Photograph via snooOG

/r/DMAcademy is a subreddit for Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Masters to ask questions - new and experienced, all are welcome!

Remove All Need Advice

See Advice Only

See Resources Only

Join the Discord

The aim of this subreddit is to serve as a platform for learning to DM. We welcome DMing questions, DMing advice or tools to help DMs old and new. We are not only for new DMs, but the bulk of the posts will no doubt be submitted by newer DMs. Please refrain from downvoting legitimate questions.

The Subreddit Rules

  1. Respect your fellow DMs
  2. No off-topic posts. Only three kinds of posts are allowed here: DMing Questions, Advice, and Resources.
  3. External Links & Advertising are limited to active community members. No pay-walled links.
  4. No Piracy
  5. Problem Player issues belong in the stickied megathread
  6. Ask Short Questions in the stickied megathread
Full rules with additional info here

The DM Help Multireddit

Check out our wiki!

Message the Moderators

The DM Help Network


626,283 Subscribers


Creating a power system for my player

Me and my friend enjoy playing DND the most in our group. The rest of our group enjoys playing it too, but they have higher priorities for their weekend so we don't get to play much and because of this, we stopped playing 2 campaigns before we got to finish the story.

And so, me and my friend decided that we will try to play a campaign with just the two of us, and I will be the DM.

Because it's just the two of us in this campaign and I'm the DM, it makes my friend the main character of this campaign, and this lets me make cool things for him that I wouldn't be able to do if we played in a full group(I won't make a single player the main character in a full group campaign). I know this might be a little awkward, but we still want to try.

Now to the point - my world is similar to the world of solo leveling(the anime and manwha), so I have an organization that has ranks from E to S+ and portals which work like gates from solo leveling and so on.

When I first thought of how his character will work, I thought he would just pick a class as usual and level up, but now I realized that adding some sort of power system like sung jin-woo has in solo leveling could be really cool, and I'm also pretty sure thinks he will have some sort of system so I wouldn't want to disappoint him.

So now I need to think of how this system will work and how I can implement this system into my world.

I thought of making a system that would grant him special powers, but not increase his stats right away, so he will still pick a class as always, but his special power will eventually give him the ability to sort of transform and this transformation will give him special powers and stats, but he will only get these stats after transforming. Also, this power will be some sort of hidden power, so he will have to awaken it and at the start he will only be able to unleash a small fraction of that power, so as his character will grow, he will be able to use his power more and more. I think it will be something like the ability that Arthur has from the manwha "The beginning after the end", where he doesn't really get an immediate boost to his stats, but he gets the ability to transform and then he gets really strong, but he can't just do the full transformation from the start so I think it could be cool.

I would like some help with this idea and hearing your thoughts, and how I could implements this into my campaign. Thanks in advance!

08:24 UTC


DM or at least read a published adventure or two before homebrewing your own campaign

I feel like there are a lot of folks who are new(ish) to DMing who jump right into homebrewing an epic campaign who then get stuck or have problems figuring out how to take their ideas and turn them into a fun campaign for the players.

As general advice, I think every new DM should run or at least read and break down a well-regarded published adventure or two to get a sense of how they're written. It can help with understanding how to build encounters; how and when to reward XP, gold, and magic items; how to sub-divide a longer story into sections so players have a sense of accomplishment, etc. Writing a satisfactory D&D (or PF2E, etc) campaign is very different from just writing a story, and I think the only way to learn is by seeing someone else do it.

With that in mind, what are some good adventures for folks to read or run to get a sense of how they can structure their campaigns?

My go-to suggestion for 5e (the system I run) is the Dragon of Icespire Peak. It's a clean, easy, quest-based campaign structure that's designed for new DMs (and players) and shows how a bunch of different threats and events can all be tied to one larger event, in this case, a dragon arriving in the area. But I know there are lots of great adventures for either systems, or by 3rd parties, that folks would love to find out about.

08:21 UTC


I want my players to fight DnD gods

So basically, the official 5e content gives the following tips regarding fighting deities:

  1. Don't.

But I'd want to do it anyway and I need some statblocks. Currently, I need Maglubiyet, but I wouldn't mind in the slightest to get other deities as well

08:10 UTC


DnD Stargate RPG - boring jaffa units?

Hello there,

This is not about standart DnD, but dnd in Stargate world (there is an official rulebook)

As a DM i thing, that SG world lack of interesting enemies which can Goa'ulds use.

I already came up with jaffa "classes" so not all jaffa be the same like:

  • Jaffa Commoner - group of 4, low HP, light armor, only Matok staff
  • Jaffa standart - group of 2, middle HP, light armor, matok, 1 granade and few MP for feats
  • Jaffa Elite - single unit, little higher HP, guard helmet armor, 2 granades and mor MP for feats
  • plus i want make a melee focused and a sniper Jaffa (just take these above and focus them with feats)

I also added modified granates, like:

  • light shock granade - lowe DC, efect for 1 round not hour
  • light Tac - only 2 m radius, lower DC, lower dmg
  • added Smoke granade
  • also added sniper Matok staff: very increased range for lower dmg and no shockwave

And i want make some minor adult goa'ulds like mission commanders, Wepwawet personal guards etc who can use more advanced tech like karrakesh and shield. To be more cool i came up with energy force field shield that increases AC, but has limited HP with minor regeneration (so its like getting bonus AC while having temporary HP :D ) and energy plasma whip. Energy plasma whip has 3-5 m range and can be to grapple enemy. While grappled, it deals 1d6 or so fire dmg insta (So dont be grappled xD)

But even with this i think that these "monsters" will become very fast repetitive and boring or even predictible...

I know, terrain, goals etc make the combat/encounter more interesting. But still i would like to have more type of enemies for goaulds. What do you think guys? Any ideas? or am i doing it overcomplicated and should focus elsewhere?

08:02 UTC


West Marches-ish, but the "Town" is an airship.

Hi all,

I'm currently setting up a West Marches-like campaign for the summer, but instead of a Town, the players start on a severely damaged airship, where about everything that can be is broken without it just falling to the ground. The ship is kind of a canvas and they can come up with repairs they'd like to do, and then they need to find the needed components to get that accomplished and so on.

I also have a cool map divided into hexes, and at the start they only see a small spot in the top right corner, so the whole place is theirs to explore. (Aside from what is at the starting place I haven't yet populated the map with things, but was going to go with the thoughts and ideas of the players, as well as let the features of the map inspire me session to session.

The characters start at lvl 1, and it's likely there be around 10 players in the player pool with 3-6 attending per session. Some are very new to dnd, some somewhat experienced. Not really anytone who I'd call a seasoned veteran. The player do not all know each other from before, bet everyone has at least one person they are familiar with in the pool.

At this point, I'm not in need of critical advice or anything, but I wanted to check in with fellow DMs about what might be some cool opportunities with this setting, helpful tips, or things to watch out for and avoid.

I've read the WestMarches do's and don'ts post I found on reddit, as well as the articles on the orignal west marches thing.

07:47 UTC


non-DM playing Big Bad

I wanted to follow-up with a very fun experience playing the role of Big Bad in another DM's game.

For background, a friend from HS (1E days) came to town during the holidays and played Big Bad in the culminating battle at our table. He invited be to his table to play Big Bad for his players. It was TONS of fun for all involved.

If you are thinking about doing this, here are the lessons learned:

  • GET PLAYER SIGNOFF. Introducing a stranger to your table might be off-putting for some players.
  • LEARN THE TABLE. Talk with the DM, have the one-on-one Session 0 and learn homebrew rules.
  • LEARN THE PLAYERS. Without getting into specific players, I was told what topics were no-fly zones. This was important during my banter/taunting of the players leading into the final battle.
  • PREP THE SCENARIO. We had planned this for months, so I had received a synopsis of the campaign and critical details necessary to play Big Bad effectively. I had pertinent player info, and knowledge that Big Bad would have.
  • YOU ARE A GUEST. You are a guest at the table and should behave as you would a guest in someone's home. Even though the players knew I was coming, it still took a little while for them to feel comfortable. Don't try to force it.
  • DEFINE ROLES. I was completely in charge of Big Bad and his henchmen. I controlled all actions and all rolls. My friend's sole job as DM was tracking initiative.
  • DEFINE EXPECTATIONS. My friend's session is more roleplay-centric and he told me that a TPK would be very upsetting to them. While this runs contrary to how I run my game, this isn't my game - it's theirs. So I had to pull a punch or two, but it was still an exciting combat.
  • PLAY YOUR STYLE. My friend and I have very different styles. He strength is role-play and he's DAMN good at it. My strength is combat (tactics and narrative) and playing the opponents realistically.
  • ERODE BARRIERS. My playing Big Bad allowed my friend to go full-cheerleader with his players. So often there is a players-vs-DM dynamic. When I knocked their Barbarian early in the fight, he gasped right along with the players.
  • HAVE POSITIVE FEEDBACK. I got real lucky here. After my table where my friend played Big Bad, my players asked him what he thought of their performance, so I was prepared in case they asked - and they did. I kept the feedback 100% positive. There were some ideas for improvement - but I didn't share them with the players. I gave that information to my friend, and he is going to bring it up as, "You know, without having to run the final combat, I noticed there was potential opportunity to ...."

Overall, it was a great experience! I recommend this at any table, with sufficient vetting of course!

06:49 UTC


Scrying? This feels like a stupid question...

One of my players is planning to attempt to scry on an enemy, who he only knows by the name of Anise. As written, the spell probably shouldn't work, since all he has is a name and a vague sense of her association with the opposing faction. However, Anise is just a nickname for Annalissa, who is a young woman from this PCs past.

He does not currently know that Anise IS Annalissa, just that Anise is the enemy he wants to scry on. Since he is technically familiar with the target, would the spell work as intended?

I've argued it back and forth both ways in my head. I will probably let it happen for the reveal and the exposition, but I would love some additional input and thoughts on the matter.

06:28 UTC


Sneaking an NPC out of a keep- help me make this more interesting!

Hey, DMs! I've been having some writers block (for like a month) on the scenario my players are currently in, and hoping some of you can help me make this situation a bit more interesting than "Roll group Stealth down a hall".

My players are rescuing an important NPC from a keep's prison cell, and they need to get him out. I'm going to try to encourage stealth over combat, as they're in one of the player's homes and would be overwhelmed by people if they're caught. Both the NPC and one of the player's are highly wanted by the family.

What are some ways I can make this person heist more interesting mechanically? They've got the narrative reasons, the stakes are high if they get caught, I just need to find a way to make it fun and interesting. I'm really stuck on how to run this and have it be a memorable session, and more than just stealthily walking about and finding the exit. Any ideas would be awesome, or if there's modules or anything you've used they would be much appreciated!

02:56 UTC


Whats a good low level monster that is not a vampire but could be mistaken for one?

This is my first campaign as a DM. The thing start with the adventurers arriving at this town and finding that the townsfolk is being killed by a vampire. It is the start of the campaign so a real vampire will be too strong for low level PCs.

My idea is to do like a monster of the week format with two or three monsters that could be the "vampire" but are not. My first monster is an injured harpie that was luring people into the forest. My second is a thief that is disguised as a vampire to rob people and was hired by the corrupt captain of the guard to keep the town scared and gain more power and authority by "scaring off" the "vampire".

I need a third monster to be the real "vampire" that is killing all the people that is a little more dangerous than the others considering these are level 1 and 2 encounters. So after they slay the real "vampire" they level to 3 and use their new subclass features to a final showdown with the captain.

02:29 UTC


Homebrew Monster Idea Suggestions

I'm running a campaign set in a forest setting where a theo-fascist druid empire controls the people using an army of plant constructs in the shape of humanoid soldiers. I've been running this campaign for over two years, but I want to add some variety to the array of constructs the party fights. So far, they've battled the following (in addition to other monsters of course):

-Rooted Saints, the basic infantry, resembling the Erdtree Guardians from Elden Ring with either Spears or Maces

-Chestnut Sentinels, heavily armored soldiers with spiked mauls who are tanky and hit hard but have no ranged options and very simple strategies

-Dandelion Fencers, rapier-wielding soldiers who can disengage as a bonus action and are very mobile, but on the physically weaker side

-Sunflower Mages, spellcasters who use either healing/support spells or radiant damage light-based spells

-Ashwood Kindlers, the only ones that aren't vulnerable to fire damage and can deal fire damage themselves

I want to introduce more variants, based off of specific plants and with unique strategies/capabilities, but I'm starting to run out of ideas. At this point in the campaign, the party is likely only going to be fighting these constructs until the final battle, as they have really gone all in on fighting this empire and their army is made up entirely of constructs. However, I don't want them to just be fighting different combinations of those five enemies outside of boss fights. Other Ideas:

-Nightshade Assassins, dual wielding short swords that are tipped in poison, stealthy and can apply deadly debuffs but relatively frail and rely on the element of surprise

-Reaping Willows, wielding scythes, who can heal based on damage dealt

Any additional suggestions for plants to base enemies on are welcome!

02:14 UTC


How do you progress your campaign?

Im interested to know how other people are progressing their campaign/leading people to an ‘end goal’ over time? What is your end goal? Do you have a timer to the end of the world or something less urgent?

(Below is my personal experience/how I’m doing it currently, if you are interested feel free to read but it’s not exactly necessary to the question)

In my own campaign the general goal of my PCs is they know they need to get stronger, much stronger to save their homeland and possibly the world at large.

There isn’t any particular time limit per se as the disaster is currently contained although it acts like a ‘sword of Damocles’ for them.

They have personal goals each to their own story that they are pursuing to gain strength and along the way they are meeting potential allies who after gaining enough trust with the party will contact them to ask for help with some means of strengthening themselves as allies to the party to help them in the ‘final battle’ so to speak.

I quite like the pacing of my campaign so far but I’ve been thinking ahead quite a way to the next campaign and it occurred to me that I’m not sure what I might do differently to make sure it doesn’t feel the same. Hence I am very interested to hear what others have cooked up.

Thanks for your time!

00:13 UTC


My party is in an airship that's about to crash, and they just found out the escape pods are gone. What are some ways they could save themselves?

My party is in an airship that is flying high over the ocean, and it's about to be attacked by dragons. Beneath the ship, on the surface of the water, is a massive teleportation circle to another plane, meant to spirit away anyone not killed in the attack. Long story short-this attack is an act of political sabotage, as the ship is full of politicians, nobles, dignitaries from a nearby kingdom.

I want to open doors for my party to save themselves, not die, and not get teleported if they can help it. This means prepping some possible ways they might A: fall safely and B: keep control of the situation during the attack, in the air, and on the ocean. I want the attack to be part of the game, not an unwinnable scenario, so I want to give them breadcrumbs toward saving themselves.

I want to prep some descriptions of what OTHER guests are during the attack, as a way to give the party some ideas. The other guests are powerful people, so they'd likely have ways of protecting themselves and fleeing, like Wild Shape, Feather Fall, or Fly. Though this doesn't solve what to do for defense or once they hit the water- the dragons will likely attack there as well

00:09 UTC


Thinking of doing a unorthodox campaign and need some help

So,my group of players and i aré like family,and so we like to from time to Time make some campaigns of things that we like and between chats at school we said "hey what if we do a hotline Miami themed campaign" and obviously i said "Its a medieval fantasy setting so that would work in a Cyberpunk:red setting but ill see if i can work It out" so i obviously came here to see if you people could help me out,the most troubles im having Is:

-The phone calls: i Guess i could change It with mission pappers that were slipped into the place that theyre staying (tabern,inn,etc) -The frenetic battles: thats were im having most troubles,i Guess i could lower everyone ac (enemies and PC) so that fights aré faster but if theres another method ill be grateful -who should the mob be:So,this should be more of a personal choice but seeing that in the game theyre russians what race would Fit close with the Russians?

That Is all

00:08 UTC


How to secret doors ?

Tldr : How do you make your players have agency in finding secret doors while still keeping them secret.

Long story : I’ve always been a Pathfinder and D&D5E DM. I just read the old-school Jaquay’s dungeon « Borshak’s lair », one of my first truly old-school adventures, and man there’s a lot of friggin secret doors.

I know the dungeons back then were not run at all like today, and required the players to describe precisely their actions to find stuff and disable traps. And I like this idea, because the concept of gating stuff behind a perception roll seems like a mistake to me.

But it’s never explained how your players are supposed to find them. Is saying « I touch the walls » enough ? Then it’s just « I touch the walls » in every room until either I find a secret door or get my hand eaten by a wall mimic. Sounds kinda boring.

On the other hand, having the DM say « there are marks on the floor next to the wall » will become obvious once they figured out that « marks on the floor = secret door » and now no door in the dungeon is secret anymore.

I feel like it’s an unsolvable problem, because the medium of narration through words is too limited for game mechanics tied to perception. If you had a visual medium, it would be different, but here the DM is the eyes of the players and cannot be neutral.

How do you do it ? For the people who played back then, was there a common practice for that ?

22:07 UTC


Spells with a cubic area can exclude a point anywhere on their face?

I was checking the basic rules for spellcasting (https://www.dndbeyond.com/sources/basic-rules/spellcasting) and saw this:

You select a cube's point of origin, which lies anywhere on a face of the cubic effect. The cube's size is expressed as the length of each side.

A cube's point of origin is not included in the cube's area of effect, unless you decide otherwise.

So if a player casts hypnotic pattern, targeting an area, and an ally is at a point somewhere on the face of that cube, they could have that point be the point of origin and not include it in the area of effect? Is this correct?

21:44 UTC


Student question ideas for a School

Hey everyone, I'm running a one shot soon and I have a location which is a large school house which is primarily an information gathering point for the players (lots of sleuthing, unravelling a threat etc).

The school house in question is on the players home turf so a part of a village they rebuilt, they would be a known "celebrity" commodity, it is split into a younger years class and a adolescent-teenage class.

My question is if the teachers were to put the players at the front and allow the respective classrooms to ask them questions, what would be some fun questions for them to ask? I feel its a great opportunity for my players to dig in their roleplaying heels a bit, thanks all!

21:17 UTC


Help with Demon Lords, Archdevils and Gods for campaign

I’m currently planning a campaign set in a city with themes of The Blood War. The basic concept is that two factions within the city have been fighting for years, and these two factions have enlisted the help of demons and devils respectively. My idea is that the area the city is built on used to be an alternative battleground for The Blood War as it had portals to both the abyss and the nine hells, but one day a good deity of some sort closed these portals and made the land pure again. Fast forward to present, where two factions have found a way to reopen these portals and contact the devils and demons separately and enlist their help to destroy the other rival faction, in return for helping the fiends battle the rival fiends.

My question is this:

I need a god to be the one that closed the portals and that everyone in the city worships, and I’d also like to have some sort of demon lord/archdevil in charge of both sides of the fiends. So, which ones from Faerun should I use, or should I potentially homebrew my own? Or should I do a mix of both? If you have any other tips for this campaign please also let me know because I’d love to hear them.


Some things to specify:

The city wasn’t there when it was being used as a battleground, and that whole backstory is just to explain why fiendish stuff is happening here of all places. As it stands now, the city would actually probably be a lot more generic akin to what our cities are like. My plan for the hook is that demons and devils have slowly started popping up within the cities walls, and the party has to figure out why, rooting it to the two rival factions.

20:39 UTC


How do I make extended sea travel that feels interesting?

Campaign is in a setting with a lot of water between any landmasses. I don't want to just timeskip sea travel- partly because the ocean is supposed to be a place with at least a modicum of challenge to traverse in this world, and also to actually maintain the spirit of a world full of sea travel (not just timeskipping between landmasses).

Problem is, I don't want to just have my stuff be combat encounters or storms if I can avoid it, infact I'd like to avoid using too many direct dangers to fill the time.

I'm wondering what I can do to make an extended sea travel feel like a long voyage, without it becoming boring or repetitive and without just throwing a couple combats at it and calling it a day.

19:43 UTC


What’s a good idea for an under mountain level

I’m coming up with some new areas and need some ideas to add in.

18:54 UTC


I feel like I haven't learned the key abilities a DM should have

I don't think I suck as a DM, since my players enjoy my games and haven't complained (except for a couple of things I will get into), but I seriously find myself seeing other GMs have abilities that I just don't have and I believe I should have learned after about 4+years of DMing at least once a month.

I am playing a 5e campaing about the dream realm, where the players have to discover what is going on over there, why are the dream gods fighting and encounter "lucid dreamers", wich is basically a creature (like some of them) that has a special connection with the dreaming world. That makes those people a nexus where the two worlds collide and energy can be drawn from one realm to another. The big plot is that some gods want to destroy the dream realm, by pouring all of its energy into the material world; and some others want to destroy the material world by absorbing it into the dreaming.

My players have yet to figure this last part out, so they are just running around from town to town trying to find lucid dreamers and encounter a way to fight the god of nightmares, whom they believe is the sole villain. I have a couple others subplots, like the god of nightmares having warlocks that are also looking for lucid dreamers and other things that are not 100% related to the main quest, but still are a bit interesting to see.

My problem is that... we have been at it for almost 2 years now, they are only level 7 (leveled up last session) and have only fought a single boss, wich was a shapeshifter mage. They have aprox 500 gold and just have stupid magic items that were only introduced as a semi joke.

I should divide this between the things my players are complaining and the things I am freaking out about.

My players complained about:

Not having enough gold: I feel like this is 100% my fault, but I don´t really know how to fix it, since they are not going to dungeons or doing stuff in big cities that could get them some nice loot, + I have a hard time knowing how much gold I should give them, since finding a good loot table is kind of weird. That added to the fact that I don't have a very instinctive feel as to what they should be getting at which level (wich is something my other DM friends know how to do on the fly) makes it even harder.

Not having good magic items: This is a issue connected to the gold. Since I have almost no clue as what to give them, I don't know which magic items I should hand out, plus they are not going to a lot of places that could have magic items. And adding merchants is just falling into problem 1, wich is that they don't have enough gold x.x

Not being railroaded enough: They enjoy my sessions, but they have voiced their opinion that I should guide them more sometimes, wich I... quite frankly don't like doing and don't know how to do it without it being intrusive.

I am freaking out about:

Not knowing how to make encounters. They are absolutely demolishing every encounter ever. They are 4, paladin of vengance, monk way of the astral self, bard college of spirits and sorcerer aberrant mind. I go to dnd calculators, I make sure all of them are deadly and are more than 3 enemies and they still blast through them like it's nothing. I make sure to count HP correctly, always noting resistances and pack tactics and so on, but they still demolish them. I have watched videos, read the monster manuals, I even made a "colliseum" wich was just combat with them so I could try monsters and they could try builds, and even there they were just demolishing the encounters.

Not knowing how to "railroad": I have told them what to do (find more lucid dreamers), so they have to go out and look for suspicious things at different towns. There they found the shapeshifter's subplot and are now figuring out that some of the lucid dreamers are conjuring creatures, monsters from their nightmares into the real world as they sleep (just like some of them have been able to, like the college of spirits bard or the echo fighter that later became the paladin). My plan is to lead them to find the elven king is a lucid dreamers, and his nightmares and paranoia regarding his kingdom is materializing weird stuff. However, I feel like I have been too slow to introduce this stuff and I agree with the fact that THEY don't have much of a direction other than "go around, find shit and just hope that we find something".

Not knowing how to pace or structure sessions: Usually I plan a combat per session, even if the oportunity doesn't present itself in wich case I just save it, and some NPC's with a storyline that is happening in town, but when I look at my notes...

Not knowing how to make settings: I just find that my towns are empty, my monsters are boring and there is no fun in this world except for the weird things my players come up with. I use premade maps for Talespire and I have a hard time making a bunch of NPC's, so I just make like 6-10 and call it a day. The real problem is that I have a hard time coming up with taverns and military places and points of interest, since they are visiting small towns.

I am just now falling into the spiral of "It has been two years and almost nothing has happened", noticing all my mistakes and comparing myself to others campaigns I have played or watched and thinking "huh, 10 sessions in and they are already lvl 6... how crazy". Any advice for any of this? Any words of encouragement? Youtube videos? Music? Smoothies combinations?

edit: spelling (english is not my native language x.x)

18:36 UTC


What name would you give to this fictional drug

I’m struggling to find a name for a drug distributed illegally in my dnd world. It’s a light blue liquid with a slight glow that is made from a mixture of blue lotus flowers and sentient blue mushrooms and when drunk it makes you hallucinate extremely vividly. The side effect : not only is it very addictive, but mushrooms start to grow on your body after prolonged consumption. I’ve been trying to find a name for it but I’m out of ideas. Maybe you guys could help

17:48 UTC


Magical vs non magical weapons

As we know, warewolves have immunity to "Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing from Nonmagical Attacks that aren't Silvered"

This is one thing that has always confused me: Does the weapon specifically need to have a magical damaging effect, like a +1 or some sort of extra damage? Or does it just need to fall under the "magic weapon" category? For example, a Dagger of Blindsight, it only gives blindsight and nothing else. Does it count as a magical attack/ magical weapon?

Edit: grammar.

17:28 UTC


What sorts of tasks might an alchemist have a party help him with?

Hi all,

I'm putting together a session in which my party will encounter an "alchemist" (in reality, an archdevil in disguise - more on this later). The encounter happens at an old tower in the wilderness, and the tower is in a thorough state of disrepair: broken windows and doors, smashed equipment, fallen in roof, and so forth. The party is there to retrieve a potion that local stories say was first concocted by this alchemist.

When the party arrives at the tower, they will meet the old alchemist, "Cyril". He claims that his lab is in a state of chaos because of a recent magical accident and requests the party's help with getting some things back in order. In exchange, he'll give them the potion they need. What I was hoping to get some ideas on were a few tasks that "Cyril" might ask the party to undertake that presumably help get his lab in back in order. I've had some thoughts about asking the party to retrieve a certain local plant, or getting some arcane machinery going (not sure how that would work in-game though), or even just sweeping up.

In reality, none of this matters because "Cyril" is actually an archdevil or some such thing that is just looking to gain the party's trust through some social interaction. After he feels like he has it, and assuming the party cooperates, he drops his disguise and reveals the truth: Cyril has been dead for decades (some items in the tower will indirectly suggest this) and the party only gets the potion if they offer him a soul in exchange. There's a whole bit planned with negotiating and signing a contract (out of which the party might get some interesting skill boosts or items). Of course, the party can walk away, but then they'll need to find another way to solve the larger issue of the campaign.

Anyway, ideas and suggestions for tasks are most welcome!

17:12 UTC


Failed Heists & Unwinnable Fights - How to deal with players getting caught?

My players may end up fighting an enemy far above their paygrade if they majorly fuck up their heist. How to make this not suck?

So I run a game with 4 players at level 5. They are about to steal from the local thieves guild, which is led by 2 vampires. If they majorly fuck up, they might actually wake them and even 1 vampire will most likely TPK them.
This is fine so far, as the vampires are inclined to keep them alive as food, so rather imprison than outright killing them. Which means its not necessarily a TPK and I have options how to go forward.

Still, unwinnable fights are for good reasons frowned upon as they are usually not very fun. Additionally as far as I can see vampires are not necessarily huge damage dealers which could drag the fight out (even if I add some minions after a few rounds).
So I was wondering if it actually makes sense to play something like this out or rather narrate this like "you are overwhelmed and wake up in prison", instead.
What are your thoughts on this? Is there a better way to resolve this?

16:46 UTC


Looking for advice on a oneshot centered around hunting down a dragon

So I've been wanting to run a oneshot with the premise of hunting down and (hopefully) killing a dragon but as a new DM I really want to make sure it gets balanced and played out right to feel as fun and epic as a dragon hunt should.

Specifically, a party of four players send out on a mission to hunt an adult black dragon. I am unsure of the exact character level but was thinking in the range of 10-12. To spice it up a bit, I have decided that the dragon will also be a necromancer, using the rules for spell casting dragons from Fizban's and possibly also giving it a few class levels in wizard.

Ideally, a big part of the oneshot would involve actually hunting for the dragon, travelling through its domain - a vast murky mire on the edge of the kingdom - while the many natural dangers and traps it contains. The party would not know that their adversary is a dragon from the get-go, but rather just that it is a powerful spellcaster, so they be presented with clues of this (the terrain being classic for a black dragon lair, large tracks, signs of its acid breath corroding stuff, etc.)
I'm also considering scattering some treasure caches around for the party to explore on the way. These would contain some more clues and also magic items that might aid them in the fight (I'm thinking uncommon magic items like Bracers of Archery, etc.) but also be trapped or guarded. Guards here would either be some sort of undead minions or things like black puddings that occur ancient ruins and marshlands.

I was also thinking of having an NPC, a royally appointed monster hunter, accompany the party on the first leg of the journey but then in some dramatic way get taken out to really emphasise the danger of this mission. The NPC might make a comback later as an undead minion of the dragon.

For the actual dragon fight itself, I was thinking of having the dragon use its necromancy powers to summon minions so that it doesn't become just a big 4-on-1 slog. This could also free up the dragon for flying around without completely invalidating any potential martial characters. I have also considered breaking the fight into rough 'stages' like a videogame boss, with the dragon fleeing and relocating when at low health, and also becoming increasingly vicious.
At some point during the fight (unsure if this should be before or after it flees), the dragon would also call upon two stronger minions to really heighten the drama. So far I was thinking of using a Barrowghast and a Ghost Knight (both CR 7) as these would fit great thematically

This post got a fair bit longer than intended, but I hope I've laid out all the details properly. My main question is this: does this sound like it would be a fun and engaging adventure, and at what character level would you set it?

1 Comment
16:11 UTC


Bad Crits?

DMs! How do you handle crit damage? How do you avoid that bummer situation where a player gets a crit and then rolls really low on the damage dice?

16:07 UTC


I need ideas for a very good immediate plot hook.

I will be dming for a group of people who mostly have never played dnd before, they all got interested because of BG3 and wanted to play dnd. Only one player in the group has experience. I want something that will instantly get the players attention and get them invested. My current idea is that the characters wake up kidnapped with no memories of how they got where they are, then slowly try and piece together what happened. But I'd love to have some more ideas to pick from.

15:56 UTC


What creatures dream?

I’m trying to find a canon answer to this. What are the requirements for a creature to enter the dreamscape? Obviously the core PC’s & NPC’ on the material will (elves excluded) but what about creatures native to the outer planes? Elemental plane? Animals?

Is there a canon explanation out there anywhere? I appreciate the help and if this is an obvious answer I’ll take the slack for not knowing.

15:55 UTC


I need Feywild encounters and puzzles for my mini arc

Its in the title really. The players are in a fey infected forest and have to travel north to help a garrison hold off a goblin attack. I have an encounter of a leaprechaun trapped in a mushroom circle trying to trick his way out, but I need some ideas to emphasise the magical fuckery the fey are capable of. There are pockets of fey energy so this can be as low or high key magical as I want. Asking for names and such things! Any advice on running the misty stepping buggers would be appreciated as well
EDIT, theyre lvl 11

15:46 UTC


New DM for new players, and I created a problem, help

Weird one for you all. At the beginning of my campaign I thought it'd be funny to make every bartender the party meets Gygax. They're all new to DnD and have no idea who Gygax is in real life.

At first they thought it was a Nurse Jenny from Pokémon type thing, but no matter which Gygax they met, he always knew their names, even though he'd admit they never met before. I just thought it was something funny to throw into the world.

Players began thinking he was some type of god or some other super powerful type being. Each of these Gygaxes would say they've never met a different one, and that as far as they knew, they were the just a regular human.

Here's where the real problem began, 2 years into the campaign and I just introduced a city map that had three taverns, and the party has intentionally ignored all hooks in order to get these bartenders to meet. So much so, that a player who said he doesn't want his character to have in game sex or a love interest, convinced the party that if he became a consort to the ruling queen, he could persuade her to throw a festival with a bartending competition and force the three Gygaxes to meet.

I know I let this happen, but they were all so intent on making them meet, I didn't want to shoot it down. However, I was not prepared to have anything happen when they met. On the spot, I had the three Gygaxes compete, before they met each other, then they came face to face to face, and there was an earthquake, lightning struck the three, and they all disappeared. The two returning to their taverns with no recollection of the earthquake/lightning/teleporting, and the losing Gygax hasn't reappeared.

I feel like there could have been something more epic as a result of them meeting, but I wasn't prepared. What can I do with the missing Gygax?

14:16 UTC

Back To Top