Many times players and Dungeon Masters want to play a campaign with the feel of a specific mythological style. While Dungeons & Dragons makes for a remarkable tool set for building and playing any setting you wish the races presented in the game are generally written in such a way as to be either two generic or, as in the case of the dragonborn and tieflings, too specific in their backgrounds. When creating a customized setting the ultimate goal should be to provide maximum player options while maintaining the style and flavor of the game and setting you desire. Let’s focus on how to do so for one of my favorite settings steeped in the feel and flavor of Scandinavian and northern European myth and folklore.
Are you awakened? Do you have the mental fortitude to manifest your will into being, warping the very fabric of reality itself? Psionics have been a staple of Dungeons & Dragons worlds since the early days. Traditionally psionic powers stem from Intelligence, but the latest Unearthed Arcana 2020 — Psionic Options Revisited for fifth edition D&D offers new perspectives and options, leaving the traditional Intelligence exclusive model. So let’s talk about flavor and what the different subclasses look like contextually when it comes to psionics in 5E D&D.
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted unravel esoteric arcane mysteries from Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount and discuss new spells for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons in the latest book. Powerful magic energy called dunamis manipulates fundamental forces of the multiverse to alter time, potential and gravity. Dunamancers study this ancient magic and gain the ability to control those forces through deeper understanding of cosmic mysteries. The collection of new 5E D&D spells in the book represent a handful of known dunamis spells, and they are powerful. A terrific sidebar offers suggestions for introducing dunamis spells into your campaign so if we’re looking for collaborative worldbuilding for Dungeon Masters and players, the rubber meets the road here. Crunchy spell effects notwithstanding, introducing new spells presents a great opportunity for DMs and players to collaborate, explore and expand on a campaign setting together.
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted continue their look through Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount with a look at the new fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons subclasses in the latest book. Echo Knight fighter, Chronurgy Magic wizard and Graviturgy Magic wizard join the ranks of official subclasses in the 5E D&D multiverse and the same things interest me about these options as the new races in the book. Shove all the crunchy bits aside, new character options present fantastic opportunities for worldbuilding and whether it starts with a Dungeon Master or the players in the adventuring party, any component of character creation or development becomes a wealth of ways for DMs and players to collaborate, explore and expand on a campaign setting together.
Giantkin are a longstanding tradition in fantasy fiction and folklore. Whether it’s Jack and the Beanstalk or Attack on Titan it seems the notion of being smaller than another person is one of our most intrinsic fears. However, in the worlds of Dungeons & Dragons monsters and other frights are manifest staples of everyday life, and sooner or later people will fall in love or otherwise reproduce. That’s where the giantborn (offspring of human and giant relations) come into play! The idea for giantborn first occurred to me as belonging in my homebrew campaign setting, based on my own published novel The Mis-Adventurers: An (Almost) Epic Tale. However, this race could just as easily fit into any setting.
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted cracked open a fresh copy of Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount to go over the new player options for races for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons characters. Dave and Ted talk about the new races and their mechanical attributes, and in that regard the book contains five new options: pallid elf, lotusden halfling, draconblood and ravenite dragonborn and orcs of Exandria. New player options are always a welcome addition to 5E D&D and it’s fun to examine new races to see what classes they mesh with through their traits and attributes. But what really interests me about Character Options — Races in Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount isn’t the crunchy parts at all. Rather, I’m fascinated by the example of worldbuilding through all the existing options we already had and how Matt Mercer takes things we already know and enriches his own campaign setting with them. Worldbuilding doesn’t start or stop with a Dungeon Master, and the most basic component of character creation offers a terrific example of how this aspect of the game provides fertile ground for players and DMs to collaborate and build things together.
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted speculate on what we might see in the upcoming fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons book Mythic Odysseys of Theros. Since I already shared my own speculation in the post we published when we discovered the new book before any official announcement that’s not going to work here. Instead I’ll take the opportunity to consider a perspective we see and hear a lot as regards MOoT and the previous Magic: the Gathering material brought into the 5E D&D multiverse, Guildmasters Guide to Ravnica. There’s a lot of D&D players out there who see these M:tG settings crossing over with D&D taking away from the game and giving short shrift to campaign settings of the past they’d like to see updated for 5E D&D. According to Wikipedia there’s nearly 30 official D&D campaign settings in the game’s history, last updated March 14, 2020 to include Exandria. The campaign setting for Critical Role’s adventures became an official part of the D&D multiverse with the release of Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount.
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted tinker with ideas for playing an artificer in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. A while back we did a video series about the best race to play each 5E D&D class and with the artificer being the only new official class since the Player’s Handbook we were compelled to add a new title to the series. The discussion on YouTube brought up some intriguing ideas and if I’m honest the artificer class itself didn’t really captivate me until I was watching the video. One of the races they mention for potential best artificer doesn’t make the final cut for them but for me it shot to the top of the list and remained there like mountain bedrock. At least for my own growing campaign setting the best artificers are dwarves.
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted discuss what happens when a necromancer's undead army stops being a few minions and starts being a real pain to conceal from the rest of the world. Around the Nerdarchy HQ we joke about how...
Third party creators publish new content for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons every single day. Many times each day. Since I’ve written this sentence there’s probably been a dozen titles published online along with crowdfunded projects and the like. But it’s noteworthy to see the Warner Bros.-owned comic book publishers DC Comics announcing a sourcebook based on The Last God comic book series for D&D. The Last God: Tales from the Book of Ages debuts in comic book retailers and participating digital retailers on April 29.
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted started a new video series called Nerdarchy’s Guide to D&D Monsters. We like creating new video series for the same reason we enjoy starting a new campaign with a set number of sessions. It helps focus your attention more closely because you have a finite amount of time to explore an idea, and you get the satisfaction of completing a tidy, succinct experience. I particularly dig video series here at Nerdarchy the Website because we publish a new post with every video and I do most of the writing. A series with a theme makes a great jumping off point. Since the guide to aberrations in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons video covers what to expect and how to manage things when these creature types show up in your campaign setting and adventures, it was kinda tough coming up with a theme for these accompanying posts. How about this: what if aberrations are the only type of monsters in your 5E D&D world?
A mysterious new title from Wizard of the Coast showed up on Amazon last week and now we know it’s the Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount! The D&D Team at WotC teams up with Critical Role’s Matt Mercer for an official collaboration on a new book detailing the continent of Wildemount where the second campaign of Critical Role takes place. Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount includes player options such as subclasses, magic items and more along with detailed information about the campaign setting, resources for Dungeon Masters and some really cool sounding new material for 5E D&D.
Over on Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted discussed the best race to play a blood hunter in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. If I’m honest the blood hunter class confuses me. I get the gist of it, and it certainly captures the flavor of both The Last Witch Hunter movie and The Witcher stories that inspired and inform the class features and flavor. Blood hunters got a lot going on with their rites, curses and Orders. This 5E D&D character class designed by Critical Role’s Matt Mercer combines martial prowess with blood magic creating a risk vs. reward scenario for characters who can push the limits of their own safety to increase the power of their class features. But I’m not here to dissect the blood hunter or even puzzle out this noodly character class. Instead I’m looking through the material and imagining all the ways I can swipe from this collection of class features to create new things for my own 5E D&D campaign. So let’s get into it.
I ate up The Mandalorian every week until the final episode of season one dropped this past Friday. The Disney+ show hooked me immediately and the series takes the top spot for Star Wars productions in my book. I enjoy the show so much I started running a bounty hunter campaign for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons inspired by the show after the first episode. I know there’s a Star Wars RPG, several of them in fact but 5E D&D suits my needs just fine. The final episode of The Mandalorian takes the series protagonist full circle from where his most important job began, so it’s only fair to wrap up this bounty hunter campaign walkthrough the same way. Bounty hunting is a complicated profession, no need to further complicate things. When I prepped for the first session of our 5E D&D bounty hunter campaign I took a lot of inspiration from Ultimate NPCs: Skulduggery from Nord Games. Here at the end of the journey it’s got plenty of juice to help finish off the campaign. Let’s get into it.
Over on Nerdarchy the YouTube channel, Nerdarchists Dave and Ted came up with ideas for a classic fantasy character concept, a centaur knight. The image of an half human, half horse warrior in shining armor captivated me since I was a little kid and after helping plan this video, watching it and putting the Character Build Guide together I’m thinking about how awesome this concept is all over again. This got me thinking how there’s not a whole lot of centaur action going on in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons, at least not in my experience. Centaurs get a bump in Guildmasters Guide to Ravnica, there’s a centaur mummy in Tales from the Yawning Portal’s Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan and the terrifically named Centaur of Attention encounter in Dragons of Icespire Peak. And that’s about it in beyond the Monster Manual entry. Never a better time like the present to take a closer look at centaurs and by extension fantasy cultures for our 5E D&D campaign settings.