200 Posts: My favorites of the second century

This is post number 201 on my blog, so I thought I’d continue the tradition I started with number 100 of looking back at my previous 100 posts and picking out a few of my favorites. The OnlineDM Greatest Hits, Volume Two:

1. My players are smarter than I am. This post talks about my experience of using player ideas during a session. In this particular example, one of my players mused that he thought the bad guys would try to push a wall over on the PCs. I’d never envisioned that possibility, but it sounded like a great idea, so I ran with it. If your players give you ideas about what might happen and they’re good ideas, use them!

2. Creating D&D converts. Lots of us have friends or family members who we think would enjoy gaming, but it’s tricky to get them into it. This post describes my experience of introducing my brother-in-law and his wife to D&D via Castle Ravenloft and then some Living Forgotten Realms adventures when they visited over Christmas. It obviously worked, since I’m getting ready to run yet another session for them this evening over MapTool even though they’re in Texas. Their characters are at sixth level now, by the way!

3. Bonus points. Lots of DMs have used similar ideas; this is my own take on it. Basically, when one of my players does something creative or cool or especially in-character rather than just focusing on the numbers of combat and tactics, I hand them a bonus point that they can use in the future to add 1 to a die roll they make or subtract 1 from a die roll made against them. They’re great incentives to encourage the kind of play I enjoy.

4. Out of the gaming closet. In my first 100 posts, I had talked about the fact that I’m in the closet at work about gaming; I didn’t mention it to my colleagues out of fear of… I don’t know, ridicule? Well, I’m over that now, and happier for it.

5. Running an online game for new players. I’m really excited about how this particular game went, because I’m such a sucker for introducing people to gaming. In this particular instance, I had some people coming to me online, saying that they wanted to learn D&D but weren’t sure how to go about it. So, I recruited a group and ran a game for them. It was a lot of fun, and something I’d like to do regularly (maybe every few months or so).

6. Tallinn’s Tower. I’m including this post as a representative of my free adventures posts. I’ve posted two so far; Tallinn’s Tower was the second. The third is almost ready, and I’ve just finished a major revision of the first. I’m personally excited about this, although I haven’t gotten much feedback yet. I love free adventures, and I love to share them with the D&D community.

7. My first Pathfinder game. Yes, I’m branching out beyond D&D4e! I love learning new games, and since Pathfinder is so popular I really wanted to learn it. I think that so far I prefer D&D4e, but I do get the appeal of Pathfinder, too.

8. MapTool flexible monster creation. This continues to evolve for me, but I was quite happy with my take on flexible monster creation. I’ve been using this method exclusively since I wrote it, and it’s made monster building much faster. Also, I love the goofy damage dice I can use (2d13+16 for instance).

9. D&D Encounters. I DMed for the Encounters this summer and loved doing it, mainly because of the opportunity to introduce new players to the game. This particular session was great because it was my grand finale (I missed the final week since I was at GenCon), my wife played, and I met a new friend. Encounters was a lot of fun, and I hope to run it again next summer when my Wednesday night bowling league is over.

10. GenCon – D&D New Products Seminar. I have to include this one, even though it has no original material. This is my minute-by-minute note taking from the seminar at GenCon where WotC talked about their plans for the next year. To say that it was a popular post would be an understatement! I typically get around 300 hits per day on my blog; I topped out near 1,500 during the weekend of GenCon when this post was live. You guys love GenCon news!

Thank you all for reading Online Dungeon Master. I’ve really enjoyed having this way of talking to the D&D community and hearing from you, too. Remember that you can also follow me on Twitter as OnlineDM1.

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