Tag Archives: PC

Dungeon Master’s Guide Review

DnD_DMGThe Dungeon Master’s Guide is always my favorite book of any edition of Dungeons and Dragons.  My established role at the roleplaying game table evolved into running games a long time ago, and I like the tools that the Dungeons Master’s Guide has historically provided. Back in college, I would use the third edition DM Guide to build fantastic worlds for my players (I was a massive dork, I know.). I’m afraid that if you looked through my Psych 301 notes, you would find sketches of cities, dungeons, and continents complete with “here be dragons” style areas to entice adventurers.

The Dungeons Master’s Guide for the fifth edition of D&D is a good starting point for new DMs. About half the book is dedicated to teaching a Dungeon Master how to build a campaign setting, an adventure, and how to string them all together. This section is liberally sprinkled with tables that help you randomize everything from dungeons to villains to what buildings are in a village. Also included are tips for the actual management of the game experience: ways to keep the game moving, how to deal with difficult players, and even the best way to roll dice.

As an experienced DM, I don’t really need tips on how to create campaigns or how to keep the game enjoyable for everyone at the table, but I appreciate the randomized tables and how they can streamline things when (not if) players go off the beaten path. Gone are the days when I would have to take a lengthy break to figure out what is going to happen next while I hide in another room. Everyone will appreciate the added game time at the tabletop.

My favorite part of the book, though, is the lengthy list of treasure. The Player’s Handbook was woefully lacking in magical items, but the DM guide rectifies that with nearly 100 pages of goodies. I’m going to have so much stuff to reward and plague my players with! And the treasure tables are super useful. I love giving out randomized treasure, so having lots of tables I can roll on to determine rewards is so great.

You know, as I’m looking at the overall picture of fifth edition, I’m ecstatic that I’ll be able to play the game without a laptop or an app on my phone. I love having a large toolbox to use right out of the books. I  dislike playing from behind a computer because it creates a mental separation between the players and the DM. I want to be “in the fray” with the people who are playing the game.

For people who want to play Dungeons and Dragons, the Dungeon Master’s Guide is a must-have manual. For a new group of players who are trying out Dungeons and Dragons for the first time, this book is a good primer for how to run and play the game. For D&D and RPG fans of all kinds, this is a recommended release. You can find the Dungeon Master’s Guide at your friendly neighborhood gaming store (and other book stores) on December 9th.

 A review copy of the Dungeons Master’s Guide was provided to The Cool Ship by Wizards of the Coast.


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To the Moon

to the moonVideogames have made me laugh. They have made me cry, cheer, get angry, and think. No game, however, has affected me deeply as Freebird Games’ To the Moon.

To the Moon is the story of a dying man’s final wish. He wants to go to the moon. He doesn’t remember why he wants to go to the moon. Sometime before he fell ill, he hired the services of Sigmund Corp, a company that can send people into the minds of the dying in order to change memories so that they can remember whatever they want as they die.

Have you ever been so sick that you thought you were going to die? I have not. But, I have often thought about my past as I lie awake in the deepest parts of the night. What  would I change if I could re-do it all? Who would I treat differently? What career path would I take? If I changed one thing, would that completely change me? What if I knew what I wanted to do with my life when I was 15 rather than 25?

To the Moon explores these kind of themes as it sends two scientists into the dying man’s memories to piece together the mysteries of his life in order to fulfill his wish. They have to work their way through his memories in reverse, so you learn about his life backwards. Through this exploration, we see how childhood decisions can affect the course of an entire life, and the game is also quick to remind us how the smallest action or object can have great significance to a person.

I played through the entire game in about four hours, but the story of the game has stayed with me for a couple days. In that brief amount of time, I laughed. And I cried. And I questioned my own fitness as a husband and father. It made me consider what the important things in life are: love, family, friends, listening, learning, nostalgia, fun, and laughter. I ended up caring more for those 16-bit sprites than I have for many modern film, television, or videogame characters.

To the Moon took me on a journey. It didn’t take me into outer space, but it definitely took me on a tour of my thoughts and feelings. I highly recommend it. It has some of the best writing I’ve experienced in videogames.

(As of this writing, To the Moon is available on Steam for $3. Go get it.)

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