Category Archives: Advice to Beginners

Good is not Stupid: On Killing Captives in RPGs

Our party fought three witches and their zombie servants. The witches had a very large pot in which were boiling pieces of dead elf. During the fight, the witches (1) put one of the human party members to sleep and … Continue reading

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How to Kill a Wizard

My character’s mentor, a high elven 9th level wizard named Baldovinetti Gulgroth, betrayed the party and led us into an ambush. We also found evidence that he is working with the baddies in the campaign, so now he must die. … Continue reading

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Keep the Witch Gagged? Spells with only Verbal Components in Pathfinder

Our party has not been having good luck. Four little sisters of various party members are dead, and a fifth is now a captive, having gone insane and become a baby-eating witch under the control of a Hag. As we … Continue reading

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John Eric Holmes (1930-2010), Confessions of a Dungeon Master (1980)

It just came to my attention that it is impossible to find this article any more. It appeared in Psychology Today back in 1980, and the only way to get it is to go to the Microforms. The digital version … Continue reading

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Swords in Role-Playing Games

I’m in the middle of rewriting my rpg from top to bottom, so I went a bit nuts and did a lot of research on swords. I discovered, after many years of role-playing, that rpgs indiscriminately mix weapons from different … Continue reading

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When to Lie to the DM

Lying is not always a bad thing for a player. Some DMs are extraordinarily fair and give the players every chance to succeed. Lying to those DMs is a crime, because their primary purpose is to create a memorable tale … Continue reading

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D&D Next (5th Edition)

I’m prepping for a game of D&D Next. What I mean by that, I guess, is that I’ll be playing in the 5th edition starter set. I’m a little confused by the marketing, even though I playtested Next. That should … Continue reading

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The Play is the Thing, Part III

I’ve done this before (Part I, Part II) but it is a perennial topic, so here we go again. This time, I’m inspired by a post by Grant on his LookRobot blog. There’s a squeaky clean version and a naughty … Continue reading

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The Play is the Thing

I just read Jef with one F’s post on how his daughter made him a better gamer. It was interesting, but it didn’t go nearly as far as I thought it would. Jef’s conclusion was that he now didn’t need … Continue reading

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A Parent’s Guide to Starting Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) or Pathfinder

Gaming has gotten a lot more commercial over the years, and I really don’t enjoy going into stores much any more. A friend of mine and I were chatting about how kids today often have problems starting to game because … Continue reading

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