Enhance your D&D5e, and other TTRPG, tables with short form encounters designed to streamline the session preparation process.
Two of the most difficult challenges to tackle when creating a one-shot; short campaign; or an entire epic for your D&D5e or other chosen TTRPG group is:
- Ensuring the encounters you’ve created fits the time period you have to play.
- Filling those encounters with engaging content that your players will enjoy.
At Tactical Tokens, we’re invested in making our gamerunner’s lives as easy as possible. When that’s not offering a range of versatile Tabletop Tokens, it’s providing a solution to one of the mysteries of the universe (or so we’ve heard). Introducing: Token Tales*!
*A/N: I was informed that a victorious fanfare couldn’t be embedded in this blog post. Sorry.
What are Token Tales?
I get it, you have a lot of questions. Let me break Token Tales down into one sentence, so if it’s not for you – you’re not investing your time reading this entire blog post.
Token Tales are short form encounter prompts you can inject into your own sessions and campaigns that act as a foundation for you to build your sessions around, making planning much simpler and creating the sessions a breeze.
You likely have two reactions to this: “Wow, this sounds amazing!” or “No thanks, I don’t need help with my session prep.” If you’re the former, great – keep reading! If you’re the latter, keep reading anyway. We’re giving away some free D&D resources at the bottom.
But I digress, I still haven’t really explained what Token Tales are. As a Creative Writing student, (me, specifically the person writing this) I have an interest in certain writing formats. I know, I hate it too.
One of those formats is known as the “Drabble,” a short form piece of fiction that must be exactly 100 words. No more, no less. This form of writing is perfect for concise, short stories that convey a lot of detail and incite the want to learn more from the reader… a perfect form for TTRPG encounters.
After Dave from Tactical Tokens approached me about his love for short, lunch-sized D&D5e sessions and encounters (30 minutes to an hour) I couldn’t think of a better literary form to bring that idea to life – and so Token Tales was created.
Here’s how Token Tales might look:
What can you find within Token Tales?
Tale Number and Title: This one is self-explanatory. At the top you’ll find the Tale number (out of all total Tales), and the named title of this tale!
Type of Encounter: In the top right, we have broken down the six types of encounters that can be found in Token Tales. These aren’t rigid descriptors, but guidelines to help with game runners planning for sessions that may not have combat, or less roleplay elements. The types of encounters are:
- Combat: The Party must fight something, or someone.
- Boss: Similar to combat, but the enemy will be tougher.
- Roleplay: Skill checks and in-party discussion abound! Roleplay prompts allow the party to converse with each other and you, the gamerunner, in a variety of ways.
- Traps: The Party must avoid setting off a trap using a variety of skill checks, and sometimes their brain (the horror).
- Puzzles: Like Traps, though if we were to simplify them, Trap encounters play out more like Combat, whereas Puzzles play out a little more like Roleplay.
- Hazards: This has the Party fighting against the environment; harsh deserts; dense fog; the possibilities are endless… we hope.
- Exploration: Like Hazards, the Party will likely be in the wilderness or a place they aren’t familiar with. Often they’re looking for the next place to go, or something they need to complete a quest.
Chapter and Part: This will tell you what Chapter of the Token Tales you’re reading, as well as the part you’re in. Whilst Token Tales can be taken out of order, playing them in order unfolds a story before your eyes.
The Description: At exactly 100 words, the prompts that Token Tales present you with are digestible and concise. Feel free to add as much or as little detail as you like.
Things You’ll Need: It’s one thing offering a 100 word prompt to help slim down prep time, but the section below gives you a bullet point list of notes and objects that’ll help you flesh out the prompt into a full encounter.
Success / Failure / Reward: Another simple one, what happens if your players succeed, what happens if your players fail, and the reward up for grabs. All of this can be changed by you, of course, after all – we’re just offering suggestions!
How do Token Tales help me with Session Preparation?
You’ve seen how Token Tales are presented, and now you’re likely asking yourself how it benefits you – if it’s not immediately present.
As previously stated, Token Tales are short form prompts designed to streamline how you prepare your TTRPG sessions. Each encounter is designed to be around 30 minutes to an hour in length. Collections of Token Tales are designed to be played together to create an ongoing narrative or used separately as inspiration to supplement the encounters already in your campaign.
For newer Dungeon Masters, that means you can run an entire session and coherent story with minimal planning and an inclination of how long the session is aiming to last. A session created with three or four Token Tales should be topping out at around the 4 hour mark, roleplay moments pertaining.
As for the more experienced Dungeon Masters, Token Tales can fill those gaps where the creative block draws in. Sometimes you just need those extra prompts to help jumpstart the creative process and finish making the best sessions of your campaign.
Great, I’m in! How do I use Token Tales in my Sessions?
I know it’s wrong to assume, but if you’ve made it this far down the page – it’s likely that you see the value in Token Tales and want to apply them to your games. Or you’ve skipped it all and scrolled down here so you’re able to get to the free resources. Regardless, here you go!
Use them separately to enhance your own sessions, or run them concurrently to take your party through a Pirate themed adventure of riches and revenge!