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Campaign Settings

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critical role fjord beau official art way of the cobalt soul oath of the open sea

Critical Role’s Oath of the Open Sea and Way of the Cobalt Soul Available Free

Critters watching the most recent episode of Critical Role on Oct. 15 witnessed a wonderful surprise when Fjord chose his paladin Sacred Oath. Dungeon Master Matt Mercer wove this critical character choice into the adventure narrative during a very cool scene that ended with the Mighty Nein’s warlock-turned-paladin taking his Sacred Oath of the Open Sea. I can only imagine how many other people beside myself immediately started searching around online to find out more details. Thankfully it wasn’t long before Mercer shared the information that this new paladin Sacred Oath for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons is available for all to see over at D&D Beyond. As an extra special bonus another custom subclass appeared as well and 5E D&D players can now follow the Way of the Cobalt Soul for their monk characters too.

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.

5E D&D orc mechanus worldbuilding

Creating 5E D&D Mechanus Orcs Through Worldbuilding

Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted take a look at the savage raiders and pillagers with stooped postures, low foreheads, and piggish faces with prominent lower canines that resemble tusks in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Orcs have been a staple of D&D and fantasy in general forever, typically as a threat looming in the wilderness on the edges of civilization. Volo’s Guide to monsters does a good job expanding on orcs for 5E D&D essentially as divinely driven destroyers, a pretty one note portrayal. Campaign settings offer a window into different kinds of orc societies like you’ll find in Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount and Eberron: Rising from the Last War and Dave and Ted climb in through that window to make themselves at home and offer up three new ways to reimagine orcs for players and Dungeons Masters alike by adding just a few simple details.

Exploring Eberron through the Mind Domain Cleric for 5E D&D

Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted look through their third eye and continue Exploring Eberron through the character options included in the Dungeon Master’s Guild book produced by Keith Baker, the megapopular Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting’s original creator. Eberron is an extremely rich and detailed setting beloved by D&D players from its very beginning. Exploring Eberron illustrates wonderfully how curating character options creates a tremendous opportunity to show, rather than tell, what is special about your world. Exploring Eberron includes several subclasses for 5E D&D characters to choose from specially tailored to the setting, and Nerdarchy plans to explore them all like we do. In the case of the Mind Domain cleric I’m going through the book to find the connection points between the Divine Domain and the larger world it comes from. So let’s get into it.

5E D&D Red Opera warlock campaign

Rock Your 5E D&D Game with a Heavy Metal Warlock Campaign

Red Opera beckons fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons players to strike a bargain with Apotheosis Studios for an extensive, innovative and thrilling campaign setting ready to drop right into your games. The Last Days of the Warlock encompasses a deeply developed setting, story beats, new character options and so much more all inspired and thematically designed alongside the heavy metal album by DiAmorte. The Red Opera album tells the tale of two fallen kingdoms in a dying land locked in an eternal conflict known as The Great Divide. On the horizon looms a dark, insidious force that influences and corrupts the powerful, accursed lord and through him seeks to destroy all humanity and life including his beloved human shield maiden, that new life may begin again. The Red Opera Kickstarter thrusts 5E D&D adventurers into the thrilling drama of the Shadelands, a new realm you can add to any campaign setting where your stories will unfold.

Creating 5E D&D Beastlands Goblins Through Worldbuilding

Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted take a look at the small, black-hearted, selfish humanoids that lair in caves, abandoned mines, despoiled dungeons, and other dismal settings in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Goblins have been a staple of D&D and fantasy in general forever, usually as a threat to heroes because of their vast numbers and malice. Interestingly enough 5E D&D hasn’t expanded a whole lot on goblins beyond the regular old goblin in the Basic Rules and goblin boss in the Monster Manual, mechanically anyway. Instead goblins are explored more culturally like the Batiri goblins from Tomb of Annihilation and this is exactly the kind of path Dave and Ted take even further in the video to illustrate how any creatures — even ubiquitous ones like goblins — can be reimagined in exciting new ways for players and Dungeons Masters alike by adding just a few simple details.

Exploring Eberron through the Circle of the Forged Druid for 5E D&D

Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted ride the lightning rail and continue Exploring Eberron through the character options included in the Dungeon Master’s Guild book produced by Keith Baker, the megapopular Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting’s original creator. Eberron is an extremely rich and detailed setting beloved by D&D players from its very beginning. Exploring Eberron illustrates wonderfully how curating character options creates a tremendous opportunity to show, rather than tell, what is special about your world. Exploring Eberron includes several subclasses for 5E D&D characters to choose from specially tailored to the setting, and Nerdarchy plans to explore them all like we do. In the case of the Circle of the Forged druid I’m going through the book to find the connection points between the Druid Circle and the larger world it comes from. So let’s get into it.

5E D&D campaign setting worldbuilding

Create Unforgettable Experiences Through 5E D&D Worldbuilding

Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted discuss changing up your fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons games through worldbuilding and getting weird with your campaign ideas. According to the 5E D&D Player’s Handbook “the many worlds of the Dungeons & Dragons game are places of magic and monsters, of brave warriors and spectacular adventures. They begin with a foundation of medieval fantasy and then add the creatures, places, and magic that make these worlds unique.” With such a succinct description for the Worlds of Adventure where our campaigns take place and stories emerge we’ve got a great starting point for developing our own ideas for nonstandard games. Since we’ve got a tremendous number of posts here on Nerdarchy the Website exploring nonstandard campaign ideas along with tips and suggestions from the video this feels like a terrific opportunity to mash all these things together. So let’s get into it.

The Red Opera: Last Days of the Warlock by Apotheosis Studios

How to Sell Your Soul – A Red Opera Take On Patrons!

Have you ever found yourself simply wanting a shortcut to power? Sorcerers are born with it, Wizards study it, and Clerics get off the hook by simply praying for it. Warlocks though, have taken those shortcuts and gotten their power directly. It doesn’t come free of course, a Patron needs something back (even if it’s something incomprehensible from the Great Old Ones).

5E D&D Exploring Eberron Way of the Living Weapon monk

Exploring Eberron through the Way of the Living Weapon Monk for 5E D&D

Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted hail an airship and get starting Exploring Eberron through the character options included in the Dungeon Master’s Guild book produced by the megapopular Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting’s original creator. Eberron is an extremely rich and detailed setting beloved by D&D players from its very beginning. Exploring Eberron illustrates wonderfully how curating character options creates a tremendous opportunity to show, rather than tell, what is special about your world. Exploring Eberron includes several subclasses for 5E D&D characters to choose from specially tailored to the setting, and of course Nerdarchy plans to explore them all. In the case of the Way of the Living Weapon monk I’m going through the book to find the connection points between the Monastic Tradition and the larger world it comes from. So let’s get into it.

Play Your Next 5E D&D Game as a Pride Warrior Leonin

Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted feel the magic and hear the roar, discussing the best class for leonin in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Leonin let loose on the 5E D&D scene by way of Mythic Odysseys of Theros, an exciting addition to the multiverse from the planes of Magic: The Gathering. Leonin are lionlike humanoids and in the lore of M:tG developed a culture strongly valuing honor and religion. The leonin of Theros developed differently in terms of culture, making a conscious effort to separate themselves from other races and largely abandoning deity worship. As the second and most recently catlike humanoid official 5E D&D race option it seems to me people gravitate towards leonin over tabaxi and all viewers of the video left lots of great comments with their own leonin character ideas. I got caught up in the fun too so I thought I’d share some of them here and create a very special leonin NPC you can drop right into your game too. So let’s get into it.

5E D&D Worldbuilding Insights from Mythic Odysseys of Theros Mythic Monsters

Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted release the kraken and talk about regular ol’ monsters and mythic monsters from Mythic Odysseys of Theros for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Mythic monsters represent unique and extremely powerful creatures whose undeniable influence on the campaign setting catapult them into new dimensions of peril for adventurers. Along with these special new threats MOoT presents a collection of existing classic monsters whose presence in the setting shapes the stories and myths of the land. Extrapolating from this material gives Dungeon Masters and players a useful perspective for worldbuilding and how specific monsters — and how they’re viewed by people living in the world — can be a great resource to inspire storytelling and adventures in your own 5E D&D games. So let’s get into it.

Designing Frontier Settings Like Icewind Dale for 5E D&D

Hey Folks! By now you’re likely aware Wizards of the Coast’s next big offering for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden. Set in the titular Icewind Dale this new campaign adventure has been described by Chris Perkins as a horror story and various interviews and discussions of reveal it plays on themes of isolation, paranoia and an unforgiving environment. Inspirations for the book include movies such as Alien, The Thing and even Jaws. I don’t know about you all, but I’m on board. But I don’t play in the Forgotten Realms. Why am I so thrilled for this new book? The answer is simple. I have been working on my own cold weather setting for a while now and this promises to be an amazing tool box for my own personal campaign much in the same way that Tomb of Annihilation proved invaluable in my current nautical, island hopping campaign. I’m sure there will be a good amount of source material surrounding the adventures much like previous 5E D&D books. It has already been revealed there will be a whole lot of new monsters leaning toward cold climates.

5E D&D Worldbuilding Insights from Mythic Odysseys of Theros Magic Items and Artifacts

Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted dig up artifacts and attune to magic items from Mythic Odysseys of Theros. In fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons magic items and artifiacts grant capabilities a character could rarely have otherwise or complement their owner’s capabilities in wondrous ways according to the Dungeon Master’s Guide. Theros expands on this core part of the 5E D&D experience by incorporating how magic items carry reputations as rich and storied as those who wield them. Looking closer at how MOoT’s approach to worldbuilding, storytelling and presenting a campaign setting, illustrated previously through races, subclasses, Supernatural Gifts, piety and the gods generated fresh ideas and great conversations. Viewing magic items and artifacts with the same perspective stands to reason similar outcomes will result, so let’s get into it.

5E D&D Worldbuilding Insights from Mythic Odysseys of Theros Piety and the Gods

Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted establish a link to the gods and discuss Piety in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Introduced in the 5E D&D Dungeon Master’s Guide right in chapter 1, Piety is a variation of the Renown system. When 5E D&D first launched, a prominent part of the marketing focused on Factions — important forces in a campaign world — and characters’ interactions with these organizations. Adventurers League players grew quite familiar with Harpers, Order of the Gauntlet, Emerald Enclave, Lords Alliance and Zhentarim through Renown and for me this was a particularly exciting part of the game. Later books like Acquisitions Incorporated and Guildmasters Guide to Ravnica expand on Renown through their franchise and guild ranks and advancement. Since curating playable races and subclasses for characters as a campaign creation and worldbuilding tool generated good ideas and conversations let’s see how Piety and Renown can be used. Lots of creators already laid strong foundations for using Renown in your 5E D&D games, so we’ll start with what we’ve already got and come up with some new ideas to add.

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