Humour in D&D

This post was difficult to write, for a number of reasons. It’s ironic, but writing about comedy can be distinctly unfunny. Is there anything more humourless than picking apart a joke to explain how it works?Comedy is a matter of personal taste. Take my comedy touchstones, for example: films like Monty Python, Airplane!, Anchorman, Four … Continue reading Humour in D&D

Gods in D&D

Do you have deities in your campaign? How many? What are they called? What are their portfolios? Are they active in the world or mysterious and withdrawn? For some DMs, deities are one of the most enjoyable aspects of world-building: a fun way to define their setting. For others, gods and demigods are just a … Continue reading Gods in D&D

How Medieval is D&D?

In my previous post, I examined the origins of the 5th edition Monster Manual and concluded that D&D was much less ‘European’ than might be supposed. Of the 215 monsters I looked at, around half, maybe more, originated elsewhere, and many, perhaps a third, were an invention of the game itself. I see this claim … Continue reading How Medieval is D&D?

Where Do D&D Monsters Come From?

There are some quite contentious claims out there about the origins of D&D’s creature catalogue. Was D&D inspired primarily by Tolkien and European folklore, for example, or was it more international? How many monsters did Gary Gygax invent, and how many are based on real-life mythologies?

Four Problems with Fantasy

Don’t get me wrong: I love fantasy roleplaying games. After all, I do write a blog about Dungeons & Dragons. But I also believe that fantasy, and D&D in particular, is not without its problems, some of which can be fixed, or at least mitigated. In this article, I plan to run through four issues … Continue reading Four Problems with Fantasy

Far Cry in D&D

Ubisoft I have recently been playing through some of the Far Cry games, and it occurred to me that much of what makes the series distinctive could also be fun in a D&D campaign. On the face of it, this might be surprising. The Far Cry games are first-person shooters: D&D is a collaborative fantasy … Continue reading Far Cry in D&D

Fixing 4d6 drop lowest

How do you determine your character’s ability scores? According to the Player’s Handbook (page 12), the default is to generate them randomly. You roll four six-sided dice and record the total of the highest three, six times (‘4d6 drop lowest’). Other options are point buy (technically a variant rule) and taking the array: 15, 14, … Continue reading Fixing 4d6 drop lowest

Review: the Cypher System in Play

Monte Cook Games Yesterday evening, my friends and I played a Cypher System one-shot. None of us had played the Cypher System (or Numenera) before, although all five of us have experience of roleplaying games generally. Two days previously, we had agreed to try a post-apocalyptic genre: dystopian London in the near future, with a … Continue reading Review: the Cypher System in Play

New Year, New Game: the Cypher System

Monte Cook Games D&D 5th edition is a great game. It’s not perfect, and there are definitely problems with its mechanics that need fixing, but, for now, it’s my go-to RPG. If nothing else, it is comfortingly familiar, and the game your friends are most likely to know already. Over the next few weeks, though, … Continue reading New Year, New Game: the Cypher System

Die, Bard: A D&D Christmas Adventure Seed

A setting-neutral holiday one-shot for four 4th-level characters. Yippee-ki-yay, motherflumphers. It is the night of the midwinter feast, and the party has been invited to the tower of archwizard Takagi for his annual celebrations. At dusk, a long, black stagecoach pulls up outside, drawn by four black horses. A stout halfling with dark, curly hair … Continue reading Die, Bard: A D&D Christmas Adventure Seed