Mission Statement; The Hydra DM in a nutshell
Why are we here? The obvious question and a good place to start, really. It’s a pretty simple set of parameters so I’ll simply list them under headings and explain away.
Why start at zero? As a reference to an in-joke, of course, most of all because I have the audacity to call myself “the Hydra DM”. Much like rule 0 in a game is that you are within your right to transmute or ignore any of the written rules (exception-based ruling) for the purposes of having fun… well, the same applies here. This blog was conceived to be about Dungeons & Dragons, it’s true, hence my self-appointed title. However, despite its original intention, it is easy to see a lot of what I write branching out into other areas or drawing inspiration there-from. Therefore, I have headed this explanation under “gaming” – the topics will never stray so far from gaming that you cannot apply them, and I will make a pointed effort to say how you can do so with every post… but that doesn’t mean I won’t bend the rules from time to time.
1) Mechanical Expertise
My system of choice for running a game of Dungeons & Dragons, and indeed almost all games I play these days, is online. In regards to the supposed focus of this site, I run D&D 4th edition games using maptool, and that is my region of expertise personally. There’s a lot out there about what you can do face to face, since that’s how the game originated, but I am not a great face to face DM for lack of experience… what I am is a good virtual tabletop DM. Therefore I will endeavor to share the mechanical tips and tricks I’ve learned to running a smooth game using a virtual tabletop software of your choice, though my references will likely all be in relation to maptool since that is what I (currently) prefer.
2) Mechanical Design Philosophy
Having been working nonstop for quite a long time on designing 4th edition settings, monsters, and other bits and pieces I think I have a lot to contribute here in the realm of crafting mechanical additions to the system. I will normally address 4e in particular, since that is what I play far and away the most, but I will also occasionally address concepts that are more general when I come across something cool.
Closely paired with the second point we have something I decided was different enough to warrant its own header – psychology. Behavioral psychology allows a lot of leverage where previously existed only a rainslick precipice of darkness in terms of grasping how to cater to your player base. That, and it allows you to design non-combat NPCs in a way that pure mechanical design philosophies don’t really cover.
Are these somewhat lofty, over-aspirational goals? Probably. Do they overlap? Definitely. Still, despite the disorganization, I intend to keep the contents of this site high quality and as professional as possible.
At the end of the day, I want to help you. As they say: two heads are better than one, and a thousand are better than two.
– The Hydra DM