Mixed Signals

Straight-forward gaming

Quick reference is invaluable during a D&D game. Even when you know the page numbern of important tables by heart, sometimes the book you need is in use by another player, or you're already elbows deep into 3 other books as it is, or you just don't have room on the table or your lap for another book...

Have you ever thought about how teleportation works? Because it's imaginary, we don't often wonder about the details. It's magic, and that's good enough. Usually. Unless, that is, you're playing a game relying on a series of logical connections to render a predictable and repeatable result. In real...

Lately I've been playing a lot of D&D online, and the games often only last for the duration of a single module. Groups come together to play through a 20 or 30 page adventure, the game lasts for a few sessions, and then ends. (My current online gaming group, admittedly, was only supposed to game to...

I was reading through a published adventure a few days ago, and noticed something odd about the way it got started. As written, the player characters are meant to wander into the game world individually, and then meet one another as they travel. The module tells the Dungeon Master to prompt each pla...

In a previous post, I explained why I love alignment in D&D, but I acknowledged that it doesn't have to work for everyone. I also admitted that I'd recently discovered an alternative to the system, but I didn't say where I'd found it.

When I bought the book Guildmasters' Guide to Ravnica, I w...

I'm a big fan of the alignment system in D&D, and have been since I learned about it in the original DragonLance Adventures book. I used to think that there could be nothing to lure me away from it, especially not in the context of D&D. I'll admit that recently there's been a system that has appe...

As a DM, one of my self-appointed tasks during the initial reading of an adventure is to identify the major plot points. These are vital because they're the "map" for what I can emphasize to make the adventure feel coherent. It's also the map for how the characters make progress.

If I forget t...

I've written about one shots before, and one of my tips for a successful quick game of D&D is to bring prebuild characters. However, there are two potential problems with that advice:

  1. Somebody needs to build those characters

  2. A player may want to build their own character just for the...

I picked up a hardcopy of Black Monastery (you can also purchase it as a PDF), which I'd purchased once before as a PDF in a Humble Bundle and found to be slightly overwhelming as a digital-only module. The module, such as it is, consists of 87 pages of a single mega-dungeon, with no particular...

In my previous post, I wrote about why D&D shouldn't be seen as a half-day hobby and instead ought to be seen as a 2-hour board game. To many people, the idea of a 2 hour game is baffling, either because they grew up playing in 8 hour sessions as kids with nothing better to do, or because they're u...

Most people seem to think that D&D takes, at a minimum, 4 hours to play. I understand the desire to play an extended game, and indeed 4 hours isn't really that long, especially if you have memories of 8 or 12 hour marathons as a kid. And if you can afford that kind of time, then you may as well...

I love feats in D&D 3.5. The concept capitalizes on the excitement of exception-based game design such that each player gets to one-up their opponents, or else be one-upped by them. It mirrors a game like Magic: The Gathering, in which one lucky combo attack can win the game. How much do I love f...

While traveling, I picked up the first installment of the first official Starfinder adventure path: Incident at Absalom Station. I wanted to read through it in anticipation of running it with some friends because I have, so far, only run a homebrew Starfinder adventure (and a homebrew Interface Z...

The second edition of Pathfinder (P2) is out, and along with it Paizo has released a free conversion guide so you can use P1 material with P2 rules and, in theory, P1 characters in P2 games. At least, that's what you'd imagine a conversion guide would provide. But Paizo's conversion guide clarifi...

We all know that the person running an RPG game like D&D is called the Dungeon Master (DM) or Game Master (GM). But what are the other people at the table called?

The obvious answer is player. After all, the other people in the game each run a player character (PC), so surely they must be t...

In my previous posts about converting monsters from 2e and 3e to Fifth Edition, I mention that many monsters have been converted already. I mentioned that to dissuade you from feeling like there's a need to sit down and struggle through the math to convert your favourite monster, at least not b...