Alphastream

The Alphastream Game Design Blog

How to Provide PCs with Meaningful Deaths

Today’s roleplaying games emphasize character creation and character development. How do we design adventures and campaigns where death is meaningful?

April 18, 2022 · 6 Comments

Why Classic Adventures Offer Characters Meaningless Death

Classic D&D often presents situations forcing a quick and meaningless death. Modern editions are often accused of being too easy. Why has the game changed, and what is the point of character death today?

April 7, 2022 · 9 Comments

For an Epic Hero, What is the DC to Pick a Lock?

A level 20 hero finds a treasure chest in a D&D 5E game. What should the DC be to pick a lock? Let’s review two approaches and how to make them shine.

September 16, 2021 · 6 Comments

Special Reasons Why DMs Have Trouble Challenging Players

We review special reasons why a DM may have trouble achieving the right challenge level for their players.

June 23, 2021 · 1 Comment

How to Challenge Players? Just Add Damage!

Why adding damage works better than other options for resolving the problems with encounter challenge… with some important considerations.

June 10, 2021 · 23 Comments

Why So Many DMs Have Trouble Challenging Players

Let’s look at the reasons why so many DMs struggle to challenge their players.

June 4, 2021 · 44 Comments

How Vault Influenced Confrontation at Candlekeep

Confrontation at Candlekeep was a success as a convention event, but it owes much to the lessons learned from Vault of the Dracolich.

November 4, 2015 · 4 Comments

The Magic of Items

Does a certain number of magic items per PC make D&D Next better? There are better and more important questions to ask.

October 20, 2015

Ashes of Athas: The Development Process

The development process can help identify and resolve an adventure’s weakest points.

October 20, 2015

The Lazy Dungeon Master

With so few hours in a day, becoming an efficient dungeon master is a key to great gaming. The review of Mike Shea’s new book, The Lazy Dungeon Master.

October 17, 2015

Interlude: Extending the Five Minute Workday

The “five minute workday” can destroy a gaming session’s intended flow and balance. Here is how D&D can avoid that problem.

October 17, 2015

D&D Next and Classic Adventures: Organizing the (Caves of) Chaos

Classic adventures can be easily converted to 5E, but the writing approach often falls shorts of today’s standards. Six techniques help us modernize the classics, preserving the feel and increasing the fun.

October 17, 2015 · 1 Comment

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