It’s hard to believe over two years passed since Kobold Press launched Warlock, a Patreon-fueled project in the form of a booklet containing new maps, monsters, character options and more for Fifth Edition. Like it says on the tin, the most ambitious goal for Warlock is a yearly publication of the Warlock Grimoire, a hardcover collection of the entire year’s booklets plus more monsters, dark lore, secret encounters and Deep Magic. And now Warlock Grimoire exists! I received my copy in the mail and while a wealth of cool content waits within the nearly 300-page pocket-sized edition, my favorite part is the introduction. Why? Because before I interviewed Kobold Press head honcho Wolfgang Baur, someone advised me not to call Warlock a zine, but here in the intro to Warlock Grimoire, Wolfgang himself dubs the monthly booklets zines. Vindication!
Salutations, nerds! I hope you’re ready to do some 5E D&D worldbuilding because today we’re going to be talking about revolutions and empires, and what you need if the tabletop roleplaying game storyline you’re planning on running has to do with unseating someone currently in power. Please note, this is going to be a quick run down, not a comprehensive list. I’ve got the span of a quick article to do this — nope, two. Two quick articles. I’ve done the thing again where I had more to say than I thought I did. Ahem. But. I’m going to try to give you enough to springboard off of and hopefully enough to get the gears turning in your head for what you want to do with your plot. Got your notebooks out? Ready? Let’s dive in.
Tools in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons featured pretty prominently lately among the Nerdarchy crew. We focused a live chat on the topic, a newsletter, video, website post and our October Patreon rewards zeroed in specifically on gaming sets. For November we’re following up the Rolling Bones rewards with a broader spotlight on all the other D&D tools. Union Salon is a location you can drop right into your campaign setting. Characters can explore their tool proficiencies through practice with experts, engage with colorful NPC masters of their craft, discover brand new tool sets and put their tool skills to use uncovering a mystery surrounding an auction of oddities and playing minigames in D&D. So let’s get into it.
Full disclosure the temptation to title this post “How to be an utter bad ass evil son of a bitch in D&D” was hard to resist. We had a lot of fun planning for the video over on the Nerdarchy YouTube channel and looking over all the artifacts in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. In another video Nerdarchists Dave and Ted talked about D&D magic items that will damn your soul. While there wasn’t much explicit indication of any soul damning, a character using those magic items definitely wasn’t winning any points in the good department. D&D artifacts raise the bar orders of magnitude. There is no question with these evil artifacts — a creature who uses them puts their soul in peril in a multitude of ways. But for a creature placing power above all else, employing the Book of Vile Darkness, Hand and Eye of Vecna or Wand of Orcus most certainly qualifies for the title of utter bad ass evil SOB.
For a Game Master descriptions are vitally important when running a tabletop roleplaying game like fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Fantastic artwork can be a tremendous visual aid, and there’s countless miniatures and accessories to enhance your gaming table whether you play on a virtual tabletop or a physical one. So I’m always on the lookout for visual data to draw from and help paint a picture for players. I recently came across a remarkable sculpture by Kevin Francis Gray that struck me immediately and went directly into the GM toolbox in my imagination. Even better, Ghost Girl opened a window into this artists other works, a collection of incredible sculptures dripping with evocative imagery. Taking inspiration from fantasy art gets a lot of mileage for me as a GM, and the best works give ideas for adventure hooks.
I know what you’re thinking: “Did Nerdarchy cover five Unearthed Arcana or only four?” Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I’ve kinda lost track myself. But Nerdarchists Dave and Ted discuss Unearthed Arcana — Fighter, Ranger, Rogue in today’s video, and we all speculated about what it could have been last week, so it’s only fair to share the space here on the website to take a look at Rune Knight fighters, Swarmkeeper rangers and Revived rogues.
Real world history and mythology intersect in Tintagel, a village in the United Kingdom. Sculptor Rubin Eynon’s Gallos overlooks the Atlantic Ocean on the cliffs of the village in Cornwall, England. The 8-foot-high bronze statue is inspired by the legend of King Arthur and also the rich Cornish history of the region. And to a fan of fantasy tabletop roleplaying games like fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons, it gets me thinking about adventure hooks.
When you hear “Chapel of Bones” you probably think nercomancer. It’s at least in your surface thoughts. But there is a real Chapel of Bones in Portugal where the interior walls and columns are covered and decorated with human skulls and bones. The 16th century Franciscan monks who built the place meant to represent the concept of life being transitory best summed up by the motto memento mori. The bones of the chapel are very literal reminders of death. But I don’t see any animated dead or other signs of necromantic shenanigans.
Of all the Adventurers League Character Build Guides we’ve done, this one might be my favorite. I should preface by letting you know I think this almost every time. What captures my attention more than anything in these guides are the character backgrounds and narratives we come up with for each one. Whether it’s a pure class 1-20 levels or a mashup of several classes, each choice from race to deciding between ability score improvements or feats and go-to spell loadouts make every character unique. The thing I love about the witch doctor is before Nerdarchists Dave and Ted get around to choosing their first class level, the character already has a rich story, fertile grounds for roleplaying and an impressive set of skills and knowledge.
Players of fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons and other roleplaying games seem to always have at least a sliver of brain power devoted to thinking about the games we love. Art can inspire a character we play or the setting for an encounter. Dramatic relationships and interactions can inspire campaign plots and NPC motivations. And the world we see all around us can add clever details and verisimilitude to our settings. A recent tweet from Grand DM caught my eye and this installment of Real World Adventure Hooks for D&D comes directly from the image they shared.
Last week I spotted an image on Twitter shared by Dungeons & Dragons Game Designer Dan Dillon. A collection of detritus had been arranged very conspicuously on the beach. Dan, a terrific designer and creative mind for the RPG hobby, took note. “Odd beach sights,” is the caption. “Something happened here. Make an Intelligence (Investigation) or Intelligence (Arcana) check, your choice.” Okay, I’m game. What adventure hooks for D&D can we takeaway through this real world sighting?
The other day Nerdarchist Dave and I were talking on the phone when he spotted an unusual creature on his front porch. A white toad sat on the railing and over the next few minutes climbed, jumped and scrambled its way around the porch. He’d never seen a white toad before, and we wondered what it could be up to. How did it get there, and what was the motivation for exploring the porch? Could we glean some adventure hooks for D&D through this real world curiosity?
I’m taking a page out of Nerdarchist Ted’s playbook today to share some news about some highly detailed miniatures to augment your tabletop roleplaying experience. Wicked Foundations: Tales of Terror 5e Miniatures is a live Kickstarter campaign featuring some truly creepy and terrifying minis along with storytelling material to help Game Masters bring the fear!
The fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master’s Guide describes two types of adventures: location based, and event based. But after looking through a new product from the Dungeon Master’s Guild, my takeaway is a third type of adventure — treasure based. Treasured Finds from Cawood Publishing presents organized loot for 5th Edition, and for my 2 cp it’s the storytelling elements hidden in these random tables that’s the real treasure. But the chests stuffed with magic items aren’t too shabby either.
Hello! For the last few months, Tales of the Old Margreve from Kobold Press has been burning a hole in my bookshelf. The kobolds blessed me with a hardcover copy of Tales of the Old Margreve and a copy of the Margreve Player’s Guide. It’s no secret I’m a huge KP fan, and the Margreve stuff is no exception. Part campaign setting guide, part adventure, and part new player options, like my favorite KP products, Tales of the Old Margreve adds new dimensions to fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons games whether you play in the Midgard setting, another established world or your own creation. Let’s get into it. At the end you’ll find an exclusive coupon code to expand your Old Margreve experience.