Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted channel divinity to come up with the holiest character in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons to answer a community request. We returned to the Character Build Guide series we haven’t created for in a while and developed the Holy Paragon, a 5E D&D character leaning all the way into their divine nature. But now Mythic Odysseys of Theros released digitally and if you really want to play a character devoted to the gods, look no further. I’ve been incredibly excited about MOoT since we stumbled upon the release prior to the announcement and I looked through the whole hotly anticipated book this morning. I’m blown away.
When Fil Kearney saw Wizards of the Coast creating settings and material for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons straight from the planes of Magic: The Gathering like many other players he anticipated the classic five color mana system wouldn’t be far behind. But after six Plane Shift releases plus Guildmasters Guide to Ravnica officially incorporating the worlds of M:TG to 5E D&D magic in the two games remains distinct without any crossover. So like any creative gamer Fil set out to develop his own 5 Color Mana system. Tap Untap Burn is a robust system for incorporating Magic’s classic color wheel into 5E D&D and Fil poured a tremendous amount of work into this to excite longtime Magic fans as well as 5E D&D players without any knowledge of the seminal trading card game. So let’s get into it and see what you can add to your games.
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted look at how current events could change the Dungeons & Dragons hobby forever. Social distancing and stay and home guidelines affect tabletop roleplaying game enthusiasts around the world whose in person player groups are on hold or or exploring ways to play games like fifth edition D&D online. Physical accessories like miniatures and terrain represent some of the changes this different way to play can manifest, since these types of accessories often remain shelved, replaced by web cameras and virtual tabletops. My own gaming takes place almost exclusively online ever since my longtime home group dispersed due to moves and relocations but we’ve kept up getting together and playing for a few years now. Like Dave and Ted mention in the video there’s valuable takeaways from online gaming we can bring back to our in person sessions in the future and as someone used more to the former than the latter I hope these observations enrich your RPG experiences too, so let’s get into it.
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.
Back in December I was at PAX Unplugged and I got to have a conversation with the lovely people over at WizKids. They had a lot of projects on the horizon and I have even shared a bunch of them with all you wonderful people. Just released, hot off the presses if you will, are the amazing WarLock Tiles. These fully painted, durable and double sided tiles are perfect for setting up your dungeon scene or creepy castle hallways. The only limitation is your imagination.
If you are like myself, you are a regular Game Master for running tabletop roleplaying games like fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. As anyone who does something regularly I seek ways to improve my skills with little tips and tricks to add extra enjoyment for all involved. Recently I began looking into tarot cards and how they might be able to enhance the game. As I did my research I asked friends do readings or even had strangers do a reading in the past at events and the like. I found there are a lot of useful tools when you look at how in depth tarot cards and their meanings can get.
I’ve been playing and running a lot more games recently and reflecting on them made an observation that might be useful for players and Game Masters alike. Maybe I’m late to the dance here or perhaps I’ll find there’s not much substance to it after all but nevertheless here we are introducing a topic. In broad strokes the idea is using the point of a game to anticipate and prepare for what comes next. When it comes to fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons or any tabletop roleplaying game it’s important for me to know what players are supposed to do during play. For more on this perspective check out What You Do and How You Do It Are Two Different Things in RPGs. When you know the point of a game your games run smoother from both sides of the table. This may stray into metagame territory so let’s get into it find out.
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted read between the lines of tabletop roleplaying game rulebooks and discuss the unwritten rule, at least insofar as fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons is concerned — the Rule of Cool. While it may be implied in text and encouraged in practice there is really no codified passage on how to implement this concept. I vacillated on my perspective with this notion, especially since it comes on the heels of a recent video about Rule Zero. On the one hand when it comes to storytelling games like 5E D&D I rather enjoy both aspects — the storytelling and the game parts. On the other, the distinction between the two best I figure is one relies on a game’s rules from which to make a ruling and the other essentially ignores the rules completely.
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted drill down on what’s known in tabletop roleplaying games at Rule Zero, more specifically as this gaming tradition is described in the fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master’s Guide. The common understanding of Rule Zero as it pertains to RPGs like 5E D&D is a reminder to players that a Game Master has to exercise common sense and can to supersede the rules when the they would ruin enjoyment and fair play. With this in mind following Rule Zero in practice comes down to one thing: trust. There’s a responsibility from all participants in an RPG, GM and players alike, so this trust goes both ways and the results are fun experiences for everyone involved.
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.