Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Review: Encounter Decks 3 by Inkwell Ideas

A few weeks ago I read a review over at Newbie DM and instantly went out and purchased it from DriveThruRPG. Encounter Decks 3 by Inkwell Ideas.

Encounter Decks 3 is, obviously not the first encounter deck released by Inkwell ideas, but it definitely seems to be the best so far. Every card contains a map on one side, and an adventure idea on the other. The map now, unlike previous versions, goes with the adventure.

These cards are so incredibly perfect for how I DM, with a highly improvisational style. But I definitely think any Master of Dungeons could benefit from these cards.

The maps are good, (although I tend to not rely on maps too often) but the adventures really make these cards worth it. They're split into two main categories: Swords & Sorcery, and Science Fantasy, which at first seemed like a drawback for me, since I prefer to not run science fiction styled campaigns, but all of the cards are written in a way that it would be incredibly easy to convert one to the other. A mad scientist trying to rebuild a dead body becomes a necromancer trying to summon skeletons, that sort of thing. They're also system agnostic, so can easily be worked into any system or version that you play at your table.

The deck is sold as both a PDF or a physical copy, but I highly recommend the physical copy (which can also come with the PDF), the PDF makes it difficult to tell which map goes with which card, and defeats the entire purpose of having an easy to randomize pack of adventures at your fingertips.

I've used these cards already at the table and they were immensely helpful, having all of the information on one card makes it very easy to reference, and there are enough different encounters on each card to provide easily a night's worth of fun.

I really can't recommend these cards enough, I have never encountered (get it?) a product that can so revolutionize my games like these have. I really commend Inkwell Ideas, and I'm jealous I didn't think of it. I hope they go on to make dozens more of these packs, and I can promise that I will buy every single one.

Make sure to pick up a copy here. They're under $10 for a physical copy, so there is really no reason not to.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Monday Non-Combat Magical Item - Picturebox

I've been reading The Colour of Magic from the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett (it's amazing and I highly recommend it). That has inspired today's Non-Combat Magical Item, the Picturebox.


Wondrous item, uncommon

The Picturebox is quite an amazing invention. It consists of a small hollow wooden cube, with a glass lense in the front, as well as a viewport for viewing. There is a small door in the back of it. The device is used to create still pictures, in as little as one minute.

A small imp is summoned and bound to each picturebox. Only imps of the highest artistic ability are used. The imp lives inside the picturebox, having all of the comforts of home, (stone slab for sleeping, gruel for eating, high-quality canvas and paints). When the user of the picturebox wants to capture a moment for posterity, they simply point the picturebox at the target, being careful to not obstruct the lense and therefore the view of the imp, press the button, and hold the box as steady as they can for one minute. The skilled imp quickly paints a portrait of what he can see, the portrait is of the hyper-realistic style that is popular in the lower planes. Painting imps will only paint what they can see, so they do not take any critiques on style, or attempt anything abstract.

The picture is then handed to the user out the back door of the picturebox. The picture is a standard 6-inch square. It is customary, but not required, to give the imp a short coffee break before taking another picture.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sunday Review - AdventureAWeek.com

Today I will be reviewing an adventure from AdventureAWeek.com a subscription service that provides adventures for D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder. The adventure I received was Mini-Dungeon #001 - Buried Council Chambers. I received it through Mythoard, so I won't be commenting on the AdventureAWeek.com subscription model, or anything about their service, although it interested me greatly, perhaps Master Of Dungeons could start some sort of 5th edition subscription dungeon service, if you would be interested in receiving a one page dungeon or adventure every few weeks in the mail as a subscription service, be sure to leave a comment. If you haven't already make sure to check out yesterday's review.

The adventure I received came on one piece of high quality glossy paper, double-sided. It is quite a small dungeon, so there isn't too much to talk about. Quite a few decent quality riddles, some puzzles and basic magic items, all of which, although designed for Pathfinder would work with Fifth Edition D&D. There are a few enemies, but again easily adaptable for whatever level players you are using this for.

The dungeon map itself is very good, I think the dungeon is worth it just for the map and the riddles. I'm going to keep this tucked away for when I need a last minute dungeon, and the riddles will definitely add a layer of depth to it.

The story of the dungeon is good, although short it is all very well-written. If the quality of all of the AdventureAWeek.com products is as high as this I would definitely recommend it, even for DMs for systems other than Pathfinder, because, this one at least, was very simple to convert to 5th Edition. I'm going to pick a couple more of these up for use when I need a dungeon or adventure last minute.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Saturday Grab Bag - Review: The Curse of the Witch Head

I'm very excited, my Mythoard package finally came! I have a bunch of products to review for the blog. For those of you who don't know, Mythoard is a LootCrate-esque package that comes to your house, the difference being that Mythoard is all related to Tabletop RPGs.

This weekend I'll have two reviews, and then some more to come. I will be hopefully reviewing Mythoard itself on another blog as a guest writer, so stay tuned to find a link to that sometime in the coming weeks. Mythoard may be a little pricey, especially if you live outside of the United States, but it really isn't too bad. I didn't realize how excited I would be for it to come. I would highly recommend getting at least one month, even if you don't subscribe, I think you'll like it. (And I don't have any sort of affiliate program with them, I just think it's worth checking out).

The first product I'll review from the package is:

Advanced Adventures #3: The Curse of the Witch Head


This adventure is written by James C. Boney of Expeditious Retreat Press. It was written for the OSRIC system, which as I understand means it is essentially written for 1st Edition D&D, old-school RPG, essentially. The rules to OSRIC are available online for free, so if you don't want to buy the rules to a system, and you love that old-school feel, it might be worth looking into.

I'm not a huge fan of the old-school RPG, but it seems to be still kickin' around through large movements like OSR. Personally I like the 5th edition of Dungeons and Dragons, it has the simple easy to follow rules of the old-school, while still being a modern system with the newer rules I'm used to. This is likely just a taste thing, and I'm sure I could grow to like the old-school rules. One thing that's important is that I don't know a lot about 1st Edition D&D, or any of the older style of RPGs, so my ignorance will likely show during this review.

One of the things I personally find about 80's styled tabletop, is it has a huge portion of the attention on adventuring and fighting. I personally focus more on the roleplaying side at my table, I'm not sure if this is because it is a published adventure focusing on a dungeon, or the old-school style, but The Curse of the Witch Head definitely seems to follow this theme.

The introduction brings the players straight into the adventure. There is an evil dude with an evil artifact from long ago, and a ruler who needs help from adventurers. What makes this book different straight off the bat, and I find pretty creative, is that they aren't the first group of adventurers hired for the mission, they're the third. The first two are presumed dead. I'm not a fan of how the book brings in the players, it isn't so much a suggestion as a hand-waving, saying the players were hired for a rescue mission. I know if I asked my players to collect some widget on something that the book describes as what "increasingly seems to be a suicide mission", from a Duke they'd never met, they would run in the opposite direction. The book does do a good job of explaining that anything could be changed by the DM to better suit his needs, so I can't complain too much. Just feels like it is designed as a railroad, but I guess if you didn't want a structured adventure you wouldn't be playing out of the book.

Some of the writing seems a little awkward (which readers of this blog will likely be used to). Some of the beginning seems to lack creativity, which make me scratch my head, because as you will see the dungeon itself is quite good. For example, the widget the players are supposed to find is an ancient "Witch Head", it has been hidden away for generations. The location? Witcheed Hill, a hill that the book suggests might have originally come from a slip of the tongue of the original labourers.

The Dungeon

I found the introduction to this adventure a little lackluster. However, this may be just the style of 1st edition, the Dungeon with a capital D tends to be the focus of these things, doesn't it? The dungeon is very well done, even to a heathen 5e DM like myself. If I had quality dungeons like this in fifth edition modules I would actually run dungeons at my table more often.

The map is an old-school white grid on a black background style of map, which I appreciate. I like my maps to be simple. Although the map is simple, the dungeon certainly isn't. Each room as a great two to three paragraph description, with very creative ideas. There is a desecrated temple to a god of good, where the god of evil and god of good are both vying for control, and players have a chance for a temporary boon or curse (rolled on a table), an underground lake filled with giant leeches, and many interesting traps and enemies. 

The dungeon is far and away the highlight of this module, and takes up the majority of the book. Part of the reason I don't run a lot of dungeons at my table is I use lots of improv, and I'm rarely prepared enough for a dungeon worthy of my players. This dungeon, although designed for another version, is definitely worth running. I definitely plan on adapting this dungeon to fifth edition, mostly by stripping out the monsters and replacing them with 5e monsters. I'm not quite sure what I'll do with the story, but the sense of adventure and exploration that each room of the dungeon exudes definitely makes it worth the attention.


While I may not be a huge fan of the old-school RPG, I am a fan of the old-school style of art. Like the old issues of Dragon magazine, the art in this book really stands out. I really appreciate the drawings in this book, especially since the book definitely doesn't need them, it could have made do with just the cover and the map. 

Monsters and Items

I'm purposefully not going to review the unique monsters and magical items that were included in this book. I don't think that I'm qualified to comment since I don't have a strong grasp on this ruleset. When I run this dungeon, which I'm now sure that I am going to, I will reflavour the stats of a monster from the Fifth Edition Monster Manual, but describe it to the players the same as in this book, possibly adapting any of the special abilities. 


Ultimately, I don't think I could become a fan of the OSRIC/1st Edition play-style or rules, but this adventure definitely made me rethink how I look at dungeons, and the general adventuring/exploring play-style. I may be focusing too much on role-play, and need to throw a quality dungeon like this at my players. I would highly recommend picking up this book somewhere like DriveThruRPG, you would be supporting an indie designer, as well as trying things out that might be a little different than you are used to.

Even if you aren't interested in the older style (I certainly am not), the dungeon is very well designed, and will definitely interest your players. I suggest picking this module up and plopping in your own monsters from the Monster Manual, you'll have a high quality dungeon ready to go for very little work.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday NPC of the Week - Beddel

Beddel is a stingy dwarf barkeep, who owns and runs the notorious Silver Sidewalk Saloon. The good ol' Three-S is famous for being one of the most tourist-friendly, safe bars and inns in the realm. This is the reputation Beddel has promoted himself, paying for a friendly description from tourism books, and long distance carriage drivers. The truth is much different than the propaganda that Beddel pays for, there is likely no place in the realm where tourists are more likely to get robbed, or worse.

Where most dwarves are known for their dedication and hardwork, Beddel is interested in only one thing, money, especially money parted easily from another. He is one of the most skilled con men, always quick with a smile and a reassuring slap on the back, while his other hand is picking your pocket. His favourite target is new adventurers, often travelling for their first time away from their small farming village, with little knowledge of the value of money. The price of ale, or a night's rest can fluctuate from as low as triple the market value, to as high as a fist full of gems of which a naive adventurer didn't understand their true value. Pick-pocketing is a common occurrence in his bar, but the real danger is the ladies in his employ.

If Beddel fails at removing all of the valuables he desires from a customer, or if he is worried that they will become too talkey, ruining the esteemed reputation of his establishment, he will send up one of his ladies of the evening to pay the customer a visit. These ladies are said to be incredibly beautiful, but none who have been paid a visit from them have ever been heard from again to verify. 

As always feel free to contact or follow Master of Dungeons at Google PlusFacebook, and Twitter or email at MasterODungeons@gmail.com. If you'd like to Support Master Of Dungeons blog, consider purchasing something from Amazon from the links below.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Thursday Quick Adventure - Wizard's Tower Floor 1

Welcome to the first real section of the Wizard's tower, the first ongoing adventure by the Master Of Dungeons blog. This adventure will have the players scaling a large tower, that they first encountered in the introduction (you should check it out if you haven't already).

The map was generated using the amazing generator at DonJon. I edited it in paint, took out some rooms and changed the numbers and such around. All of the encounters are original, not the generator however.

This adventure is designed for 3-6 Level 1 adventurers, using Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition rules, but it could easily be adapted to any system. At the end of this adventure your players will likely be level 2, and if you use milestone achievement you should level them up.

Feel free to increase or decrease the difficulty, based on number of players or player skill. You are the Master of Dungeons, these are just ideas and inspiration. Let me know if you have any questions or comments either on social media (Google PlusFacebook, and Twitter) or email me at MasterODungeons@gmail.com

MM stands for Monster Manual, I've included a purchase link here and at the bottom of the page.

Map generated using tools at http://donjon.bin.sh

Room 1 - Reception

Monsters: 2 Goblins (CR: 1/4 XP: 50 MM: p. 166) Total XP: 100

Treasure: n/a

This room has four hall ways leading off of it, serving as the main hub of the labyrinth of the first floor of the wizard's tower. Two goblins were alerted to guard the door by the goblin carrying the young girl, but if the players take too long then they quickly get bored, going back to their favourite idle-hobbies, nose-picking and attempting to juggle. If they see anyone attempt to enter the room they will attack on sight, saying no one is supposed to be here. Unfortunately for them, neither of them is smart enough to shout for help.

Room 2 - Meat locker

Monsters: 7 Ponies (CR: 1/8 XP: 25 MM: p. 335) Total XP: n/a

Treasure: n/a

This room is kept private with a flimsy lock, from both sides. To pick the lock is a DC 8 Lockpicking check, it is also made of fairly flimsy wood that could be broken down fairly easily. Within the room are 7 small ponies, used for food by the bugbear in Room 3. The ponies are docile, but visibly afraid. If the players free the ponies, two of them will stay in the woods near to the tower, willing to help by carrying supplies or small humanoids. In the corner of the room is a small stage that looks to be built for children's puppet shows.

Room 3 - Kitchen

Monsters: 1 Bugbear (CR: 1 XP: 200 MM: 33) Total XP: 200

Treasure: 22 sp, 3 gp, polished "Tony" puppet.

A large, angry bugbear thinks himself the chef of the first floor, and none of the others are brave enough to suggest otherwise, regardless of the bugbear's lack of culinary ability. He absolutely despises anyone entering his kitchen, anyone except for Tony, his prized possession and best friend. Tony is a small, polished wooden puppet, once a popular toy among noble children in a nearby city. The bugbear somehow found himself with the toy, talking to it as he cooks. He will defend his kitchen violently, but he will defend Tony to the death. The coins are sitting in a coin purse, next to the puppet.

Room 4 - The Dining Hall

Monsters: 6 Drunk Goblins (CR: 1/4 XP: 50/2 =25  MM: p. 166) Total XP: 150

Treasure: 10 bottles of assorted cheap wine (5 cp each)

Six drunk goblins are alternating drinking cheap wine and attempting to stomach the chef's mystery meat. The goblins are drunk, so all of their attacks are done with disadvantage, as well, they are so ill-prepared for combat that even if the players walk in and talk to them, they will still be surprised by combat (Missing their first turn). These goblins award half XP (reflected in the totals above), since they are so inept. If he hasn't been dealt with already, after four rounds of combat the bugbear from room 3 enters with a plate of food. If he sees fighting he shouts at the goblins, sobering them up (and removing their drunken disadvantage and returning their XP to normal), before joining the fight.

Room 5 - Sleeping Quarters

Monsters: 3 Goblins (CR: 1/4 XP: 50 MM: p.166)
                 2 Kobolds (CR: 1/8 XP: 25 MM: p.195) Total XP: 200

Treasure: Lessiroth's Amulet of Beauty Sleep

Two goblins and two kobolds lie sleeping in bunk beds, in a row filled with a large number of beds, stacked three high. One goblin is sitting awake at a table, sharpening his sword. If the awake goblin notices anything out of the ordinary he shouts the others awake, or if he is killed too loudly.  One of the goblins will not wake under any condition. He has a beautiful amulet around his neck. Upon inspection it is noticed that the goblin has none of the normal warts and scrapes that are normal for goblins, and looks incredibly youthful. The amulet falls off the goblin if he is killed, but otherwise will not come off. The amulet is Lessiroth's Amulet of Beauty Sleep, and if it is removed the goblin's body will age into an incredibly old and gray version of his former self.

Room 6 - Rec Room

Monsters: 2 Hobgoblins (CR: 1/2 XP: 100 MM: p. 186) Total XP: 200

Treasure: n/a

Two hobgoblins are sitting on a moldy looking sofa, arguing about whether little girls can be eaten. They know nothing about any girls brought into the building, other than a goblin named Gripp was seen bringing one into the building, and they weren't allowed to eat her. They don't know why she was brought to the tower, just that she was brought upstairs. The sofa is facing away from the doors, but they eventually notice anyone in the room and, upset at the earlier missed opportunity for a meal, try to kill and eat them.

Room 7 - Abandoned Crypt

Monsters : 3 Skeletons (CR: 1/4 XP: 50 MM: p. 272)
                  1 Goblin (CR: 1/4 XP: 50 MM: p. 166) Total XP: 200

Treasure: 2 Health Potions

Three skeletons lie around the room. A frightened goblin is tiptoeing around the skeletons, late for dinner in Room 4, when he eventually notices the party (unless they are sneaking). When the goblin notices that players he lets out a blood-curdling scream. The drunk goblins in Room 4 are too preoccupied to notice, however the three skeletons in the room take notice, rising from their  rest to attack anyone within reach. The skeletons will attack whoever is closest without discrimination, the goblin included. One of the skeletons has two health potions stuck in his rib cage.

Room 8 - Mirror Room

Monsters: n/a

Treasure: n/a

This room is coated on every surface: walls, floor, ceiling, and doors with mirrors. Despite the decrepit, old appearance of the rest of the tower, the mirrors in this room are in perfect condition. It is quite disturbing, but doesn't appear to be dangerous.

Room 9 - Stairs to Second Floor

Monsters: n/a

Treasure: n/a

This room is empty. A door in the south side of the room leads to a staircase to the second floor. The door is locked, but the door knob is sentient. The door knob is happy to see some friendly faces, being quite unhappy with the rough sort of creatures who have made this place their home of late. He isn't very knowledgeable about the tower, saying that "Nobody ever explains what's going on to the door knob", although he did notice a crying girl carried by a goblin go up the stairs. He would definitely like to help the adventurers to save the girl, but he can't open unless they have the key. He says there are a few keys carried by different dangerous looking people, but he knows that a map exists to a backup key in the map room on the west side of the building.

Room 10 - Map Room

Monsters: 1 Bugbear (CR: 1 XP: 200 MM: 33) Total XP: 200

Treasure: Map to the Backup Key to the second floor.

A bugbear is looking through the many piles of maps in this room, giggling to himself. The bugbear likes to come in here while others are busy to pretend to be an adventurer in a faraway land. He gets embarrassed if watched, and tries to kill any witnesses. In the center of the room is a large map with the title IN CASE 2ND FLOOR KEY IS LOST.

Room 11 - Library

Monsters: n/a

Treasure: 2 Spell Scrolls (Level 1) Sleep and Thunderwave

The library somehow seems unappealing to the residents of this floor. The room is filled with a thick layer of dust. Some of the books appear to have bite marks in them. If the books are flipped through for any amount of time, it is likely the players will notice two spell scrolls (listed above), stuck in one of the books.

Hallway A

This long winding staircase is locked off by the door to Room 11. The door is locked shut with powerful magic, not opening for anyone without the proper magic key (To make an appearance in a future adventure).

Where to go from here?

The next section of this adventure is up to you. The players need to follow the map to get the key to the second floor. It should be guarded by some monster or enemy, but whoever has it doesn't know what they have. The players should be level 3 before returning to the tower. The Dungeon Master's Guide can help you with creating encounters and daily XP schedules. Make sure to pick up the Monster Manual if you haven't already, and each of your players should have their own Player's Handbook. (Plus if you follow these links you'll help support Master Of Dungeons. 

Next you should follow Master Of Dungeons on social media (Google PlusFacebook, and Twitter) to make sure you don't miss the next installment of the Wizard's Tower.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wednesday Roll Table - Potions

This week I tried to make a critical fumble roll table, but I got bored. There are tons of good examples out there, so just google it. Here is this week's roll table.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Tuesday Quick Tip - DM and Improv

If you want to become a true Master of Dungeons, you have to learn the true meaning of improv. This isn't something I see talked about very often, but D&D (or RPGs in general) is essentially a form of improvisation.

That means that becoming a better DM relies on mastering the most important rule of improv, Yes and. "Yes and" means trying to always move the story along by taking your co-improvisers suggestions, agreeing with them, and adding something. Obviously if your players try something impossible, or ridiculous, that doesn't mean you have to completely agree with it, but you can at least attempt to not give a hard no.

The best thing about Yes and is that it makes your players think that you're an amazing DM that thinks of everything, while in reality they are the ones who thought of it. Here is an example:

DM: You're trapped in a cell, there is a snoozing guard by the door.

Player: Is the window barred? Are there any secret tunnels or anything like that?

DM: (There hadn't been any tunnels in your notes) Yes, underneath the window there is a loose tile that turns out to be a tunnel.

Player: They may know the tunnel is there, it might be booby trapped. Are there any noticeable traps?

DM: Roll an investigation check... You find a small dart trap that looks like it would have been triggered by a floor tile. You can easily step around it.

Now you don't want to do this for every idea the players say. Sometimes there just isn't a secret passage, or a trap. Otherwise they'll realize that they can dictate the game by thinking of easy shortcuts. Its also important to keep the players surprised, don't simply add things to your world because they asked if they are there.

Your city probably has improv classes, it might be interesting to try one out. You'll have fun, and become an even better Master of Dungeons.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Monday Non-Combat Magical Item - Mirror of Shan'ful

Mirror of Shan'ful

Wondrous item, mythical

The Mirror of Shan'ful was created by a cult of warrior priestesses in the age of the goddess. Their leader, Shan'ful, was believed to be the living embodiment of femininity. The cult was unyielding in their belief that men were inferior to women, and that Shan'ful should rule all of the inferior cities of men.

The cultists were conquer a city, and place Shan'ful on the throne. However, a problem arose as their conquests grew, Shan'ful was their ruler but also their most powerful warrior. It was impossible for her to asset her rule in all of the cities as well as be present on the front line of her war party. 

One year the spring equinox landed on a full moon, an exceptionally holy day to Shan'ful's cult. Aided by the increase in her power, Shan'ful created a large circular mirror, the Mirror of Shan'ful. She placed this mirror behind the throne of her largest city. The mirror allowed her to create an avatar, sitting directly in front of the mirror, so that she may rule from the battle lines. 

Every full moon, another mirror could be pulled from the Mirror of Shan'ful, an exact duplicate, attuned to her in the same way as the original. In this way she obtained more mirrors to place in her capitals. The avatars were unable to leave the vicinity of the mirror, but her subjects did not know that. They lacked all of her power, but were completely controlled by her. She could speak from each avatar independently, meaning she could be in the depths of combat in her primary form, while enacting a law in one city, and sending a prisoner to the gallows in another. 

Unfortunately the cultists eventually spread their armies too thin, a neighboring colony of dwarves tunneled into her capitals and usurped her thrones. She was slain in the final battle, all of her duplicate mirrors disappeared, although some say her soul still exists within the original Mirror of Shan'ful.

How to Use

The Mirror of Shan'ful is a one-of-a-kind magic item. When someone attunes to it they may pull duplicates out of the mirror on the full moon. All avatars are controlled by the character, but concentration is unnecessary. Each avatar is as easy to control as a limb. All knowledge is shared between the avatars and the original. 

Some say the soul of Shan'ful still exists within the mirror, she despises the concept of a man using her mirror, and may attempt to seek control of the avatars. This is a secret Wisdom saving throw of DC 5x, (where x is the number of mirrors currently in use) that occurs on each full moon. If the saving throw is failed, Shan'ful takes control of one avatar (the newest created), she attempts to secretly use the rule of the avatar to obtain the other mirrors and capture the user. If one mirror is controlled by Shan'ful then the saving throw is done at a disadvantage. If the original mirror is controlled by Shan'ful, (meaning all of the mirrors have been taken over) she returns to life, and the original user must pass a DC 15 wisdom saving throw or become possessed by Shan'ful. 

The Mirror of Shan'ful may be used to run a shop or a store, rule a kingdom or city, maintain a presence at a guildhall, or many other things. The soul of Shan'ful's presence in the mirror is optional, at DMs discretion, and the players shouldn't know about it, unless they hear rumours of the history of the mirror. If the full moon were to land on the Spring Equinox while the mirror is in use, then that may trigger Shan'ful to attempt to take over the mirrors. 

If you haven't already make sure to follow Master Of Dungeons blog on all of the relevant social media (Google PlusFacebook, and Twitter), where I post all updates to the blog, as well as interesting things I find around the internet related to D&D and RPGs. I am also looking to get in touch with an artist who reads this blog to discuss some artwork to be done and possibly some sort of partnership. More details here.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Artist Wanted/Blog Advice

So since my orders that I've been hoping to review for over a month still haven't come, I don't any fun Sunday reviews for you this week. I'm hoping there will be something soon. So this Sunday we will just be sort of taking off, if that is alright with you.

However there are two things I'd like to get in touch with any readers of this blog over.

Artist Wanted

I'm looking for an artist to partner with on this blog. I have no money to pay you (I have done nothing but lose money on this blog so far). However I will credit all of the work you do, and someday when if this blog makes any money, we will work out some profit sharing arrangement.

This is the first time I've mentioned it on the blog, but one of my ultimate goals with this blog is to eventually create material, and/or interested consumers, for a D&D or system agnostic supplement book. My dream would be to create a book of Non-Combat Magical Items (with some roll tables thrown in), since those are my favourite things to make. Just like the old book of Marvelous Magic That would all need art though, and not the horrible pictures I steal from Google Images, but actual art.

If you're interested, or know someone who might be, contact me at either one of the blog's social media accounts (Google PlusFacebook, and Twitter) or email me directly at MasterODungeons@Gmail.com. Hell, I'll even let any of you email me or contact me on social media, I won't mind I promise.

Blog Advice

I would also like to get some advice from someone with more experience blogging. I'm beginning to grow weary of the Blogger/Blogspot experience. I could get my own domain but I'm wondering how the transition would be, or the transition to a wordpress blog on my own domain. If anyone has experience with this, or just experience on the technical sides of running a blog, I'd love to hear from you. (I'm fairly technical as I'm a computer programmer by trade, so I'm sure I'll figure it out easily enough).

Again feel free to contact me at one of the blog's social media accounts (Google PlusFacebook, and Twitteror email me directly at MasterODungeons@Gmail.com.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Saturday Grab Bag - Online Tools #3

The first two Master of Dungeons articles on online tools were incredibly popular, so here is number three. All of these tools are ones that I use personally, and think are really bitchin'.

You should also check out the first and second blog posts if you haven't already. Now on with the show!

Total Party Kill's Random Dungeon With X Rooms Generator

This generator is super awesome. Simply enter the number of rooms you need, and the generator spits out a basic description of each room. If you play dungeons like I do, you may not require a full drawing of the room, or you may have a map but need something interesting to happen in an empty room to keep your players interested.

You could also run it with 8,12,20, or 100 rooms and use it as a roll table.  

You should also check out the blog this is from: Save vs. Total Party Kill

ENWORLD - Instant NPC Generators

Enworld has two good 5e NPC generators that I use when I need to have some quick NPCS but don't feel like being creative. (You should really never have this problem, since you can check out the Friday NPC of the week here are Master of Dungeons, like Brother Tiggin). I still find them useful when players delve deeper into the history of a random NPC than I expected, or start asking a lot of questions about the faceless, nameless innkeeper.

There are two generators, the first (which you can find HERE) is more basic, showing a basic one line description of your NPC. This would also be a good generator to use if you needed an idea of what kind of character to build.

The other generator (found HERE) provides the same information as the last one, but then goes further and gives a little more detail about the personality and history of the character. This can be great for inspiration, although is a tad formulaic.

TableTopping - 5e Premade Characters

This tool (available HERE) I personally use all of the time. It contains an adventurers league legal full character for each class type (including subclasses) for each level! Each level from 1-20 contains a perfect character sheet for you to bring to a last minute game.

I carry around dozens of these in my D&D box so that if anyone wants to join a game last minute, or there is any chance of an impromptu game, I can let someone pick a character without having to build one from scratch.

Its amazing that these characters are at any level, and every class type. That means that you don't have to start every game at level 1 if you don't want to, if you have someone who wants to try out D&D just for one night, why not work them into your game with a new character? The only flaw I could possibly think of is that the race of the character might not match up with what you want to play, (For example, I personally hate the dragonborn race and don't tend to allow it in my games, but some of the classes are only built as a dragonborn.) but this is hardly a major issue, simply remove any race characteristics, and fix the modifiers and you have a perfect character of a different race.

I hope you love all these tools as much as I do, if you haven't already make sure to follow Master Of Dungeons blog on all of the relevant social media (Google PlusFacebook, and Twitter), where I post all updates to the blog, as well as interesting things I find around the internet related to D&D and RPGs. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Friday NPC - Ark Tieran

For Ark Tieran, unlike the vast majority of Tieflings, his demonic heritage has had a hugely positive effect on his life. Growing up in the desert, to a very poor mother, in an extremely poor neighborhood, Ark dreamed of nothing more than changing his family's luck and becoming wealthy.

His father, who had been a shapeshifted demon who seduced his mother, was never present in Ark Tieran's early life, as is usually the case in demonic/mortal couplings. Also similarly to the normal tiefling, Ark and his mother faced severe discrimination, making their life even more difficult.

Adolescence was where Ark Tieran's path diverged from the multitude of other impoverished tieflings in the multiverse. He worked harder than any other young man any of the traders had ever worked with, ensuring an apprenticeship position with a successful trader, despite his demonic blood. Ark clearly had a skill for trade, earning his master huge returns, and earning enough money to buy his own caravan, employing many traders (many of them tieflings that he trained himself, having a soft spot for the struggle he had in common with them).

After earning a modest fortune, trader Tieran turned his glowing red eyes to the Lower Planes. Any wizards he encountered in his travels were paid highly for any books, scrolls, or magical artifacts they had that could aid in communication, travel, or just information regarding the demonic planes. After a few years Ark Tieran became an expert on all things demon, even finding his father, a minor demonic lord in charge of trade between the lower planes. His father, previously uninterested in his mortal spawn, took great pride in knowing his seed was so strong that even mortal blood couldn't prevent his heirs rise to glory.

Ark Tieran used his father's connections to become the realms most important contact between the lower, demonic planes, and the mortal, material plane. He possessed countless artifacts that allowed passage and communication between the realms, and was the person to talk to about acquiring demonic artifacts. None of his services came cheaply, mind you, but all of his clients left satisfied. None of the trickery and shady deals that his demonic heritage was known for. He still lives in the desert, although he has portals to many major cities, and he can arrange travel, open or discrete, to the material planes, at least if to any with the small fortune required.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Thursday Quick Adventure - Wizard's Tower Introduction

The Mysterious Wizard's Tower: Introduction

An Adventure for 5e D&D


The tower is designed as a framing device for all sorts of adventures and fun. Hopefully, many floors will be published for many different levels here on Master Of Dungeons, but, as with all adventures posted here, if you feel inspired to go off in your own direction then go for it!

This post is just an introduction to the tower. Next week the first floor of the dungeon will be posted. As with everything posted at Master of Dungeons, feel free to take this in your own direction, let us know on Google PlusFacebook, and Twitter (and follow us while you're there) how you've run this yourself without waiting for future updates.

I aim to release more updates about this tower, but that doesn't mean that every encounter the players will have will occur inside of the tower. Some keys and relics will need to be sought after in distant lands, experts will need to be found and consulted, you don't want the party to feel confined to the tower. 

These adventure updates will be different than those in the past, as they will include full encounters and maps for the tower, as well as loot, gold, and NPCs. 


The Wizard's tower can be seen from a great distance in every direction. It isn't surprising then that dozens of myths and legends exist about the tower. Some believe that an evil lich resides at the top, others that it is a pathway to the heavens. No one knows the history of the tower, even the best historians of the area are only certain that it is unbelievably ancient.

The tower, while being a popular talking point in the area, hasn't been considered worthy of much attention for centuries. It's location is so far off the beaten trail that no one bothers to approach it, at least no one has returned to talk about it. There are many monsters, villains, dungeons and dragons in the area for adventurers to test their might against, none are willing to risk getting lost in the dense woods

Involving the Party

Your party of adventurers are likely all from within a close enough area to the tower to have grown up seeing it, as it can be seen from so far away. It has been a minor curiosity to many in the area, but one or more party members may have been particularly interested in it. Most people however had to interest in discovering its secrets, as it is so far away in a dense forest, and most believe that it is probably empty anyway.

While minding their own business in a small village, shouting is heard from the distance. A goblin is seen scrambling out of a small crowd, carrying a small human girl of about five years old. The crowd is screaming for someone to save the girl.

If the adventurers are too selfish to take this bait, have the mother offer money, anything to get her daughter back, (although this would reflect very poorly on the party to the villagers). 

The goblin is too agile for any pursuers, having a good head start on the adventurers he ducks and dodges into the dense thicket, easily escaping. Tracking the goblin is easily done, the girl was carrying a big bag of candied peanuts, and either through the clumsy flailing of the goblin, or clever placement by the girl, a clear trail of peanuts goes deep into the forest.

The trail ends abruptly in the center of a fairy ring, a circular arrangement of sparkling mushrooms and pixie dust.

Anyone who steps within the fairy ring, instantly disappears. They reappear in an identical fairy ring, right at the base of the Wizard's Tower. The trail of peanuts continues up the steps and in the front door.

This has been a sort of Teaser Trailer for the Wizard's Tower, a (hopefully) ongoing adventure posted on Thursdays at Master Of Dungeons. To make sure you are kept up to date on the latest posts, make sure to follow us on your Social Media network of choice (Google PlusFacebook, and Twitter). If you'd like to support Master of Dungeons, please click the banner below and buy something awesome, a small amount of the proceeds will go to support this blog!

Huge Discounts on your Favorite RPGs @ DriveThruRPG.com"

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Wednesday Roll Table - New Found Ability

This week's Wednesday Roll Table: New Found Ability. Feel free to share this with your friends or print it out. Remember to follow us on our Google PlusFacebook, and Twitter accounts.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Tuesday Quick Tip - Try Other RPGs

I know this blog tends to be a little D&D focused, but for today's Tuesday Quick Tip I'd like to take a moment to discuss the fact that other RPGs exist. Many of them are fantastic too!

In the coming weeks I will have some RPG reviews coming up for indie systems that aren't rooted in D&D, since this is a blog about becoming an amazing DM (often referred to as GM in non-D&D RPGs) I will now discuss why you should give other RPGs a chance.

The main reason, besides mixing things up, and just being super fun, is that it flexes your Master of Dungeons muscles, you get put in different situations that help you to grow as a DM. The different rules will allow for a greater understanding of the rules you normally play with, and they might inspire you to adapt your own homebrew rules to your table.

Dungeons and Dragons and Pathfinder really dominate the RPG landscape, but there is a fantastic place you can go to find other RPGs, as well as supplements and adventures for D&D, DriveThruRPG. There you can get print or PDF versions of a variety of books, including indie RPGs, and adventures.

But to help convince you, I'm going to share a list of simple One Page RPGs that reddit user /u/SkinnyGhost compiled. (Original link here). These RPGs are quick to learn, and short on rules. They are great for practicing your improv skills, and learning a new RPG is always a blast. These may not be the best games for a multi-year campaign, but for a one-shot with a random group of friends, they'd be a great introduction to the world of tabletop role-playing.

 Everyone is John

 Lasers & Feelings

Scrolls & Swords 


Doctor Magnethands

Big Mutherfuckin' Crab Truckers

Monday, September 14, 2015

Monday Non-Combat Magical Item - Throne of Bagduul

Throne of Bagduul

Wondrous Item, Mythical

The Throne of Bagduul is a one of a kind item. This throne, for hundreds of years, allowed kings and queens to rule their subjects with ease.

Anyone sitting in the chair gets advantage on all Charisma checks, as well as gaining a +5 any Charisma modifier. Any persuasion or intimidation checks that fail by less than 5 leave the other party confused, allowing time for another Charisma check.

Many rulers would grow scared of leaving the throne, rightfully realizing that it was the source of all of their power. They were right to be suspicious, as most of them had secured their rule by stealing the chair from their predecessor. Sitting in the chair while the previous ruler had been temporarily away, then declaring them an imposter when they return.

No one is quite sure where the throne exists now. Many suspect the throne exists under their current leader, but this is often just peasant gossip, excusing an unpopular monarch. 

In reality the throne doesn't exist under the buttocks of royalty at all. An old, ratty blanket has been draped over it, and it is the possession of a suspiciously profitable trader dwarf named Louchi. 

Louchi doesn't know what he has, just that it appears valuable and is quite comfortable. He credits his recent success with shrewd business skills. Louchi is many things, but a skilled businessman he is not, but with the aid of the chair he is able to close nearly any deal, even if it is obviously unprofitable for all other parties.

Let me know what you think. Remember to follow us on our Google PlusFacebook, and Twitter accounts

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sunday Rebroadcast - Planar Handbook

For this Sunday, as I was hoping to do a review but my materials still haven't been delivered (damn you labour day), I am doing the first ever Sunday Rebroadcast. Aren't reruns everybody's favourite? This post is from the near beginning of the blog, so I'm sure there are some of you who have joined us recently who haven't read it. Hopefully next week I'll have a bunch of new books to review. Stay tuned tomorrow for our Non-Combat Magical Item Monday.

And if you haven't already, make sure to follow us on Google PlusFacebook, and Twitter.

The Planewalker's Handbook - A great book for players and dungeons masters who want to play in a campaign involving other planes

I recently picked up The Planewalker's Handbook off of Amazon. I really enjoyed it and would highly recommend it to any DMs or players who are interested in introducing planar travel, or the planes in any way into their campaign.

Full Disclosure: That link is an Amazon affiliate link. From time to time I plan on linking to products that are available on Amazon. I will in no way let the fact that I may make money from sales affect what I say about the book. (I have a book review coming next week which will likely be very negative). However, I'm pretty broke, getting married in a few weeks, and could use the extra cash. It's extremely unlikely I'll even make back the money I paid for the book, but every little bit helps.

This book is amazing. It is completely player-friendly, but a great pickup for any dungeon master. I found a ton of inspiration in this book that I'm going to use in my upcoming adventures.

I know that the 5th edition Dungeon Master's Guide does a good job of explaining the different planes and updating the multiverse, but it doesn't spend much time on what it is like to BE a planewalker. Each plane is explained in amazing detail, including a great introduction to Sigil, the capital of Outland and home of many gates and portals.

The best thing about this book, is that even though it is written for an older edition of Dungeons and Dragons, there are very little rules or statistics in the manual that couldn't be easily adapted to any version. Most of the rules are explained without referring to stats or rolls, such as how portals are opened or closed, or how to join a faction.

The information on planar factions are the number one reason I would by this book. The factions are split up not by race or geographic location, so much as ideals and belief systems. My favourite faction, one that I am definitely going to introduce into my campaign, is the Sensates. The Sensates are a faction who's sole desire is to experience as much of the multiverse as possible, through their senses (thus the name) of sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. They store the memories of these experiences in a vault at their headquarters, that others can come and experience.

I would highly recommend this book. It is fun to read, and super easy to adapt to whatever RPG system you are currently using. Buy it here if you feel like supporting me, if not I definitely think you should seek it out.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Saturday Grab Bag - Why don't you own the Player's Handbook?

It has recently come to my attention that many Dungeons and Dragons players don't own the new Player's Handbook put out by Wizards of the Coast. If you're on an older edition of Dungeons and Dragons why haven't you switched over? It is so much easier to run and play, at least in my opinion. 

The game can be played completely with the Basic Rules, so if money is tight you don't need to worry about it. However, the opportunities are endless with the actual book. It is very professionally done, and one of the best player books of any system I have ever read.

The DM needs the Player's Handbook for sure, since it is the best way to learn the rules well, as well as aid in PC creation, create complex NPCs, and reference spells. Player's don't necessarily need the Player's Handbook in order to play, but the game runs so much smoother if everyone has their own. I recommend players to read through the majority of the book, feeling free to skip over any sections that don't apply to you at the moment, other classes or races, each individual spell.

I think you'll find the book to be very inspiring, and make you a better D&D player. An added bonus is that when you learn the rules well, through reading the Player's Handbook you may learn enough to become interested in becoming a Master Of Dungeons yourself.

I know this Saturday Grab Bag is a little advertisey. I didn't have a lot of time for this post to do the normal research that I do for Saturdays. I'm awaiting a few shipments of RPGs that I would like to review, so hopefully we have some of those soon. Master of Dungeons is trying to raise money to get our own domain and a better design, we have raised a total of 52 cents, but I will try to keep the "advertisements" to a minimum. As always anything I promote is something I truly believe in.

If you already have the Player's Handbook then I hope you are as excited as I am for the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide, if this is as high quality as its predecessor it will be definitely worth the money. (And I just noticed its on sale for preorder, I am putting my order in now.)

Alright, alright, this isn't the most original or inspiring post. Once my orders come in we will have more varied articles coming in. If you want to support Master Of Dungeons than buy something, but if not see you tomorrow. 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Friday NPC - Mellicent the Mermaid

Mellicent the Mermaid is an NPC from yesterday's adventure inspiration. This stat block takes place after she is discovered to be still alive, hundreds of years later. Kept alive by magical experimentation by the evil mages who captured her tower.

Mellicent, unlike many of the other merfolk who were experimented on, still has most of her good-natured self, however she is much less naive than she once was. She wants peace between the surface dwellers and the merfolk, but she won't shy away from killing the evil if they stand in her way. Those who have stolen her castle for selfish or evil purposes will have a chance to repent, but she will remove them by any means necessary, so that her dreams of peace may start anew.

She is horribly disfigured, her mutations making her appear as an abomination to both merfolk and humans. The mutations have caused all sorts of powers, including the ability to cast spells innately, and most importantly, to swim through the air as if it was water.

If Mellicent were to have any descendants, they would be born with the Air like Water special ability.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Thursday Quick Adventure Inspiration - Mellicent's Mermaid Manor

Off the coast there exists a small, beautifully landscaped island. Attached to the island is what appears to be a small castle, connected by a bridge. This castle is not all it appears to be.

Hundreds of years ago, a mermaid by the name of Mellicent grew skeptical of the longstanding discrimination that went back and forth between her people, the merfolk, and the surface dwellers. She was amazed by all of the ingenuity the land-people showed through their numerous inventions.

Looking from the water she should see tall, beautiful castles built upon the land. Passing sailors would talk about their wondrous parties, and social gatherings. How enemies could lay down their differences to attend a wedding in one of these castles, and the once warring families could become one. Mellicent, paying in pearls she scavenged from the ocean, hired a great human architect to help her design a castle sitting inside of the ocean, but connected to the land.

The castle itself descends far beneath what is visible above the water. The lower levels are submerged in water, with an entrance near to the sea floor for merfolk to enter. Living quarters for all shapes and sizes of surface and water species exist throughout the castle.

The goal of this castle was to serve as a meeting point between the alien cultures, hopefully fostering a new age of peace between the land and the water. Many were opposed to Mellicent's ideas. The merfolk were frightened by the large ships, and the men with harpoons aboard them. The humans were frightened by myths and legends of mermaids beckoning sailors peacefully, tricking the ships into crashing upon hidden rocks or shallow waters. Throughout this there were still a precious few on both sides who saw through the discrimination and fought for peace.

The noble goals of Mellicent, sadly, were not enough. The night of the first big ball, designed to start peaceful negotiations, was a disaster. A human named Bered Thaull hired a group of mercenary wizards to attend the party as his entourage. Bered's father had died years before when his boat came upon dangerous rocks. Since his father was a skilled sailor, merfolk trickery was suspected. Bered waited until late in the night, and then had his mages evaporate the water in the castle. They sealed the water, and captured the merfolk for scientific research, who were helpless out of the water.

Now the castle is filled with the descendants of Bered Thaull. They have become the leaders of this bay, and the island off of the coast. The Thaulls have had a hard time living in this castle. Although they have long forgotten the history of the castle, the merfolk have not. Whenever fishing boats are sent out, few of them return, having been attacked by the denizens of the sea. This has caused even more hatred between the two races. Lack of food and money have caused the Thaulls to believe merfolk are an evil race. All of them except for one, a teenage girl named Mellicent. Perhaps by fate, random chance, or divine intervention, the daughter of the Thaulls has the same name as the castle's old owner.

The human Mellicent has been paying attention to the old runes on the walls of the lower levels. She has found sealed doors and strangely shaped rooms, and started asking questions that no one can answer. When a group of adventurers visits the castle looking for work, she secretly asks them to investigate, not trusting her family's discrimination of the merfolk. If she learns the truth, she will need help to join the two peoples, and anyone who helps her would likely find an alliance between the two to be very profitable, being able to put themselves in the trade deals, as well as the lives they will have saved.

Much later, it is discovered that some of the merfolk captured on the tragic night hundreds of years ago have been experimented on and kept alive in the furthest reaches of the lower levels of the castle. A level far below the sea level, that few knew existed. The mage college that mages belonged to have had a secret arrangement with some of the Thaulls, experimenting on the merfolk, posing as servants as they make their way down there. Mellicent is still alive, and although many of the merfolk have become deranged and angry, she still wants to make peace.

Let me know what you think. Remember to follow us on our Google PlusFacebook, and Twitter accounts

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Wednesday Roll Table - Artifact Flubs

Again I'm trying a new method of roll table. Let me know what you think. Remember to follow us on our Google PlusFacebook, and Twitter accounts

If you need something to roll on this table with, I recommend the pound of dice. It's on sale at Amazon. I personally use these dice, they won't be your favourite dice like your matching set, but you can get some cool ones and it is always important to have extra dice. Plus, if you buy them through this link you are supporting MasterOfDungeons. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Tuesday Quick Tip - Never give up a session

Organizing a night of tabletop is hard. Getting four to eight adults in the same room to celebrate a special occasion is hard enough, but getting the same people to meet up every week for a few hours to play Dungeons and Dragons or your favourite RPG can be near impossible.

Too many times I have had games cancelled because one friend at the last minute has to take his kid to soccer practice, someone has a last minute deadline, or is starting to get a cold. I'm not saying these aren't valid reasons, its irrational to think everyone is going to be able to attend every game. The problem is if everyone misses a different game every two months, and you cancel the game each time, you're left with only a handful of games. Sporadic gameplay, not TPKs (Total Party Kills) is what kills campaigns more often than not.

This is why recently I have become an advocate for multiple backups. I wrote a recent post at Master of Dungeons about campaign themes, and making your multiple games feel different. This was spurred by a new game that I ran last minute because of a cancellation. My main game tends to be more serious, with long term character development and the safety of the entire world at stake. When one of my players couldn't attend, instead of calling the night off, as we usually do, I told anyone who could make it to attend. We started a new campaign, with brand new characters, and ended up doing more wacky crazy stuff than we normally do. This campaign was to be less serious, as we didn't know when we would play the characters next. Players were playing Centaurs and Pixies, and it was a ton of fun.

I had very little planned for that night, having only found out that we couldn't play our main game at the last minute. Sometimes when a player can't attend I run the main game with their character on a sort of auto-pilot, however we had come to a very important crossroads in the campaign and I didn't want the player to miss out. By creating a new campaign we were able to play, as well as keep the routine of meeting every week going.

There are all sorts of added benefits to multiple games. Not only do you get to mix things up, and play a different style of game, but if you play in the same universe you give your players backup characters they can use if their main character dies. You can also organize crossover events, or have the consequences of one campaign appear in the other. This makes your world feel more alive.

It's hard to make a game last minute. When there is a cancellation, don't worry about planning a large intricate campaign (although I usually don't advocate for doing that anyway). Simply get an idea, draw up a couple simple encounters, and see where things take you. There is always inspiration and quick adventure ideas on the Master of Dungeons blog, (like this week's Skeptic's guide to the realms inspiration). Who knows, maybe something that comes up in a spur of the moment backup adventure, will start a long term campaign for your main group.

If you like what we post here at Master of Dungeons you should follow us on your social media platform of choice. We post all of our most recent blog posts, as well as things we like from across the web at our Google Plus, Facebook, and Twitter accounts.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Monday Non-Combat Magical Item - Fluid Canoe

Fluid Canoe

Wondrous item, rare

The fluid canoe appears and functions as an ordinary wooden canoe. As an action the driver of the canoe can transform the canoe, and any contents or people within, into water (or whatever liquid the canoe is travelling in) of the same volume.

The fluid contents can flow freely to any point that is connected to their starting location. For instance if activated on a river, the canoe can flow up or down stream, and down any connecting rivers, and into any lakes or seas that are connected to the river. The travel is nearly instantaneous, however, the transformation in and out of the fluid form isn't. The transformation takes one round. Any damage the canoe takes during the transformation ruins it. Causing all contents to revert to their original form, and the canoe to turn into it's last fluid form.

The Fluid Canoe and hold four medium humanoids comfortably.