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Between Two Screens: A D&D Podcast
30 minutes | Mar 31, 2021
Spicing Up Your Combat
In this episode we talk about different ways to spice up your D&D combat, make your battles more dynamic, and keep your players on their toes. We talk about using flavorful descriptions, unique monsters, and tactical thinking to keep your players engaged in the flow of combat. We also discuss adding more complex elements like reinforcements, objectives, and time pressure to up the intensity of your battles. Lastly we talk about those big climactic boss battles and how to make them fun and deadly for your players. Jargon Cheat Sheet3.5: A revised version of the 3rd edition of Dungeons and Dragons. Often referred to as “three five”.5e: Short for Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition, the current edition of the game.
29 minutes | Mar 24, 2021
All is Fair in Love and Surprise Rounds
Kagan recently brought in a guest player to infiltrate the party, gain their trust, and ultimately attempt to assassinate one of the PCs. It ended up being one of the most memorable moments in his DMing career and in this week’s episode we dig into it. We discuss what went well, what didn’t go quite as planned, and share advice on how to pull off this sort of delicate subterfuge while making sure that everyone has a great time.
34 minutes | Mar 10, 2021
Objectives, Pirates, and Payoff
In this episode we plan an upcoming adventure full of pirates, dragons, and merfolk. We dig into how to lay down subtle, optional side quests for your players to discover and how to place clear objectives in their path. We also discuss how to set up encounters that will lay the groundwork for future allies and rivals, and how to wrap up your adventure with a satisfying payoff.We lay the food analogies on thick in this one, so it’s advised to not listen on an empty stomach or you might end up craving bread, cake, or both!This episode contains spoilers for the adventure Rise of Tiamat and players in Joe’s Monday night campaign.
33 minutes | Mar 3, 2021
Tuning Your Game’s Challenge Level
In this episode we explore how to find the right balance between challenge and frustration for your D&D game. D&D is supposed to be fun, but sometimes the greatest rewards come from feeling like you overcame an immense challenge. Finding the right challenge level is really tricky, depends entirely on the preferences of the people at the table, and is often a moving target.We tell stories of games where we were able to find that perfect challenge level, talk about what it feels like when a game is too easy, share horror stories from games that were super frustrating, and give tips on how to find that right balance for your game.This episode contains spoilers for Out of the Abyss.Jargon Cheat Sheet3.5: A revised version of the 3rd edition of Dungeons and Dragons. Often referred to as “three five”.APL: Average Party Level. For example, APL 12 is a group of level 12 adventurers (on average).Min-maxed: How optimized a character is to the fullest extent within the rules of the game. In D&D, this usually means maximizing for combat.Mod: Short for module, which is an old school term for a written adventure.
24 minutes | Feb 24, 2021
Giving a Voice to Your NPCs
This episode is all about getting into character and bringing your NPCs to life through vocal qualities, dialects, and physicality. We also give tips on getting over the nervousness that many people have with acting, discuss the different ways that we practice our NPCS, and the tricks we use to get back into the voice of a character.Remember that you don’t need to be a professional voice actor to be an awesome DM! It’s okay to be nervous and it’s okay to be terrible at it! Lean into it, have a good time, and trust that you players are going to laugh with you, not at you.
43 minutes | Feb 17, 2021
Digital Dungeons and Virtual Dragons
In this episode we talk about playing D&D online. Since the onset of Covid, tons of games have moved online. Luckily there are a TON of great resources out there to help you make the most out of playing virtually. We discuss the different tools that we use, the pros of playing online, and the numerous things we miss about playing in person.Jargon Cheat SheetAPL: Average Party Level. For example, APL 12 is a group of level 12 adventurers (on average).Living Greyhawk: A massive shared campaign played by thousands of people in the 2000s.
30 minutes | Feb 10, 2021
5e Doesn’t Care About Your Physics
This episode is all about physics in 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons (or lack thereof). We discuss rules like falling, jumping, and encumbrance and talk about whether it bothers us that they’re so ridiculous. We also talk about how to handle situations that are based on physics or real world parallels that you as a DM might have a tough time coming up with a ruling on. Lastly, we talk about how to handle the tricky situation when a player challenges your world or your ruling based on their understanding of real world physics/science.Jargon Cheat Sheet3.5: A revised version of the 3rd edition of Dungeons and Dragons. Often referred to as “three five”.5e: Short for Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition, the current edition of the game.
26 minutes | Feb 3, 2021
One Shot Adventures
This episode is all about running one shot adventures. One shots are great for introducing people to D&D, trying out creative ideas, mixing things up from your normal games, and most importantly are a ton of fun!We dig into what makes one shots so fun, give advice on running one shot adventures, throw out some crazy ideas that we would love to run, and encourage you to kill your friends! Thanks to Emily for requesting this topic. If there’s something you’d like to hear us talk about you can find us on Twitter at @B2Screens or at email@example.com.
36 minutes | Jan 27, 2021
This week’s episode is all about taking your hands off the wheel and letting your players take control of the story.As dungeon masters we invent storylines, plant secrets, and build up anticipation for them to experience our awesome content! But what if the players miss those secrets? Or steer the story in a different direction? It can be difficult to deal with that disappointment, but this episode is all about the joy of letting your players be in charge of the story.We also dig more into Joe’s history of convention style D&D, talk about the consequences of player actions, and discuss the concept of failing forward.Jargon Cheat Sheet5e: Short for Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition, the current edition of the game.Living Greyhawk (LG): A massive shared campaign played by thousands of people in the 2000s.Mod: Short for module, which is an old school term for a written adventure.Stat Block: The statistics and abilities of a creature.
33 minutes | Jan 20, 2021
This episode we discuss guest players in D&D. Guest players are a great way to mix things up, get a fresh voice, or introduce the game to a new player. But there’s a lot to think about when you’re considering throwing someone into your game! We talk about how much information to give them, what type of character is good for a guest player, and how including a guest player might change your session dynamics. We also plan for a guest player coming up in one of Kagan’s games.This episode contains spoilers for players in Kagan’s Storm King’s Thunder campaign.
45 minutes | Jan 13, 2021
Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything: How Do You Want to Brew This
In this episode we discuss the latest addition to the D&D 5e library, Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. We discuss the bevy of new options available to players, brew up a spicy conversation on the rules for customizing your origin, dig into the Artificer class, drool over the new magic items, and say flavorful too many times to count.This episode contains spoilers for players in Joe’s Sunday night campaign and Kagan’s Storm King’s Thunder campaign.
31 minutes | Jan 6, 2021
Over the Hills and Far Away: Travel in D&D
In this episode we discuss the wide variety of options out there for travel in D&D. Skip it? Montage it? Immerse yourself in the details? So many choices! We talk about how to enhance your travel through thematic encounters, opportunities for role playing, epic fights, and building secondary plots along the way.We also discuss rules for downtime during travel, hex crawl adventures, and the importance of changing up your rules if they aren’t working out for you.
31 minutes | Dec 30, 2020
This episode we discuss a couple of difficult questions: how do you improve a dysfunctional D&D table and when is it time to call it quits? We focus on the importance of communication before and during a campaign and share stories of times we were able to improve D&D groups by tackling issues head on.We also stress the importance of not being too hard on yourself if things don’t work out. There are a million reasons that campaigns break down (I’m looking at you scheduling), and it’s okay to call it quits on a campaign that’s no longer a positive outlet.D&D should be fun. Don’t let issues fester until you’re ready to go into a rage and flip the table!
43 minutes | Dec 23, 2020
Refining a Villain
In this episode we continue our discussion from last week’s episode, Crafting a Villain. We dig deeper into the origins and motivations of the "Boogeyman" villain, invent an order or wizards connected to him, and brainstorm creative ways to start introducing him to the party.We also find out that Kagan cannot do a British accent, fail to remember the difference between winch and wench, discuss how many plots are too many, and so much more!This episode contains spoilers for players in Joe’s Sunday night campaign.
31 minutes | Dec 16, 2020
Crafting a Villain
Villains are key to almost every D&D campaign, and they’re at the core of a lot of adventure planning. So what makes a good villain? This episode we dive into that topic, discussing some of our favorite villains from D&D, comic books, and movies and what we can learn from those examples.Then, we dive into building a villain in one of Joe’s campaigns. We discuss the logistics of building a campaign around a big bad, and go through a series of questions that can help you craft a villain.This episode contains spoilers for players in Joe’s Sunday campaign.
31 minutes | Dec 2, 2020
Bringing Your Cities to Life
This episode we talk about planning adventures in cities! Cities can be overwhelming to plan, with their abundance of history, points of interest, and endless ways for your party to get into trouble. We talk about how to focus your planning for cities around the content your party is interested in, and how to bring all the rich history and lore of a city to life through exciting encounters and memorable characters.We plan an upcoming adventure in the magical city of Silverymoon, focusing on ways to bring this fantastical, magical city to life through sexy flavor text, fun encounters, and magical moments.Spoilers for players in Kagan’s Storm King’s Thunder campaign.
30 minutes | Nov 25, 2020
Writing and Integrating Backstories
This episode we discuss the foundation for your adventurer’s origins and motivations: their backstory. We look at backstories both from the perspective of the player and the DM, getting into what makes a good backstory, how a longer backstory doesn’t necessarily make a better backstory, and some of the pitfalls to avoid when crafting your backstory.We also dig into the importance of a backstory fitting into the campaign you’ll be playing in and how far good communication between players and DMs goes to setting everyone up for success.Jargon Cheat SheetAPL: Average Party Level. For example, APL 12 is a group of level 12 adventurers (on average).
30 minutes | Nov 18, 2020
Handling the Unexpected
This episode we talk about what to do when your best laid plans go completely out the window.One of the best parts about D&D is the freedom to creatively solve problems. The joy of being able to try just about anything, say whatever you want, and roam wherever you’d like is something you can’t find in most other games. But sometimes your players throw something at you you’re just not ready for. Or, if you’re like Kagan, you throw a wrench in your own plans and accidentally lead the party completely astray...We’ll be talking about what to do when your session goes in an unexpected direction and how to regroup and make the best of it. We’ll be sharing ideas on how to prepare for these surprising moments, how to take the time you need to regroup, and the importance of not beating yourself up when things don’t go as smoothly as you had imagined.Jargon Cheat SheetAPL: Average Party Level. For example, APL 12 is a group of level 12 adventurers (on average).Mod: Short for module, which is an old school term for a written adventure.
22 minutes | Nov 11, 2020
Session Recap: Brains and Devils
This episode we circle back to the adventures we planned in Campaigns Arcs & Mind Flayers and the one-on-one sessions we planned in A Devilish Encounter. Hear what went great, what didn’t go as expected, and the surprising decisions the players made.We also talk about a creative rule for parties strategizing mid-combat, fun ways to handle a player’s character being out of action for a session or more, and meaningful consequences for making evil decisions.Spoilers for Kagan’s Storm King’s Thunder campaign and Joe’s Monday night campaign.Jargon Cheat SheetAPL: Average Party Level. Example, APL 12 is a group of level 12 adventurers (on average).
35 minutes | Nov 4, 2020
This episode we dive into the wonderful world of role playing!From ordering your first drink, to berating the rogue for getting in trouble again, role playing is the magic sauce that separates role playing games like D&D from other tabletop games.We discuss the different stages of role playing, the importance of creating a safe place for your players to role play, and our views on why encouraging role playing is important. We also discuss the merits of inspiration and different ways to reward your players for their awesome moments. Lastly, we dip our toes into the murky waters of handling conflict that can arise from role playing. Damn! That pesky rogue snuck off again!Jargon Cheat SheetMod: Short for module, which is an old school term for a written adventure.
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