Dungeons & Dragons needs an overhaul akin to the brash changes made in fourth edition D&D. Got your attention, yet? Good. My introduction into the world of D&D proper came when I began playing midway into 4E D&D. As such, I fully admit it might be my nostalgia talking but I pride myself a bit on being able to look at things I remember fondly with a critical lens and reassess my own enjoyment. (Looking at you, Pokemon anime.) While by no means perfect in its own right, 4E D&D streamlined many extremely complex and wordy concepts from third edition (grappling rules being a prime example). It also dared to reskin much of how the system was worded and refine its emphasis on elements that had fallen by the wayside a bit, most notably combat.
Some might say the renaming and rearranging were core components of why 4E D&D was so poorly received, and well… fair. I think there’s something to be said for overhauling a familiar system with the goal of making it better. The very fact they did such innovative things with the system should be lauded in itself even if it wasn’t ideal, because growth is achieved through failure and the failures of the MMO style combat-focused 4E D&D ushered in the more roleplay-heavy 5E D&D. So let’s talk about some ideas for renaming and retheming that might make the world’s greatest roleplaying game even better!
Greetings! It is no secret I am a board game nut in addition to a tabletop roleplaying game nut. Likewise my family loves board games and gaming together. Today I want to share with you a selection of a few of our favorite board games by Kosmos Games. These games keep your mind sharp and provide opportunities to work together to complete common goals. My family has had tons of fun enjoying these games together and I hope these recommendations lead to creating memorable gaming experiences for you and your family too.
One of the reasons I’m writing for Nerdarchy is bribes… I mean, because I worked within the gaming industry for 13 years — at Chessex Game Distributors, TSR Hobbies and Games Workshop US. I’ve had people on Facebook groups ask me about my time at various employers. Today I’m putting pen to paper (I write out everything longhand before typing) to write about my time at Chessex Game Distributors (CGD). My facts about this are from online resources and my own memories. Any errors are my own — after all, it’s been almost thirty years — and no harm is meant by any mistakes, which I’d happily correct if informed.
Games are the thing around here — Nerdarchy revolves around gaming as a hobby. How to play games better, how to make games funner and new games that come out are just a few of the many nerdy things we cover here along with deep dives into fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. How a society relaxes and the kinds of games its people play reveals a lot about the society’s core values, structures and even how the people think on a perspective level. Today, we’re talking about games and we’re really going meta with the concept. Get ready to have some fun as we start this wheels-within-wheels style conversation of gaming sets in 5E D&D but from a tools perspective! Before we dive into this, it’s important to state that tool proficiencies are a staple in 5E D&D 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.
Here are three different tabletop board games you can use to occupy yourself and your family during the pandemic, but I assure you ]they will be fun after things calm down as well. The three games are Exit: The Game, How Do You See The World? and Tattoo Stories. These games are a lot of fun and I am going to break them each down.
Salutations, nerds! I’ve noticed a massive spike in the number of people roleplaying in my MMO’s lately, which is a good thing generally but probably pandemic related. But I’m sure for every person that’s jumped on the wagon for it, there’s another hesitating. If you play games with a big player base and any sort of roleplaying to be had, you’ve probably been in a situation where you’ve gone into an RP hub and found yourself lingering along the outside of the action looking in. It’s an unfortunate place to be, especially when what you really want is to play. It can be incredibly discouraging. This is a situation I have been in many times myself. Fortunately for you, I’ve tripped and fallen flat on my face many times so you do not have to. I’ve narrowed down seven points to bear in mind when crafting your roleplaying profile to elicit the responses you want and get some of those sweet, sweet interactions. Shall we begin?
Welcome to Nerdarchy! For nerds, by nerds. Today we’re sharing a message from the whole team. Nerdarchists Dave and Ted and Nerditor Doug along with Megan R. Miller and Steven Partridge are the folks you see, hear and read from every day here on the site or over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel. And while we’re no strangers to working from home we understand how challenging this time is for everyone around the world. Fortunately, our hobby and the community is resilient and robust, and we can all find some comfort and solace (and yes, a bit of escape) through our favorite tabletop roleplaying games. Finding joy in our games and each other is more important than ever right now! Everyone at Nerdarchy wanted to do something for the TTRPG community so we came up with some ideas to help you explore online gaming while everyone employs recommended health safety practices like social distancing. We’ve also created a special way for you to select some of the Adventures & Supplements from our store for free to add to your games. Stay nerdy!
During our weekly meeting this afternoon we worked on planning videos, including one discussing the most recent Unearthed Arcana 2020 — Subclasses, Part 3. While looking over the playtest material the most intriguing one for me is the Circle of the Stars for druids. One of the subclasses features in particular, Starry Form, caught my attention before I even got to the part with any game mechanics.
“While in your starry form, you retain your game statistics, but your body takes on a luminous, starlike quality; your joints glimmer like stars, and glowing lines connect them as on a star chart.”
This vivid description immediately conjured images from Magic: the Gathering Arena, the online version of the incredibly popular card game. The newest set, Theros Beyond Death highlights the Constellation keyword and there’s a strong starry element featured in artwork and graphics from the set. That’s when it struck me — maybe we’ll see these and other Unearthed Arcana content in an official fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons book inspired by Magic: the Gathering. And after a little bit of digging around I believe that’s definitely the case.
For many, The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien is their quintessential introduction into the fantasy genre, but that isn’t how it went with me. Today, I’m getting personal and sharing my own introduction into the fantasy genre, a world that few would expect: Thedas, the lands where the stories of Dragon Age take place. However, before I explain how Thedas is my Middle Earth, I need to provide some context. So, please indulge as I share some of my personal history.
When I first encountered the tabletop storytelling platform Weave I wore my enthusiasm on my sleeve. The uniquely designed game from Monocle Society combines a straightforward tabletop game with the best sort of roleplaying components tied together through smart technology and it’s still my No. 1 recommendation for accessible gaming. I’ve been happy to foster a friendly relationship with Kyle Kincade, Monocle Society founder and Weave creator and I love hearing from him whenever there’s exciting developments with the game. At PAX Unplugged in December I enjoyed a great time at the Monocle Society booth where Kyle and the team demoed Weave and spoke with curious visitors about some of the growth and new advancements of the game. That was only a couple of months ago and already Monocle Society announced another great milestone for Weave, making it even more accessible than before.
Since late July 2019 devastating bushfires have ravaged large swaths of Australia, the worst the country has experienced in decades. Persistent heat and drought make the problem even worse. Entire towns have been consumed by wildfires, thousands of homes destroyed or damaged and over 7.3 million hectares have burned across Australia — an area larger than Belgium and Denmark together. Because the D&D community includes people from all over the world, we have some personal touchstones to the terrible situation going on in Australia through the creators and people living there who we become friends and fellow gamers with online and at conventions. So it is incredibly wonderful to see the RPG community doing what it can to help. When I saw just now there is a Fight Fire with Games campaign going on at Dungeon Masters Guild and DriveThruRPG I knew right away we had to share this news here on the site.
Gaming was far different in the era before the internet. A person needed to actually be in the same room to play an roleplaying game or card game. There were play by mail games (Diplomacy was huge for this) but many players didn’t want to wait a week to hear the result of a move.
The gaming business was also vastly different. When I joined the gaming industry in 1991 there was a three-tier distribution system (I think it still sort of is, but I don’t know). Manufacturers would sell their games to distributors and the distributors would then sell them to the retail shops as well as the few mail order outlets. The stores would call distributors who would ship them their orders. When I started with Chessex Game Distributors in ’91, there were also still traveling reps who would go from store to store selling games on behalf of a distributor, but they were becoming a dying breed.
PAX Unplugged offered no shortage of things to see, hear and do over the three over the Dec. 6-8 weekend in Philadelphia. Far and away the best part of any game convention is spending time with friends gathered from far and wide. When they have a booth showcasing their really terrific game along with juicy news about the future direction of it then it becomes a takeaway moment from the whole event. Monocle Society CEO Kyle Kincade, creator of Weave, checked all those boxes. I made a beeline for the Monocle Society booth when I hit the convention floor to say hello and see what was happening with this wonderful game. The booth was abuzz with visitors learning more about Weave and playing demos, and it was fun watching Kyle and the team captivate convention goers. And me! I’m just as enchanted by Weave as the next nerd.
Halloween is fast approaching! Finally! The one time of year when grown-up nerds can cosplay without fear of judgment! It’s also a prime opportunity for some festive tabletop roleplaying game Halloween adventures. With loads of nightmare fuel in our favorite books by Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press and more, we’re just about set. All we need is to build a framework to unleash these delightfully dreadful monsters. In this week’s RPGtube video, I’ve shared 5 session prompts to keep your players on the edges of their seats! While good monsters and a good plot can make a fantastically frightful session, I’ve thought of 5 ways to immerse your players just that little bit more!