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.
Tabletop roleplaying gamers enjoy unprecedented numbers of add-ons and accessories for the fantastic games we play. Whether you roll your funny shaped dice with friends virtually or gathered around a table the options for enhancing one of the biggest draws for any RPG — customizing your character — offer a huge scope of choices. If you’re like me you might create Pinterest boards to find inspiration for your characters (seriously, try it and see how fun and useful it can be!). As fun and fruitful as it can be to discover evocative artwork to represent your character, it’s way cooler when you can design your own custom character art yourself! Ancient Lair followed up their Campaign Medals Kickstarter with Custom 2D Miniature Website, a new web based application that lets you customize 2D miniatures for use in your physical or virtual table top adventures.
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.
Those Bastards is Nerdarchy’s (much less lewd than the title suggests) live stream game of fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Every Tuesday from 8 to 10 p.m. EST the Nerdarchy crew comes together to play some 5E D&D. Of course it’s mostly just our excuse as a team to come together with our hobby and have some fun as friends but it’s also a way for you as the community to see how we apply many of the things we talk about, both here on the site and over on the YouTubes!
The current campaign is entitled Those Bastards. The premise is all of our characters are half siblings (same dad, different moms). As we discovered one another and our intertwining destinies we also learn more about one another’s characters. The running joke for most of the campaign has been the barbarian has the highest Intelligence score (at a 14). But make no mistake — our characters are no idiots… probably. Here’s the thing: our characters all get their own times to shine and show off their own skills. While it’s true that Vent (our fire genasi barbarian) is the most intelligent mechanically, there are other ways Those Bastards prove their mental fortitude.
One of the reasons I’m writing for Nerdarchy is bribes… I mean, because I worked within the gaming industry for 13 years — at Chessex Game Distributors, TSR Hobbies and Games Workshop US. I’ve had people on Facebook groups ask me about my time at various employers. Today I’m putting pen to paper (I write out everything longhand before typing) to write about my time at Chessex Game Distributors (CGD). My facts about this are from online resources and my own memories. Any errors are my own — after all, it’s been almost thirty years — and no harm is meant by any mistakes, which I’d happily correct if informed.
Many of us tabletop roleplaying game nerds are familiar with video games, particularly RPGs and JRPGs. Even those who don’t play JRPGs are at least aware of many common franchises — Final Fantasy, Tales, Kingdom Hearts, Pokemon and Persona just to name a few. A common theme among JRPGs is their story driven gameplay and novelty game mechanics. For many the name Shin Megami Tensei immediately evokes the idea of rock-paper-scissors style combat involving damage elements. Saying a name like Golden Sun evokes nostalgia and complex magic and class systems. All of this got me thinking about something. JRPGs are renowned for their creativity and innovation in a frankly restrictive game formula. Suppose we tried adopting certain gameplay elements from JRPGs? While a creative setting or feel is pretty easy to accomplish, mechanics get a bit crunchier as Nerdarchist Dave says. As an admitted JRPG addict I love thinking of ways to evoke this sort of feeling and structure in a tabletop RPG and mechanics aren’t nearly so inaccessible as you might think. So today I want to look at a mechanic from one of my recent obsession plays: Octopath Traveler and adapt a boost system into 5E D&D play.
When you look at prepainted miniatures for tabletop gaming WizKids continues to stay at the top of the game. Whether you are playing Dungeons & Dragons or Pathfinder or any number of other fantasy roleplaying games, miniatures from WizKids are great and the new City of Lost Omens set is no exception. I always look forward to the next set of miniatures from WizKids as each one gives me new options for threats to challenge characters and adventuring parties. In addition to the blind purchase in recent years WizKids began doing the nonblind purchase associated with each set. I am a huge nerd and collector when it comes to miniatures in particular. The minis included with City of Lost Omens inspired tons of ideas to bring to the gaming table already.
Fantasy is a broad genre when it comes to tabletop roleplaying games. However, it seems that whether it’s Tolkien, Le Guin, Adeyemi or Salvatore, humans are an inescapable staple in settings and conflicts. Don’t get me wrong, I love humans. Most of my friends are human. But I have to wonder if we lose a degree of creativity by presuming fantasy must include humans? Today, I want to explore some ways excluding humans in your RPG worldbuilding can really step up your game.
One of the scenarios RPG players face time and time again is the inconsistent group. For many the greatest villain in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons or any tabletop roleplaying game is Scheduling. Oh, the trials and tribulations involved with maintaining an RPG player group on a regular basis. Online gaming goes a long way towards mitigating this challenge because it’s easier than ever to find people to roll funny shaped dice with but what about keeping one group of people together consistently enough to complete a long campaign, or even a few sessions to finish a single adventure? Personally I frequently run into an issue getting a group to meet more than once with any consistency. I still manage to satisfy my gaming itch, but whether as a player or Game Master I yearn to experience a protracted RPG campaign following the same group of characters. While going through some notes I came across one with a potential way to circumvent some of the issues I’ve faced keeping an adventuring group together. So let’s get into it.
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted put on their thinking caps to explore using dump stats and low ability scores in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. They talk specifically about Intelligence in this case, discussing different approaches for roleplaying and perspectives on how and why a character might have a low score. This broad topic can apply to any RPG, even games without a specific Intelligence score or even ability scores at all. Portraying a character with below average smarts can be a lot of fun but this particular ability score, like a lot of nonphysical attributes in any game, can also be tricky. It’s a lot easier to imagine an exceptionally strong or agile character or conversely a weak or clumsy one but when it comes to what we often refer to as mental stats roleplaying becomes a bit more challenging. Since Dave and Ted cover Intelligence itself, I’m curious about different kinds of intelligence. You may have heard the term ’emotional intelligence’ before and this got me thinking of ways for RPG characters to display their own types of intelligence inspired by other ability scores. So let’s get into it and come up with ideas for characters who dump Intelligence to showcase their own smarts in 5E D&D.
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.
Words have power. Just ask Ursula Le Guin. Plus, language is so much a staple of stories and storytelling we’ve even codified it in tabletop roleplaying games into a proper mechanic. When it comes to the words our RPG characters use perhaps the question isn’t, “What words should I say?” but rather, “What words would I say?” This brings us to today’s topic — vernacular. Okay, I know it’s a big word but vernacular is the everyday language used by ordinary people. Speaking of, now’s probably as good a time as any to forewarn this article contains cursing and a dissertation on cursing and racial slurs. So if you’re not comfortable with either of those topics or reading some everyday curses then maybe seek out another of many articles.
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted share their first impressions of The Expanse RPG, a Modern AGE rules set game from Green Ronin. I didn’t know anything about The Expanse — roleplaying game or otherwise — before video planning. Afterwards further reading of the rule book and binge watching the series on Amazon Prime brought a fresh perspective on genre and fandom inspired RPGs. The Expanse RPG provides a window into several themes and elements including more than one science fiction subgenre, shipboard life stories, travel and tension. Can you guess I’ve become a fan? Nowhere near a Screaming Firehawk certainly, but then again it’s only been a few days. So let’s get into it.
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.
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.