1/28/24 – We hope your 2024 is off to a great start!
New this year, we’re starting a Spells series to deep dive into each of the near-500 spells in DnD 5e, as well as their history, RAW, and best uses (along with some cheeses and abuses). We’ll be releasing roughly three a week along with our encounters and NPCs. We’ve added those to this newsletter as well!
We’re also working on another one shot, but are going to let you all come up with the prompt! On Threads and Instagram, we’ll be letting folks vote on the topics and taking suggestions to create the synopsis.
Last thing for now, we’ve opened up commissions on Ko-Fi for those of you looking for custom encounters that fit your table or upcoming event, more details here. Great for bachelor(ette) parties, bonus podcast content, or even online games!
DnD Creators and Resources
DM Resource: A great thread on Reddit around naming your NPCs and/or locations. We really like the combination of words from real languages approach, but aren’t against smashing the keyboard to find words within the jumble.
Map Maker: @clydethebard is a “Maker of maps, drinker of coffee, player of games,” and posts progress picks of their map-making escapades. Awesome shading, tree detail and fonts, they are currently taking commissions if you need a custom created map.
DM Resource: 50 Random City Encounters, found on Reddit earlier this week, the encounters are in a d100 table for you to roll on, giving you the encounter, rewards, and NPC names. Always worth having some of these in your back pocket.
Have other creators/resources we should feature? Let us know
DM Tip: Creating Random Encounters
Making encounters with deep connections to NPCs, Environments, and player backstories is great, but what about the random encounters?
Sure you could roll on a random table or read through any of our free encounters, but what if you could make your own quickly? Here are 5 steps we take when we build our encounters for the site.
First, find a foe or friend. A monster, an NPC, someone you’d like the party to encounter as they travel or explore. We’ll choose an aldani, the classic lobsterfolk. And we’ll name him Amos.
Second, Determine their attitude toward the party. Shades of Friendly, hostile, or neutral. Al the Aldani is neutral, but seeks help
Third, what is the motivation and what can the party do to help? In this case, Al lost his son Alfonse while they were stacking rocks at a nearby lake, he’d like the party to find him
Fourth, determine a ridiculous reason that the thing happened. Helpful here to subvert expectations.
“Oh no, he’s probably dead” Nope, Alfonse is just at the bottom of the lake chatting up a merfolk woman. They want to run off together, but there is no ocean access from where they are.
Fifth, allow for options to resolution. The party will figure this out for themselves, but determine what triggers combat, or what triggers resolution through social activities
What are some other considerations to be made when creating encounters?
This Week’s Encounters
- Neighborhood Bar And Grell – A local restaurant is serving up tasty brain food, but to what end? Party Levels 1-3.
- Grelloton – An new exercise system is all the craze among the elite…but why do riders keep on vanishing? Levels 12+
- They’re Not Bay Gulls – A coastal town is in a panic after a few sea gulls get hold of some fiery lozenges. Party Levels 1-3
If you have a moment, we’d appreciate it if you could take a quick survey for feedback about what else you’d like to see in these weekly newsletters.
Other DnD Ideas
- Hard to swallow pills
- Takes one action, the consumer is granted +5 to Insight checks, but also learns a horrible truth that they’ve been rejecting
- Barbenheimer Bombs
- Explode and everything turns pink
- Could appeal to certain characters?
- Color-Changing Dress
- Is it blue/black or white/gold?
- Characters see the color based on their alignment/motives
- The Mocking Sponge
- Once consumed, this yellow sponge forces the creature to speak in a mocking tone, but also grants them the ability to cast Vicious Mockery
- A large-haired wizard swears that aliens are responsible for the structures created in town
- They’re actually just pyramids a ____ made as a way to _____
- A portal is opened and GRELLS ITS ALL GRELLS
This Is Fine
- Maybe someone is trying to get a guy to leave his home (to take house for themselves)
- He’s painfully optimistic
- Attempts to use Major Image to make it look like the house is burning down, but he’s unfazed
- People want him to leave because…?
I Used To Be An Adventurer Like You
- An elder in the village won’t stop talking about his glory days prior to taking an arrow to the knee
- The party must take him on their next adventure and return him safely to get their reward
Grumpy Cat (Tabaxi)
- He’s tired of everyone feeling bad for him or keeping away (he’s so standoffish)
- Because he always looks angry and intimidating, he’s been enlisted by a band of barbarians and has now accidentally become their leader
- Needs help being escorted from the barbarian camp
I Smell a Rat
- Chef cooking in a restaurant
- His hat is massive (filled with cranium rats)
- They are making him ruin people’s taste for cheese, so that humans stop loving cheese so much
- And they can have all the cheese for themselves
- Everyone who wears a hat is being psionically controlled by some rat on their head
- Rebuilding the town to their liking
- Town is strange because they are only importing meats/cheeses (charcuterie boards), sent to investigate
- Blacksmith also wearing a hat, he’s no longer making swords…he only makes knives to cut cheeses and meats
- Woodcutters only making decorative serving boards…