Okay, folks. We’re tackling the elephant in the room today, the thing so many other channels and blogs have addressed… because I’m feeling especially masochistic. Seriously, though, true strike is arguably the single worst cantrip in all of fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. In order to properly address it, let’s start by analyzing just what makes true strike so underwhelming.
Nerdarchy has teamed up with Pacesetter Games & Simulations as well as Vallejo Paints to put together something special in our opinion, but we might be a bit biased. For one, both companies are sponsoring this article, video, and contest. So, disclaimer out of the way if you care about such things. Inspired by the Frost Wyrm miniature by Pacesetters Games & Simulations we came up with the concept of the Frost Wyrm barbarian tribe. As well as a brand new D&D barbarian primal path for 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons. For some extra inspiration we had our former intern Jake Kosman work his magic with Vallejo Paints.
Many of us look back at the old editions of Dungeons & Dragons with rose-colored glasses. Reminiscing about THAC0 and the uniqueness of the old races and classes. One thing I always liked though that slowly died out was strongholds as a level reward. This mostly died off after second edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. There was the Strongholds and Builders Guide in 3.5, but I found it more of a Dungeon Master supplement and players never gave it a glance. This goes back to something removed from D&D — politics. Old settings like Birthright, Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, and Ravenloft all had factions that lead to a lot of political intrigue and plots. Due to this it was not uncommon for people to be awarded baronies in these games and used as quest points themselves. As the editions changed, we would see the leadership feat come and go, and followers and cohorts fall to the wayside. Now from the brilliant mind of Matt Colville and the creative staff from MCDM they have returned these things to the light with the 5E D&D supplement Strongholds & Followers. For those of you unfamiliar with Matt Colville you can check out his Running the Game series over here. Let’s take a look at the book.
Nerdarchy recently partnered with Pacesetter Games & Simulations as well as Vallejo Paints. Use the promo code staynerdy15 for a 15 percent discount on their products. We’ve taken this partnership and built some and cool content for 5E D&D. We kicked things off with Horris the Horned Lord. Most recently we moved on to Abalor the Abhorrent and a dark druid 5E Circle — the Circle from the Beyond. Abalor is based off of the froghemoth model from Pacesetter. It’s a great looking model. You can see it below as painted by Jake Kosman using Vallejo Paints. The froghemoth D&D monster was reintroduced into 5E D&D in Volo’s Guide to Monsters. Part of the awesome Nerdarchy, Pacesetter, and Vallejo team-up is a contest to win a froghemoth both painted, unpainted, and the paints to paint your very own froghemoth miniature. There’s a bunch of ways to enter the contest to win the minis and paints. Check it out here.
The wizard one of the most iconic classes of the D&D game. An iconic image is the wizard holding an arcane tome aloft while speaking aloud an incantation. We took that as inspiration for creating some new D&D magic items — in this case specifically, the tome of holding. These magic items could be used by wizards for multiple functions.
At Nerdarchy, we get requests to D&D-ize characters from movies, TV, comics and literature fairly regularly. There’s a whole playlist on the Nerdarchy YouTube channel for D&D-ized fictional characters, which I’ve included for your convenience below. And my very first assignment as a contributing writer here on the site was to D&D-ize the Sword of Omens from the Thundercats mythos. (I’d written a few columns before but that was an assignment from Nerdarchist Dave.) I spent quite a few hours researching, referencing the Dungeon Master’s Guide for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons, writing and refining that particular artifact. More recently, we had a request via the Nerdarchy Facebook page to D&D-ize another legendary cartoon weapon — the Power Sword from the Masters of the Universe mythology. This will be my fourth go around with D&D-izing something. I also have our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man under my belt, as well as collaborating with Professor Bill from Comic Book University on my two favorite comic book characters, Mister Miracle and Big Barda. So let’s get to it and create He-Man’s legendary weapon that makes him the most powerful man in the universe, for 5E D&D.
Often, I find myself wandering around different Discords and Twitch channels wondering what other gamers are up too. Recently I’ve been watching something on the UnMadeGaming channel and found Mike in a game being run by Ethan Hudgens, and I watched in fascination as they tried to kill a bear. As usual Mike had a rough night, but I found myself more and more curious about campaign setting. After the game I was chatting with the folks in the Discord channel and found out Ethan has his work up on DriveThruRPG presented by Encounter Roleplay (another great channel I strongly recommend you check out). After buying The North Seat primer and book one titled Hostadd, Our Home, I am completely intrigued by the story and I think you should be too. Today, we’re going to take a look at the primer and do a review of the books. Hostadd is a 5E D&D alternate campaign setting and style. After reading book one and the primer, I think you’ll really enjoy it so let’s take a jump in and start looking at things.
Why not a Way of the Zen Archer Monastery for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons? With the release of Xanathar’s Guide to Everything for 5E D&D a lot of options have been opened up. The zen archer is a fun archetype for a fantasy game. That wasn’t possible previously. There was absolutely no mechanical reason play a monk who used ranged weapons. But XGtE changed things up by allowing for the creation of the ranged attack-based monks. We can now have a zen archer build. Why not take it a step further and create a monastery of zen archers. We recently did a character build video you can watch down below. We made it Adventurers League legal. We also did a character build guide and put it up over on the DMs Guild.
We’ve all watched Critical Role, it’s a great show. Matt Mercer does an exceptional job of creating memorable characters far too numerous to recount. I talked a bit in another article about how to place spells on an nonplayer chracter wizard depending on their roles but let’s talk about NPCs in general. NPCs are a staple of every roleplaying game. From Dungeons & Dragons to GURPS, to Star Wars. Not every NPC should be a boss. If you build every NPC as a boss, the players will try and kill it every time. There is the old D&D adage if you don’t stat it they can’t kill it. This is a true statement, but they’ll still try, then they just sulk building new characters. Personally, I prefer to stat out NPCs, so I can get a better idea of what they’re capable of. If you want to make a dwarven forge master, great. How did he learn his trade, where did he come from? Is he gifted? There are all kinds of things to consider. We’re going to look at some options today about how to make NPCs a little more memorable and how to fit them into you story.
Chartopia’s new editor has undergone a refresh and includes new features that make it even easier to create and modify your random tables. Auto-saving, multiple chart editing on the same page, and testing how the rolled result will look are now possible. The improved layout also helps you to focus on your charts without all the unnecessary clutter.
Let’s explore the new user interface by creating a medieval menu generator suitable for your Dungeons & Dragons campaign, because everyone loves food and medieval cuisine is somewhat similar to a fantasy food feast. After reading this tutorial, head over to Chartopia and create your own amazing menu generator of fantasy food.
Hey nerds! I’ve been playing Diablo 3 recently and that has inspired me to create about a dozen new special monster abilities to add your D&D creatures and NPCs in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. These abilities are designed to make combat more interesting and probably harder. I have not done any playtesting of these, so feel free to send me a message on Twitter with your thoughts.
Part of my self-appointed tasks as nerditor-in-chief for Nerdarchy is organizing content. Cleaning up all the categories and tags here on the website, creating and maintaining the publication budget and schedule for posts, and putting together our products like Fantastical Mounts and From Hit Dice to Heroics all share something in common — exposure to the vast library of archived content produced by Nerdarchy over the last few years. When we decided to try our hand at product creation in 2018, I thought about all the comments I’ve read from Nerdarchy fans curious about the homebrew campaign setting of Ulthe-Ganya. That’s how Secrets of the Vault: Mage Forge Vol. 1 developed. I realized a lot of what people ask for is already out there. Let’s open up the Vault, see what’s inside, how it came to be, and ultimately went full circle by becoming an incredible new D&D artifact itself.
Delving back into Nerdarchy’s homebrew campaign setting Chimes of Discordia for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons, I want to talk to about some of our D&D cosmology and our Realm of Chaos or the Chaos Realm. We have this Stranger or Traveler god that either was spawned from the Realm of Chaos or created the Chaos Realm with their birth. Like many creation myths the multiverse started out as chaos. Powerful beings that would come to be known as gods came forth from somewhere else, looked upon the chaos and brought order to it. They gathered up all of the chaos and cast it out and far away. That mass of chaos condensed and built up over the ages.
The beholder was introduced with the first Dungeons & Dragons supplement, Greyhawk in 1975. The mind flayer first appeared in the official newsletter of TSR Games, The Strategic Review No. 1 in spring 1975. These are two of the most iconic Dungeons & Dragons monsters in the game. I’d love to know how many players have met their end to one of these two baddies. Of course D&D is rife with monsters what makes the beholder and mind flayer so special. I think it’s because they are so alien and bizarre that they really capture the imagination of players and Dungeon Masters alike in a way that very few other Dungeons and Dragons Monsters do.
Nerdarchy plays fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons in the our own campaign setting Chimes of Discordia. The world is Ulthe-Ganya, a hodgepodge one of our early campaigns we are currently doing in D&D games. In that world there is our god of war Stromguard, the lord of battle, bloodshed, and warfare. He is a brutal being that lives for strife and conflict. It is only fitting he has champions to match his demeanor. His followers are drawn from warriors, soldiers, and more primitive tribal peoples. Mechanically his followers in our campaign setting will be drawn from the barbarian, fighter, and War Domain cleric character classes. Some outliers would be bard (skalds), ranger, monk (brawlers), and paladin. Paladins in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons have become holy warriors dedicated to a particular oath. The most violent and warlike of these might find that oath sworn before the altar of Stromguard. Two oaths in particular stand out for Stromguard — Oath of Conquest and Oath of Vengeance. These champions are both revered and feared even among the faithful of Stromguard.