Who's the Master Now?
by Stephen Schubert

Dungeon Master's Guide II isn't just for DMs. Even those not behind the screen can gain plenty of valuable information from it to improve their play experience! Below are ten specific reasons why players may find Dungeon Master's Guide II appealing.

10. Teamwork: Remember all those times when the party was trying to sneak past an inattentive guard, or tiptoe past the sleeping dragon? Inevitably, the DM asked everyone to make a Move Silently check, and rarely was the party cleric's result a double-digit number. But what if the PCs could train together and learn to help each other move more silently, evade each other's spells, or free one another from magical compulsions? Dungeon Master's Guide II provides easy-to-implement rules for teamwork that let PCs achieve results together that not all of them could manage on their own.

9. Apprentice and Mentor: Many fantasy tales begin with the wizard's apprentice, or the fighter who once worked for the town blacksmith. Dungeon Master's Guide II gives a rules framework to an apprentice-mentor relationship, defining both roles for PC use. Your character can now begin his career with a mentor and learn a few extra skills along the way. Then, when he's achieved sufficient power, he can train apprentices of his own.

8. Be Your Own Boss: Entrepreneurial PCs often enjoy the added responsibility of owning an inn, running a supply store, or managing some other business. With the new rules in Dungeon Master's Guide II, such dreams need no longer be fulfilled in a hazy, background sort of way. Your character can actually run a business between adventures and hire others to do the work for her while she's away.

7. Join the Club: Sometimes it's not just what you know, but who you know. A wizard's academy or a thieves' guild can provide significant benefits for PCs, and Dungeon Master's Guide II spells out what your character can expect to gain for maintaining good standing in his guild. To help get the ball rolling, a few sample organizations -- including the Red Knives thieves' gang and the noble Shining Crusade -- are fully detailed.

6. Adopt a Mascot: Let's face it -- some parties need guardian angels. One option that fits the bill nicely is a companion spirit that can be summoned by a group of PCs working together. With the aid of their companion spirit, the PCs can communicate telepathically with one another, gain defensive bonuses, or even ward off death effects.

5. Filet Minions: Specialists, contacts, and other adventurers are waiting to carry your party's recent haul, fight for your character, or fence her wares. Contacts can help train an animal, appraise an item, or heal members of the party, and they do it all for free -- though your character may not want to ask for these favors every day. Dungeon Master's Guide II provides rules for acquiring ordinary contacts as well as the services of specialists.

4. Know the Rules: Understanding the rules underlying the game can make you a better player. Has your party been attacked by a mob? Do the PCs have to escape a burning building? Is a comet falling from the sky? No matter what the challenge at hand, you'll know what your options are and be able to keep the game both active and interactive.

3. Campaign Workings: The campaign in which you play isn't just the DM's world. All the players do their part to add to its history and ambiance as well. Chapter 3 of Dungeon Master's Guide II helps you to understand the makeup of a campaign world, so that you can ask the right questions and play a strong role in its evolution.

2. Magic Items: If you're like lots of other players, you bought the Dungeon Master's Guide so that you could drool over all its cool magic items. In like manner, this book provides plenty of additional magic that your character might wield. What does a githcraft or hellforged longsword look like, anyway? Find out in Dungeon Master's Guide II!

1. Take a Ride on the Other Side of the Screen: Much of the material in Dungeon Master's Guide II addresses the challenges a DM faces while running a game or campaign. But the chapter on running a game isn't necessarily just for DMs -- you may recognize some of your own tendencies in its pages. By recognizing trends that might be suboptimal, you can improve the play experience for yourself and the rest of the group as well. And who knows? Perhaps you'll decide to try your own hand at DMing.

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