In this ArmorClass10.com-sponsored video Nate the Nerdarch and Nerdarhchists Dave and Ted approach the idea of bookkeeping for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons or any tabletop roleplaying game from several avenues. Pregame preparation, character maintenance and efficiency during play are some of the topics discussed.
The standout aspect for me is preparing for a game session by making sure you have all the materials you need. My group meets to play D&D or whatever game we get into at a local coffeeshop. There’s a private room we reserve in the back to while away the evening rolling funny-shaped dice and speaking with funny-sounding voices. Every session requires a mental checklist before heading out the door to account for all the necessary stuff. And then a double-check. And then a quick assessment of more stuff that might be needed.
Derek Ruiz – or Derek von Zarovich as he’s widely known to fans on the internet – is an 2017 Ennie Award nominee for best website. A year ago he was an English teacher. With the flip of a coin, he launched Elven Tower and now “maps” his way forward to continued success as a content creator for D&D and other RPGs. In August, Elven Tower celebrates its one year anniversary. Along with his Ennie Award nomination, Ruiz won the One Page Dungeon contest earlier in 2017 with his entry “Where are the Villagers?”
“I had this idea. I’m going to do something with the internet – start a website or something. I had two options, because this is going to be out of love. This is going to be something that I enjoy. Either it was going to be something about D&D, or it was going to be about science. Believe it or not I just flipped a coin, and I said okay, this is going to be about D&D.” – Derek Ruiz
It’s been a few weeks since the last trip into the wildspace of Spelljammer for D&D 5E. My home game dabbled in a few one-shots and welcomed a new, first time Dungeon Master. Origins came and went, and several Nerdarchy projects kept me from sharing more insights into the exploits of a fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons Spelljammer campaign.
Then I saw this tweet from Mike Mearls the other day.
— Mike Mearls (@mikemearls) July 3, 2017
And the enthusiastic replies.
And a long list of other Spelljammer fans sharing affection for the setting.
And fan groups on Facebook, Google+ and more.
We’re out there, Wizards of the Coast! While I can’t speak for all of us, it’s encouraging to know the folks behind the game we love include all of our favorite aspects from its rich history in their grand vision. In time, I’m confident we’ll get our Dark Sun, Al-Qadim, Dragonlance and Eberron fixes in official capacities.
But all that aside, what I’ve really been thinking about all day is a character build to represent Spider-Man in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. The Nerdarchy YouTube channel has a long history of D&Dizing fictional characters and objects, and it sounded fun to take a shot at this iconic, beloved Marvel Comics character. My previous crack at D&Dizing something – the Sword of Omens from Thundercats – was tons of fun to work on.
In case you missed it, the fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons Adventurers League shared a preview of its Season 7 adventures that tie in to the upcoming Tomb of Annihilation storyline from Wizards of the Coast. Set for early release through Wizards Play Network stores...
Several schools of thought exist when it comes to RPGs and the rolling of the funny-shaped dice we all love. Whether ’tis nobler at the gaming table to roll the d10s and d20s of outrageous fortune, or to roleplay against a sea of troubles, and by narrating end them.
In the ArmorClass10.com-sponsored video above, Nerdarchists Dave and Ted and Nate the Nerdarch reminisce on memorable dice rolls in their gaming experience, different ways to interpret roll outcomes and how a hot roll of the dice can have a big impact on the story.
Getting back on the regular track this week after Origins 2017 – con fatigue is a thing that is real, folks – there were two RPG player experiences I’ve had recently that taught me a valuable lesson. One is from the time-stamped video above that happened during Nerdarchy’s Open Legend RPG-sponsored live game Fridays at noon EST. The other is from my home group’s fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons game. Both situations illustrated a poignant paradigm. As you’ve undoubtedly guessed from this article’s title, the lesson is that great stories emerge from less-than-great people.
Great examples of not so great people in RPG campaigns who drive the narrative forward and create great stories are everywhere. Critical Role’s Vox Machina will be the first to admit they’re often terrible people. Dice, Camera, Action’s Waffle Crew barely get along. Acquisitions Inc.’s The C Team aren’t exactly shining examples of heroism. And Titansgrave’s cast of adventurers were built from the beginning with inherent flaws. Yet all of them tell compelling RPG stories full of action, excitement, humor and drama driven by characters who are far from perfect. I’m sure anyone’s home game has plenty of examples, too.
Attending a game convention is not new territory for me. Fresh off of Origins 2017 in Columbus, Ohio, the gaming juice runs at an all-time high and I’m pumped to plow forward with gusto on as a fan of tabletop roleplaying games as well as a savvy up-and-coming Nerdarchy aide-de-camp.
My first game convention was, coincidentally, Origins Game Fair back in the early 90s when civilization was at its peak. I’ll never forget inadvertently joining a world championship tournament of Diplomacy, having never played the game. For about an hour I had my opponents thinking I was some kind of savant, making bewildering moves they’d never seen. Then they realized my cluelessness and my stint as a global leader quickly ended.
Monsters as notable NPCs and player characters in D&D is something I’ve touched on in past columns, including last week’s exploration of the similarities between a TTRPG GM and a Swiss Army knife. Since then, I ran the “Grungle in the Jungle” adventure idea for my gaming group. Inspired by Stream of Annihilation’s One Grung Above from WotC Product Manager Christopher Lindsay this adventure puts the players in control of a band of grung from Volo’s Guide to Monsters.
Open Legend character build from concept to gameplay
As a relatively new staff writer for Nerdarchy.com the opportunity to join my colleagues William C. (aka Professor Bill from Comic Book University), Megan R. Miller, Nerdarchy.com editor-in-chief Ty Johnston and Nerdarchist Ted in a weekly live stream game run by Nerdarchist Dave is phenomenal.
Not without trepidation I quickly agreed. The game is a wholly new system for me, for one, and for another I’d never played a tabletop roleplaying game online before – let alone live streaming!
Dungeon Life’s Todd Kenreck was one busy journalist at Wizards of the Coast’s Stream of Annihilation June 2-3, 2017. On his Twitter feed, Kenreck shared that he was able to score 29 interviews with various D&D dignitaries, including the inimitable Matthew Mercer, actor and Dungeon Master for Geek and Sundry’s Critical Role.
GM tools for adventure – you only need a few
My TTRPG group keeps me on my toes as a GM. Comprised of adults, all of whom have varying degrees of adulting to do, our get-togethers are infrequent. It averages out to about twice a month on Sunday evenings. Within that group, everyone has varying schedules for work, family responsibilities and so forth. This results in a flexible group makeup on top of everything else. That last part usually isn’t a problem, as PCs can fade into the background or remain on their spelljammer ship while the present players form an away team.
But what happens when a particular character is important to the story for that session? Maybe the previous session ended on a cliffhanger or dramatic moment and a character’s absence would be awkward Or you as the GM simply aren’t prepared to continue your usual campaign?
Spelljammer thrusts your D&D adventures into space
In last week’s column I shared a cobbled-together homebrew system for handling ship-to-ship combat from the homebrew 5E D&D Spelljammer campaign that I run for my friends. With the Memorial Day weekend keeping my players busy we did not gather around the gaming table this week, which means playtesting those rules will have to wait.
Spoilers for any of my players reading this before our next session – they will encounter a potential ship-to-ship combat situation. Or did they think commandeering that mercenary ship was going to be easy?
During a May 15 Reddit AMA with Mike Mearls, lead designer of 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons at Wizards of the Coast, he mentioned how the D&D 5E initiative system bugged him and shared a house rule method he uses for his own games.
It’s no fluke that an enormous and continually-growing slate of streaming game play has emerged alongside 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons. When Greg Tito joined Wizards of the Coast’s marketing team a couple of years ago as communication manager, adding more streaming programming to their schedule was one of his goals to expand the audience for D&D.