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Game Master Tips

Nerdarchy > Game Master Tips (Page 15)

If You’ve Got a 5E D&D Mind Flayer Campaign, Flaunt It!

Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted tackle a GM 911 from the community. In this fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master’s campaign mind flayers turned important NPCs into thralls. Volo’s Guide to Monsters goes into detail about these agents of the elder brains, and they’ve requested some insight. Specifically they’d like to know how to create encounters and adventures designed for characters to discover, identify and deal with the unique version of thralls described in VGtM. This is one of the rare cases where I’ve got a much different view than Dave and Ted on how to approach the situation and thankfully Nerdarchy the Website provides a perfect place where I can share my thoughts on the matter. So let’s get into it and take a different approach to using mind flayers and their thralls in 5E D&D.

5E D&D archer

5 Animal Handling Challenges for 5E D&D

Salutations, nerds! Following up on the Acrobatics post from last week, this time we’re going to talk about Animal Handling in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Once again the idea is you could take any of these five skill challenges and drop them right into your game to give a 5E D&D character who leans heavily on that skill to shine and solve a smaller problem. Or, you know, eat some time if your adventure is going by a little bit faster than you expected. Not that that happens to any of us, right?

5E D&D tool proficiency disguise kit

From Performers to Pickpockets | Tool Time with the Disguise Kit in 5E D&D

Tool proficiencies are a staple in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons 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. With all the disclaimers out of the way, let’s talk about the disguise kit in 5E D&D.

Designing Frontier Settings Like Icewind Dale for 5E D&D

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.

5E D&D Worldbuilding Insights from Mythic Odysseys of Theros Magic Items and Artifacts

Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted dig up artifacts and attune to magic items from Mythic Odysseys of Theros. In fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons magic items and artifiacts grant capabilities a character could rarely have otherwise or complement their owner’s capabilities in wondrous ways according to the Dungeon Master’s Guide. Theros expands on this core part of the 5E D&D experience by incorporating how magic items carry reputations as rich and storied as those who wield them. Looking closer at how MOoT’s approach to worldbuilding, storytelling and presenting a campaign setting, illustrated previously through races, subclasses, Supernatural Gifts, piety and the gods generated fresh ideas and great conversations. Viewing magic items and artifacts with the same perspective stands to reason similar outcomes will result, so let’s get into it.

Invoke Planar Powers with Hero Forge Celestials and Infernals in 5E D&D

In the worlds of Dungeons & Dragons, or really any fantasy based roleplaying game the theology is very important. In the real world, where we all live our daily lives, I think a smaller amount of people think about their immortal soul than those who live in a world where it is incontrovertible that magic exists and there is an afterlife. It is even possible to visit the realm of the dead or come back to life. With this in mind and considering there are agents working both sides, why are angels and fiends not seeing more of a hand in the events of the mortal world? We know there are playable races with divine or fiendish blood, and we hopefully do not need a biology lesson of the birds and bees to know how you got there, but why are the celestials not serving major cities as advisors, looking out for a family line? Or why are their not infernals attempting to do the same?

warforged druid rose healer healbot

D&D Party Composition — Playing an All Druid Party

Over on the Nerdarchy YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted naturally discuss the idea of an all druid party for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. This popular video series finds a different angle here on the website exploring my take on the concept of single party composition. Druids in 5E D&D bring a wide variety of features to an adventure and their signature Wild Shape adds tremendous versatility to this 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. Students at Circles take a new age approach to their education, so let’s get into it.

D&D Ideas — Beyond Death

Welcome once again to the weekly newsletter. This week’s topic is beyond death, which we discussed in our live chat. We hangout every Monday evening at 8 p.m. EST and talk about D&D, RPGs, gaming, life and whatever nerdy stuff comes up. beyond death, in Dance Macabre adventurers encounter an old ruin whose dark legacy tethers its former guests to the site well beyond their deaths. 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 and info on how to game with Nerdarchy, by signing up here. Our second channel continues to grow and evolve! Nerdarchy Live joins the flagship Nerdarchy the YouTube channel as the new home for our long form video content like Live Chat Revivified and live game plays. Learn more about Nerdarchy Live and how to make sure you don’t miss a thing right here.

diana acrobat 5E D&D acrobatics

5 Acrobatics Skill Challenges for 5E D&D

Salutations, nerds! There are a lot of skills in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Some of them, it seems, people are more likely to choose proficiency in than others. Of course skill challenges are going to crop up over the course of a 5E D&D adventure — Arcana to figure out of the spell on the place you’re standing in is something ritual based or being actively cast, or Insight to see whether the shopkeeper you’re dealing with is trying to swindle you. Today we’re talking about Acrobatics. The idea is you could take any of these five Acrobatics skill challenges and drop them right into your game to give a character who leans heavily on this skill a moment to shine and solve a smaller problem.

What’s Cookin’, Good Lookin’? | Tool Time with Cook’s Utensils in 5E D&D

Okay, I know I started out the last article mistakenly talking about the wrong type of cobbler but this time fruit cobbler applies! Desserts! Breakfast! Elevensies! Lunch! Afternoon tea! Dinner! Supper! Yep, we’re talking about food today so get cozy with your favorite snack as we dive into a conversation about cook’s utensils! Tool proficiencies are a staple in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons and their relationship to skills is muddy, at best, as we’ve already discussed in a previous article. That being said, every Dungeon Master treats tool proficiencies a bit differently so if you’ve got questions, ask your DM how they treat 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. With all the disclaimers out of the way, let’s talk about cook’s utensils in 5E D&D.

5E D&D Worldbuilding Insights from Mythic Odysseys of Theros Piety and the Gods

Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted establish a link to the gods and discuss Piety in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Introduced in the 5E D&D Dungeon Master’s Guide right in chapter 1, Piety is a variation of the Renown system. When 5E D&D first launched, a prominent part of the marketing focused on Factions — important forces in a campaign world — and characters’ interactions with these organizations. Adventurers League players grew quite familiar with Harpers, Order of the Gauntlet, Emerald Enclave, Lords Alliance and Zhentarim through Renown and for me this was a particularly exciting part of the game. Later books like Acquisitions Incorporated and Guildmasters Guide to Ravnica expand on Renown through their franchise and guild ranks and advancement. Since curating playable races and subclasses for characters as a campaign creation and worldbuilding tool generated good ideas and conversations let’s see how Piety and Renown can be used. Lots of creators already laid strong foundations for using Renown in your 5E D&D games, so we’ll start with what we’ve already got and come up with some new ideas to add.

D&D for students

Step Aside, RPG Side Quests — We’re On an Important Campaign Mission!

Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted veer from the main adventure to explore side quests in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Side quests in 5E D&D emerged as a discussion topic a while back during the old Saturday live chat and following newsletter. (If you’re interested in either of those, they found a home together on the website here.) When I look back at that now it becomes clear to me my approach to games changed considerably, as a player and Game Master. Side quests in tabletop roleplaying games present as good an opportunity as any to revisit some ideas. At one time RPG side quests formed the bulk of a campaign but if I’m honest now these adventures without direct bearing on the primary goal feel like distractions. Have I turned the corner from exalting side quests to avoiding them? Let’s get into it and find out.

5E D&D lizardfolk

D&D Ideas — Piety

Welcome once again to the weekly newsletter. This week’s topic is piety, which we discussed in our live chat. We hangout every Monday evening at 8 p.m. EST and talk about D&D, RPGs, gaming, life and whatever nerdy stuff comes up. Speaking of piety, in Deep Breaths adventurers encounter a procession of lizardfolk making a pilgrimage to honor the Drowned One and the party make convenient offerings to their elemental deity. 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 and info on how to game with Nerdarchy, by signing up here. Our second channel continues to grow and evolve! Nerdarchy Live joins the flagship Nerdarchy the YouTube channel as the new home for our long form video content like Live Chat Revivified and live game plays. Learn more about Nerdarchy Live and how to make sure you don’t miss a thing right here.

Monster Morale with Meaning for 5E D&D

Salutations, nerds! Today we’re going to talk about monsters and their tendency to fight to the death every single time in tabletop roleplaying games like fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Now, I’m not saying they should break and run every single time but morale is a real thing. Dungeon Masters have a tendency to get into the middle of a game and hit a point where we’re thinking about the things on the battlefield just as things on the battlefield for the adventurers to hit then vend treasure and experience points from. But it matters why the monsters are on the field and what they’re trying to accomplish. A group of goblins who got bullied into joining this fight by a much larger hobgoblin probably aren’t going to stick around, for example, after their hobgoblin bully gets decapitated. Consider what monsters are trying to take and what they’re trying to protect. What are the stakes for your 5E D&D antagonists and creatures and what happens if they lose? Is it going to be worse than dying?

How’s your Shoe Game? | Tool Time with Cobbler’s Tools in 5E D&D

A staple of fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons, tool proficiencies seemingly conflict with the prevalence of skills, so where do they fit into the game? That’s exactly what we’re here to discuss in this new series of articles! Please note: tool proficiencies and how to use them are less defined in the 5E D&D rules than skills. As such the options and explanations presented here might differ from how your own Dungeon Master treats tools and tool proficiency. On top of that, any DM can adjust rules to fit their own table at their discretion, so check with your DM if you have specific questions about how they deal with tools in their own games. And with all the necessary caveats out of the way, let’s horn in on cobbler’s tools!

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