It’s November, which means National Novel Writing Month — also lovingly referred to as NaNoWriMo. Last year, Dael Kingsmill proposed a twist on our classic NaNoWriMo called GamoWriMo. The premise of NaNoWriMo is a challenge to write at least 50,000 words of a novel in a single month. GamoWriMo’s challenge was similar: take the niggling idea for an RPG campaign that just won’t leave you alone and get it to a playtest worthy state before the end of the month. Both challenges emphasize getting words on a page as opposed to immaculate quality.
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted ponder the ins and outs of Dungeon Masters recognizing and respecting player and character choices in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. The discussion applies to any tabletop roleplaying game and encompasses both mechanical and narrative choices during character creation and throughout a campaign. To me this speaks to paradigm shift in the RPG hobby. So let’s get into it.
Over at Nerdarchy Live we recently welcomed Stephen Dewey as a guest for Live Chat Revivified. Stephen is the creator of Ten Candles, a certainly unique tabletop roleplaying experience described as a storytelling game of tragic horror. Before appearing on the live chat Stephen sent me a copy of Ten Candles. After reading through the book and listening to him and Nerdarchist Dave discuss the game you can color me intrigued. So let’s get into it.
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted strike a chord with Exploring Eberron with another look at the character options included in the Dungeon Master’s Guild book produced by Keith Baker, the original creator of the megapopular Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting. D&D players embraced Eberron’s rich and detailed setting from the very beginning. Exploring Eberron does a terrific job illustrating 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 explores them all like we do. In the case of the College of the Dirge Singer bard I’m going through the book to find the connection points between the subclass and the larger world it comes from. So let’s get into it.
Salutations, nerds. I’m coming in with some tips and tricks to get player characters to like a the non-player characters in your tabletop roleplaying games. I know we’ve all been there before in situations where you worked really hard on a character for the party to interact with and they got there and just hated them out of the gate. There’s not much to be done about this. You can do everything right and still have that happen every once in a while. Here are some methods I’ve gathered to narrow the margin for error and throw an NPC at your party they’ll like both in and out of character.
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted explore fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons skills every character should have or at least the three skills that keep coming up most often in their games. I’ve got a different Perception on when, how and what particular skills get checked during a 5E D&D game. (See what I did there?) So let’s get into it.
If I’m being honest I’ve absolutely been That Guy who shows up to a tabletop roleplaying game session with several pages of backstory for my character. In all fairness these times are few and far between and the pages are usually full of narrative instead of exposition, but still Backgrounds are the life blood of your RPG character’s introduction. The events that shaped them up to this point help inform how you portray them and their introduction to the rest of the party. After musing on backgrounds, I wanted to share some ways that GMs I’ve played with have spiced up background elements in games I’ve been a part of. So, let’s cover five ways to make your character backstory more interesting!
I have said it before and I will say it again — I love miniatures. Well, WizKids is back and they have brought the monsters! Releasing the second week of November D&D Icons of the Realms: Fangs and Talons offers some amazing monsters of all shapes and sizes. This also includes one of my new favorite miniatures.
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted share their thoughts and perspective on the essentials of backstory for a tabletop roleplaying game character. A terrific post from Tribality got the wheels turning on approaching a character backstory not so much as a narrative piece of fiction detailing the events leading up to the adventuring life. Instead a great character backstory functions as a resource to inform game play in the present tense. So let’s get into it.
The Adventure Guild, creators of Quest, made an announcement recently and I’m back to share the news along with another exciting aspect to the fun and forward thinking tabletop roleplaying game. Not only are the creators of this wonderful game expanding on the fantastic content they’ve already put out into the RPG space but there’s opportunities for you, too! So let’s get into it.
When I look for affordable scenery and setting terrain for my tabletop roleplaying games the 4D line by WizKids is really taking off. There are so many great pieces and sets now available and even more on the horizon. The 4D line recently released the Settings: Stone Bridge.
It’s a time for masks and mayhem and for me this means superheroes! Superhero flavor can be found everywhere, even in more rigid tabletop roleplaying game systems like fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. What are Critical Role’s Mighty Nein or Vox Machina, if not superheroes in their own worlds? I’ve often thought many homebrew campaign settings feel a lot like fantasy superheroes in worlds where being super is more about aspiration and power development than power inaccessibility. But some people just want the unabashed superhero flavor in their RPG campaigns. Yet many Game Masters I’ve talked with don’t know where to start when it comes to supers.
The controlled chaos of randomly rolled characters or randomly created events within tabletop roleplaying games appeals to many gamers. Even the fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master’s Guide contains a nice chunk of random tables and charts to create NPCs, treasure or campaign events. But sometimes you crave even more RPG randomness. Allow me to present some system agnostic books to add some randomness to your RPG game.
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted dance to the beat of a different drum and use a group of NPC musicians from a recent game of fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons as a jumping off point for discussing this dwarven band in greater detail. Several key points emerge, ones I took note of as salient points to keep in mind for any individual or group of NPCs for 5E D&D or any other RPG. This 5E D&D dwarven jug band wonderfully illustrates what makes NPCs so compelling. So let’s break it all down and get into it.
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted go the distance to examine the health, stamina and vital force of fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons characters. The mere thought of dumping Constitution in 5E D&D or any edition of the game — or any game at all — is anathema for many players. Say what you will about being weak or clumsy or dumb, a character with poor health faces some tough obstacles in any game incorporating physical danger. Is a 5E D&D character with low Constitution doomed? Here’s three fantasy characters who suggest anything but, so let’s get into it.