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.
Anyone interested in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons can play the game for the rest of their lives and experience unique circumstances in every session without dropping a single penny on the game or accessories. If the only content you incorporate comes from the free Basic Rules there’s still a wealth of possibilities for worldbuilding, character creation and adventures filled with incredible D&D magic, memorable villains and flexible character options. Or, if you’re like us and our friends from Kobold Press you get a kick out of designing your own material like spells, magic items, races, classes and every little nuanced thing you can dream up to drop into your games and share with other players for theirs. At either end of this broad spectrum and everywhere in between your 5E D&D games really come alive as players and their characters discover the campaign world and what makes yours unique. Let’s get into it.
Several of the most fun and memorable Dungeons & Dragons adventures I’ve participated in involved the Feywild and fey themes. I love the myth and magic of fairy courts in tales from our own world’s history and culture and especially the portrayal of the Twilight Realm of Faerie in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comic books. I borrow heavily from that fabled writer and in my own setting the Feywild is represented by the Dreaming World to contrast with the Material Plane called the Waking World. So you can imagine my excitement when Through the Veil: Tales of the Feywild released at Dungeon Masters Guild. Producer and Project Lead Elise Cretel — @DNDElise on Twitter and a Dungeon Master I’ve got great respect for — sent me a copy and I am more than happy to signal boost this terrific book of fey adventures for fifth edition D&D.
Salutations, nerds. For context, the past few weeks I’ve presented five flash encounters based around a skill challenge you can drop right into your fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons game at any point and aren’t meant to take up too much time or serve as longer plot hooks. The idea is to get dice rolling if things get slow, or stretch to give yourself more table time if players are chewing through your material too quickly (not that that ever happens to me…). I’m moving right along with these flash skill challenges and I realized something very important this week — and event for Intimidation is kind of hard to specify. While there are absolutely situations you can color to make it seem like a deceptive or a persuasive statement are the best way to handle them, typically Intimidation is one of those things either a certain kind of person engages in or one characters reach for as a bit of a last resort. In light of this, instead of coming up with situations only Intimidation works for I’ve gathered up five situations where Intimidation is a valid option and won’t make characters come across like jerks! Let’s get to it, shall we?
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted get bawdy and revel in what the satyr offers as a playable race for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Satyrs are longtime D&D monsters across all the editions and make their debut as a character race option in Mythic Odysseys of Theros. The new race boasts some powerful traits and in the context of MOoT begins play even more powerful with the addition of Supernatural Gifts. This is an important distinction because the default assumption for campaigns in the Theros setting includes a curated selection of playable races. All that said, what I’m interested in doing here is expanding the breadth of satyr adventurer life through creating some special satyr racial feats for 5E D&D characters. So let’s get into it.
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!
Welcome once again to the weekly newsletter. This week’s topic is minions for 5E D&D, which we discussed in our 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 minions for 5E D&D, in Devil’s Hospitality adventurers contend with a devious fiend and their minions before the contract they’re tricked into binds their souls forever. This and 54 other dynamic encounters ready to drop right into your game come straight Out of the Box here. You can get the Nerdarchy Newsletter delivered to your inbox each week, along with updates, info on how to game with Nerdarchy and ways to save money on RPG stuff by signing up here.
Greetings! It is no secret I am a board game nut in addition to a tabletop roleplaying game nut. Likewise my family loves board games and gaming together. Today I want to share with you a selection of a few of our favorite board games by Kosmos Games. These games keep your mind sharp and provide opportunities to work together to complete common goals. My family has had tons of fun enjoying these games together and I hope these recommendations lead to creating memorable gaming experiences for you and your family too.
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted find inspiration to come up with the best magic items for bards in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Like the other discussions on top magic items for various character classes in 5E D&D this is an unusual topic because it’s rare for a character to choose magic items. However there’s a few opportunities I can think of off the top of my head. In Adventurers League play items can be traded on a one-for-one basis for items with the same rarity at a cost of 15 downtime days unless they’re playing at the same table. Games beginning beyond 1st level often allow for players to choose magic items too, like in our own monthly fan one shots. These looks at 5E D&D magic items are difficult for an entirely different reason though. The best of anything is subjective, if for no other reason than campaigns are as diverse as the people playing them. This time around we’re going to stick to looking at homebrew magic items at D&D Beyond and leaning into the subjectivity. For each type of magic item (excluding potions and scrolls) I’ll consider the rating, views and adds for each kind and choose the one I think best serves a bard. So let’s get into it.
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted examine an old spell and give it the fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons treatment. In previous editions clerics and druids could channel divine power to cast sticks to snakes and thereby transform ordinary sticks into — wait for it — snakes. Back in those days of yore many spells could be cast inversely too and this was one such spell with the amazing ability to transform dangerous snakes into, you guessed it, sticks. (It could also be used to counterspell sticks to snakes.) This spell from the Alteration school of magic, what would now be transmutation, became known for much more than frightening folks with miracles straight out of sacred texts. Quarterstaves, arrows, axe hafts, spear shafts and more were juicy targets to transform into wriggling reptiles. Dave felt nostalgic for this oldie but goodie and felt it would be fun representing in for 5E D&D, so here it is for you to drop right into your own games.