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10 Tips for Dungeon Masters - Part I

As an experienced Dungeon Master for D&D I have been running games for over 20 years now. My current campaign world "Korovia" has been running successfully since 1999, with various versions of it over the years. At present I am exploring different points in the Korovia Timeline, which leads to historical events that helps to fill out the timeline.

From November 2010 to August 2016 I ran a Stone Age / Bronze Age Cusp campaign dubbed "Ancient Tales of Korovia" which featured the "Heroes of Olde", the Korovian equivalent of Hercules, Atalanta, etc. At present we have fast forwarded several millennia, to a time period which is essentially the "Dark Ages of Korovia"... which has more of a Ravenloft feel to it.

Anyway, enough about that. Those are just my credentials (and it ignores that time I won Best DM at a D&D Competition).

Here are 10 Tips for Dungeon Masters

#1. Prepare for Every Session.

You are there to a specific job and I believe in having a strong work ethic. You should therefore be coming up with adventure hooks, adventure ideas, designing dungeons to explore, villains/monsters to encounter, important NPCs that the party might meet more multiple times. You should have many of these details designed and worked out in advance so that you are prepared and ready to run the game and don't have invent everything on the fly.

#2. Expect the Unexpected, Learn How to Adlib

Assuming you did #1, you should now expect the party to ignore some of the things you did to prepare and do something completely unexpected. In which case you need to learn how to make up things on the fly. I generally follow the KISS approach. Keep It Simple Stupid.

For example a few months ago the party met a fence where they could sell stolen goods for a portion of their value, and also buy stolen goods for half their normal value. However I had neglected to give the fence a name. Following the KISS approach I named him "Honest Ned", which was a play on both Eddard Stark from Game of Thrones, and also Honest Ed Mirvish (a Toronto personality known for his "Honest Ed's Department Store" on Bloor Street). The name was easy to remember and now PCs whenever they want to buy or sell something stolen they make a trip to Honest Ned's.

#3. Don't Waste Time on Things Not Important to the Plot or Flavour of the Game

WHO
WHAT
WHERE
WHEN
WHY
and HOW

Those are the six things DMs should be worried about describing, especially if they are important to the plot or flavour of the game. Describe important NPCs, do not bother describing every beggar on the street unless they happen to be an important beggar. eg. The Beggar King deserves attention.

Describe monsters the first time they are encountered. Do not describe every orc you meet. Important orcs are the exception.

Describe locations in detail only if they are somehow important to the plot. Otherwise keep it brief.

If there are historical details you need to give the players as background flavour, set the mood and do so. Don't half-ass it and assume the players read the *Introduction to your World* (see further below), sometimes you will need to reiterate the details so you get the flavour and historical details embedded in the minds of your players.

Describe how things work sometimes. This could be as complex as some special magical device or artifact, or it could be as simple as describing how the headsman chops off the heads of convicted criminals who are doomed to execution. How you should only be taking the time to do these things if it is important to the flavour of the scene or to the plot.

#4. Invest in a Few Miniatures and a Playing Mat

While miniatures are not mandatory to run a D&D game, they do help when people need to visualize what they are doing, where their characters are, where the baddies are, etc. There are cheap alternatives like tokens. Wooden blocks are also handy for trees, columns, architecture, etc.

Having a vinyl Playing Mat with squares on it (or Hex grid if you prefer) is also extremely handy when running miniatures, but you can also use large 1-inch easel graph paper from Staples which can be purchased in a large pad of 50 sheets, 24" x 36". ($18.96 CDN according to Staples.ca.) In my case I use both the vinyl playing mats and the easel graph paper. The graph paper is great for making large scale maps, for dungeons you are planning reuse again and again, taverns you plan to revisit, etc. This way you only have to draw things on the paper once, add lots of minute details, and then you can reuse it again and again.

See also my past post about Painting Miniatures.

#5. Write an Introduction to your World

If this is your own campaign world you are using then you should write and then read an introduction to the world that players are going to running their characters in. The introduction should contain several elements:

  • A visual description of the landscape, possibly including atmospheric conditions.
  • A variety of historical references so PCs are familiar with recent / important historical events.
  • A list of any current political tensions that the PCs should also be aware of, if any.
  • And... Flavour Text to set the Tone. This is to get your players visualizing what the world looks and feels like, thus setting a tone for your campaign world.

The Introduction should be approx. half a page to possibly two pages long, which you should print out and give a copy to each player. The Introduction might also include a map or two and a list of gods.

#6. Maps and Cosmology of the Gods

You should make a map of your game world and also a 2nd larger map of the local area the PCs are currently in. This is both handy to have and adds flavour. The easel graph paper mentioned above is very handy for large scale map-making.

If not using a standard list of gods then you should make up a list of gods by creating a Cosmology. Eg. I use the Korovia Cosmology in my Friday campaign. Once you have this it will allow PCs to pick and choose which god(s) they worship, which is important for clerics, but also handy for other classes as well.

Record of Lodoss War is definitely worth watching.
#7. Find Good Sources of Inspiration and Write them Down

It is okay to be inspired by other sources. You need to get your ideas for plots somewhere. Here are a few that are quite good with respect to fantasy plots:

  • Conan (Book Series by Robert E. Howard)
  • Dragonlance (Book Series)
    Forgotten Realms (Book Series)
  • Game of Thrones (HBO TV show or the book series "A Song of Ice and Fire")
  • Inuyasha (Japanese Anime) 
  • Mythology (Book by Edith Hamilton)
  • Record of Lodoss War (Japanese Anime)
  • Slayers (Japanese Anime)
  • Sword Art Online I and II (Japanese Anime)
  • The Hobbit / The Lord of the Rings (Tolkien books or Peter Jackson films, both are good)

Inspiration is all around you. You should explore different avenues for inspiration and then WRITE THEM DOWN. I recommend keeping a campaign journal that you write down ideas in. Ideas for plots, characters, locations, everything.

#8. Play in other people's campaigns...

Look for good experienced DMs and play in their campaigns. Look at what they are doing right, try to figure out what they are doing wrong or what could be done better, and then try to emulate / improve upon what you have learned from their skills.

This includes trying other editions. Don't limit yourself to playing X edition of D&D. Play 1st edition, play 2nd edition, play 3rd, 4th (even though I boycotted it I still tried it first), play 5th. Play Pathfinder too.

By playing multiple editions of D&D you will become familiar with many different ways of playing the game and gain a deeper understanding of how to run games regardless of which set of rules you are using.

#9. Keep it Fun for Everyone

This means making sure the following things happen:
  • Everyone gets to play and has roughly equal time to play. Don't play favourites.
  • Everything is fair. For both PCs and NPCs the rules should be applied the same regardless of who it is.
  • Make sure both female and male players are treated equally.
  • Don't discriminate against players for whatever reasons.
  • Don't date your players. This just creates a potentially bad situation and it should be avoided if possible. (Exceptions: You are married, in a long term relationship.)
  • Try to have only one person speaking at once. It becomes chaotic and unhappiness results if too many people are speaking at the same time, wanting the DM's attention. I use a round table system for answering player questions, starting on one side of the table and going around in a circle.
  • If a character is unconscious or killed, ask if they would like to roleplay a henchmen, hireling or even a baddie until they have a character up and running.

#10. Read the Core Books Again and Again

On a regular basis, often while simultaneously designing dungeons and plots, you should be reading the Player's Handbook, the Dungeon Masters Guide and the Monster Manual regularly. By reading the books regularly you will become an expert at all the rules (cough cough, rules lawyer) and thus be better equiped to adjudicate the rules. If you don't know the rules then you have no business running a D&D game. A DM should have a strong understanding of the rules and should not need to be checking books / looking rules all the time, as such things waste game time.

MORE TIPS

I have more. Many more in fact. But I set myself a limit of 10 when I sat down to write this. You can subscribe to Nerdovore or bookmark the page to come back sometime. I have made a note to endeavour to write a Part II to this post in the future.

See also my previous post titled "Bad Dungeon Masters" to get a better idea of what DMs should NOT be doing.

D&D Phobias and Character Birthdays

D&D Phobias

As a DM I have been compiling a list of phobias that are suitable for characters in D&D games. I appreciate it when players go through the process of giving their character a phobia and roleplaying it accordingly. They totally deserve more XP for roleplaying a phobia in my opinion.

In my Friday campaign I have made picking a phobia mandatory during character creation, and I am even planning to introduce several important NPCs and a villain who have phobias too, so that their characters are well rounded.

I do advise my players to not pick ridiculous phobias however. Like the Fear of Trees or something that would drastically interfere with their ability to go on adventures in the wilderness.

In the Friday campaign player response to the phobias has been very positive, with PCs even having fun playing pranks on each other with respect to their individual phobias. "There's a spider behind you!" and so forth.

Acrophobia - Fear of heights of 15 feet or more.
Aerophobia - Fear of drafts, poisonous gases and wind.
Agoraphobia - Fear of open spaces.
Ailurophobia - Fear of cats or cat-like creatures.
Arachnophobia - Fear of spiders.
Aquaphobia - Fear of swimming in bodies of water.
Astraphobia - Fear of thunder and lightning.
Claustrophobia - Fear of enclosed spaces.
Cynophobia - Fear of canines or canine-like creatures.
Daemonophobia - Fear of demons and devil-like creatures.
Dracophobia - Fear of dragons and dragon-like creatures.
Glossophobia - Fear of public speaking.
Herpetophobia - Fear of reptilians or reptilian-like creatures.
Hydrophobia - Fear of water.
Hylophobia - Fear of the woods and forests.
Lupophobia - Fear of wolves and wolf-like creatures.
Myxophobia - Fear of slimy things.
Necrophobia - Fear of corpses or undead.
Nyctophobia - Fear of darkness or the night.
Ophidiophobia - Fear of snakes or snake-like creatures.
Phasmophobia - Fear of ghosts, spectres and undead spirits.
Pyrophobia - Fear of fire.
Ranidaphobia - Fear of frogs and amphibian creatures.
Sanguivoriphobia - Fear of vampires and blood-drinking creatures.
Sciophobia - Fear of shadows and shadowy places.
Tetraphobia - Fear of monsters and deformed creatures.
Thanatophobia - Fear of death and dying.
Ursophobia - Fear of bears and ursine creatures.
Wiccaphobia - Fear of magic and witchcraft.
Xenophobia - Fear of strangers / foreigners.






Character Birthdays

Another thing I have implemented in the Friday campaign is character birthdays. Mostly so we can track the age of characters as the years go by, but there are also side benefits:

  • PCs give other PCs gifts. This creates stronger bonds between the different characters, which influences their decisions during combat and roleplaying.
  • NPCs give other PCs gifts too. Even if it just small things like food, smoking pipes, musical instruments, a new saddle, things like that add a lot of flavour and detail to the game.
  • Excuse for the characters to have a party at the local tavern whenever a birthday occurs.
Having birthdays also means you need to invent a calendar for the months of the year, etc. Since my campaign is set in Korovia, I use the Korovian Calendar.


Bad Dungeon Masters

Two weeks ago a guy I barely know whom I haven't seen in years invited me to join a new D&D game he was starting up. I had never seen him DM but I have been looking for a good Dungeon Master (someone who really knows what they are doing) so I figured I would give him a shot.

Today (November 27th 2016) was the first session.

Our (5th edition D&D) characters started with 9000 gp worth of gear, which meant a fair amount of magical gear right off the bat. Despite designing 90% of my character prior to today's game the first 2 hours of game time were wasted by people buying equipment. General time wasting, so much so that the game that was supposed to start at 12 noon didn't actually start until approx. 2:15 PM.

When we finally got to play here is what was accomplished...

2:15 PM
1. The wizard's bag of holding got stolen on the docks as party members were debarking from a ship as we arrived in the city. He chased the thief down, cast Charm Person, and got his BoH back, but was promptly arrested for using magic without a permit.

2. My dwarf drank some ale with his hireling while watching this. More drinking occurred later in the session, but this was not important to any plots.

3. The bard cast a summoning spell while trying to help the wizard, and likewise got arrested for using magic without a permit. [1, 2 and 3 took approx. 30 minutes of game time.]

2:45 PM
4. City Guards spent an inordinate amount of time filling out paperwork before eventually handing out a fine of 750 gp. This process alone took about 30 minutes of game time.

3:15 PM
5. Two party members had to become registered spellcasters. This bureaucracy sucked another 45 minutes of game time. It became pretty clear the DM didn't have any adventures prepared and was literally winging it. Poorly. And deliberately wasting time.

4:00 PM
6. Party looked about for an adventure hook. Now usually DMs are happy to hand out adventure hooks left, right and center. Unfortunately he apparently wanted to railroad us into joining a local adventurers guild (which would have been more bureaucracy and the party was frankly tired of this bullshit). The DM made it very difficult but eventually we got a possible adventure hook at a disreputable tavern which had ties to the thieves guild. This process of looking for an adventure hook took another 45 minutes.

4:45 PM
7. 15 minutes wasted trying to get to the tavern.

5:00 PM
8. Bard decided we should snoop around behind the tavern. We did so, interrupting a pair of cutthroats in the process of killing a drunk. Battle ensued. Cutthroats pulled a *Classic DM Disappearing Act*. Party was uninjured, but got nothing for their trouble.

End of Session, approx. 5:30 PM.

Now let me explain the *Classic DM Disappearing Act* before continuing. This is when a DM wants to have the bad guy get away and is willing to pull shenanigans to do it. This phenomenon has a complex number of causes...

• DM Power Trip
• DM has grown attached to the bad guy(s).
• DM wants to deliberately frustrate and annoy players - which can sometimes be useful to motivate PCs, but if it doesn't have a narrative reason then it really should not be used.
• DM doesn't want party to be able to loot the bad guy(s).
• DM doesn't want the PCs to accomplish anything.

So what did our party accomplish during a 5.5 hour session?

Lets see. Got briefly robbed. Roughed up by city guards. Drinking. Large fine. Bureaucracy. More bureaucracy. Party attempting to avoid bureaucracy while DM tried to railroad party into more bureaucracy. Vague promise of a possible adventure hook. Tiny battle which ended with the Classic DM Disappearing Act.

So... technically we accomplished NOTHING.

Some roleplaying yes. In the barest sense. But otherwise it was a woefully unprepared DM who clearly didn't know how to do an adventure hook, running a game in which he spent most of his time describing bureaucracy with a level of detail that had me literally with my head on table as if I was going to fall asleep.

Needless to say I will not be attending any more sessions of that dismally poor DM.

Note - I was tempted to tell him off for being such a bad DM, to communicate my displeasure of wasting my Sunday afternoon on such a fruitless non-adventure. However he is one of those super sensitive types who cannot take criticism (which explains why he is so horrible and will likely continue to be horrible). Thus I decided to save myself the trouble.

Player Bribery by the DM

I also had an epiphany moment. I realized that DMs who give out too much starting gear and starting levels are probably just *buying* the loyalty of their players. Meaning they give the players lots of nice starting loot and players feel like they have already accomplished something even though they never earned it.

Sometimes writers do this to main characters in books. Eg. Harry Potter starting off in Book I with lots of gold, an invisibility cloak, an extra powerful wand, a secret benefactor who sends him a really nice flying broom (Nimbus 2000), Hogwarts staff who protect him... Oh and he is naturally good at flying and Quidditch.

The same thing goes with a DM who gives players ridiculously high starting stats. For example the above DM used the point buy system for stats.

26 points is considered to be a low powered game. 28 points is more average. 30 points is a high powered game. 32 points is a very high powered game. Guess how many points the above DM gave each player?

42.

FORTY TWO. That is ridiculous.

So... starting level 5th. 9000 gp worth of stuff. 42 point buy stats.

So do you understand now my point now about bad DMs bribing players with lots of stuff?

The equipment buying is a bit like a shopping spree. The higher starting level and high stats basically turn it into a powergamer's wet dream... But if the DM sucks at doing his/her job, all of this is effectively bribery to get players to play and hopefully stay.

But if you've ever had a good DM. A truly good DM who knows what they are doing, then you don't need to be bribing the players with equipment, levels and stats.


Imagine a good DM and what things he or she brings to the table...
  • Prepared.
  • Good well-thought out adventure hooks.
  • Well written plots and adventures.
  • Able to make up new quality things on the fly if the situation requires.
  • Good mix of roleplaying and combat.
  • Rarely uses shenanigans and if they do there is a narrative reason for it.
  • Will make certain all players are involved and get to enjoy themselves.
  • Players leave the game feeling like they accomplished something and excited for the next game.
 
A bad DM in contrast...
  • Unprepared.
  • No adventure hooks.
  • No adventure at all. Just time wasting.
  • Unable to make up new quality things when the situation demands it.
  • Almost no roleplaying and no combat either. Time wasted doing things not important to any plot or action.
  • Frequent shenanigans.
  • Will play favourites, giving some players more "interaction time" than others.
  • Players leave the game disheartened and vow to never return.

Other Types of Bad DMs

Now lets talk briefly about two other really bad Dungeon Masters I have encountered in the past... and a third really bad Dungeon Master whom someone else told me about.

1. The Mischka Incident. Spent hours creating a character only to have the DM (known as Mischka) kill it by having King Kong stomp on it during the first round of combat. No to hit roll. No saving throw. Autokill. I then spent the next 6 hours playing a NPC druid that I never wanted to play, which a fellow player decided he wanted to kill and the DM decided to allow it through shenanigans, even trying to ignore rules / invent house rules in an effort to help the murderous PC to kill the NPC druid. Oh and we never accomplished anything. We were there to kill King Kong, but they wasted 99% of the time trying to kill the druid who was helping them. Part of the problem here is that Mischka was playing favourites with one of his more veteran players and had apparently decided to haze me because I was the new guy at the table. This was the worst game I have ever been in.

Note - I vowed after that incident that I would punch Mischka in the face if I ever saw him again. He ended up being a player in a different person's game many years later and as a fellow player I confronted him about the incident and described how I had felt like I was being hazed by a bunch of assholes. He claimed to not even remember that because it was so many years ago. He did however stop coming to that game, I think because he was now afraid of me.

2. The Planescape Incident. A player I knew wanted to try his hand at DMing and decided he wanted to run a Planescape campaign - a highly detailed campaign requiring the skills of an experienced DM. We created our characters, got sucked through a portal, ended up in a tavern in Sigil and according to the DM were so stupefied that they were unable to act, roleplay and do anything. Whenever we tried to do anything he would tell us "Nope. You are still stupefied." ... "Okay. So when that wears off..." ... "Nope. You are still stupefied." "Okay. We wait until it wears off." "Nope. You are still stupefied." We never accomplished anything. End of session.

To his credit the DM in this example knew he was a bad DM, and evidently needed more practice. He took criticism. I was a Guinea Pig in another of his failed attempts at DMing before I decided I no longer wanted to be a Guinea Pig.

#3. The Character Creation Incident. This story was related to me from a friend. It goes as follows... The group created characters. Spent hours doing this. Then during the start of the game they had a strange sleep spell cast on them which caused them to all fall asleep and dream of new characters. The rest of the session was spent creating new characters which they never got to use. Group never played again.

Seeing any patterns here?
  • Time wasting.
  • Poor planning.
  • Not allowing players to roleplay or take actions.
  • Boring.
  • Hazing a new player.
  • DM plays favourites and helps one PC to murder other PCs.
  • Inordinate amount of time spent making new characters.
  • No accomplishments.

Older Dungeon Masters vs Younger Dungeon Masters

It has been my experience that the older and more experienced a DM is, they are often better at doing the job of DMing. DMs are like wine, they either get better with age or they go sour and should be dumped down the drain. Some people in my humble opinion should not be DMing because they are so piss poor at it, while others should quite possibly be paid to DM professionally because they know what they are doing and have so much experience at doing it properly.

In contrast younger DMs often resort to Player Bribery via stats/equipment/starting level, are more likely to pull shenanigans, and have various hallmarks of poor DMs such as Disappearing Acts, etc. Now that doesn't mean that all young DMs are horrible DMs, it simply means that their lack of experience has not afforded them the opportunity to become good DMs. And as mentioned above, some older DMs also sour with age - or usually quit DMing - in which case it is a survival of the fittest situation. The older/more experienced DMs are the veterans who are typically much better at it, and the younger DMs are inexperienced and often resort to bad DMing tactics - not always, but often.

This is one of the reasons why I want to someday play with Ed Greenwood, whom I have bumped into several times here in Toronto but I have never had the chance to play with. (For those who don't know Ed Greenwood created The Forgotten Realms, is a celebrated author of both books and D&D adventures. eg. Check out "The Haunted Halls of Eveningstar", an adventure I am currently running and close to completing.)

Just a hunch, but I am guessing Ed Greenwood (who has perhaps 40 years of experience DMing) is probably extremely good at running a game. I totally want to play with him someday.

Below Left: Ed Greenwood at Fan Expo in Toronto.

Months ago I even contacted Ed Greenwood via his website. Here is what I wrote:

Hello Ed!

Long time no see. We've bumped into each other several times over the years in Toronto, but I have never had the chance to ask you an important question I have been meaning to ask:

Can I join your game or at least watch?

I am currently in 3 other games, 2 of which are infrequent, and the 3rd of which is the game I have been running for 16 years now. Thus it would be nice to be a player. However finding a quality DM is truly a nuisance. You would not (or maybe you would) believe the number of shoddy DMs out there who either lack experience in what they are doing or lack storytelling skills. Therefore it would give me great pleasure to be a member of your gaming group, or even to just operate as an observer so I can see Ed Greenwood himself in action.

Ideally I am looking for a permanent game to join, something which lasts decades, but I will understand if your gaming group is full (overflowing I dare say?) and you cannot take any more players.

Well met and see you again in the future!

- Charles

And the response I received is below. (I checked the link mentioned but it doesn't seem to work currently.)

Dear Reader,

Thank you for you using Mr. Greenwood's site to be in contact...below is a reply from Mr. Greenwood himself.

On Sunday 27th November The Archmage will be answering questions live at his new blog...please do drop by and say hello.

https://onderlibrum.com/the-edverse-the-blog-of-ed-greenwood/

Cordially,

~Ed's Minions

----------

Sorry, Charles, but right now the time pressures of looking after my invalid wife (who is 80 years old and has just come back from a hospital visit) plus juggling a "day job" and getting The Ed Greenwood Group up and running (which means writing a LOT of novels and game stuff and more) means my playing time is almost nonexistent. The playing time I do get in is playTESTING, for top-secret, not-yet-released projects that can't be open to anyone not covered by legal NDAs. So I'd love to, but there's just no way. I try to DM sessions at the rare conventions I get to, and prefer it when these sessions are open to all to at least observe even if they can't grab a seat at the table as a player, but the rules of those occasions are up to the individual conventions.
So, someday - - but not this day, perhaps not even this year. Sorry!
Ed

Which is both sad and disappointing. Disappointing because I would really like to play with him. Sad because his life has its own share of downturns and his skills are going to waste doing playtesting.

Conclusions

It is hard to find a really good DM. Some of the ones out there are really horribly bad. If you know one in Toronto who wants an experienced quality player, let me know by leaving a comment below.

Update January 2017

The young (Millennial) DM in question mentioned above later unfriended me on Facebook over a comment wherein I said the following:

Millennials are overly sensitive.

So being an overly sensitive Millennial, he unfriended me - thus proving my point. Irony.

Double Irony, I wanted to unfriend him anyway, so he was doing me a favour. Hilarious. :)

"Sight", is this the future of Nerd Dating?

Below is a short film named "Sight". It presents an interesting prediction of what dating might be like in the future if people started wearing Augmented Reality Contact Lenses. Which is honestly pretty creepy. (As if nerds were not creepy enough and socially awkward, now they can secretly stalk you online while simultaneously staring at your breasts.)



So I don't think "Augmented Reality Contact Lenses" are going to hit the market any time soon, and even if they did so within the next 50 years I doubt they would be as useful as the short film suggests. More likely they would have a host of technical problems, extremely short battery life, and limited capabilities.

Take cellphones for example. Do they really make your life easier? The batteries are constantly running low (or worse, dying after 2 or 3 years, right before your contract expires), and there are definitely times when it would actually be easier to use a lan line. Or skype. Or Google Phone. Whatever.

Lost? Bring a map with you. Learn how to use a map. (Any child of mine will learn how to use a map and which way north is, that is for certain.)

Sometimes technology just can't compete with old school things like maps, pencils and paper. eg. I still prefer to use pen and paper during business meetings.

Anywho back to the topic of nerds dating...

These days there are generic websites like POF and OKCupid that provide free personals, which means people (nerds especially) have no problems finding other nerds to date. There are also personal websites that now specialize specifically in nerds. matchgeeks.com, geeknerddating.com, nerdpassions.com, etc.

But do any of those personals sites make nerds any less socially awkward? Or do they just make it easier for 1 nerd to ask out 50 people in 30 minutes, and if he/she gets one response that later leads to a date, that seems like a good results right?

Except the awkwardness is still there. The date might go horrible.

Dating apps and personals essentially ignore the problem that causes nerds to be socially awkward in the first place: Lack of self esteem.

Take the man in the short film as an example. He is apparently a talented software developer. Spends a lot of time indoors. Has a pretty boring apartment if he ever takes his contact lenses off. Is trying to appear more "sporty" by wearing a sports jacket. Compensates for his lack of social skills by using a "Wingman App" that tells him how to behave in front of women.

All of this points to his low self esteem, lack of social skills, and general incompetence with women. Clearly this is a man who desperately needs relationship advice.

And then the end of the film (SPOILER ALERT) he somehow hacks into her ocular account and causes her to freeze in motion, apparently confused by flashing lights or whatever from her contacts - in which case she should have logically just removed them and kept walking.

TO BE CONTINUED...

Pokemon Spawn Locations in Toronto

POKEMON GO TIPS - November 24th 2016.

Pokemon tend to spawn in what are known as Poke Nests. These nests are often connected somehow to the geography or building that the pokemon are nearby.

Examples:
Water Pokemon tend to spawn near water: Rivers, lakes, dams, etc.

Fire Pokemon tend to spawn near farmland, but can also be found in inner cities.

Earth/Rock Pokemon tend to spawn on hiking trails near rock formations, caves, etc.

Spawning however is a bit random. Nests are where certain types of more rare Pokemon will spawn frequently. Unfortunately nests also change over time. For example I know of several nests.

#1. Queens Park, Toronto - The D shaped section of the park south of the legislature has 12 Pokestops within a 5 minute circular walk.

Currently it is spawning Onix and Scyther. (Not so long ago it was an Exeggcute nest.)

#2. Edward Gardens and Sunnybrook Park - By itself Edward Gardens has 25 Pokestops and you can basically just walk in circles around the place.


Currently both of these are nests for Exeggcutes, and to a lesser extent Eevees.

#3. E. T. Seton Park

It used to be a Kabuto nest. I have a feeling it is spawning something else now. If you know what the nest is currently spawning please post in the comments below.

#4. Roundhouse Park - Between Ripley's Aquarium and the Steamwhistle Brewery.

This used to be a Ponyta nest. I have no idea what it is currently a nest for, but I am hoping it is Fire type Pokemon. Also lots of common water Pokemon closer to the aquarium.

Otherwise use the handy guide below to try and find new spawn locations and nests.

















Do you know of a current Pokemon Nest somewhere in Toronto?

If so please post in the comments below:
  • Location of the Nest.
  • Type(s) of Pokemon in the Nest.
  • Month Date Year of the last time you were at the Nest.
This way when the Nests change, we can simply delete old comments from an older date and leave the new ones which are current, this way we focus on the new nest locations.

How to Hatch Rare Pokemon Eggs in Pokemon Go

When you collect eggs while playing Pokemon Go you cannot tell what the egg will hatch into when you finally succeed in walking 2 KM, 5 KM or 10 KM. Or can you?

Pokemon Egg Hatching Chart
I have a theory and I have been testing it out. It goes like this:

Depending on where you are on the map, your egg is more likely to hatch into the same thing that normally spawns in the area you are in, provided the egg is the correct rarity.

So for example if you are hatching a 5 KM egg in an area that regularly spawns Squirtles, Psyducks and Lapras, then you will have a higher chance than normal of getting a Psyduck.

The reason?

Squirtles, Psyducks and Lapras (and other water Pokemon) typically spawn near water, and some areas tend to get very specific types of Pokemon.

When you hatch an egg while walking in that area, my theory is that the game automatically checks where you are to determine what types of spawns are available in that area, determines the result randomly, and then gives you whatever Pokemon matches the egg's rarity.

So for example lets say you are in an area that sometimes spawns Zubats, Magikarp and Squirtles.

If you are lucky, you might get a Squirtle or a Magikarp. If you are not lucky, you will get a Zubat.

In more mundane areas you will likely get something more mundane:

Examples

2 KM -  Caterpie, Weedle, Pidgey, Rattata, Spearow, Zubat.

5 KM - Nidoran, Meowth, Bellsprout.

10 KM - Jynx, Eevee.

Now that doesn't mean that you will automatically get boring Pokemon just because you live in a boring part of town. Rather it simply means you will have higher than normal odds of hatching something boring, and be less likely to hatch something very rare.

So how do you try to control this?

I am going to use Ponyta as an example.

I know from experience that if I go to a specific part of Toronto, the Roundhouse Park south of the CN Tower, that it is a good place to catch Ponytas. If I wanted to hatch a Ponyta on purpose I should in theory go to the same place, finish walking the last of a 5 KM egg (or better yet, multiple 5 KM eggs in Egg Incubators), and my odds of getting a Ponyta would be increased.

Another example:

Close to my home is a parking lot which tends to spawn a lot of Growlithes. If I wanted to deliberately hatch one, I would want to go hang out in the parking lot while finishing hatching a 5 KM egg.

Thus attempting to control this is easy. Figure out what locations tend to spawn what, then go there and hatch some eggs there. Looking for a Scyther? Go to a place that has them and start walking so you can hatch the correct size of egg. If you are really lucky you might catch a spawn Scyther AND hatch a Scyther while there.

How did I develop this theory?

I first noticed this phenomenon when I was down near the Toronto harbour front looking for Dratinis and Dragonites. The area I was in was also spawning a lot of Magikarp, and lo and behold I hatched a Magikarp.

The coincidental nature of hatching a Magikarp in an area that spawned lots of Magikarp caused me to think about whether WHERE I am makes a different to what actually hatches.

Since then I have hatched numerous things and started keeping track of where I was when I hatched that thing:

I hatched a Psyduck when walking near a river, hatched a Seel in an area that spawns Seels regularly, hatched a Horsea in an area that spawns Horseas regularly, hatched an Eevee in an area known for Eevees.

Even when I hatched a boring Pokemon, that boring one is still something normal that tends to spawn in the area I was walking in.

After awhile you become pretty confident that while there is some randomness to what you hatch, the WHERE you are when you hatch the egg does certainly seem to matter.

So what about hatch rates?

Some people have tried keeping track of hatch rates of Pokemon eggs and what things tend to hatch.

The problem with hatch rates is that if my theory is correct, then the hatch rates will vary from person to person depending on where they live, where they tend to go for walks, and what areas they tend to be in. A person who lives near the beach and goes for long walks on the beach will probably have much higher hatch rates for various kinds of water Pokemon.

So how do you hatch something really rare?

There are 3 types of Pokemon not found in North America:
  • Mr Mime, only available in Europe.
  • Kangashkan, only available in Australia / New Zealand.
  • Farfetch'd, only available in Asia.
But it is still possible to hatch a Farfetch'd or Kangashkan using 5 KM eggs. Or Mr Mime using a 10 KM egg.

But your chances of doing so are REDUCED because you are not in the areas that spawn them. This makes hatching a rare Pokemon that isn't from your region almost impossible. You could hatch 100 eggs and still not get the rares you are looking for.

There is also the issue of the Six Not Currently Available Pokemon.
  • Mew
  • Mewtwo
  • Ditto
  • Articuno
  • Zapdos
  • Moltres
Supposedly they don't currently exist in the game. I say "supposedly" because nobody has managed to find them, hatch them or evolve them. Or at least not yet. I don't think these 6 can be hatched. But I do think it is possible they do exist and that there is a way to evolve 5 of them.


You may have noticed that Articuno looks like a Pidgey / Pidgeot and that Zapdos / Moltres look like a Spearow / Fearow. I do not think that it is a coincidence. I think there is two options:

Option 1. They do exist in the game, but you have to rename a Pidgey to the correct name in order to evolve it into an Articuno. Likewise, Zapdos and Moltres are available, but you have to rename a Spearow to the correct names in order to evolve them. Same goes with Mew and Mewtwo (evolved from Meowth).

Option 2. The official story is they have not been released yet and may be released during a future event.

Don't know. Either is possible.

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