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Articles & News

Storytelling in D&D: Making Potions of Lemonade


Last week I looked at the recent D&D Adventurers League article “State of Mulmaster", which revealed that the casting of unsanctioned arcane magic within the city of Mulmaster would be punished harshly. The comments on my blog and elsewhere on the Interwebz were (generally) thoughtful and helpful in creating a dialogue to explain the various effects of the ruling and minimize the problems that the ruling might cause at the table. Many of the commenters here,...

The Fiendish


The Fiendish are the half-demon corruption of different living creatures. Created for different purposes, they all have common traits and represent a hybrid between the un-living Demons and the natural forms of life on Elhal. Fiendish creatures are not necessarily evil, but they are not natural either. As we conclude our discussions on the tiers of Demons, I thought it would be worthwhile to discuss the half-demons, as they form their own tier; not quite a Demon and...

Know Your Limits

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So a couple of weeks ago, I pushed myself to the limit. For three weeks I'd worked 74+ hours at both my jobs, did my part to maintain my home, and took time to spend with my fiancee. This led to me going to bed no earlier than 1am and most of those evenings (or early mornings) staying up past 3am. I didn't sleep a lot, and after those three weeks of subsisting on coffee...

Storytelling in D&D: Interesting Story or Player Abuse?


An intriguing discussion popped up last week in the D&D Adventurers League world. The administrators of the large and popular Organized Play campaign released a document called State of Mulmaster. The first part of this very interesting article highlighted the city of Mulmaster, where the second season of the D&D Expeditions adventures—in the Elemental Evil storyline—is taking place. Mulmaster is a highly volatile setting for a campaign, and is thus a very interesting one. The controversy...

The Demon Prince


The last caste of Demons are the Demon Princes. These creatures are the apex of Demons, possessing the physical and martial capabilities of the Demon Knight, with the intellect and arcane abilities of the Demon Lord. Yet none of that makes them the most terrifying caste of Demons. It is their ability to reproduce that is far more insidious. Creation A Demon Prince is created in a special ritual, different than the previous three castes of Demons:...

The Many Hats of Making Games


One of the things I've learned in talking to multiple designers and publishers about making games is that a lot of them are multi-talented. They don't just design games but write rules and prose, do their own graphic design, and some are artists too. Tack on marketing strategist, public relations, and Kickstarter manager, and you have one person wearing a whole lot of hats. In the case of Encoded Designs we have four people who wear...

Storytelling in D&D: Plot vs. Story


With a background in creative writing and English academia, I’ve read a lot about creating and understanding stories. And while it is debatable if I actually learned much from all that reading, I cannot deny that I have picked up a few things. And one of those things is directly applicable to storytelling in D&D. In a set of famous lectures given by acclaimed writer E. M. Forster, he answered a question often posed to him...

The Demon Lord

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We now have reached the Demon Lord, the last of the forged Demons. This final forged caste sacrifices martial prowess for intellect and arcane ability. They are the juxtaposition of great abilities and limitations, which we will explore during this lecture. Despite these challenges, the Demon Lord plays a vital role in Demon society. Let us start as we have in the past by returning to the Demon Forge, and discuss the Demon Lord's creation… Creation As with the...

Building a Narrative in D&D

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In the last installment of this column, I fretted over the question, “Is D&D a Storytelling Game?” I looked at that question in terms of establishing semantics and defining terms. Now I have to start to work on answering those questions. For the seminar I will be presenting at Origins and Gen Con, the main question is going to be this: How can the Dungeon Master (DM) manage the narrative when running a game of...

Q1 Update


Now that we are a few weeks into Quarter 2 of 2015, I wanted to go over what Encoded has been doing, and how things are going. Overall, things have been busy and focused for the team. We are still in the building phase, with most of our projects still in development, some approaching publication. I have a certain anxiety of wanting to get things published to prove that we are doing things, but we...