I had the privilege of sitting down with Monocle Society Founder Kyle Kinkade, and the new Chief Operating Officer of Monocle Society, Mike Fehlauer, to talk about their revolutionary storytelling game, Weave. As Mike put it, Weave is the “most accessible, easy-to-learn gateway to role playing: half-role play, half tarot, all story.”
A character’s ability scores in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons are arguably the most influential part of who they are. Ability scores determine what your character can and cannot do, and to what degree. They determine what roles your character will tend toward and where their weaknesses lie. In D&D 5E, the standard rule set for calculating ability scores is to roll 4d6 and drop the lowest. However, there’s an alternate rule called “Standard Array,” which grants the character scores of 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, and 8. These are assigned to the six ability scores. Then, there’s also the point-buy system.
With how important ability scores are in this game, I wondered why there are so many options for calculation. Then, I got to wondering if the way one calculates their ability scores would affect gameplay, outside of mechanics. What am I talking about? Culture.
Firstly, I should clarify that when we discuss “class” in this post, we’re talking about the character class mechanic in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons, not social class as it exists in our world. The character class system is an integral aspect of roleplaying games whether tabletop, video games, or whatever. That being said, have you ever stopped to think about what a class would look like in a story?
I’ve been playing tabletop roleplaying games for ten years, this month. [Insert fanfare]
(Tearfully accepts nonexistent trophy.) You’re too kind, really.
But in all seriousness, over my years playing games like Dungeons & Dragons, I’ve noticed the RPG has always been a sort of safe space. There have been more than a few times where I’ve been able to draw comparisons between what happens in my roleplaying game group and what’s going on in my personal life. Granted, I’ve never tried to murder a narcissistic vampire, but I have had to deal with corrupt people in positions of power who think too highly of themselves. I’ve never had to argue why my character with magic shouldn’t be imprisoned simply for being a sorcerer, but I have had to deal with prejudice about my views and my sexual orientation. While I’ve never had to hunt for owlbears in a dank cave, I have had to deal with a bat in my basement.
It’s Pride Month, and I love it! For those who maybe aren’t as familiar, Pride Month is a time when Queer people (or people part of the ever-growing LGBT+ community) the world around celebrate love, life, and happiness. It’s a time of rainbows and good vibes and all that other stuff.
A couple of notes before delving into this article:
- I’m coming at this topic from my own perspective as a Queer person who loves tabletop roleplaying games (TTRPGs, for short).
- I’ll be using the term “Queer” (with the capital “Q”) to reference the LGBT+ community in its many contexts.
With the increasing visibility of Queer people in our society, the question for many Game Masters inevitably comes up, “Should I include Queer characters in my worldbuilding?” Rather than tell you you’re a jerk if you don’t or try to convince you why you should, let’s have a frank discussion about the reasons you might or might not want to take Queer people into consideration when it comes to your RPG worldbuilding.
Campfire Writing Software is a tool for writers. It’s phenomenal for tracking everything from characters, to major plot lines, to world building, and more! I was provided a free copy to review, and boy, do I have thoughts. Spoiler alert (in case the article’s title didn’t give it away), I loved it! If you want to watch me go through it initially and get my raw thoughts, you can watch this week’s RPGtube video on my channel!
Writers and Game Masters have a ton of things in common. A writer’s main goal is to tell a good story to entertain their target audience and sell a profitable amount of their work. A GM’s goal is to facilitate fun through a good story and entertain their own target audience — the players. Because of these similarities, GMs can learn a lot from studying good storytelling tactics. In this week’s RPGtube video, I discuss my top five tips for GMs, as coming from the perspective of a writer.
The notion of your D&D character having a background is integral to fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. It grants you a precious few skill proficiencies, and a combination of tool and language options. While background was a part of 4E, it wasn’t nearly as prominent or impacting as it to your D&D character in this edition, and I think the reason for making background such a big deal is directly related to the attempt of 5E to harmonize mechanics and roleplay.
As Game Masters it’s our job to facilitate fun! Players have fun when they get to impact the story in a meaningful way. Often, when a player makes a new character, they think about who this character is and how great they are and so on. In my experience, every player usually has some sort of idea about how they would introduce their character such as particular circumstances or roleplaying. Character introductions really set the tone for each character, especially when it comes to more roleplay-heavy parties, like those I’m used to. An introduction or first impression can really make or break a player’s initial passion for their character.
As many veteran players of fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons know, eldritch blast is one of the most powerful cantrips, and its exclusivity to the warlock class is essential to its niche in the game. By allowing for multiple attack rolls, having a high damage die grade, being of the force damage type, and possessing such a long range, this cantrip is accused by many to be too powerful. However, like most things in the D&D 5E, this cantrip’s exclusivity to warlocks is partly what makes it so well balanced. Unlike other full spellcasting classes, warlocks get extremely few spell slots.
One way the class makes up for this is by granting special spell-like abilities through Eldritch Invocations, often passive adjustments to how your character plays. Eldritch Invocations grant things like new or improved senses, low level spells at-will, higher leveled spells on a cooldown, or modify your premier cantrip (you guessed it): eldritch blast.
Today, I’ll be introducing 5 original Eldritch Invocations for use at your table. All of these work to enhance the warlock’s signature cantrip!
First let me get this out of the way: yes, I know the title is terrible and punny. If you’re here for the top 5 ideas for political campaigns to run for your local office or the presidency, you’re in the wrong place. This article is about political campaigns for your roleplaying games like fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons (and no, I’m not taking sides on Sam vs. Liam for president of D&D Beyond). There are a myriad of ways the politics in your RPG world are going to affect your player characters and nonplayer characters alike. Not sure where to begin? Never fear! I’ve got a video on my YouTube channel dealing with just that topic!
Okay, folks. We’re tackling the elephant in the room today, the thing so many other channels and blogs have addressed… because I’m feeling especially masochistic. Seriously, though, true strike is arguably the single worst cantrip in all of fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. In order to properly address it, let’s start by analyzing just what makes true strike so underwhelming.
Tabletop roleplaying games are legitimately one of my favorite means of storytelling. There’s something incredibly special about about gathering your friends together for a night of fun and enjoyment. Instead of catching up on your favorite streaming show or spending a small fortune getting drinks, everyone sits around a table to collectively craft their own stories with their own original characters. But let me stop myself before I gush off topic. To set up this discussion, I first have to talk about “suspension of disbelief.” Boiling it down, suspension of disbelief happens when a storyteller (or Game Master) and their audience (or players) both understand that a work of fiction is not real, but all parties agree to suspend their disbelief. There’s a sort of unspoken contract between storytellers and audiences that certain core aspects of a fiction story (i.e. the existence of magic, other races, fictional technologies, etc.) are going to remain unaddressed outside of the fact they’re presumed to be true.