Fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons is a rich game that codifies cooperative storytelling in a way no other has. One of the primary ways it does this is by representing what characters are good at through the skill proficiency system. In this series, we’re breaking down the different skill proficiencies: what they are, how they work, and understanding when to apply a skill check. As a quick disclaimer, every 5E D&D Dungeon Master has their own right to call for any skill check in any situation; this is just meant as a general reference. Today’s featured skill proficiency has been used in many games I’ve participated in. To quote one of my friends’ characters, “When things go to s***, we will lie, and we will lie, and we will lie.” That’s right! We’re talking about Deception.
Skill proficiencies in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons can be confusing at times, especially for new Dungeon Masters. However, never fear! We’re here to help guide you on how to apply skill proficiencies and when to know if an ability check is a simple check using a certain Ability Score, or if a skill proficiency can be applied to make a skill check. As a quick disclaimer, every 5E D&D DM has their own right to call for any skill check in any situation; this is just meant as a general reference. Today’s featured skill proficiency is Athletics!
When it comes to fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons many of us take understanding ability checks and skills for granted. However, I’ve found many Dungeon Masters struggle with understanding the nuances of ability checks. As a quick disclaimer, every 5E D&D DM has their own right to call for any skill check in any situation; this is just meant as a general reference. Today’s featured skill proficiency is Animal Handling!
Skills are a staple of fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons, and in this series we’ll explore each skill in depth. Hopefully by the end of it all you’ll answer instinctively when asked to differentiate Sleight of Hand from Stealth from Performance. As a quick disclaimer, every 5E D&D Dungeon Master has their own right to call for any skill check in any situation; this is just meant as a general reference. Today’s we’re looking at Arcana, the quintessential skill when it comes to magical understanding.
Skills are a staple of fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons, but many Dungeon Masters find themselves unsure of when to call for a player to roll Investigation vs. Perception, or Deception vs. Performance. In this new series we’ll explore each skill in depth, and hopefully by the end of it all you’ll answer instinctively when asked to differentiate Sleight of Hand from Stealth from Performance. As a quick disclaimer, every 5E D&D DM has their own right to call for any skill check in any situation; this is just meant as a general reference. Today, we’re looking at the first skill you’ll see at the top of a skills list on your character sheet: Acrobatics.
The Nerdarchy crew experienced a tremendous year in 2019! We grew by leaps and bounds, earning a Silver Play Button for the YouTube channel, creating a wildly successful Kickstarter, organizing Nerdarchy the Convention and growing the website right here by hiring me full time along with staff writers Megan R. Miller’s increased role with us and the author and writer of this very post, Steven Partridge. Steven is a remarkable writer, a creative powerhouse and really a good-natured and great hearted fellow. The whole Nerdarchy crew is so happy to have him as part of the family. Steven regularly contributes fun, intriguing content here to help inspire better games and better friendships. Please go visit his website to see all the stuff he is up to here. But that’s enough of me hijacking his holiday tale! — Nerditor Doug
Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Kwanzaa! Blessed Yule! Phew! Happy Hogswatch! *Wipes sweat from brow* There are a ton of holidays this time of year, and that last one mentioned is what sparked the inspiration for this article. Hogswatch is a fictional holiday presented in the Discworld. During my annual re-read of Hogfather by Terry Pratchett I got to thinking about creating original holidays in fantasy worlds.
Baby, it’s cold outside! Snow peppers the air, ice clings to roads and the frigid wind cuts through your layers like a cutlass. With the frigid weather upon us, it occurs to me there isn’t really a canonized condition for being overcome with cold as of yet. Granted, exhaustion technically covers this basis, but exhaustion doesn’t quite evoke how I would tend to think of cold affecting characters. With the current rules, a Captain America or Aang sort of scenario with a player being flash frozen into stasis doesn’t really work. That person would just die under the rules of exhaustion. This, compounded with the consideration that we have a couple of cantrips to codify how cold affects creatures, I propose a separate condition called “freezing.”
The holiday season is in full swing! Families gather around large meals and share time with one another… possibly even play a session of D&D together? In the spirit of the season, I was trying to think of a topic that might thematically represent this time of year. Ideas danced in my head like sugar plums… Sorry, I couldn’t resist. However, it did strike me that a common element when it comes to holidays is food.
Eberron: Rising from the Last War released! For those who aren’t familiar, Eberron is an arcanepunk setting with a brand new book for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Arcanepunk as a genre focuses on magic with a twist. In the case of Eberron, the twist is magical technology, AKA magitech! Magitech is an amazing way to inspire fantastical wonder and alien mystery into your world. By assimilating (no pun intended) elements of science fiction into our fantasy we build something new, something… more intense that hits the grandiosity of fantasy while still amping up the science fiction suspense. However, there’s something else I want to talk about when it comes to 5E D&D narrative, but rather than introduce it in the traditional sense, indulge me while I make a point through narration.
“Come on, Herbie! Just a little more!”
Herbie unleashed a thunderous grunt, his six massive legs sinking into the soft, wet earth. Mud clumped his thick fur, the torrential rain mingling with his sweat as the gantuan struggled to pull the carriage from the mire.
Panic gripped Wally’s heart as the family inside the sinking carriage clung to one another. The child, a little girl with her father’s broad features and her mother’s elven ears, pressed a hand against the glass.
When it comes to bards in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons, they tend to get a rap for being the face of the party or the characters trying to get into everyone’s pants, but Charisma isn’t just about Persuasion, Deception and Performance. It’s about Intimidation, too. And Intimidation is all about instilling fear, whether through threats or presence. Lots of things are intimidating. Monsters and horrors are just a couple. Being that it’s the time for Halloween, I really wanted to try something weird, inspired by the All Bard D&D Party Composition: How to Play video from over on the YouTube channel.
It’s that time of year, when you hear Spooky Scary Skeletons about half a dozen times before you get tired of it. That got me to thinking about skeletons and necromancy in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Back in the old days, paladins were always lawful good, and necromancers were always evil. But the times, they are a’changin’ and now we’ve got the Grave Domain cleric, the Shadow Magic sorcerer, and others with this definitively dark, necromantic theme, but they’re much more ambiguous on whether their powers are “evil,” as such. What’s more, we’ve got clerics all over the place using necromancy spells like spare the dying, revivify, and such for the good of all. So, that begs the question, “Is necromancy evil in D&D?”
The Mis-Adventurers: An (Almost) Epic Tale is a new adult comedic fantasy adventure novel that hits a lot of the beats of a D&D campaign and the lovely disasters that can ensue. As the author, I very consciously designed the story this way, because some of the best stories I’ve ever experienced have been around the game table.
A large part of what makes D&D work so well as a storytelling avenue is its codified rules. These define things like how magic works, what weapons can do, and even resolving complex maneuvers. As an author trying to capture the proverbial magic of a tabletop roleplaying game story, I knew I’d have to codify many of the book’s events in terms of game mechanics. As such, I devised a unique new D&D subclass for each character.