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.
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.
The 5E D&D character build is something Nerdarchy is kind of known for. More recently we’ve decided to start doing Adventurers League legal character builds. It started off as just a 5E D&D character build fan request with the extra stipulation that it be Adventurers League legal.
Turns out we liked the idea of making builds within the constraints of AL so much so we decided to turn it into a playlist on our the Nerdarchy YouTube Channel – Adventurers League Legal 5E D&D Character Builds. One of our recent Adventurers League 5E D&D character builds is the Scaled Skald. We also referred to this build as our warrior poet build. You can check out the D&D Beyond character sheet, and get the Adventurers League legal Scaled Skald 5E D&D character build guide that includes an NPC version for Dungeon Masters over on the Dungeon Master’s Guild for pay what you want.
I know many people have complaints about the 5E D&D ranger, especially the beast master ranger archetype. My complaint is a different one. I’d like there to be an urban terrain to be able to choose it as a favored terrain. I took advantage of this desire when we got a request for us to do a Gloom Stalker ranger/Assassin rogue multiclass D&D character build. You can check out the D&D Beyond character sheet, and if you are interested the pay what you want D&D character build guide is up on the Dungeon Master’s Guild.
One of the greatest things about being a D&D player these days is the opportunities to game with lots of different people. Whether it’s through Adventurers League, online games or the huge number of people out there excited or curious to try fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons to invite to the table at home, I’ve been fortunate to play way more D&D than ever before in my 30 years of gaming. It’s provided so many chances to improve as a Dungeon Master and as a player. And I’ve learned that running D&D benefits your time as a player and vice versa. You can learn a lot about what you enjoy as a player through being a DM, and carry what you learn as a DM to the other side of the screen, too.
We recently built a D&D encounter around the miniature sent to us by channel sponsor Pacesetter Games & Simulations. As a side note, right now there is a staynerdy15 promo code over at Pacesetters that you can use to save 15 percent off your purchases. Not to mention there is plenty of free stuff to download on their site. The paints to paint the mini were supplied by Vallejo Paints. There is also currently a give-a-way to win the painted mini, unpainted mini, and paints to go with it here. The mini is a sculpt of Baphomet from the Pacesetter’s Demons and Devils miniature line.
Halloween came and went, and with it lots of awesome ideas out there for running Halloween adventures for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. The Nerdarchy crew weighed in on the festivities too, with a spooky, kooky 5E D&D Halloween encounter. While we were planning a different video, the Roper Wrangler encounter, the idea for our Hag’s Apprentice encounter developed. In the Roper Wrangler the concept was a creature who hit creatures with another creature. In that case, a fomorian used a roper as a weapon to capture adventurers and use them for food on its roper farm, where a dastardly trio of duergar siblings built a spectator sports around captives’ desperate attempts to escape. Taking the idea a step further, in the Hag’s Apprentice we’ve got creatures wearing other creatures as adornment. And with Halloween coming up, we revisited the idea to create a dynamic, creepy encounter ready to deploy in your 5E D&D games.
I filled in for Nerdarchist Dave on one of our weekday live chats a while back when we were doing them regularly, and I got to sit down and have a great conversation with Ben Barsh from Pacesetter Games and Simulation. They have a range of products for a variety of different roleplaying games, but we talked about their Kickstarter and bringing Pasesetter into fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons adventures. You can check out their successful Rise of the Nefarious: A 5th Edition Campaign and and their other 5E adventures on the Pacesetter website.
One of my favorite things about Dungeons & Dragons is the monsters. There’s so many incredible creatures throughout the history of D&D! My go-to method for creating adventures in my own games is starting with a monster and developing ideas from there. So it’s no surprise the Monster BFF series from the Nerdarchy YouTube channel ranks high on my list of likes. In this series, the crew takes two or three 5E D&D monsters, puts them together and discovers what sort of encounter emerges. I’ve had the privilege of sitting in on two planning sessions for these videos and contributing ideas. The first one got me hooked enough to work on an adventure based around the monster pairing. And the second one, in the video below, I helped turn into Nerdarchy’s first Monster BFF product over on the Dungeon Master’s Guild. The Roper Wrangler’s got ropers (duh), it’s got fomorians, it’s got faerzress, it’s got an Underdark location — basically it’s got deadly peril for adventurers who stumble across this encounter. Because sometimes a creature’s gotta hit a creature with another creature.
For disclosure — in my decades as a Dungeon Master and player of Dungeons & Dragons, I have neither used nor encountered the infamous Deck of Many Things. But after sitting in on video planning and discussing it at length with Nerdarchists Dave and Ted, Nate the Nerdarch and Intern Jake, I want to! The powerful Deck of Many Things has been a part of D&D history since the very first supplement — Greyhawk — in 1975. In every edition of the game since, the deck has caused weal and woe for players and DMs alike. Whether it shows up in a randomly generated treasure hoard or enters a campaign due to DM planning, the Deck of Many Things has major impact. So much so that many DMs outright disavow the legendary magic item. Me? I’m excited at the possibility of basing an entire campaign around it. Am I crazy? Perhaps. Let’s get into it and find out.
The newest adventure for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons takes players to a familiar city for some, Waterdeep, and puts them at the center of a dramatic heist involving 500,000 gold pieces. Offering Nerditor Doug a break from running our home group, I offered to run this one as Dungeon Master and share my first impressions of the book. What follows are my thoughts after my initial read through of the Waterdeep: Dragon Heist adventure as well as some ideas from my own game prep notes I’ll be using during our sessions.
I love planar adventures in Dungeons & Dragons. And I’m not alone, based on the huge number of people out there with affection for the Planescape campaign setting first introduced in second edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. Typically, travel and adventure in planes of existence beyond the prime material plane of D&D is the purview of higher-level adventurers. Getting to these planes is often a challenge by itself, and surviving the dangerous environments found there can be very difficult. The laws of physics and magic are often different, and simply being there at all can be a hazard to a character’s life. But you can forget all that, and take adventures across the multiverse of dimensions and create planar campaigns right from the get-go if you want.
There are many concepts and values I find important to playing Dungeons & Dragons. This may shock you, but two things high on that list are dungeons and dragons. I like taking the dragons listed in the Monster Manual (and even beyond) and creating their D&D dragon lairs, sprawling dungeons with varying levels of complexity. This segment we’ll head back to the Monster Manual proper and take a look at the green dragon. What makes this dragon so unique and it’s lair deadly in it’s own right? Let’s explore introducing a dragon and green dragon lairs, together.
I was sitting with the Nerdarchists talking about effective monster combinations for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons and we came up with a lot of really cool ideas. Some of those ideas were displayed in the recent Monster BFF video, but my thoughts kept racing, creating all manner of scenes I really need to share with all of you to calm my turbulent mind. So, together we will go through a few more ideas for monster combinations in D&D that were brought up during the discussion and put them together into a scene I hope you’ll use in your campaign, or at least just find some inspiration and enjoyment.
Nerdarchy plays fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons in the our own campaign setting Chimes of Discordia. The world is Ulthe-Ganya, a hodgepodge one of our early campaigns we are currently doing in D&D games. In that world there is our god of war Stromguard, the lord of battle, bloodshed, and warfare. He is a brutal being that lives for strife and conflict. It is only fitting he has champions to match his demeanor. His followers are drawn from warriors, soldiers, and more primitive tribal peoples. Mechanically his followers in our campaign setting will be drawn from the barbarian, fighter, and War Domain cleric character classes. Some outliers would be bard (skalds), ranger, monk (brawlers), and paladin. Paladins in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons have become holy warriors dedicated to a particular oath. The most violent and warlike of these might find that oath sworn before the altar of Stromguard. Two oaths in particular stand out for Stromguard — Oath of Conquest and Oath of Vengeance. These champions are both revered and feared even among the faithful of Stromguard.