Counter Monkey – Dungeon Mastering a Great Game

The Spoony One | Mar 27 2012 | more notation(s) | 

Secret storyteller secrets from the dungeonmaster himself!

  • Mateusz Hemmerling

    I’m sorry, but I never had a FIRST. Forgive me

  • Valthek

    Ah, names. Glorious, glorious names. You mention the 8-second names and my mind immediately goes back to the horrors we’ve inflicted upon some of our players. He had the tendency to come up with exceptionally long names.

    And the group… well… They shortened it. A LOT.
    One example comes from our Exalted game where he had chosen “Child of the Dark Sunrise” as a name. Less than a session later, everyone called the character “Sunny”. Fun times all around.

  • fruckert

    Fuck yeah, time to sink an hour.

    • WarxePB

      I find it amusing that we can be so enthralled by listening to some guy ramble about games for an hour. I guess Spoony’s just that good.

  • The Number A

    I’ve actually been hoping you’d make a video like this, Spoony.  I was never a great DM, but not for lack of trying! Thanks!

  • Nick Doup

    I was planning on going to go to school. Screw that, Spoony’s on.

    • GreenGear

      Whoa whoa. I’m sure Spoony would not want this of you.

  • Pontus Vall Slaktarrn Haglund

    In my current group the Neutral Evil and the Chaotic Good character are pretty much best friends… They do stuff from different motivations. ^^

  • GreenGear

    I swear, Oreo was looking straight at my soul.

  • Uğur Can Yıldız

    FF8 must have made you quite fucking butthurt, lol.

  • Birk Hauke Wildhirt

    what is your goal?
    shadowrun – pay the rent and eat!
    D&D – become a god

    D&D sucks :P

    • thehivemind33

      I don’t see how it sucks, it just depends on how you like your games. Some people may want to shoot for the very top. You may like it simple or a kind of struggle for survival. It’s all different opinions.

  • Jamie Sheil

    0:41:20. Spoonys pulling a DA2 with DnD maps :D

  • Mateusz Hemmerling

    I don’t have much experience as a DM, more as a player, and it’s not because I didn’t want to. It’s that I’m more of a sci-fi fan, so I wanted to master Cyberpunk 2020, but my douchebag friends never wanted to play it, because they were more into fantasy (“But D&D/Warhammer is better, because it has dragons and magic and shit”). When I finally convinced them to try CP2020 they completely ruined my campaign, with constant jokes and stuff. We played it maybe 3 times total, because it was just no use to get them to cooperate. That’s kind of my sad story of DM-ing (GM-ing to be exact).

  • Gary Mott

    see i want to start playing D&D make an Elf with a long ridicules back story and be really  Elfy about the hole thing but go by Steve.

  • Michael Marshall

    Best thing a DM can do: give the players meaningful choices and consequences. Give this video a watch; it’s made for video games and not pen-and-paper, but designing campaigns for the two are pretty similar.

  • Michael Marshall

    Also, at one point, I had a character named Byrre O’Bannon. Who caught the nickname Fighter Bob within an hour of playing.

     I hated it, but it stuck.

  • John Wikoff

    Is there a recording of the Scorpion Queen game? If you played over skype I figured there might be and I’d like a link.

  • El K

    I am sorry, I have to ask this…is the Mallard/Ducky thing a NCIS reference?
    I know Spoony reviewed an Episode of the series and didn’t like it, but it is a really interesting coincidence. =I

    • Jason Dyer

       I thought he was referencing Darkwing Duck. I could be wrong.

  • starscreamer

    A half-Orc who kicks ass and takes your shit?

    I AM that kind of thief.

  • Michal ‘Prken’ Hubka

    Tnaks Spoony, it was great video.

  • J. Adams

    One of the reasons why I enjoy playing Warhammer Fantasy RP is the fact that combat can be so brutal, yet the opponents are as reliant on good dice rolls as you. Last Thursday our party of two faced a band of approx. 12-15 mutants and barely escaped. 

    I only survived due to the fact the DM kept rolling body hits and I had a good set of chest armour, meanwhile the mutants were distracted and split when the player that joined us for the session rolled a gun crit fail, fell out of the tree they were hiding in and got his head smashed in after unintentionally killing 2 mutants with a dagger.

    To tie it into this video, part of being a DM is allowing for these sort of circumstances. People tend to bond over imaginative set pieces, often created by accident by the players trying something new. I’m always going to remember my D&D 4.0 party spending about 5 combat turns trying to kill some damned ‘Weasels’ (Drake Swarm from Eberron, but I kept calling them weasels because they kept knocking us over and swarming over our faces biting us. The name stuck.) or when my team of five Level 7-9 pokemon managed to beat a Level 40 Slowking by ganging up on it in a war of attrition, or when someone caught a level 30 Gyrados by randomly and desperately throwing a normal pokeball at it.

    Anyway, I’ve just realised that it won’t be long now before I have my first experience DMing a campaign, and I hope I can put the things from the video into practice. I’ll be reading the comments to see if anyone else has any reminisces or ideas.

  • Sithorias

    awesome story, spoony….

    this skype game, you mentioned… have you recorded this? i would love to see this, bcause i still cannot imagine how a rpg game works in practice

    • J. Adams

      People use either screen sharing software or a map program for the physical side of it, the character sheets are often fillable PDF’s or spreadsheets and shared through something like dropbox or google docs. Then people roll dice either through the software, online dice or the DM trusting the players to roll fair IRL.

      And people just talk through headsets over skype itself. I dunno how Spoony did it, but those are the common ways. Instead of skype of course there is also Mumble or Teamspeak.

    • TheOneCalledSloth

      Its on LordKats site.

    • L1nk1
  • bringotiger

    In one GURPS campaign, my first character died to due to the party being lead like sheep and they ganged up on the poor peaceful guy and killed him, my second character got his foot cut off by a blade trap (that originally missed me and hit the “star” of the game, but after it was all said and done, it was decided that I took the hit…But instead of it cutting my head off like it should have done to the “star”, it took my foot, after 8 adventures of getting it back on, I retired the character). My last character for the campaign was a hobgoblin, which I wrote a character story for. In it he was chosen by god (very blessed advantage) to be a champion of the people, to rise up and become a paladin (church knights, is what paladins were called for this game). He had the delusion that he knew he was chosen and was going to fulfill that destiny. His name was Orange. Everyone remembered his name, because nothing rhymes with orange, as out misteral, theif, assassin, dude found out, Tomar Ray (My buddy Brad was huge into comics). My friend James had a elf named James… Austin was Mysteria the girl wizard, Kevin was Lellan a “sea elf” which was code from this point on for Dark Elf, who was the “star” of the game, when he bothered to show up… At one point the “sea elf” tried to assassinate all the party members using things he got from a powerful wizard, the only person to die was Shawn, and he left unhappy and we didn’t see him again for a month. So, with that plan failed, the “sea elf” kept going back, till one game session the wizard came looking for him, himself. He asked us to track down the elf and kill him. The wizard also revealed that he been the one plotting against us and the kingdom ever since he arrived. (Our gm and the “star” had a falling out, over a girl, which I ended up dating, cause she said the only reason she hung out with them was to get close to me, but that was later on after the “star” stopped showing up…yeah… lol). So, the “star” sat there as we were given everything needed to track him down, cause he really did owe the wizard for his help, even though the “star” failed, he still owed the wizard for his time and energy. So long story short in one game session we tracked him down, fought him, I gave a speech about my character and how he will never forget the heroic name of Orange, to which I killed him, and James pointed out that he’s dead, he’s never going to tell the story, I said but we are still alive to spread the legend. That was the third game session with me running Orange, and everyone referred to me in that game as Orange.

  • bringotiger

    In a supers game my buddy Brad was running, I came up with a costume, cause at the time I could draw a decent dude, and was trying to find a name for my character. My character had rank to be team leader, and everyone in the party never listened to me the first session till I brought everyone up on insubordination, next game session, Brad told them. He’s team leader he bought his rank up and no one else did. Rick helped me come up with a supers code name, he said something like, “You should have ice powers and call yourself something like Fire Guy, throw the enemies off from your powers after they hear your code name being thrown around by the rest of the group, then when they attack you with ice crap, that you should be immune to, blast them with ice!” I responded with, “My guy has Spiderman powers with out the Spider Sense or web shooters, I have hand guns and explosives and military training, I think I like Fire…Fire Bug, cause I have bug powers, and I can save up to buy that ice cannon weapon or a copy of it later in the game.” So, Firebug was what I was called for the next ten game sessions. One of our players never listened to me, so he was brought up on charges every game, and not by me, but other PCs.

    • J. Adams

      Ranks in RP’s can be great fun, especially when there’s some people who will constantly ignore it. FireBug’s a pretty good name for a super.

  • Scott Earle

    I look forward to these every week :}

  • draxo

    I love this series.

    Don’t let douches get you down spoony, I just love to listenn to you waffling on about RPG’s.

  • Henrik Olsson

    my one my current characters i have is named timmy sens his real name is to hard for mortal races to pronounce, and the other guy is named balthus witch is kinda easy to say but still somthing odd.

    other than that i have been thinking of DMing and this helped me see that the starting setting i have setting upp will be a great setting to start out so i can get a feeling of the ppl playing

  • Rolland Therrien

    The notion of continuity between Adventures is one of the things that makes Pathfinder’s Adventure Paths such a strong selling point for Paizo.  To those who’ve never tried them, Paizo produces series of Adventure Paths, 6-part sorta-campaigns that take a group of players from 1st level to about 14th level over the course of the Path.  

  • David Egyud

    I played with a group over OpenRPG for a couple years, and the first character I played was a ranger whose wife had been slaughtered by a werewolf, and the so the character’s main motivation was to hunt down all werewolves, but specifically the one who had done it. Shortly after the campaign began, I had this great idea and talked it over with the DM (who loved it) and we arranged to have a point in the middle of the campaign where I would encounter my arch-nemesis and he would turn me into a werewolf – we did this in a solo session away from the main group. It was such a memorable scene and it gave my character great motivation and depth for the remainder of the campaign. I dropped subtle hints in subsequent sessions about it but no one really picked up on it. Unfortunately, the campaign kind of fizzled out a couple of months later and I wasn’t really able to get to a satisfactory conclusion of the character, but it will still stick with me as my most memorable character because I gave him a gripping backstory, sufficient motivation, and worked with the DM to incorporate it into the current story.

  • Fergus macpherson

    Thanks for this spoony, I am running my first Dark Heresy game this friday and was struggling on how to make the players care about things that where happening (I settled on them having strange dreams that seem to hint at some greater plot at work) but this helped  me out massively with the details.

  • Cesar Rodriguez

    It would have been so cool if you had recorded that Skype session for us to watch. Not only does it sound epic, but from the sound of it, it would have been a perfect example of your experience with D&D.

    Or, maybe we are unworthy of witnessing such a thing, I dunno.

    • Michael Wells

       LordKat has some of them on his site. I think the one where the guy gets possessed by the book is there. The party with the guy being infected is there too in fact some of the darker aspects of what happens is kinda cool

    • CornBRED-X

      Ya, its on Lordkat’s site. It was a year or more now that they were doing it, and if nothing else you might (Lordkat recently had a problem so it is unknown to me if they are lost) be able to find the old sessions in lordkats ( now) archive.

      They were awesome. I kinda wish spoony would DM something again, but I know his free time tends to be limited (it seems).

  • TheOneCalledSloth

    I would love to see you do more D&D stuff with LordKat.

    • David Rodoy

       I don’t think they’re on good terms right now, though they might have made up. They had a major blowup over some trouble Spoony caused for LK after his X-Com ‘betrayal’ rage.

  • SeanSamonas

    I always enjoy these countermonkey videos.  As a DM of a Pathfinder tabletop set in my own homebrew world, I’ve used a lot of those techniques to help keep things smooth.  Over at my blog,, I’ve a series from when our group played through the 3.5 version of Tomb of Horrors.

    Let me tell you though, nothing sucks more fun out of the game then a problem player.  There are various ways of dealing with one, but man it is a giant pain. Oh, and for the record, I really wish I could play in a AD&D game with Spoony…lol

  • thehivemind33

    You hope you didn’t bore us?

    That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard all day. :P These are entertaining as hell, and I’m learning more and more about roleplaying every time! Even though it won’t be D&D (yet), I’m sure that what you’ve taught us here with these awesome stories will help me with my first time playing a pen and paper RPG.

  • Nicholas Cook

    I love these D&D stories, I can relate with everything you are talking about. I’m a pretty veteran player I think since I’ve played half my life (I’m 24) so pretty much every story you are telling I can think of something similar that happened in my group. Anyway keep these up Spoony! 

  • hozifitts

    A good example of a recurring villain:

    In a game I am in there was this wizard that worshiped the god of slime. He took over a city and declared himself mayor for life. After defeating and killing him, we restored order to the town. About 2 months later (in game time), we encounter a character whom we thought just a simple skeleton, however, he was sentient. After defeating him (in a battle in which my character died), we found that he was enchanted to attack anyone that entered his domain, it turns out he was actually a good guy. So, the DM let me have him as my new character. About three sessions later the slime wizard returned and reveals to my new character that he created me and I should work for him, naturally I refused. After once again defeating and killing him, again, my character (who named himself Quentin J. Skullworthy III), decides to research himself as he was also a wizard. I soon found out unbeknownst to the rest of the party that I was in fact a Phylactery (the source of a Lich’s power) to the Slime Lord. My character refused this concept and kept it from the party. About 10 or so sessions later, we have fought the Slime Lord over and over about 6 or 7 times now. We are on a mission to stop a cult from killing a god, and it turns out that it s being led by an Aspect of Nerull. So, he takes control of Quentin and summons the Slime Lord, the party then figures out what Quentin was and destroys him.

    Just thought this story was cool. This was just a fun character to play and a great villain to fight. Hope you enjoyed.

  • Nate Kirby

    Maybe he should make a video about playing a Paladin since it seems a lot of problems come from the class?

    • Jannick Hegelund Hverkeltoft

      What’s a Paladin?

      • Christopher Stratton Smith

        I’m not entirely sure.

        • Roikka

          Your knowledge of the land shall be great.

    • NymphadoraTonks

      I’ve never played D&D.. and I really don’t know what a Paladin is.. DON’T KILL ME D:

      • remuthra

        I like to just overstate the paladin to the point where he is essentially some psychopath who justifies killing random people by saying they were evil.

  • gerald chubbuck

    I think I picked the best names yet it still doesn’t work 100% of the time. My druid’s name is Keh (pronounced kay) and my bear is Masimo. From day one they called my character Keh, but Mas is called Bear no matter what I do.

  • sbkMulletMan

    Counter Monkey has created an unusual side-effect in my life.  I’m actually starting to have dreams where I’m creating a character, getting ready to start up a campaign with a group of strangers (sometimes Spoony is there…which makes the dreams feel weeeeeird).

    It makes me realize how much I really wish I could just play D&D again, or even just get that kind of group activity going.  I enjoy working hard on my school studies, but sometimes you really gotta cut loose and have fun, and just playing Arkham City or reading Love & Rockets comics all day doesn’t cut it (that was my Spring Break, heh).  It really would be cool to be involved in an adult D&D atmosphere (my only previous experience was in Junior High during lunch breaks), but as Spoony often mentions, it’s sometimes really hard to get something like that going.  Finding time is hard enough, but finding the right number of people who share that interest , or even just “the right type of people” you could enjoy spending that much time with, is a real bitch and a half. 

    And the beginning of this video reminds me how my Minotaur Fighter in the DragonLance game I was in was indeed simply referred to as “Minotaur”.  And I do NOT remember ANY of the names of the other player-characters.  I just referred to them as “hey, you”, although in my defense, I was a dumb, all-muscle Minotaur, so I had an excuse, heh.  And I think the Wizard who was the lead of the party was purposely being condescending to me when he ordered me, his bodyguard, to do something.  “Minotaur, do this!  Minotaur, do that!”

    It really would be great to play again.  I’m a lot more creative and imaginative and expressive now than I was in the 8th grade.   It would be great to have D&D to give me proper exercise for my abilities. 

    Also, I was laughing like a monkey at Spoony’s Half-Orc thief story!  Brilliant use of that wonderful new phrase, “I’m not that kind of thief!”.  *Bonk!*

  • peteman

    Yeah, I have three steady players in my group. One is a Netherese agent who goal is to advance the interests of Netheril. One is trying to liberate his homeland from a Great Wyrm dragon (we went on a quest to acquire a huge amount of Dragonbane Amber). The third is annoyingly vague on his goals, as he is a wizard with the obsession of gaining knowledge.

  • Karstein Røsnes Ersdal

    Great stuff spoony! The points you are making goes beyond the D&D table and has reallly inspired me to get better at my storytelling/writing (as i aspire to write stories in games and make them develop. (i am studying game design right now)) Thanks a  lot! 

  • Nick Foster

    The last five minutes or so really hit home.

  • Darkscar

    awww man just making want to play Dnd even more ugh……..but ya good video

  • Aiddon

    One thing I’ve always found stupid is people making no goals for their character or doing something so vague it doesn’t matter. It reduces a campaign to little more than masturbation and I’ve always found it to be irritating and dull after awhile. A character needs a goal or otherwise it’s just pointless diddling.

  • keith garry

    Oh. my. god.  Another counter monkey.  I can not wait to watch this!!!

  • Brett Neufeld

    We started only a few months ago and I was chosen to be the DM. I’m not the type that likes to use premade adventures or maps, I like to make stuff up myself. But what I did before I made the world map or the major story was I had my players create their back stories first. Then I designed the game world around their creation, fleshing out the details.
    They told me that they found the world a lot more enthralling and involving because the main storyline had big elements of their own creation in it, and they loved to see their ideas play out.

  • Katrin

    One of my favorite character names I’ve seen in a game was a character named Arman. I called him Arm and Hammer. :)

    Good names are always helpful.

    Spoony, you aren’t that bad of a control freak. I have seen many DMs that put forcing their absolute control upon the group over trying to get them to succeed or have fun.

    Always happy for the advice and the stories.

    I was wondering if you had advice or words on when a characters has goals relating to one another in a more than ‘help my friend overturn his curse’. Like such as when a character falls in love or is extremely bewitched by another player character. I see this in WoD games frequent enough and I’ve never seen it go well. Like if a player character is in love or lust with another player character and uses that that as reasoning to join their quest or task, it tends to get awkward and make players uncomfortable, sometimes the one being lusted/loved after(sort of like the flamboyant gay character you talked about previously, but not that offensive and usually not that grabby).

    And somewhat related, when players are bewitched by other players to force them to do things, it can become frustrating and annoying. What do you do as a DM in these situations? And what should you do as a player if another player is pushing these types of things on you and you don’t like it?

    Maybe its too grey of a question. But I just thought to ask.

  • Andreas Rauch

    in all honesty, before you started this series, i wasnt the biggest fan of yours…
    but now i demand more episodes, great series :)

  • Harman Sidhu

    Is it odd that i look forward to a new vid of yours everyday?

  • Patryk Halaczkiewicz

    Agreed with the start idea, ran a campaign where I needed to explain how the party got together, used a mod where the players start sort of forced to find shelter from a really bad storm (lv1 start), and it worked (I had to retool it slightly on account of having 6 party members).  Also tried mixing in ideas from other modules over the levels but otherwise open ended, although that worked mostly due to the fact the party wanted a more hack and slashy campaign.
    Weirdest name I ever had, Steve of Erkel (my character was sort of out of plane, which the dm okayed as the concept was being used in the plot(found that out later)).  Second weirdest, my character had 3 aliases in a city, Tom, Steve, and Steve from Accounting.  He faked his death as Steve, was on the run as Tom, and was “friends with everyone” as Steve from Accounting.  Got to love hats of disguise.  Also those three names weren’t even his real one, the dm rolled for number of aliases possible, so it was dm approved lol.

  • Kostantine Paradias

    What I did in my campaign was pluck some fluff and role from mythologies and comics books (especially manga like Uzumaki) to present the monsters and my players were always baffled as fuck.

  • Lauri Vallin

    I Just realised that Burton has the Flag of Finland in his chest ( at least in the big “The Spoony Experiment” logo). It took me just about 4 years to notice it. Guess I´m not that much of a patriot xD.

    • Vismutti

      Omg… I never noticed either! xD Hyvin spotattu!

  • Hippiethecat124

    The D&D game my friends started recently has been pretty painful in some parts thanks to a severe lack of character development. Our cleric (named Anderson; see if you can get a name blander than that besides Smith) has no backstory whatsoever, and our ranger just decided to start growing marijuanna in our underground safehouse, as that’s basically the only thing he knows how to do metagame. It sucks. Badly. Thank god our DM takes cares of us who wrote a backstory for our characters and tries to work it in, otherwise, I could care less what happens with the story. This is my first campaign, and I’m so glad we have the DM we do, but mother of god, there’s no interaction between the characters. We need a Spoony to kick Anderson and Ranger the Planter into some sort of a role.  -_-

  • Il Principe

    About creatures the group might encounter, there was a very good fan add-on for a different role playing system, which would work for D&D as well: one of the features is that creatures have different names in different areas, giving the DM the possibility for an extra spin. The example given in that add-on was to call Orcs in a certain squire “sharpteeth”, which the players encounter in an adventure. In a later adventure of that same group, the players are asked by a group of villagers from a far away region for help with “sharpteeth”, but it turns out this area calls Ogres by that name…

  • Sean Mahoney

    I look forward to a new Counter Monkey as much as I look forward to a new regular TSE episode. Table top gaming is something I’ve been trying to really get into for years but things seem to always fall through for one reason or another.

  • Casey Keaton

    What are your thoughts on the new Dungeon Crawl game Dungeons of Grimrock? Seems in vain of the Ultima Underworld/Might and Magic series. Looks pretty interesting.

  • Fracch

    Aeofel “Al” Elhromane. Nuff said.

  • Logion

    The dethklok campaign showed that you are a really great DM Spoony. It’s a pity it ended like it did.

  • Joe Forster

    I love the “I’m that kind of thief” its like triumphant version of the old gag.

  • Styx Gorkamorka

    Your Halforc Rouge remindet me of a Character a Friend played. He was never a good Roleplayer, most of the Times he played “Bob the Human Fighter” (no kidding at one time he played a Character named Bob).
    But in one Campaign he comes up with a great Character, a big muscled Rouge named “die Glocke” (the Bell). The Townsfolk called him “the Bell” because he used this huge fucking bell-clapper (i hope its the right word) as Weapon.He was big, strong, didnt speak much (what was perfect for this player ^^) and was walking around with this hugh weapon.

  • Eric Murray

    Ahhh nicknames, In longest running game I was in I ended up with so many of them. Even with the others in my group where still being called their original.

    Character: Kor Blackfang, a cat like race primarily used as slaves
    Nick names/titles:

    Lord of the Dance: upon learning the effect of a magical artifact I found I chose to enter a tournament and test it out. as i stood in front of thousands of people about to strike my opponent I started to dance. Due to the effect of the artifact anyone watching me was forced to start dancing identically.

    Cat Man Zoom: Being a race of cats I could naturally run fast, but after a magical potion was bestowed apon me my speed more then doubled as my moment speed became 736 feet per round.

    Kitty Moses: Being a slave race my lifes goal was to free as many of my kind as I could. at end game resulted in about 3600 slaves freed, but just as the game ended I finally located the location in which my race was created and had the highest concentration of my kind as slaves. With the help of a god I received a holy wooden staff my fur turned white and pulled the 10 plagues on them until they finally set my people freed.

    Caller of Storms/destroyer of civilizations: In the beginning of the
    game I revived essentially a deck of many things unaware of anything it
    did. even though it could either summon a monster, status effect,
    fortune, or weather effect depending on the suit I drew.. no matter what
    all I ever could pull was weather effect. at one point I was in an area
    fight, while trying my best when I decided to try out my cards to see
    what would happen. After drawing 6 cards all of which where the highest
    cards in the deck for storms they combined to become a mega storm which
    lasted 2 months utterly destroying the city we where in. Which was
    actually a library the size of a city bent on the study of books in the
    pursuit of knowledge and kept more books and hidden knowledge then
    anywhere else in the world. it was an accident I swear!

  • Victor Chacon

    Goddammit, Spoony, now I wanna play an RPG with you as the DM.

  • Naomi S

    yey new intro

  • Tom Broere

     First thing I noticed when I started watching the video where the two Zero Punctuation Imp dolls in the background. Could get my eyes of the damn things :P. I remember Yahtzee calling Spoony ”his favorite internet personality”, so he would probably love it to see his Imps on the Spoony Experiment.

  • RogerS

    Whats in a name? Being a half-elf makes it easy to not really overthink your name. Keep the flowing last name and come up with a catchy Human-esque name.

    Tyril (Teh-rill) Maldrin, aka THIEF GO PICK THAT LOCK.

    Okay he has more of a personality. He’s very friendly with the dwarven community, enjoying their dwarven ales and their boisterous tales. He has very few, if any, racial attitudes since he comes from Baldur’s Gate (and since he’s in the trade business to begin with, he inevitably meets and greets many). He could probably chum it up with a drow if they were in a big city and in a public place.

    He didn’t leave to go seek his fortune; he left because he wanted to map out effective trade routes from Baldur’s Gate to the east, leaving his family to map out the ocean routes that go west/north/south. He became embroiled in adventure to pay for his journey, however he’s become involved in even bigger events, and feels a small sense of obligation to help prevent a more disastrous event that would ruin the world. He has a huge distaste of undead, feeling them corrupted and manipulated beyond their control. Also nearly being killed by them and seeing his city being ravaged by them doesn’t help matters.

    His entire playstyle reflects a weird divide; he’s more strong than fast, but plays more fast than strong. Like he didn’t want to become a rogue. At the same time, he’s still very competent at being a rogue…but he’s not afraid of doing simple boot kicks to things he finds unthreatening. (I booted a spider in the face instead of stabbing it, because it was just embarrassing…one spider missed so bad it faceplanted into a wall.)

    And ontop of that, he’s even got a magical tinge to him (dilettante – sorcery). So there’s that too, and he’s shown even stronger magical abilities…and he’s also had a divine tinge, demonstrating paladin powers of Sehanine. But he’s unable to master either without actually taking the time to do so…so every level or two right now (Heroic Tier) he’s flipfloping back and forth between paladin MC and sorcerer MC. Is he going to take up the mantle of the Paladin, to reflect his distaste of the undead and having a proper ability to slay them? Or will he give into his soul of sorcery and unleash ice magic?

    And I had to work with all this in 4th Edition, where customization and roleplaying gets a little trickier with the power system and the lack of skills to adequately reflect the seafaring nature of your character without just getting the whole package. I feel like I literally have to semi-gimp my character to adequately reflect an interesting nature to him.

    But thats just my little excerpt in D&D character making. It can be something as simple as a Rogue and have a really ordinary story (map-making) that gets gradually more complicated either externally (the main plot of the DM) or internally (character development, power/skill/feat/paragon choices).

  • Kimarous

    Please relate some additional stories of your Halfling Fighter and Half-Orc Rogue. They sound like really interesting characters with some cool stories to tell. :)

  • Mish

    spoony  you said you streamed your games could you tell me when and which site  you used   i would like to watch one   Thanks love the vids

    • erik skold

       Yes! I came here to ask the very same question, I’d love to see that.
      I have a vague memory of it being on TGWTG, but it might very well just be Spoony or any of the players referring to it in another video.

      Please Spoony, enlighten us!

    • fimmer321

      D&D Spoony’s Session. I’m pretty sure I once found the list of episodes on the channel awesome wiki. Sadly, two or three from the start were not recorded (I seem to remember). It’s still awesome.

    • Sebastian Fernandez

      Here you can find the links to all recorded sessions:

  • Robbie Meisler

    One thing about naming, and how you mentioned you shouldn’t use names that you come up with on the spot. For the most part, I agree, but one character I created was unnamed until the last second, when I decided to name him Doctor Doctorson, PhD. He insisted that everyone always refer to him by his full name and title, and was a very eccentric and ridiculous person, seeming like he was always just one fry short of a happy meal.

    As it turned out and developed later, it ended up being discovered that he was an android that had been installed with the mind of a genius engineer. Originally, the engineer (Doctor Jameson, PhD) had created an android body with an artificial brain to house his consciousness, and he decided to call it Immortality. During the transfer process, however, the old man who was Doctor Jameson died, and the transfer was corrupted, turning the android into a new being known as Insanity. The computer locked away the corruption as best it could, but still things shined through such as his eccentricity and his affinity toward madness, and the fact that even his name was corrupted into Doctor Doctorson, PhD.

    Eventually, Doctor Doctorson, PhD was “killed”, causing his body to enter a regenerative cycle, rebuilding the damaged components and restarting the artificial mind, which accidentally unlocked the previously contained consciousness of Insanity.

    My point is, there is SO much depth that can come about from a name chosen on the spot, as long as the player is willing to actually put some thought into it.

  • Tomas Ahnfelt Rocha Martins

    Great advice, Im starting to gm a Drakar och Demoner campaign and ill take this into account.

  • X_L_R_W

    I’ve actually been considering starting a game with some of my friends with me as the DM, now that most of us are fairly experienced in tabletop roleplay, so this was kinda perfect for me. I might try finding a module to experiment with, in order to get the game started and ideas flowing, and see if it goes anywhere from there. I’ll probably try using your various suggestions as guidelines to keep things together for awhile, until course dictates variance of course, cause like you said, there’s always the player that does something right out of left field and rolls a 20. Actually, I’ve experienced that once on the player side when me and my friends were just figuring out how to play. One of the players was a drow (of course), and in order to write me into the campaign since I joined late, I was a prisoner in the dungeon they were exploring. The drow burst into the room I was in and dropped darkness around them, covering up the only 2 torches in the room, making it pitch black. Then because of the commotion I decided to try and break free and nat20’d my check to get out of the ropes since it was pitch black, I rolled randomly to determine exactly where I would end up at the end of my movement, and I ended up attacking the drow on accident. Soon the darkness lifted and now that she could see me, she threw a poison dart straight at my neck with another nat20, which would’ve paralyzed me and left me open to basically die. The DM, wanting to at least give me a chance, gave me the opportunity to try and reflex save my way out of this, which was yet another nat 20 allowing me to barely avoid it and living to see another day. (I swear we don’t use loaded die) However, displeased at this, the drow just started to attack me directly, but luckily one of the more level-headed characters stepped in and managed to restrain her so as to at least let me get a word in edgewise. After all I had only attacked them once, in the dark, and clearly stopped showing hostile intent afterwards, trying to simply stay alive, see and these people “saved” me from imprisonment.

    Wow that went on a tangent, although that gave me an idea. What if you did a viewer special counter monkey? Like let people submit stories of their various heroics and quests and strange happening, then you can maybe read them off in a video with your own commentary on the story as you go through it. You’d probably get a lot of stories, but you’d obviously just pick the good/funny ones that stand out.

  • thebillyj

    I don’t know if you’ve heard of Savage Worlds, Spoony, it’s what my group is playing at the moment and it’s a great system for well built characters as part of character creation revolves around ‘Hindrances’ and ‘Edges’ which are the negative and positive aspects of the character. These can include back story elements which are easily incorporated into the wider narrative and it’s also great for little moments such as when one of the characters (who’s an alcoholic) botched a shooting roll in a saloon shoot out the GM just had him keel over from how much he’d drunk, rather than have the gun misfire or whatever. I find it’s those little touches that can make each session memorable and make it possible for each player to have their little moment to become more three dimensional and therefore all the more memorable.

    wow, rambled on a bit there didn’t I? :P

  • Redbob86

    “Don’t ever give up and name the character ‘Bob'”.
    Sigh, why is my name always a punchline?

    • Patrick Wilson

       Bob or Robert can be fine names. The point is that they should fit the character appropriately, as a reflection the characters core identity

      • Chris Horobin

        Plus the Second Earth in that Sci-fi film (I can’t remember the name, the kicker is that the earth was destroyed then recreated I think it was Titan A.E) was called Bob

  • sparky1825

    Hey spoony, I actually have a bit of a problem with a specific player. you see, he decided to play a chaotic evil character despite everyone else being some kind of neutral, or some kind of good. He has been trying to kill everyone in subtle ways (trying to kill the players in their sleep, and things like that), but so far, he has been unsuccessful (he came really close to killing me one time with a arrow that has a 40% to kill anything, but I talked the DM into letting me make a reflex save, and him breaking the arrow). now, he has skinned a kobold, wore it as a suit, is now posing as a general, and rolled natural twenties on his checks related to these impossibilities. He sold the party out to the enemy, and he now has the party into an ambush (with him still being disguised as a kobold). All of us are now considering killing his character for the soul purpose of making him roll a new (neutral) character. Do you have any advice?

    • Guillaume P.

      The issue here is that he was allowed to play an Evil character at all, DnD is (usually) best played as a hero. Not saying all character should be good, each have their own motivation, but evil should be reserved for the Villains. 

      • Lorien van Arden

         Not necessarily. It’S fun to play evil from time to time, but as I tell my players – beeing evil takes more effort then playing good. You see, as a good character fighting evil, theres always some maniac that tries to conquer the world/realm etc. and you got an excuse to stop them. As an evil character, you have to be proactive and have a plan to overthrow those good kings yourself. If you roll an evil character, you have to back that claim up.

        Matter at hand, that player is not playing an “evil” character, he is playing an asshole. Big difference. An Evil character would work with the party for his own goals and use them.
        If the player is not able to understand that he is not contributing to the enjoyment of the rest of the group, he needs to go. Not reroll, but go.
        Btw, how in merry hell does a regular person disguise as a kobold? A Kobold is a small creature, unless he is a gnome or halfling his disguise fails automaticaly.
        Going with my statement before of never saying no outright, ok, he wears a kobold skin like the moron he is and gets the kobolds to ambush the party… but the kobold shaman knows that the idiot is wearing his beloved nest-mate and will make him into an offering to the gods after they captured the party.

    • Jumpooleez

       I know you’re asking Spoony, but you have to a) kill him, or b) kick his character out of the party and turn him into an antagonist the party fights. Bottom line, he’s not fitting in with the party dynamic, he needs to go. Before you say “he wont agree to leave the party and become a villain!” consider letting him coordinate with your DM how to use his character in the campaign as a primary/secondary villain. Ex: An excuse to make him leave is that he succeeds in building an army, then reappears after he’s conquered a small kingdom/city-state/merchant republic, etc. Make his sights align with yours so you end up meeting at similar locations (like you’re both trying to find clues). Again, he could still play this character along with his newer one, he would just be advising the DM on how he’d act.

  • ybrevo

    Ah, 2nd Edition and playing through the Undermountain campaign…man, those were the days!  Keep ‘em coming Spoony, believe it or not, most of us enjoy you telling these stories.    For me, it makes me reminisce about the good times I had when I played tabletop.

  • Gabriel Pastor

    This video has the best timing ever. I’m about to start DMing my first campaign and am kind of nervous as to what exactly is expected from me as a DM. This video really answered a lot of questions which no guide I’ve read even touches. Thank you for this video Spoony. I feel like I’ve learned a lot about this game from you by watching you talk about it for an hour than I’ve learned after countless hours of guides.

  • CommieCatGirl

    When it comes to story,it’s always about build up and payoff.   If the players don’t bring anything to it, you really don’t have anything to play off of them with.

  • Keith Garry


  • MrJinPengyou

    Could you please suggest ways to challenge power gamers and rule lawyers? Those mother fers are everywhere nowadays.

    • Lorien van Arden

       My approach from about 20 years of RPGing : Power gamers ALWAYS have a flaw attached. They go for exotic weapons or classes that have synergies that come unexpected. How do they gain those classes or aquire those weapons ? Build around that by making it exceedingly hard to become a psionic Samurai Beastmaster (disclaimer: I have no clue if that would actually work). Or throw challenges at the party that require skills that are not the forte of the powergamer. The mighty Dragonslayer might cut anything to pieces that the party encounters, but at diplomacy or charming people the thief still has the upper hand. You should always find things to do for your partymembers – having somebody half asleep at your table because he never ever gets to do something is the opposite of having fun, which is what you wanted to have when organizing your session. Get some traps into your adventure for your thieves and some maids to charm for your bards or whatever tickles their fanzy – even get some really challenging fights for your powergamer. If he can smite a powerfull demon now and again, he’ll be happier for it.
      You might also want to search for a gaming system that makes powergaming a non-issue. I particullary like the warhammer Fantasy games and the old WOD.
      One of my players made a desktop image from one of my quotes: “It’s Warhammer – i don’t need a dragon to make a character dissapear. A rusty dagger at the wrong time is more then enough!”
      We were talking about players entering and leaving the group on a regular basis at that point, so he discussed how they would just “vanish” from the adventure, but ita also applies to the game itself. An infection from a rusty blade would be a serious threat, even to a well advanced character. For me and my prefered style of adventure, it’s necessary to have a believable threat ready that the characters can’t just dismiss or tackle head on without a thought for their own safety.

      For the lawyers – point them to the fine print in EVERY roleplaying book that says: The DM has the final word. YOU are in charge. YOU decide weither the sun rises in the east or the west and whatever happens from there. If they point out a minor rule about how combat should be handled – no big deal, you have unlimited encounters at your disposal anyway. Make them happy and admit that they are right and go from there. If they point out that something isn’t happening how it should – go by Spoonys advice and nod. “Yup…. that might not be your average Bridge troll you’re dealing with” Just be sure to have some kind of explanation ready once they are in a position to examine the situation closely. Just pulling a retcon will put your players in a sour mood in the long run – giving a plausible explanation like a mutation, magical grafts or some previously unknown henchmen will keep them happy.
      If they keep nagging on every damn detail, just stop the adventure then and there. If they don’t want to play, but rather nitpick every detail to death, break out a bad movie and get on with the nitpicking. Safe yourself and everyone else the trouble and find something everyone enjoys.

      • jsamec

         Just built Ohr a half ork monk ranger with a beast companion and the samurai theme not exactly over powered but seams to work rather well. now I just need to come up with a plausible back story.

  • Estrangedcoyote

    On the topic of BiG Bad Evils.  I always like the Always felt but never seen.  My current campaign has a rampaging Void Oni that took over their land.  They haven’t seen the Oni since it went through their village when they were kids but his actions are felt every session.  So the characters get a sense of urgency in that the longer they leave this guy alive the worse the area around them is going to be.  BUT they can’t just go fight them because they have to fix the current problems he’s caused otherwise there is nothing to go back to.  Thus I don’t have a bunch of level threes facing off against something level twenties should be fighting.

  • Ryan Ceyler

    I love these vidoes but i hate watching them becasue they make me want to find a group so bad!!

    • Patrick Wilson

       I got my group together by checking the google-run website I found a local club of sorts who were in to all things geeky, posted a suggestion to start a game, went to a couple meetings, and a month later I had helped start my fist ever D&D group. I reccomend checking sites like Meetup out.

      • josh2450

        Thats how I found my group as well meetup is great if your looking to find an RPG group!

      • Charles Simmons

        Yeah, that how I got started playing too.

  • Steven B

    Its funny because I clearly remember two characters being called Bob the Beastmaster and Bob the Warrior in my games.

  • Patrick Brown

    I just wanted to say that I love all of the counter monkey series, and I really liked this vid because I am just starting my own campain and this had a lot of good ideas. Thank you for doing these and keep it up.

  • Christopher Bertram

    The Amount of money i have spent on AD&D books because of these videos…

  • Steven B

    Great advice though Spoony. Started my current campaign with two different published adventures. The group found a book with a blood oath of five evil wizards of five different schools of magic from the five different kingdoms with a Horror. They are now after all five of them, having knocked off 2 of the 5 evil wizards, which gives me an excuse to get them to travel to all five kingdoms of the land. The book hinted at a massive conspiracy involving the evil organization called the Shadowed which involves even evil beings from below the earth such as the Yeng’hiji. The goal of the Shadowed is the overthrow of Cathay’s goverments and eventual takeover. The players have become interested in discovering what this conspiracy is all about. But yeah two published adventures have become a grand Cathay spanning campaign now. 

  • Steven B

    As for using what the players give you. The Cathayan Guardian has been cutting off villain’s hands, branding them with his emperor seal, and letting them free. One player suggested the one hand gang for them. In Earthdawn, I can use blood magic to give these guys all regenerated crystal blood infused hands, so now they have a new enemy out for revenge for their loss of limb, and it was all their idea after all. 

  • Philip de Brit

    Dammit Spoony! I love you, I wish I could play a game with you as the
    DM. Your exactly the storyteller I wish others would be. Rock on you
    magnificent man!

  • TPhoenix

     All these stories make me wanna play D&D or some other kind of tabletop game again, but I don’t know anyone that plays.  Curses!

  • Nathan Zebart Mendonca

     I have a plan for a reoccurring Villain that the players dont really have anything against other than who he works for, but he has a plethora of reasons to hate them and he can return from being killed…but not in a way that prevents his defeat in the end…it was very tough to make this guy a plausible being that exists within the rules of the game’s world but I have to try right

    • Nathan Zebart Mendonca

       on a Side note my friend ran a game in the Dethlok world…kinda, some of the characters showed up as sort of the “big goods” but we did all the foot work because we had to but Vane was by far the best because he had become “Lord Commander Emperor Baron Admiral General Vane” the country he was/is ruling is totally landlocked and is a massive Desert…but no one can argue with his titles because he is the Emperor

  • Lorien van Arden

    Oh god… that brings back memories. We had a running gag in an adventure where the barbarian would designate a guy that he wanted to just bash over the head as “bob” in a conversation. If I remember correctly, it started with some smack talk about a villain they just wasted without a sweat, saying “that Bob-fella sure went down fast” because they couldn’t remember his actual name. The barbarian wasn’t a talkative person per se, but in a talk with a guard they needed to bypass he  got smart and asked “So, Bob, what do you do for fun around here? ” The rest of the group started chuckling and prepared to flank him without attracting unwanted attention because they imidiatly got the hint without talking out of character. I loved it.
    “Try not to say no.” is about the best advice I got from a Dungeon Masters Guide. Try adding a twist, or a complication to what the player said – but try to say yes somehow. If the player says “I climb in through the window, and you laid out a plan for a mansion filled with encounters, do not say – “no you can’t” even though you might have several good reasons why it wouldn’t work. Try working around that, shift some encounters around and ultimately place the item or person they are seeking at the very other end from where they are going in.
    The second best advice for a DM in my opinion is “make it memorable”. Whatever your party is doing, tell it in a way they’ll remember. One of my best experiences as a GM was a fight between a lvl 1 party and an ogre in a ruined tower. A very basic encounter, but it was designed as a boss for that evening. By describing the effects when that ogre missed them by a hair or how they got lucky when the ogre rolled low on the damage rolls they remembered the fight for more then a year. “You know, that fight was tough, but compared to the ogre back then, I think we got lucky on this one” they bantered, several levels later infilitrating a menacing castle.
    Thats when I knew I did a good job… (beside the fact they asked me to DM again and again oc :D )

  • josh2450

    Spoony I love these videos! Also Oreo is a friggin adorable puppy. Great advice to GM’s the campaigns you described are the types I love to play. 
    I actually have a story regarding a character not mine but my friends His name was Turlock which was the name of a character we never gave a nickname but his name became synonymous with massive damage in our group. He was a fighter/cleric that was designed to destroy un-dead he had a great sword with un-dead bane and it was holy, so anything evil or un-dead or evil would take heavy damage. thing was he always had the luckiest attack rolls although his reflex and will checks were awful. So he end up dealing  mass damage each attack encounter. i be like one character dealt 10-20 damage the other 5-15 and then Turlock, 30-40 damage. So phrase the you got Turlock’ed arose in our campaign. Now Turlock as I said before was shitty when it came to will checks so unbegonwnst to the group Turlock got replaced by a doppelganger. So were crawling through this dungeon in order to destroy the heart of Ashardlon, when we come across a un-dead creature i forget what it was but it should have been a easy kill it was slow and undead and we had Turlock. battle starts out of fucking no where Turlock yells he’s my brother and then turns on us. Our group had an established back story we were childhood friends who’s village was destroyed. We knew something was up we couldn’t kill are friend and quite possibly are greatest fighting asset. first thing he fucking does is strike our cleric Balthazar nearly knocking him down in one shot with critical forcing him to pull back. the other thing about our group was is was made up of mostly magic users( a half elf witch named Malock, a half elf sorceress named Sierra, a gnome alchemist named Blick, and a halfling Bard named Rhett),  with shit for hit points. I was the other fighter a Half-elf Fighter/Rouge named Caldren who used a rifle and elven curve blade. I then our cleric who was our strategist told us to disable(not kill) Turlock. So as the only remaining fighter I was the one who had stop Turlock but in game Turlock was my friend I could go long range and snipe him to death but Caldren would no do that he thought there was something wrong Turlock. so he starts grappling him, which only stopped him from bashing our arcane friends into goo, but basically nearly killed Cladren as Turlock would break the grapple or Caldren would just fail and get smashed. Well this was going on we completely forgot about the undead hulk lumbering towards us, which hits the cleric  knocking him below 0 hit points. the magic users in our group attack the thing, but our shit luck the damn thing is resistant to magic, two more members go down. I would have gone after the damn thing my self except I had a 300 pound Turlock that was not going to let that happen.We have three PCs left standing we had 1 minor and moderate healing potions Blick and Caldren were in single digits Rhett had double digits, but he was useless in battle, for some reason his bow could never hit. We should have just grab the cleric’s body and retreat and come back. But we refused to abandon Turlock and our two fallen comrades. However we had these “plot cards” which allowed us to introduce plot elements into the game, one of us plays a card. Suddenly a portal opens and lighting bolt strikes Turlock I had reflexes and evasion Turlock sucked at reflex saves. The we see the real Turlock step out and say damn doppelganger. He looks at the un-dead hulk  smiles walks towards it not runs but struts towards with his great-sword drawn two rounds the thing is dead. Near TPK one of the scariest campaign experiences i have ever had. This was one of the scariest moments I have ever had in my RPG career.the campaign itself had an awesome villain we referred to him as the “man in black” as he looked liked a ring wraith. This man may have destroyed our village but we never had enough hard evidence other then men in black cloaks destroyed our village. Also we had red haring villain who was evil but was not the one responsible for the destruction of our village but certainly was an evil guy he was head of a chaos cult that sought to destroy the world by bringing about the night of dissaillusion  (this was from a ptoulus module) thing about this was is that the “man in black helped us to destroy this guy. in fact in the beginning of the campaign the man in black was more helpful then harmful he helped us fight a high level chaostech doctor, and helped us lift a curse on an abandoned brothel that we purchased. we had previously done a dungeon crawl in, however its draculated charm encouraged us to buy it. We eventually turned it into a shopping center/carriage service/ smithy/spa/tavern/arcana research institute. The man in black was always two steps ahead of us and rarely confronted us. his goal was to merge the dream plane into the material plane in order for him to become the dragon Ashardalon, then basically use that  as a jumping off point to acquire the power of the old ones. He was a powerful guy with a kick ass sword but the thing about him is he never really saw us as a threat he would never confront if he could help it, we never knew were he was or were he was going and by the time we found out he had achieved his goal, and moved on. Yeah he was kind of cliche but he certainly was a challenge to deal with we chased him across planets planes and through the dream but only caught up to him twice.

    • Wayne Davis

      Cool story Bro!

      • josh2450

        Thank you.

    • Wayne Davis

      Cool story Bro!

  • CheshireBat

    I remember a guy from one of my old groups, who played a half-orc rogue.
    Backstabbing with a zweihander and 20 strength. He was memorable, I’ll give him that, even if it seemed a bit like min-maxing.

  • DTemplar5

    In regards to motivations, White-Wolf’s Exalted

  •úñiga/1042680624 Mauricio Zúñiga

    Spoony likes to hit the books

  • Shantal Figueroa

    The return of “I’m not that kind of thief”. I shall have to steal that catchphrase for my own rogues. :P 

  • StuieR

    I completely agree about players giving their characters goals. I’ve been in games where players have crowbarred their “characters” into these highly efficient but not necessarily power-gaming entities, whom have nothing to offer outside of combat. No personality, no goals, no ambitions, no responsibility (other than maybe ‘doing good’). They’re just clouds of stats that drift from one scene to the next. They are so godawfully boring to interact with. 

    Q: What does your character do during the week of down-time?
    A: He/she trains. 
    Q: What social skills do they have?
    A: None.
    Q: Can they do anything like play an instrument, socialise well, post videos of themselves on websites, or act, or are they a prolific reader, or do they have an interest in fine cuisine and wines or do they play a sport, or go fishing…or anything outside of combat?
    A: They can use computers to hack things. 
    Q: Do they do anything with computers outside of hacking, like trolling 4chan? Anything?
    A: No, just hacking.
    Q: Has their regular ventures into the interwebs given them the habit of occasionally saying things like “lol” or “nom nom nom” or “it is teh suxxors” in everyday speech? 
    A: No.

    And it’s soooooo boring. 

    You’re spot on in that as a player, you feel zero sense of camaraderie with these types of characters because they’re not characters, they’re just a vehicle of special powers. It’s difficult for the GM to who wants to use things outside of a swinging-sword or a good aim to challenge the character in question, because nothing matters to them. 

    Great video Spoony, thanks for the fun hour.

  • Wayne Becker

    Just about to dm my first session in a long while. The previous times I have dm’s have been disasters mostly because I was trying to railroad my players into doing what I wanted, and I was just making it up as I went with nothing prepared. 

    I feel a bit more confident after listening to this and I know how to avoid those pitfalls. Spoony I hope you get a pathfinder group together and do some streaming, I’d love to see first hand your dming style. 

  • Dane Corle

    Holy crap! Spoony made a Witcher reference! I’ve actually always been really curious as to what he thought of the series =) 

  • JJ Flash

    As a GM, I’m loving these posts.  They give me ideas. :)

    One plot hook I tried to use in several different systems was the Rival Party.  It doesn’t work in all systems, but it worked great in this D&D 3.0 game I ran.  I had some real problem players in that game and this was really the only thing that got everybody moving in the same direction.

    Very early in the game, they were introduced to an NPC adventurer party.  This group was formed by the biggest, Lawful/Good church in the land.  Their mission was to spread ‘The Word’ and promote their patron god by commiting heroic acts, slaying evil beings, aiding those in need, etc.  You know, all the stuff a heroic group of adventurers are suppossed to do.  And because of their church ties, the PCs couldn’t do what they did in previous games. (They killed ‘em.)

    Very quickly the PCs realized if they passed on a plot hook/job, their rivals would take the quest and earn all the rewards. (Although, in one case, it was a setup and the rivals got their clocks cleaned!)  Once, I laid the foundation for quest in a dungeon, but the players arrived only to find that the rivals had already cleared the place out.  The idea the “some NPC” would get their loot drove them batty and they started to (try) to work as a team.  Eventually, they started leaving messages for each other on the dungeon walls.

    The best part came when they were in a town at the same time.  The practical jokes started with an unconsious stirge, left in a box in the room of one of the NPCs. (Fun things to do with a sleep spell #28.)  The rivals weren’t going to take that, and returned the favor with a ‘stinking cloud’ spell.  This created some great roleplaying moments.  Player’s were making plans for the next big prank outside of game time. (A sign that the player’s are really into it.)  Even the thief (who was a rabid hack&slasher) got into this rivalry.  He ended up spending his own character’s money (a big deal to him) to spread rumors about the rival wizard’s “affections” towards livestock.

    Suprisingly, it never got out of hand.  The rivals were mostly Lawful/Good, so they never wanted to make their patron look bad by doing anything too nasty.  And the players didn’t wan’t to risk making an enemy of one of the largest, most loved churches in the game setting.  While this campaign will go down as the worst I ever ran. (the only reason we played with these people was that we couldn’t find replacements)  I consider the Rival Party a success.  I hope all you potential DMs can find some inspiration in this story. :)

    • Vismutti

      Ooh, sounds like a handy idea. :D I never even thought of that possibility… it makes sense, though! Why wouldn’t there be rival parties?

      • Thomas Moore

        My current campaign has not a rival but a single, overpowered, most egregious DMPC running a parallel story arc to the party. It makes for some fun role-playing, and it means I can pull the players out of the fire if not all of them show up for a difficult game.

  • Tim Dugan

    I remember Bob the Minion :D

  • MichaelT

    I legitimately didn’t know that “Dungeon Master” could be used as a verb. Who knew?

    • Cortés Catapulta

      I use it all the time! XD

  • Jari Raimo Kivinen

    I know this comment is going to be lost in a sea of comments, but hopefully it gets read.

  • JJ Flash

    The Cyberpunk Referee’s guide (Listen Up You Primative Screwheads!) has some brilliant articals on dealing with all sorts of problem players, Rules Lawyers, Min/Maxers, etc, and most of it can be applied to any game.  It’s pretty cheap on eBay. (last I checked, it was under $20)  It helped me more than any other GMing book I’ve read. (and that’s quite a few..)

  • Lunam_Kardas

    I think my DM is gonna like this particular Counter Monkey. He always adds ambiance with carefully picked music from youtube and he gives each character a unique voice and style.

  • spade75

    I’ve had players complain they were in games and the DM got creepy. i having spent sometime playing, found the game gets creepy in a biologically hazardous warning, art sorta way. character creation gets strange at times where you may find yourself in a room with a pimp werewolf named Anubis dressed like Alvin from Alvin and the chipmunks asking to be your friend and get you some ladies… (shakes head). its good to give them character but not to much. 

    I’m spade and hes a alcoholic to…

  • Mateusz K.

    Good, good. I’m learning. Now what? It’s a start to a campaing – I have lots of ideas to start, the problem is what is to do after the first or the second session – how to keep the game stick and how to keep the players interested and what to do when the bastards want to kill your most important npc. 

  • Shane Morawski

    Ive had a ton of awesome character names and what have you, mostly inspired by Guy Richie films (Turkish the Cleric of Pelor, Tommy the rogue, and then Krispey and Kruntchy as two half ogre brothers in Hackmaster) but the best was probably one of my friends in a DnD game who named his wild mage Character. when questioned about the name he said his parents gave it to him. when questioned about what his parents did he mentioned they were otters. perfect.

  • LeoMoon

    I just recently got into a DnD game with a friend and a few of his keep this coming Noah I need the advice!

  • TorpeErik

    Dungeon Mastering a great game is all well and good, However, i can truly say i only have an interest in DM`ing a FAR OUT game. With lots of killing and maiming! Ending in a blobbering phone call from a booth in NYC!

  • Timothy Andrew Edgren

    There are people more suited to playing than dming. I’m one of the former. I’m good at making npcs and villains and such, but not so much running a whole game… I’m not bad, but there are plenty my dad…god my dad is an amazing DM. He’s made completely from scratch stories that were just awesome. As for the goals, my brother and I made a whole party that had one huge goal, making a huge plan for the purpose of becoming Gods. Every quest was to build power and collect items in order to eventually gain divinity. My whole famly caught onto D&D fast and it became our family game…until we separated and never had the time to build a game up. Now we enjoy other games like settlers of catann among other board games.

  • Michael Morris

    I have to say, my favorite game that I ever ran had some -good- roleplayers in it. Or at least people who were interested in their characters. Mind you, out of about seven (yes, a large group but it worked for three semesters), there were maybe three or four of them at most, the others at least partially falling silent behind them but it was still a great, heavily player driven game. There was the overarching plot that they were working on with my guidance, but the really good players each had their own side projects, and that made my job -far- easier as a DM. The worst game I ran? The people had -zero- investment in actually roleplaying, and I ended that one -very- quickly because it just wasn’t working.

  • LJSLarsson

    Recently discovered Counter Monkey (always thought it was about monkeys… playing counter strike?). Hoping for more episodes and anecdotes.

  • Chris Lauderdale

    Okay earlier in the review you mentioned trying to get the players into the tomb of horrors.

    The Tomb of Horrors.

    The Tomb of fucking HORRORS?

    You do not “get” your players to go there. They start there. With characters they HAAATE.

    You do not use the Tomb of Horrors in a running campaign. You do not use it if you ever want to DM a game again.

    Please people I urge you to replace that with “Temple of Elemental Evil”.

  • Spencer Polk

     I figured, given the discussion of it i

  • amishman

    One thing you can do next is what are some of the key things to remember or do when you are making your own campaign  

  • darkmage0707077

    Hey Spoony (or really, anyone),

    I actually have a few questions about specific situations I’ve found myself in as a GM, as well as a couple of general questions:

    1) When you find yourself in a catch 22 situation of your players wanting more info about your world before they can make decisions on their characters, but you needing them to make decisions before you can make more of your world, how do you break that kind of stalemate?

    2) If you find you’ve GM’d yourself into a narrative corner, do you have some tips for getting out that gracefully. I had to ham-fist it by forcing them to teleport somewhere and the spell going awry, so would like some tips on getting out of that more subtly in future.

    2) I have several guides on being a GM at home (Pathfinder’s being my favorite) but wanted to know if you knew of any other good ones (4th edition Red Box, various White Wolf storytelling guides, etc).

    3) How do you efficiently create a large number of semi-plausible NPCs for the characters to interact with in town? I mean, it would be very tedious and pointless to create names/bios for 30+ NPCs that the characters may only see for 30 seconds of game time, but you don’t want to have the town just be “the place I go sell stuff at, and oh there’s a barmaid who brings drinks too”.

    4)  Where can you get 3D terrain features from (like actual walls/hills/trees, not just 2d flat stuff on maps)? If you don’t have the money to afford authentic ones, do you have tips on improving it (example: in my game, we had a lot of air combat, and one of my characters actually had access to a shop, so he and I machined up full plexiglass platforms to represent elevation/flying/etc in game).

    • Liam

      Heres my take on your questions (I’m not that expierenced a GM btw)
      1) I’ve personaly never tailored a world to my players. Though I do develop and expand the areas of it their most intrested in and I use their questions to help me come up with backstory to the world. So my advice would be just to come up with something, not wait for them to make decisions and if what they decide really screws things up you an always change the world to fit.

      2) Have things happen. Seriously you could have a runner turn up yelling about how a nearbye town is under attack from the walking dead, strange lights in the sky to the east or someone important get robbed infront of the party. If your in a narrative corner you can always introduce a new quest (that may eventualy lead back to the main story somehow), plotpoint or event that help get you unstuck. But if you are really stuck just bring in something unrelated or unmentioned till now.

      3) This is the method I use:
      Jeramus: priest, naive believes in good in all people, in fools landing to try and redeem the unsavory element.
      Sergus: Captain of the guard, serves the highest bidder, saddistic but very professional about his work, is dedicated to following orders (and consequently getting paid)
      Renald: Bar man leaning mare, runs a group of thieves, very direct and surprisingly honest, bribes Sergus
      I only inculde their name, profession, a few basic character traits and their most promient relations with other characters. I then add basic skill checks to most of the secondary characters and basic character sheet for any (like Sergus) I think they might actualy attack. I find that as I add more people to the list I refrence other people on the list more resulting in a large web of family relations and buisness partners and rivals.

      4) As some one who is also a little into the warhammer hobby I can tell you there are an awful lot of guides and tutorials for making convincing looking terrian out there. For example:

  • Caleb Moshier

    Darn it.  I want to hear more roleplaying podcasts with Spoony.

    I had such a good time listening to the other podcasts that he GMed and played in.

  • Darren Christopher Grant-Hall


    So I have a group, I like these guys as my friends and they all started roleplaying at the same time. Now we have had people leaving, gone through 10-20 games in 2 years (none ending on good terms) aggressive/conflicting personalities and the instability of people turning up.

    Now I know, really I should just stop running it for them. But the video I want to hear is conflicting personalities and how you think you deal with them at the table. 

    I love roleplaying (I’m in 2 groups and run a 3rd) and I love hearing your opinions on them. Would be awesome to see your opinions. // Also, ‘player sterotypes’ would be interesting to hear about.

    • ftidus12

       If you don’t mind me butting in?

      That’s the nature of the beast. If all players were able to mesh well with everyone and had open schedules that hinged solely on the most blessed days where you would honor them with a session, well, there would be alot more GMs.

      How you deal with these non-game pitfalls defines you as a GM just as surely as your ability to write a convincing story about Kobold botanists stealing flowers in a mad plan to irritate a local Orc Chieftain’s allergies.

      Personally?  I never deal with it at the table. I use the breaks in the session to pull individual players aside to chat about their behavior, away from the others. They tended to be more receptive when they knew that they weren’t being watched and smirked at by others.

  • Benjamin Giordano

    Spoony looks different, for some reason-maybe it’s just me

  • bbtmfe

    I really love hearing all the great stories and out of the
    few campaigns I have been I then you brought up people getting nicknamed over
    their personality or something that they had done it reminded me of one fight
    that thanks to how it was played help to earn a friend of mine his.

    We had been tracking down the various body parts of a long forgotten deity who
    if they were brought together during a particular ritual the deity would be
    resurrected with all the power they had when they had been kill.  Through trying
    to track one of them pieces, I believe the heart; we needed to go through a
    forest that was guarded by a druid who’s had a raptor as an animal companion.
    About midway through the druid rides in on the raptor jumping down and
    demanding that we leave or perish by his hand which is when the battle
    started.  My friend, our parties sorcerer, got lead initiative and used
    his new feat of sculpt spell in conjunction with a fire spell where and
    sculpting it in where the 4 squares he picked would all hit the raptor and
    killing it in that one shot thanks to his damage rolls, earning his is title of
    the “raptor blaster”.

  • Tyson Vanover

    Hey Spoony, any though of releasing the Counter Monkeys as an audio podcast?  As much as I like watching you….. Watching Youuuuuuuuuuuu.  Where was I, oh yeah, audio podcast.  I don’t have much time to watch video but I have a lot of time I can listen to audio.  Anyway, good advice all around.


    • Vismutti

      I’d kinda like it too, since my computer is kinda slow so videos tend to load slowly and play badly. So audio only or smaller video would really help me…

      As for your problem though, Tyson, can’t you just ignore the video and just listen to the audio? Or is there some other problem? That’s what I often do anyway…

      • Tyson Vanover

        I can watch on my computer just fine, but I spend more of my time away from a computer and internet connection. I have an mp3 player that I have with me at all times though, so downloaded audio works better for me then streaming flash video.

  • Andrei Tita

    Haven’t played PnP RPGs in years but iirc the correct answer to an unsuccessful trap search is always “You don’t find the traps.”

  • uninspired_username

    Funny you should mention the halfling fighter, because I too once rolled up a halfling fighter.
    My goal was to create a fighter than could carry out his role without having high strength. I got an amazing set of stat rolls for him, so I ended up maxing out dexterity at 20 and constitution at 18. That combined with the halflings natural size advantage (medium size creatures and larger have a harder time hitting him) made him really hard to take down (unless you got up close and grappled him, but most enemies didn’t do that).

    Then I gave him weapon finesse and improved critical, and had him use a rapier, so even though he only had about 12 strength, he was rolling critical hits easily, so he could still throw out decent damage.

    Unfortunatley, we didn’t play with him that much, so I don’t think he even got past like level 2. He also had really high intelligence, and my long term goal was to give him the Duelist Prestige Class eventually, since they can add their Intelligence modifier to their AC, and get a few other abilities that I can’t remember at the time. It’s a shame I never got to see how he would have turned out though.

    As far as min/maxing goes, He wasn’t really the “best” fighter I could have rolled up, but his uniqueness made him so much more endearing to me, and a lot of fun to play. Although I would still take a halfling fighter over an elf fighter any day. (-2 Constitution… yuck.)

  • doresh

    When it comes to recurring villains, a nasty alternative to the cowardly villain could be a lich. They are pretty interesting in that it might be pretty easy to find his lair and kick his ass, but he’ll back in action in just a few days. Trying to truly kill a lich is kinda like killing Sauron in LotR – except your “fellowship” has no idea were the ring is or if it’s a ring in the first place.
    Yeah, it’s more like killing Voldemort, but I tried to stay classic fantasy-ish…

    And when it comes to memorable characters, it’s definitely worth to look outside the typical stereotypes. If you’re lucky, you come up with pretty awesome stuff, like “Meggin Smallfoot, halfling necromancer!” (okay, he’s a sorcerer, but those tall village idiots won’t know the difference XD !! )

  • Travis Alexander Carlson

     I love these vlogs you do about past Dming sessions, and characters you
    have played. If you are ever doing a live stream again like you
    mentioned in the video i be thrilled to learn about it. Keep up the great work, and i can’t wait for your next video!

  • saibot216

    My character is named “Buzz McCoy” and my DM always rolls his eyes

    • poolboyg88

      Was “Max Power” already taken?

      • saibot216

         I just named myself after a musician and admit it, that name sticks with you.

  • Matrim

    On the subject of recurring villains, you can have a recurring villain if you use certain mechanics. You mentioned the teleport ring, which can work, but one of the best recurring villains I saw was a Soul Knife that had clones set up for him. He was the servant of an evil god (who occasionally served as his vessel on the material plane), and he had been set up with this series of clones in order to keep the heroes from derailing his top minion’s mission. Eventually, in the high levels, we managed to use Trap the Soul on him and that was the end of him. He was equal parts irritating and awesome. We came so close to taking him on several occasions and every time he managed to return was infuriating, but the final battle with this guy was all the more satisfying for it.

  • LordAnderzzon

    We want a new live stream! ’nuff said. Also more Counter Monkeys regarding adventures you’ve played… Theive’s World was effing awesome to listen to.

  • Andrew Gomez

    keep them coming! more storys, more details, like Theive’s World. or just maybe your first time playing a game :)

  • Brent Cosman

     I am totally swiping the “Sir Malar” idea for an NPC…

  • poolboyg88

    CM is by far my favourite series. I’m a complete stranger to D&D but this series has made it very attractive, and also disappointing that I never had the opportunity to try it.

  • Bolt Vanderhuge

    This series of videos is the whole reason I have sought out RPGers in my area. The stories are amazing, the adventures sound great, the friendships seem genuine and it sounds like a lot of fun.

    This and the other non-story one has helped me a ton. Just simple things he mentions in this really helped me out. Central Casting is fantastic at filling in details of a basic backstory I think up. 

    I’ve actually created detailed histories for six different characters now. Each with at least one or two things a DM can turn into a hook. An elf’s mother killed by a red haired bandit and her Inigo Montoya style quest to kill him, a brother questing for a cure to his sister’s ongoing illness, thief trying to earn enough wealth to pay off a former employer (it occurs to me I may have just created a Han Solo with that one… oh well.), a half-orc looking to be the D&D equivalent of the heavyweight boxing champ so people will respect him instead of insult him, etc.

    This is gonna be fun.

    What I would like to see in a future installment is something about men playing female characters and women playing male characters. I’ve seen a lot of division on whether or not this is a good idea, or whether there is a double standard where women get a pass playing a dude, but a guy might be made fun of, etc. Would make for an interesting topic.

  • Petey0707

    cool stuff spoony

  • James

    I am glad you released a video on Gm’ing. I currently have trouble on developing plots. I tend to shy away from the main story and never get back to it. Everyone in the party notices this and it drives me kinda insane. My side quests tend to override the main objective and I never know how to link it back. How should I go about developing side quests, or at least a distracting cause that doesn’t completely ruin the main story?

    As an additional topic, I only really know how to run D20 because people say it’s DnD based, and it’s versatile to use in different scenarios & settings. I once ran an open world scenario where all of my maps used Google Earth as city layouts & Building types and locations. (The entire campaign ran between a main city and surrounding areas.) I was wondering if I should consider this tactic again. It worked decently in the city I was using, but it was always difficult to get to destinations because cities are usually grouped in a residential or business fashion, and I never really was able to conveniently get my party to a store of some kind without leading them there myself. In every other circumstance (battles, mission locations, improvised fortifications etc…) it was easy to make a quick and effortless environment for the players. My question is then, is using Google Earth as maps for a setting more beneficial than making your own?

  • Gavyn Duthie

    This… is exactly how I DM.

    For the longest time, I figured I was doing it wrong, not having it planned out before (still a valid method, but WAAAY too damn much preparation for a game) and generally flying by the seat of my pants, laying the track as the party comes trudging up over the hill.

    Glad I saw this though :)

    Honestly, I figured ending up having plotholes and then doing the mysterious DM trick was a bit of a faux-pas, I never imagined others did it too >.>

  • droodle

    Counter Monkey is a good series but it feels like lately its completely replaced all the vlogs you used to do.

    I liked it when you’d give us hour-long unscripted reviews of the movies
    you’ve been watching and the games you’ve been playing. I’d like to
    hear your take on Hunger Games or Mass Effect 3 or whatever else you’ve
    been entertaining yourself with.

    Not saying quit doing Counter Monkey, just mix it up a bit, variety is a good thing.

    • David Rodoy

       I think the advantage of Counter Monkey is that it’s less random; it’s more popular and more ‘on topic’ than the completely random Vlogs Spoony used to do. I think they’re more entertaining too, for the most part.

      Really the best reason to mix it up is that it means he won’t run out of stories as quickly :)

      • Russel Payne

         Well, perhaps the best way to not run out of stories is to make new ones.  Perhaps this would end up being too chaotic, but what if Spoony hosted a game for fans.  I personally would love to start D&D with Spoony as my DM, seeing as I have never played D&D and would like to.  But yeah, thats where it gets hairy..  If Spoony ends up hosting games for fans there would be countless people who would want to be taught 1 on 1 by him and I just don’t think he has the time to manage that AND work on reviews or Counter Monkey, so the majority would suffer while a select few would get special Spoony time. :P

      • Russel Payne

         Well, perhaps the best way to not run out of stories is to make new ones.  Perhaps this would end up being too chaotic, but what if Spoony hosted a game for fans.  I personally would love to start D&D with Spoony as my DM, seeing as I have never played D&D and would like to.  But yeah, thats where it gets hairy..  If Spoony ends up hosting games for fans there would be countless people who would want to be taught 1 on 1 by him and I just don’t think he has the time to manage that AND work on reviews or Counter Monkey, so the majority would suffer while a select few would get special Spoony time. :P

      • droodle

         More popular how? Is there some way to check views on blip videos that I’m unaware of? In terms of comments his review vlogs got similar numbers to the counter monkey episodes.

        As to being more on topic, again I don’t see your point. Both are just unscripted accounts of something he’s been doing. With CM he goes off on tangents and stops to explain things for people who aren’t as familiar with D&D. With his vlog reviews he gives rundowns of the movie/game and his impressions – again he’ll go off on tangents but they’re generally relevant and entertaining.

        I can do without his vlogs about trips he goes on and his personal issues and stuff – but I really liked his unscripted reviews. They’re relevant to most people who watch his stuff and different from the common scripted reviews you see all over the internet.

      • George Rosenbaum

        There’s a difference between ‘totally random videos’, and a variety show made of several established series.

        As good as these Counter Monkey videos are, but I do also want to see him bitch about a bad movie too.

  • Tom Helge Hennum

    More counter monkey will always be welcome.

  • Parker Hansen

    MORE. Your D&D/RPG stores r one of the highlights of my week

  • Alexander Jonsson

    This video was spectacular, really interesting stuff. :)
    /give more CM

  • Ken Robinson

    Don’t worry. The Counter Monkey vids are never boring. Please keep ‘em coming!

  • James Whelan

    Best one yet.

  • Dreamkeepers Comic

    This was awesome, thank you!  I’ve just recently fallen into hosting a roleplay having virtually no experience even as a gamer.  I feel like this video was fantastic for giving me a more of a handle on things, thanks for sharing.  8 ) 

  • exploda

    I wish I had more friends that played these role playing games.  I always make up a background for my Fallout and Elder Scrolls characters and so does my best friend.  I even made up a story for my character in Gauntlet Dark Legacy. 

  • KnightOfNi

    I’m one of those guys that loves messing with the big bad villain that shows up. I was in a Scion game, and my friend/DM had some sort of villain PC that he was pretty attached to, and had him make a face-to-face appearance. I think I was the one that actually STARTED the fight, but it was one of those ‘bad guy has gotta do a monolog’, and it came to my turn and I’m like – I shoot him in the fucking face. Everyone else jumped in on it, as we’re beating the ever loving shit out of him, he tried to make an escape by like phasing through the ground, but we grabbed him, pulled him back up, and literally ripped out his heart. The next session, we learn that he somehow survived/got resurrected and it totally broke that campaign.

    A more recent one, I made a bard character (totally inspired by your one vid explaining Tandem) and I joined in kind of late in the campaign, so during the big-bad doing her monolog (again) he had time stand still so that I could find my artifact, so I’d have it before the fight.
    “Ok, what do you do?”
    “I go up and stab her in the neck”
    Did a decent chunk of damage, and on top of that, did a decent enough diplomacy to turn her 3 dragon bodyguards against her.
    The uproar of laughter is well worth it. Good times.

  • Guy Incognitus

    really helped me, great cm

  • William Bumgarner

    Am I the only one to notice Burton is missing?

    • Bolt Vanderhuge

       He was out walking Oreo.

  • Kyle Rybski

    So many Counter Monkeys.

    So happy.

  • Christopher Bertram

    Post Scarlet snoopy is just funny and entertaining as classic Spoony, but there is one thing i miss

    i miss his old hair style, seriously get a hair cut

  • L1nk1

    Spoony, Do you still play DnD every week?

  • Benjamin Cook

    One house rule I always have around the table is, if you’re character lacks a back story one I am free to make one as needed

  • Maysin

    One campaign I ran with a few friends involved them wanting to be the founders of a Drow city. Between the levels 1 – 3, they set out to find a suitable location (a rather large cavern with a natural water flow) and sought people willing to settle and help build. One particular arch lead them into an encounter where they saved a clan of duergars about to be sacrificed by rival Drow.  Levels 4 – 7 the group acquired their own personal Illithid that one of the group members managed to impress which eventually lead to the discovery of an exiled Druid that would help them coordinate a path to the surface world.

    As their levels progress, so did the size of their city grow and eventually, with the help of the Illithid and the Druid, their city expanded to the surface and eventually attracted surface dwellers to settle around the tree that had been cultivated as a transport system of vines and leaves that would lower them between the caverns and the surface.  The group played their characters more as leaders than adventures, having to make decisions based on the needs of many rather than their own needs. They set up a thriving economy, a strict yet fair security force/army (run by one of the group members), and had quite a bit of interesting side plots going on around from a rampant mold growing around the city and causing sickness among the populous as well as mass hysteria to one of the group members marrying a surface dweller only to later discover, a few years after the birth of their son, that she was a silver dragon in disguise.

    90% of the campaign was derived from their wants and desires which cultivated into a unique and memorable experience for them. Admittedly, I did a few things wrong here and there but the overall consensus from the group was they enjoyed the campaign, which is all I ever hope for when I DM.

  • LankTank

    I hope you make more of these. I’m new to D&D and and really appreciate the insight these videos have provided.

  • Lars-Erik Utberg

    What the names does is humanizing the characters. 

  • Reza

    Spoony hasn’t tweeted in a few days. Is he OK?

    • greatleslie

       My best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend heard from
      this guy who knows this kid who’s going with the girl who saw Spoony
      pass out at 31 Flavors last night. I guess it’s pretty serious.

      • Reza


    • Edward


      A person doesn’t tweet for a couples doesn’t mean anything!  God!

  • Benjamin Wright-Heuman

    Forgive my ignorance, but is the Skype game that he had with Angry Joe, Skitch, and the rest available anywhere for viewer consumption?  I’d love to check it out.

    • Ryan
    • Edward

      It’s at  Deathklok was the one that Spoony ran.  I also recommend Wyrmwick, Prewick, Tomb Of The Golden Couch, and Ironclaw, all of which feature members of TGWTG derping it up and putting together some awesome and funny campaigns.  There’s also Eradne which I couldn’t get into but you might like.

  • Elias Willey

    I just played Pathfinder. It was a fun game. We were in the Ruby Phoenix Tournament module. I was the replacement for the Witch, and I was a Half Orc Inquisitor of the goddess of freedom, Desna, named Aaresh. We fought on the side of a cliff against 4 monks, and the first guy who hit me tripped me, and I fell four squares down the cliff. I was shouting up the cliff at the other two guys: “Shoot the motherfucker!” because the DM allowed guns. After that, the fight went well. We mopped up, and the next fight sucked. We’re on top of giant pillars several stories up, fighting a woman who turned herself large and three monks. We knocked out one of the monks, I went to go hit the woman, and she cast a suppressed my magic. I had heroism cast, all my equipped items were magic. I had magic mithiril armor, a falchion with cold damage, a headband of wisdom, a belt of strength, and rings of protection and feather fall. All those were nullified, turned to excess weight. I was pissed. We were all sitting around the table, laughing our asses off. There’s a 5th wheel, a guy who memorized ALL of the rules of D&D 3.5, every single one. 

  • Reza

    Seriously, Spoony hasn’t tweeted for days, and he usually tweets every friggin’ day. I’m scared.

    • Steven Johnson

      and I thought I was the only one thinking that.  Hope nothing is wrong

    • George Rosenbaum

      I actually popped in to read his tweets. It was the most bizarre thing I ever read.

      I had no idea he was such a fan of the word ‘bro’. Or that he LIKED the abrupt, poorly written ending to ME3.

      • ORCACommander

        ya he had a battle on his live stream with it and beat down those who thought it was horrible.

        anyways as for what is going on right now spoony is off participating in the TGWTG anniversary special. and he actually has been tweeting if you follow his dog’s account :)

        • George Rosenbaum

          I at least understand why he doesn’t like the “Take Back ME3 Ending” guys.

          Just because a story got screwed up doesn’t mean that the fan’s wishes should automatically overwrite the creative expression of Bioware’s staff. We can only swallow our disappointment, and move on to another story.

          But he seriously believes the Indoctrination Theory? Because ANY plot hole can be filled by saying “it was all a dream”.

          • Reza

             I hear you. I think it’s a bit hypocritical of Spoony to buy into the “Indoctrination Theory,” since he tore apart the “Squalls Dead” theory for FFVIII… which is basically the same concept as the former (i.e. it was all a dream).

          • George Rosenbaum

            I read a little further. Spoony supposedly figured it out before the rest of the Internet made the theory. Not sure if he’s telling the truth, so take it with a grain of salt.

            Maybe it was suggested that Shepard was under Reaper influence (he did have visions, after all), but it wasn’t ever REVEALED that this was certainly the case. There is a difference between foreshadowing and actually revealing the mystery.

            So add that to the pile of story arcs that were never finished. So much for closure.

          • Malidictus

             Heh, good point. It really is very much the same concept repeated. Protagonist apparently dies, but then it turns out he survives and the story takes a nosedive off the deep end into ludicrous, unappealing nonsense. Turns out it was all a dream. Bah!

            Personally, I’ve always found “it was all a dream” explanations because they both cheapen the experience by taking away decisions and consequences AND introduce the stupid Inception twist where you can never be sure if what you’re seeing is real, either. When there’s no guarantee of reality, there’s no reason to be invested.

            And even if this WERE true, it’s still robbing the franchise of a satisfying ending. Launching a DLC with the real follow-up ending would only partially solve the problem, since then we have a game sold that’s incomplete.

      • Noelle Myers

         Oh great Spoony One, please, please show all the rest of the idiotic
        people of the world, your wisdom! For you are the only fount of
        knowledge! Surely, the ending of ME3 was great because you think so!
        Surely, the Indoctrination Theory was true because you think so, and
        anyone who can’t see that is a fool, for you are the only great and
        powerful and wise person among us, and any who do not agree with you are
        clearly inferior and lesser beings!

        And please, please, Oh great Spoony One, tell us how do you get your
        shit to not stink? How do you get your piss to smell like perfume?

        – Replying to this comment instead of posting my own since it has to do with ME3, not DnD.

        Oh, and I’m holding the line. -

    • Necro

      Let’s just assume he is concentrating on his new videos so hard that he can’t be bothered to do anything else. 

  • Necro

    I’m not sure about this but I have a feeling that almost all of long time PC RPG players know the Witcher series (either the books or the game). I’m kind of surprised by this because I thought both of them are either minor or cult classic stuffs that not many people know outside of Poland (the country originated in).
    This would sound like a blasphemy for fans of the series but considering how the first game was designed in such an unusual way that may be even counterintuitive and frustrating for a lot of players. I don’t want to get into details, but for this reason I think it shouldn’t have received this much praise from user reviews in a site like metacritic and gamespot. I do love the game but it is kind of strange. Maybe the story and player choices helped a lot but I know some people who couldn’t even finish the game and I also stopped playing it for 4 years since I bought it. At the time I was probably too young to appreciate the storyline, and when I played it again I was sucked into the story and I was able to tolerate most of the quarks in the game. Another strange thing is that the game got higher scores than the 2nd one despite the fact that TW2 is considered to be a lot better than the 1st.

    • doresh

      You don’t need to be a long-time RPG player to know of a game franchise that started 5 years ago XD

      I’ve also never heard about the books prior to the game’s release, which is weird. You’d think we Germans might know at least a little bit about our neighbor’s fantasy books Oo

      As for me trying out either one of these games: Maybe some day. I’m not a big dark fantasy fan (I’m unable to take either Warhammer setting seriously), and as of recently, I’m the proud owner of every Infinity-Engine-DnD-game PLUS the Temple of Elemental Evil – and I haven’t even finished a single one XD

      • Necro

        Regardless of that it wasn’t widely known to people until the sequel came out. I thoughtyou’d needed to be that kind of gamer because otherwise you won’t be able toshow any interest to the games or the books. Not to mention the game series isstrictly for mature audience because of its explicit nudity.

        My definition of “long-time PC RPG player” is a person who has been
        playing PC RPGs for at least 20 years.
        The game has sold 600.000 copies total at 2011. That’s 4 years total. It is pretty good for a PC exclusive game but it won’t even appear in the top 100 list. Gamers’ population is said to be roughly around 170 million so it is no surprise that you’ve never heard of the franchise.

        Dark fantasy doesn’t necessarily mean it’s like Warhammer. In Witcher’s case the setting is realistic because there are lots of political and racial tension between different factions. Detailed lore and myths are only part of its charm though, for a lot of emphasis is weighed on to the characters too. If you watched Spoony’s Thieves’ World story then you’ll have a good grasp of its tone except that for the fact that magic is more common place in the Witcher universe.

        • doresh

          Who cares about realism? Isn’t fantasy for escapism XD ?

          BTW does Witcher have elves and dwarves and such? Because if any kind of realistic fantasy setting would interest me, it would be a setting where there doesn’t exist a crapload of elven subspecies with their proper behavior and alignment hardcoded into their DNA.
          (Seriously, why can only be humans diverse in that regard? Why can “evil” dwarves and elves only exist in the form of a subspecies Oo ? )

  • Doctor Madness

     Names are always the hardest part for me. The first D&D campaign I
    was in, I basically made Master Roshi. The DM loved it and gave me some
    awesome powers for roleplaying perversion. Can’t for the life of me
    remember his name, I’m pretty sure I just slapped some letters on the
    sheet that looked like an Asian name…

  • CaptainCrawdad

    Talking about the halfling fighter reminded me of the halfling berserker my group had in our epic level campaign. He did a hellacious amount of damage and had a real problem attacking other party members during his berserker rages. We leashed him to an Immovable Rod that our wizard could activate with Telekinesis if he started getting out of hand, but he still managed to kill a party member. That was a fun character.

  • Kalo

    Thanks so much Spoony <3 I love your counter monkey episodes. They are informative as well as entertaining. I'm a jam packed student so I don't get to devote as much time to gaming as I'd like to ; 3 ; But I can always put these babies on while I'm modeling or drawing or what not. Thanks for sharing :D 

  • Alex Kosse

    I cannot get enough Counter Monkey!!!!

  • Ertzi

    Goddamn it, Spoony. You actually make me want to DM, not just play. You make it sound so freakin’ fun to come up with storylines and different situations, and how to creatively solve them :)

    I wonder how many people are getting into PnP RPGs, after a long break or for the first time, because of Noah’s Counter Monkeys, because I’m seriously becoming one of them as well. I almost started reading my old D&D books yesterday. Glared at them already :)

  • spectervonbaren

    I get the sense that this video could potentially make good changes for a lot of D&D games and gamers.

  • spectervonbaren

    You know, I was just rewatching your reviews for Heroes of the Lance and Dragons of Flame and I can’t help but wish you’d use that short music track at the beginning of those old video again in some sort of shout out to the old days, like use it for the start of these Counter Monkey videos. But that’s just me going on a wild tangent of no meaning. Ignore me, it’s not important, I’m not demanding anything.

  • rebecca

    I think another good thing to cover is that beginning games don’t always have to be serious if the purpose is to introduce a new player to the mechanics. A sweeping fantasy epic is fun, but a buddy road trip can also be hilariously enjoyable.

    I remember once one of my friends wanted to get into tabletop rpg, and so we set up a fluff campaign for Vampire the Masquerade. The plot was relatively simple. It’s midnight, and a group of vampires are all Hanging out when they decide to do a doughnut run.

    That was essentially it. However my friend’s vampire (nicknamed cupcake by the other players because she was wearing some pink getup) was chosen to drive the car. Cupcake had no points in driving, and when she rolled to see if she got everyone there successfully, she rolled so hilariously badly that not only did they not make it to the doughnut store, but she took them about 250 miles in the opposite direction before crashing the van into a tree. (Yes the vampires had a van, do not question this.)

    The DM rolled with it though, and so what had started as a sort of “tutorial” game quickly became a Harold and Kumar esque journey to try and make it back to their house before the sun came up and fried them all. I think they wandered into a gang of Sabat vampires, got chased by a werewolf, stole another car, crashed it again because of another bad role. It was kind of epic.

  • Methelas

    Very good information Spoony! I’ve been running the Warhammer 40k rpgs for my group but recently we tried out Pathfinder and everyone seems to like it a lot. Now I have a bunch of nice ideas and some good guidelines to go with, thanks. ^^

  • Michael Bradshaw

    Have you ever thought about auctioning off your dm talents in a one-off campaign for the next tgwtg donation drive? I bet you could raise quite a bit of money for a good cause.

  • Alexander Wood

    Deathklok was rad! We need another one of those!

  • Jeff Shatt

    My buddy’s starting a new game soon. I’m going to make him watch this before we start.

  • Gareth Crew

    I love Dungeonmastering.  Playing a character is ok and all, but I’m a way better DM than a player.  I’m running a Shadowrun 4 game right now (off and on, stupid real life) for a fun new group that I’ve never gamed with before, and apparently they’re loving it like it was the first time!

    I usually take a vague idea or goal and let the players figure out what to accomplish it by their own means.  I, in turn, roll with what they present to me, and try and create fun and memorable scenes around what they seem to be into doing that night.  I think I’m fair with the rules, scene description is probably my weakest skill…  Anyway.

    As Spoony said, encouraging your players to run along with you and tell interesting stories based on their character’s lives is a great way to sprinkle adventure seeds all throughout the entire campaign – my last major game (Shadowrun as well, as it turns out) was lousy with this, and became less about the published campaign mythology and got a lot more into it’s own mythology, and is remembered around my table as largely epic.  Involving your players is completely key.

    Just for fun – My current party includes an Elven Noble on the run after the revolution in his homeland, a middle-class wageslave coming into his Technomancer powers at the worst possible time, a young Mexican bat shaman on the run from Aztechnology Corporation, a jaded taxi-driving Troll with heavy ties to the Russian Mob, the son of one player’s character from a previous campaign who wants to take after his father, but has to deal with his mother’s legacy, and a clueless corporate programmer who accidentally got himself wiped off the system by poking at what could possibly be an emergant AI.

    I totally agree re: Published Adventures – especially with regard to new players.  Everyone’s at that table for something different, and you gotta get to know what they’re after before you can start to roll with it and start writing for them.

    I love grinning at the party.  As Spoony said, as a DM, you are under no obligation to reveal your cards – and making your players paranoid when they are actually doing very well is something of a hobby of mine.  I had one great player who would actually run off at the mouth about all the things I could be planning, and make all the other players paranoid as well. 

    Sometimes, however, you have to let them catch you off-guard, especially when you’re all learning the game together.  I’ve twice in my new game been caught off-guard by really inventive solutions by the players that were based on flawed understanding of game rules.  I these tended to happen at the very end of the game session, and I let ‘em get away with it at the time, wrap up for the night, and then sit ‘em down next time upon discovery of my mistake, and let ‘em know why it wasn’t happening again.

    I like the sound of Spoony’s gamestyle.

    – G.

  • João Vicente

    So after all that rant on a previous Monkey episode… You were that kind of thief! That actually is not that kind of thief… :p

    Keep this up! im love every single one of them!

  • Lukas Hägg

    Rewatching this made me think of something I do from time to time. He talked about how the players can give you ideas. I sometimes take their ideas, overtly. I think my players have a love/hate relationship to that. Something happens and a character is in some weird or dangerous situation, then another player makes an off-hand comment about the situation which I find makes sense and tell them “Yeah, odds or even?” (We use often odds/even to resolve stuff that’s not entirely covered by rules) and the player says “Don’t give him ideas!” 

    • Anne

      A group I played with in college called that Rule Zero. (“You don’t give the GM ideas!”)

      • inkBot

        Rule zero has always been “The DM is always right.” in pretty much all groups I*ve been in, and even printed in some books.

  • fiddlewheel

    Spoony, we two have a lot of the same ideas, and thanks to these series, you put the tricks and ideas into words, and that helps immensly.
    One idea for a recurring villain would be a guy that seem like a good guy, until the final adventure involving him, that might work, like a king who does the wrong things for the right reasons.

  • nrrork

    Now DMing is something I could possibly get into.

    I’ve been really thinking of starting to try role-playing, and I have a standing invitation from a friend if I ever decide I want to give it a try. But I’m kinda prone to frustration, and I fear the first time the dice royally fucked me over, it would seriously sour me.

    I mean, it seems like the dice can just as easily throw a wrench into the DM’s best laid plans as well, but for reasons I can’t quite put into words, I just think I could adjust to that a lot better.

  • Chris McGarry

    I have been listening for 30 mins and still have no idea what the fuck you are talking about. FUCKING CAPTAIN MORGAN!!!

  • Nathaniel Al Buainain

    Excellent Episode as always. I was wondering if you’d be interested in reviewing the upcoming indie game Legend of Grimrock? I’d love to hear about your opinion about the game as well as your experience with it and comparing it with the original tabletop game.

  • Toluron18

    wheres this death clock stream?

    • Edward

      It’s pretty good but its really long.  I recommend listing to it on an MP3 in the background while your doing house work something like that.  Lordkat, Rollo T, Y Ruler of Time, and Skitch also do Wyrmwick, which is awesome, Prewick, which is turning out to be pretty awesome, the Ironclaw session which was a neat little experiment, and if you want to see a campaign go completely and hysterically wrong check out Tomb Of Horrors aka Tomb of the Golden couch.  There is also Eriadne which Lordkat played but I couldn’t really get into it but you might like it.

    • Edward

      Also, unfortunately, Deathklok does not have an ending.  You get a little behind the scenes details about why that happened or partially why that happened by checking out Rollo T’s DND Recaps on his blog or checking out the DND Show on

      • Alex Stritar

        Too bad too. It was getting really intresting, what with Morgana taking over Darstine, starting a war with the Witch Queen, the side quest with the false Bahamut and all that fun stuff. Honestly, I kinda want to know how that story would happen next. But, I guess short of visiting Morphius’ library, there is no way to know.

        • Edward

          I know man.  It drives me crazy to this day.  I just want know what happened next.  I hope he brings it back in some form and finishes it maybe with a different group.  And maybe one day, Rollo T, Nick, Lordkat, and Skitch will play their characters again in another game and we can figure out what happened to them next but only time will tell.

          I was even digging Bayban, Linkara’s character, even though he was a little controversial (WORST PALADIN EVER!!)  His involvement was certainly dramatic and I found it entertaining at least from an outsiders perspective.

  • Jewelslayer

    Sorry if I ramble on about something before I get to my question because I have explain how I know I was right about my brother being a horrible DM. He never does anything that you listed and I always hate playing D&D with him. Because he always tries to or does kill off our characters in impossible fights and if we survive it’s because my character got a brilliantly crazy idea. He always writes out his own adventures making it his own published module to where it’s boring as hell, I’ve done the same adventure only a different world. He dictates what your character’s goal is and doesn’t give YOU the choice of choosing it. When I was 10 I thought he the best DM ever, it’s almost 13 years later and I thinks he’s the worst DM ever because I’ve played in other and actually had fun. I would love trying to DM but any time I’ve ever tried I always got ridiculed about how I’ll be as bad as my brother. Is there any tips or some way to kinda prove I can be a good DM unlike my brother and prove that family isn’t always alike?  I believe has something to do with living in a small town so everyone knows who the bad DMs are and avoid them and only go to the great DMs or never letting the new DM have a chance because of their brother’s rep as a DM.

  • Topher Glenn

     Always wanted to play D&D, just going down to the local gamestore where I know they always have games going, just seems too scary. Damn social anxiety!

  • 1337 mastah

    Thank you SpoonyOne, for all of these vids relating to DND. I’ve only had two DND games, each with professionals. They agree I have great talent with it, and I owe it all to stealing from you. Good job.

  • Edward

    Nice vid Spoony.

    However…as someone who watched all of Wyrmwick, seeing as how Azad, representing the entire party walked up to a god damned death knight and told him in no uncertain terms, “Yeah, sure dude.  We’ll totally kill the captain of the town guard for you,” and then immediately left the party, an action which lead to both Dhother Cylinae and John Dayth being hounded constantly by a death knight they had no chance of killing, a death knight who assaulted and nearly killed beloved NPC Councilman Albert, Caitlin Cormac’s step dad, both of which had nothing to do with the original deal, just to motivate the party into killing the captain of the guard, and finally forcing the party to fight a level 20 death knight in an under equipped and under powered assault on his keep, a fight which regardless of the fact that they did triumphantly win and walk away from they did all die during the course of it and only came back due to the kindness of Bahamut, I don’t think Dhother would ever say, “Yeah, that Azad is a smart guy.”

    No, I think he might say, “Wow.  That Azad guy really fucked us in the ass.  God we’re lucky to be alive.”

    Just saying.

  • Edward


  • Scott C Stewart

    Spoony an ychance  are you going to make counter moeny into a pod cast,I would very much like to have your counter monkey program on my mp3 player so ICan listen to it when ever I have to go any where. Or if Crashing at firends place and I cant get to sleep.

    • Radosław Grzanka

       You can extract audio with multiple free tools on the internet. I use mediacoder.

  • 13secondspastmidnight

    Even for someone who doesn’t play D&D these are massively entertaining. PLEASE keep making these. They are so much fun. It’s great to hear about the mechanisms of these games and the dynamics between DM and players. 

  • Josh McClary

    Does Spoony have a job outside the site and his various cross overs? I could easily see how that would eat into time and energy for his reviews if that was the case. But if this site is his primary source of income, then it really is stupid not to make the effort to get content out there. It’s been a month tomorrow since his last actual review.  If this place was a side project or a hobby, that would be perfectly fine but as far as I’m aware, this is how Spoony makes a living.

    I don’t think it’s out of line to say that the lack of output on this site – especially in lieu of reviewers who do manage to put out a review a week – is disturbing. Like others have said, a quick Vlog to tell the community what’s up wouldn’t be too much to ask for – if only to assure the fanbase that “I’m not dead yet”.

    • GD82

      He does indeed have a job and he mentioned it several times already. And really, his job is NOT the biggest problem for him. It’s his health which is pretty sh!tty when you look at the grand scheme of things. Repeated back problems, heart condition, repeated coma inducing migraines (yes, that bad), ect.

  • Josh Cohen

    You mention Death Clock a lot in this video, and I am afraid I missed that stream.  Is there any place I could go now to see it, or is it lost forever?

    • Flávio Bessa

      You can find it here:
      Go to the last page and go up from there until page 1.

      • Josh Cohen


      • Simoneer

        Aha! So it WAS “Dethklok” and not “Death Clock”, just as I expected!

    • Sebastian Fernandez

      Actually that link doesn’t have all the recorded sessions. You can find them all collected here:

  • Josh Cohen

    This might defeat the purpose of this whole show, but would there be a forum, or blog, or some way for other people to donate role-playing stories to be read or as a video or something?  While I love your videos and your stories especially, I love hearing other people tell stories too and I and my friends have collected a bunch of them just by playing.  Additionally, I’m curious what other games people play and what crazy stuff they got into on their adventures.  Just a thought.

    • jetman123

      Take a look around on for “after action reports” or “AARs”, or check out Knights of the Dinner Table’s Tales from the Table. :D

  • bobby

    i really have/want to ask you spoony, do you host a skype DND game? i really want to try playing with ya dood

  • nick

    Spoony this video really helped me confirm my characters back story
    He’s looking for a guy who tortured and/or experimented on him (depending on if i”m with friends or strangers) for years
    He has nothing more than a name to go on,
    what i’m going to do now is he also has a side thing in information dealing, he buys and sells information and will try to help anyone who has info he’s looking for and will do almost anything outside of murder to get this information.

  • Libby Rachal

    Oh, How I love you Spoony.  I wish someone had spelled some things out for me when I first started to DM.  I had a horrible time with stickler DMs when I was in high school, playing D&D.  (around the time of AD&D)  I swore if I ever ran a campaign, I would never suck the fun out of games like the ones I had played with.  I spent almost 2 weeks preparing an adventure, writing a special hook for my friend, (it was his birthday)  I was told 5 players.  so I planned for 5 to 6.  WELL, 15 showed up, I had never been a DM before, and all their skill rolls were broken.  the average was 16, or 17.  so their modifiers were anywhere from a +3 to +5.  SO BROKEN!  I’ve learned a bit since then, but I’ve been timid about DMing again, since I felt a bungled through it last time.  Everyone said they had a great time, and liked my adventure, but always felt bad because I knew it could have been better. 

  • vorpalanvil

     I wholeheartedly agree with this entire video. As a DM and player of many years experience, nothing is more important than keeping the story moving even if it bends or breaks the rules.
     Also, since I DM I do two things that are very helpful in keeping pc’s in character and providing goals/quest ideas. Firstly, I require the pc’s to always address each other by character name and I do so as well. Second, I require all of my players to provide a character background of at least a half pages length. But I stress to my players that goals and ends for said pc is significantly more important than just a crib sheet of where they were born, etc. To encourage this I reward good background stories with xp, starting cash, items, proficiency slots, etc. 

  • TrollanKojima

    I had a buddy who liked to name his character thing relating to the scrotum: Seargento Testylick, Gonad Gargantuan, Sir Scrotus Taint, etc.

  • Felix Seyfert

    amazing insight – thanks for taking the time. It was very entertaining and enlightening for me as an aspiring DM

  • Mark Wallis

    Spoony needs to DM a game with Egoraptor and AVGN as players.

  • saibot216

    Oddly enough I am 6’6″ and despite that height I can sneak up on everyone easily. Actually scared one of my co-workers on accident, haha.

  • Marek Pawelczyk

    It’s funny you mention ‘Bob’. I played a Bob character in Warhammer. He was a farmer. I basically begged my DM back then for a farmer class, I named him ‘Bob’, gave him low Int and bought a scythe and a bag of apples. Bob was a silent type, he was dumb, knew about it and didn’t say much, but Bob was freakishly good in fighting with a scythe and eating apples. So much that he became a legend at the end of the game.

  • Matthew Michael McLuhan

    Whenever DMs can turn fails into awesome or interesting successes can be some of the best moments. In one of our Exalted games, a character was able to build up a ridiculous sum of dice for his damage roll (I think it was about 27 dice) when fighting a major enemy in a closed area, and he only succeeded on 2 of them. The storyteller ad hoc’d that his attack missed but instead of just doing nothing, he smashed through the wall, and shrapnel of it hit the boss. Unconventional, but it stands out to me as an awesome turn around, because the hole in the wall became more important then any amount of damage could have been, and it led to a further adventure and turned what was building up to be an awesome victory but was an utter failure into something a bit more positive.

  • Daniel Durham

    as an aspiring dm for a group of Dark Eye players i just want to thank you for the tips and hints on better roleplaying. you rock sponny. btw you are looking better than you did a few weeks ago. take care and keep it up. thx

  • Obstreperous

    “(So and so character) walked in, saw eight orcs. He killed them.”
    This has to be incorporated into a novel some day.

    Also, thanks! Your stories and advice in role-playing is invaluable. This will certainly improve the quality of my gaming experiences, as well as those of others.

  • Timo Takalo

    Probably the best character name I ever came up with was with a pretty boy high nobleman. I called him Dorian Goodfellow. Everyone playing cracked up laughing immediately upon hearing that the first time. Mission accomplished!

  • Zipper Dragon

    Is it possible to DM a game, but also have your RPC in it. Like maybe you’re a person short or somthing. Would it be possible.

    • Tab

      It’s incredibly meta to play a character and know everything that will happen. You’ll know all the monsters and how to kill them, you’ll know where all the traps are and how to avoid them, and you’ll always know what’s expected in terms of loot. It’s a bad idea. Another player could play as two characters, but never have the DM play a PC as if he were another one of the party.

  • Zipper Dragon

    17:30 I hang out with one of the teachers at my highschool, (We play Magic: The Gathering, & I help him sell popcorn. He’s also gonna start a D&D club.) told me a story of when he screwed up a DM’s campaign. They were sent to fight the dragon, & the dragon was gonna give them another quest when he pulled a Rambo & just killed the damn thing. The DM tried to blame him for f**king up the campaign, & he said, “Well, My character didn’t know he was supposed to listen to the dragon.” He’s gonna be my mentor in D&D.

  • David Baer

    really liking the videos, although it seems like every comment before mine is from 9 months ago…

    I do have a request for a video, if you haven’t done it already and that is grid-based combat. I’m actually fairly good with the story, but I started out with no map and just describing things and it often involved just using common sense to tell the players if they could reach something this turn or next turn.

    Now I’ve started using a whiteboard and some chicken scratch, and that works pretty well but players still try to get the most out of me that they can, by making me define distances in feet to ensure their characters always reach a target and get to act during their turn.

    So when you say you use the maps, are these all 5-foot grids? Do you use the rules for tumbling and attacks of opportunity? I’ve only ever played one campaign on a grid and it really turned me off to the idea, since it felt like two of the players specifically built their characters to abuse the grid system by laying down ground effects and forcing the enemy to pass over them multiple times. Meanwhile it felt like my melee fighter always had trouble getting to the enemy, and once he did he was always blocking somebody’s ranged attack, it was quite frustrating. Do you have any advice for how to handle movement in combat?

  • Chuster M. Merino

    Well, I see that the story of “hero being a demigod and then losing all his powers and shit for a curse from an ancient god and having only 3 months to survive that curse” past will mean nothing in a Spoony game… oh, well. I can always go for the “farmer becoming strongly and dangerously powerful because of an ancient and demonic trade between one of his ancestors and the cure for a terrible disease that threatened the world 200 years ago”

  • Joe Ark

    In a Shadowrun game recently, a player had a chameleon suit and a guy saw him anyway, He called it and I said “Yeah…that is weird isn’t it?” this adapted to where the enemies had anti technology detection suits

  • ≈Happy Mask Salesman

    “Everyone is the hero of their own story.”


  • Manuel Wolf

    back in school, we used to play this game called jack city. it was run
    by a crazy bulgarian who had basically made a point of becoming the
    stereotype that borat parodied and it didn’t really have rules or fixed
    classes. instead you could be anything, go anywhere and fight anything
    you wanted and he would draw everything, including the battles on a piece of paper.
    at one point i was fighting salad fingers, who would just moan whenever i hit him and, like gogo from final fantasy v, could only be defeated if you did nothing. then he would eventually just wander off, find a rusty nail, sting himself and bleed to death. later, i became a necromancer, slaughtered an entire village and resurrected them to build me a castle.
    looking back, it was really childish and kind of retarded, but damn it, it was awesome when i fought mao tse tung with the help francisco franco who was wearing a paladin armour.
    got me into role playing^^

  • Daniel Tilson

    Just getting started on this video, and I just want to say that, if you have a paladin in the group, you cannot have someone who is actually evil in the party, because the minute the paladin knows he’s evil (such as if he catches him in the detect evil cone while searching for the boss.) The paladin cannot group with him anymore unless you change the rules for the class.

    • Matrim

      There are so many ways around that, for serious.

      First of all, there’s the in rules exception “Under exceptional circumstances, a paladin can ally with evil
      associates, but only to defeat what she believes to be a greater evil.”

      Outside of that, there are plenty of roleplay reasons to do it. Maybe the paladin is trying to reform the character or the character wants to change, maybe the paladin doesn’t know (detect evil isn’t a catch-all), a low level character wouldn’t have an aura just because they’re evil. The character might have a ring of mind shield or be under the effects of an undetectable alignment spell. The evil character might be under a geas to aid the party. The party might be in an extremely dire situation (e.g. they’re marooned on an island and have to work together to survive) and the paladin needs to work with them in order to escape and achieve a greater goal. They might have to atone afterward in some of these scenarios, but they can still do it.

      Like Spoony said, it’s not easy, but you can totally do it.

  • kamrom dechu

    I got totally distracted watching your dog skulk around back there.

  • dm3588

    I keep them paranoid by rolling their perception checks for them behind the screen. That way, they have no way of even guessing whether there’s nothing there or they just don’t see it. As well as keeping them paranoid, it also makes it easier for me to fudge when they don’t roll high enough to see something I need them to see.

    Also, post-it notes. God, do I love post-it notes. Only one person in the group passes a perception roll, so I give that person a post-it note explaining the result and he then passes the info along to the rest. Granted it’s a little time-consuming, but it’s more realistic, and it encourages role-playing; for example, a character detects a small bag of gems in the corner and has to decide whether to reveal it to the party or pocket it himself.

    Notes are also great for when something happens to one character that the others don’t notice. Once, my players found a big room with absolutely nothing in it except a giant mirror. They were tired, so they decided to bunk down for the night. While the rest of them were setting up camp, the wizard went to examine the mirror. I immediately passed him a note saying “The mirror has put you in a trance. Don’t speak again until further notice.” He spent the next ten minutes sitting there scowling, not speaking or rolling, shrugging off all attempts at conversation, until the other players finally realized something was wrong and asked what was going on. It took them almost an hour to figure out how to wake him up, and he couldn’t speak the whole time (we sent him out for pizza just so he’d have something to do). I love enforcing role-playing.

    • Tab

      We do similar things since we’re forced to play online over tools like We keep a Skype chat open which allows the DM to send private messages to individuals who he wants keyed onto something the others aren’t aware of. It’s an incredible tool for roleplaying and to prevent metagaming, and your idea of using the post-its is a great method for doing it around a table. I’ll definitely be using that if I can ever get a local group together.

  • Daniel Tilson

    It’s fairly simple to link published modules. Some are even written to be linked. But there is something to be said for running your own campaign.

  • kamrom dechu

    “You would be a fool to trust me. But just because you can’t trust me, doesn’t mean you don’t need me.” As with most things in life, DragonStrike has words of wisdom.

  • Daniel Tilson

    Teleport rings, look-a-likes, secret tunnels, anonymous benefactor wizards. All are acceptable methods for villain saving.

    Just don’t use the same method every time. Because if you do, they’ll figure out how to counter it.

    A favorite of mine is the wall of force across the room.

    The villain grins sadistically surrounded by the gore of a thousand slaves. The barbarian charges with his axe raised high overhead when suddenly WHAM! he slams into a wall of force.

    As the wizard steps forward to attempt to take it down, the villain flees, and several of the slaves rise from the dead.

    Even if they’re level one zombies, the players will be delayed for at least a short time. And you can have another wall of force later on in the tunnel to delay them for another round or two. Leaving the players with the option of either A: casting another disintegrate spell, or B: backtracking through the dungeon. If they don’t have a disintegrate spell? Then they have to backtrack or wait out the spell. Either way, the villain has a head start, and you can say they got away somehow.

  • IanB

    I am currently running a D&D game, some in the group haven’t played and the others I haven’t played D&D with before. So what I did before I start the main campaign is have a tester dungeon which is basically a dungeon with equal traps monsters and puzzles. That way I can gauge their play styles and build my campaign from there.

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