Welcome back, Outlander, for some musings on dungeons in Dungeons & Dragons, making sense of the history, types, and roles of dungeons, plus some of the interesting worldbuilding implications tied into that. And Part 2 will explore dungeon delving cultures, as well as the dungeon’s narrative and meta functions. Dungeon Masters and worldbuilders!
Dungeon Master Player Characters. If you’ve played Dungeons & Dragons or Pathfinder long enough, you might have encountered a time when a Dungeon Master or Game Master tried to run their own character alongside the party. I’ve thought about this topic for awhile, having run DMPCs myself, and since Wizards of the Coast recently published their guide to running Sidekicks in D&D 5e, I figured it made sense to go into detail. Now, whereas the humble Hireling sidekick is a glorified waterboy played by a Player, a DMPC is a more capable character, perhaps even an adventurer in their own right. I figured I’d give my tips for any DM or GM out there who wants to run a DMPC properly. People like Sly Flourish have addressed at length mostly why you shouldn’t run them, and I recommend getting familiar with that reasoning. But, contrarian that I am, I think D&D 5e can actually work decently well with an occasional DMPC. How so? Well, let’s find out!
Gamify your mental health. Last week I wrote about the secrets of difficulty in D&D 5e. This week, I want to talk about a different set of challenges: mental health. I want to explore how gamers and geeks like me can use game mechanics and the psychology of game design to level up our mental health, drawing upon lessons from survival games, RPGs, MMOs, and puzzles. Like a lot of folks, many of us gamers have some struggles in the area of mental health. Yeah, we can tend toward escapism. In fact, I’ll start off with a confession: I myself have struggled a lot with depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem in my life, among other issues. But I’ve had the fortune to learn and develop some mental tools on all this, and I want to share the the best ones with you, in two parts. To start, I’ll run through 10 tools then provide a summary of the gamification concepts at the end. Time to level up your brain!