by something with large tentacles. The ship opened their sales, and ran for all their worth.

A time later, the lookout spotted an island that appeared to be the same as was on a treasure map that was purchased by the party’s kobold wizard. Going ashore, the party found the treasure, keeping it from the ship’s captain.

Next was the run-in with the kraken priest, demanding the party sacrifice their most treasured items, or be destroyed. The cleric/warlock (we call her a “spicy cleric”) sacrificed a higher level spell scroll, and with the dragonborn sorcerer’s intimidating speech, the kraken priest takes the sacrifice and leaves…for now.

Having seen much, the party’s ship came across a 40′ diameter tree sticking out of the water! Not on any kind of island, but in the middle of the ocean, did they find this tree, its trunk extended as far below the surface as they could see. It had beautiful foliage with some sort of delicious-looking fruit. The party approached the tree, curious as to its origins.

After watching the kobold wizard eat of the tree with seemiy no I’ll effect (or rather, a seemingly good effect, similar to a goodberry), The barbarian, the spicy cleric, and the wizard began gathering the fruit. Simply watched on wary of the strange tree. Upon picking the fruit, the cleric/warlock felt something devastatingly wrong: she lost her connection to her deity. All of her cleric abilities ceased to function. The wizard, angry for his friend, punched the tree causing some sort of curse to befall him.

The three of those who had picked the fruit, began to get more than a little worried. The cleric especially was terrified at what just happened. The Paladin of the group thought on the situation and cast ceremony to allow the cleric to atone for what was clearly an offense to her goddess. The cleric, realizing that this tree must have been sacred to her goddess was determined to follow the counsel of the paladin, which included two days of constant prayer and fasting, both day and night for 48 hours. All three of them began, with the wizard and barbarian both failing, never having had to do this activity before.

After the first day, the cleric determined to complete her atonement, the party spotted a ship in the distance. Only after it was close did they see the flag: the Jolly Roger. They chose to fight instead of running, and found themselves faced with the largest ship they’d seen. It was a massive galleon with a huge crew, and at least 30 ballista pointed their direction. After several attempts by the wizard to destroy the opposing ship with spells like fireball, counterspelled by the pirate ship’s wizard, the party’s new rogue friend (the ship navigator) attempted to parlay, without success.

Seeing no recourse, the party surrendered, and were placed in the brig, the cleric continuing her atonement without ceasing. The barbarian, seeing a single opportunity, placed the bag of lodging down his pants, hoping against hope that they could at least keep that from the pirates and keep their other friends inside safe.

After almost 2 weeks, they felt the ship stop. they were locked into hand and foot medicals chained together between them, other prisoners in the ship’s hold included, all together some 100 people. Seeing an opportunity,

Upon being led out of the hold, the party found themselves in a port city with a hot sun beating upon them above. Yes, they were in Memnon, their destination, but instead of as adventuring, they found themselves headed for the slave market.

Will they escape their circumstances? Will the party recover their gear and get revenge on the pirates that had them enslaved? Only time will tell…

This is the troll I painted yesterday. I was very happy how it turned out, except its warts. I’m thinking of dry brushing them darker. Give me your thoughts in the comments below!

Miniature Painting

So I said that I will, on occasion, do a post and add a picture of a miniature that I have painted. I have a considerable amount of time on my hands, so doing one or two miniatures a week is not that difficult. In fact, I often sit down and complete an entire miniature in a few hours.

Fun times, I know. It relaxes me.

That said, the barbarian that I painted previously was, in my humble opinion, one of my absolute favorite and best works yet. There’s only one piece of work that I enjoyed having completed more than that: a human paladin I did a few months ago in the middle of the quarantine.

This particular mini took considerable amount of time to accomplish and was a pewter mini. I put a considerable amount of detail into the shield and the sword, which I hope you’ve noticed and appreciate. For those interested, I used a dark shader to fill in the gaps in details.

And yes, I know that I did not paint the base. I’m getting to that. Eventually.


Until tomorrow!

Sunday Adventurers League

So our heroes continue to plumb the depths of Undermountain, the massive dungeon that lies below the Yawning Portal, beneath the city of Waterdeep.

Having barely defeating the dreaded Aboleth, our heroes continue on their journey below, coming to the level containing Wyllowwood. After finding a docking port, with an oddly intact rowboat tied up, two party members noticed the boat…moving.

Assuming something sinister, the party’s kenku rogue took a shot at the boat, which roared and revealed itself to be an overly large mimic! After defeating said mimic, with no small help from the party’s dwarven barbarian, the party continued onwards, reaching a large stone bridge, and finding the oddest sight: a large green dragon (usually evil creatures) with a sword embedded in its head. The creature was found to be of good character and good conversation.

The dragon told its story and gave the party directions to one of their goals: reaching an enemy creature to retrieve the second of a pair of boots of elvenkind. Having defeated the werebat goblin that had it in its possession (the goblin being of a mean and evil disposition, and having attacked them first), the party traveled to the next area, which took them two levels below their current location.

The party, after much long travel, heard of clinging and banging as if metal on stone coming from the east. The kenku rogue scouted ahead, finding evidence of stone giants. The party followed and spoke to the first stone giant they met, convincing him that they were no threat. The stone giant told of the laws of being tormented by some unknown entity.

Not soon afterwards, the party experienced this trickery and found that the culprit was nothing more than a fairy dragon named Otto. Convincing the fairy dragon to cease tormenting the poor stone giants, The party found that the fairy dragon needed assistance in hunting a homunculus. Party agreed to go to the nearby underground fortress to assist in destroying a magical item.

During their search of the castle, the party came across a stone portal, which they have realized transports them to other parts of the dungeon. The party, having figured out the key to opening the portal (solving a riddle), Entered into the portal for getting their commitment to the fairy dragon.

Party found an elaborate room, and traveled onwards discovering not much more than secret doors and traps.

One such room held a hole that led down to the next level, containing several incorporeal, and likely dangerous, beings. Deciding that discretion is the better part of our, the party left that location and continued on in their search.

Traveling further, the party ran into several yugoloths, a mezzoloth and a nycanoloth. The battle was hard fought but the party scraped by, defeating their foes. Resting and licking their wounds, the party decided to rest, thus ending our session, the party advancing to the 8th experience level.

Will they be able to find their way further down? It is too soon to tell. Join us next week to see where the party ends up!

About The Blog

So, I’ve tried this sort of thing a number of times, without success. This time, I will be following through (I tell myself!).

Hey, and welcome to my blog. I know it says “daily,” but new content will only come 6 days a week (a guy has to get a break) with two updates on Sundays twice a month.

The whole reason for this blog is to showcase my various D&D campaigns that I run, miniatures I paint, thoughts I have on gaming, etc… There will be overlap as I am running the same campaign twice (Tuesdays and my monthly game), but the players make it interestingly different, so it will be two vastly different campaigns.

My campaigns are as follows:

1) Twice a month: my home/family campaign, an episodic showcase of converted old Dungeon Magazine titles. Lots of fun.

2) Once a month, my Monthly game: close friends (or some new and great players that I want to get to know better), as of this writing, just beginning my personally written campaign. Great time had by all.

3) Weekly on Tuesdays, my weekly Local Game Store game. Same campaign as my monthly game, but they’ve been playing it longer. Good group and good fun.

4) My weekly Sunday Adventurers League game run at the same Local Game Store. Interesting group. Currently running Dungeon of the Mad Mage while we await Season 10 Adventurers League to drop. The new Campaign will begin the first Sunday of October. Looking forward to it!

5) A weekly Discord game with some cool folks; campaign is to save the world within 5 years. It’s going well, albeit slowly. Figure Discord and 2 hours a week to play. Still fun.

In any case, these are mostly what I will write about. Game summary and thoughts about the direction of the various campaigns. Additionally, I will write about my campaign writing woes, my personal stuff when I have writer’s block, and showcase my poor attempts at painting miniatures.

Note that I sometimes dabble in Battletech and Warhammer 40K, so you may get some miniature photos of those as well. Depends on my mood and if anyone reads this obscure corner of the Internet cares to see it. We’ll see.

So, all that said, welcome to The Daily Dungeon Master!