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Author: Robin Miller

Nerdarchy > Articles posted by Robin Miller
ghosts of saltmarsh xendros 5E D&D

Expanding 5E D&D Background Characteristics — Charlatan

Salutations, nerds! Alphabetical order dictates that today I’m writing about the charlatan background for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. When you look at the background options in the 5E D&D Player’s Handbook there are a number of background characteristics suggested for you to help define a character and spark your imagination for roleplaying and in this series I’m creating suggest some additional personality traits, ideals, bonds and flaws for you to play with on the off chance you’ve burned through all of those and are interested in some new ones.

D&D alliances

The Secret to the Best D&D Character Flaws

Salutations, nerds! A while ago I did a post about 10 flaws you can give your character that won’t bog down your game. Today I want to write about another school of thought regarding fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons character flaws. The goals here are to add another dimension to your character, not make you think too hard about adding something entirely new and avoid complications at the table. Make your 5E D&D character flaw a part of their best quality.

5E D&D acolyte background

Expanding 5E D&D Background Characteristics — Acolyte

Salutations, nerds! We’re about to go on a journey of new background characteristics for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. The backgrounds in the 5E D&D Player’s Handbook and other sources include suggested characteristics to help define a character and spark your imagination for roleplaying. In this series I’m going to create additional personality traits, ideals, bonds and flaws for you to choose from during 5E D&D character creation. Maybe you’ve burned through all of the ones in the PHB and really want something new to chew on.

5E D&D favorite characters

Describing Your 5E D&D Character in Memorable Fashion

Salutations, nerds! Today I’m writing about a moment many fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons players dread — when the Dungeon Master turns to you and says, “Introduce your character. Who are they and what do they look like?” Doesn’t it always kind of feel like there’s no good happy medium between too much detail and not enough? I aim to demystify this process and talk about three important things to remember when called upon to physically describe your 5E D&D character. The idea is to pin down things you’ll remember the next time you get caught unprepared. Fingers crossed this of some use to you but if not the first point is the most important.

D&D traps Nord Games

Incorporating Traps Effectively in 5E D&D

Salutations, nerds! Today I’m writing about traps and how they work in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. This is one of those things I don’t see in 5E D&D play as often as I used to and honestly it’s a bit of a shame. In this post I’m thinking about ways of incorporating traps into dungeons and instead of throwing a bunch of traps out for Dungeon Masters to use I’m going to break down what goes into a good one and how to make them satisfying for players. Ready? Let’s do this.

Discovering RPG Conflict in Unexpected Places

Salutations, nerds! I’ve written about tabletop roleplaying games and what it means to be a Game Master in terms of scenes and what goes into making one. I’d like to touch on a brief recap regarding conflict in RPGs. The only metric that matters in terms of what makes a great RPG scene is if everyone involved in it enjoyed themselves. Some players are perfectly content to roleplay shopping scenes with no conflict. They’ll enjoy the conversations when the time to do so affords. These players are blessings and should not be taken for granted because they make a GM’s job easy. But there are those who won’t be satisfied with these circumstances and don’t mistake me — this doesn’t make them bad players! Conflict is the life blood of the RPG experience. Often the difference between a good story and a boring one is the good story understands a scene really begins when there is a conflict and ends when this conflict is resolved.

How to Evoke Fear in a TTRPG Character

Salutations, nerds! Today I’m writing about striking fear in the hearts of tabletop roleplaying game players. And no I don’t mean just in the sense of a player making an obscenely high attack roll and telling them they miss. I mean truly unsettling the players. This may just be a me thing but nothing turns me off of an adventure faster than someone telling me my character feels terrified. This is acutely true in a situation where my character wouldn’t even be unsettled. Some TTRPG characters may be really freaked out walking into a room strewn with viscera for example but a character with a history of murdering people and using their internal organs as a sacrifice to a dark deity probably isn’t going to be too bothered by these circumstances. And honestly forcing a character into having a fear response to a scenario that wouldn’t scare them is cheating.

TTRPG Stock Sessions — Nightmare and Phobia

Salutations, nerds! At the time of writing this post I am getting ready to run a session going along with the subject matter. Hopefully by now the players involved have already done it and there won’t be any chance of spoilers. Today I’m focusing on character phobias in tabletop roleplaying games and the nightmare stock sessions where they’re brought manifest for the characters to deal with during the TTRPG experience.

D&D alliances

Identifying and Handling Emotional Bleed at the Game Table

Salutations, nerds! Today we’re going to talk about emotional bleed. In the context of tabletop roleplaying games by this I mean when a character’s emotions get pretty intense and the player starts feeling them too. The first thing I want you to know is this isn’t a bad thing! You shouldn’t feel bad when this happens. It is perfectly normal and most roleplayers have a tale or two about this happening to them.

TTRPG Stock Sessions — The Time Loop

Salutations, nerds! Today I’m going focusing in on Groundhog Day. Not the movie but the concept of being stuck in a time loop as a tabletop roleplaying game stock session. This episode comes up in a lot of places. The first one coming to mind right now being the Supernatural episode where the brothers Winchester die repeatedly and have to live the day over. The time loop TTRPG stock session comes with a warning label — It’s frustrating to deal with. The time loop is a concept you want to make sure players are okay with before bringing it to the table. All the advice you see about how parties need clear goals is really hard to pull off in a situation like this so proceed with caution. After you’ve cleared it with your TTRPG group here are the things you have to hammer out.

5E D&D endings shadows

Changing the Theme of Your TTRPG Campaign Midstride

Salutations, nerds! I’m taking a brief break from the Stock Sessions series to write about consent in tabletop roleplaying games. I don’t mean tricky things like gore and sexual content, which gets addressed a lot and is super important. But another side of the issue gets overshadowed quite a bit — content and expectations. Consent means everyone is on the same page about generally what’s going to happen in the campaign. Put simply if you’re playing a pirate game it’s reasonable for players to assume it’s going to stay a pirate game and not suddenly become a knightly crusade.

TTRPG Stock Sessions — The Heist

Salutations, nerds! I’m back with another tabletop roleplaying game stock session to dissect and analyze. Today I’m taking a closer look at one of my personal favorites — the heist. There’s something valuable held behind closed doors in a secure facility. Something TTRPG characters need, want very badly or have been hired to retrieve. This archetype is part of the reason why I love Shadowrun so much as a setting. The game is 80% heist jobs, which by the way are great because they leave plenty of opportunity to tackle the adventure from whatever direction the players approach. A heist can be done via a lot of roleplaying, lying to people to get into position or purely through stealth. Characters can go loud and blast their way in or save this option for a last resort.

TTRPG Stock Sessions — Fancy Party

Salutations, nerds! Today I’m going to take a look at another stock session for tabletop roleplaying games in which we’ve got the biggest balls of them all! This series is going to be doing some party crashing. Or possibly attending legitimately with an invitation depending on what flavor you prefer. A stock session for a TTRPG is reusable scenario a Game Master can plug into campaigns that still feels different because of the specific characters involved and this one can be a good form break for parties who tend to do a lot of combat and traveling around and who tend to be excellent roleplay fodder. Most fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons parties spend a lot of their time in dungeons and on the road so seeing them all dressed up can be interesting. As before I’ll cover some of the decisions to make before running the Fancy Party TTRPG stock session.

TTRPG Stock Sessions — Flashback and Memory

Salutations, nerds! Today I’m going to examine the concept of stock sessions for tabletop roleplaying games. In particular I’m thinking about the idea of delving into a character’s memories and exploring their backstory a little bit in a flashback! A stock session for a TTRPG is reusable scenario a Game master can plug into campaigns that still feels different because of the specific characters involved. Think of it kind of like how a good chunk of anime have a beach episode. That’s what I mean.

Taking Inspiration from the Language of Flowers for Your RPG Campaign World

Salutations, nerds! Today I’m writing about flowers in tabletop roleplaying games. Specifically I’m thinking about how back in the Victorian era people were way extra and liked to make codes out of everything. How ladies held their fans was a language in and of itself to the point the hand they carried it in could indicate whether or not they were available for someone else to pursue. In a culture that really didn’t like saying things outright there was a lot of reading between the lines — a lot of implication. Floriography, or the language of flowers, says this poignantly. If you’ve ever wanted to passive aggressively flip someone the bird this was a really excellent way to do so.

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