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Game Master Tips

Nerdarchy > Game Master Tips (Page 10)

Play Your Next 5E D&D Game with Exciting Exploration Encounters

When it comes to fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons most people agree there are three core types of gameplay experience — combat, social interaction and exploration. These three types are called the Three Pillars of Adventure and the latter of them is often the most forgotten, neglected or misunderstood. When talking with friends who are Dungeon Masters a recurring theme emerges when it comes to exploration. How does a DM make exploration as fun, engaging or suspenseful as social interaction or combat? There’s a severe lack of understanding when it comes to executing the third pillar of the game. A core component I find to exploration is a misunderstanding of when to speed things up vs. slow things down. Sometimes you just want to get characters from point A to point B and all you need is a line or two of narration but sometimes players want to know what’s on the road between places. They want to explore. We’re not addressing what to let them explore at present. For now, let’s focus on how to run an exploration encounter in 5E D&D.

5E D&D history skill check

Show Off Your 5E D&D World Through Magic, Villains and Character Options

Anyone interested in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons can play the game for the rest of their lives and experience unique circumstances in every session without dropping a single penny on the game or accessories. If the only content you incorporate comes from the free Basic Rules there’s still a wealth of possibilities for worldbuilding, character creation and adventures filled with incredible D&D magic, memorable villains and flexible character options. Or, if you’re like us and our friends from Kobold Press you get a kick out of designing your own material like spells, magic items, races, classes and every little nuanced thing you can dream up to drop into your games and share with other players for theirs. At either end of this broad spectrum and everywhere in between your 5E D&D games really come alive as players and their characters discover the campaign world and what makes yours unique. Let’s get into it.

Travel Through the Veil to Discover Fey Adventures for 5E D&D

Several of the most fun and memorable Dungeons & Dragons adventures I’ve participated in involved the Feywild and fey themes. I love the myth and magic of fairy courts in tales from our own world’s history and culture and especially the portrayal of the Twilight Realm of Faerie in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comic books. I borrow heavily from that fabled writer and in my own setting the Feywild is represented by the Dreaming World to contrast with the Material Plane called the Waking World. So you can imagine my excitement when Through the Veil: Tales of the Feywild released at Dungeon Masters Guild. Producer and Project Lead Elise Cretel — @DNDElise on Twitter and a Dungeon Master I’ve got great respect for — sent me a copy and I am more than happy to signal boost this terrific book of fey adventures for fifth edition D&D.

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5 Intimidation Skill Challenges for 5E D&D

Salutations, nerds. For context, the past few weeks I’ve presented five flash encounters based around a skill challenge you can drop right into your fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons game at any point and aren’t meant to take up too much time or serve as longer plot hooks. The idea is to get dice rolling if things get slow, or stretch to give yourself more table time if players are chewing through your material too quickly (not that that ever happens to me…). I’m moving right along with these flash skill challenges and I realized something very important this week — and event for Intimidation is kind of hard to specify. While there are absolutely situations you can color to make it seem like a deceptive or a persuasive statement are the best way to handle them, typically Intimidation is one of those things either a certain kind of person engages in or one characters reach for as a bit of a last resort. In light of this, instead of coming up with situations only Intimidation works for I’ve gathered up five situations where Intimidation is a valid option and won’t make characters come across like jerks! Let’s get to it, shall we?

5E D&D runes Nerdarchy Out of the Box Devil's Hospitality

D&D Ideas — Minions for 5E D&D

Welcome once again to the weekly newsletter. This week’s topic is minions for 5E D&D, which we discussed in our live chat. We hangout every Monday evening at 8 p.m. EST on Nerdarchy Live to talk about D&D, RPGs, gaming, life and whatever nerdy stuff comes up. Speaking of minions for 5E D&D, in Devil’s Hospitality adventurers contend with a devious fiend and their minions before the contract they’re tricked into binds their souls forever. This and 54 other dynamic encounters ready to drop right into your game come straight Out of the Box here. You can get the Nerdarchy Newsletter delivered to your inbox each week, along with updates, info on how to game with Nerdarchy and ways to save money on RPG stuff by signing up here.

diana acrobat 5E D&D acrobatics

5 Insight Skill Challenges for 5E D&D

Salutations nerds. Today we’re going to be rolling some Insight checks. Get ready to cast detect bullcrap without using a spell slot because that’s where we’re headed with this fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons material. For those of you just hopping in with this series the purpose is to give you a set of flash encounters based around a skill challenge you can drop right into your game at any point and aren’t meant to take up too much time or serve as longer plot hooks. The idea is when things start getting slow at your table you can reach for one of these, give some spotlight to a 5E D&D skill and create a little conflict that won’t take over your entire session. So without farther ado, let’s see whose lying.

D&D alliances

D&D Ideas — Treasures of the DMG

Welcome once again to the weekly newsletter. This week’s topic is treasures of the DMG, which we discussed in our live chat. We hangout every Monday evening at 8 p.m. EST on Nerdarchy Live to talk about D&D, RPGs, gaming, life and whatever nerdy stuff comes up. Speaking of treasures of the DMG, in Dinner Party adventurers unknowingly ingest Truth Serum, a little something in the Dungeon Master’s Guide. This and 54 other dynamic encounters ready to drop right into your game come straight Out of the Box here. You can get the Nerdarchy Newsletter delivered to your inbox each week, along with updates, info on how to game with Nerdarchy and ways to save money on RPG stuff by signing up here.

power gaming

Those Bastards Illustrate Different Forms of Intelligence in 5E D&D

Those Bastards is Nerdarchy’s (much less lewd than the title suggests) live stream game of fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Every Tuesday from 8 to 10 p.m. EST the Nerdarchy crew comes together to play some 5E D&D. Of course it’s mostly just our excuse as a team to come together with our hobby and have some fun as friends but it’s also a way for you as the community to see how we apply many of the things we talk about, both here on the site and over on the YouTubes!

The current campaign is entitled Those Bastards. The premise is all of our characters are half siblings (same dad, different moms). As we discovered one another and our intertwining destinies we also learn more about one another’s characters. The running joke for most of the campaign has been the barbarian has the highest Intelligence score (at a 14). But make no mistake — our characters are no idiots… probably. Here’s the thing: our characters all get their own times to shine and show off their own skills. While it’s true that Vent (our fire genasi barbarian) is the most intelligent mechanically, there are other ways Those Bastards prove their mental fortitude.

Saddle Up for Mounted Combat and Adventures in 5E D&D

Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted saddle up to discuss the ups and downs of a mounted adventuring party in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. They go over things like logistics and campaign ideas highlighting mounts and mounted characters in the video. I’m eager to share what official 5E D&D material becomes crucially important as regards mounts and mounted characters. No small number of online discussions about this and many other topics often gloss over, straight up ignore or simply illustrate lack of awareness about the mechanics we’ve already got available. You can see this circumstance arise when it comes to special actions characters can do too, explored more in depth here. We’ll start with mounted combat and go from there, so let’s get into it.

5E D&D all monk party composition

D&D Party Composition — Playing an All Monk Party

Over on the Nerdarchy YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted naturally take a disciplined look at the idea of an all monk party for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Here on the website we take a different approach to this popular video series, exploring my take on the concept of single party composition. Monks in 5E D&D combine extreme mobility and damage dealing power in a very self sufficient class. But it’s a different kind of class we’re focusing on here when it comes to our D&D academia campaign setting, the conceptual frame for this series. Instructors at Monastic Traditions use martial science to provide a way of training students in a results driven atmosphere that brings mind, body and spirit together. So let’s get into it.

D&D Ideas — Firearms

Welcome once again to the weekly newsletter. This week’s topic is firearms, which we discussed in our live chat. We hangout every Monday evening at 8 p.m. EST on Nerdarchy Live to talk about D&D, RPGs, gaming, life and whatever nerdy stuff comes up. Speaking of firearms, in Fire for Effect fire arms are attached to fire giants who burst forth from underground tunnels with hobgoblin allies to launch an unexpected assault. This and 54 other dynamic encounters ready to drop right into your game come straight Out of the Box here. You can get the Nerdarchy Newsletter delivered to your inbox each week, along with updates, info on how to game with Nerdarchy and ways to save money on RPG stuff by signing up here.

Games within Games | Tool Time with Gaming Sets in 5E D&D

Games are the thing around here — Nerdarchy revolves around gaming as a hobby. How to play games better, how to make games funner and new games that come out are just a few of the many nerdy things we cover here along with deep dives into fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. How a society relaxes and the kinds of games its people play reveals a lot about the society’s core values, structures and even how the people think on a perspective level. Today, we’re talking about games and we’re really going meta with the concept. Get ready to have some fun as we start this wheels-within-wheels style conversation of gaming sets in 5E D&D but from a tools perspective! Before we dive into this, it’s important to state that tool proficiencies are a staple in 5E D&D and their relationship to skills can seem concealed at best, as we’ve discussed in previous posts. That being said, every Dungeon Master treats tool proficiencies a bit differently so if you’ve got questions, ask your DM how they treat tools and tool proficiencies. All DMs are encouraged by the Dungeon Master’s Guide to adjust rules to suit their tables, so be flexible with your DM.

5E D&D Deception skill check Stealth skill challenge

5 Deception Skill Challenges for 5E D&D

Salutations, nerds! Today we are going to talk about the art of creative truth telling. You know, like a liar. That’s right, today is the day of Deception skill challenges for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons! As per usual the idea is you can take any of these five skill challenges and seamlessly drop them into your game. They are designed to be isolated incidents but if you want to play them into a larger issue of course you can feel free to do that. Without farther ado, let me tell you where the lies are in 5E D&D.

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Play Your Next 5E D&D Game with the Boost System from Octopath Traveler

Many of us tabletop roleplaying game nerds are familiar with video games, particularly RPGs and JRPGs. Even those who don’t play JRPGs are at least aware of many common franchises — Final Fantasy, Tales, Kingdom Hearts, Pokemon and Persona just to name a few. A common theme among JRPGs is their story driven gameplay and novelty game mechanics. For many the name Shin Megami Tensei immediately evokes the idea of rock-paper-scissors style combat involving damage elements. Saying a name like Golden Sun evokes nostalgia and complex magic and class systems. All of this got me thinking about something. JRPGs are renowned for their creativity and innovation in a frankly restrictive game formula. Suppose we tried adopting certain gameplay elements from JRPGs? While a creative setting or feel is pretty easy to accomplish, mechanics get a bit crunchier as Nerdarchist Dave says. As an admitted JRPG addict I love thinking of ways to evoke this sort of feeling and structure in a tabletop RPG and mechanics aren’t nearly so inaccessible as you might think. So today I want to look at a mechanic from one of my recent obsession plays: Octopath Traveler and adapt a boost system into 5E D&D play.

necro Speak with Dead

Play Your Next 5E D&D Game as a Dirty Fighter by Metagaming

Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted get down and dirty to talk about fighting dirty in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. It’s an unusual topic because fighting dirty essentially means not playing by the rules, which is kind of how the whole tabletop roleplaying game experience operates. Unlike fighting dirty in something like a Mixed Martial Arts competition, character actions don’t simply occur and become subject to rules after the fact. The question then becomes how can 5E D&D character fight dirty by using the rules themselves? At the end of the day fighting dirty embodies a willingness to do something to win that an opponent is unwilling to do under the assumption everyone plays by the same rules. So let’s get into it.

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