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Advantage to Insight returns with one fan, one insight, and roll them together for the best result! Daniel Kwan joins the show during Misdirected Mark Kids Week and talks about his experience running the D&D program for children at the local museum.

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Teaser pic from last night's run of Sunless Citadel: Entering the Grove level...
(I made the vines from scratch...)

Full post will be next week and shared more widely.
+Games Of Berkeley


Our regular Adventurers League DM was back last night, for the last session I'll be able to attend for a while.

He's great at coming up with really solid details and NPCs with interesting personalities and framing scenes with really interesting details. All of that said, there are times I wish he were a little bit better at pacing.

He always runs adventures from the hardcover adventures, which I like, but how long it takes to get an explanation about an environment or details from an NPC always depends on how long he wants that explanation to be, without much input from the table or how long we have left in the game.

This is a little bit less of a problem with the adventures like Curse of Strahd or Storm King's Thunder, but with Tales from the Yawning Portal, his framing devices have been eating up a lot of time, rather than getting us to the dungeons, and it feels a little at odds with the adventures themselves.

We had a two hour framing scene in Waterdeeep, getting hired by a noble, provisioning, and then getting introduced to a ship's captain, seeing pirates chasing us, but not catching us, and then determining that Fort Belaurian is really hot and muggy.

We had less than two hours to get going on the Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan.

I really like this DM, I just wish on those nights when the NPC interaction isn't something that the PCs are biting on (none of us were really going out of our way to interact with the NPCs last night, but some nights we totally do), that we could just move on. Even with the same people at the table, sometimes most of the table just wants to get to dice rolling.

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because help with D&D a day: Why are people so much into old school? +Merric Blackman, currently running D&D with only the basic rules before the Greyhawk book, writes an article about the original "magic user" before the Wizard. One spell a day, no armor and only a dagger for defence at first level. Why is there nostalgia for that?

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because help with D&D a day:You can get Monodrone & Duodrone for Use in CORE 1-3 by +Christopher Sniezak & edited by +Shawn Merwin from The Tomb of Annihilation miniature set from Wiz Kids

Catching up with a DwD&D episode I missed - that on adventure presentation - got me thinking about how much the big (and long) Set Piece encounter is the enemy of story flow. It's great having them to end chapters of your tale, but really bad when every encounter runs like that: my biggest problem with 4E adventures and the delve format.

Adventure flow is tremendously important, and it's occasionally hard to see it when designing. There's a big difference between a combat encounter that is there for flavour (an 8th level party vs 4 orcs isn't challenging, but it is flavoursome) and one that is there to be the climax of a section of the adventure.

One other point that came up in the podcast was the two-column layout. The readability of wide pages is greatly enhanced by using columns. Apparently, about 50-60 characters or 10 words per line is recommended. (Just looking at this Google+ page, it's formatting in such a manner...) I know I got very annoyed by a few early 3PP adventures that used a one-column format on a Letter/A4 page, because it is harder to read.

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Let’s get down with kids and teens playing some D&D with special guest Rory Merwin.
It’s the experience, the do’s and don’ts, and as much help as we can cram into 50 minutes for running D&D games for kids.

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11 Photos - View album

For people that have run Adventurer's League material, how do you handle background traits and inspiration?

I ran Lost Mines of Phandelver multiple times, and now I've run Forgotten Traditions as well--I tried to remind myself to hand out Inspiration at least once each session to each player, as long as I could justify it with good ideas, roleplaying, etc. But none of it had to do with their backgrounds.

While I've written about it on my blog, all of my perspective of integrating backgrounds as a source of inspiration comes from running a home game, with the same people, week in and week out. I can start to plan those elements into the game.

I think the best solution I can think of is to just have the players bring up when they think they have gone out of their way to play to one of their traits, and if the DM agrees, they can hand out inspiration, but I think a lot of players don't want to speak up like that. Additionally, some DMs may not be on board with a player speaking up and petitioning for potential inspiration, and if the table gets out of hand, they can easily eat up a lot of time grubbing for it.

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As a follow up to my delve into Critical Role, I picked up and review the Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting book that just came out (in PDF at least) from Green Ronin, and I had some thoughts on it. Let me know what you think.
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