There are many concepts and values I find important to playing Dungeons & Dragons. This may shock you, but two things high on that list are dungeons and dragons. I like taking the dragons listed in the Monster Manual (and even beyond) and creating their D&D dragon lairs, sprawling dungeons with varying levels of complexity. This segment we’ll head back to the Monster Manual proper and take a look at the green dragon. What makes this dragon so unique and it’s lair deadly in it’s own right? Let’s explore introducing a dragon and green dragon lairs, together.
Within the Dungeons & Dragons circles the conversation about optimizing, min-maxing, and power gaming is always in a perpetual spiral. I’m here to lay out the case that a focus on mechanical advantages does not benefit play or the party. A focus on D&D character optimization can reduce focus on an interesting character, most certainly leads to grabbing more than your fair share of spotlight, and piles work onto your Dungeon Master’s lap. This argument is not intended to stop you from playing your way. If this is fun for you, I’m not coming to your table and knocking your minis off the battlemat.
I’ve been playing Dungeons & Dragons for some time now and until D&D 5E, the number of people playing has never been higher. The landscape of the community has also changed quite a bit. With live stream games and actual play series like Critical Role, and online play, the hobby is vastly altered. All these aspects make for a wider and better hobby. But it does bring up questions in my mind. I’m seeing more D&D playstyles than I ever have in the past and often the games I watch at other tables is much different than the game at my table. This leads to the question: when is D&D no longer Dungeons & Dragons?
I was sitting with the Nerdarchists talking about effective monster combinations for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons and we came up with a lot of really cool ideas. Some of those ideas were displayed in the recent Monster BFF video, but my thoughts kept racing, creating all manner of scenes I really need to share with all of you to calm my turbulent mind. So, together we will go through a few more ideas for monster combinations in D&D that were brought up during the discussion and put them together into a scene I hope you’ll use in your campaign, or at least just find some inspiration and enjoyment.
I like to think of myself as an eclectic hobbyist. At least when it comes to the tabletop hobby as a whole, I tend to have a wide array of favorites throughout. While I’m quite mad about Dungeons & Dragons, either playing or writing about it every day, I started as a miniatures game enthusiast. One of my favorite games that I still love is Blood Bowl. There has been a fairly recent resurgence in the popularity of Blood Bowl so I figured what better time than now to talk about the strengths of the game and why you might find something to love in it.
They are innumerable ways to start a fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons campaign and none of them a the right answer. My absolute favorite method of starting a campaign is the low level, very grounded slow burn. It does take a group who shares a deep level of trust and players who are really willing to experience a slow narrative, especially in the beginning where they may not be deeply involved. Let’s go into the nature of slow burn pacing in a D&D campaign, talk about what makes it something I love, and some pitfalls that can come with it.
Nerdarchists Dave and Ted are at it again, and they’ve jumped back into Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes. This time we’re looking at a curious fifth edition D&D monster entry, the stone cursed. The Nerdarchists threw out some great ideas that got me thinking how I would use this entry. I’m a sucker for using under appreciated monster entries and I intend on throwing a creature of two that you might not have seen or used yet. Let’s get into the Stone Cursed and their presence in this encounter line.
There’s always a conversation going on about metagaming in Dungeons & Dragons somewhere. Many argue over what it is but few people argue for its merits. I’m here to put forth that metagaming, like many aspects of D&D or any tabletop roleplaying game, is a tool to be applied with skill and nuance. There is good and bad with every tool, but I believe I’ve built a case for helping you find where those lines are at your table and it all revolves around creating tension in D&D.
I’m in the mood to flesh out some characters and I like the idea of using the variant D&D rules for feats to infuse some flavor into a character concept. Let’s jump into it with three more feats in D&D and maybe these traits will spark some inspiration for your D&D character building on existing characters or ones you might be writing for an upcoming campaign.
Nerdarchists Dave and Ted are talking about bandits in D&D and giving out lots of great ideas and examples. However, the segment is intended to be monster replacements and it got me thinking about how I would replace bandits without simply going right back to something commonly used like goblins and kobolds. I got to flipping through the fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual, looking for creatures I’d never used to replicate the feeling and challenge of bandits. I came to a rather odd inspiration: giant weasels. How do we use weasels in place of bandits? Let’s explore some ideas together!
The Nerdarchists are covering a list of benefits to playing D&D and these really do apply to all roleplaying games. The RPG hobby is wonderful for building you up as a multifaceted person, but what about the people who have been in the hobby for 15 or more years? We may still benefit from those basic concepts and learning how to play, but there are diminishing returns. For me, I know the longer I play the benefits I get are much different than when I started, especially now that I’m playing as an adult.
The Nerdarchists brought up some interesting set pieces in their games within games in D&D video. I’ve had players really gravitate towards gambling at the tavern in between adventures, but just merely rolling skill checks can get a little dull. There are a many options out there for bringing gambling games into your sessions, but I thought I’d share one method I used to take a simple gaming set proficiency and gambling downtime activity of my local rogue and turned it into a recurring scene with an enjoyable NPC and a great way to give weird magic items to the party.
It may come as a surprise to you, but I’m not a huge fan of feats in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. I think these variant D&D rules work, albeit better with specific D&D character building guidelines, but ultimately I greatly disliked feats in D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder and these aren’t enough of a step up for me to enjoy them. However, in an effort to enjoy every aspect of the game and maybe even give some character inspiration to others, I’m going to go through some of the feats in D&D and develop some characterization around them.
Now that we’ve seen the insidious and torturous nature of the black dragon and the windy torrent of the wind dragon and their D&D dragon lairs, I think we need to cool off. Let’s take this party to the frozen tundra of the north where, shockingly enough, I have no shirtless savages. Instead, there be dragons. Well, just the one really. Let’s talk about introducing a dragon with the vicious, cold, and animalistic white dragon. What do these frost wyrms have to offer, what do white dragon lairs look like, and what servants, if at all do they have? We’re going to jump into my take on this lesser used dragon and try to make a unique adventure.
If you’re a frequent reader, you know I like to jump onto whatever topic the Nerdarchists are talking about any given week and throw in my 2 cp. Recently, Nerdarchists Dave and Ted are covered the gith chapter from Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes and I simply gave a soft sigh. The gith are a combination of just about everything I find uninteresting in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Living in a plane of existence beyond the material, psionics, and being a monstrous race. Let’s dive into why I dislike D&D monstrous races and ways that disdain has made my game better. Well, at least I think it’s better.