The DM’s Workshop

The DM's Workshop

Here at Wampaslayer we are gigantic nerds and as such, we pretty much all play D&D. Every Wednesday night, after recording whatever Podcast is on the docket, we bring out our books, laptops, pens, and paper and sit around a table for 3 hours to imagine swords, sorcerers, dungeons, dragons, and anything else that comes to our heads. It really has cemented friendships that started 10+ years ago.

While most of us try our hands at the DM game every now and then, it seems that Dave and I are pretty consistently running our games. To that end, we have created a TON of content over the years for our games. I pretty much always create new worlds for my campaigns, throwing customized races for characters, monsters for those characters to face, magic for the characters to wield, you name it. Dave, while doing much the same thing at times, also throws his creative skills into established content.

The thing about Dave and I is that we have very different creative processes. Where I am stats and action and data, Dave is theme and character and style (for the most part, I am generalizing just a bit); I think that between us we run the gamut of the creative process. Considering that, we thought it would be a great idea to show both of those processes in tandem and, hence, the DM’s Workshop was born!

In format, we’ll be running this series in little mini-series formats. We’ll take one aspect of DM creation (character races, monsters, encounters, etc) and focus on it each series. After each series is complete, we should have a nice bit of custom content that everyone can use, augment, and incorporate into their own games. We invite everyone who feels compelled to comment and talk about our creations too!

Without much ado, let’s introduce our first series!

Creating Character Races

One of the first things characters choose when creating their characters is the race. As far as a background perspective is concerned, a character’s race really shapes the type of character they will be. Going Wood Elf? You’re most likely going to have a nimble character, surrounded in mystery and an air of good old-fashioned elven prejudice. Going Half-Orc? Chances are you’re going to be brawny and looked down upon for your heritage with fear and hate. Even with all the same class options, these two characters will be vastly different due to their racial identities. That is why we will go with them first.

While many worlds use the standard array of D&D character races (elves, dwarves, and halflings, oh my!), sometimes they don’t quite fill the needs of everyone. This is why D&D 5th Edition, along with many editions before it, released so many alternative races. So Dave and I will follow suit and create two new races each under this category.

Other worlds, however, are pretty standardly human. One only need think of the popular Game of Thrones universe where, with few notable exceptions, just about everyone is human. It stands to reason that any potential campaign ran in a version of this universe would follow suit (as it has in our current campaign; yes, we are running a Game of Thrones D&D campaign, be jealous!). I’d imagine that each region, or maybe even each major house, could be represented by a human variant race. With that in mind, we’ll both create two human variant races as well.

Finally, we’ll both institute a challenge to each other. Both of us will present the other with a piece of fantasy art and the other will be tasked with creating a brand new and unique race in the spirit of that art. It should be pretty cool! We’ll reveal those pieces of art later in the series.

We hope that this is useful for you and please let us know in the comments if you have any suggestions, requests, or comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Until next time!


If it’s a thing and it’s nerdy, this guy wants to do it. Self-taught and self-proclaimed photographer, programmer, and musician, self-described as lazy, indulgent, and pedantic. Give him a task and he’ll do it, except for maritals. Only his wife gets the maritals.

Find Jason on twitter at @jasonkylesmith and on instagram at jasonksmith84

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