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Some interesting DM Tips

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1 Some interesting DM Tips on Thu May 05, 2011 6:14 pm

Figure this could be an interesting thread, cause everyone has their opinion or ideas on DMing. Even for those of you who never have or never will does not mean you do not have some great ideas. You never know; just maybe you might inspire an adventure or a Villain.

This here below was lifted from the blog: [url=]http://dnd-realm.blogspot.com[/url]

Villains, Demons, & Devils

I've been party to a lot of discussion on Villains for our games of late, whether it be AD&D/D&D ( or my my own case Castles & Crusades) - and their prospective power levels and types.

See, I'm in the camp where sometimes Villains (and even some encounters) should be insurmountable - that the Characters should have the common sense to "run away to fight another day" whereas some DM's believe that ALL encounters should be defeatable (is that even a word LoL) including Major Villains.

But, in my opinion at least - that's not very realistic, now is it.

There are plenty of heroic tales where the main protagonist(s) flee or have to return to complete a quest/defeat some evil (the Hobbits in the Lord of the Rings don't confront the Ring Wraiths for example, not until the have Aragorn with them - and the company flees into mines of Moria to escape the watcher in the water ) - if not at the very least the Hero in question prepares himself in some way to vanquish the evil (as in the legend of the Lambton Worm).

Unfortunately, the modern "trend" is balance over story telling - something I've never found particularly palatable when running (or even playing in) games.

A common thread in my own Games are the "Three Tiers of Villainy" as I like to call them, the different sorts of encounter a Party of Player Characters might encounter.

The Three Tiers of Villainy


Tier One - The most basic villain types, Minions, Monsters, and Morons. Those Low-Level (total number of levels/hit dice generally within two levels of the total Part Level) encounters that form the meat and potatoes of any game. These can be represented by a "spread" - as in 1 monster/minion/npc per party level, or as a "combined" encounter - eg 5 1st level PCs could encounter a 5 hit dice monster.

At the end of the day, even when designed to be a challenge to your players, they should be well-within your party's capability to deal with them.

Tier Two - The Bosses. This is the most challenging "encounter" a DM can put it, tough enough to (at least in theory) perform a total Party Wipe Out (if they are stupid enough to take such an encounter on) when initially encountered, but not unbeatable IN THE LONG RUN. These are the Baddies the PCs return to kill/exact revenge upon. The Long Term Villains that can make a campaign truly memorable. Of course, such "Bosses" CAN be taken on, and on rare occasions the PCs will get lucky (or the NPC unlucky with his saves etc) and defeat such a Tier Two Villain early on, if that's the case - let them gloat etc. Just have him (or her) replaced, and make sure the new Villain has an entourage with them this time!

To sum up, Tier Two Villains should be ALMOST unbeatable - but at the end of the Day they are there to entertain your Players, so don't be surprised when they do (eventually) get killed!

Tier Three - The Gods, Demon Princes, & Arch-Devils. Though such encounters will have attributes/statistics - they aren't in place for the PCs to fight. They are there rather for flavour, and to scare the "bejesus" out of your Players.

Evil Deities turning up to gloat (and tell the Party their plans of course), Demon Princes there to "slap them around" a bit, before you let them "find" a powerful magic item or two. Or an Arch-Devil, there to tempt them into "making a deal" (if you get me) - Tier Three encounters are there for one reason, and one reason only - the scare the crap out of your players.

DO NOT put such Villains/Monsters in as an standard encounter, at least some of your Players characters WILL die - and that's a fact.

So, even though I am not a fan of "balance" in the rule set (I find it a little too constraining myself) - I do believe in balance when it comes to telling a tale.

And telling a good story is what its all about for me as a DM.



Last edited by Leetin McBeatin on Thu May 05, 2011 6:18 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : I made it look pretty)

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2 Re: Some interesting DM Tips on Sat May 07, 2011 3:17 pm

I second your notion leetin i recommend throwing in the unbeatable monster for story telling as to affirm the vilain and to push motive unto the party. But remember again Once in a while s good, it keeps players in check when they are becoming to full of themselves. But Ive been in a campaign were they were thrown at us quite frequently, and it gets frustrating for the pc to have deal with, not to mention that tier one bosses as you so smartly name them can become tier 2 bosses without the right party which we also seem to have quite frequently.

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3 Re: Some interesting DM Tips on Mon May 09, 2011 2:05 am

That hole post was lifted from another site. I also agree with it.

I rarely throw in the unbeatable into a combat situation with the party, hence as you can remember the tentacle dragon of chaos. That was strictly for roll playing purposes.

Also, If a simple villain is created and through situations it can def become a site line villain. Look at GrizzlrGom.

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4 There should be more to this post... on Sun Sep 04, 2011 5:11 pm

Very good topic, so why no more input???
As one of the GMs that everyone says makes situations impossible to win I love this explaination of how I create villians. Some of my villians are not there for you to beat up the first, second or even third time you meet them. Especially when your fighting style hasn't changed from the run in hack and slash then use our most powerful weapon with no stategy at all concept of fighting. My best villians will wipe the floor with you every time. I've beaten midrange characters down with well trained goblins for pete's sake. 10 goblins with lvl 3 assassain skill, blow guns and daggers will take out a party of 5 members at level 5-6 in all thier skils and weapons easily if they have no plan and don't regroup to puzzle out what's happening.

Players need to learn to use walls of protection or anything to hide behind in order to give them a few pulses to strategize. Please work as a group because when you guys come together and kill the egos then your a force to be recond with.

I will be using organized attacks orchestrated by level 1 1/2 villians from day one in my game The Coming Knight. Please be ready. Someone may bite it the first day.

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5 Re: Some interesting DM Tips on Sun Sep 04, 2011 5:27 pm

Tom we already kno the that villians in your campaign are hard to kill this no new feat, obviously teamwork will be needed but even so, some of us are goin to die anyway...lol

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6 Re: Some interesting DM Tips on Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:37 pm

Remember this topic? This last BESM game reminds me of this post...or does it??

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7 Re: Some interesting DM Tips on Thu Oct 17, 2013 4:17 pm

you cocky bastard

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8 Re: Some interesting DM Tips on Thu Oct 17, 2013 5:06 pm

Hsaaa!!

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9 Re: Some interesting DM Tips on Thu Oct 17, 2013 5:21 pm

I can see the similarity. The battle for UnderChipan was a fight that the party could not win but I was reserving experience for players that made the effort to protect the townies, strategize, and work as a team. Obviously no one earned that exp except for possible The Magi. You can't win every battle, sometimes the challenge is in losing in style.


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10 Re: Some interesting DM Tips on Fri Oct 18, 2013 3:08 pm

Soo, no style points earned for team B?

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11 Re: Some interesting DM Tips on Thu Mar 12, 2015 2:22 pm

The Serpent wrote:I can see the similarity. The battle for UnderChipan was a fight that the party could not win but I was reserving experience for players that made the effort to protect the townies, strategize, and work as a team. Obviously no one earned that exp except for possible The Magi. You can't win every battle, sometimes the challenge is in losing in style.

I miss UnderChipan, and The Heroes of The Kingdom...


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Every great story seems to begin with a snake.

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12 Re: Some interesting DM Tips on Thu Mar 12, 2015 2:50 pm

The Serpent wrote:
The Serpent wrote:I can see the similarity. The battle for UnderChipan was a fight that the party could not win but I was reserving experience for players that made the effort to protect the townies, strategize, and work as a team. Obviously no one earned that exp except for possible The Magi. You can't win every battle, sometimes the challenge is in losing in style.

I miss UnderChipan, and The Heroes of The Kingdom...

Losing for the win?

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13 Re: Some interesting DM Tips on Thu Mar 12, 2015 3:06 pm

The Reality Tailor wrote:
The Serpent wrote:
The Serpent wrote:I can see the similarity. The battle for UnderChipan was a fight that the party could not win but I was reserving experience for players that made the effort to protect the townies, strategize, and work as a team. Obviously no one earned that exp except for possible The Magi. You can't win every battle, sometimes the challenge is in losing in style.

I miss UnderChipan, and The Heroes of The Kingdom...

Losing for the win?

Sometimes


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Every great story seems to begin with a snake.

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14 Re: Some interesting DM Tips on Thu Mar 12, 2015 5:33 pm

In my attempt to focus the group for the upcoming threat I convinced the Players to play SIMS instead of a tabletop game.

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15 Re: Some interesting DM Tips on Fri Mar 13, 2015 11:47 am

Leetin McBeatin wrote:In my attempt to focus the group for the upcoming threat I convinced the Players to play SIMS instead of a tabletop game.


I blame myself. I wanted to give the players a chance to prepare so I waited and threw in little side things but the players lost focus and because only handfuls of players were bothering with the side quest people kept dying... So much potential wasted. Crying or Very sad


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Every great story seems to begin with a snake.

-Nicolas Cage
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16 Re: Some interesting DM Tips on Sun Mar 15, 2015 8:30 pm

Yep, we had a keep and a nice chunk of property. We also had nobles join our Guild.

That was prob that most successful game we every had as a group. We all had defined rolls and a common goal.

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17 Re: Some interesting DM Tips on Mon Mar 16, 2015 3:25 pm

I thought you guys had plans but in the end it was only Random planning to kill the rest of you... then he went and moved. Good times wasted.


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Every great story seems to begin with a snake.

-Nicolas Cage
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18 Re: Some interesting DM Tips on Tue Mar 17, 2015 2:18 am

It was over a year of real life Gaming, you cant call that a waste. It's silly, just hope not a waste.

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19 Re: Some interesting DM Tips on Wed Mar 18, 2015 6:10 pm

True. Good times were had and memories were made.


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Every great story seems to begin with a snake.

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