When you look at prepainted miniatures for tabletop gaming WizKids continues to stay at the top of the game. Whether you are playing Dungeons & Dragons or Pathfinder or any number of other fantasy roleplaying games, miniatures from WizKids are great and the new City of Lost Omens set is no exception. I always look forward to the next set of miniatures from WizKids as each one gives me new options for threats to challenge characters and adventuring parties. In addition to the blind purchase in recent years WizKids began doing the nonblind purchase associated with each set. I am a huge nerd and collector when it comes to miniatures in particular. The minis included with City of Lost Omens inspired tons of ideas to bring to the gaming table already.
Hey Folks! By now you’re likely aware Wizards of the Coast’s next big offering for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden. Set in the titular Icewind Dale this new campaign adventure has been described by Chris Perkins as a horror story and various interviews and discussions of reveal it plays on themes of isolation, paranoia and an unforgiving environment. Inspirations for the book include movies such as Alien, The Thing and even Jaws. I don’t know about you all, but I’m on board. But I don’t play in the Forgotten Realms. Why am I so thrilled for this new book? The answer is simple. I have been working on my own cold weather setting for a while now and this promises to be an amazing tool box for my own personal campaign much in the same way that Tomb of Annihilation proved invaluable in my current nautical, island hopping campaign. I’m sure there will be a good amount of source material surrounding the adventures much like previous 5E D&D books. It has already been revealed there will be a whole lot of new monsters leaning toward cold climates.
Back in December I was at PAX Unplugged and I got to have a conversation with the lovely people over at WizKids. They had a lot of projects on the horizon and I have even shared a bunch of them with all you wonderful people. Just released, hot off the presses if you will, are the amazing WarLock Tiles. These fully painted, durable and double sided tiles are perfect for setting up your dungeon scene or creepy castle hallways. The only limitation is your imagination.
Over on Nerdarchy the YouTube channel, Nerdarchists Dave and Ted discussed the best classes to play for locathah and tortle characters in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Both of these aquatic adjacent races were introduced to 5E D&D through DMs Guild products where all the monies Wizards of the Coast receives from sales of the PDFs are donated to Extra Life. Since its inception in 2008, Extra Life has raised more than $30 million for sick and injured kids. Maybe it’s the single class party composition series we’ve been doing or the Hell & High Water expansion for 1985 Games’ Dungeon Craft product line, but adventuring parties sharing a common element have been on my mind lately.
It is time to look at some more miniatures. This time we are going to look at Pathfinder Battles: Ruins of Lastwall miniatures from WizKids. One of the things I really enjoy about the Pathfinder minis is these sets occasionally come with set dressings or terrain pieces. By slowly adding new items to my collection I get inspired by the items that have come out of the boxes. Some things I might not choose to purchase if I just saw them on the table, but if I get them by chance, I already have them so might as well use them.
Hello gamer friends out there. There are lots of ways to use terrain in your tabletop roleplaying games and there are loads of options when you are looking at modular dungeon tiles. I am here today to talk to you about one of those options — Dungeons & Lasers now on Kickstarter.
Many of us look back at the old editions of Dungeons & Dragons with rose-colored glasses. Reminiscing about THAC0 and the uniqueness of the old races and classes. One thing I always liked though that slowly died out was strongholds as a level reward. This mostly died off after second edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. There was the Strongholds and Builders Guide in 3.5, but I found it more of a Dungeon Master supplement and players never gave it a glance. This goes back to something removed from D&D — politics. Old settings like Birthright, Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, and Ravenloft all had factions that lead to a lot of political intrigue and plots. Due to this it was not uncommon for people to be awarded baronies in these games and used as quest points themselves. As the editions changed, we would see the leadership feat come and go, and followers and cohorts fall to the wayside. Now from the brilliant mind of Matt Colville and the creative staff from MCDM they have returned these things to the light with the 5E D&D supplement Strongholds & Followers. For those of you unfamiliar with Matt Colville you can check out his Running the Game series over here. Let’s take a look at the book.
It’s right in the name of the game Dungeons & Dragons. For decades we’ve all sat there with our graph paper or loose leaf and sketched out maps for terrifying dungeons. Some dungeons now even have a place in the game history like Tomb of Horrors. Over time dungeons have even evolved to a thing called the megadungeon, much like Rappan Athuk from Frog God Games or Undermountain as featured in the upcoming Dungeon of the Mad Mage. These super dungeons are huge and go on for days, with shortcuts through out just to get back to the surface occasionally. These aren’t designed for your typical “Go in, kill the goblins, loot and run out” adventures. The big question for dungeon design now is, how big is too big? You don’t want the party to say they’re done part way through, and you don’t want to be designing it and toss the map aside in exhaustion. Let’s look at some things that should help you mentally with dungeon design and how it relates to your story.
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.
Sometimes, adventures in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons take you away from dry land and the comfort of familiar tropes. When ancient evil threatens the world from the ocean floor, when rumors of a sunken city offer the prospects of rewards untouched by man, or simply when a transport ship sinks, then its time to dive below the waves. Aquatic adventures in D&D can offer a fresh new experience for players and give the Dungeon Master an opportunity to play with some creatures and locations that tend to go untouched. So, strap on your swim cap as we dive into running an adventure underwater.
Derek Ruiz – or Derek von Zarovich as he’s widely known to fans on the internet – is an 2017 Ennie Award nominee for best website. A year ago he was an English teacher. With the flip of a coin, he launched Elven Tower and now “maps” his way forward to continued success as a content creator for D&D and other RPGs. In August, Elven Tower celebrates its one year anniversary. Along with his Ennie Award nomination, Ruiz won the One Page Dungeon contest earlier in 2017 with his entry “Where are the Villagers?”
“I had this idea. I’m going to do something with the internet – start a website or something. I had two options, because this is going to be out of love. This is going to be something that I enjoy. Either it was going to be something about D&D, or it was going to be about science. Believe it or not I just flipped a coin, and I said okay, this is going to be about D&D.” – Derek Ruiz
Spelljammer thrusts your D&D adventures into space
In last week’s column I shared a cobbled-together homebrew system for handling ship-to-ship combat from the homebrew 5E D&D Spelljammer campaign that I run for my friends. With the Memorial Day weekend keeping my players busy we did not gather around the gaming table this week, which means playtesting those rules will have to wait.
Spoilers for any of my players reading this before our next session – they will encounter a potential ship-to-ship combat situation. Or did they think commandeering that mercenary ship was going to be easy?
What do you get when you introduce steam punk, aristocrats, and infernal powers into your Dungeons and Dragons game? Fausthaven is such a place. It’s located in a northern region nestled within a valley referred to as the Cauldron.
Quite sometime ago myself along with the rest of Nerdarchy did a video inspired by real life events in Centralia P.A. Where coal mines have been burning for decades.
Instead of coal fires burning under Fausthaven we have our own source of fire and heat. Long ago a trans-dimensional accident transposed sections of a lower plane a in a portion of our version of the Underdark that we refer to as the Beneath.
Now when I design a dungeon those are the 2 rules that keep it on track for me. As long as I can stay true to those 2 things, then I have made a dungeon. Easy enough right? I mean with that sort of curriculum just about anything can be a dungeon! Well, yes and no
Take this launching station & space elevator for example. It has quite a large a number of large spaces. You definitely wouldn’t feel that a 60 foot wide room would make for much of a dungeon & you would be totally right. The reason, or rather the narrative behind the creation of this particular dungeon map, is that the large open spaces are primarily for freight.
Having a large area filled with stacks upon stack of crates, pallets, barrels etc. get that large space feeling claustrophobic really quickly. The varying levels of height and possible straightaways in there begin instilling the essence of a dungeon. . . . FEAR!
How Scary is your Dungeon in your Dungeons and Dragons Game
Spiked pit traps to impale the wreck-less adventurer, sharp steel saw blades spinning out from a wall waist high to cut you an half and acid, bubbly bubbly acid . . . . poor Aeofel.
Those and much more can be found in one place and one place only. The dungeon! Dungeons across the scope or RPG’s everywhere & so are the plentiful pitfalls and traps that fill them. It may just be me but I’ve been feeling that dungeons are so much more than just a place to put simple “run of the mill” traps.
Even the more elaborate traps that fill dungeons are something that I just don’t connect with. To me it’s always fealt that the approach to dungeons was simply to have a place to put these pit traps, flying blades, giant rolling stone sphere’s and whatnot. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy those traps, to a degree but they are overused & often, at least to me, the focus of the dungeon.
O.k., lets take a step back and look at some of the actual definitions for the word “dungeon”.
How do You Use Dungeons in Your Dungeons and Dragons Game