Characterising NPCs: D&D Tips with James Gifford

James Gifford, author and illustrator of Dungeon Diaries, returns to improve your Dungeons and Dragons encounters… Perhaps more than any other part of the game, Non-Playable Clones (NPC)s are especially challenging to bring to life: Testing your skills in improvisation, voices, characterization and acting. Often, it’s difficult to create memorable ones and they seem to all bleed into one generic …

Designing Your Dungeons & Dragons Encounters with James Gifford

James Gifford, author and illustrator of Dungeon Diaries, returns to improve your Dungeons and Dragons encounters (also applicable to any tabletop roleplaying game PATHFINDER FOR LIFE! – Ed: Robin) ENHANCING YOUR DUNGEONS & DRAGONS ENCOUNTERS Back when I was a baby goblin, I used to play Dungeon Crawler game like Torchlight and Dungeon Siege. I remember thinking they were the …

Magical Loopholes – D&D Tips with James Gifford

Magical Loopholes – the Dungeon Master’s Dilemma Magic, by its very definition, is mysterious. And yet in many fantasy tabletop games (including Dungeons & Dragons), it is defined quite clearly in the rulebook – spell duration, components, targets, spell resistance, saving rolls…  Game designer gods do this for our own character safety, for every foolish apprentice and player will, WILL, …

Music and Sound Effects – D&D Tips with James Gifford

  My players had finally found the flooded Crypt. They inch down into the dank stone entranceway, fear gripping them as they watch out for the ghost of a blind witch Morvane. As they emerge into the main catacomb, all is still… then they see her, manifesting above the alter, her hair splayed out like white tendrils, milky eyes wide …

Making Treasure Valuable – D&D Tips with James Gifford

Making Treasure Valuable “You find 40 gold pieces. Two level 1 scrolls and a dagger.” A collective yawn ensues. Sound familiar? Making treasure sound ‘valuable’ can be tricky, but there are ways to make it catch your player’s eye without simply throwing more gold or more magic into the pile. Name your items. Treat key objects and weapons like NPCs, …