Welcome once again to the weekly Nerdarchy Newsletter. This week we are talking about artifacts — uber-powerful magic items that can reshape your D&D campaign world. But before we dive into that, an update on the Facebook page. I’ve regained access, but I wouldn’t say control. The forces of evil are still listed as the owners of the page. I’ve got it unpublished but not deleted. These people won’t have to be subjected to the nonsense that has been going over there. I’m convinced I won’t be booted off the page by these evildoers again. We are fighting to get it back before we initiate the self destruct mechanism. We are leaving that for the last resort.
Welcome once again to the weekly Nerdarchy Newsletter. Last week on the live chat we discussed adding sci-fi in D&D in honor of the Monte Cook Games Kickstarter Arcana of the Ancients. Initially it was just about taking the concepts of the Ninth World and Numenera to convert to the 5E system. The Kickstarter is so successful and has unlocked so many stretch goals that will be doing a straight conversion of the Numenera campaign setting for the fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons set. There will be a handbook for just running sci-fi and weird science — the original objective for the Kickstarter. Then there is going to be a corresponding monster book, some adventures, and finally the campaign setting. The Arcana of the Ancients Kickstarter has ended by now and was a huge success.
Way back in the mid-1980’s when I started playing Dungeons & Dragons as a kid, I feel pretty confident saying the word “narrative” never came up as regards our funny-shaped dice rolling adventures. We played a lot of modules as standalone adventures, and our characters didn’t really engage with the plot very much. A country frozen in time by a strange red light, a town under siege by goblins and a lost valley, rescuing a captive baroness from the evil Temple of the Frog deep in the Great Dismal Swamp… yadda yadda yadda. We go in the ruined palace, slay the white dragon and get the giant ruby. The Iron Ring was defeated after exploring much of Eastern Karameikos. The Fetch paid us as promised and we returned to our own time. And it wasn’t until this moment as I’m writing why back then the narrative was largely irrelevant, but my current D&D campaign — intended to celebrate the old school spirit — wound up with a strong narrative all on it’s own. So let’s get into it and see how a narrative emerges in your D&D campaign, whether you want it or not.
If you’re a fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master, and your campaign goals are a Venn diagram where courtly intrigue and the politics of fey intersect, you’ll find Courts of the Shadow Fey from Kobold Press in the space where those circles overlap. The campaign for 7th-10th level characters begins with an assassination attempt and leads adventurers from the mortal world to the realm of fey. They’ll learn how fickle and capricious the Courts of the Shadow Fey can be, while earning Status and discovering opportunities both alluring and treacherous.
Welcome to another edition of the Nerdarchy Newsletter. This week we are talking about side quests in D&D. Our last weekly live chat was also on side quests in D&D. We figured there was more to be said on the subject. Let’s get into it.
One of the most recent videos on the Nerdarchy YouTube channel is the Ultimate Spell Duelist 5E D&D character build. From the initial planning discussion all the way through the comments on the video, my imagination was firing on all cylinders. And based on the video comments, a lot of other people were too. Like all the recent 5E D&D character builds, we set out to create a character legal for Adventurers League play. This of course limits our character options, but that makes it a fun extra little challenge, plus it’s really rewarding to consider not just mechanical benefits but roleplaying opportunities for these characters as well. Outside of Adventurers League play is where this character really got our creative juices flowing, from chances for personal character moments and growth to campaign implications. So let’s get into it.
Getting the mail is always a great delight when there’s a delivery of a new book from Kobold Press. This publisher consistently puts out awesome content I use in my 5E D&D games, whether it’s their Deep Magic series, my beloved Book of Lairs, the twin titans Tome of Beasts and Creature Codex, or the monthly Warlock Patreon booklet. So I fully expected Midgard Sagas to surpass my expectations, and I am most certainly not disappointed. This book of six 5th Edition adventures were originally designed for convention play. This means the aim if fast-paced action. But each of the 5E adventures is fully fleshed for a complete, satisfying experience. Let’s get into it.
Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage has just been released for Dungeon Masters to test their players’ mettle with. D&D dungeons are a tried and true staple of the game. Over the years there has been D&D dungeon after D&D dungeon. From the Tomb of Horrors to today’s modern Dungeon of the Mad Mage. And over the years Dungeon Masters have used a ton of different methods for representing their dungeons. Now there is another one from Toy Vault live on KickStarter. Their new ZFigs Interlocking Dungeon Tiles is affordable 3D dungeon terrain for everyone’s tabletop games. There are some really nice high dungeon tiles and sets out there, but they aren’t also within the average gamer’s budget.
Over the years Dungeons & Dragons has offered many different races for players to choose from. I know that some Dungeon Masters are very much against anything that does not look normal. Let’s forget the dragonborn and tielfing and play with humans, dwarves, elves, gnomes and halflings. With those races there are plenty of options even without all the subrace choices. But if you are like me you enjoy all the choices and you want to play the things that are bizarre and interesting. If you happen to look around this site you will see many different monstrous humanoids I statted out for 5E D&D and even made up some of my own, so feel free to poke around. I’ve had a fondness for monstrous humanoid races from the beginning of my roleplaying days. The Complete Book of Humanoids was always my favorite, with races like the wemic, the ogre mage and of course the dino people — saurials. I used this book over and over again playing second edition AD&D. And now Deck of Many has an free PDF designed for anyone who enjoys anthropomorphic characters for 5E D&D.
We got our hands on the new D&D campaign setting Ravnica from Wizards of the Coast, aptly named Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica. It is a great resource for players and Dungeon Masters alike. It’s full of D&D monsters, subclasses, spells, backgrounds, and more.
Ravnica is a fantastic setting. Different from any other D&D campaign setting. It’s a whole planet that is a city — a city run by guilds and full fantastical creatures and beings. Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica is Wizards of the Coast’s first official Magic: the Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons mash-up. Nerdarchy is even giving away a copy of Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica and a copy of Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage — you can enter the giveaway here.
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power dropped on Netflix today and although I’m only a few episodes into season one’s 13 episode run I am hooked. Big time. It’s got awesome characters, a terrific fantasy setting, great villains and a wonderful story of heroism. So naturally, my first thoughts are how to turn this into a 5E D&D campaign setting and adventures. Let’s get into it and see what comes about on the fly.