Mixed Signals

Straight-forward gaming

I picked up a hardcopy of [Black Monastery](https://froggodgames.com/frogs/product/the-black-monastery/) (you can also [purchase it as a PDF](https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/112797/The-Black-Monastery--Pathfinder-Edition?affiliate_id=845571)), which I'd purchased once before as a PDF in a...

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...

Over the past few weeks of the New Zealand summer, a friend and I decided to speed run through the D&D 5e module Out of the Abyss. There was only two of us, so I played the DM and Sophia played a dragonborn cleric. We decided to play a chapter a day, so we estimated it would only take about two w...

An apparently classic snake pit. You know the drill: something triggers a trap door, or the floor was illusory all along -- whatever it takes to get a player character down a pit filled with spikes and snakes.

Roll 1d6 for the number of spikes landed on and give out 1d4 damage per spike.

Pl...

A lever to open a door is in a small recess of a wall. If a player reaches into the recess to pull the lever, clamps quickly close to ensnare them at the wrist.

A rogue can disable the trap DC 15 (DC 25 if attempting to disable with one hand caught in the trap). Otherwise, brute force DC 15 fo...

A precious chalice is fastened to an altar. There are controls to release the chalice from its fasteners. It takes DC 18 Disable Device or DEX check to disarm.

The bad news: no matter what, when the chalice is released, so is a boiling oil trap.

The good news: players get to c...

An illusory pile of treasure (**true sight** and similar negates) conceals a pressure plate which, when pressed, erects a 5 ft square glass box. The glass chamber's floor is made of coal and sulfur and catches fire, dealing 1d4 damage each minute for the first 10 minutes, then 2d4 for a minute. I...

Arguments of quality and quantity aside, I'm of the opinion that you can never have too many RPG modules. And short "one-shot" adventures are, for me, priceless. If D&D is both a game and a hobby, then it's the one-shot modules that make it possible for it to be "just" a game. After all, people do...

This short sword is engraved with runes disguised as natural cracks and creases in the metal and leather components.

When a successful attack is made with this sword, the player takes 1d4 of the damage that would have otherwise been dealt to their opponent.

Detecting the runes for what the...

Three potions on a shelf, each with effects that last until you physically exit the current dungeon.

From left to right:

  1. Shrinks you by one category

  2. Changes your alignment to Chaotic evil

  3. Reduces CON -4

Fortunately, they are clearly labeled.

Unfortunately,...

Icicles hang tenuously from the ceiling. A failed Dexterity save knocks 1d20 icicles loose. They fall to the ground and shatter, creating a frosty mist that refreezes in the nasal passages and lungs, causing 1d6 damage for 1d4 rounds until melted.

The ice particles melt in 3 minutes.

A su...

INTRODUCTION
Right off the bat, it's important to understand that every GM is different. No two styles of running a game match completely, nor should they. And while there is no one correct way to run a game, there are plenty of ways to do it poorly. The GM wears many hats, but in my opinion, th...