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anonymous asked:

Hey could I have Shinsou, Shouta and Neito with an SO whose quirk make them work with video game logic? They have an inventory, read books instantly, eat food instantly, they have a magical compass, time freezes from their perspective when they open their inventory/read their self writing journal. They can make their 'camera' go into 3rd person mode to see around corners. They can also use glitches, like running into corners inside houses to exit quickly, no fall dmg if they land on an edge etc.

Hey lovely, you surely can! I very much hope that I could write this well enough and that you’re going to like it!


Shinsou:

- Whenever his partner just freezes, Shinsou knows they’re currently looking through their writing and he waits patiently while they’re done or makes sure that no one bumps into them if they’re out and about.

- He finds their quirk rather useful, though a part of him feels sorry for the way their food is just gone as soon as they reach for it. In the same sense, if they are in danger of dehydrating because their thirst is seen as less important, he makes sure to remind them to drink enough whenever they’re training or come from training.

- Aside from helping them out with the side effects of their quirk, Shinsou just enjoys his time with them. They see what they can do together, exploring their relationship and the possibilities of life together.


Aizawa:

- They often train together and if his partner wants to try out new things or hits a frustrating impasse when it comes to their quirk, Aizawa is there for them. He helps them figure out what to do or when to notice that they’re approaching the limits of their quirk.

- Aizawa doesn’t startle or is surprised when his partner just simply pops into their home, entirely skipping the use of the door. He greets them with a small smile and asks if they’re up for dinner or if they want to order in.

- Aizawa doesn’t put any importance on quirks when it comes to the relationships he has. He loves his partner for who they are and when his love silently pops in and out of rooms to leave a flower for him or orders a lot of take out since they eat their food so fast, he finds himself smiling at them, his chest filling with warmth.


Monoma:

- He doesn’t really admit it, though their quirk is one of his favorites to copy. If his partner is up for it, they often train together like this. At the end of their training sessions, Monoma uses the last seconds where he still has their quirk to sneak up on them and catch them in his arms or getting surprised himself when his partner suddenly pops out of the wall behind him, wrapping him in a hug.

- Monoma asks his partner a few questions here and there when it comes to their quirk. He wonders if they can still taste the food they eat and what they enjoy the most when it comes to food. He asks if their journal just keeps up with their life by itself or just records the most important moments.

- Aside from that, Monoma just simply enjoys being with them, to get surprised when his partner drops down from a roof to greet him with a smile or to play games and watch movies with them. Every time he makes them laugh, his heart warms.

Spellcasting Combat Narration for D&D

image credit: Ben Wootten

So I was gonna include this in my other article on narrating combat, but it proved far too lengthy, so I made this into part 2! 

Combat is easy to describe compared to narrating spell attacks. I ran into this problem last session when I was getting into detail telling the barbarian how they tore off an ogre’s head but then the druid just kept using Fire Bolt and I kept defaulting to “you shoot a bolt of fire at his face.” I’m going to try and vary things up with these lists and help everyone else in the process! I am organizing them by energy type.

Mode of Attack

Half of a spell’s attack is how the caster shapes their spell. The same spell can look very different with every casting if you have a creative DM. Feel free to switch it up each time it’s cast, or vary the same spell when cast by different characters of different classes.

Attack Words

Generic shapes and terms that will launch from the caster’s hand.

Helix, Spiral, Beam, Erratic, Mote, Bolt, Stream, Blast, Burst, Blade, Arc, Miasma, Cloud, Eruption, Wave, Cone, Missile, Rune, Glyph

Class-Based Ideas

  • Bard
    • Energy manifests from thin air a foot in front of their instrument as they play
    • Energy is shaped like ribbons of written music that ripples towards enemies
    • Several tiny motes of energy appear with each note sung or played. Each point of damage comes from a mote hitting the opponent (rolls a 4 out of a d6, 4 of the 6 note-motes hit)
  • Cleric
    • Energy falls from the sky or emerges from the ground as the cleric prays
    • Beam of energy originates from holy symbol
    • Spell attack should highlight that the cleric is granted their powers from a greater power, don’t have the energy come from their hand/finger. Have the energy come TO them, and then be thrown at the enemy.
  • Druid
    • Energy is shaped like an animal.
    • Energy rushes forth from the surrounding wilderness and zooms past the druid and toward the foe.
    • Much like Cleric, energy shouldn’t come from the caster. It should come from elsewhere before being thrown at the enemy.
  • Fighter (Eldritch Knight)
    • Energy blasts from their bound weapon pointed at the enemy.
    • Energy fires from their mouth as they yell.
    • Energy surrounds their weapon and is used in tandem with it (if close enough)
  • Monk (Way of Four Elements)
    • Literally just watch Avatar: the Last Airbender and do that.
  • Paladin
    • Most Paladin spells are smite-based, so they usually happen when an attack hits. Otherwise, let the energy come from a higher power like the Cleric.
    • Energy bursts forth from within the creature hit
    • Energy surrounds weapon right as the strike lands
    • Energy falls from the sky or erupts from the ground
  • Ranger
    • Honestly, most Ranger spells often seem a lot like man-made traps like Cordon of Arrows (arrow traps), Fog Cloud (smoke grenade), or Grasping Vine (slipknot trap). But otherwise, Play it like the Cleric where the energy comes from a higher power.
    • Energy takes the form of the Ranger’s animal companion or an animal they associate with.
    • Spells seem to cast automatically whenever the Ranger is in a tight spot, almost as if nature itself is protecting them. The Ranger gives an approving nod whenever this happens in thanks.
  • Rogue (Arcane Trickster)
    • Energy is always accompanied by a shimmer of glitter
    • The Rogue plays with the energy over their fingertips as they whistle before casting the spell.
    • Energy enchants one of the Rogue’s daggers and casts the spell by tossing the dagger at the intended location or target.
  • Sorcerer (Draconic Bloodline)
    • Energy takes the shape of a dragon of your bloodline.
    • Energy surges forth from your breath
    • All energy takes the shape of your bloodline dragon’s energy type, regardless of the actual energy type. For instance, a sorcerer of a blue dragon’s bloodline that casts Burning Hands or Cone of Cold keeps the energy type but shapes the fire and cold damage into the form of a bolt of lightning. 
  • Sorcerer (Wild Magic) 
    • Energy takes on many random forms, never under the full command of the Sorcerer.
    • Energy erupts from random places in the environment when the Sorcerer calls upon them.
    • Energy bubbles and fizzes with all energy types (but mostly the one called upon), as if a piece of Limbo was thrown at the enemy.
  • Warlock (Archfey)
    • Your energy shimmers with iridescent colors and showers enemies with sparks of glitter.
  • Warlock (Great Old One)
    • Your magic corrupts and twists the flesh of the target of your spell, regardless of the energy type.
  • Warlock (Fiend)
    • Energy takes the shape of the unholy symbol of your patron.
  • Wizard (Abjuration)
    • Energy shoots forth from your magical wards, arcing towards your enemies.
  • Wizard (Conjuration)
    • You conjure a short-lived elemental of the energy type you need. It soars at the enemy.
  • Wizard (Divination)
    • You weave the glowing threads of fate in the palms of your hands, tweaking reality to cast your spell.
  • Wizard (Enchantment)
    • You enchant an object to exude the energy and toss it at the enemy.
  • Wizard (Evocation)
    • I mean, you just sorta blast them. That’s what this school’s about.
  • Wizard (Illusion)
    • Your spell usually spawns two or three illusory copies. When the attack misses, the enemy simply managed to dodge the right duplicate.
  • Wizard (Necromancy)
    • Your energy takes the shape of a skull screaming as it flies toward the enemy
  • Wizard (Transmutation)
    • You transmute the energy out of the surrounding environment and fire it at the enemy

On-Hit

So if half of a spell’s attack is the shape and travel of the spell, the other half is when the spell hits. I organized this list by energy type, as different energies will do different sorts of things when they hit a creature. This is mostly a collection of interesting effects, colorful language, and examples.

Fire

  • Your bolt of fire singes their armor (burning cloth, blackening leather, discoloring metal)
  • A tiny bead of fire explodes on contact
  • Showers them with red sparks
  • Your attack leaves behind a billowing trail of smoke
  • A fast-travelling meteor of flame soars from the sky towards the enemy.
  • Your flames leave blisters and cracked skin in its wake.
  • Your fire blackens the enemy’s flesh

Cold

  • You freeze the moisture in the air into icy daggers that fall onto your enemy
  • You freeze the water in their blood to damage them
  • Their skin turns blue and numb
  • You literally hurl a snowball at them.
  • Your spell leaves them covered in a layer of frost
  • A buildup of ice covers where your spell hit. (it’s easily shattered once they move, though)
  • A blast of icy wind and rain leaves them shivering.

Thunder

  • A crack of thunder pummels your foe
  • A high-pitched, deafening shriek focuses itself on the target
  • A thin trail of blood races from the foe’s ears from a sound no one else can hear
  • The enemy falls to their knees cupping their hands over their ears, gritting their teeth
  • You buffet the target with waves of thunderous sound
  • The ground shakes with the force of your spell. Brittle glass objects nearby shatter.

Lightning

  • Lightning comes from the sky to smite your foe
  • You all smell the faint odor of ozone before a bright bolt of lightning streaks toward the target of your spell
  • Before your enemy can blink they are showered in electrical sparks followed by crippling pain
  • The enemy’s back stiffens as the powerful current of lightning surges through them
  • Your attack leaves a permanent web of lightning shaped burns all over one side of their body
  • Your blast of lightning causes their skin to rupture as it travels through their body

Acid

  • Your acid sizzles as it burns a new, unnatural color into their skin
  • The attack melts their flesh, leaving them permanently disfigured at the site of the spell
  • Your spell’s acid causes blue fire to burn where it hit their skin, and bleaches their armor and belongings
  • A rancid smell fills the foe’s nostrils as the acid bubbles on their bare skin, burning through the simple cloth of their shirt.

Poison

  • You spew a poisonous cloud from your mouth at your opponent
  • A spectral viper or insect is flung at the opponent, biting them and filling them with magical venom
  • Your index and middle finger each grow a poisonous fang which you sink into your opponent’s arm (melee range spell attacks only)
  • The enemy’s mouth fills with a foul tasting liquid which forces its way down their throat

Necrotic

  • Your target’s flesh bubbles and boils as a black ichor sputters from the spell’s origin
  • The foe’s flesh festers with magical disease as boils and wounds quickly cover the affected area
  • A skeletal hand wriggles free from beneath the earth, flying towards the target
  • An incorporeal undead shrieks as it flies from your finger toward the enemy to deliver the spell’s effect
  • Black energy swirls around your arm before launching towards the enemy as if it had a life of its own
  • Your iridescent blue magic enters the target’s body and afflicts their soul, making them momentarily dazed as their eyes glaze over.

Radiant

  • A holy light shines from the skies to harm your target, regardless of time of day or obstructions
  • A halo of radiant energy surrounds your head and blinds the target as they gaze upon it
  • Enemies that aren’t of your alignment hear the whispers of your deity moments before being enveloped in a blinding white light
  • The foe’s eyes and mouth emit warm light and they howl in pain
  • A blade of radiant energy slashes through the victim, leaving a trail of blinking motes of light in its wake
  • The enemy’s skin blisters from the raw positive energy surging through them

So essentially this whole post was a creative writing assignment for myself, but I hope that it gives you guys new creative ideas for new spells or new ways to describe existing spells! They don’t much affect the mechanics of the spell at all, so most DMs I suspect will be fine with most of these descriptions if you want your character to cast spells a certain way.

D&D: How to Use Character Arcs as a Dungeon Master

In my previous post on character arcs, I talked about how a player should determine how they want their character’s arc to begin and end. It was from a player’s perspective. But how does a DM write an adventure that will make that player’s arc happen?

First, get the information you need. Ask your players to each determine how their characters will begin the campaign and how they want them to change by the end of it. Then ask for copies of their character’s traits, flaws, ideals, and bonds. Note whether a player’s character is going to die tragically and if they are okay with that. With this information, you can give the players what I call a moral quandary, personalized for their own character’s arc. A moral quandary is giving the player two difficult options that the player must decide how their character would choose. The character should lean to one side of a moral quandary at the beginning of an adventure, but gradually start to lean the other way as their arc comes to completion. 

For instance, a cleric might be presented with a choice to kill an evildoer or merely capture them. If the cleric is heading down an arc where their ideal changes from “all life is precious” to “evil must be stopped at all costs” in their character arc is going to make very different choices in that situation depending on where they are on their arc.

Let’s figure out how we can use this info as a DM and where to put moral quandaries using a 9-point story structure. These are not an entire campaign, but you can use each point as a fixed point in the narrative; a story outline based on the characters’ arcs. Plenty of different stuff can happen between each point, but the points must happen to create a robust story.

Call to Action

The player is given an initial call to action. Essentially, a moral quandary disguised as a quest hook. Try to have a separate but related call to action for each player. Ideally, the players should refuse the call to action, as they haven’t been “changed” yet. If they play to their characters’ initial backgrounds and traits, they will refuse the call. You can even enforce this by loading your call with descriptions of how the character is feeling. “You are offended that someone would even offer something so morally reprehensible to you, despite the fact that you could use the money.”

A good-hearted rogue is starting a tragic fall arc and is offered a chance to make millions from some morally questionable actions involving an evil regime, but decides it is wrong. An innocent paladin starting a coming of age arc could be offered a chance to rise against an evil regime, but values their own safety. A studious apprentice wizard starting a corruption arc is offered power in exchange for service to an evil regime, but decides they can get power on their own.

Inciting Incident

Something happens to force the player to action, whether they are ready or not. Try to come up with an inciting incident that involves all of the players, not just one. The inciting incident can act as where the adventuring party finally meets.

The evil regime in the Call to Action ends up invading the players’ quiet suburb to enforce martial law. The players escape or fight back or else they and their loved ones die or are enslaved. The rogue decides to run from their debts by joining the party. The paladin has seen firsthand what the regime can do, and will now join the party to find someone else who can help them stop it. The wizard seeks out more power to stop the regime.

1st Plot Point

The players learn the first shreds of information about the overarching narrative of the campaign. After the inciting incident, some characters might not be convinced and want to turn back. This gives them a reason to continue onward together, as a team. There should be no turning back from the 1st plot point.

Players learn how this evil regime has been spreading across the kingdom. It still holds many mysteries, but its power is great and threatening. Its power is centered in a capital city, which the players now opt to travel to in order to find the things they currently desire.

1st Pinch Point

A pinch point is the first real display of power from the antagonist or opposing force. In D&D this should be actual combat, though it doesn’t have to be. As long as the players see firsthand what the antagonist can do to their characters, this part will add the tension/drama that it should. If you want to have a 1st Pinch Point for each character, then this display of force should directly target the player’s character arc and spark the desire to change through a moral quandary. It’s an awakening. Create tension by ending a session with this pinch point.

The players come across a thieves’ guild run by the evil regime. The rogue takes note of how rich, glamorous, and lawless the life of a criminal is to spark their tragic fall arc. The paladin realizes how deep the corruption of the world runs and sparks their coming of age arc as their innocence starts to fade. The wizard realizes how much resources the evil regime has, and wonders what sorts of power they had in mind for him sparking their corruption arc.

Midpoint

More info is revealed about the antagonist and the perception of the characters change. They have an epiphany and decide to continue onward through their arc. This can, and most likely will, happen at different times for each character and their varying arcs.

The players learn about the leader of the regime. They have been pushed to the breaking point by the regime’s forces. The rogue decides join the regime and start doing crime for the regime and acting as a double agent against the party. The paladin no longer cares about finding someone else to help them stop the regime, vowing to end it themselves. The wizard gets an unholy tome and decides to learn how to make a pact with the demon the regime mentioned to overpower the regime. They are all still heading to the capital, though now with severely divergent goals.

2nd Pinch Point

The antagonist reveals their full power and threatens the completion of the characters’ arcs. The entire party should, in general, be at their lowest moment and completely without hope. This should happen at the same time for everyone. Ideally, end a session with this pinch point to create a cliffhanger and highlight the hopelessness.

The players reach the capital of the evil regime. The rogue is faced with a moral test, where they will be offered riches and allowed to live if they rat out their adventuring party. They choose to take the offer and are betrayed by the regime’s leader and sentenced to death anyway. The paladin comes face to face with the regime’s leader after being ratted out by the rogue. They fail the encounter and barely manage to escape with their life. The wizard is also defeated and their unholy tome is destroyed in the battle. The rogue is imprisoned and the paladin and rogue escape the leader and are being hunted in the capital.

2nd Plot Point

The last piece of the puzzle has come together in the second plot point. The characters finish their arc and learn how to overcome the antagonist. This can happen at different points and doesn’t have to happen quickly. For a tragic character, this is the part where they finally meet their end. Tragic characters fail to change or their change is self-destructive and they fail to overcome the antagonist of the story (tragic, isn’t it?). Think of this part as a moral quandary that characters’ finally “know the answer” to, as far as their character arc is concerned.

The rogue tries to escape, succeeds, but heads back to the thieves’ guild instead of his adventuring allies, and they ultimately betray and kill him. The paladin’s innocence is shattered and they gather rebel forces over time to take on the regime’s leader, becoming a leader themselves. They also find an unlikely ally in the wizard, who has finally succumbed to evil. The wizard still doesn’t know how to summon the demon, but they have already gotten a taste of evil’s power by performing vile rituals on captured regime members and will now use their power for vengeance against the regime’s leader.

Climax

The characters finally face off with the antagonist. The promise set out at the beginning of the campaign is fulfilled. The characters, having completed their arcs, are now changed enough to be able to defeat the antagonist. This should be the players at their most powerful and should be the most epic battle to take place in the campaign.

The paladin’s rebel army and the wizard’s evil magic face off against the evil regime’s leader. The battle is long and epic, but the characters succeed, freeing the kingdom of the evil regime.

Resolution

The game shouldn’t abruptly end after the antagonist is defeated! There needs to be closure. The players’ characters find out the results and the aftermath of defeating the antagonist, for better or for worse. In the case of an ongoing game, you should now set up the next campaign here.

The paladin and wizard regard each other as unsteady allies who no longer have a common enemy. The wizard seeks more power, even seeking to possibly usurp the void of power left from the regime’s defeat. The paladin and their rebel army gather in defiance of the wizard. The paladin tells the wizard to leave the kingdom and not threaten anyone with their evil, else the paladin will smite them down. The wizard, not having many spells left after the battle and not being ready to face an entire army, teleports away to parts unknown with a puff of green smoke. The paladin is placed in power, and the wizard now acts as a looming threat. Perhaps an NPC and villain for the next campaign?


This character arc outline is not cut-and-dry. You should use it as a guide, not a rule. Some characters might abruptly choose to change. Some will reach different parts of the outline at different times or out of order. Some characters might waffle between two sides of their arc before deciding which side they want to be on. But the more you talk to your players about it, the easier it is to come up with a generalized plan for your campaign’s story. Heck, your story might even change from what you initially intended by the end of it (a character with a bad roll can still end up dying before even finishing their arc!) But hopefully this will aid you in making the players love their characters even more and have fun as they grow and change in your campaign’s world. That’s what it’s all about, after all.

3

Since I didn’t get to do inktober sob….but you guys can have thissss instead.My rp stuff.

Mahaad and Mana’s warlock+witch designs for a vampire au I have with @elynnae.  I have Mahaad without a hat too! You can see the front of Mana’s outfit in the rough sketch.

**Mahaad is a warlock who owns a little strange shop deep in the woods.  Mana is his little witchy apprentice. The location of their shop always mysteriously changes from time to time.  

Dungeon Design: Guiding Player Movement Part I

This is a guide to influencing your players to go where you want them to go. It’s like railroading, but more calculated and nearly invisible during a game. Here in Part 1 I am talking about purely visual properties and composition of a dungeon map. Throughout this post I am using a map from a previous dungeon my players went through. For context, it’s an ice cavern made into a lair for a clan of frost giants. Hidden somewhere within is a secret entrance to the lost tomb of a hero, which is their goal to find for this floor. Check out Part II here.


Leading the Players

Leading lines are lines that lead the players from one point of the map to another, much like in the composition of a photo or painting. Use them to less-than-subtly direct players in the direction you wish. Strong leading lines start from a large shape and end at a small shape, subconsciously simulating depth. Imagine someone pointing at a faraway object. You start at the person’s body, then arm, then finger, and finally at the direction they are pointing.

In the above image I’ve drawn out the leading lines. They are formed by the lines denoting elevated areas in the northwest room, the barrels in the northern room, the stone pillars in the eastern room, and miscellaneous objects in the southern room.

The stars on the map indicate the end goals that lead to the next level (there were two possible places in case they found one area before the other). The leading lines try to funnel players towards these goals.

Ways to create leading lines:

Actual lines: walls, barriers, elevation changes (marked by a line), floor tiling, rugs, long tables, etc.

Repeating Pattern: repeated objects that form a sequence can create a leading line.

Keep reading

Dungeon Crafting: Puzzle Dungeons

image source: Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages

Now, I don’t know if you people have seen Mark Brown’s miniseries on YouTube known as Boss Keys, but it’s pretty great. It picks apart and analyzes some of my favorite dungeons from the Legend of Zelda games and finds out what makes a dungeon a Zelda dungeon. I have always loved these dungeons because they have a lot of density and force you to explore the space slowly and think your way through its puzzles. Definitely check out Boss Keys. From what I learned from those videos plus my own experiences as a DM, I’m going to try and detail how to create a Zelda-like puzzle dungeon. There are a few hallmarks that you should hit on:

Dungeon Density

Each area in the dungeon should be complex. It should have several things to interact with in each room other than the monsters or guardians. Everything doesn’t have to be immediately useful or usable, but it should provide context for the dungeon. For ideas, think what the dungeon was used for and research what sorts of things might be in an ancient tomb, lost temple, or forgotten keep. Have certain puzzle elements stand out. A good example from the Legend of Zelda is the eyeball above a closed door. I would stray away from that type of “puzzle” as it’s very well-known, I assume, that you have to hit the eye to open the door. On the other hand, a well-known puzzle like that could signal to the players that this is going to be one of “those” dungeons.

Making a dungeon complex and dense will mean that you have less rooms to populate, and will make it feel robust and well-used. It will also give a feeling of slight confusion for the players as they try to organize all of the information you’re giving them, but as the dungeon progresses, they can pick and choose which parts of the dense dungeon are integral to solving the dungeon!

Hub Areas

With all of that dungeon density I’ve been talking about, it’s good to have some sort of hub area. It could be a large room, a safe sanctuary, or have some overbearing landmark for players to imprint on. This will be the main part of the dungeon that they remember and can rely on. They will pay the most attention to this hub. So if this hub is a main part of solving your dungeon puzzle, they will notice changes made to the room very easily. For instance, a hub room could be a gaping chasm with bridges that seem to be mechanical. When certain levers in other parts of the dungeon are pulled, some pathways in the hub open up and some close off as the bridges ascend, descend, or turn. Back in my post about dungeon tempo, this creates a nice rhythm for players to always come back to a room that they’ve cleared and notice progress.

Branching Paths

Branching paths are a key part of puzzle dungeons. Don’t have a dungeon that is all one path that railroads players to the end of the dungeon with a puzzle for each room. Players need to be able to explore and discover the available paths in the dungeon and find the path for themselves. In the Boss Keys miniseries I mentioned, Mark constantly differs Legend of Zelda dungeons by whether they make you find a path versus making you follow a path. I personally enjoy finding the path and I think most players do too. It is key in creating what are known as…

A-Ha Moments

An a-ha moment is not that feeling you get when listening to Take On Me, but it’s pretty close. It’s that feeling a player gets when they figure out a puzzle by suddenly putting two and two together. There are a few aspects to create this in dungeon and level design:

  • Foreshadowing: implying that one part of the dungeon must be revisited later or implying something further in the dungeon exists. Laying this groundwork puts thoughts in players’ heads to help them markedly acknowledge that it’s okay to leave this area, because something lies ahead.
  • State Changes: the environment of the dungeon or its parts changes based on the actions of the players. This is the “puzzle” part of the a-ha moment. Pressing a button to change gravity, move a pylon, or change water levels can would count as a state change. Even acquiring a key item that can affect the dungeon or the players’ movement would count (see Link’s Pegasus Boots, Hover Boots, Silver Gauntlets, etc.)
  • Backtracking: After the state change, the dungeon has shifted. Some areas that were once inaccessible can now be accessed, and areas that were once open have closed off. This forces the players to backtrack. Where do they backtrack to? The place that foreshadowed the backtracking.

How does this look in practice? Let’s make an example:

The players enter a dungeon and quickly make it to a hub area with four doors. three of the doors have a bridge extending from it to a central platform. The platform and bridges are 100 ft. above a pit of spikes, which are very satisfying to kick the kobolds in this room onto. Once players tire themselves of punting kobolds, they notice that the central platform has a large plinth with a stationary mirror set into it. The mirror is facing one of the directions of the bridges. The mirror can’t be easily moved without tools, and it has no apparent use yet. The players move on to one of the doors connected by the bridge.

The players go through several chambers, fighting monsters and avoiding traps, when they find a room with a lever in it. When pulled, they hear a low rumbling and grinding of stone elsewhere in the dungeon. When they return to the hub room, the central platform and bridges have rotated, allowing passage to the door that didn’t have a bridge leading to it before.

Down this new route, the players find a stone button with an angel relief on it. After pushing a huge rock onto it, they hear another rumbling. On returning to the hub room, an angel relief is now visible on the wall as a stone slab has moved away to reveal it.

The yet unexplored room is still accessible by the bridge, and after exploring down that path, the players find a crank near a gilded relief of a sun. The crank opens up a sunroof in the hub area. The sun (if daytime) shines light onto the central mirror in that room, which then reflects it out in one direction. The only problem is, the beam of light from the mirror isn’t facing the way the PCs want (towards the revealed angel relief in the hub area).

Realizing that they need to point the mirror so the light shines on the angel relief, they must backtrack to the room with the lever that rotates the bridges and mirror until the mirror is oriented the way they want.


This example has density. It’s essentially four rooms with all the things they need to solve a puzzle in the hub area (the central room with the bridges). It could use more density though with more puzzle intertwined throughout some filler rooms or with more things to do in each room; I was light on description for the purpose of the example. It has three branching paths (four if you include where they entered from). The mirror foreshadows a light puzzle, and the sun icon foreshadows the opening of the sunroof. The bridges, angel relief, and sunroof all exist in the hub area and change states based on the players’ actions in the rest of the dungeon. Players have to backtrack to the room that changes the bridge orientation so they can rotate the mirror to face the right direction. This is a fairly simple puzzle, but in the context of a session of D&D where the story less shown and more told, it can prove more difficult. Keep all of these factors in mind when making a puzzle dungeon, and don’t forget to watch Boss Keys!

Random Loot Table

I consistently have players looting conquered foes, random strangers, ruined villages, etc.. And the truth is I almost NEVER know what they’re going to find. Usually I just spout some nonsense at the top of my head and it often ends up being dull, leaving my players less likely to look for items while adventuring in the future. I created this table to help give me a guideline for random loot, and it lets players feel lucky when they roll high and find something unexpected.

(Click Keep Reading below the image for more specific information and a text version of the chart at the bottom)

Keep reading

Bard Week Master Post

Forgot to make a “master post” for bard week way back.

Making the Bard Feel Important - A guide to making a support character feel like they belong in your campaign

Musical Puzzles - Some examples of music-based puzzles for the bard to solve in your dungeon

Karest, the Storymaker - An encounter with a werewolf bard that makes up their own endings

New Bard Colleges - Four new subclasses for the bard including colleges of the ringing voice, of fables, of gambol, and of the worldspeaker

Magically Musical Equipment - New magic items for the bard