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Description:

Game Master's Journey is a podcast all about tabletop roleplaying games from the perspective of the captain's chair.

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Podcast Episode's:
Game Master's Journey 183: The Astral Plane
Lex returns to his discussion of the Dungeon Master’s Guide with an exploration of the astral plane. This is the first part of a two part discussion. We'll go over the basics of the astral plane. We’re not given a lot of details on this plane in the 5e DMG compared to previous editions, so in part two we’ll refer to the Manual of the Planes from 3rd edition to fill in the gaps. This week Lex also discuss some of the spells used to travel the planes--plane shift, gate and astral projection.
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Game Master's Journey 182: Livestream 006: Upcoming Campaign, Future of the Show & More!
In October's livestream episode, Lex discusses his upcoming D&D campaign, Hinterlands of Elandria, which he'll be livestreaming on YouTube. He also talks about the future of Game Master's Journey, adjusting encounters in a published adventure for PCs of a lower or higher level, Tomb of Annihilation and Xanathar's Guide to Everything.
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Game Master's Journey 181: House Rules & Game Balance
Lex discusses why game balance is important. We often think of game balance when coming up with campaign-affecting house rules, but we should also keep it in mind when making rulings on-the-fly during play. These spontaneous house rules can have just as much impact on our games as the ones we spend time designing.
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Game Master's Journey 180: Hacks for DMs, Handing Out Powerful Magic Items & Is Worldbuilding a Waste of Time?
Lex covers a variety of RPG topics today including getting PCs back to town at the end of the session in West Marches campaigns, Limitless Adventures' Limitless NPCs, stepping on toes, Jeremy Crawford's DM hacks and handing out legendary and other powerful magic items. Finally Lex discusses the belief that worldbuilding is a waste of the GM's time because the players won't care about the setting anyway.
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Game Master's Journey 179: Creating a Multiverse
Lex shares what he learned from his latest D&D campaign. Then he begins a discussion of chapter 2 of the Dungeon Master's Guide: Creating a Multiverse. He covers the different types of planes and different ways you can fit them together into a cosmology. Finally he discusses some of the ways PCs can access and travel the planes.
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Game Master's Journey 178: GM Philosophies & Tips, Worldbuilding & More!
Brett joins the show again for a GM to GM discussion of some general GM philosophy and tips, and Lex goes into some detail on his upcoming campaign and his homebrew world of Primordia.
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Game Master's Journey 177: Livestream 005: Scaling Encounters on the Fly
Encounters seldom turn out in practice as they appear on paper. Today Lex discusses some ways to scale an encounter on the fly during play.
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Game Master's Journey 176: "Random" Encounters, Player Honesty, Theater of the Mind & GM Impartialness in West Marches Campaigns
Today Lex discusses feedback from Listener-GMs on recent topics. He discusses his opinions on Professional Game Masters. He also talks about "random" encounters, player honesty, competition, theater of the mind and the impartialness of the GM in West Marches style campaigns.
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Game Master's Journey 175: Flavors of Fantasy
Lex wraps up his exploration of chapter 1 of the Dungeon Master's Guide with a discussion of the flavors of fantasy.
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Game Master's Journey 174: Livestream 004: Preparing My Next Campaign
Today Lex talks about what he's done to prepare for his next campaign, The Hinterlands of Elandria. 
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Game Master's Journey 173: Play Style & Tiers of Play
Lex returns to the DMG to discuss play style and tiers of play. Not all D&D campaigns are the same, and this is the point in your campaign creation where you decide exactly what kind of an experience you’re going for. 
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Game Master's Journey 172: Livestream 003: Preparing a Primordia Campaign - East Marches of Elandria
Lex discusses preparation for his new campaign.


Game Master's Journey 171: Worldbuilding, Railroading & High Tier Play with Brett Nilsson
Today Lex moves to the other side of the GM screen to talk with his DM, Brett. Lex has been playing in Brett’s campaign quite a while now and having a lot of fun. Lex asks him about his GMing style and about his homebrew setting of Terindal. They also talk about how to avoid railroading the PCs, and Brett's experiences running D&D at the higher tiers of play.
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Game Master's Journey 170: West Marches Campaign Variants
Lex discusses some variations you can consider to tailor the West Marches formula to the needs of your own campaign. He describes the variations he's using for his own campaign, The Hinterlands of Elandria.
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Game Master's Journey 169: Livestream 002: Xanathar's Guide, Tomb of Annihilation, West Marches & More!
Lex discusses Wizards of the Coast's new product announcements: Xanathar's Guide to Everything and Tomb of Annihilation. He also discusses West Marches campaigns, Mearls' crazy initiative system, and more.
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Game Master's Journey 168: Livestream 001: Introductions
Welcome to the first episode of the Game Master's Journey Livestream. Lex introduces the show and explains what you can expect.
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Game Master's Journey 167: Preparing & Running a West Marches Campaign
In the second of a series of episodes on West Marches campaigns, Lex discusses how to prepare and run a West Marches-style campaign. 
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Game Master's Journey 166: West Marches Campaigns
Lex and Christopher discuss West Marches campaigns--a style of campaign that features wilderness exploration and player-directed action. Everything from scheduling, to party makeup, to game session objectives is up to the players!
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Game Master's Journey 165: Creating Campaign Events
Lex returns to the Dungeon Master's Guide to discuss creating campaign events. These events are the perfect way to begin or end a campaign, or to renew flagging interest in a campaign that's grown stagnant. Finally, Lex discusses ending a campaign.
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Game Master's Journey 164: Creating Campaigns
Lex returns to his exploration of the DMG and discusses creating a campaign. Whether you’re creating your first campaign, or you’ve created so many you’ve lost count, the DMG has some tools to help you.
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Game Master's Journey 163: Magic in Your World
Lex returns to his in-depth exploration of the DMG with a discussion of how you can use magic to flesh out your world. Whether magic is rare or common, low-powered or high-powered, reviled or respected, the consequences of your decisions will trickle down throughout your setting.
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Game Master's Journey 162: Art & Cartography in RPGs with Mike Schley
Mike Schley joins the show to discuss art, mapping and worldbuilding in RPGs. He discusses his new Schleyscapes Kickstarter and his setting of Fernweh.
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Game Master's Journey 161: Factions & Organizations
Factions and organizations are a great way to add richness to your world and increase your players' engagement and investment with your setting. Lex discusses how to create organizations, and he illustrates the process with his Honorable Guild of Adventurers Explorers and Scholars and the mystery cults of the gods of Primordia.
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Game Master's Journey 160: Improving a Published Adventure to Make It Your Own
Even the best published adventure can be improved by tailoring it to your players and their PCs. Lex discusses some issues with The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan, and he details some of the changes he's made to the adventure to address these problems. Hopefully this example will help you put your own spin on the next published adventure you run, leading to an even more enjoyable experience for both you and your players.
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Game Master's Journey 159: Mass Combat, Absent Players & Real-World vs. In-Game Religions
In this special, Patron-sponsored bonus episode, Lex discusses whether or not we need mass combat rules in our tabletop RPGs. He also presents a listener-GM's fantastic strategy on how to turn player absence into an opportunity for the rest of the group. Finally he gives some thoughts on keeping real-world religious conflicts from ruining the game for everyone.
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Game Master's Journey 158: Creating Settlements for Your Campaigns
Lex continues his series on the Dungeon Master’s Guide with a discussion of creating settlements for your campaign.
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Game Master's Journey 157: Designing The Trickster's Labyrinth
Lex discusses designing The Trickster’s Labyrinth, his first published D&D adventure. He also talks about some of his experiences thus far running The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan.
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Game Master's Journey 156: Mapping Your Campaign
Lex continues his exploration of the DMG with a discussion of creating maps for your campaign and world. He discusses the bottom-up and top-down approaches to mapping, giving some pros and cons of each. He also considers what to do if you don't have any skills with mapping and provides some campaign map resources to help you with your campaign and world.
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Game Master's Journey 155: Developing Gods & Pantheons for Your World
Lex discusses developing gods and a pantheon for his homebrew world of Primordia. Lex first attempted to base Primordia's gods on the domains in D&D, but finally realized it wasn’t working. Lex shares what he's learned from this and what he thinks is a better approach to creating gods and pantheons for your homebrew world.
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Game Master's Journey 154: Gods of Your World
Lex continues his exploration of the DMG with a discussion of gods and deities in your world. Lex explores different types of pantheons and religious systems, and provides examples from his own homebrew world of Primordia.
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Game Master's Journey 153: Tales from the Yawning Portal Review
Today Lex discusses Tales from the Yawning Portal, an adventure supplement for Dungeons & Dragons. Lex gives a full review of the book overall and each of the seven included adventures.
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Game Master's Journey 152: A World of Your Own
Lex begins a discussion of the first chapter of the Dungeon Master's Guide with an exploration of the core assumptions of the published D&D settings and how you can alter them to create a world that’s truly unique. Lex accompanies this with an introduction to his own homebrew D&D world of Primordia and how he's approached these core assumptions. Finally, Lex talks a bit about his continuing journey in designing the god, pantheons, portfolios and domains of Primordia.
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Game Master's Journey 151: Knowing What Your Players Enjoy Most About the Game
This week Lex begins an in-depth exploration of the Dungeon Master’s Guide . He spends some time discussing the different aspects of a roleplaying game and how you can engage players who enjoy those different aspects.
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Game Master's Journey 150: Preparing for a D&D Session
Lex discusses how he prepared for an upcoming D&D session. He explains how he took a problem encounter and used it as an opportunity to reinforce the themes of the campaign and further the goals he has for this particular session and the campaign overall.
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Game Master's Journey 149: Writers as GMs, Running Improvisational Adventures & DM-PCs vs. NPCs
Listener-GM Stephen Rhodes joins Lex to discuss the craft and art of running RPGs. They discuss the similarities and differences between writing for video games and running RPG adventures, they have some thoughts on using improvisation more as a GM, and Stephen points out yet another way that theater of the mind play is an invaluable tool in the improvisational GM’s toolbox. They also talk about keeping a good balance in your games and making the most of those wonderful moments of “downtime” you have as a GM during a game session. They also discuss the difference between a DM-PC and an NPC that travels with the party, how to know which side of that line you’re on, and how killing off a beloved NPC can be exactly what your story needs. Finally, they discuss how a GM wanting to improve her craft can learn a lot from books on writing, and they give some recommendations.
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Game Master's Journey 148: Maybe You Should Add Game Master to your Resume
Stephen Rhodes joins Lex on the show today to talk about how being a Game Master helped him get where he is today as a writer for Ubisoft Games. They also discuss writing and publishing RPG adventures, the pros and cons of class-based games, and their thoughts on the ultimate RPG super-system. Finally, Stephen gives some insights on starting a new campaign, and they explore techniques for running RPGs for both new and veteran players.
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Game Master's Journey 147: D&D Beyond, Initiative Variants & Balancing House Rules
Lex discusses D&D Beyond, a new online tool for players and DMs. He also discusses how cutting words interacts with initiative rolls, a few initiative variants and using potions. He gives thoughts to consider when making house rules or rules variants—there’s more to it than what makes sense logically. Finally, he gives an update on his upcoming D&D adventure, The Trickster’s Labyrinth.
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Game Master's Journey 146: Spellcasting, Conditions & Exhaustion in D&D 5th Edition
This week Lex concludes his in-depth discussion of the D&D Player's Handbook with an exploration of the spellcasting, conditions and exhaustion rules.
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Game Master's Journey 145: D&D Combat Rules
Lex launches into an in-depth discussion of the combat rules of D&D. If you have any questions about the rules, or you'd just like a refresher, this is the episode for you.
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Game Master's Journey 144: Teaching New Players & Tips for New GMs
Today I continue my series on the Roles of the GM. In this episode we discuss the GM as a teacher. As GMs we often find ourselves teaching players a new game, or even teaching players who’ve never played an RPG before.  I give you strategies to set yourself up for success and ensure your players come back for more. I also give some tips specific to teaching 5th edition D&D to new players, and finally I give some tips for new GMs preparing to run D&D for the first time. 
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Game Master's Journey 143: Food & Water, Descriptive & Interactive Roleplaying, Resting & Downtime
I continue my discussion of chapter 8 of the PHB. We’ll talk about food & water, & interacting with objects. We’ll also discuss social interaction and the difference between descriptive and active roleplaying. I have some thoughts on how you can encourage more immersive active roleplaying from your players. Finally, we’ll go over resting and downtime activities.


Game Master's Journey 142: Travel, Movement, Falling, Suffocation, Vision & Light
I begin discussing chapter 8 of the Player’s Handbook, Adventuring, which includes travel pace, special types of movement, activities while traveling, falling, suffocating, vision and light. 
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Game Master's Journey 141: D&D Product Replacement & How RPGs are Good for Us
Today I’ll discuss an excellent Ted talk I saw about how playing RPGs like D&D is good for us. Before that, I’ll discuss Wizards of the Coast’s product replacement policy for D&D fifth edition. Their website is misleading, and the process is much easier than you may have been led to believe.
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Game Master's Journey 140: D&D Ability Scores & When to Call for a Check
I dig into chapter 7 of the Player’s Handbook and discuss ability checks. I tell you how you can determine which ability and skill to use for a check and how to assign the DC for a check. I also touch on helping, group checks, encumbrance, and hiding in combat. Finally, I provide some insight on how to know when to ask for a roll, and when not to.
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Game Master's Journey 139: Multiclassing & Feats in D&D
Today I discuss multiclassing & feats in D&D fifth edition. These are two optional rules that you can use (or not use) to tailor your game to get exactly the experience you’re looking for.
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Game Master's Journey 138: Using Tables, Variant Rules, Equipment & Living Expenses
Today I’ll discuss chapter 5 of the PHB—Equipment. You might be surprised how many gems are in this chapter, including some decisions you can make about how to customize your game. Before that, I have another update to episode 136's discussion of the alternate encounter rules in the Unearthed Arcana.
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Game Master's Journey 137: The GM as Rules Arbiter & Using the Random Height & Weight Table
Today I’m starting two new series on the show! First, I begin my series on the roles of the GM. As game masters we wear many hats, and there are a lot of skillsets involved. Today I discuss the GM as rules arbiter. When it comes to the rules of an RPG, the buck stops at the GM. Most RPGs have a rule zero which gives the GM ultimate authority when it comes to the rules, not the books or developers of the game. Second, I will begin a series of segments in which I will dig into the PHB and DMG. If you’ve been asking for episodes on how to play and/or run RPGs, this is for you! Hopefully I’ll tease out some gems from these books you didn’t even know were there.
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Game Master's Journey 136: Building D&D Encounters using the Unearthed Arcana
Today I’ll discuss an alternative method for building encounters for D&D that Wizards has provided in the Unearthed Arcana. After some playtesting, I’ve found this method to be easier and work better than the method presented in the DMG. It’s also not nearly as confusing or involved as it may seem. I also discuss the dangers of getting too used to adjusting encounters on the fly instead of designing them correctly to begin with. Finally, I give some pointers on creating a legendary version of a non-legendary monster to throw at your PCs.
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Game Master's Journey 135: Volo's Guide to Monsters
Today I give a complete review of Volo's Guide to Monsters, the latest supplement for Dungeons & Dragons fifth edition.
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Game Master's Journey 134: Bringing NPCs to Life & House Rules
In this episode I’ll discuss a trick I use to help me bring my NPCs to life or even create an NPC on the fly during play. I’ll also share with you a house rule I’ve been deliberating for D&D. It’s turned out to be a great example of some of the perils of making house rules.
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Game Master's Journey 133: Bringing Strongholds & Followers from 1st Edition to 5th
This week I discuss Limitless Adventure's 5th edition products and Kickstarter. I also discuss strongholds and followers from Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition and share some of my thoughts on how I will bring these rules into 5th edition for use in my homebrew world, Primordia.
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Game Master's Journey 132: Bringing PC Backstories into the Adventure
Today I’m discussing PC backstories and how to bring them into the story of your campaign. I’ll give advice not only for GMs, but also for players on how to better give the GM what she needs in order to bring your backstory into the main narrative. Not only will using these character hooks enrich the story of your game, but it will also increase player buy-in and engagement. I also talk a bit about the new player options for D&D being released in the new Unearthed Arcana articles and how you can, and should, make your voice heard.
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Game Master's Journey 131: Keeping the Game Going Between Sessions Part 2
Today I return to the topic of gaming between sessions. How do we keep the story going, and keep players engaged, in between our gaming sessions? I’ve got some great ideas from listeners that I’ll share with you.
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Game Master's Journey 130: Primordia 2.0 - Improving Your World Through Revision
Today I’ll discuss some revisions I’m considering for Primordia as I begin preparations for my first campaign in the setting. I’ll also answer a few remaining listener questions about the setting. This is a great example of how worldbuilding is a process that never truly ends. Never be afraid to make necessary revisions to your setting, even when you already have campaigns up and running.
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Game Master's Journey 129: Keeping the Game Going Between Sessions
Shane of the Total Party Thrill podcast joins me today to discuss gaming between sessions. We explore strategies you can use as a GM to keep player engagement and interest high in between your gaming sessions.


Game Master's Journey 128: Primordia Q&A
Today I answer listener questions about my homebrew D&D world, Primordia. Some of the topics discussed include the underdark of Primordia, the fae of Primordia, and traveling to Primordia from other worlds.
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Game Master's Journey 127: Adventuring in the Wilds of Primordia
Today I resume discussion of my homebrew D&D world of Primordia. I talk about how some of my assumptions about the world have come into conflict with running actual adventures in the world and the solutions I found to the dilemma. I also discuss what adventures in Primordia will be like, and I talk more about the Wilds of Primordia and what kinds of things you’ll find out there. What makes Primordia unique, and what will the life of an adventurer really be like in Primordia?
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Game Master's Journey 126: Storm King's Thunder Review
I give my full review of Storm King’s Thunder, the new published D&D campaign by Wizards of the Coast.
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Game Master's Journey 125: Theater of the Mind Feedback
Welcome to season 7 of Game Master's Journey! I’ve gotten some great feedback on episode 124, which was on theater of the mind play, and I’ll share some of that feedback with you today. I’ll also share a tip on how to handle initiative in such a way as to not disrupt the flow, momentum and pacing of your session.
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Game Master's Journey 124: Theater of the Mind
Today I’m going to discuss using theater of the mind as GMs. I’ll give some benefits and challenges as compared to using miniatures and a grid, and I’ll pull in some opinions from listener-GMs. Finally, I’ll share some strategies to help you make theater of the mind work for you and your group.
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Game Master's Journey 123: Storm King's Thunder First Impressions
Storm King's Thunder has more to offer than just an adventure. I discuss some of the early highlights of this book and thoughts they've inspired, including giving DMs and players choices when handing out "random" magic items, how to use the coins in treasure hoards to help keep PC wealth where you want it, and some ideas on what to do if you have a TPK. I also discuss how the adventure gives the players special NPCs to play, and how we can use its enhanced monsters as a springboard of inspiration for creating our own bad-ass one-of-a-kind monsters.
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Game Master's Journey 122: Tome of Beasts Review
If you're looking for an extensive review of Tome of Beasts by Kobold Press, then you've come to the right place! I dig into this new monster manual for D&D fifth edition in detail. Will this book be right for you, your game, your setting and your group? You'll have to decide for yourself, but I'll give you the knowledge you need to make an educated decision.
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Game Master's Journey 121: Revising the Ranger
Today I’m going to discuss the latest revision of the ranger class for D&D released by Wizards of the Coast in the latest Unearthed Arcana. Has Wizards effectively addressed and solved the problems with fifth edition's ranger?
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Game Master's Journey 120: Old Magic & Elandria Expansion Feedback
I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback on episode 119, in which I discussed the expansion of Elandria, and some more feedback on episode 118 and the Old Magic of Primordia. I’ll go over some of that feedback, and my thoughts on it, in this episode.
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Game Master's Journey 119: The Expansion of Elandria
Today, I’m pulling in some listener feedback to guide a discussion on the expansion of the city of Elandria and the planning stages of my first campaign in my homebrew world of Primordia.
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Game Master's Journey 118: The Old Magic of Primordia
Today I talk a little about the legendary Old Magic of Primordia. This will exist solely in the realm of DM Fiat. Maybe it isn't even magic at all....
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Game Master's Journey 117: Handling Off-the-Wall PC Actions On-the-Fly
Today's topic is making rulings on the fly as a GM--specifically, calling for rolls that aren’t necessarily covered by your system of choice. You don’t need (or want!) a game to give you a mechanic for every little thing. Once you’ve grasped the basic resolution mechanics of a game, you can apply that knowledge to resolve any crazy thing the PCs come up with to try. I’ll use the current incarnation of D&D as an example.
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Game Master's Journey 116: Worldbuilding 18 - Exploring Your World's History for Variant Campaign Settings
If your homebrew D&D world is anything like my world, Primordia, then it was a very different place at different points in its history. Exploring these other time periods can yield the perfect campaign setting for a different kind of adventure you want to run. Whatsmore, using the same locale in different time periods allows you to easily make previous campaigns more relevant.
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Game Master's Journey 115: Worldbuilding 17 - Diversity of Religions in Primordia
I bring in listener feedback to further discuss The Honorable Guild of Adventurers, Explorers & Scholars. I also talk about how Primordia will have a great diversity in beliefs and religions even though there are ultimately only nine deities.
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Game Master's Journey 114: Worldbuilding 16 - Guild Dues & Perks
This week I discuss the benefits and responsibilities of being a member of the Guild of Adventurers. I also talk about GMs who make bard players perform at the table and how discussing your world with your players can bring a fresh perspective to your worldbuilding.
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Game Master's Journey 113: Worldbuilding 15 - Balances of Power in Elandria
This week I’m doing another worldbuilding feedback episode—unplugged, unrehearsed and unedited! I talk more about the different branches of government and the balances of power in the city of Elandria.
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Game Master's Journey 112: Worldbuilding 14 - Merchants, Nobles, Economies, Religion & More
In this unplugged feedback episode I discuss a variety of worldbuilding topics guided by your feedback. The topics include the delicate balance of power among the merchants, nobles and Queen of Elandria, the religious and cultural diversity of Primordia, and much more.
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Game Master's Journey 111: Curse of Strahd Review
Today I’m reviewing the Curse of Strahd published campaign for D&D. I also go over listener feedback on the benefits of having a starting city with a diversity of people, and I give some encouragement and ideas for those taking the worldbuilding plunge. Don’t be afraid to steal ideas. All creators steal ideas. What’s important and interesting is how you fit the ideas together. I also talk briefly about the magic-casting dragons of Primordia.


Game Master's Journey 110: Unplugged, Unrehearsed & Unedited - Feedback
This week I discuss listener feedback on a variety of RPG-related topics, including RPG product reviews, types of fantasy, worldbuilding, using real-world cultures as inspiration for your world and running D&D in a world without gods.
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Game Master's Journey 109: Worldbuilding 13: A More Attractive Cleric Part 3 - Making Clerics Awesome in Your World
Today I return to my discussion of the cleric in D&D. We spent the previous two episodes outlining the problem and posing possible solutions. Today I’ll go into what I think is the best solution we have—using your setting to make the cleric awesome. I’ll discuss some of the ways I’m trying to do this with my own homebrew world of Primordia.
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Game Master's Journey 108: Worldbuilding 12 - Portals of Primordia
I use listener feedback and questions to direct a discussion of the Portals of Primordia.
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Game Master's Journey 107: Storm King's Thunder, Rune Magic & Volo's Guide to Monsters
I take a break from our regularly scheduled programming to discuss the announcement of the new storyline for D&D, Storm King's Thunder. 
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Game Master's Journey 106: Worldbuilding 11 - Fitting Ideas Together & Exploring the Consequences
I explore the consequences of decisions I've made about Primordia and Elandria. This leads to ideas about the history of the region and the politics of the merchants and nobles of the city of Elandria.
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Game Master's Journey 105: Worldbuilding 10 - Hades, He Who Laughs Last
In this worldbuilding episodes I discuss Primordia's god of death--Hades, He Who Laughs Last.
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Game Master's Journey 104: A More Attractive Cleric Part 2 - The Holy Burrito
The cleric is one of the original classes of D&D, yet throughout the editions I've seen relatively few players play them. This week I continue my series in which I will examine the cleric and see what I can do to make it a more attractive option for players. This week I share your feedback, and I look at a few different ways that we could approach making the cleric a more attractive option to play.
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Game Master's Journey 103: A More Attractive Cleric Part 1
The cleric is one of the original classes of D&D, yet throughout the editions I've seen relatively few players play them. I myself am often loathe to play a cleric. This week I begin a multi-episode series in which I will examine the cleric and see what I can do to make it a more attractive option for players. This week I look at possible reasons players don't choose clerics. In the Worldbuilding segment I discuss the angels of Primordia.
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Game Master's Journey 102: Running an Adventure for New Players
This week I've got advice and encouragement for new GMs, and I also discuss running a game session for players brand new to the hobby. 
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Game Master's Journey 101: You Can Be a Game Master with Matthew Colville
Matthew Colville joins me on the show to discuss the art of game mastering. He has fantastic insights on running RPGs, and he shares some war stories as well. There are lots of great GMing tips in this episode!
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Game Master's Journey 100: Episode 100 Celebration - The Past, Present & Future of Game Master's Journey
Welcome to season 6 and the 100th episode of Game Master's Journey! Pour yourself a drink and strap in for this mega-episode! I discuss the past, present and future of the show, and this episode is jam-packed with your feedback.


Game Master's Journey 99 - Stealing from 13th Age with John Marvin
John Marvin of Dread Unicorn Games joins me again on the show to discuss ideas, techniques and mechanics you can steal from 13th Age to use in your RPG game of choice. Not only does he give great guidance on using these aspects in your game, this is also an excellent proof of concept for how you can use aspects of any RPG in the game you're currently playing.


Game Master's Journey 98 - Designing Adventures & Campaigns for Dungeons & Dragons
What is a balanced encounter in an RPG? What does "balanced" even mean? Are balanced encounters a desirable goal? If so, is it achievable? If so, how do we do it? How do we increase our chances of finishing a published campaign? What are some effects of the xp-per-encounter method of PC advancement in D&D when it comes to designing adventures or campaigns? What are the traps we will encounter, and how do we overcome them? I tackle these questions and more on this episode of Game Master's Journey.


Game Master's Journey 97 - Return to Ravenloft
Today I discuss my return to a beloved campaign setting--Ravenloft. I wax nostalgic about my memories of Ravenloft, and I talk about my plans for my own Curse of Strahd campaign.


Game Master's Journey 96 - Plot Twists: GM Intrusions in D&D
One of the great things about having so many RPGs to choose from these days is that you can take things you like from one game and apply them to another. My Plot Twist mechanic is inspired by Numenera’s GM Intrusion. You can easily do a similar mechanic for any game you’re running. Even if you don’t play D&D, I hope that this show how you can implement a beloved mechanic or idea from one game in another game.


Game Master's Journey 95 - The Social Contract with Christopher Ruthenbeck
Christopher from Shark Bone Podcast joins me on the show to discuss the social contract for your tabletop RPG. We explain what a social contract is, and how you can use it to avoid problems before they start. We share a host of ideas and thoughts to help you nail down the social contract that will work for you and your own group. One of the jobs of a GM is to manage the table and the players and create an environment where everyone can be comfortable to be creative. The social contract is an excellent tool to help you do just that.


Game Master's Journey 94 - Worldbuilding 9: My Take on Alignment
This week I discuss my philosophy when it comes to alignment in D&D. This philosophy has some mechanical effects on the game which result in consequences for my world of Primordia. Removing any mechanical affects of alignment from the game  influences certain magic items as well as the deities and the outer planes. I explain how my exploration of alignment in fifth edition really helped me to arrive at some exciting new ideas for my world, and how those ideas then helped me nail down the mechanical impacts (or lack thereof) of alignment in my D&D games.
Listen: podcast - audio/mpeg

Game Master's Journey 93 - Fixing D&D's Broken XP & Advancement System
Although I’m a fan of how Dungeons & Dragons fifth edition uses xp budgets to build encounters, the system for handing out experience for character advancement is unfortunately broken. I describe the problem and offer a solution. I also discuss handing out xp for roleplaying and traps.


Game Master's Journey 92 - Review of Star Wars RPGs by Fantasy Flight Games
I've had many listeners ask my to do a review of the Star Wars RPGs by Fantasy Flight Games. Specifically, listeners want to know why I'm not running this game anymore. This week I discuss my opinions of the games and give as balanced a review of them as I can manage.


Game Master's Journey 91 - Primordia AP 13: Primordia The Meat Grinder
The PCs reenter the dungeon and finally reach the tomb of the Red Raven. They face their biggest challenge yet.


Game Master's Journey 90 - My Edge of the Empire Campaign Part 3
I get a lot of questions from listeners about worldbuilding and adventure and campaign design. There’s also been quite a bit of interest in my new Star Wars campaign. Today I set off again on the Obsidian Monolith to conclude my discussion of my Edge of the Empire campaign.


Game Master's Journey 89 - Do It Your Way
There are lots of GMs out there (including myself) who will tell you how you should run your game. Ultimately it's up to you to decide what works best for you and your game. Don't hesitate to blaze your own trail.


Game Master's Journey 88 - Swans of Black & The Fifth Edition OGL with Ryan Chaddock
Ryan Chaddock joins me on the show today to discuss his 5e Kickstarter, Swans of Black, and the new OGL for D&D.


Game Master's Journey 87 - Primordia AP 12: Mockery of the Undead
In this episode of the Primordia campaign actual play, we learn that sometimes the way to deal with undead is to insult and mock them. Things really start to go south, and then they go south some more.


Game Master's Journey 86 - Primordia AP 11: Pink Lightning Bolts
Iorek earns the title Kill Stealer.


Game Master's Journey 85 - Primordia AP 10: Mackadoodle!
The PCs have leveled, so we start out with everyone describing their new abilities and spells. We also have a little bit of general 5e discussion, and then we get on with the adventure. Samson loses part of his soul. Oh well, he wasn’t using it.


Game Master's Journey 84 - XP & Random Encounters Feedback
This week I use your feedback to revisit the topics of encounter-based versus milestone xp and using random encounters in your game.



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