Encounters in the Savage Frontier


I am always looking for something to add to my campaign to keep my players on their toes. One of the ways that I try to break up the predictability of my style of encounters with my players is to use other peoples. One of my favorite resources has always been Dungeon Magazine. I have a pretty extensive collection of the early ones and they have some good scenarios in there, but it can be a challenge finding one I haven’t used and then converting it for use in the 5th Edition.

I recently saw someone posting on Twitter about Encounters In The Savage Frontier and thought that I would check it out. This is a PDF download located on the Dungeon Masters Guild. Those of you who follow me here or on Twitter probably know that I am not a big fan of the digital goods, but when a resource isn’t available in the media that I prefer I am not going to shun it.

This is a 72 page PDF and has 24 short encounters. The table of contents is well organized showing the name of the adventure, the challenge rating, and a link to get you to that right page. This book has many contributors, but the editor who compiled this did a good job of giving them consistency in the layout. This is part of the reason why I find Dungeon so useful is that I can quickly review a bunch of different material without having to pour over every word to figure out if it was going to work for me or not. I found the stat block at end of each encounter to be very useful for first figuring out if it was going to be a good fit for what I was looking for as well as when running the encounters the reference to the monster manual page and short details of it’s attacks and abilities.

Trap Door Spider


The book has original artwork like this of the Trap Door Spider from the “Spider and the Bear” encounter which is one of several new monsters that are included. Some of the encounters introduce new magic items that are detailed with them as well.  I always like new magic items, but it has been my experience that some of the unofficial magic items can be overpowered or ripe for abuse. The color maps in the book are not a style that work for me as I find them distracting, but I suppose they are typical of what was done in a lot of the 3rd edition stuff.

I have had the PDF for a couple of weeks and incorporated an encounter from it in each of my last two sessions. It would be nice if they had a greater range of challenge ratings and at least one that was higher CR than 7, but with just a few adjustments these can be more of less difficult. Definitely worth my $3.95.

How this Dungeons & Dragons Player got his groove back

It had been close to 20 years since I had played Dungeons & Dragons. Well at least in any meaningful way. I had moved to Los Angeles and there were plenty of other things and interests that had grabbed my attention. Not to mention that I couldn’t find anyone who actually played the game or wanted to. The people I was hanging out with were not the D&D types and although they found my nerdy ways endearing they weren’t ready to jump in and embrace them as their own… plus this is LA and even with the least image conscious person image does matter.

I was in a very good place in my life, married, a toddler, and running a successful business. Regardless I would think back fondly on the times with friends gathered around dining tables, living rooms, libraries, lunch tables, and classrooms playing Dungeons & Dragons. I was not getting the same fulfillment in the things that I was doing socially; video games, dinners, clubbing, and especially not ‘social’ medial. I learned about Roll 20 and playing over Skype, but I have enough technology in my life. I wanted to sit around a table with a group of people and immerse ourselves together in a story, fantasy, and these shared experiences. It was time to find a D&D group!

That is how I found myself on the internet, browsing Craigslist, and looking at a gamer wanted ad. They were playing 1st Edition AD&D and meeting every other week…. in the Valley. This is Craigslist so there was some thought running through my mind of how unappealing it was going to be to get murdered in Reseda, but I threw caution to the wind and sent them a message telling them about my experience, lack of recent experience, and that I was committed (or should be committed) to make the hour plus drive to the Valley on Friday nights.

It was a chilly fall night and the traffic on the 101 going through the Cahuenga pass was the usual crawl made only worse by my own excitement and nervousness of jumping into an existing campaign with a bunch of strangers. I picked up the usual snacks and drinks at 7-11 and made my way to the address to find a small nondescript house. The sound of boisterous voices and laughter could be heard from the walk and that alone made it easier to knock on the door and introduce myself. A group of four guys were already there and they were waiting on two more. The group was play testing some new character classes for an “old school” supplement they were working on (This has since been released as the Exhumed Obscura – here on ebay – I will write a review of it soon) and I had decided to play as a ‘baseline’ character a half-elf Ranger to help them see how things balanced out. The group of guys had been playing together for many years and the course of the adventure got derailed by inside jokes and the like, but by the end of the night I had meshed with the group and gotten myself beguiled by their quest item.

Driving home while listening to KPFK I relived the nights adventure in my mind and knew that I had found a home among my fellow role players. It was going to be a long two weeks before I got a chance to play again!