Skald of Shenanigans Collections of Goodies
Kathy's Collections by Skald of Shenanigans
I first met Skald of Shenanigans on Twitter through one of the self promo days. I was very interested in their collection as I am one who enjoys seeing what other dm's are using to create fun in their games. These little pocketbooks with DM treasures were collected by Skald of Shenanigans, both currently free to purchase on their Ko-fi page. When you download the collections you get two pdf copies for each title: one that looks as if it was created on parchment, and a second that is black and white labeled “printer friendly.” The pictures are still there but in grey scale, so expect to still use a lot of black ink if you are printing them out for your DM binders.
Kathy’s Crafty Collection: Tips, Tricks and Traps for Dungeon Masters
This is their first publication on Ko-if and is a pocket book with 21 pages to print holding lots of different topics from“Traps and Puzzles” to “Tips and Tricks.” This Collection has 24 selections under the title of Traps and Puzzles, and an additional 5 pieces under the Tips and Tricks.
There is also the reminder that locking and trapping the pre-existing doors in your areas can also slow down players and pose a challenge. On that note I will say that make sure you are locking/trapping to pose a challenge vs. making it an annoyance. If every door is locked and trapped it will slow down your play and will become more of an annoyance than something fun. Locking and trapping doors should show that there is something important/dangerous/plot related behind that door. No broom closet or empty storage room should have a lock and trap in this fox’s opinion. This also goes for loot. Trap the shinies on the floor! If there is something that looks too good to be true don’t hesitate to ward it from those greedy tomb raiders.
Kathy’s Creepy Collection: Spooky Traps, Puzzles and Tips for Dungeon Masters
This creepy collection was put out just in time for the 2021 spooky season. The collection is rightly named, as the collection hopes to bring something creepy and spooky into your table top games. This collection is 17 pages long and comes in a black and white or "scroll" colored version. This collection is specifically put into two sections; the first being Traps and Puzzles, followed by Tips and Tricks.
As in their first publication, this one also had a second section of sound advice in its own "Tips and Tricks." Here you have some advice on timers. I love using timers and have different sand timers that I will pull out to make players sweat (ranging from 1 min to 7 minutes). Having egg timers bring tension even if there is nothing at the end of the timer. There is also a new suggestion for rolling initiative alternatively.
Late active poison is another way to create chaos and so is character possession when it comes to spooky play. I will say that it is important to make sure that your players are comfortable or ok with player possession before brining that into play (a great way thing to talk about in a session zero). Talking about session zero there is another section in here mentioning player sheets, communication and boundaries and some good advice on how to approach these in a session zero setting.
The last portion of the advice "Tips and Tricks" focuses on death saves and murder as something that can happen in your game. I personally try to make sure that tpks do not happen at my table but I agree that if you do the death saves for the players behind the screen it would be more intense, but I personally like having my players be in charge of their own dice rolls for death saves so it is not my hand (dice) that kills a player.
Last Thoughts from the Fox
As a Dm I love seeing the advice and tips that others in the ttrpg community have created to help enhance their tabletop games. As written by Skald of Shenanigans in the Preface of both publications “One of the wonderful things about table-top role-playing games is their collaborative nature. There is no shortage of creativity, whether it is between players or Dungeon Masters.” I cannot agree more with that statement. You do not have to use every idea that you find, but having more information stored away in the brain doesn’t hurt. Both documents are pretty quick reads and have reference materials that a DM could use as needed. I also find that it is so very sweet that the collections are currently named for Skald Of Shenanigan's Grandmother as Kathy was an encouraging figure in their life.
As stated in the “Tips and Tricks” intro page for both documents, each dm has their own play style and voice, these two collections are just that, collections of work that game masters can add into their games if they choose. I appreciate that there is a variety of flavored things to choose from. I also like that each collection has different options in the ways of traps and puzzles. These were two simple, fun documents that can be used as extra materials to add to your game. Out of the two, my favorite Skald of Shenanigans documents was the Creepy Collection as I found more pieces that I would likely add to my own games. Some selections I even modified for a Call of Cthulhu ttrpg. The items found in the collections use writing that is easy to understand and read. There is also lots of flexibility to turn descriptions into something that is more akin to your dm style.
More and More Content!
Skald of Shenanigans has been hard at work and now has a total of 6 collections for you to enjoy! They are all still free and each has a unique theme. Added to the collection includes booklets for Dungeons, Winter, Maritime and a more multi use booklet titled "Curious."
In the Curious Collection you can find some hallway and room sized puzzles to add to your adventures. Goodies such as Room of Seasons, Bridge and Torch, Leap of Faith along with Planets and Stars can be found in this collection. What I liked about this collection in particular is there are 14 written out riddles with solutions that can be used at your table.
I personally got very excited for "Nine Tides Collection" as it brings more content that I can throw at my very intellectual Salt Marsh group. I can see me using all 20 different puzzles during the course of Salt Marsh campaign. Fog and Doldrums, to Jellyfish and sharks there are both ship, land and marine encounters for your players to experience. The last few pages of this collection has some good tips on running a water based campaign and how to deal with travel and providing new life to skill checks in a marine way.