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Out of the Box D&D Encounters

Nerdarchy > Dungeons & Dragons  > Out of the Box D&D Encounters
beardomancy hair theme D&D

Hairable Terrain — A Beardomantic Encounter for 5E D&D

For our April Patreon rewards we released Hairable Ideas, a follow up to last year’s Beardomancy. This proved one of our most popular products ever! Fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons players and Dungeon Masters alike enjoyed adding beardomancy magic to their campaigns and player wizards following this new Arcane Tradition. One of the players in Nerdarchist Ted’s D&D In A Castle 2019 campaign played a School of Beardomancy wizard as a matter of fact. So when April rolled around this year we knew we wanted to take another trip to the Beard Dimension and came up with lots of new spells and subclasses drawing on beardomantic energy. Of course there’s monsters and magic items too, but one of the snippets left on the cutting room floor was Hairable Terrain, an encounter based on the content and a play on our classic Terrible Terrain material. Since Hairable Ideas is now over at Nerdarchy the Store we thought it would be fun to include this encounter here on the website in a post. So let’s get into it.

D&D traps Nord Games

D&D Ideas — Puzzles

Welcome once again to the weekly Nerdarchy Newsletter. This week we discuss puzzles in D&D. You can get the Nerdarchy Newsletter delivered to your inbox each week, along with updates and info on how to game with Nerdarchy, by signing up here. In case you missed it the Pledge Manager is open and you can claim your Kickstarter rewards if you backed Out of the Box: Encounters for 5th Edition. Or you can pledge late if you missed it the first time around. Get the info here.

Free Kobold Encounter Takes Your D&D Adventure Out of the Box

A couple of months ago, Nerdarchy launched our very first Kickstarter — Out of the Box: Encounters for 5th Edition. The community support and encouragement blew us away! Everyone on the team is super proud of the campaign and even more excited to get the final product into the hands of the 4,057 backers who pledged $256,734 to help bring this project to life. Since the Kickstarter campaign ended, we’ve received a lot of requests for another chance to support Out of the Box and get a copy from those who missed the opportunity to back while it was live. But fear not! Through the Pledge Manager those folks will have a chance to preorder the content and existing backers can add on to their initial pledge. So in classic Nerdarchy fashion, we decided to create even more stuff and give it away for free to celebrate.

Art of the Encounter in Tabletop Roleplaying Games

One of the things we enjoy the most about tabletop roleplaying games is the collaboration taking place between Game Masters and players during a game. The emergent stories spun from game sessions, interaction between player characters with campaign settings and the way player agency impacts GM guidance and adventure direction is the juice! The art of the encounter in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons or whatever game you’re playing has as much to do with how players connect with content as it does the content GMs create. A good GM presents engaging scenarios. A great GM works with players, guiding the group through creating the story of their characters. There’s a shared responsibility to making encounters better.

Out of the Box: Encounters for 5th Edition Lives!

The Nerdarchy crew has been hinting and teasing for a while, and working behind the scenes even longer, and now it is finally here — our very first Kickstarter! Out of the Box: Encounters for 5th Edition went live this morning, July 15, at 6 a.m. eastern. We could not be more ecstatic about how this project came together. The team working to bring the Out of the Box Kickstarter to life is incredible and we jam-packed as much as we could into the campaign. If you’re an experienced Game Master, you’ll find new twists and clever turns on classic monsters, traps, hazards and random encounters. Newer GMs will discover helpful insights to use these encounters to fill gaps in time or story. And players of all levels can use Out of the Box encounters to introduce new adventure hooks and add fantastic new concepts to campaign worlds.

D&D encounters

Out of the Box D&D Encounters, Series 2, #50 – “The Sculptor”

Out of the Box introduction

There’s a song my wife and I hold dear that describes seeing someone differently all of a sudden despite seeing them a thousand times before. This sort of event is all too real. The moment of realization where the one viewing, reading, listening, or interacting with a person, place, song or book in a completely new and surprising way can be a huge flash of creativity. Have you heard a song in a completely new way because the context in which you heard it changed? It’s likely.

Out of the Box D&D Encounter, Series 2, #49 – “Sting of Life”

Out of the Box introduction

I have been remiss in one aspect. I have failed to reveal a villain that has played a role in some of the homebrewed creatures featured in the Out of the Box series. This villain has been mentioned in The Broker, and will be featured in re-writes of The Passenger, Smells Fishy and others. The reasoning for this is clear, and it’s something that happens at more than my table.

Out of the Box D&D Encounters, Series 2, #48 – “It’s Raining….Men?”

Out of the Box introduction

Terrain, planning and paranoia can play havoc with a Dungeon Master’s plans. Introducing an encounter becomes an adversarial game of justifying how an encounter could occur while any number of spells, class or racial abilities or magic items render surprise all but impossible. However, there’s always a way.

Out of the Box D&D Encounters, Series 2, #47 – “The Stray”

Out of the Box introduction

If there is one thing consistent with nearly every campaign I have played or Dungeon Mastered, at least one player will try to turn something (if not a lot of things) into either mounts or companions. There seems to be a little of “the collector” in all of us, but in these players the collection of creatures or things is king. It can be hard to either justify or facilitate such players, as their choices may be neither logical nor timely. Circumstance and choice often work against these players. Even worse, some groups always have the player who seeks to stir the pot and sabotages such efforts.

Out of the Box D&D Encounters, Series 2, #46 – “Your Deal”

Out of the Box introduction

Player characters have tool proficiencies they never use. That’s a fact. I cannot remember the last time any character used a gaming set at my table, either when I was a player or a Dungeon Master. Outside of bards, I cannot remember another character using a musical instrument. Therefore, let’s create a circumstance where at least the gaming set comes into play.

Out of the Box D&D encounters undead

Out of the Box D&D Encounters, series 2, #45 “For Whom the Bell Tolls”

Out of the Box introduction

Different players have different playstyles. this can be a challenge for a Dungeon Master who might be attempting to engage conflicting styles of play at the same time. Failure to do so can lead to player disengagement and boredom. It’s always a risk and tends to be on the mind of many DMs. Therefore this encounter will combine two aspects of the roleplaying game experience. The intention behind this is to get all of the players cooperating in some degree.

Out of the Box D&D encounters flying fish

Out of the Box D&D Encounters, Series 2, #44 – “Airquarium”

 Out of the Box introduction

There are two occasions when a Dungeon Master might wish to make an encounter something other than an obvious combat encounter. The characters may be wounded or otherwise diminished to the point where combat is a lethal risk. Or, the party of adventurers may be so averse to combat as to wish to avoid such at any cost. The latter can be prevalent when running a game for younger players.

Out of the Box D&D

Out of the Box D&D Encounters, Series 2, #43 – “The Broker”

Out of the Box introduction

Whereas I believe that this idea is not totally new, I think it bears recognition with some context. Many Game Masters do not have a problem coming up with an end villain, but side quest minor bosses or recurring bad guys can be a challenge. These lesser characters tend to suck up the air of a campaign, as they spend more time in roleplaying moments and interact more often with characters in the trenches of the campaign. These “under bosses” spend more time early in a character arc interfering with the success of the party. Because of that, they are more important overall in the development of the style of each character, because they are there at the start. These lesser villains set the stage, foil early plans, and can reoccur even later in the campaign. These villains will continually factor into the game world unless thwarted in a meaningful way. They may even become allies if the circumstances or price is right. “The enemy of my enemy,” if you will.
Out of the Box D&D

Out of the Box D&D Encounters, Series 2, #42 – “Empty Chair”

Out of the Box introduction

I cannot speak for others, but I grew up with a lot of superstitions. My mother was very superstitious, but I cannot say if it was a factor of her generation, age, culture, or what have you. All I know is that I inherited many of these superstitions, and it may have lead to my own world view. Some of them I inherited were forgotten until unlocked by an action, word, or reference. One such occurrence recently unlocked this forgotten lore.

Out of the Box D&D Encounters, Series 2, #41 – “Down the Well”

Out of the Box introduction

Inspiration can be the single greatest challenge for Dungeon Masters new and old. Without it we fall into that funk where we draw a blank on how to proceed, or lose our energy in proceeding forward. The loss of inspiration can lead to the death of any campaign, and it’s something to watch for.
Thankfully, many DMs can find inspiration in almost any source. I have personally used music to great effect to create NPC storylines, and enhance visual imagery in descriptions. It’s important to note I have only played music in two encounters total, and do not use it like some as a background effect. Instead, it inspires creation ahead of time.
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