The Chronicles of Hastur: Part 2

Excerpt from ‘The History of Vanagard – The Reuniting of the Tribes of Hastur’ by Professor Albert Lynath

The Chronicles of Hastur, taken from verbal story tellings and combined into one written form.

Hastur drew a deep breath, allowing the moment to take over and calm his thoughts.  

“Friends” He said, his voice low and deep, “You came when I called, and you came with the free hearts and fierce intentions that make our people feared over the lands of Vanagard.” 

He took a sip of the dark ale that was in his cup, none saw that his hand was shaking, he could face anything in combat, yet speaking in front of so many people unnerved him.  

“We have a great opportunity to utilise this fear, to bring to the people of the steppe a new respect and power such as we have never dared to dream of. We need to come together now, to stop our petty blood feuds and fighting amongst ourselves.” He continued, the shaking in his hands now stopped as he warmed to this task, knowing exactly what he had to do and what could be the consequences. 

“You possibly know what I am about to ask you.” He paused as the murmuring around him grew and then subsided again, Hastur knew that asking them to drop age old blood feuds was not an easy thing for them to swallow, it was part of what made the barbarians who they were, they lived to fight and if it was not outsiders, it was each other! “We need to unite under one ruler.” At this the voices in the tent exploded! 

“You cannot ask this!” Shouted one. 

“This is not the way of our people; we have never had a single chief,” Shouted another. The noise grew and grew as the gathered clan chiefs started arguing and shouting over the top of each other, most of them shouting at Hastur himself.  

“Silence!” Hastur roared. “Are you all fools?” We roam the steppes, we fight at the people at the borders, we raid, we steal… Yet we could do so much more! The thing that has stopped us from doing this all these countless generations, is us! It’s not geography or the weather or one of the many other excuses I have heard over the years, by the gods it is us! Our lack of will to unite and to dominate this region has always been our undoing.” At this the clamour of voices started to ebb and die down, they knew he spoke the truth, as painful as it was to hear. 

“One leader is needed to end these endless years of mere existence, we are the people of the plains, the people of the high-mountain passes, and wilderness and we are the people of the sword and axe! We should be the ones pushing for more than just the life we can get here, burning horse-dung to keep warm and eating our prized horses when times are hard, just to survive.” Now the silence in the tent was total, there was no one there that had not experienced the toughest of times and had wanted not to feel hunger gnawing at his or her belly.  

“My people, we sit in our tents and look outside our world at those that live in walls of stone, and we know that what they have, we too can and should have. I am not saying that we live like them, no, not one bit of it, we will not become soft and weak like them, but what they have, we can take!” There was shouting of approval now as the bloodlust started to rise in the gathered chiefs, the thought of war always helped their mood. 

“So, my brothers and sisters of the axe and sword, I ask you this.” He paused, watching them, every eye in the tent was upon him. “We unite as a giant wave of fighters and reavers and we take what should be ours by the right of conquest. We ride and we burn what does not yield to us. We ride and we slay that which attempts to stand in our path. We ride and we set this world of Vanagard on fire with the heat of our wrath and fury as the weak and soft people of the houses of stone cower behind their walls.” He was shaking again now, but not with fear but with a righteous fury that was building in him.  

“And lastly my brothers and sisters, we ride for the gods, as Svarya (1) intended for us to do. We are not meant to sit in our tents and grow old and die, we are meant to die with glory on our lips and the blood of our enemies dripping from our blades.” His voice was almost a whisper as he spoke these words, as sharp as any of their axes, yet everyone could hear him.  

But one voice stopped him.  

“Are we to assume then Hastur that we just let you just walk in like some figure from the past and take over the whole people of the steppe?” The speaker was a short man, short but powerfully built underneath his furs and armour.  

“What is your name?” Hastur asked the man who had spoken. 

The man stood straighter, his chin jutting proudly as he spoke. “My name is Chief Namag (2) of the Wolfskin clan.” 

“Well, my brother and friend, Namag, you are correct. I am asking you to let me lead you, I am not telling you like some vainglorious overlord sitting on a throne in a hall of gold and marble, I am asking you as a brother in blood and steel, to let me give the tribes what they have needed for so long. Victory and glory!” He stopped and looked around at the faces, gathered in the firelight. He knew this was the pivotal moment and that he had to deal with this correctly.  

“I know this is unprecedented in the history of the tribes, but it is also wrong for us to allow our children to go cold and hungry while the people of stone go with plenty. I am asking you to let me have a chance at taking our tribes from many bickering families to one glorious and victorious army of destruction the likes of chich Vanagard has never known before.” 

Hastur stopped and looked at Namag, the man, typical of the people of the clans stood and faced him fearlessly. Hastur’s heart swelled with pride, and he walked over to the man and threw his arms about him in a fierce embrace.  

“You my friend shall be my general, you alone have shown what is best in our people, bravery and the heart to challenge what is put before you. I do not want to lead people who just blindly follow and do not question.” 

“It would be stupidity to just let you walk in and do what you are saying without questioning it, we are not sheep to be lead, but wolves! And yes, every wolf pack needs a leader, but that leader must be strong and act in the best interests of the pack, and not for his or her own personal glory. We need to be sure that you are not just here for the glory Hastur.” Namag said.  

“I am here for the glory though; I am here for the glory of this wonderful wolf pack! The people of the steppes need that glory again!” Hastur shouted and his shout was met with shouts of fierce joy and pride from the other chieftains. 

“So, my brothers and sisters of axe and sword, who is with me?” Hastur roared! 

(1) Svarya, The Hastur Pantheon God of Fire, Crafts and War.
(2) Namag, Chief of the Wolfskin Clan – fabled for his vigilance and defense of his people.

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The Gods of the Tribes of Hastur

Excerpt from ‘The ‘Gods of the World of Vanagard’ by Professor Albert Lynath

On the continent of Hastur, where even during summer, the days are cold and harsh, the tribes have developed a close relationship with their Gods. Even the lowest of the tribespeople feel no compunction in directly talking to their Gods and asking for help. Their Gods on the surface to be as no nonsense and hard as their people, and like the Tribespeople have a rather wicked sense of humor. The people of Hastur view them more as part of their family, a divine family they all share.

While the people of the Izon Supremacy say their Gods walk with them (1), in the case of the tribes of Hastur, this phrase appears to be literal. I met a rather annoying ‘person’ there in my travels and after several hours of immense frustration in dealing with him, he suddenly sprouted wings from his back and flew off! There was much laughter from the tribespeople I was with, and I discovered I had just spent most of day arguing with Dažd, their God of Knowledge over the way the Hastur Pantheon worked….

From my research, which I will grudgingly admit was helped by that debate with Dažd, these are the Gods of the Hastur in order of how I perceive their position and portfolios (with interest I note that like the Izon, their Gods are viewed as a family, something I will delve into at a later date) (2).

I will continue to undertake research in what passes for their summer, as the thought of being trapped in a hut with someone who turns out to be some unknown God of Mischief or Childish Pranks is something I consider a distinct possibility in Hastur.

CyžradynThe Seasons (3)An open hand with an eye tattoo
Delvor, the DragonStorms and Personal CombatDragon head wreathed in lightning
XyaThe Hunt Crossed antlers
SvaryaFire, Crafts and WarFlaming hammer
DaždKnowledge and FarmingA winged book
VostaFortune (Trickery, Gambling, Trade and Luck)Three bone dice
Larsyrk, the Law KeeperJudgementSword and a hammer (4)
MaržyraDeathEyeless hood

(1) One of the parting phrases used in the Izon Supremacy is ‘You walk with your Gods’. This is covered more in Rituals of the Izon Supremacy, by Professor Albert Lynath
(2) This is covered off in Divine Families, a Study into the Gods of Vanagard, by Professor Albert Lynath.
(3) The Tribes of Hastur measure the passing of times by the seasons. Measurements include a10th Season, a half Season etc.
(4) The ‘Sword of Guilt’ and the ‘Hammer of Innocence’.

The Tale of Myra Lyca

As told by the Dowager Countess

It is tale told in the quietest tones, in the closest guarded rooms, with doors bared and the fires stoked. It is a tale of terror, a tale of fear, a tale of death of innocence, a tale of a lost and confused god. This is the tale of Myra Lyca. Millenia ago, this world of ours had a different name, a name now lost in time and magic. It was a world where the ancestors of most of you lived tribal natures, whether they be human, gnomes, elves or dwarven-kind. This world had many gods, as many as the tribes that that roamed the land.

One of these gods was Myra Lyca. His people were numerous and strong. They held dominance over the continent that is now called Galia, before it became home to the Izon Supremacy and their Gods. He was a cheerful and generous god and his people loved him greatly. Myra Lyca and his people lived in peace and, in a tribal way, prosperity. They were advancing beyond their tribal state and starting to build towards what we would now call a ‘democracy’. Every one of his people had a say in the direction of their fledgling nation and no one person ruled over them all.

Myra Lyca was so happy with his people, that he decreed that on every full moon, he would visit each and every family, removing illness and blessing their home with gifts and longevity. How could he do this? Well, dear listener, that was well within the power of the Gods back then. It is said that your Gods now are a shadow compared to the Gods of old. Oh, what’s that? Oh, you ask about the Gods of the Supremacy? Now that is a conversation for another day dear, and one I feel may unsettle you.

Now, where was I? Oh yes… Each full moon for a generation Myra Lyca visited all of his children, keeping them safe from disease, ensuring good harvests and creating exquisite gifts from silver for the children. His people were happy and envied, and Myra Lyca felt proud of his work.

Then, came the day of ‘The Arrival’, and our world changed forever. For the first time, your ancestors saw dragons and the raw power of magic as the Izon people arrived. Unfortunately for Myra Lyca and his people, their home was the center of ‘The Arrival’. Myra Lyca strived in vain to defend his people and protect them from harm, but his power was not sufficient to ward them against the wild magic that had been unleashed by ‘The Arrival’. Driven nearly mad by feeling the deaths of his people, Myra Lyca howls of pain were heard around the world. In panic for the well being of their own children, and I would say with fear, the rest of the original gods of this word did not come to his aid, leaving Myra Lyca to watch as the last of his people were swallowed by the magic of ‘The Arrival’.

It is said in those moments, his sanity broke and was lost forever. Legend has it that a great power amongst the Izon saw what had occurred reached out and saved the last of Myra Lyca’s people in a bubble of time forever. The legend further says that most of the essence that was Myra Lyca was drawn into that time bubble to nurture the last of his children for all time evermore.

What we all know dear listeners, is the tale that scares you all as children, that keeps you praying to your gods, and your doors and windows bared on the full moon, the tale of Myra Lyca. The spirit that roams the world and strikes on when the moon is full. The spirit that howls as it tears apart your neighbor, your landlord, your father. The spirit that spreads an incurable disease in the survivors of its attacks. This is the spirit of Myra Lyca. Wear your silver jewelry, grow aconite around your house, keep your fires well stoked, this may all help, one never knows….

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The Chronicles of Hastur

Foreword by the Dowager Countess

Hastur is a decent fellow, well-spoken and polite in that uncultured way of his. During one of my trips to the continent which bears his name, I got to meet and talk with him. He reminded me mightily of the original whose name he bears. It was a delightful trip; I just do not recommend wintering there.

Excerpt from ‘The History of Vanagard – The Reuniting of the Tribes of Hastur’ by Professor Albert Lynath

The Chronicles of Hastur, taken from verbal story tellings and combined into one written form.

Amongst the people of the wastelands, Hastur is a name spoken with much reverence for in the past there was a warrior of that name, strong in muscle and determination and a man that no one dared speak ill of, at least not to his face. He had few enemies and left none alive.

Now there walks amongst the tribes another of that name, no one knows where he came from, no one knows who his family is, all they know is he appeared in the dead of night in the middle of a raging storm. He sat astride a tough little steppe pony and seemed unaffected by the weather. The tribe he arrived in was small, and they did not know whether to challenge the man or drive him away, but the rule of hospitality meant they had to offer him shelter for the night and food for the next day, this they did.

When they awoke the next morning, he was cutting firewood for the tribe, and they marveled at his obvious and formidable strength. The man was a giant amongst their tribe and when he said his name was Hastur, they were silent, incredulous. When they asked him where he was from, he said he did not know. When the asked him what his tribe was, he said he did not know. When they asked about his family, he said he had none that he remembered.

That first day became a week and the tribe did not see fit to ask him to leave. Hastur helped the best he could, when the tribe saw him training with his twin axes, they asked him to help them train them too, this he did gladly. The week became a month and still the tribe did not ask him to leave, when the tribe heard him speak so wisely at their nightly fireside gatherings, they asked him to speak more and more leading to him eventually speaking for the tribe.

The month became a year, and the tribe grew, under the guidance of Hastur it expanded its area of influence. This once small tribe now had something none of the other local tribes had. The ability to fight combined with the ability to think. He knew when to make deals and pacts rather than just kill and maim. The tribe made him one of their own.

Hastur called his tribe, as it was truly his tribe now, the Bloodthirsters (1) and they lived up to that name when faced with combat. Hastur had instilled in the people a newfound desire for blood and a toughness that even they had not realized they possessed. The newly named Bloodthirsters revelled in their new roll. The conquered where they needed to and made alliances where it was possible to and soon their whole region was under their control.

Hastur called for a council of the tribes, and his call was answered.(2)

A full moon passed since he issued the call (3) and the tribes had been steadily gathering at the ancestral meeting place for that entire time. Groups of hunters went out daily to meet the needs of the hundreds that were gathering. All the food the tribes had been gathering now became communal as all their old differences were put aside for the good of the people.

There were some disagreements and in true barbarian fashion these were dealt with in combat. Some of these combats were to the death if the disagreement was so serious that to the blood was not enough to satisfy the anger. The benefit of this way of settling the arguments was that as soon as the combat was over, the disagreement was finished and forgotten. Never to be mentioned again and certainly not to be carried on by the families or friends of the fighters.

As the time for the meeting of the tribal leaders came closer the activity on the ever-growing camp got more and more festive. There were horse races, wresting competitions, archery competitions and “friendly” trials by combat in arms and with fists. As with all barbarian activities, there was no distinction between the genders, men and women competed on an equal basis. The brute strength of the men often negated by the speed, agility and some would say, cunning the women possessed. But amongst all the competitors, there were none that could match Hastur when it came to the combat trials. He was unequalled and soon when it was known that he was about to compete, the whole camp would stop what it was doing and try to get the best spot to watch his bouts. The competition to get a viewing place was often as fierce as the main fight itself!

Hastur was victorious in all his fights, and there were many of them. It cannot be said that no one managed to hurt him however, or that no one managed to land a telling blow, it is just that he was skilled as well as tough and he wore his scars with a pride that shone, and sooner or later his skill and sheer physical strength prevailed. In time the fighters he beat were known as lucky as they had gotten to test him and yet live to tell of it, their own personal renown grew because of this.

When the day came to start the council itself there was much excitement. There had been rumours around the various tribal campfires ever since Hastur had called for the gathering to take place but no one knew exactly what he wanted, the air around the camp literally sparked with anticipation.

The leaders were all sat around in the great tent that had been erected in the center of the camp, it was huge, easily the biggest structure some of the barbarians had ever and would ever see. The drinking horns were filled, and the meat and salted bread was piled high on the planks of hewn wood that served as trenchers. The noise in the tent died as Hastur took to his feet.

(1) The Bloodthirsters – The now dominant tribe on the continent of Hastur.
(2) Not since the original Hastur had all of the Tribes answered the call of one Chief.
(3) The tribes here do not measure time as like a civilized person, but rather judge it on the cycle of the moon.

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Dungeons and Dragons Through The Years

In a world where online gaming has totally taken over, you’d think that a game played with pencils, paper and a set of dice would just fade away from people’s memories. But even more than 40 years after the game was first launched, Dungeons and Dragons is still as relevant as it was on day one. In fact, it’s becoming more popular now than ever before.  

Back in 1974, when the game was first launched, Dungeons and Dragons took the gaming industry by storm. The tabletop game is credited to have been the beginning of modern role-playing games, allowing people to use their imagination without any limits. In fact, Dungeons and Dragons is probably the longest-lived and most successful traditional role-playing game that exists today. The game is a mix of improv and collective storytelling where one person becomes the Dragon Master and is responsible for creating the world, assigning tasks and deciding all the outcomes of the game. The rest of the people are characters in the world with their own backstories and motives.  

Dungeons and Dragons was created by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson both of whom were part of separate gaming groups. But before there was Dungeons and Dragons, Gary Gygax created a game called ‘Chainmail’ which pretty much had the same rules. At the end of the game, there was a 14 page manual that described all the rules of the fantasy game in detail. When Dave Arneson saw the game, he took a lot of inspiration from it and created his own version of a fantasy RPG called ‘Blackmoor’ where players had to explore underground dungeons and solve puzzles to escape. When Gygax saw Blackmoor, he was completely blown away and the two soon started expanding the game – creating new rules building on the world Dave had created. Soon, Gary & Dave had turned all their ideas and experiences into a ruleset they titled Dungeons & Dragons – Little did they know that this simple tabletop game would be a revolution in the world of gaming.  

Sadly, the duo were unable to find a publisher and ended up forming their own company called Tactical Studies Rules which then launched the game. D&D sold 150 copies in its first month, and by summer, TSR ordered another 1,000 copies. The game cost $10 dollars at the time and because of its sudden popularity, people also started circulating pirated copies of the game’s rulebook. The great thing about Dungeons and Dragons was, of course, the fact that it took the players in a world where anything could happen. The gameplay of DnD was and still is infinite. Which explains why people would spend hours playing the game. Because of the game’s success, TSR grew from being run off Gygax’s dining room table to a corporation valued at millions of dollars with offices in Great Britain and Los Angeles.  

Even with the game’s growing popularity, the 80s proved to be a difficult time when people started calling DnD Satanic, saying that the game promoted practiced like witch-craft and murder. In 1979, a 16-year-old boy called James Dallas Egbert III disappeared from his room at Michigan State University. A private investigator, William Dear, was hired by James’s parents to find their son. Despite apparently knowing little about roleplaying games, Dear believed that D&D was the cause of Egbert’s disappearance – which is what kicked off what is now called ‘The Satanic Panic’ surrounding the game. DnD made sure to remove all references to demons, devils and other factors in the game that received backlash from religious fanatics. However, what’s surprising is that the controversy actually resulted in a boost in sales and by the end of the 90s, the game had made $8.7 million dollars. 

However, in the 90s, online gaming had also started taking over and that meant trouble for a simple RPG like Dungeons and Dragons. Not just that, but other tabletop games also started making their way into the market so DnD wasn’t the only player in the game anymore. TSR was now under the pressure to innovate and make sure that their game moved ahead with the times. This is why the company began to experiment with CD ROMs, games with videotapes and what not. Now, this was all very exciting. But at the same time people who were playing Dungeons and Dragons preferred to play it the old-fashioned way. And of course, the costs of taking the game digital were also giving TSR a hard time.  

In 1997, a near-bankrupt TSR was purchased by Wizards of the Coast. Following three years of development, Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition was released in 2000. The original version of the game was discontinued. However, it was pretty obvious that the game had become a cult classic in the eyes of most gamers. By 2004, the game was being played by 20 million people all over the world and as it’s popularity grew, the game was also translated into tons of different languages. In fact, to celebrate just how much people loved Dungeons and Dragons, 16th October was officially declared as Worldwide Dungeons and Dragons day – An honour that no other game in the world has. Dungeons & Dragons version 3.5 was released in June 2003, with a 4th edition in June 2008. 

However, that’s when the popularity of Dungeons and Dragons started to die down a bit. With online gaming and gaming consoles like the Xbox and Playstation taking over – Nobody really had the time to sit around and plan out fantasies in their heads. After a few years of the game slowly losing relevance, people believed that the future for tabletop RPG games was pretty much over. The game released its fifth edition in 2014 but besides a number of dedicated cult followers, it did next to nothing in the overall gaming landscape.  

However, everything changed with the release of the TV show ‘Stranger Things’ in 2016 which helped DnD sales skyrocket once again. The show features tons of DnD references in addition to it being the main characters’ favourite game. In fact, Stranger Things proved to be a real-life  dramatisation of Dungeons and Dragons where a group of young heroes combined their skills and limited resources to face monsters. The show went as far as to collaborate with the DnD franchise and launch a special ‘Stranger Things’ version of the game.  

This meant that people who had grown up with the game found another reason to get back into it. And for the people who never knew what Dungeons and Dragons was, they picked up the game out of sheer curiosity. As a chain reaction, the gaming world once again returned back to the old fashioned RPG and it was now cooler than ever. YouTube gamers and Twitch livestreams have also played a huge part in the game’s revival. Popular channels such as High Rollers, Critical Role and Oxventure feature funny and engaging players undertaking D&D campaigns over multiple episodes, with participants often dressing up and becoming immersed in their characters. These shows are the perfect way to take DnD digital while also staying true to the game’s original nature and gameplay.  

This has also helped the game overcome stereotypes such as the assumptions that it only caters to a certain demographic. As the game gains relevance once again, the creators are now working with a more diverse roster of artists and writers and adding racially diverse and LGBTQ+ characters into its official campaign books, as well as working with streamers and influencers to appeal to a whole new market – and it seems to be working.  

Dungeons and Dragons has definitely come a long way since it was first created. A game that was once only played by a certain demographic has now become an icon of pop culture. With bars and restaurants now holding DnD tournaments, it’s crazy how the game has taken over once again. With more mainstream exposure, the DnD community now has new players and players who grew up with the game. Young players and old players. Parents teaching their children. Children teaching their classes – the list goes on!  

As the game takes over the digital sphere, the whole world is now slowly embracing Dungeons and Dragons. Which means that we’re definitely moving towards a future where Dungeons and Dragons will change the world of gaming, allowing us to let our imagination run free once again.  

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RPG Etiquette

We all know there are certain things you do and don’t do when you are playing your favorite roleplaying game with your friends, but there is a set of rules of etiquette that should be adhered to at all times both when sat around the gaming table and before you even get there.

We feel that it’s time these often-unspoken rules of gaming should be codified and become canon for all eternity.

  1. Coordinate your snacks. As players you don’t want to all turn up all having brought the same snacks. It’s dull! Some of you might like to spend the evening up to your eyeballs in stackable corn-based snacks, but not everyone is as unimaginative as you! Get on your gamers WhatsApp group and plan ahead. Don’t involve the DM in all this, the DM has gone to a lot of trouble to get the game sorted and has enough on their mind without trying to sort your snacking needs out for the evening.
  2. Be punctual, do the DM the courtesy of arriving on time, they have done you the courtesy of spending hours on preparation for your enjoyment, the least you can do is be on time and with appropriate snacks.
  3. Make sure you are up to speed with your Monty Python quotes, a game without Monty Python quotes is just weird. Players have been known to need counselling after being in games where no-one made a single reference to Monty Python. It’s dangerous.
  4. Have your own dice! This should not need to be written down, but if you don’t have your own dice a) are you even a gamer? And b) the Dice Gods do not like it! Sharing dice is wrong, you can catch dice cooties. Same goes for pencils, spare note paper, erasers etc. Players that just turn up with nothing? We don’t need that! The only exception is if it’s your very first session playing, in that case by the second session you will be addicted and have a dice “problem” that has your bank manager worried.
  5. Snitches get Stiches… Don’t tell each other your in-game secrets. It spoils the fun for everyone and can utterly ruin the games for some people. The games should be full of surprises.
  6. Obsessive rule questioning… Just stop it! The DM knows what they want and don’t want to use to make the game work for them as a DM. “But it says in the DM’s guid that the Halflings can only be 4 feet tall, and you just said the Halfling NPC is 4 foot 1 inch and that’s wrong…”. Everyone is really impressed you know the rule books inside out, but you are probably wondering why you have no friends and why you still live with your mom in the basement. THIS IS WHY! You are playing in the DM’s game, leave it alone!
  7. Anyone ever played with totally inebriated or totally under the influence players before? It sucks, don’t do it. Be sensible, plus it’s a respect thing. However, If the DM is doing it, find a new DM.
  8. Feel free to give ideas to the DM for their homebrew world. Yes, they have spent hours creating it, but it doesn’t mean they are not open to new ideas. If anything, it shows them that you are invested in it and taking an interest!
  9. Respect each other. We are all individuals with individual quirks and things going on that people might not necessarily want to talk about. Gaming is as much their release as it is yours. Don’t be a buzz kill. Don’t shame people and generally just chill if someone is doing something in a different way to how you would do it, deal with it!

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Quench Your thirst

Quench your thirst! Drink bottles are up and available for all your favorite Bea DnD merch!

• High-grade stainless steel
• 17 oz (500 ml)
• Dimensions: 10.5″ × 2.85″ (27 × 7 cm)
• Vacuum flask
• Double-wall construction
• Odorless and leak-proof cap
• Insulated for hot and cold liquids (keeps the liquid hot or cold for 6 h)

Check them out now in our store!

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Wear the Tee, Support Creators Assemble!

Wear the Tee and support the amazing work that Creators Assemble! do for our community!

This Tee has been created for the Creators Assemble! and Dungeons and Dingbats to help to raise funds to carry on their great work.

ALL profits go to their amazing work!

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Welcome to Bea DnD

Thanks for stopping by, it’s great to see you.

We are a New Zealand based husband and wife team, passionate about Dungeons and Dragons, working to deliver top quality, inventive DnD content.

Overseen by the boss ‘Beatrice’ we are working away to bring you great content for your Dungeons & Dragons game! Also, we have merch… just saying… you should check it out….

Drop us a line with any questions, queries or ideas, we love to chat!

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How To Engage With Your Players In Dungeons And Dragons

How To Engage With Your Players In Dungeons And Dragons

The Dungeon Master plays a crucial role in a D&D game. While it’s true the game is designed to give all the players an immersive experience – in the end, it all depends on how the Dungeon Master takes the game forward. So, what do you do if you want to up the ante and add something extra to your next D&D session?

As the Dungeon Master, you need to remember that you’re the one who sets the scene for the story. This means that the world and all of its characters are under your creative control. So, the first step for any successful Dungeon Master is to know exactly what their world is like and how it’s going to progress. As the DM, it’s your job to know quite literally anything and everything there is to know about your world. This means you need to prepare beforehand and figure out things like the map, the culture, the economy and all the obstacles that your players can potentially face in this world. And if you think the economy isn’t that important, just wait till your players decide to become international cheese merchants or run a chain of taverns…. It will happen….

Not just that, but the Dragon Master also needs to know how many Non-Player Characters (NPCs) they want to bring into the story and how they will interact with the players. 

I know it sounds like a lot. But trust me, once you know your world, everything becomes easier as you go. Because when you’ve already planned out your world, you won’t need to keep improvising during the game. All you need to do is give brief descriptions and let your players handle the rest as the plot progresses without any irrelevant or forced situations – making the game a lot more fun for them. 

Another extra element that you can add into your gameplay are props and visual cues. While the game obviously needs you to dig deep into your imagination, a little help doesn’t hurt anyone now, does it? As far as I know, most players love it when the Dungeon Master gets creative with props. Let’s say you want your players to find a letter that starts off their quest. Instead of you reading out the letter, how about you actually give them the letter as a prop? When you incorporate these small little things into the game, it just makes the entire experience a little more personal and a whole lot more immersive. It stops the players from losing interest and might even give their imagination a boost in the right direction. You can do the same thing if you’re working with puzzles or riddles. Give your players something that they can write on directly to make the game more collaborative. 

Remember that role-playing means that you are in a shared world. Once the gameplay starts, make sure to create stories around your players’ characters, depending on their individual backstories. Now obviously this doesn’t mean that you have to change your whole story to cater to the players. But getting them into situations that are directly linked to their personalities or backgrounds here and there is bound to get your players more excited. Keep in mind that your world should be flexible enough to be impacted by your players’ decisions. If you create a world that’s all about rules and doesn’t take the characters’ moves into account, it just gets frustrating after a point. I mean, who wants to play a game where you can’t break some rules? But of course, if you think that some rules need to be followed for the sake of the story, there’s no harm in giving your players a bit of a challenge. Let them work their way around it, it’ll keep things more interesting. 

Another great tip to keep your players engaged is giving them advantages and using that as motivation. You can do this from the beginning of the campaign. For example, set a situation then get the player to roll and at the same time, check to see how successfully they make a narratively interesting decision. Based on that, you can choose to give them an advantage. Now the rewards you give out can vary in different situations but the easiest and most consistent way to build this risk/reward mechanism, is to use advantage. Now as a player, when they see that they’re being rewarded for doing something narratively complex, they will automatically be motivated to get advantages which will ultimately help them reach their goals faster. After all, there’s no harm in using the game’s rules to encourage your players, right? 

Use your storytelling skills to give your players one clear group goal. Similarly, give all of them one clear individual goal. This way, they have something to work towards, instead of just mindlessly rolling the dice. Now you can add these goals at any point in the story, but I personally think that adding them right in the beginning just helps to set the tone of the game. Let’s say all of your characters wake up in a strange, dark place and discover that they are imprisoned in a cage of some sort. They suddenly see a shadowy figure walking towards them and unlocking the cage. You see how that creates a narrative that all of your players are a part of? It gives everyone a situation where they have to act immediately. Their goal here is to figure out where they are and how to get out of there – helping the game move on in an organic way. 

However, a Dungeon Master’s work doesn’t just stop at storytelling. To create an engaging game, you first have to immerse yourself in the world – and the other players will definitely follow. This means that you don’t just narrate the story, you become the story. You have the power to choose how your players perceive this world. So, make sure that you’re using your words to evoke their senses. If they’re in a dark room, describe how dark it is, what the room smells like, what sounds they can hear, how cold or warm the air feels, how foods taste. You get the gist. Think of your game as a movie and do all you can to set the perfect shot in everyone’s heads. They will see what you show them, so make sure it’s good enough to keep them interested. If your players are dealing with NPCs or monsters, don’t just narrate the story, embody them. Use all the acting skills you have and through your voice and gestures, help your players immerse themselves into their encounters, instead of watching them from the outside – You don’t have to be Mr Mercer though, just remember that! Also, as a bit of personal advice… Don’t give every pirate the ‘pirate accent’ and then have the players spend and entire session with pirates… your vocal cords will be unforgiving in the morning…. I have heard…..

Above everything else, keep in mind that you’re the one who has the reigns of the game. So, every decision you make needs to be fair and impartial. If the Dungeon Master is found picking sides, that automatically just cancels out everyone’s interest in the entire world. As much as you need to control the room, make sure that you’re listening to your players and collaborating with them to help the narrative move forward. This includes allowing players to go off-path. Remember that the best part about playing Dungeons and Dragons is the fact that it offers a world full of possibilities. So, make sure that your players are given the freedom of choice. As long as you maintain a good balance between what the world allows and what your players want – you should be good to go. 

Lastly, because Dungeons and Dragons is all about the experience, take some creative liberties and extend your role beyond the game. I personally think that a great way to keep the players excited is to set the right mood and nothing does the trick better than some good music. Take some time and choose the right soundtrack beforehand. Something that is helpful for your players to draw vivid mental images from your narration. A great trick is to keep the music shifting between scenes. Choose different styles of music for each location, choose different fight music for each style fight, and choose evocative and emotional music for those killer story hooks and dramatic plot twists – just to keep things interesting. 

At the end of the day, as a Dungeon Master, you need to remember that this is all supposed to be fun. So, don’t think too much of it and dive straight into narrating a world that your players would love to be a part of. Plan some situations out and be spontaneous with the rest. That’s pretty much all you need to keep your players invested in the game until the very end and create an experience that no one will ever want to end. 

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