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Game Master Tips

Nerdarchy > Game Master Tips (Page 17)

Top 10 5E D&D Homebrew Magic Items for Barbarians by a Factor of Three*

Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted take a look at magic items in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons with an eye towards the ones particularly beneficial for a barbarian. Like the discussion on top magic items for rogues this is an unusual topic because it’s rare for a character to choose magic items. However there’s a few opportunities I can think of off the top of my head. In Adventurers League play items can be traded on a one-for-one basis for items with the same rarity at a cost of 15 downtime days unless they’re playing at the same table. Games beginning beyond 1st level often allow for players to choose magic items too, like in our own monthly fan one shots. These particular looks at 5E D&D magic items are very difficult for an entirely different reason though. Subjectivity rules the day, and for our Top 10 by a Factor of Three method here at the website it gets quite noodly when all the official content gets thrown out the window as we browse homebrew magic items at D&D Beyond looking for the best ones for barbarian characters. So let’s get into it.

Changing 5E D&D Character Races to Fit Mythological Campaign Themes

Many times players and Dungeon Masters want to play a campaign with the feel of a specific mythological style. While Dungeons & Dragons makes for a remarkable tool set for building and playing any setting you wish the races presented in the game are generally written in such a way as to be either two generic or, as in the case of the dragonborn and tieflings, too specific in their backgrounds. When creating a customized setting the ultimate goal should be to provide maximum player options while maintaining the style and flavor of the game and setting you desire. Let’s focus on how to do so for one of my favorite settings steeped in the feel and flavor of Scandinavian and northern European myth and folklore.

Is the pen mightier? | Tool Time with Calligrapher’s Supplies in 5E D&D

Tool proficiencies are a staple of fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons but with the prevalence of skills, 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 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 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 our topic!

Give Your Monsters Personality with Alignment in 5E D&D

Remember how monsters were such a big thing in the ’90s and early aughts? If you grew up in that time (like I did) then you’d be hard pressed to have avoided any number of monster themed TV shows, games and the like. Shows like Goosebumps, Are You Afraid of the Dark, Animorphs and many more showcased monsters in a variety of contexts from creepy to vicious to the occasional twist or subversion of the benevolent monster. And then you had the genre that really grabbed my young attention and held it for hours — monsters as allies and companions. I remember waking up at the ghastly hour of 5 a.m. many days just to watch Monster Rancher (now on Amazon Prime and I’m stoked!). As soon as I got off school I watched Pokémon then Digimon before starting on homework. Something about having a loyal friend just as big and scary as the things opposing the main characters made those shows special. It made it feel like the heroes had a real shot at winning, and it gave into the power fantasy of fighting fire with fire. It also helped teach me not to judge people and situations by initial impressions. After all, if the heroes in my favorite shows and games could befriend monsters, maybe making friends in general wasn’t as scary as I often felt.

Adventures for 0th Level Characters in 5E D&D

Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted take on a community request for how to run 0th level characters and adventures for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. During the early playtest stages of 5E D&D when it was called D&D Next I recall a starter adventure designed with decision points and prompts. This gives me some ideas to start from and explore another way to structure a 0th level adventure for 5E D&D, so let’s get into it.

D&D Ideas — Charm

Welcome once again to the weekly newsletter. This week’s topic is charm, 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 charm, we’ve created quite a few magical trinkets of this variety, stashed away in the Mage Forge Vault. But! Someone cracked open the vault and absconded with a bunch of them over at Nerdarchy the Website 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. Visit us over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel here and hit that notification bell 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.

Hold My Beer! | Tool Time with Brewer’s Supplies in 5E D&D

Tool proficiencies are a staple of fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons but with the prevalence of skills, 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 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 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 our topic!

RPG NPC GM tips

Dungeon Master Tips for Single Player 5E D&D

There have been recent discussions on a few platforms about the trials and tribulations of running fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons for a single player or two. The concerns are always the same. “How do I set up encounters? How do I challenge them without killing the player characters?” And so on. Low population games tend to have the same solutions. It’s usually the same refrain — less combat and more exploration and social interaction. To be fair this is a viable option but it is by no means the only one. Furthermore it is not necessary to add the dreaded Dungeon Master Player Character. Adding NPCs to the mix is a plan but it risks stealing the spotlight from the players and their characters. What follows are a few suggestions for 5E D&D to add party depth without losing focus on player fun. These options are all potentially NPCs the DM sort of runs but all have player character involvement.

D&D Ideas — Beyond

Welcome once again to the weekly newsletter. This week’s topic is beyond, 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 beyond, our most recent product cover refresh for Forgotten Oasis takes adventurers beyond time to an ancient temple lost to memory where they can come face to face with the Forgotten Goddess. Check it out at Nerdarchy the Store 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. Visit us over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel here and hit that notification bell so you don’t miss these 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.

The Time is Now for 5E D&D Mummy Lords

Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted get wrapped up discussing the mummy lord for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. I took a close look at this creature entry in the 5E D&D Monster Manual after watching The Mummy, a 2017 film starring Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella and Annabelle Wallis. It blew me away! The classic monster’s representation in the game is spectacular and if I’m honest I couldn’t believe we don’t see mummies and mummy lords featured more prominently in adventures. They make incredible antagonists with built in features and flair practically begging to become an ongoing antagonist keeping adventurers on their toes.

Make Lair Actions Anytime Actions for 5E D&D

Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted present a killer combo for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. The discussion involves various cloud based spells and monsters to pair with these effects to create dangerous combat encounters along with ways for players to bring about these conditions as well. Essentially these combos aim towards two goals: making combat more dynamic and discovering ways to elevate creatures into more significant threats. One of the video comments likened these combos to lair actions. I’ve utilized these special scenarios presented in the 5E D&D Monster Manual many times in my own games and I thought it could be useful and fun going through monsters with these special actions to see what’s on the menu. Plucking these from a stat block and dropping them into a combat encounter gives a Dungeon Master a wide selection of ready made ways to punch things up.

Knowledge is Power! | Tool Time with Alchemist’s Supplies in 5E D&D

Tool proficiencies are a staple of fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons but with the prevalence of skills, 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 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!

Exploring the use of Tarot cards for D&D

If you are like myself, you are a regular Game Master for running tabletop roleplaying games like fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. As anyone who does something regularly I seek ways to improve my skills with little tips and tricks to add extra enjoyment for all involved. Recently I began looking into tarot cards and how they might be able to enhance the game. As I did my research I asked friends do readings or even had strangers do a reading in the past at events and the like. I found there are a lot of useful tools when you look at how in depth tarot cards and their meanings can get.

5E D&D all artificer party composition

D&D Party Composition — Playing an All Artificer Party

Over on the Nerdarchy YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted battle with the idea of an all artificer party for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Exploring this popular video series here on the website and sharing my take on the concept of single party composition remains my favorite writing gig. Artificers in 5E D&D cover a lot of bases with a wide variety of skills and magic, also holding the distinction of being the only official character class from outside the Player’s Handbook. Artificers appear in Eberron: Rising from the Last War with three subclasses to form a foundation in our D&D campaign setting of academia for each particular character class. Students at Artificer Specialists hone their craft at invention with the top minds in the field. So let’s get into it.

Game Masters and Players Need to Know What to Do in RPGs

I’ve been playing and running a lot more games recently and reflecting on them made an observation that might be useful for players and Game Masters alike. Maybe I’m late to the dance here or perhaps I’ll find there’s not much substance to it after all but nevertheless here we are introducing a topic. In broad strokes the idea is using the point of a game to anticipate and prepare for what comes next. When it comes to fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons or any tabletop roleplaying game it’s important for me to know what players are supposed to do during play. For more on this perspective check out What You Do and How You Do It Are Two Different Things in RPGs. When you know the point of a game your games run smoother from both sides of the table. This may stray into metagame territory so let’s get into it find out.

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