Nerdarchy has shared many great posts over the many years we have been around. But recently something popped back into my mind and it bent and twisted into new directions. There is a post about randomizing the eye rays of a beholder. This was such a good blog post we wound up doing a video on it. We talked about what kind of beholder would have the eye rays that we randomized. But this time of year people are thinking about the holidays and with that the big man known as Santa Claus. What if I were to take the randomized beholder concept and pick the eye rays Santa might have and make a Santa Beholder? I recently picked up am unpainted beholder from WizKids I planned to make into into a Christmas Beholder and all my ideas began to fall into place.
Whether you are running a one shot, a small campaign or a long story arc for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons, coming up with a compelling, interesting and unique story end villain or boss monster can be trouble sometimes. Well, what would you say if I told you I have a solution for you? Have you heard of the Big Bad Booklet by our friends over at the Deck of Many?
Worldbuilding is a passion for many fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Masters and many players. Part of what drives this passion is a desire to make a place, a nation, a people or a culture feel alive and turns things like the simple concept of an orc or goblin that player characters sweep aside with swords and spells into cultures deserving of a deeper look. One deeper look to make the world feel more alive is the concept of culture and language to help define a people. Some cultures have a deep understanding of a written language, and others a verbal tradition. They may have customs and beliefs different from ours, but plausible within their own environment. How a people communicate can define how they behave. Their collective understanding of themselves and the world abroad defines itself through language.
Did you know the Extra Life D&D team has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars over the last few years for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals? One of the ways they raise money is through special products available through the Dungeon Masters Guild. The most recent of these is Mordenkainen’s Fiendish Folio, Volume 1: Monsters Malevolent and Benign, a collection of monsters for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. The creatures contained within first appeared in the Fiend Folio, a classic title from first edition AD&D. Back when I was a fledgling young nerdy D&D player the Fiend Folio was very special. There was one older kid in the neighborhood who had a copy and everyone loved flipping through there. The death knight lurked in there. And drow. And svirfneblin! I can’t wait to see what this new iteration contains. So let’s check it out.
Over on Nerdarchy the YouTube channel, Nerdarchists Dave and Ted took a thorough look at the new character class for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons, the artificer. 5E D&D players have been champing at the bit for some time to see an official version of this longtime favorite class first seen in D&D 3.5. Artificers are a integral part of the Eberron campaign setting, so it’s only natural the 5E D&D version comes in Eberron: Rising from the Last War. Since Dave and Ted covered the artificer class in great detail in the video below, I’m going to take a look at the class from a Dungeon Master’s point of view.
When we revamped the Nerdarchy Patreon in early 2018, one of the biggest changes we implemented was our Patreon rewards structure. Previously there were individual support levels giving access to more of our monthly rewards. We had Mage Forge, Monster Menagerie, Friend or Foe, Terrible Terrain and Lost Lore rewards. These digital packages included new magic items, monsters, NPCs, encounters and player options like spells, backgrounds, races and subclass options respectively. We took a big step and combined everything into a single product, giving supporters at the $2 level and above early access to our new Fifth Edition products before they get added to Nerdarchy the Store. We launched this new initiative with Empusia, Curator of Souls. And in celebration of International Tabletop Day we put it in the store for free. (It’s still there!) We’ve continued to create full color digital products every month since. And while our design skills have improved since then — both in terms of game design and layout — one of my favorites remains the Lord of Dead Dreams. This was our followup to the free launch title. Since it’s been about a year and a half since creating it I thought it would be fun to look back and see what new ideas come to mind.
One of the awesome people from the Nerdarchy community recently sent us a GM 911 question we were happy to help them answer. We discussed the topic during our Monday Patreon live chat, and we invited the questioner to join us while we talked about it and hung out with the rest of the viewers. I’m happy to report they were more than happy with the ideas we shared, thanked us for the help and became a Patreon supporter themselves. So, a win all around! It was a great question and one I think a lot of players and Dungeon Masters in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons grow curious about at some point in their D&D experiences. How do we approach the idea of playing a vampire or a werewolf in 5E D&D?
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!
When Nerdarchist Ted pitched the idea for a video response to Matt Colville’s Action Oriented Monsters video I was all in. I’d just watched the video myself and fallen in love with the idea of Villain Actions for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. We’re no strangers to creating new 5E D&D monsters. And like Matt mentions, making creatures in the style of player characters feels kludgy and needlessly complicated and time consuming. But while we’ve generally kept to the existing monster resources like legendary and lair actions, and striving to include action economy options like bonus actions and reactions, Matt took things to the next level by developing a new kind of action — the Villain Action. Like any good Dungeon Master, when I spot a cool idea I steal it for my game. So while Nerdarchists Dave and Ted discuss the ins and outs of Villain Actions on the Nerdarchy YouTube channel, I’m gonna try my hand at creating some of my own.
The Pledge Manager is live. You can select your tiers, add-ons, or even late pledge. If you somehow missed the Out of the Box: Encounters for 5th Edition Kickstarter you can still get in on it. Check out the Pledge Manager here.
Next up, the release of the Nerdarchy the Convention trailer is out there in the wilds as well. Check it out here.
Everything old is new again! Kobold Press is set to release Tome of Beasts Pocket Edition on Oct. 29 according to Amazon (where you can preorder here) and I recently received an advance copy. I’ve long considered Tome of Beasts to be an integral part of my fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons experience. It’s been a minute since flipping through the pages, and getting the pocket edition was a great opportunity to remind myself why I dig the book so much. If I’m honest I’d never read the introduction so starting there was in order.
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 most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of the infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far.”
When considering aberrations in your fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons games it is important to remember the nature of these horrors. Minds and bodies made of stuff from beyond your campaign world, aberrations are truly alien things without connection to the physical laws and regular psychology of even the most foreign minds. Mastering the presentation of aberrations can be tricky, and to keep them from presenting as nothing more than just another monster require subtlety and often restraint.
If you are tired of using elementals in your fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons game and want some alternatives try these monsters instead. This is from our Don’t Use this D&D Monster Use This Instead series. The video is below complete with transcription if you prefer to read along.
Kobolds are insanely popular D&D monsters. So much so that players want to adopt them as henchmen and followers. Others want to play them as player character races. They’ve gone under bit of a transformation from the kobold from Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. In 3.5 D&D they went from being a combination of rat, dog, and lizard to little dragonmen claiming to be the descendants of dragons. Not too long ago we did a video pairing up D&D monsters. Kobolds mounted on other monsters seemed like a lot of fun. We even put together a pay what you want product over on the Dungeon Masters Guild — Kobold Cavalry Encounter. Grab it here.