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Game Master Tips

Nerdarchy > Game Master Tips (Page 16)
RPG game master player

Balancing RPG Verisimilitude Against We’re Still Playing a Game, Right?

Helping to run a small business dedicated to tabletop roleplaying games puts me in a position to think about RPGs. A lot. While I consider myself far from an expert game designer or theorist I’ve got to assume writing, editing, planning and considering these games leaves me with at least a little insight and today I want to share a profound moment from my RPG experiences. A while back I wrote about how the best RPGs let you know clearly up front what the game is about. The post found traction and stimulated good conversations. The idea for that post came after reading an early backer version of Vaesen — Nordic Horror Roleplaying and you can check it out here. I bring it up because this post also comes from ideas inspired from the same rule book. One small sidebar in one of the mysteries included with the game changed my whole perspective on verisimilitude and reminded me the importance of remembering we’re still playing a game. So let’s get into it.

5E D&D Worldbuilding Insights from New Mythic Odysseys of Theros Playable Races

Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted continue exploring Mythic Odysseys of Theros for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. This time they take a close look at the new races for character options in the campaign setting. Up until now in my own games players have been free to create characters with very little restriction. But with the inclusion of Supernatural Gifts for characters adventuring in Theros there’s been a shift in my thinking. Let’s get into the new races in MOoT and touch on how it changes perspective on what to include and exclude when it comes to creating a setting, worldbuilding and running a campaign in 5E D&D.

D&D Ideas — Evil

Welcome once again to the weekly newsletter. This week’s topic is evil, 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 evil, Friend in Need is one of the most evil encounters in Out of the Box! Say what you will about Abyssal demons or ancient curses, a mimic outhouse is downright heinous am I right? 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 new channel Nerdarchy Live experienced second strong week. Jacob Budz from XP to Level 3 stopped by along with five other Live Chat Revivified guests and we started a live play D&D campaign! Those Bastards brings our private team game to the internet. Learn more about Nerdarchy Live and how to make sure you don’t miss a thing right here.

Playing D&D in the World of Avatar: The Last Airbender

I just blew though the Avatar: The Last Airbender on Netflix in about four days and really enjoyed this television series. If you are looking for a great TV show to binge I cannot recommend this strongly enough. To me it is clear the creator of this is a fan of Dungeons & Dragons with all the hybrid animals, which has always been a classic D&D staple originating with the owlbear. The challenge in running a D&D game in the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender is a heavy on unarmed martial combat. This is easily fixed with characters either taking a level in monk or taking the feat Tavern Brawler. (The name of the feat does not mean you are limited to bar fights.) We should not get attached to how things are named unless it take us down a hole we cannot escape from. So let’s get into it further.

Knock on Wood! Now, let’s get crackin’ with Carpenter’s Tools! | Tool Time with Carpenter’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 dive into carpenter’s tools!

5E D&D cartographer's tools tool proficiency

Mapping the Road to Adventure | Tool Time with Cartographer’s Tools in 5E D&D

In fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons tool proficiencies are kind of the proverbial odd man out, slotting into the game alongside the much more prevalent mechanic of skill proficiencies. That’s what we’re talking about in this series of articles. Please note tool proficiencies and how to use them are less defined in the official 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 this 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 dive into our topic!

D&D alliances

RPG Guide to Practical Character Optimization — Part 3

Part 1 of this guide to character optimization for tabletop roleplaying games goes over some general guidelines and touches on a few key points of the practical optimization process. You can check that out here. In Part 2 we covered optimizing your RPG characters for combat, a significant part of many games. You can find that part here. In this last part I’ll share general tips and tricks for approaching optimizing while maintaining a well balanced character for both in the game and your fellow players.

D&D Ideas — Blind

Welcome once again to the weekly newsletter. This week’s topic is blind, 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 blind, in Fountain of Fortunes adventurers discover a blindfolded statue forcing characters to consider what they value or deem sacred? 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 new channel Nerdarchy Live surges forward! Nerdarchy the YouTube channel remains our flagship source for videos but our long form content like Live Chat Revivified and game plays finds a home over at Nerdarchy Live. Be sure to subscribe and hit the notification bell so you can join us and new guests weekdays at noon plus several RPG live plays. Learn more about Nerdarchy Live and how to make sure you don’t miss a thing right here. With the COVID-19 pandemic situation we want to assure everyone we’re following all the guidelines and regulations, and practicing safety and preventative measures like social distancing, and we strongly urge everyone to do the same. Our partners and employees health is our No. 1 priority. Visit Coronavirus.gov for the latest news, updates and developments.

RPG player character

RPG Guide to Practical Character Optimization — Part 1

Hail and well met! I thought I’d share with you all something that’s been on my mind for a while and that’s the concept of character optimization in tabletop roleplaying games. I’ll occasionally refer to third edition (v. 3.5) Dungeons & Dragons because it’s one of the systems I’m the most familiar with (it’s also the system I’ve been using for most of the games I run nowadays). My intention is for this guide’s content to include such systems as GURPS, old or new World of Darkness, Rolemaster and so on. There are so many great systems out there it’ll make your head spin. Anyway, onto the show and the first of three parts of my collected thoughts on what it means to optimize in RPGs.

50 Potential Geas for 5E D&D

Salutations, nerds! A couple of months ago I wrote about the use of geas in your fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons game with some of the fun ways you can implement this classic spell. Today I thought I’d dust the concept back off and come back at you with a list, I daresay a table even, of potential geas you could use for your players to have fun with. If you’re interested in the original post check out Effective Use of Geas in D&D here.

When I Get That Feeling I Want Natural Healing

Natural healing is good for me when it comes to fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons and over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted rest up for the next adventure by taking a look at natural healing throughout all the editions of D&D. Aside from the obvious mechanical differences discussed in the video it’s worth noting how methods of natural healing in D&D affect the style of gameplay and storytelling. The core premise of D&D — solving puzzles, talking with other characters, battling fantastic monsters and discovering fabulous magic items and other treasure — remains the same but how stories and adventures progress and more importantly how long these things take in game time changes dramatically. You’ll find no edition wars here, or disparaging words about any editions of D&D. I’ve loved ’em all and I enjoy each more than the previous (yes that means 4E D&D is my second favorite). So let’s get into it.

5E D&D monster actions

Tame Monsters with the Creature Keeper 5E D&D Warlock Patron

It may be my recent kick of Monster Rancher on Amazon Prime or it may be my continued obsession with the monster taming genre on the whole but I’ve kept mulling over a monster taming campaign for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. A lot of it is sparked by the Bestiary of Benevolent Monsters right in our own Nerdarchy the Store here and I just couldn’t get it out of my head — there had to be a way to tame some of the amazing creatures in this supplement. At first I thought making a new Ranger Archetype would be the way to go but ranger just didn’t quite capture it for me. Then I figured maybe it could be a feat? But I quickly realized it would require multiple feats and end up becoming far too complicated. Then it hit me — warlock! Suppose there were an Otherworldly Patron whose motives were less sinister and more misunderstood? Maybe this patron wants to protect all life? But no, because druids and clerics already serve the gods and the fey. I needed something else, a different theme. At last I had an epiphany. I would return to the roots of what I wanted to recreate — monsters! Thus was the inspiration for the Creature Keeper, a being (not quite a god) all about protecting the lives of monstrosities.

D&D Ideas — Insects

Welcome once again to the weekly newsletter. This week’s topic is insects, 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 insects, in Feeling Buggy adventurers can aid an unusual insectoid creature to overcome its greatest enemy — their own imagination! — and gain a loyal retainer in the process in one of the 55 Out of the Box encounters available now! 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. Visit the brand new Nerdarchy Live here to subscribe and hit that notification bells so you don’t miss live chats on Mondays at 8 p.m. eastern plus our regular three videos each week where we talk about D&D and other RPGs. While we are at home following health safety guidelines we’re continuing to film our videos remotely and Live Chat Revivified streams weekdays at noon eastern with creators joining Nerdarchist Dave to talk nerdy and take questions from the live audience. With the COVID-19 pandemic situation we want to assure everyone we’re following all the guidelines and regulations, and practicing safety and preventative measures like social distancing, and we strongly urge everyone to do the same. Our partners and employees health is our No. 1 priority. Visit Coronavirus.gov for the latest news, updates and developments.

Save Me, Online Gaming! You’re My Only RPG Hope

Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted look at how current events could change the Dungeons & Dragons hobby forever. Social distancing and stay and home guidelines affect tabletop roleplaying game enthusiasts around the world whose in person player groups are on hold or or exploring ways to play games like fifth edition D&D online. Physical accessories like miniatures and terrain represent some of the changes this different way to play can manifest, since these types of accessories often remain shelved, replaced by web cameras and virtual tabletops. My own gaming takes place almost exclusively online ever since my longtime home group dispersed due to moves and relocations but we’ve kept up getting together and playing for a few years now. Like Dave and Ted mention in the video there’s valuable takeaways from online gaming we can bring back to our in person sessions in the future and as someone used more to the former than the latter I hope these observations enrich your RPG experiences too, so let’s get into it.

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