Is rolling initiative a pointless ritual?

Today’s topic is something so iconic within D&D that some people have even named their blogs after it: rolling initiative. Using initiative to determine combat order has a history going all the way back to 1977. But do we need it, really? Or is it an unnecessary hassle? The case for rolling There are two … Continue reading Is rolling initiative a pointless ritual?

Welcome to the Arena: How to Run PvP D&D

If you’re a fan of RealmSmith, you might be following Champions of the Realm, a charity tournament of PvP (player versus player) combat. It’s good fun. They even got Bruce Buffer to do the announcements. If you want to run a PvP tournament in D&D, how do you make it work? Players and scheduling Realistically, … Continue reading Welcome to the Arena: How to Run PvP D&D

My Golden Rule For Making Combat More Interesting

Generally speaking, I don’t believe in telling people how D&D ‘should’ be played. There are different DM styles and different game styles, and that’s OK. Even now, I’m really offering a tip, not an instruction. But if there’s one easy way to improve combat, it’s this: Stop describing every hit and miss. Sacrilige! I hear … Continue reading My Golden Rule For Making Combat More Interesting

The best way to level up: milestones or XP?

cle, I look at the pros and cons of both milestone levelling and traditional XP in the hope to guide you as to which is right for your campaign. Tl;dr: they both have their place.cle, I look at the pros and cons of both milestone levelling and traditional XP in the hope to guide you as to which is right for your campaign. (Tl;dr: they both have their place.)

Combat rules you never knew

Part One Part Two Over the last three weeks, I have written a couple of posts examining some of the most easily overlooked rules of the Player’s Handbook. Today I am looking at Chapter 9: Combat. Spellcasting will need an article on its own. Again, if I’ve made any howlers, let me know in the comments. … Continue reading Combat rules you never knew

How to run D&D with no combat

The next official 5e adventure, The Wild Beyond the Witchlight, is set for release in two months’ time. It has been promoted as a ‘wickedly whimsical’ trip to the Feywild aimed at characters of levels 1–8. As part of this year’s D&D Live, Mica Burton chatted about the adventure with Chris Perkins, who said this: … Continue reading How to run D&D with no combat

Four Problems with Fantasy

Don’t get me wrong: I love fantasy roleplaying games. After all, I do write a blog about Dungeons & Dragons. But I also believe that fantasy, and D&D in particular, is not without its problems, some of which can be fixed, or at least mitigated. In this article, I plan to run through four issues … Continue reading Four Problems with Fantasy

Making Combat Engaging

Of the three pillars of D&D, combat is the one most defined in the rules, and, for most groups, it’s going to take up a significant part of each session. D&D is a complex game, though, and, handled badly, combat has the chance to become repetitive, frustrating, or tedious. How, then, can we make combat as exciting and evocative as it should be?