Your name caught my attention. I have not DM’d for about 7 years. My son just turned 14 and I was in a game store with him talking with the store owner and he mentioned they need a version 3.5 DM to run a game weekly. This is something I have missed in my life for a long time. With my life now radically different then the last time I DM’d with a new wife, job, home, etc. I wonder if I should do it. I take my DMing very seriously but I am leaning towards doing it. I had a DM utility program that I rote about 15 years ago but it won’t run on modern equipment. I have to assume there are some great DM supporting programs out there. Do you know any good programs for tracking the players, monster hit points etc for a table top game.
I enjoyed your article. Very humorous. Keep on Dming
I totally think you should jump back into DM’ng , I am very happy with my decision to jump back into gaming. I have never really played 3.5 so I am more familiar with 4th edition things. However, I have read the Pathfinder core rules, which is essentially an updated version of 3.5 and I listen to a couple of 3.5/Pathfinder podcasts so below are a couple of links to resources that you might find helpful. also I tend to just stick to paper and pencil methods for a lot of at the table stuff such as tracking initiative and monsters(at heart I am a grognard)
Hello! I have been enjoying your blog for the past few weeks. A few teacher friends and I started playing 4E after we all quit WoW and needed our fantasy fix. It’s been going really well, playing consistently for about two months. We run our own campaigns, usually three encounters a night with a fun and combat driven story. Recently we have been getting a tad stale with fight after fight after fight. Do you have any tips on how to incorporate more skill checks? Or at least how can we cut down on combat, but still roll some dice? Thank you very much for your great blog!
For me in my games there are several things I have utilized such as adding some puzzles or traps the party has to deal with, having problems or obstacles that the players need to over come that won’t be solved by combat i.e investigation, gathering information, mediating conflict, making preparations or fortifications etc..
What I have found that works best for me is getting the players to describe or narrate what they are doing and then determine what skill fits best set an appropriate DC and have them roll. I am also mindful in how I handle failure so it doesn’t stop the story cold. For example if they are trying to interrogate someone to get crucial information that they need if they botch the skill checks it doesn’t mean they don’t get the information to move the plot forward, it might mean there are complications in that some part of the info might be missing or be purposefully misleading etc..
I also try and create interesting Non Player Characters for them to interact with and a lot of the times I won’t even ask for skill checks and role-play out situations to create the story.
Hope that was helpful but if you want to chat more about it let me know.
I read your “train wreck” post and just wanted to drop you a line to say I’d be interested in joining the new online game if you’ve got an open slot. What exactly are the logistics?
I’ve only been playing D&D for about a year and a half, even though I grew up with it all around me. I live in a small rural area of Nova Scotia and we just barely managed to get a big enough group to play, but since we started 3 of our members have moved away, so the group is dead again. So I’m looking for the next fix, and online seems like the way to go!
sure man that would be great. I havent decided on a day yet but the time will be 9:30pm eastern time for a couple of hours every other week. we will be using skype and maptools and himachi for port forwording. if you want i can send you the campaign handout.
Oh James man I am really sorry I filled the 6th spot yesterday. When I didn’t hear back from you I didn’t think you were interested anymore or the time of day didn’t work for you. I feel really terrible. Given the nature of online games sometimes players come and go quickly so I can contact you with the first open spot. Again I am really sorry.
No worries, man. To be honest I totally forgot how long it had been since I posted the comment (I read most of the blogs I follow through RSS because they’re all blocked at the office). It’s my fault for taking so long to respond.
I’ll try to be available if another spot opens up at some point.
We are about to put out a press release for our new online tabletop RPG app, http://www.rpgtableonline.com, and was seeing if you wanted to be included on our press list? You may have been familiar with RPGTable Online in its former incarnation as the Wizards of the Coast D&D Virtual Table. If you are interested in being included, send me an email address to use.