D&D General Another 100 Amazing Links for Dungeon Masters

Every week, I email out a list of ten cool D&D-related links, mostly aimed at helping Dungeon Masters improve their game. Here is a compilation of lists #111 through #120, containing 100 links in total. There is a heroes feast of great material here. You can find lots of other link compilations on my blog.
  1. Astreia Tales shares what Metal Gear Rising taught her about making villains. There are some valuable lessons here!
  2. The Distillery discusses D&D characters and gold. He concludes that you want to keep 'em broke, and he has more than a dozen strategies for doing so.
  3. My feed occasionally throws up an old post. In this classic from 2020, Dan explains why D&D doesn't understand monsters and suggests how to fix it.
  4. One of the most impressive releases from 2023 was the "Monster Overhaul" by Skerples. He is currently working on the "Treasure Overhaul" and has shared a free 13-page sample. It includes some nice ideas and is well worth checking out.
  5. Using English prefixes and suffixes, this nifty little tool generates neologisms. The words have a bit of a sci-fi flavor. Still, some would be appropriate for the mage-wrights of Aurelia in my Iskandar setting.
  6. Lindsey Bonnette has created several attractive products. In this brief post, she shares her passion for RPG mysteries and offers an easy-to-follow model for making them.
  7. Johnn Four presents several creative tables to convert pit traps from pit stops into pit tales. There are some excellent ideas here!
  8. Rolling daily encounters for long journeys is a drag. Epistellar describes a simple and sensible alternative.
  9. A few years ago, a movement started in RPGs called FKR (Free Kriegsspiel Revolution), which advocates simplified rules and increased narrative flexibility. In this tradition, Michael Raston has created D&D: Quick and Powerful Edition.
  10. Monte Cook notes that PCs are not NPCs and draws a significant lesson from his experience with D&D 3.5.
  11. My friend Teos recently attended the Emerald City Comic Con and discovered that TD&D still has MASSIVE potential for growth. This news came as a great surprise to me, but the figures he shares are irrefutable.
  12. Travis Miller provides a step-by-step guide to creating random tables for your sandbox campaign. Few people do this well, so his instructions are worth reading.
  13. Che Webster advocates slowing down the pace of your game. I know what he means. Over the last six years, I ran two level 1-20 campaigns back-to-back. For this campaign, the players asked for a slower pace and for leveling up to feel more significant.
  14. RiseUpComus shares some potential competition with four rival adventuring parties. I have yet to make much use of rival adventuring parties, but they can be entertaining. Please send me your stories!
  15. Jae offers a detailed guide to crafting D&D festivals. It is terrific and covers all the fundamentals, though I wish she had shared a worked-through example. In the last session of my Iskandar campaign, the players attended a festival called All Fools Day.
  16. W.F. Smith, reflecting on Akira Toriyama's influence on her work, explains why we must resist the urge to over-explain and over-rationalize.
  17. Mike Shea continues his series of posts on different adventure patterns. This time, he explains how to run investigations and mysteries. It's excellent advice.
  18. Idle Cartulary suggests we need more red-button monsters in our game. I've tried to use this monster design pattern before but struggled to pull it off. What is your experience?
  19. Gus L. wrote a celebrated adventure called Tomb Robbers of the Crystal Frontier, and ever since, people have asked him for more details about the setting. Problem: Gus does not like setting guides. Instead, he offers rumors of the world beyond the Frontier. It is a thought-provoking alternative to the standard approach.
  20. Unfired Arcana offers Class Features Reforged - new features for every class in the game. If you are getting a little weary of the standard classes, consider shaking things up with some of these.
  21. The Alexandrian discusses using rituals in your campaign. He doesn't mean magic rituals; he means ceremonies, such as getting knighted or initiated into a cult. Putting some flesh on the ceremonial bones can be remarkably effective in play. Try it!
  22. Hilander presents a recipe for an encounter stew. It's a simple pattern you can use immediately, and she also provides some good examples.
  23. Josh Storey shows you how to focus player attention with description. These are good tips, and they align with my approach.
  24. Dungeon Fruit explains how to finish a campaign. It is excellent advice, and I especially like the idea of tying end conditions into real-world events.
  25. Phlox recently created an adventuring tavern generator. We've all seen dozens of these before, but this one delivers superior results.
  26. Have you heard of a depth crawl? Skeleton Code Machine explains the basic principles and also reviews several commercial examples.
  27. Joseph Manola recently published Localism: The Adventure as Microclimate on his blog, and world-builders should take note. I know exactly what he means when he complains about new races coming with a heavy "footprint," and I like his solution.
  28. Elm Cat explains how to set up and use faction turns based on her experience with Mausritter and Dolmenwood. The system is heavier than I'd prefer, but the fundamentals are sound.
  29. Sirly Whirly has devised a new way to manage an open table, which she calls the distributed campaign style. It is a fascinating concept.
  30. World-builders should love this post. Molten Sulfur describes the court hunts of the Mughal Empire, and they sound incredible. I now want to create something similar in Iskandar, and it would serve as a good backdrop for a social session.
  31. In an entertaining post, the Thriftromancer suggests a dozen uses for coins in the dungeon. Her blog is full of fantastic material and is well worth following.
  32. Have you ever had a session bogged down as the players chase useless minutiae? The Alexandrian offers a solution in "What Are You Looking For?" It is solid advice you can apply in many situations.
  33. Eric Diaz examines fudging, lying, and cheating as the DM--and he has some strong opinions.
  34. Sly Flourish continues his series on different adventure types. This week, he is looking at defense adventures, which are fun to play but often seem neglected.
  35. Peter V. Dell'Orto shares several mapping lessons from ancient ruins. We shouldn't feel constrained by "real life" when mapping, but I certainly look to it for inspiration.
  36. Duncan Rhodes presents a detailed guide to running arena adventures in D&D.
  37. Nexcropraxis set off a small revolution a few years ago when he created the overloaded encounter dice. Prismatic Wasteland has perfected the random encounter table using these principles. Do you like her approach?
  38. Hasbro released a 5E conversion of The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth for free on D&D Beyond. It only includes the upper level but looks very good and will certainly give you several hours of fun dungeon crawling.
  39. One of the boffins at the DM Academy recommends you learn how to make one-off rulings. The confidence to do this is one of the marks of a veteran DM.
  40. Chad Skiles just released a free quickstart to Companions of the Wild. It's high-quality material! Keep an eye out for Chad's upcoming Kickstarter.
  41. Stephen Bandstra explains why you must keep your game dangerous. I tend to soft-pedal sometimes, and I'm working hard to break that habit.
  42. Johnn Four has uncovered an essential ingredient for every villain encounter. He certainly got me thinking.
  43. Ktrey has created another amusing d100 table: So You've Been Brought Back From the Dead. It's a great idea to give resurrections a side effect.
  44. Chris Bissette suggests that random encounter tables need just three entries. He also demonstrates how other factors, such as reaction and distance, can radically alter the nature of the encounter. It is a solid post that got some attention online.
  45. Grodog is starting a new series on the theory and use of magic gates in a dungeon. You might not think there is much to say, but he shows what a rich subject it is. The bibliography at the end is gold.
  46. Here are three articles on sandbox campaigns. First, Alexis Smolensk explains the DM's job in a sandbox campaign. It is a good discussion, and I appreciate the post's title!
  47. Next, Grumpy Wizard asks how much backstory is necessary for a homemade sandbox campaign. In his view, not that much!
  48. Finally, Infernal Pact recently created a sandbox campaign and took a much heavier approach than Grumpy. This article will be appreciated by those who want a step-by-step guide to building a wilderness area.
  49. Walt Ciechanowski offers some tips for new game masters. Walt has been playing for over 40 years.
  50. By contrast, Ghost In The Spaghetti just finished her first campaign as DM. Here is the advice she would give her past self at the campaign start. It's interesting to compare these two posts.
  51. Teos Abadia has started a new series explaining how to create and run a campaign. In this first post, he shows how to wrap up your existing campaign first. It is full of solid advice, and I look forward to the entire series.
  52. Justin Alexander has shared a mini-dungeon called The False Tomb. It is brief but displays much of the dungeon craft that he teaches.
  53. David McGrogan visited the Norman Chapel at Durham Cathedral and took lots of dungeon inspiration from the experience. The post includes several evocative photos--he was especially impressed by the columns (honestly).
  54. In response to McGrogan's post, Prince of Nothing posted on columns and their use in the dungeon. You can do a lot with them!
  55. Josh McCrowell examines how to create engaging social encounters. It is a rich post, and you should frame this comment above your wall: "There should be no single obvious solution, but many possible difficult solutions."
  56. Alexis Smolensk encourages DMs to "show, don't tell" when describing the physical environment. It is a common cliche, but Alexis drills deep with several examples. Grab a coffee and read this long post, then send me your thoughts.
  57. Blue Mountain describes how to create hexes full of meaningful encounters. She includes links to some great resources.
  58. On the same topic, the Robgoblin states it takes a village to stock a hex. It includes a good discussion of hex size.
  59. Scott Fitzgerald Grey suggests creating multiple narrative threads in your encounter design. This advice is especially good for those who struggle to improvise.
  60. Mike Shea continues his excellent series on different adventure patterns. This time, he describes how to run an intrigue adventure. I'd like to see his prep notes for one of these.
  61. Goosidore has just turned 28 and shares her top 28 tips for Dungeon Masters. It's a good list, though the tips are brief. I'd enjoy more detail around each one.
  62. Luke Gearing is one of the hobby's most consistently imaginative creators. I thoroughly enjoyed his d100 carousing table.
  63. Tamás Kisbali posted the map of a real-life dungeon - a medieval Cappadocian monastery. It looks fantastic and will certainly inspire some of my dungeons.
  64. In a detailed and well-researched piece, Alexis Smolensk describes everyday life in a medieval town. Grab a coffee and read this through.
  65. Johnn Four shows how to use character backstories to create epic campaigns. This piece offers much insight, and Johnn describes a few mistakes to avoid.
  66. Mike Shea explains how to run a combat-focused adventure. You may think you have already mastered this design pattern, but Mike's article has some excellent tips.
  67. James Maliswevski advocates for smaller D&D world maps. I agree! The world map for Iskandar is smaller than many fantasy world maps I see, and much of my focus is on Iskandar province, which is "only" 50 miles long.
  68. David McGrogan discusses the difference between play as "sculpture" and play as "prism". It is a thought-provoking idea.
  69. Xaos Seed offers some suggestions for growing your gaming group. It's been a while since I've introduced anyone to gaming, and it might be time to correct that.
  70. Finally, here's a nice little piece from my homeland. James Cook University has found that Dungeons & Dragons can improve mental health. This finding is no surprise to many of us!
  71. The Alexandrian gives a real-life example of the "No, But" referee pattern and also makes a short appeal for "meaningful failure." As always, he is worth listening to.
  72. Stephen Bandstra presents d100 items on a goblin. You've seen many of these tables before, but this one shows strong craft.
  73. Ben Robbins answers a question about his West Marches campaign pattern: how do the players find the dungeons? He gives a good answer, but I find it peculiar that this is the first time someone has asked him this question.
  74. Johnn Four suggests two ways to make your mundane items marvelous. It is excellent advice.
  75. This short excerpt from an upcoming Kobold Press book explains how to use themes to create compelling dungeons. Their examples are straightforward, but theming is a rich subject you should aspire to master.
  76. Josh McCrowell suggests a campaign in which there is one of everything. It is a fantastic idea, and I hope he develops it further.
  77. W.F. Smith argues that resurrection magic presents some challenges, and she suggests several alternatives. I enjoy articles like this that break down and re-work one aspect of the game.
  78. Nocturnal Peacock published ten impressive old-school dungeons. They are free, though you can tip the publisher.
  79. The Lost Pages presents a full mini-system for weird dungeon machinery. It is very thematic and practical.
  80. Finally, Argenis D. Barrio has released Arden's Codex of Spells. It includes 60 spells from cantrips to 9th level featuring all 13 damage types and is completely free.
  81. Scroll for Initiative spent several months on the other side of the DM screen and identified nine things to look for in a perfect D&D game.
  82. The Kobold Pack has advice for players who want to make things easier for their DM.
  83. Brandes Stoddard shares eight new magic items from his campaign.
  84. D&D Beyond explains how to DM at higher levels. It is good advice, but we need more articles on this topic.
  85. David Hartlage suggests that you just let the players roll. I've taken this approach with my World War Weird RPG, and players enjoy it.
  86. Johnn Four has 12 DIY prop ideas. These are great! I mostly play online these days, but I'd like to use props more when playing in person.
  87. Mike Shea shares two free resources for online play. I use both of these and recommend them both.
  88. This post from Christopher Chinn is a few years old but just popped up in my feed. He likes "big stakes" at the game table and thinks a DM should gamble everything.
  89. Dave Clark has said goodbye to alignment and hello to short-form personality. He is absolutely right that bonds, etc., can often be reduced to a single word.
  90. Another old post has found its way into my feed! In this one, Joseph Manola explains how to handle cults and cultists correctly.
  91. Teos Abadia asks: what kind of DM are you? It's a detailed and valuable piece. Grab a coffee and enjoy.
  92. Kobold Press presents some festival minigames in Apple Pie Social. We recently had a festival in my Iskandar campaign, and the minigames (though simple) were popular.
  93. Justin Alexander walks through some considerations when a player leaves your campaign. It's an important topic that needs more discussion.
  94. Anthony Huso urges you to say "yes" to your players. I think this is important advice if your campaign is to last.
  95. Ms. Screwhead suggests we let dice set the difficulty. It completely flips how we usually do things and introduces a fun bit of collaborative worldbuilding into the game. Fantastic idea!
  96. Baron de Ropp explains how to design dungeons like a metroidvania. The advice is excellent, though mainly applicable to large dungeons.
  97. On a similar topic, J.T. Evans explains how to create an adventure back to front. It is an approach that is mostly applicable to linear/episodic adventures.
  98. The Unwritten Man lists 100 buildings for your fantasy town. It is helpful for worldbuilders or as a handy reference when the party is wandering around the city.
  99. Arnold Kemp deconstructs random encounters. He explains why they work and gives some tips for executing them better. He includes a creative expansion to PC conditions as a bonus.
  100. Beth Ball explains how to keep a character diary and why it's essential in a one-on-one game. Beth and Ben are the experts in this style of play.
 

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