Recently, I began down the road to fixing the two largest obstacles to drawing new players to Dungeons and Dragons 5E. Specifically, I stated the reason why it is important for the Monster Manual to be available to every player during every moment of every D&D 5E game. Last week’s article specifically addressed the following obstacle –
D&D 5E New Player Obstacle 2 – The Game rewards system mastery greatly and punishes casual play brutally.
This week I continue down the road of fixing the two largest obstacles to drawing new players to D&D 5E by addressing the following obstacle –
D&D 5E New Player Obstacle 1 – The Game takes far too long to play (typically four hours).
We, as a race, tend to have a bad habit of believing what we are told. In the days before the internet this was especially true since fact checking often involved going down to the local library and pouring over texts. It is no surprise then that Gygax and company made a few errors in their initial attempts at something as extensive as what Dungeons and Dragons would become.
This doubly true when at the time sometimes the scholarly text they were basing their information on was what was incorrect! Which brings us to the biker punk fantasy that is studded leather armor.
Studded leather armor, as you might realize at this point, did not exist. The most commonly accepted reason this misconception came to be is probably misidentified brigandine. Many pieces of brigandine look a ton like studded leather armor from the outside. The armor is essentially a leather outer layer with studs holding oblong metal plates under the armor. This is all well and good but one thing to bear in mind is that armor, especially organic armor, is almost never found in a state that looks as it did when a medieval person was using it. Continue reading Studs: Fashionably Useless Studded Leather Armor VS Brigadine
“At fourteen, in 1985 a boy woke up in a new town, in a new apartment. That day he met another boy living in the next-door building who had the same interests. The new boy introduced him to Dungeons and Dragons 2nd edition and that’s all she wrote. Sense then I’ve moved quite a few times and each time I found myself looking for new friends and people to game with.”
The times have changed and over the years finding like-minded people to game with became both easier and harder to find in some aspects. I’m writing this article to hopefully make things a little easier rather than harder for us nerds.
Recently I just moved from Houston Texas back to a different side of town in Phoenix Arizona. After the move I got things in order and sat down to looks for a place to go be nerdy. Fortunately in this day and age we have FaceBook and Google so things are just at our fingertips and we don’t have to listen in on people’s conversations at school or join clubs to find places to express our hobby.
The first thing I want to let everyone in on is the FaceBook search engine, and how it helped me. For starters Wizards of the Coast has been kind enough to help people put together FaceBook pages for most major cities for the Dungeons & Dragons 5e Adventure’s League. This format of D&D 5e lets players play pre-constructed campaigns and sends their results in to WotC to be posted for all to see. On the WotC website is also a “Store Finder” that shows stores how have WotC recognition and host those events on a regular basis. This is a good way to find gamers or at least to find people who play RPGs in general.
If one travels in Nerd circles, it is nearly impossible not to notice the growing interest in Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) and similar organizations, especially concerning the longsword. YouTube is brimming with videos of competitions and training and related product reviews. Many geek-related festivals will have a place set aside where armored and unarmored figures alike jab away with rapiers and longswords. And most cities of any size have at least one or two local martial arts groups focusing upon the European arts.
But how to get started? If you’re lucky enough to live near a HEMA group, usually all you have to do is drop by, meet the instructors, and sign up for the classes.
However, if there is no such group or organization near where you live, or for some other reason you find it challenging to travel or maybe even leave the house, there is another option.
Online longsword classes are relatively new, but they are becoming more common, and they can be a perfect option for those unable to attend actual training classes.
It’s true if you spend time exploring YouTube, you can find plenty of training videos and the like, but nearly all of them are done without extensive instruction, and it can be difficult to tell which exercises are for beginners and which are for more experienced practitioners. Also, a number of books are available which can help teach the appropriate skills, but it can be difficult to tell how guard positions and moves are to work from mere text and photos. Structure is needed for the student, and this is where online courses can help you learn the basics of historical martial arts.
Longsword on the go
To those ends, Sword Carolina of Greenville County, South Carolina, now offers its online HEMA school through videos. For only $15 a month, you can pick up the basics from instructor Aaron Shober, delve into more detailed studies, follow along with drills and exercises, and more. Really, the level of study which you wish to reach is up to you. The focus here is upon the German Longsword, but other weapons and skills are studied. Beginners and those who are more experienced alike can find something here.
If you feel you are ready for the next step, to actually become a HEMA instructor or to utilize your swording skills in some other leadership capacity (maybe you’re taking up raiding villages), Sword Carolina also offers The Academy for $35 a month. The Academy offers everything available in Sword Carolina’s online classes as well as special videos and other content for the potential instructor. If you are interested in taking your martial skills to the professional level, to possibly make a career in this field, The Academy offers training which is likely right for you.
For those of you in Europe, Johannes Pelzer operates the website Learn-Sword-Fighting.com for learning the German school of the longsword. The video classes at this site are broken down into eight levels, from the true beginner to the old pro, with all the drills one will need to become a good swordsman. Fundamentals are covered, as well as guards, footwork, strikes, parries, avoidance, winding, countering, and anything which you can think of concerning the longsword.
Taking your sword training beyond online
The videos at these sites, as well as other videos online and books, can help one learn more than just the basics, but there are a few potential downsides from this solitary approach. First of all, timing and distance are extremely important in swordplay, and while to some extent these can be partially learned on one’s own, there is nothing like having a sparring partner to improve one’s reflexes, speed, and timing skills. Besides, what fun is it if you are only ever fighting against a pell, a training target for swordsmanship?
Attending actual classes is obviously not mandatory, but after learning all one can from online courses, it could serve one well to try and attend the real thing. Testing oneself against others can be a strong route to improving one’s skills. Maybe you would even be able to take part in some tournaments.
But however you decide to swing your sword, always remember to Stay Nerdy!
The ring of steel on steel, swords against armor, maces against shields, these are often considered sounds only from the far past. Today, however, that is no longer the case. With interest in the sword arts growing, in no small part due to organizations such as ARMA (Association for Renaissance Martial Arts) and HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts) and Russia’s M-1 Medieval Sports League, more and more fans and athletes are taking up arms and armor to experience the thrills of historical combat for themselves.
Two such individuals are Kyle Roberts and Andrew Dunn, founders of Armored Instinct in Winchester, Kentucky, who answer questions below.
Welcome to part 2 of Super Nerd Skills- How to read faster with the speed reading app Reasy. For part 1 click here. This series is all about highlighting skills that are nerdy regardless of how the people in said skill, hobby, or subject feel about their own nerd aptitude.
Super Nerd Skills | ARMA, Association for Renaissance Martial Arts and Swordsmanship
Greetings Nerdarchs, and welcome to the second installment of Super Nerd Skills where we will discuss ARMA, a.k.a. the Association for Renaissance Martial Arts and the swordsmanship that they practice. Now before we go on lets clarify a few points on how this is a super nerdy skill. First, martial arts, is a system of combat skills used for defense, fighting, strengthening, etc…
Greetings and welcome fellow Nerdarchs to Nerdarchy’s first post on Super Nerd Skills where we will tell you about Bad Lip Reading’s Medieval Land Fun Time World. Super Nerd Skills is all about showcasing the skills and wit of nerds who we, at Nerdarchy, think deserve it.
While some work of the “anonymous individual” behind Bad Lip Reading would not get him added to the list, one of his newer works, Medieval Land Fun Time World, gets the nerd stamp of approval.
Super Nerd Skills | Bad Lip Reading and Medieval Land Fun Time World
First the review of the Super Nerd Skill that was used: Lip Reading a.k.a. Speechreading