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Game Master Tips

Nerdarchy > Game Master Tips (Page 18)

D&D Ideas — Petrification

Welcome once again to the weekly newsletter. This week’s topic is petrification, 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 petrification, coming up in May we’ll be rocking the Patreon rewards in a trip to the Garden of Statuary with a mix of Fifth Edition content for Game Masters and players alike ready to drop right into your games. Check out more and see what $2 gets you over 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.

warlock

Top 10 5E D&D Homebrew Magic Items for Warlocks 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 warlock. 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. And in the Ghosts of Saltmarsh campaign I’m currently running, one of the NPCs in town acts as a magic item broker who takes requests, and I imagine other 5E D&D adventures contain similar opportunities. But this is Top 10 by a Factor of Three! 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 warlock characters. So let’s get into it.

RPG Rule of Cool Maybe Not So Cool After All

Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted read between the lines of tabletop roleplaying game rulebooks and discuss the unwritten rule, at least insofar as fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons is concerned — the Rule of Cool. While it may be implied in text and encouraged in practice there is really no codified passage on how to implement this concept. I vacillated on my perspective with this notion, especially since it comes on the heels of a recent video about Rule Zero. On the one hand when it comes to storytelling games like 5E D&D I rather enjoy both aspects — the storytelling and the game parts. On the other, the distinction between the two best I figure is one relies on a game’s rules from which to make a ruling and the other essentially ignores the rules completely.

beardomancy hair theme D&D

Hairable Terrain — A Beardomantic Encounter for 5E D&D

For our April Patreon rewards we released Hairable Ideas, a follow up to last year’s Beardomancy. This proved one of our most popular products ever! Fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons players and Dungeon Masters alike enjoyed adding beardomancy magic to their campaigns and player wizards following this new Arcane Tradition. One of the players in Nerdarchist Ted’s D&D In A Castle 2019 campaign played a School of Beardomancy wizard as a matter of fact. So when April rolled around this year we knew we wanted to take another trip to the Beard Dimension and came up with lots of new spells and subclasses drawing on beardomantic energy. Of course there’s monsters and magic items too, but one of the snippets left on the cutting room floor was Hairable Terrain, an encounter based on the content and a play on our classic Terrible Terrain material. Since Hairable Ideas is now over at Nerdarchy the Store we thought it would be fun to include this encounter here on the website in a post. So let’s get into it.

D&D alliances

Plot Progress in D&D — The Cheese and the Pill

Salutations, nerds! Today we’re going to talk about plot and the differences between what plot progress looks like in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons from the point of view of a Dungeon Master contrasted by the point of view of a player. Contrary to popular belief these are not the same thing. It can be easy to lose sight of from behind the DM’s screen, but we are privy to things our players are not. And as players this goes the same way — things that can seem like frustrating stalling out can actually be movement. So let’s talk about that for a minute.

This New 5E D&D Monster Reveals the Secrets of Homebrew Content

Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted explore the basics of homebrew content for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Creating homebrew content for 5E D&D ranges from something like a simply house rule to a massive project preparing material for release like our very own Out of the Box: Encounters for 5th Edition. Between our YouTube channel, newsletter, Patreon and right here on the website we create homebrew content essentially every day so we’re no strangers to the process on a small or large scale. To go along with the video discussion I thought it would be fun to share a peek behind the curtain at one of the homebrew monsters in our upcoming monthly Patreon rewards.

Think Outside the Box and Turn Spoilers into Benefits in 5E D&D

Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted answer a question from the RPG community. This time around a player looking to play fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons for the first time followed the most classic advice for finding a game — offer to run one yourself! This first time Game Master comes in with a concern almost as old as D&D itself, explaining how a player in their campaign reads ahead in the official adventures they’re playing through and comes to each session with intimate knowledge of what lies ahead. Puzzles are solved with ease, hidden elements lay bare before them and crucial decision points fall in their favor far too often for the player’s claim of getting lucky. In the video Dave and Ted offer several suggestions for handling these situations but I’m curious if there’s any opportunity to make this work in the GM’s favor. Call it metagaming or cheating, can we find a way to turn spoilers into assistors? Let’s get into it and find out.

D&D Ideas — Renewal

Welcome once again to the weekly newsletter. This week’s topic is renewal, 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 renewal, our rollout of renewed digital products continues! Gaze of the Void Eye is the latest cover renewal at Nerdarchy the Store. If adventurers aren’t afraid of the dark, after a jaunt in the lightness realm of the Void Eye, they will be. Check it out 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. 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.

Spell Slots and Class Features as Expendable Resources in 5E D&D

Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted explain one of the most often misunderstood options in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons — spell slots and multiclassing. Chapter 6 of the Player’s Handbook is all about Customization Options, which essentially covers multiclassing and feats. (Yes, both of these are optional 5E D&D features — not core to the game!) How many spell slots does your Eldritch Knight fighter/Fiend warlock character have? Can you use Sorcery Points to get back cleric spell slots? Why can’t you cast fireball if your overall character level is 5th and you’ve got 3rd level spell slots?! All of these questions and more are covered in the video so what I’d like to do is side step the discussion but keep the focus on spell slots. These expendable resources determine how, what and how often a character can manipulate and dole out magical energy. But they can also be used for all sorts of other things in 5E D&D too. Every class comes with some feature or resource, and recently Unearthed Arcana playtest documents explore using these resources in new and unusual ways. I like the sound of this very much.

Rule Zero is RPG Storytellers’ Best Friend

Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted drill down on what’s known in tabletop roleplaying games at Rule Zero, more specifically as this gaming tradition is described in the fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master’s Guide. The common understanding of Rule Zero as it pertains to RPGs like 5E D&D is a reminder to players that a Game Master has to exercise common sense and can to supersede the rules when the they would ruin enjoyment and fair play. With this in mind following Rule Zero in practice comes down to one thing: trust. There’s a responsibility from all participants in an RPG, GM and players alike, so this trust goes both ways and the results are fun experiences for everyone involved.

half orc assassin 5E D&D

So Your D&D Adventurer Wants to Start a Business, Huh?

Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted answer a GM 911 from a fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons player looking for guidance. In this case the player plays a high level assassin character and wishes to start their own assassin’s guild. They’ve already spoken with their Dungeon Master who expressed skepticism about the character’s ability to do this. In the video Dave and Ted go over things to consider when it comes to establishing an organization like this in general, with particular focus on an assassin’s guild. Starting a business of any kind is quite an undertaking whether it’s here in the real world or part of your fantasy campaign setting. Creating a business where the product is murder adds quite a few wrinkles depending on the nature of the setting. If you’re a 5E D&D DM or player interested in exploring this sort of scenario in your game you’re in for a treat!

Help! My RPG Group is Falling Apart! | Handling Conflict at the Table

You’ve done it! You finally have a few sessions of tabletop roleplaying games under your belt and everyone had a good time. Sure, there were hiccups along the way but you did it! You actually got through the first major arc of the campaign you wrote and everything is going swimmingly. Then, it happens. It’s not your fault. It might not be anybody’s fault. Or worse yet: maybe it is someone’s fault. Sooner or later every gaming group will fall into conflict. Whether it’s an argument about the rules, a character’s actions or any number of other things, players are human and conflict is bound to happen both at the table and away from it. Dungeons & Dragons is fundamentally a social activity. This means there will be growing pains like there are with any other social group. If you’re the Dungeon Master, your players may even look to you to referee their bout. Stay calm. Breathe. Let’s talk about this.

RPG game master player

Effective Habits for Beginning the Tabletop RPG Session

Salutations, nerds! Today we’re going to be talking about effective practices for before the fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons game session begins. I’m sure you know what I mean. We’ve all had moments where we’ve been sitting around the table and the chitter chatter is happening and getting everyone in the mindset to actually start the game can be a hassle at best. There are a few handy tips and tricks to make the task a lot easier on both the Dungeon Master and the 5E D&D players.

Take a Peek Behind the GM Screen at Running RPGs On the Fly

The subject comes up all the time: how much to prepare for a tabletop roleplaying game session and how much a Game Master makes up on the fly in the moment during a game. A recent live chat with Seth Skorkowsky over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel and my own experience running our weekly Nerdarchy team game and others gave me a few ideas to share. Plus, over on our own Nerdarchy the Discord one of our Patreon supporters let us know they’ll be taking a turn behind the GM screen for the first time themselves. They only recently started playing fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons and I love these stories! Whenever a new RPG player feels inspired to take their shot running a game I feel re-energized myself. Since I’m a couple of hours away from running our own Nerdarchy monthly one shot, all of these things coalesced this morning and I thought it might be useful to read about how my approach and how running RPGs on the fly proves rewarding and fruitful for the players and me as the GM. So let’s get into it.

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