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Game Master Tips

Nerdarchy > Game Master Tips (Page 7)
RPG random tables Matt Davids

Adding Randomness to Your RPG

The controlled chaos of randomly rolled characters or randomly created events within tabletop roleplaying games appeals to many gamers. Even the fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master’s Guide contains a nice chunk of random tables and charts to create NPCs, treasure or campaign events. But sometimes you crave even more RPG randomness. Allow me to present some system agnostic books to add some randomness to your RPG game.

5E D&D animal handling skill checks

5 Survival Skill Challenges for 5E D&D

Salutations, nerds! We’ve done it. We’ve made it to the last skill in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. I hope you’re prepared to make some Survival checks because as suggested by the title, we’re going to get into five skill challenges to give more skill based 5E D&D characters a moment to shine without taking over your entire game. Hopefully. As a note, per the usual each skill challenge is geared toward small moments of conflict to show those hard earned skills off and give a little more conflict to situations that would have otherwise gone smoothly. So without farther ado let’s dig into Survival.

D&D Ideas — Kobolds

Welcome once again to the weekly newsletter. This week’s topic is kobolds, 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. 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. Speaking of kobolds in Wooden Dragon a group of kobolds keep the legacy of their dragon overlord alive after a group of adventurers do what they do through some crafty carpentry and a magic ring. You can find this gorgeously illustrated encounter and map along with 54 other dynamic scenarios to drop right into your game in Out of the Box. Find out more about it here.

5E D&D NPCs

Two Critical Qualities to Make Your 5E D&D NPCs Memorable

Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted dance to the beat of a different drum and use a group of NPC musicians from a recent game of fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons as a jumping off point for discussing this dwarven band in greater detail. Several key points emerge, ones I took note of as salient points to keep in mind for any individual or group of NPCs for 5E D&D or any other RPG. This 5E D&D dwarven jug band wonderfully illustrates what makes NPCs so compelling. So let’s break it all down and get into it.

5E D&D experience progression

Does Experience Gain and Character Progression Ruin 5E D&D?

At the crux of nearly every roleplaying game are the notions of experience and gaining levels. The Level Up appears in tabletop RPGs, video games and in the case of Evermore even a theme park! Even the term Level Up is ingrained into our vernacular. However, recently I was thinking about leveling up progression and experience and how the whole things works in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons and it got me to thinking maybe, just maybe, leveling up and experience are holding back our beloved 5E D&D.

5E D&D Deception skill check Stealth skill challenge

5 Stealth Skill Challenges for 5E D&D

Salutations, nerds. We’ve arrived at the penultimate set of skill challenges for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Be proud of me because you have no idea how tempted I was to skip Stealth, go straight to Survival and make a joke about how you failed your Perception checks. I resisted the urge! So today is all about you making 5E D&D NPCs fail their Perception checks, so let’s get to it. As a note, per the usual each skill challenge is geared toward small moments of conflict to show those hard earned skills off and give a little more conflict to situations that would have otherwise gone smoothly. They are not intended as hooks to bigger adventures but as you well know, no plan survives first contact with the players so know your table and be prepared for what they’re likely to do with what you hand them. Now, roll for stealth.

5E D&D Halloween ghost bar

D&D Ideas — Halloween

Welcome once again to the weekly newsletter. This week’s topic is Halloween, 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. 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. Speaking of Halloween we treat our awesome Patreon supporters with treats throughout the month including automatic entry into giveaways for RPG swag. We package up $50 or more in games and accessories every month, not just in October. No tricks! Patreon supporters also receive exclusive magic item cards and maps, digital books with content for Game Masters and players alike, opportunities to game with Nerdarchy and more. Check us out and discover the tier that fits best for you here.

5E D&D Kobold Press Tome of Beasts 2

Surprise, Entertain and Terrify 5E D&D Heroes with Tome of Beasts 2 from Kobold Press

Kobold Press knocks it out of the park once again with a collection of over 400 new monsters for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Tome of Beasts 2 follows a tradition of stunning monster books from the publisher filled with creatures to surprise, entertain and terrify 5E D&D characters and their players. I couldn’t wait to tear through my copy of the book along with Tome of Beasts 2: Lairs for a big boost of imagination and ideas for incorporating new creatures into my own adventures. So let’s get into it.

5E D&D bytopia kobolds worldbuilding

Creating 5E D&D Bytopia Kobolds Through Worldbuilding

Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted look closer at the craven reptilian humanoids that worship evil dragons as demigods and serve them as minions and toadies in fifth edition Dungeons & dragons. Kobolds remain a staple of D&D from the very beginning and while their appearance changed over the decades from rat-dog humanoids into a more draconic form they’re still small, crafty and dangerous in large numbers. Volo’s Guide to Monsters punches these little buggers with lots of lore and rich material to strengthen their position in the 5E D&D multiverse and Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything all but guarantees a surge in popularity so I’d better get to work reimagining kobolds for players and Dungeon Masters alike with some razzle dazzle.

Top 5 Ways to Stop Your RPG from Getting Boring

It’s not unheard of for Game Masters to experience what authors refer to as a “sagging middle” and grow tired of preparing material for the same world time and again for players. And players may become frustrated when they hear a GM say they don’t really prepare and instead let players run with things, or become jealous when a GM states they’ve over prepared while you’re struggling to keep things engaging. None of these need be the case! Let’s discuss five ways to avoid a boring middle of your tabletop roleplaying game campaign.

5E D&D Deception skill check Stealth skill challenge

5 Sleight of Hand Skill Challenges for 5E D&D

Salutations, nerds, and we’re back with another 5 skill challenges for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. This time it’s Sleight of Hand’s turn in the skill challenge spotlight and I’m going to be honest with you, this one was kind of difficult because Sleight of Hand is one of those 5E D&D skills characters typically instigate themselves by pickpocketing or trying to pilfer small objects in plain view. However, I wasn’t about to skip this one just because it’s difficult. Be prepared though, because things are about to get a little bit wacky and I’m hoping you laugh as hard as I did about it.

5E D&D nerdarchy dark paths

D&D Ideas — Starting a Campaign

Welcome once again to the weekly newsletter. This week’s topic is starting a campaign, 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. 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. Speaking of starting a campaign our Dark Paths starts down a new path for our monthly rewards and presents a new being of malediction each month to exert their malignment on your Fifth Edition worlds. Each of these entry points can kick off a new campaign or creep into your existing adventures. It’s been a blast developing this new content and playing these adventures in our monthly one shots with Patreon supporters who get exclusive sneak peeks and playtest opportunities prior to receiving their rewards and before they’re available to anyone else through Nerdarchy the Store. Become part of the Nerdarchy community and get early access to new products, live chats and gameplays, our exclusive Discord channel, giveaways and more right here.

Everyone Knows 5E D&D is the Best RPG. What This Post Presupposes Is…Maybe It Isn’t?

We think about games a lot around here. It’s no surprise since we built Nerdarchy as a tabletop game centric business from the very beginning. Every single day we’re creating and sharing our news, view and homebrews here on the website, on one or both of our two YouTube channels and through our Patreon. Primarily we focus our efforts on fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons for several reasons. We all love the game and 5E D&D in particular. It also happens to enjoy unprecedented success and attention worldwide, something our audience clearly gravitates towards along with untold others. But of course it’s not the only game around nor the only game we play. And after some soul searching and several long conversations and introspections it’s not even my favorite version of the game. How can this be? Let’s get into it.

Tasha's Cauldron of Everything

Adherence to Canon — Fast Tracks for the Fastidious Game Master

Isn’t it a delight to crack open a new roleplaying game setting book for the first time? It’s wonderful fun discovering how the creators have reinterpreted classic tropes or generated genuinely unique ideas to delight their audience. I enjoy the fictional timelines, legendary people, ancient origin stories and so much more. It’s a pleasant waltz through someone else’s imagination and it’s inspiring! Although when it comes time to Game Master a campaign or write a new product for the setting it can be agonizing to get every little detail correct. Not long into the endeavor I invariably find myself wondering: How will I keep all of this lore in my head?

RPG sound music out of the box girl with the dragon snafu

Make Your RPG Epic with the Power of Sound and Music

A scream shatters the midnight quiet. The distant peel of thunder forebodes a coming rainstorm, welcome among the red rocks of the desert. Cloth rustles against leather, metal occasional clinking as the merchant shuffles through her pack. These present scenarios, each evocative and distinct from the next. Whether it’s Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder or any other tabletop roleplaying game each session is just as much improv theater of the mind as it is a codified game. Fans of live plays like those found on Critical Role, Nerdarchy Live and any number of other streams know the value of evocative descriptions and setting the scene. And when it comes to immersing players few senses are as captivating as the sense of sound.

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