Awe-Inspiring D&D Encounters
Our first segment we answer a question from redditer Ankoku_Teion on how to encourage players to be more proactive.
In our main topic we discuss what makes a great encounter starting with the bread and meat, then follow it up with some secret sauce to really make them epic and memorable! Simple tips such as changing up the monsters in combat can really enhance the variations of your combat. Adding a collection of melee, ranged archers, casters, traps and so much more. Not only can this allow you to run a variety of monsters, but also make the encounter more dynamic.
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Lots of players make characters who craft their own gear, but imagine if your character was more than just an ordinary craftsman. What if it was their life’s goal - or, better yet, their destiny - to prove that they’re the best craftsman that ever lived?
There’s a few traits that can aid this cause. Maybe whenever your character goes to a new
city, they search for the most prestigious and skilled smith in the area and challenge them to
a competition of skills. Maybe, after exhausting every effort to improve their natural skill, they multiclass into Wizard so that they can begin to imbue their creations with magical power. For this character, crafting is more than just a hobby or even a profession. It’s their life; it is everything they are.
Magmin are an enemy from the Monster Manual that come from the Elemental Plane
of Fire, and one noteworthy feature from their statblock is that, upon death, they explode
and deal damage to anyone around them. For this encounter, the Magmin function slightly
differently: instead of exploding on death, they explode on contact. The encounter involves an enemy spellcaster - maybe an evil warlock or a cleric of a deity of chaos or destruction - who has created several portals around the city. Hordes of magmin are running through these portals and causing havoc. The encounter forces the players to not only kill the enemies and eventually shut down the portals, but also to mitigate collateral damage as much as possible.
Tome of Blood Magic
Wondrous, Rare (requires attunement by a sorcerer or wizard)
Have you ever needed more spell slots? Have you ever felt like you would be willing to do
anything to get more? ...Care to make a deal?
The Tome of Blood Magic is a magical spell book full of ancient secrets of dark power. The
names of many powerful wizards and sorcerers of yore are scrawled in the back.
An attuned creature can use a bonus action and choose to allow the tome to absorb their vitality and spend any unspent Hit Dice to recover a spell slot equal to half the number of Hit
Die expended in this way rounded down. For example, spending four hit dice allows the user
to recover one 2nd level spell slot.
This power comes at a price, however; if a caster dies while attuned to the Tome, their soul
is trapped inside the book, and their name will be added to the list in the back.
Populate your Rooms
The players are searching through a dungeon, and the room they just entered is a 10x10 square with a door leading in and leading out. They go to the next room, and find another 10x10 square with a door leading in and leading out. The next room is the same, and so on, and so on.
As you can expect, this can get boring really fast. Empty rooms are never interesting. Think about what these rooms were and what purpose they served. Was this room a kitchen? A weapon storage room? A latrine? Describe the features of the room: an empty rack on the wall, a shelf with a few crumbling books, a locked chest (that may or may not be empty), all of these details are incredibly simple to add. Not only that, but you can use these details to foreshadow upcoming events or provide a clue as to how to bypass traps or defeat the enemy. So populate your rooms, even if the room isn’t relevant to the story.
Player Tip: Don't be a Dick!
Build Group Connections
When you’re playing a group with a bunch of random people who just met, chances are you
aren’t going to be invested in what happens to the other members of the group. However,
what if two of the party members used to serve under you in the city militia? They’ll probably
follow your orders more closely because they know that if something goes wrong you’ll stop
at nothing to keep them safe. Perhaps one of your party members is very close to you;
they could be a brother or a sister. If they get wounded or kidnapped, how much
harder are you going to fight to save them?
Not all connections are positive. Maybe one of your companions is familiar to you because you remember his face as he ratted you out to the guards when a heist went wrong. These
kinds of group connections make the game feel so much more exciting and personal
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