You’ve done it! You finally have a few sessions of tabletop roleplaying games under your belt and everyone had a good time. Sure, there were hiccups along the way but you did it! You actually got through the first major arc of the campaign you wrote and everything is going swimmingly. Then, it happens. It’s not your fault. It might not be anybody’s fault. Or worse yet: maybe it is someone’s fault. Sooner or later every gaming group will fall into conflict. Whether it’s an argument about the rules, a character’s actions or any number of other things, players are human and conflict is bound to happen both at the table and away from it. Dungeons & Dragons is fundamentally a social activity. This means there will be growing pains like there are with any other social group. If you’re the Dungeon Master, your players may even look to you to referee their bout. Stay calm. Breathe. Let’s talk about this.
Salutations, nerds! Today we’re going to be talking about effective practices for before the fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons game session begins. I’m sure you know what I mean. We’ve all had moments where we’ve been sitting around the table and the chitter chatter is happening and getting everyone in the mindset to actually start the game can be a hassle at best. There are a few handy tips and tricks to make the task a lot easier on both the Dungeon Master and the 5E D&D players.
The subject comes up all the time: how much to prepare for a tabletop roleplaying game session and how much a Game Master makes up on the fly in the moment during a game. A recent live chat with Seth Skorkowsky over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel and my own experience running our weekly Nerdarchy team game and others gave me a few ideas to share. Plus, over on our own Nerdarchy the Discord one of our Patreon supporters let us know they’ll be taking a turn behind the GM screen for the first time themselves. They only recently started playing fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons and I love these stories! Whenever a new RPG player feels inspired to take their shot running a game I feel re-energized myself. Since I’m a couple of hours away from running our own Nerdarchy monthly one shot, all of these things coalesced this morning and I thought it might be useful to read about how my approach and how running RPGs on the fly proves rewarding and fruitful for the players and me as the GM. So let’s get into it.
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted illustrate how Game Masters of roleplaying games make the best players on the other side of the screen too. At the same time there’s plenty of ways for GMs to be the worst players in someone else’s game. Since they thoroughly cover both sides of the coin so well in the video, over here I thought it might be helpful for players and GMs to share a few insights from my own experience on differences between running games and playing in them with player groups of mixed GM experience. We might even discover how to make a drawback into an advantage during a game.
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.
Sure, your party just dethroned the tyrant, but is the person they put in his place really any better? Is there a good option among the solutions to your party’s current problem? These and many other questions lead to themes explored in grimdark. Grimdark seems to be a staple of fiction at present. Audiences love exploring the viscera of violence, the corruption of political systems, fluid morality and the consequences of actions — even those traditionally deemed heroic. We can look to things like A Game of Thrones, The Witcher and others for examples of dark fantasy settings with grimdark themes.
Salutations, nerds! I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what constitutes bad roleplaying and I know there’s a lot of talk about this sort of thing floating around the internet as regards tabletop roleplaying games like fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Let me start by saying we’re not going to be talking about elitist nonsense today. So if you clicked this thinking you were going to find some vitriol about people playing pink haired characters with cat ears, look elsewhere. Also I’m going to go roll a pink tabaxi after this. Instead, after a lot of consideration and deliberation I’ve come to the conclusion a lot of what people consider to be bad roleplaying actually boils down to selfish roleplaying.
During a recent conversation with Nerdarchist Ted he told me about a fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons game he ran. Each month Ted runs a live stream game sponsored by RPG Crate. Time was a factor for these sessions, which typically run about two and a half hours. Because the adventures included in the monthly subscription box are packed with content Ted streamlines things to adjust for his group and the time constraint but in the most recent session the game threatened to end before the party reached a satisfying conclusion. Ted felt in a pickle. An idea sprang to his mind, and he utilized player agency in a wonderful way as a solution. His DM tale stuck in my mind and I’d like to share some thoughts on how player agency can be an incredibly useful tool for a Dungeon Master. So let’s get into it and as bonus I pulled the video of Ted’s game. Enjoy!
Stepping from your Friendly Local Gaming Store into the Friendly Global Online Community of Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition
Greetings, fellow nerds! With current events limiting social interaction and preventing in person play there has never been a better time to try playing your favorite tabletop games online. There are many options available but I am here today to inform you of a particular free community that is growing on Discord. The Ghostsong Guild is a West Marches and Adventurers League inspired gaming group that specializes in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons and we are looking for additional players and Dungeon Masters to join us. We do not limit the amount of characters that you can have. That way you are always free to try new things and have more fun. Characters persist and progress through various challenges presented by multiple DMs — making each character’s journey a unique story intertwined with the stories of other players!
Stuck at home? Wallet feeling a little parched? Need a distraction to whittle the time? Then why not try playing a tabletop roleplaying game like Dungeons & Dragons, Fantasy AGE or something else online? Following up our previous article on online gaming let’s talk some more about resources that can bring your online TTRPG to the next level.
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.