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More Than Stats
Save My Game
by Stephen Radney-MacFarland

You've mastered making monsters. You have a good grip on traps. You can even write lengthy skill challenges when you should have been doing your homework. But can you challenge players where it really hurts? Can you challenge their ... characters?

The Dungeons & Dragons rules typically concern themselves with action resolution. When a battle occurs (and it will) or when skills are challenged, we have rules to determine success. As many veteran Dungeon Masters will tell you, challenging characters in different ways—in story ways—is what really elevates a game from a series of brawls to something memorable. This month, we look at some tricks and tactics to help you present your players with a challenging story that calls on them to make meaningful decisions beyond whom to stab next.

(335 kb PDF)

About the Author

Stephen Radney-MacFarland caught the D&D bug at an impressionable age. Once the content manager for the RPGA and a developer for the 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons rules, he is now a freelance game designer doing work for Wizards of the Coast and Paizo Publishing, and he is part of a fledgling group of game commentators and game designers called NeoGrognard. During the daylight hours, he teaches game production classes at the International Academy of Design and Technology of Seattle.