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Crumbling UpKeep: Campfire XP

Player’s have this long and elaborate backstory. They have 20 some years of tragedy written out, just waiting for that moment their character can be vulnerable and explain what dire straights have forced them into this life of adventuring. Normal well adjusted people don’t want to go sleep on the ground in the cold woods to save the world from whatever abominable threat has reared it’s head this time. Hell, I get cranky if I just skip breakfast.

But what if that moment of vulnerability never comes? What if the heroes are so busy running around killing the baddies and solving the mysteries that they just don’t get that opportunity? Sometimes I want to know about a character’s first love, what their favorite smell is, what keeps them awake at night, and their best drinking stories. The players generally want to share that with you if you just give them an opportunity.

Enter Campfire XP.

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Crumbling UpKeep: Elements of Horror

Once upon a time, I was a young DM playing Dungeons and Dragons 2nd Edition. Yes, that does date me a bit. Long before Curse of Strahd was a thing, there was the Ravenloft box set, which contained all the world building and additional rules you need to play in the demiplane of dread. Vampires, ghouls, zombies, and mists that would wrap you up and take you away. It had all thing things it needed to be scary.

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Crumbling UpKeep: Better Random Encounters

Personally, I love random encounter tables. RPGs are games of mitigated chance. Characters make dice rolls to hit monsters, negotiate deals, and fly spaceships. Why not have the GM make them to see what’s around the corner? The element of randomness gives both the players and GM something to play with, as the unexpected happens.

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Crumbling UpKeep: Giving Your Cities Character

Heroes can spend a lot of time out in the wilderness. There is a lot of action outside of town, what with monsters ravaging the countryside, forgotten dungeons, and that pesky environment to contend with. Eventually, the characters are going to come to a settlement, however. Maybe they just want to grab supplies or have a long rest without worrying about pesky Anhkegs for once. Perhaps the city is actually a focus, and you’re planning to run an urban campaign. Whatever the reason, the forests and plains are giving way to wood smoke and buildings. How do you make this community stand out? Continue reading “Crumbling UpKeep: Giving Your Cities Character”

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Crumbling UpKeep: Campaign Prep in Bullet Points

When I’m running a streaming game or recording an episode of our podcast, it’s not enough that I have plans for whats going to happen in the game; I also need to know when it’s going to happen. I prefer to have each episode reach some sort of completion. If there is a cliffhanger, I want that to be intentional.

So how do I keep a game going where I need it to go? I think in threes.

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Crumbling UpKeep: Bringing Madness to DnD

Most people play dungeons and Dragons to be heroic. They want to save the day while staring gruesome monstrosities and certain death in the face over and over again. Their characters just grit their teeth, look demons in the eye, and spit. Unlike real life where I get startled when there is a knock at the door, nothing scares a D&D character.

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Crumbling UpKeep: Traps. Who does this to their home?

Traps are a classic part of Dungeons and Dragons, so much so that entire books have been made about them. They grown to be ever more complicated through the years, always adding more pulleys and strange fail safes in an effort to confuse and trick the players. Until recent editions, they were one of the big reasons you always had a thief in the party, as no one else had a chance to notice them.

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Crumbling UpKeep: A Different Take on Hit Points

Some one rolls dice, you get hit, you lose hit points. You run out of hit points, you’re dead. That is how D&D works.

What are hit points, though? Most people view it as a relative measure of health.  You get stabbed, your health decreases. You get stabbed again, the process repeats itself. Eventually, you just run out of health.

What I’m proposing here isn’t a new concept. I know I got the idea from reading about it somewhere else many years ago. If I could remember where, I’d give it some credit. It was an idea that really stuck with me, though. Hit points actually represents a number of things: health, how tired you are, the strength of your sword arm… hit points ultimately show how close you are to death, but not necessarily health. Continue reading “Crumbling UpKeep: A Different Take on Hit Points”