Moon Rises is Nerdarchy’s brand new live play series of Monte Cook Games’ Cypher System! Set in the science fantasy post apocalypse of our own Earth, the 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, we’re sitting down with the player behind the ancient astronaut with a psychic twist! Today we’re talking about the tanky deep sea diver with an alien wetsuit!
Nerdarchy’s new live play RPG Moon Rises is a post apocalyptic science fantasy game inspired by action cartoons from the 1980s. This premise is pretty high concept and while most tabletop roleplaying games accommodate fantasy elements the sci-fi and post apocalyptic elements are a bit neglected in many mainstream systems, and devising mechanics (while rewarding at times) is a heavy commitment. But our Game Master for this season of Nerdarchy Live game play, Nerdarchist Dave, had something up his sleeve. He introduced us to Cypher System. When Dave told us intended to use Cypher System by Monte Cook Games my response wasn’t exactly enthusiastic. I’d only heard of the RPG system in passing and when I learned Cypher was the genre agnostic version of Numenera my curiosity was piqued, though I remained skeptical. What I’d heard of Numenera was it was a fun game but had a stigma of being overly simple. So far, not a great setup to the system, huh? I try to keep things positive in my articles, though never at the expense of honesty. That probably has you wondering why I chose to do an article on Cypher System. The reason I’m writing is to say I was wrong. I was very wrong. What’s more I’d bet if I had heard such things about the system at my FLGS, I likely wasn’t alone and I wanted to set the record straight.
Moon Rises is Nerdarchy’s brand new live play series of Monte Cook Games’ Cypher System! Set in the science fantasy post apocalypse of our own Earth, the 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, we’re sitting down with the player behind the ancient astronaut with a psychic twist!
What mineral derived substance is more prevalent in the daily lives of construction workers, jewelers, churches and nearly everyone else in the fantasy world? If you answered glass, congratulations! You got it right, and we’re talking all about glass today when it comes to fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. After a hiatus from this series we’ve returned with our coverage of tool proficiencies in 5E D&D to go over what they contain, how to use them and creative applications for your games. 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 glassblower’s tools.
I’ve always been an avid fan of the druid class in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Whether playing a tabletop roleplaying game or MMO with friends there’s always been something I love about the notion of calling to the wilderness and having it answer in kind. In our campaign for Those Bastards! over on the Nerdarchy Live channel my character at present, Prudence, is a druid with some monk splashed in for good measure. No matter how you spin it, druids are my jam, hardcore. However, sometimes I get tired of the same old druid cantrips and I feel like there are things druids in 5E D&D should be able to do that isn’t really represented yet. As such, I’ve devised some cantrips for your favorite druid characters I think help to fill in some gaps the class currently possesses.
Meet the Lovable Lug with a Dark Past and His Tasty Giant Crab Companion in Those Bastards 5E D&D Live Play
Missing constellations, infernal plots and all the sibling feels are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg in Those Bastards, our live play fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons game streaming on Tuesdays 8-10 p.m. eastern on our second channel, Nerdarchy Live. We got the players and Dungeon Master together to share about the game, their characters and themselves.
When it comes to fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons most people agree there are three core types of gameplay experience — combat, social interaction and exploration. These three types are called the Three Pillars of Adventure and the latter of them is often the most forgotten, neglected or misunderstood. When talking with friends who are Dungeon Masters a recurring theme emerges when it comes to exploration. How does a DM make exploration as fun, engaging or suspenseful as social interaction or combat? There’s a severe lack of understanding when it comes to executing the third pillar of the game. A core component I find to exploration is a misunderstanding of when to speed things up vs. slow things down. Sometimes you just want to get characters from point A to point B and all you need is a line or two of narration but sometimes players want to know what’s on the road between places. They want to explore. We’re not addressing what to let them explore at present. For now, let’s focus on how to run an exploration encounter in 5E D&D.
Dungeons & Dragons needs an overhaul akin to the brash changes made in fourth edition D&D. Got your attention, yet? Good. My introduction into the world of D&D proper came when I began playing midway into 4E D&D. As such, I fully admit it might be my nostalgia talking but I pride myself a bit on being able to look at things I remember fondly with a critical lens and reassess my own enjoyment. (Looking at you, Pokemon anime.) While by no means perfect in its own right, 4E D&D streamlined many extremely complex and wordy concepts from third edition (grappling rules being a prime example). It also dared to reskin much of how the system was worded and refine its emphasis on elements that had fallen by the wayside a bit, most notably combat.
Some might say the renaming and rearranging were core components of why 4E D&D was so poorly received, and well… fair. I think there’s something to be said for overhauling a familiar system with the goal of making it better. The very fact they did such innovative things with the system should be lauded in itself even if it wasn’t ideal, because growth is achieved through failure and the failures of the MMO style combat-focused 4E D&D ushered in the more roleplay-heavy 5E D&D. So let’s talk about some ideas for renaming and retheming that might make the world’s greatest roleplaying game even better!
Those Bastards is Nerdarchy’s (much less lewd than the title suggests) live stream game of fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Every Tuesday from 8 to 10 p.m. EST the Nerdarchy crew comes together to play some 5E D&D. Of course it’s mostly just our excuse as a team to come together with our hobby and have some fun as friends but it’s also a way for you as the community to see how we apply many of the things we talk about, both here on the site and over on the YouTubes!
The current campaign is entitled Those Bastards. The premise is all of our characters are half siblings (same dad, different moms). As we discovered one another and our intertwining destinies we also learn more about one another’s characters. The running joke for most of the campaign has been the barbarian has the highest Intelligence score (at a 14). But make no mistake — our characters are no idiots… probably. Here’s the thing: our characters all get their own times to shine and show off their own skills. While it’s true that Vent (our fire genasi barbarian) is the most intelligent mechanically, there are other ways Those Bastards prove their mental fortitude.
Games are the thing around here — Nerdarchy revolves around gaming as a hobby. How to play games better, how to make games funner and new games that come out are just a few of the many nerdy things we cover here along with deep dives into fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. How a society relaxes and the kinds of games its people play reveals a lot about the society’s core values, structures and even how the people think on a perspective level. Today, we’re talking about games and we’re really going meta with the concept. Get ready to have some fun as we start this wheels-within-wheels style conversation of gaming sets in 5E D&D but from a tools perspective! Before we dive into this, it’s important to state that tool proficiencies are a staple in 5E D&D and their relationship to skills can seem concealed at best, as we’ve discussed in previous posts. That being said, every Dungeon Master treats tool proficiencies a bit differently so if you’ve got questions, ask your DM how they treat tools and tool proficiencies. All DMs are encouraged by the Dungeon Master’s Guide to adjust rules to suit their tables, so be flexible with your DM.
Many of us tabletop roleplaying game nerds are familiar with video games, particularly RPGs and JRPGs. Even those who don’t play JRPGs are at least aware of many common franchises — Final Fantasy, Tales, Kingdom Hearts, Pokemon and Persona just to name a few. A common theme among JRPGs is their story driven gameplay and novelty game mechanics. For many the name Shin Megami Tensei immediately evokes the idea of rock-paper-scissors style combat involving damage elements. Saying a name like Golden Sun evokes nostalgia and complex magic and class systems. All of this got me thinking about something. JRPGs are renowned for their creativity and innovation in a frankly restrictive game formula. Suppose we tried adopting certain gameplay elements from JRPGs? While a creative setting or feel is pretty easy to accomplish, mechanics get a bit crunchier as Nerdarchist Dave says. As an admitted JRPG addict I love thinking of ways to evoke this sort of feeling and structure in a tabletop RPG and mechanics aren’t nearly so inaccessible as you might think. So today I want to look at a mechanic from one of my recent obsession plays: Octopath Traveler and adapt a boost system into 5E D&D play.
Fantasy is a broad genre when it comes to tabletop roleplaying games. However, it seems that whether it’s Tolkien, Le Guin, Adeyemi or Salvatore, humans are an inescapable staple in settings and conflicts. Don’t get me wrong, I love humans. Most of my friends are human. But I have to wonder if we lose a degree of creativity by presuming fantasy must include humans? Today, I want to explore some ways excluding humans in your RPG worldbuilding can really step up your game.
Fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons wizards harness magic through understanding while druids commune with magic as a living force. Warlocks channel otherworldly energies into our own dimension, as do clerics (in a wildly different context). Paladins gain power through their ardor and devotion while rangers tame natural magics, often triggering primal energies within. Bards essentially fudge their way through things, hodgepodging lore together and weaving it into their performances, and numerous others possess magic in part, though their primary focus lies in martial prowess or self-discipline. Then there’s the sorcerer.
His tools an extension of himself, the hammer and anvil announced their master’s work with the rhythmic clang! Clang! Clang of… Wait, “forgery kit?” I thought it was “Forge kit?” Oh, nope. That makes more sense. Apparently, a forgery kit has nothing to do with a forge and everything to do with paper, which would just burn up in a forge. So, yeah! Today, we’re talking about the forgery kit in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Tool proficiencies are a staple in 5E D&D and their relationship to skills can seem concealed at best, as we’ve discussed in previous posts. That being said, every Dungeon Master treats tool proficiencies a bit differently so if you’ve got questions, ask your DM how they treat tools and tool proficiencies. All DMs are encouraged by the Dungeon Master’s Guide to adjust rules to suit their tables, so be flexible with your DM.
Words have power. Just ask Ursula Le Guin. Plus, language is so much a staple of stories and storytelling we’ve even codified it in tabletop roleplaying games into a proper mechanic. When it comes to the words our RPG characters use perhaps the question isn’t, “What words should I say?” but rather, “What words would I say?” This brings us to today’s topic — vernacular. Okay, I know it’s a big word but vernacular is the everyday language used by ordinary people. Speaking of, now’s probably as good a time as any to forewarn this article contains cursing and a dissertation on cursing and racial slurs. So if you’re not comfortable with either of those topics or reading some everyday curses then maybe seek out another of many articles.