Psionics have finally made their canonical fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons debut in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. And when I say now anyone can be psionic I mean anyone. Courtesy of two new 5E D&D psionic feats any character or creature can manifest at least a base level of psionic power!
It’s November, which means National Novel Writing Month — also lovingly referred to as NaNoWriMo. Last year, Dael Kingsmill proposed a twist on our classic NaNoWriMo called GamoWriMo. The premise of NaNoWriMo is a challenge to write at least 50,000 words of a novel in a single month. GamoWriMo’s challenge was similar: take the niggling idea for an RPG campaign that just won’t leave you alone and get it to a playtest worthy state before the end of the month. Both challenges emphasize getting words on a page as opposed to immaculate quality.
In our continuing discussion of tools and proficiencies in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons it’s time we talked about a craft many appreciate and even more confuse with the existing Performance skill. Grab your kalimba and take a seat in the orchestra because we’re talking about instruments. As a quick note tool proficiencies are generally nebulous in 5E D&D and their applications vary depending on your Dungeon Master. These posts are meant as guides for those who don’t know where to start but many DMs already have established rules for how tools proficiencies work in tandem with skills. So make sure to ask how tool proficiencies work in your own games.
If I’m being honest I’ve absolutely been That Guy who shows up to a tabletop roleplaying game session with several pages of backstory for my character. In all fairness these times are few and far between and the pages are usually full of narrative instead of exposition, but still Backgrounds are the life blood of your RPG character’s introduction. The events that shaped them up to this point help inform how you portray them and their introduction to the rest of the party. After musing on backgrounds, I wanted to share some ways that GMs I’ve played with have spiced up background elements in games I’ve been a part of. So, let’s cover five ways to make your character backstory more interesting!
It’s a time for masks and mayhem and for me this means superheroes! Superhero flavor can be found everywhere, even in more rigid tabletop roleplaying game systems like fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. What are Critical Role’s Mighty Nein or Vox Machina, if not superheroes in their own worlds? I’ve often thought many homebrew campaign settings feel a lot like fantasy superheroes in worlds where being super is more about aspiration and power development than power inaccessibility. But some people just want the unabashed superhero flavor in their RPG campaigns. Yet many Game Masters I’ve talked with don’t know where to start when it comes to supers.
It’s that time of year, when things go bump in the night and everyone gives cosplayers the pass they deserve. Halloween is one of my absolute favorite times of year and I really wanted to write something inspired by the season. I have several favorites when it comes to Halloween movies. Among my top tier are one most have likely heard of and one most have likely never known to exist.
At the crux of nearly every roleplaying game are the notions of experience and gaining levels. The Level Up appears in tabletop RPGs, video games and in the case of Evermore even a theme park! Even the term Level Up is ingrained into our vernacular. However, recently I was thinking about leveling up progression and experience and how the whole things works in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons and it got me to thinking maybe, just maybe, leveling up and experience are holding back our beloved 5E D&D.
It’s not unheard of for Game Masters to experience what authors refer to as a “sagging middle” and grow tired of preparing material for the same world time and again for players. And players may become frustrated when they hear a GM say they don’t really prepare and instead let players run with things, or become jealous when a GM states they’ve over prepared while you’re struggling to keep things engaging. None of these need be the case! Let’s discuss five ways to avoid a boring middle of your tabletop roleplaying game campaign.
A scream shatters the midnight quiet. The distant peel of thunder forebodes a coming rainstorm, welcome among the red rocks of the desert. Cloth rustles against leather, metal occasional clinking as the merchant shuffles through her pack. These present scenarios, each evocative and distinct from the next. Whether it’s Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder or any other tabletop roleplaying game each session is just as much improv theater of the mind as it is a codified game. Fans of live plays like those found on Critical Role, Nerdarchy Live and any number of other streams know the value of evocative descriptions and setting the scene. And when it comes to immersing players few senses are as captivating as the sense of sound.
What do you get when you mash elemental magic and a tale of escape and intrigue? Suppose you combined a world of electropunk technology with whimsical faeire dangers? What you get when these things collide is the novel Dreams of Fire. Dreams of Fire is an upcoming electropunk fey novel of intrigue and self discovery by Council of Geeks YouTube sensation and debut novelist Nathaniel Wayne. I had the privilege of interviewing Nathaniel about their upcoming work over on my YouTube channel. What’s more, beyond this interview, Nathaniel graciously agreed to answer a few more questions in the form of text, and I’ve included that interview below.
Masonry is everywhere in Dungeons & Dragons. From elven spires towering into the sky to ornate dwarven halls literally carved into the mountains the stonework of fantasy worlds are staples of the genre. Before we begin let’s remember while proficiencies are a core mechanic of fifth edition D&D, tool proficiencies don’t really fit neatly into the idea of proficiencies when it relates to skills and are more nebulous by design. When playing a character with an intrinsic tool proficiency, make sure to talk with your Dungeon Master about how you want that to look for your character. And with that out of the way, let’s talk about mason’s tools in 5E D&D!
So, you wanna get into the big bold world of tabletop roleplaying games, huh? Maybe you’ve decided to spend more time with friends and you think game night is a great way to do this or perhaps you’ve got inspiration for a sprawling world and you just really want to evolve it by telling stories in it. Suppose you don’t know where to start, like what RPG system you should use. You could go with Dungeons & Dragons. It’s a classic for a reason and fifth edition D&D definitely strikes a delicate balance between crunchy and simple. Maybe you’ve recently been watching Nerdarchy’s most recent live play Moon Rises and you want to try your hand with Cypher System. Maybe there’s another game you’ve wanted to try but you’re just not sure on the matter or maybe you don’t even know where to start when you want to branch out with RPGs. Don’t worry. If you want a brief rundown of what different systems high and low points are you’ve come to the right place. Today we’re talking about five different RPG systems — what they do well, what they could do better and general pros and cons. Before we delve even that far feel free to check out the video I did over on my own YouTube channel where I break down the strengths and weaknesses of different types of RPG systems.
If you’re like me and easily distracted by shinies then this is the post for you because today we’re talking about jeweler’s tools in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons! As a quick aside proficiencies are a core mechanic of 5E D&D. However, tool proficiencies don’t fit neatly into the mechanic due to their more nebulous nature. Your own Dungeon Master might rule things differently from how we present things in this post so talk with your own DM and ask how they treat tool proficiencies, especially if you make that a core component of your character. With that out of the way let’s cover jeweler’s tools and how you might use them in your own game.
Plants are one of those things in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons that perpetually perplex me. Many fantasy video games with a crafting system incorporate herbalism and have at least a small list of specific plants used as ingredients in various potions, dyes and the like. However, 5E D&D hasn’t provided extensive coverage for plants as of yet (at least, not at the time of this writing). What’s more it’s explicitly stated in official materials that proficiency with an herbalism kit allows you to concoct healing potions at half cost. It absolutely blows my mind how many people don’t know this or think it’s tied to alchemist’s supplies. As a quick disclaimer, while proficiencies are a core mechanic of 5E D&D, tool proficiencies are distinctly more nebulous than those for skills or weapons and your own Dungeon Master might rule how to apply tools differently from how we present here. With that out of the way let’s talk about the herbalism kit.
Nerdarchy’s brand new live play series is called Moon Rises. Utilizing Monte Cook Games’ Cypher System, the story is set in the science fantasy post apocalypse of our own Earth. Our intrepid heroes must help the charismatic leader Unic Hopebringer in reclaiming Manhattan to rebuild it as New Manhattan. We interviewed the cast of Moon Rises to get some insights into their characters, the world and the TTRPG system breathing mechanical life into this alien yet familiar world. Today, let’s talk about Blue, the mutant monkey, and his player Nerdarchist Ted!