Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted tackle a GM 911 from the community. In this fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master’s campaign mind flayers turned important NPCs into thralls. Volo’s Guide to Monsters goes into detail about these agents of the elder brains, and they’ve requested some insight. Specifically they’d like to know how to create encounters and adventures designed for characters to discover, identify and deal with the unique version of thralls described in VGtM. This is one of the rare cases where I’ve got a much different view than Dave and Ted on how to approach the situation and thankfully Nerdarchy the Website provides a perfect place where I can share my thoughts on the matter. So let’s get into it and take a different approach to using mind flayers and their thralls in 5E D&D.
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted dig up artifacts and attune to magic items from Mythic Odysseys of Theros. In fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons magic items and artifiacts grant capabilities a character could rarely have otherwise or complement their owner’s capabilities in wondrous ways according to the Dungeon Master’s Guide. Theros expands on this core part of the 5E D&D experience by incorporating how magic items carry reputations as rich and storied as those who wield them. Looking closer at how MOoT’s approach to worldbuilding, storytelling and presenting a campaign setting, illustrated previously through races, subclasses, Supernatural Gifts, piety and the gods generated fresh ideas and great conversations. Viewing magic items and artifacts with the same perspective stands to reason similar outcomes will result, so let’s get into it.
Over on the Nerdarchy YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted naturally discuss the idea of an all druid party for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. This popular video series finds a different angle here on the website exploring my take on the concept of single party composition. Druids in 5E D&D bring a wide variety of features to an adventure and their signature Wild Shape adds tremendous versatility to this class. But it’s a different kind of class we’re focusing on here when it comes to our D&D academia campaign setting, the conceptual frame for this series. Students at Circles take a new age approach to their education, so let’s get into it.
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted establish a link to the gods and discuss Piety in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Introduced in the 5E D&D Dungeon Master’s Guide right in chapter 1, Piety is a variation of the Renown system. When 5E D&D first launched, a prominent part of the marketing focused on Factions — important forces in a campaign world — and characters’ interactions with these organizations. Adventurers League players grew quite familiar with Harpers, Order of the Gauntlet, Emerald Enclave, Lords Alliance and Zhentarim through Renown and for me this was a particularly exciting part of the game. Later books like Acquisitions Incorporated and Guildmasters Guide to Ravnica expand on Renown through their franchise and guild ranks and advancement. Since curating playable races and subclasses for characters as a campaign creation and worldbuilding tool generated good ideas and conversations let’s see how Piety and Renown can be used. Lots of creators already laid strong foundations for using Renown in your 5E D&D games, so we’ll start with what we’ve already got and come up with some new ideas to add.
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted veer from the main adventure to explore side quests in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Side quests in 5E D&D emerged as a discussion topic a while back during the old Saturday live chat and following newsletter. (If you’re interested in either of those, they found a home together on the website here.) When I look back at that now it becomes clear to me my approach to games changed considerably, as a player and Game Master. Side quests in tabletop roleplaying games present as good an opportunity as any to revisit some ideas. At one time RPG side quests formed the bulk of a campaign but if I’m honest now these adventures without direct bearing on the primary goal feel like distractions. Have I turned the corner from exalting side quests to avoiding them? Let’s get into it and find out.
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted share their thoughts on the two new fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons subclasses inside Mythic Odysseys of Theros. College of Eloquence bards and Oath of Glory paladins bring new options for players tied to the themes and concepts of the new 5E D&D campaign setting. If I’m honest it was surprising there aren’t more new subclasses included with MOoT. Circle of Stars felt like a surefire piece of the Theros puzzle! On the other hand if it shows up in a future product more closely tied to the stars (like Spelljammer?!) or a Feywild campaign adventure you won’t find me grousing about it. In the meantime, since I enjoyed thinking about how curating the playable races for characters can become a resource for campaign creation and worldbuilding why not apply the same principles to subclass options?
Helping to run a small business dedicated to tabletop roleplaying games puts me in a position to think about RPGs. A lot. While I consider myself far from an expert game designer or theorist I’ve got to assume writing, editing, planning and considering these games leaves me with at least a little insight and today I want to share a profound moment from my RPG experiences. A while back I wrote about how the best RPGs let you know clearly up front what the game is about. The post found traction and stimulated good conversations. The idea for that post came after reading an early backer version of Vaesen — Nordic Horror Roleplaying and you can check it out here. I bring it up because this post also comes from ideas inspired from the same rule book. One small sidebar in one of the mysteries included with the game changed my whole perspective on verisimilitude and reminded me the importance of remembering we’re still playing a game. So let’s get into it.
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted continue exploring Mythic Odysseys of Theros for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. This time they take a close look at the new races for character options in the campaign setting. Up until now in my own games players have been free to create characters with very little restriction. But with the inclusion of Supernatural Gifts for characters adventuring in Theros there’s been a shift in my thinking. Let’s get into the new races in MOoT and touch on how it changes perspective on what to include and exclude when it comes to creating a setting, worldbuilding and running a campaign in 5E D&D.
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted destroy your fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons campaigns with five different apocalypses. But there’s another tabletop roleplaying game that looks at these apocalyptic scenarios and scoffs! Maximum Apocalypse earns the title because characters drop into a world not only post apocalyptic but the aftermath of all the apocalypses (apocalypti?) AT THE SAME TIME. You’ll draw on every survival instinct and trick you can imagine in the face of 11 distinct apocalyptic perils taking place simultaneously. Think you’ve got the grit, determination and savvy to live through kaiju attacks, robot uprisings, zombie infestations, economic collapse, the Rapture and six other threats to all existence? Then read on…
A new source book for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons presents not only a new setting to explore but an exciting new direction for D&D Beyond, the creators behind this League of Legends crossover with 5E D&D. Legends of Runeterra: Dark Tides of Bilgewater launched fully integrated over at DDB through a partnership with Riot Games. Lead designer and editor James J. Haeck from the DDB team along with designers Makenzie de Armas, Celeste Conowitch Todd Kenreck developed and created this sourcebook for the scoundrel’s paradise of Bilgewater, a place where everything is for sale and fortune favors the bold, for the 5E D&D ruleset. Let’s see what’s inside.
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted bestow Supernatural Gifts on heroes from Mythic Odysseys of Theros, the latest fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons official release. The new Theros campaign setting reimagines mythological tales from our own world’s Greek tradition and arrives for 5E D&D from Wizard’s of the Coast’s other huge game Magic: The Gathering. Gods of Theros exert tremendous influence over the setting from the cosmology down to the commoners living in the poleis (cities) of the world. Most assuredly the lives of heroes intersect with gods, starting with character creation where they receive Supernatural Gifts to help them achieve their goals.
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted crack open their eldritch tomes and take a closer look at one of the iconic spells for warlocks in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Next to eldritch blast a warlock’s most recognizable spell puts a terrible curse on creatures through hex, a 1st level enchantment for warlocks only that scales beautifully with their Pact Magic feature. Hex brings a lot to the gaming table for damage output but if I’m honest it’s the other portion of the spell effects most intriguing to me. With this in mind let’s start with hex and see what creepy directions a warlock can take as a true occultist in 5E D&D.
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted examine an old spell and give it the fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons treatment. In a previous edition death knell gave clerics the ability to siphon the life force of dying creatures to heal themselves, boost their Strength and empower their spellcasting. Whoa! The nasty necromancy spell does some heavy lifting for a 2nd level spell and while planning the video we discussed how this was a great spell for Dungeon Masters to add to enemy spell lists. Tracking dying NPCs and monsters isn’t something I did and I don’t recall anyone I ever played with doing it either, so the part about touching a living creature with -1 or fewer hit points sort of suggests this is the design intent of the spell. At any rate, Dave and Ted enjoyed talking about death knell so after you hear what they have to say we’ll lay it down for 5E D&D so you can drop it right into your own games.
Natural healing is good for me when it comes to fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons and over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted rest up for the next adventure by taking a look at natural healing throughout all the editions of D&D. Aside from the obvious mechanical differences discussed in the video it’s worth noting how methods of natural healing in D&D affect the style of gameplay and storytelling. The core premise of D&D — solving puzzles, talking with other characters, battling fantastic monsters and discovering fabulous magic items and other treasure — remains the same but how stories and adventures progress and more importantly how long these things take in game time changes dramatically. You’ll find no edition wars here, or disparaging words about any editions of D&D. I’ve loved ’em all and I enjoy each more than the previous (yes that means 4E D&D is my second favorite). So let’s get into it.
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted channel divinity to come up with the holiest character in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons to answer a community request. We returned to the Character Build Guide series we haven’t created for in a while and developed the Holy Paragon, a 5E D&D character leaning all the way into their divine nature. But now Mythic Odysseys of Theros released digitally and if you really want to play a character devoted to the gods, look no further. I’ve been incredibly excited about MOoT since we stumbled upon the release prior to the announcement and I looked through the whole hotly anticipated book this morning. I’m blown away.