Kickstarter Korner for November 2018, Week 1

Hag's Apprentice -- a 5E D&D Halloween Encounter
Finding Adventure or Letting Adventure Find You in D&D

Each week during the Quests & Adventures live chat, Saturday at 2 p.m. eastern, Nerdarchists Dave and Ted and Nate the Nerdarch hang out live with fans from the Nerdarchy YouTube channel. It’s a chance to share announcements and news, answer questions from the live chat and generally just hang out and talk nerdy with the Nerdarchy community.

In the description of each weekly video, Nerdarchist Ted compiles a list and links to all the videos and website content from the week. But he also shares a selection of cool Kickstarter campaigns. As an avid Kickstarter supporter, he’s happy to share his favorite RPG and gaming-related Kickstarters with you, the Nerdarchy community. Enjoy!

RPG Related Kickstarters

Protip: Running D&D for first-time players is one of my favorite things to do, and was the topic for the live chat this week. A tabletop roleplaying game can seem overwhelming to new players at times, but I’ve found more often than not new players get into the swing of things pretty quickly and often their lack of experience leads to really terrific games.

My favorite experience introducing a new player to D&D is the first session of my home campaign that’s been going on for over two years now. I’d just moved back to Cleveland from Austin and really wanted to get a group together. I wrangled a few old friends and explained I’d be running a game, and they were invited. There’s a bonus tip for you — instead of asking if anyone wants to start a campaign, just tell people you’ll be running a game and they’re welcome to join.

Anyway, one of my friends had a buddy visiting from Japan and asked if he could come, and of course I said yes. He’d never played before but thought it would be fun. We created characters at the table, and he made a green dragonborn rogue. I thought that was pretty indicative of things that appeal to new players right there. Getting to play a dragon is a really cool thing for new players, and so many new players are drawn to the rogue! It seems like the notion of stealing gold and breaking the rules is very appealing. My guess is it offers a chance to do things we don’t normally do in real life.

Within five minutes of starting the game, our new player persuaded the bad guys he wanted to switch sides and join them, then double-crossed them and hit ’em with his poison breath, then robbed them. But it wasn’t for another hour or so before he reached my absolute favorite thing about new players.

“So, I can just do anything I want? All I do is tell you what I want to do and we figure it out from there?”

New players get that look in their eye when it dawns on them how D&D is played, and I love it. Of course, they also learn there are consequences to their characters’ actions, but unlike any other sort of game, there’s no inflexible boundaries limiting choices. I mean, there’s the limits of your imagination and plausibility, sure, but even these can be stretched pretty far. A classic example is a character jumping from a cliff, flapping their arms in an attempt to fly, and rolling a natural 20. (I know, critical successes only matter for attack rolls.) Despite all evidence both mechanical and plausible to the contrary, it’s still certainly possible the character wouldn’t plummet to their doom.

One tip I’ve found very useful for new players is keeping a selection of pregenerated characters in your DM toolbox. Creating characters is a super fun part of D&D, no doubt about it, and the Player’s Handbook makes walking through character creation pretty easy. But, having pregens on hand can’t hurt either. I’ve heard plenty of stories about new players adventuring through Lost Mine of Phandelver for their first D&D experience using the pregens in the box and having a fantastic time, making the characters their own along the way. I’ve played pregen characters myself plenty of times too. And I’ve offered them to players as an option, making it clear they are more than welcome to create their own characters if they want, but they went for the pregens anyway.

Sometimes pregens can really enhance a game, too. When I ran Grungle in the Jungle, I created a bunch of grung characters, mashing together the stat blocks in Volo’s Guide to Monsters and giving them each an iconic character class ability like rage, sneak attack and bardic inspiration. Even for a more traditional D&D game, you can make pregens tailored to your content whether it’s a ranger with undead as their favored enemy, a noble with ties to the structure of the setting or whatever.

But what about you? Do you remember your first time playing D&D and experiencing that a-ha moment? What tips or suggestions do you have for running D&D for new players? Please share them in the comments below — I’d love to hear your stories!

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