DM Tips in 140 characters or so #6

#1: As a DM how do you deal with total party kills (TPK)?:


Siliconwolf: I haven’t had one in a while, currently I plan to have them “wake up” in Astral Sea as demon’s attack for a new adventure. On TPK, I should say I’d go Astral if TPK unavoidable, I’d have PCs unconscious & captured or something if at all possible.

WolfSamurai: I try to avoid them, when I can. It kills a story and an adventure most times. But if they happen, then they happen.

TheAngryDM: Depends, did everyone really die or was the camera able to fade to black while there was still ambiguity? TPKs are like failures in skill challenges: an opportunity to take the story in a new direction…At least, for the survivors… 🙂 In all honesty, except for two more recent incidents, TPKs at my table end up starting completely new campaigns from scratch.

SeiferTim: a new band of Adventurers finds themselves facing an group of undead monsters resembling a group that recently disappeared…the other answer is that a TPK never has to really be a TPK, nor do the players ever need to know it. The power of the DM…

Level30yinzer: player choice: roll up new chars, or adventure in the land of the dead to beseech the raven queen for your life returned

pdunwin: I’ve always wanted to see a group play the B-team who follows up on the (their) dead A-team years later. Balin’s quest to regain Moria was a (tragic)story unto itself. Why can’t PC add those stories to the game world? I think it would be cool for a PC to hear about the mystery surrounding the death of a previous PC.

Macadosche: Act like I planned it and insert a quick reason for the NPCs to keep them alive. (slavery works well) Real TPK is nobody’s fun.

kimblepr: My last TPK was during a Ravenloft game. I asked if they wanted to ‘retcon’ that or start playing Dragonlance. DL! (all group)

deadorcs: I’ve never had a TPK. There’s been the occasional death, but the characters usually have sense to “bug out” if it gets bad.I actually like the 3.0 Book, Ghostwalk. I’d love to see a 4e re-tooling of that tome. Excellent ways of handling dead heroes

SlyFlourish: In dealing with a dnd TPK – plan ahead. Don’t handle the TPK after-the-fact. God resurrections; NPC recovery, etc.

mjbrenner: Advance the bad guys by several years and then let a new crew of heroes take up the mantle, fighting a more dangerous foe. My players argue over which young NPCs might make good eventual PCs in case this happens. No Raise Dead spell in my game

dndblog: have the party reincarnated-put the PCs in different bodies (animal, monster, local drunk) till they overcome a threat

b_s_lynn: dealing with it is creating new characters & learning from the mistakes. I find my players liked the excuse 2 try something new.

Teksura: I TPKed my party recently. I made sure the bad guy had reason to keep 1 alive. He was covered in his ally’s blood. The blood of his allies was sufficient for the Raise Dead ritual. Anyone could be raised again by the lone survivor.

steve_the_dm: TPKs: Fudge the die rolls when things start to get pear-shaped, or invoke videogame “checkpoint” saves. Yeah, lousy, I know. Or, conveniently “forget” about some of the nastier powers the bad guys might have, so the TPK curve is slowed.


#2: DMs What are some cool terrain ideas to spice up a battle?


bensrpgpile: Great q! We love rubble/cave-in, columns, leveled rooms, boulders, magic circle, pit trap, and monster nest.

mrpixelcrash: Mike Krahulik’s 3D, multi-level falling air combat was an awesome idea. I’ve always thought that combat inside some sort of cube-ish shaped room where gravity changes would be awesome.


#3: DMs How long do your average weekly or bi weekly game last?


jediknightgirl: our sessions don’t usually pass four hours because most people have to work early the next morning. We’d go longer if we could.

DMSamuel: my friday night face to face game goes from 7 to midnight usually

WolfSamurai: I always aim for 4-5 hours for weekly games. More starts to get tiring. Less makes it feel like you can’t accomplish much.

Mosuke0089: it lasts for weeks, even when we try to meet at least 1 time a week!

SeiferTim: my dndenc sessions run aprox. 2hr. @combatcast is about 2 – 2.5 each week (but we trim it down to about 1hr for the podcast)

mrpixelcrash: Our Sunday game goes for 3-4 hours. 

digitaldraco: Depending on whether everyone shows up on time or not, games run around 5-8 hours. (2 GMs, alternating bi-weekly)

Siliconwolf: Techincally 5 hours, but after everyone gets there, unpacks, and settles its more like 4 hours

Macadosche: 4-5 hrs

pdunwin: We have a semi-weekly game that goes for about four hours.

jmpress: Saturday, roughly 4 hours.

AlioTheFool: 3 hours, once every two weeks when possible.


#4: DMs how do you set the mood for your dnd games; <do you have any pre game traditions?


deadorcs: I don’t really do much to set a mood. I expect my players to come to the game with the correct frame of mind. I put away the laundry that accumulates on the game table, clean the basement, & make sure my mapping area is clear.

kalvinlyle: My players are British. It’s impossible to get them in the right mood for gaming. Sarcasm destroys any effort 🙂

DMSamuel: I usually start with a short re-cap, and a reminder of the particular situation they are in

GeekyLyndsay: Hide any food I don’t want the players to eat.

Chip17: music really helps set the mood.


#5: Hey DMs what kind of stuff do you and your players eat at the table?


theprint: we have lots of photos of what we eat during our bi-weekly sessions – http://bit.ly/bDrYrc

pdunwin: Papa John’s pizza, sushi, various chips, candies, & snack cakes. Mostly water to drink.

: mrpixelcrash my girlfriend usually makes vegan pancakes. yesterday my friend from new orleans made vegan grits.

jmpress: mostly vegan junk food and beer. chips, Tings, and the like. Sometimes someone bring tater tots or vegan taquitos.

bensrpgpile: The BensRPGPile gang has Brat Stir Fry, Taco Salad, & Assemble-a-Sub as its top 3 dnd foods. We’ll post recipes to the blog.

the other answer is that a TPK never has to really be a TPK, nor do the players ever need to know it. The power of the DM…

Part idiot. Part old man. All geek. Thadeous can't think of anything interesting about him self right now. Know this though if he could it would be creative and funny as well as thought provoking.


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About Thadeousc

Thadeous can't think of anything interesting about him self right now. Know this though if he could it would be creative and funny as well as thought provoking.

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