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Wringing Out 5E D&D Challenge Rating and Encounter Building

Pack mentality is a hell of a drug. I always get a kick out of the chorus of cries whenever the fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons challenge rating system comes up. The most recent time made me realize I’ve been remiss all this time. The Nerdarchists made a video about it and just about every other YouTuber who talks about 5E D&D too. Social media conversations, in person conversations, blogs (even this one!) all weigh in mostly to chime in on how it confuses them, doesn’t work for them or provides impractical guidance to them. I’m in a sassy mood this weekend so I’ll summarize — they fail to understand the whole because they focus on one or a only a few parts. Let’s get into it.

D&D Ideas — Vaults

Welcome once again to the weekly newsletter. This week’s topic is vaults, which we discussed in our weekly live chat. We hangout every Monday evening at 8 p.m. EST on Nerdarchy Live to talk about D&D, RPGs, gaming, life and whatever nerdy stuff comes up. Speaking of vaults in Wooden Dragon a very unusual magic item may just reveal clues to forgotten treasure vaults. Kobolds pilot a wooden dragon construct to terrorize travelers and exact a toll to pass. along with 54 other dynamic scenarios in Out of the Box. Find out more about it here. You can get the Nerdarchy Newsletter delivered to your inbox each week, along with updates and info on how to game with Nerdarchy plus snag a FREE GIFT by signing up here.

5E D&D frost king arctic hobgoblin

5E D&D Warlocks are Dumb (or) Eldritch Blast Spammers

It’s only clickbait when the crucial bit of information you really want to know is omitted! But since you’re here reading you might as well stick around. After years of fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons games playing all but one character class I’m nearing the end of my first campaign playing a warlock for the first time. I have thoughts. Spoiler alert: these thoughts are about reconciling what always bothered me about warlocks, how spamming eldritch blast is the way to go and to a lesser extent confirming what I’ve always suspected — The Undying Otherworldly Patron sucks. So let’s get into it.

dscryb undead giant RPG boxed text

Make RPG Experiences Come Alive Through Finely Crafted Boxed Text

My personal Game Master style has been described to me as descriptive and evocative and this greatly pleases me. Whenever I play a tabletop roleplaying game the juice for me is imagining what it is like for a character existing in whatever settings and surroundings the game entails. So when I’m behind the GM screen it’s important to me to elicit the same immersive experience for the other players. Conjuring vivid imagery of people, places and things helps players put themselves in their characters’ perspectives and brings the world and the game itself to more vibrant life. The folks behind dScryb feel the same way and they’ve put together a terrific resource to help GMs free up their time and create a sensory experience to help set the narrative tone, introduce scenes and spotlight what is important in your worlds of epic fantasy.

Keeping Old School D&D

Well, reader, it’s been a while.  My school work became rather overwhelming.  I figured you didn’t want to read about Decolonizing Western Uni-versalisms: Decolonial Pluri-versalism from Aimé Césaire to the Zapatistasi or such. I’ve still managed to play AD&D a little. It started as a second edition game but has become a hybrid first and second edition AD&D game. 

Get off my lawn.

Skillfully Designing New Skills for 5E D&D

Fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons has taken the world by storm and I contend this is a big factor in the surge of popularity enjoyed by all tabletop roleplaying games of late. As the list of TTRPG options expands seemingly by the day new games offer their own spins on various mechanics and sometimes this leads people to find a new TTRPG option they like even better than the D&D that once held their hearts and minds. In an effort to bring new life to the world’s greatest roleplaying game I’ve devised a series of new homebrew options meant to streamline gameplay and offer some crunch to previously nebulous ideas. In this post I’m adding some crunch to 5E D&D skills.

Your 5E D&D Game is But a Dream with Fey Wanderer from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything

My approach to Dungeons & Dragons always centers on the story more than mechanics. This remains true for fifth edition D&D same as it did way, way back in the day when I started playing the game with the classic Red Box and applies whether I’m the Dungeon Master or not. My perspective often surprises people, these days mostly because of the sort of work I do. So whenever I check out new 5E D&D material from Wizards of the Coast, our own content or any other creators I’m most interested in how these characters, objects and places inspire the gaming experience. Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything introduced lots of exciting new subclasses to the game and I’m positively enchanted by the Fey Wanderer Ranger Archetype and what it brings to the table. So let’s get into it.

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.

D&D Dark Alliance Explodes with Fantasy Action

Dungeons & Dragons fans who just can’t get enough fantasy action at the tabletop can satisfy their craving for thrilling combat on June 22 when Wizards of the Coast launches Dark Alliance. This explosive action roleplaying game builds on the deep lore of the Forgotten Realms for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One Consoles and Xbox Series X|S. Dark Alliance features real-time combat and dynamic co-op gameplay against iconic D&D monsters. The game is developed by Tuque Games, which WotC acquired in 2019.

Candlekeep Mysteries for 5E D&D Players and Dungeon Masters Alike

The newest fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons book, which releases on March 16, is Candlekeep Mysteries. In this anthology of 17 adventures all of the adventure hooks for your 5E D&D characters come from books found in the Candlekeep library in the Forgotten Realms. We previewed what Candlekeep Mysteries contains here. Today I want to explore some ways for 5E D&D players to use these Candlekeep Mysteries adventures beyond the obvious ones the Dungeon Master has at their disposal. One of my favorite things Candlekeep Mysteries offers is the section on Candlekeep itself.

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