John-Michael Gariepy

Archive for the tag “Dungeons and Dragons”

Three Dragon Ante: Emperor’s Gambit: When the game I’m reviewing has a colon in it, I get confused what to do with the article title…

This week I’ve spent too much time writing short fiction, and ran out of time to put in a proper article.  I suppose you’ll have to make do with this two year old article pulled forward from my old stomping grounds, Guilt Free Games.  I made a quick check on Amazon, and found that Three Dragon Ante is still selling at, or below, its original retail price of $15.  Spectacular.  I know few other games that retails for so little, yet yields such consistent entertainment.  Though, I admit, Cover Your A$$ets comes very close.  Here’s hoping that Wizards stretches their brains one more time and gives us a third installment of this great game.  That’s bound to take some time, however… I doubt they’d spend time off from designing Fifth Edition to work on evolving a supplementary product.

Want to know a secret? I don’t got a lot of money to throw around.

I know what your thinking: “But, John-Michael, how can that be? You write such awesome articles for Guilt Free Games! Surely, a side effect of all these wonderful game reviews is that you are rich beyond your means!” Alas, this is not true. I’m a poor struggling sop who happens to love games and writing. No, no, it’s okay. You can put your wallet back in your pocket. I’m not looking for a hand out. Most of the time, I’m just looking for an affordable, yet fun and replayable game that I can show my gamer friends, and not look like I’m shirking my duty to add to our mutual collection.

If you don’t count the occasional steal at yard sales and thrift shops, fifteen bucks doesn’t buy a lot of game nowadays. This domain Read more…

Random Encounters for 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons

Or, why would anyone make a giant chart of Random Encounters?

The simple explanation is, because it’s fun to let randomness dictate how the adventure is going to play out.  But why is that fun?  Ah, yes.  Good show.

Random encounters are fun because they add a bit of mystery and exploration for the player in a game of Dungeons and Dragons who knows everything else that’s going to happen in his game:  The Dungeon Master.  This sense of confusion and wonder spills over to the players as well.  If the Dungeon Master doesn’t know what will happen next, then anything is possible.  Your game will feel fresh, and alive, and the possibilities in your campaign will widen.

Random Encounters are also useful because they can fill in gaps for when you don’t know what happens next.  Instead of stilted conversations, or another tedious fight with the guards, a random encounter can let you borrow something from someone else’s playbook for a while, before getting back on track.

There will always be criticism when playing like this, of course.  Some people will maintain that true creativity can’t come from a Read more…

Dungeons and Dragons Random Encounters: Level 1

For an explanation and introduction to Random Encounters, go to Why would anyone make a chart for random encounters?

Roll once for each adventurer in your party.  Whenever you roll a Brute, or a Soldier, add two of that creature and roll one less time total.  If the last creature you roll is a brute, or a soldier, your players will have to suck it up.  There will be more experience for them anyway.  Whenever Minions are rolled, add the number of minions shown to the encounter and count them as one creature for the purposes of generating an encounter.

Since first level encounters are incapable of randomly becoming lower level encounters, there is a 5% higher chance that the monster will be hindered in some way to help balance this out.

01 – 10 Roll on the Random Hindrances Table.

11-14 (Artillery)  Halfling Slinger

15 – 20 (Artillery)  Kobold Slinger Read more…

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