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Ed The Bard's Master List

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The Master List
It seemed a good idea for me to compile everything I have done, and will do, into a convenient master list. Here, you will find every article divided up into the series they are attached to, to save yourself time and effort when looking for that specific blog to suit your needs.




Specials (Articles that don't fit in with the norm) GMs vs Players: There Is No Choice  The Mists Of Akuma Beckon You



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What The Hell is Iron GM? (And Why You Should Try It)

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Salutations to my most esteemed Storytellers. Greetings to my most gracious Game Masters and delightful Dungeon Masters. What would you say if I told you that in our beloved hobby there is an actual sport that tested us to our very limits and put all of our many talents on full display?


No. Not that.

No, what I refer to is something visceral. Something brutal. Something sure to test the mettle of even the most veteran of GMs out there. It is unlike anything you have ever seen before, and it can be summed up in three words.

Competitive Game Mastering.

And what is this blissful gift to our hobby called?


What Is Iron GM? Iron GM is a celebration of Game Masters and players alike, framed within a grueling competition that will test a Game Master's ability to improvise, prepare a story, and convey a memorable and fun experience for their players with minimal prep time or communication. As such, it draws only the most dedicated, insane, and clever Game Masters the world has ever seen an…

50 MORE Adventure Hooks To Swipe For Your Game!

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John Popper of Blues Traveler once sang, "The hook brings you back. On that, you can rely".

Was he wrong? Here we are again with a sequel to the extremely popular "50 Adventure Hooks To Swipe For Your Game". Hooks are usually there to entice players into following along with a story. These are a bit different. These hooks are for the Game Master and are designed to flick that little switch in your brain that lets your imagination run wild off a simple idea.

We shall see some scintillating, scandalous, sickeningly simple story seeds so sufficiently straight-forward, some should see themselves seriously sold on the subsequent scenarios, surely.

1. Just outside of town is a Wizard's Tower. Strange, it wasn't there last night.

2. A wave of burglaries sweeps through town around the same time as a band of strange-looking street performs make their presence known.

3. A sinkhole opens up near the center of town. At the bottom of the hole appears to be a set of sto…

3 Halloween Horror-Themed One-Shot Ideas

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Well hello, boils and ghouls. It is I, your ghostly host with the most; Dread The Bard. 'Tis Mid-October, a time for changing leaves, carving pumpkins, and terrifying your players with a grisly one-shot in the theme of All Hallows Eve. Why a one-shot? Because, as much as we would all like to run Curse of Strahd, most of us only have time for a couple of game sessions before we are forced to abandon the candy corn and bad Halloween puns and subject ourselves with being bludgeoned over the head with Christmas decorations.

Just a fair warning: I am from Maine. Stephen King country. Trust a guy who literally lives in the town "It" takes place in, I know my horror. Some of this is going to get weird, spooky, and downright disturbing. If you are squeamish, easily frightened, or are triggered by death or murder (possibly child-related), I urge you to find a different article. I can say with no small measure of confidence that doing the research of this article has probably put …

GM Advice: Running INTELLIGENT Villains

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The iron-bound door shatters as the paladin, resplendent in his gleaming plate armor, forces his way into the massive stone room. His companions soon fan out behind him as they stare down the dreadful necromancer Mort Nomicon.

Mort: Aha, we meet again, at last!

Paladin: Your reign of terror ends now, necromancer! We are here to foil your plan!

Mort: Curses! How did you fools find my hidden lair?!

Paladin: Hidden? You are in a black tower in the middle of an open field. The tower is adorned with skulls. How could we miss it? You all but hung a sign out front that said "Evil: Inquire Within"

Mort: So you found my lair. So what? My nefarious minions no doubt taxed you weak bodies and weaker souls! Surely the walls of my lair ring with the laments and anguished cries of precious comrades that fell before the might of my--

Paladin: --undead? Probably shouldn't have advertised that whole "I'm a necromancer" thing. We came with a keg of holy water and enough holy symbol…

Player Advice: It Is Okay To Write Short Backstories

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Something is happening to me in a few months that hasn't happened to me in ages, and I approach it with all the appropriate excitement of a bard of my stature. You see, after I wrap my current campaign, I am going to have an opportunity to do something I don't often get to do; actually play.

We are talking schoolgirl levels of giddiness, here.
I am often the story teller, the man behind the screen. The times when I actually get to get down and dirty along side the other players are few and far between. To be playing in what looks to be a long-running has had me chomping at the bit. I've already cooked up my character concept and went to work writing the backstory.

The method I decided on would be similar to "The Name of the Wind", wherein the events of the story are framed as a retelling from the main character. If you've never read "The Name of the Wind", stop reading this blog right now, get the book, read it, and get you some culture dawg! Kingki…

Bardic Inspiration: Another Random-Roll Adventure!

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Random roll tables! Random encounters!

Oh sweet baby Gygax, do I have a problem.

I love random tables! I love them in ways that I am not entirely comfortable with yet. And why wouldn't I? Random roll anything is basically at the heart of most any RPG. The players roll dice to determine the success or failure of their actions. The GM rolls (though they really don't need to) in order to determine all manner of things, from encounters, treasure, and randomized NPCs (yes, I know all those examples vary from GM to GM).

Fate has a definitive hand in the games we play. That pure randomization is arguably one of the best elements. It adds a sense of the unknown to the proceedings, to the point that even the Game Master isn't entirely sure what may happen next (though a canny one can go with the flow). It turns the game into a thrill ride, where anything can be around the next corner.

For me, random tables serve something of narrowing ideas. You see I have a lot of ideas just bubbl…