Start Playing D&D (for free!)

Posted in D&D 5e, D&D Fifth Edition, D&D Next, Dungeons and Dragons with tags , , , , , on January 23, 2019 by boccobsblog

Every day I hear/read people saying that they would like to learn to play D&D but don’t know where to start. Additionally, I’ve met several people at conventions who used to play D&D, but who don’t know how to get back into Dungeons and Dragons. I’ve created a list of resources, some free, some not, that will allow new players to get started playing D&D, as well as aid returning players.

I’ve personally played D&D for the last 29 year, and have played every edition of the game, and I can honestly say 5th edition is the easiest rule set to learn. This is a great time to start playing Dungeons and Dragons.

Free Options

D&D Basic Rules (Free)
“The Basic Rules runs from levels 1 to 20 and covers the cleric, fighter, rogue, and wizard, presenting what we view as the essential subclass for each. It also provides the dwarf, elf, halfling, and human as race options; in addition, the rules contain 120 spells,
5 backgrounds, and character sheets.” (WotC)

D&D SRD (Free)
The D&D Basic set has a lot of information to get you started, but it only contains a few character classes. When you’re ready to expand into more options, you can use a System Reference Document to access free (under the Open Game License) content legally. There are many SRDs online, I recommend 5thSRD.org as they run a clean site, with few ads. 5thSRD.org can also be downloaded for offline use.

Public Library (Free)
Believe or not, your public library likely has some gaming books, and even if they don’t, they will gladly do an intralibrary loan to borrow the core books from another library.

Character Sheet (Free)
You can get these anywhere, but here are the official WotC sheets. We also have a form-fillable PDF sheet you can download here.

Die Rollers
Another free option for digital players (those who like to use their phone or tablet at the table) is die rollers programs. You can find many free apps and programs to replace physical dice.

Paid Options

Starter Set (>$20)
“Containing everything you need to leap into a D&D adventure, this boxed set is designed for five to six players, with one of you taking on the role of the game’s lead storyteller, the Dungeon Master.” The starter set is available at your local game store, Walmart, and Target.” (WotC) The Starter Set comes with:

  • 64-page adventure book with everything the Dungeon Master needs to get started
  • 32-page rulebook for playing characters level 1-5
  • 5 pre-generated characters, with character sheet
  • 6 dice

Core Rulebooks ($25-$100)
If you decide to play D&D regularly, you’ll need to eventually pick up the core rulebooks. Players will need a Player’s Handbook (PHB), while a Dungeon Master will need the PHB, the Dungeon Master’s Guide (DMG), and the Monster Manual (MM).

Accessories

Dice (<$10)
You can get some great dice anywhere, but if you want to outfit your whole table for less than $2 a player, I suggest these dice (5 sets).

A Buttload of Dice (<$25)
If you need a bunch of dice quick, the pound of dice from Chessex is a gamer standard.

DM Screen ($10)
A Dungeon Master’s Screen is not for everyone. They contain a lot of useful information and they can be useful in hiding your notes and miniatures, but some DMs choose to roll and act in the open, lest they be accused of cheating.

Grid Mats
I use a variety of battle mats, but the one that is always on my table is from Chessex. They come in three sizes: Battlemat (23.5 x 26), Megamat (34.5 x 48 inches), and the Mondomat (54 x 102 inches). The Battlemat is a bit small, but a good choice is your table is small. The Mondomat is too big for nearly all tables. I have an eight-foot-long game table and it wouldn’t fit well. My recommendation is the Megamat.

Note: regardless of the pens you use, or what you use to clean your map, they will stain over time. Invest in a piece of clear plexiglass to place over your mat. My Chessex Megamat has never been written on and looks pristine after 6+ years of play.

Next time we’ll talk about finding a game or starting your own.

Rey Clark Interview

Posted in Fiction, Interview with tags , on May 15, 2020 by boccobsblog

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Tell us about your new title.
My lasted work released at the end of March.  Age of Redemption is the sequel to Dawn of Genesis in the Titan Code Science Fiction Series.

Still on track for this year:

  • Second middle grade fantasy book, Legends of the Weirded Ways
  • New historical fantasy series set during World War II.
  • Coming soon the Realm of Thraul collaborative project with artist Rich Kunz and three other authors.  The playing card suit reimagined.  I will be writing for the diamonds.  Think Asian Steampunk.

How has the current Covid-19 crisis affected your process?
Normally I write or edit on my lunch hour, but with work being so crazy busy I haven’t had a lunch since January.  I work in the financial industry and serve on the bank’s Pandemic Response Team, so we have been outlining contingency after contingency.  My desk is currently swamped with folk needed loan payment deferrals or mortgage forbearances so that has taken the front seat as a priority.  Now time for lunch.  I’ve moved my writing time to the evenings and weekend and have tried to move forward in large chunks.  Right now, I’m still on schedule.

How much of yourself do you put into your protagonists?
I try to diversify my protagonists to keep them fresh, but of course some of myself bleeds through.  I don’t fashion them all in my image otherwise they would all be the same.  Each one does have a piece of me.  I tend to be bold and straightforward with a sarcastic tone so many times that is reflected in my protagonists.

What is the greatest challenge currently facing self-published authors?
I think recognition and exposure are the two largest challenges facing self-published authors.  There is still a stigma that self-published work is inferior to traditional published work, but I’ve read some fantastic indie work.  There is unfortunately crap out there in the market too, but I believe that the good stuff will bubble to the top.  Self-publishing offers a wide variety of diversity in writing rather than a few major publishing houses deciding what you want to read.  Indie publishing gives the reader more to choose from.

The other issue is exposure.  There is so much content on the market right now its difficult to gain any traction in the marketing arena.  Finding readers can be a challenge.  Conventions work best for me to get my name out there. Specifically, gaming conventions for my genre.  Super bummed about Lexicon this year (stupid virus), I was on target to release Age of Redemption there.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?
Whiskey, lots and lots of whiskey.  All joking aside, I plot out my books course before I ever start writing.  The rough plot line helps me outline my chapters, so I know what’s happening where and when in the story.  If I always know the next event in the story, I can’t have writer’s block.

Sometimes inspiration doesn’t strike in the moment I sit down to write but I move forward regardless.  If I write and dull lifeless chapter, I’m sure to pick up on that during the editing process.  That triggers a re-write and corrective course for the tone and plot of the story.

If you could do psychedelic mushrooms with one Supreme Court Justice, past or present, who would it be?
Hands down, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  She’s one bad ass woman. I’d love to get inside her mind for a minute.  I’ve not met her but last year I did sit in the main chamber of the Supreme Court.  Spoiler alert: Its not the highest court in the land.  The basketball court above the chamber is the highest court in the land.

You’ve recently started to add your books on Audible, how is that going?
First book in the Path of Ascension Trilogy went live in December and the narrator is currently working on the second book, Fire Forged.  It’s been a painless process.

You and Katniss step into the ring, who struts away in triumph and who limps away in shame?
Since it is a boxing ring and I am a kickboxer and Katniss would be up close and personal rather than using her bow, I’m going to say that I would kick her ass. 

About the Author
Rey Clark is science fiction and fantasy author from central Illinois. Her desire and motivation to inspire others does not stop with the readers.  Rey works in her community to foster creativity and spark new writers to explore their own creativity.

Path of Ascension Trilogy

  • Flames of Valor
  • Fire Forged
  • Inferno Rising

Titan Code Series

  • Dawn of Genesis
  • Age of Redemption
  • Final Legacy (2021)

Legends Chronicles

  • Legends of the Vale
  • Legends of the Weirded Ways (Fall 2020)
  • Legends of the Phoenix Flame (2022)

All books can be purchased on Amazon in either print of ebook.  Flames of Valor is currently available on Audible.  Fire Forged & Inferno Rising should be available on Audible by the end of 2020.

Other projects include:

  • MurderHobos Inc Live tabletop RPG gaming on YouTube.
  • Titanholm Gaming – A new world to explore through 5th edition D&D.  Titanholm is a world of high fantasy and steampunk.
  • Realm of Thraul – a fantasy world with four unique kingdoms locked in a power struggle.  The cultures are interpretations of traditional playing card suits.  The project involves Rich Kunz as the artist and four authors.  Rey is developing thee world of diamonds, an eastern inspired culture with elements of steampunk.

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Learn more at reyclark.com.

 

Sorry for the ads but I’m saving up some new nunchucks!

New 5e Backgrounds

Posted in D&D 5e, D&D Fifth Edition, D&D Next, Dungeons and Dragons with tags on May 1, 2020 by boccobsblog

I’m Andrew Beahm. Over the past few years as D&D has exploded in popularity, I’ve always felt like something is missing. Even with the explosion of live streams, YouTube communities, and every accessory imaginable it still seemed like there wasn’t enough high-quality written content about the hobby. Now granted there are great sources like Boccob’s Blessed Blog, but I wanted more. With this in mind, I decided the remedy the issue by creating my own site CharmstoneGames.com, where we do things like pair beer with D&D classes, talk to zoo keepers about how hard it would be to train Girallons, and just generally try to go places other haven’t in talking about TTRPGs.

Now, you’re probably asking, “Why am I here? Weren’t you just going on about how you have your own dang website?” Thing is, I try to avoid talking about the mechanics of D&D or any other RPG system on my blog. I’m simply more interested in exploring things like real life booby traps. However, now that I’m stepping out of my home turf, all bets are off.

Have you ever heard of Wizard’s of the Coast SRD? If you haven’t, it’s basically the magical (legal) blessing the owners of D&D have instituted that allows people to publish and sell their own original D&D content. It covers most of the core rules, spells, and a good chunk of the creatures in the Monster Manual. However, almost every single character background, which is an essential part of character creation, is off-limits. The only one you’re allowed to reference in any materials you create is the Acolyte. So I decided to help out the community and provide you with 5 new backgrounds you can use in any of your D&D related projects. Free. Gratis. Complimentary. It’s my gift to you. Without further adieu, here they are.

Gambler

You live by your luck and are always after the next big win; you’re most at home at a gaming table matching wits with others in games of skill and chance.

Skill Proficiencies: Deception, Insight

Tool Proficiencies: Playing Card and Dice Set

Equipment: Game set (of your choice), a set of traveler’s clothes, a pouch containing 20 gp, and a lucky mundane item such as a rabbit’s foot, novelty coin/chip, or other small trinket.

Feature: Always a Table 

You have a knack for rounding up a group of players and getting a game going. As long as you have access to a public place where gambling is permitted (such as a tavern), you can attempt to win a few extra coins.

Suggested Characteristics

d8    Personality Trait

  1. I’m always taking little mementos and souvenirs from wherever I go.
  2. My facial expression is almost always neutral.
  3. I’m fidgety and occupy one of my hands with a coin.
  4. I like to keep a hidden weapon on me at all times- in case things get hairy.
  5. I pepper conversations with colorful aphorisms.
  6. I’m competitive and love to challenge others to contests.
  7. I like to place little bets with friends to make things more interesting.
  8. I don’t like being tricked or made to seem foolish.

d6    Ideal

  1. Charity. I know how quickly your luck can change, so I’m kind to those down on theirs. (Good)
  2. Rules. I respect the law and am offended when others don’t. (Lawful)
  3. Excitement. If I see a chance to shake things up, I do. (Chaotic)
  4. Greed. How much is enough? More. (Evil)
  5. Friends. Find people you can trust to watch your back- so they can watch yours in return. (Neutral)
  6. Aspiration. Anything I do I want to be the best at. (Any)

d6    Bond

  1. I owe a huge debt back home, and I can’t return until it’s paid.
  2. I lost a massive sum in a game of chance to a rival, and I intend to win it back.
  3. I won one too many games against the wrong noble, and they want revenge.
  4. My parents never thought I’d amount to anything, so I’m going to prove them wrong.
  5. I escaped poverty through three card monte schemes and made many enemies.
  6. I spurned a powerful ex-lover.

d6    Flaw

  1. I think I’m luckier than I actually am and can be reckless.
  2. I never quit while I’m ahead.
  3. I’m not above cheating to get what I want.
  4. I love the party life a little too much.
  5. I’m not careful with money and splurge on frivolities.
  6. I don’t think of the long term consequences of my actions.

 

Alchemist

The laws of nature have always fascinated you and you’re determined to discover their secrets. Through rigorous study and experimentation, you developed a strong understanding of how substances react with one another. Although many mistake this aptitude for magic, you know you’re harnessing the fundamental rules that govern all matter.

Skill Proficiencies: Nature, Medicine

Tool Proficiencies: Alchemy Set

Equipment: A bottle of black ink, a quill, a notebook detailing your past experiments, alchemy set, a set of common clothes, a small vial containing a substance you’ve yet to identify, and a pouch containing 10 gp

Chemiser: You are able to synthesize simple substances such as soap, some acids, and gunpowder. Through dedicated study you have also been able to learn to craft the infamous substance, Alchemist’s Fire by purchasing it’s ingredients for 25 gp. The availability of any materials you need are subject to DM’s discretion.

Suggested Characteristics

d8    Personality Trait

  1. I have a thirst for knowledge and always want to learn.
  2. I have a mechanical mind and am very logical.
  3. I only speak when I have something important to say.
  4. My clothes are disheveled and stained with unknown alchemical substances.
  5. I’m leery of tall tales and boasts.
  6. Every problem is a puzzle, and I love finding the solution.
  7. I’m a voracious reader and will eschew social interactions to do it.
  8. I’m working on the next great chemical breakthrough and love to talk about it.

d6    Ideal

  1. Progress. I do what I do to expand and share knowledge. (Good)
  2. Logic. Decisions should be made from a cool, dispassionate perspective. (Lawful)
  3. Experimentation. Knowledge should be pushed to its limits. (Chaotic)
  4. Self-Interest. I seek to hoard knowledge not share it. (Evil)
  5. Detachment. I know what I can affect and I don’t concern myself with that which is outside my control. (Neutral)
  6. Self-Improvement. The no greater pursuit than honing one’s intellect. (Any)

d6    Bond

  1. My mentor turned my life around by teaching me the wonders of alchemy.
  2. The school where I learned my skills is on the verge of financial ruin. I’ll do anything to prevent that.
  3. My last experiment was a failure that I just can’t get over.
  4. An explosion at my last laboratory drew the ire of the local populace.
  5. I am the only one who knows a secret formula powerful interests want for themselves.
  6. I seek an ancient tome containing marvelous secret knowledge.

d6    Flaw

  1. I’m fastidious to a fault and am harsh with the disorganized.
  2. I’m absent minded and forgetful.
  3. My curiosity overrides my caution.
  4. I never let go of my failures.
  5. My emotions are often more volatile than the substances I work with.
  6. My dedication to my work takes precedence over my loved ones.

 

Intelligentsia

You have spent your life among thinkers, philosophers, and occasionally radicals. This life has honed your ability to craft arguments and push the limits of accepted thought.

Skill Proficiencies: Persuasion, History

Equipment: A set of fine clothes, a diploma of academic achievement, a treasured book relating to your field of study, and a purse containing 15 gp

Languages: Two of your choice

Specialty

The only hope for mastery of a subject is to choose one area and delve deeply into its study. Although you may be informed in other fields, you are truly an expert of one of the following.

  1. Philosophy
  2. Politics
  3. Literature
  4. Art
  5. Warfare
  6. Theology
  7. Mathematics
  8. Astronomy/Astrology

 

Feature: Milieu 

You have a network of academics you can contact in the pursuit of specific knowledge. If you don’t personally know an expert in a given subject, you can make a history check to recall the current authority in any given field of study.

Suggested Characteristics

d8    Personality Trait

  1. I speak fast to try to convey my intelligence.
  2. My speech is peppered with jargon from my field of study.
  3. I love to see new sides to an argument and seek out differing points of view.
  4. My interests are extremely narrow, which makes talking to most people… difficult.
  5. I correct the grammar of others.
  6. I affect a highbrow accent that is befitting of my education (although my native voice still sneaks through from time to time).
  7. I am a social maladroit and uncomfortable in large groups.
  8. I nitpick semantics and insist on defining terms precisely.

d6    Ideal

  1. Growth. All improvements to one’s life begin with one’s mind. (Neutral)
  2. Community. The world thrives when experts share their knowledge and challenge each other. (Good)
  3. Impartiality. Personal preference and biases must be checked when making decisions. (Lawful)
  4. Questioning. No subject should be considered settled, all ideas and systems should be challenged. (Chaotic)
  5. Exclusivity. Knowledge should belong to a privileged few. (Evil)
  6. Self-Betterment. The pursuit of higher learning is virtuous for its own sake. (Any)

d6    Bond

  1. I will do anything for my alma mater.
  2. I was embarrassed in a public debate and still want redemption.
  3. I must tirelessly continue to contribute and advance my field of study.
  4. I will do anything to prove my pet theory correct.
  5. A rival school of thought is spreading dangerous, false theories and must be stopped.
  6. A wealthy patron put me through university. I must find some way to repay them.

d6    Flaw

  1. I am rude and dismissive to the uneducated.
  2. I will jot down an idea in the middle of a conversation no matter how distracting it is.
  3. I can’t stand to be corrected or proven wrong and will pout if it happens.
  4. I am willing to overlook ethics if it means expanding my knowledge.
  5. I start arguments over trivial things just for the sake of it.
  6. I don’t think I can be tricked or influenced, which makes me all the susceptible to cons.

 

Spiritualist

You are in tune with the unseen forces all around us. Some see the world as chaotic and random, but you know everything is foretold if you just stop to listen.

Skill Proficiencies: Religion, Arcana

Language: One of your choice

Equipment: Prayer beads, ceremonial garb, a set of common clothes, and a pouch containing 15 gp

Feature: Ethereal Connection

Through good luck or misfortune a lesser spirit has attached itself to you. The spirit can only interact very weakly on this plane of existence. You can communicate with this spirit although others are unaware of its presence. Although it is often vague and cryptic, by communing with it, you occasionally glean useful bits of information or warnings of impending danger.

Suggested Characteristics

D8 Personality Trait

  1. I take the omens I see seriously and am quick to anger if others don’t.
  2. I can seem blaise or aloof because my attention is on the next life not this one.
  3. I am eager to learn of other religions and customs.
  4. I prefer quiet contemplation to raucous revelry.
  5. I always spare a coin or two for local shrines or temples.
  6. My dreams are filled with symbols, warnings, and advice that inform my actions.
  7. Local festivals and celebrations enthral me. I can’t resist joining in the fun.
  8. The denizens of my home village often sought my council, which has given me a bit of an ego.

d6    Ideal

  1. Heritage. Our ancestors laid the groundwork for our lives. We should honor them. (Lawful)
  2. Grace. There is no greater calling than to ease suffering. (Good)
  3. Renewal. We must not cling to the old ways and move boldly forward. (Chaotic)
  4. Masterhood. When you see the future, you control the future. (Evil)
  5. Restraint. We shouldn’t meddle with forces we don’t understand. (Neutral)
  6. Understanding. The path to enlightenment begins with listening. (Any)

d6    Bond

  1. I would do whatever it takes to unravel the mysteries of the afterlife.
  2. I am dogged by spirits to solve mysterious murder.
  3. My life’s work is dedicated to allowing lost souls to rest.
  4. I seek to bring honor and glory to my home town.
  5. The masses must learn to revere the spirit world, and I will teach them.
  6. I must find the meaning of a cryptic, recurring nightmare that has plagued me since childhood.

d6    Flaw

  1. I am reluctant to seek advice.
  2. I fixate on bad omens and they become self-fulfilling prophecies.
  3. The dead mean more to me than the living.
  4. I give advice whether it’s asked for or not.
  5. I am extremely superstitious.
  6. My mind wanders and I often tune others out.

 

Reeve

You were a member of a small volunteer force dedicated to keeping the peace in your homeland. For a predetermined period of time (usually a year) you were drafted to assist in crime prevention and investigation. Here you learned to keep a critical eye open at all times. You developed your skills of deduction and critical thinking to piece together information and make a complete picture.

Skill Proficiencies: Insight, Investigation

Equipment: A badge of your former office, a set of iron manacles, a set of common clothes, and a pouch containing 10 gp

Feature: Veteran 

You still carry yourself like an officer of the law. This makes town guards, sentries, and those in positions of authority more trusting of you. They are more likely to take your accounts seriously. Though they won’t let you get away with anything special, they’re unlikely to treat you with hostility without cause.

Suggested Characteristics

d8    Personality Trait

  1. I carry myself with an air of authority.
  2. I’m always alert and suspicious by nature.
  3. I focus on details and can ask questions that seem trivial.
  4. I don’t tolerate nonsense or suffer fools.
  5. I don’t need anything fancy and prefer spartan accommodations.
  6. I’m tough and I want to show it.
  7. I have a strong sense of right and wrong and won’t hesitate to speak my mind.
  8. I’m the strong silent type.

d6    Ideal

  1. Community. People should feel safe in their homes and we all must pitch in to help with that. (Good)
  2. Order. I follow the law and expect others to as well. (Lawful)
  3. Judgement. Justice is more important than process. (Chaotic)
  4. Authority. I know what’s best for everyone and won’t tolerate descent. (Evil)
  5. Discretion. Let the little things go and focus on big problems. (Neutral)
  6. Duty. You must fulfill your obligations. (Any)

d6    Bond

  1. My home town means everything to me. I’ll do anything to protect it.
  2. I can’t stand idly by when criminals abuse innocent people.
  3. My old captain is a hero in my eyes and would still follow their orders if asked.
  4. A criminal escaped my grasp and I’m still on the lookout for them.
  5. I once wrongly imprisoned a suspect and I’ve been trying to make up for that with good deeds.
  6. I spoke up against the corruption of a judge making a powerful enemy.

d6    Flaw

  1. I cannot admit that I’m wrong.
  2. Once my mind is made up nothing can change it.
  3. I assume the worst in everyone.
  4. I am bossy and have been known to bark orders.
  5. I defer to authority more than I should.
  6. I’m overly aggressive with people.

 

Unbreakable Review/Interview

Posted in D&D 5e, D&D Fifth Edition, D&D Next, Dungeons and Dragons with tags , , , , , on April 24, 2020 by boccobsblog

Unbreakable 5e

How did this book come to pass?

Unbreakable initially was inspired at an Uncaged dinner group in GenCon 2019. I was seated with Jazz and a few other Uncaged alumni (some who would be involved in the project), and we talked about different things we would like to work on in the future. At one point in the conversation, I brought up the notion of doing an Asian inspired adventure series. Jazz was extremely enthusiastic about it, within a month later, Jazz helped organize it, and we began recruiting for contributors for the project. Along the recruitment process, our group of contributors wanted to turn Unbreakable into an OwnVoices project to fully express the cultures represented within the adventures and the artwork.

What is the significance of the title?

When we (Jazz and I) initially thought about the theme of the adventure anthology, we had this visual inspiration for a bamboo forest and what sort of encounters one might in there. This idea evolved further to become the present-day incarnation, we still wanted the anthology’s name to pay homage to those early thoughts, and we came up with Unbreakable. I was inspired by a quote from Morihei Ueshiba, “Study the teachings of the pine tree, the bamboo, and the plum blossom. The pine is evergreen, firmly rooted, and venerable. The bamboo is strong, resilient, unbreakable. The plum blossom is hardy, fragrant, and elegant.”  and another quote by Ping Fu, ” Bamboo is flexible, bending with the wind but never breaking, capable of adapting to any circumstance.” These quotes had me think about my struggles as an Asian American and the things that myself and my family have gone through to achieve our present lifestyle. It had me recall the efforts of the many people before and how many have adapted to their new lives to achieve their dreams. In that spirit, we were unbreakable in our resolve and determination, and from it, we will continue to be into the future.

I love the cover, who is the artist?

We all love our precious salamander that greets readers into Unbreakable. The cover was done by Joshua Mendenhall, co-director and lead designer for The Islands of Sina Una, a setting built on pre-colonial Philippines and its mythology

It seems like an impossible task to direct the work of so many people, how did you manage this project?

It certainly felt like an insurmountable task, but Jazz and I had great examples from Ashley Warren’s leadership for the Uncaged Anthology. You learn from example, right? We were very fortunate to learn from a great example. We later had Caroline join as our Graphics Designer and Art Lead. The duo became a trio, and from there, we were able to individually coordinate and tackle the three main pillars of its production: the writing, the art, and the editing. An essential part of managing a project is having open lines of communication with our contributors while providing spaces for them to brainstorm their ideas. But I am humbled and honored to have worked alongside Jazz and Caroline on this project, and we supported each other during its development. So I guess the best way to answer this question was teamwork, having flexible deadlines, and working through any obstacles together.

What formats is Unbreakable available in, and where can it be purchased?

Unbreakable Volume 1 is available in digital PDF and hardcover print on DriveThruRPG.

Unbreakable-Vol1-Books-Preview

Unbreakable Details:

  • 253 pages
  • 10 D&D5e adventures for tier 1-4
  • Original Asian-inspired monsters, NPCs, magic items, and characters from folklore, myths, and legends.
  • $19.95 PDF, $39.95 Hardcover, $49.95 PDF + Hardcover

My Thoughts:

  • Beautiful layout – colorful and easy to read
  • Each 5th Edition adventure bears a content warning to avoid possible triggers
  • Information on adjusting each adventure’s difficulty
  • Several new monsters and accompanying lore
  • Advice on how to roleplay complex NPCs

This book is massive. It has ten highly-detailed adventures that were clearly written by knowledgeable authors. As you read this supplement you can tell a lot of love went into its construction. I cannot recommend this project highly enough. Check it out on Drive. Let’s hope vol. 1 is the first of many!

 

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The Guild Plays D&D Tonight

Posted in Dungeons and Dragons with tags , , , on April 16, 2020 by boccobsblog

TheGuild

This is such an amazing event as it combines two of my favorite nerdy loves D&D and Felicia Day. She and the gang from the Guild are getting together to play Dungeons and Dragons for charity. According to her Facebook post:

Next THURSDAY 7-10pm PST, April 16th, The Guild is getting back together to play some D&D! Amy Vorphal will be DMing for us, as we play our characters in D&D! Should be fun, we’re raising money for No Kid Hungry, a great charity that is feeding kids who have no other way to eat during this very trying time. Come watch and support! And Share if you like this idea!

No Kid Hungry

So if you’re looking for something to do tonight, check out this live-play D&D game!

Guild Swag!
The Guild Megaset
You’re Never Weird on the Internet
Embrace Your Weird

Sorry for the ads, but I have to keep Taco Bell in business:

Origins 2020 Postponed Until Oct 7th

Posted in Conventions with tags , , on April 9, 2020 by boccobsblog

Origins 2020 Postponed

According to Originsgamefair.com:

The Game Manufacturers Association (GAMA), the non-profit organization serving the hobby games industry, today announced that it will postpone the 46th Annual Origins Game Fair, originally scheduled for June 17-21, 2020 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, to October 7-11, 2020.  The tabletop convention attracts more than 20,000 attendees from around the world to central Ohio to play thousands of board games, collectible card games, miniatures and role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: The Gathering, Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Catan, and hundreds of other titles.

The decision to postpone the convention follows extensive discussions with its membership, the city of Columbus, the Greater Columbus Convention Center, hotel partners, and exhibitors. “The decision to postpone the convention was not one we made lightly,” said GAMA Executive Director, John Stacy. “The safety and well-being of the Origins community is our number one priority. Given the current health situation, we believe that it is best to move the convention to October.”

With the postponement, GAMA also announced that they would be hosting an online gaming convention during the original show weekend, June 19-21, 2020. Origins Online 2020 will be a fully virtual convention for tabletop gaming fans to enjoy from their devices and will feature an Exhibit Hall where attendees can demo and buy games and merchandise. In addition, the virtual convention will offer streaming workshops and educational seminars with guest authors, artists and game designers, plus hundreds of games online that attendees can sign up to participate in.

“We are all in this together. The postponement of the in-person event and introduction of Origins Online is an opportunity for the hobby games industry and broader gaming community to get excited together and come back stronger on the other side of this pandemic,” Stacy continued.

Details regarding the postponement of Origins Game Fair and Origins Online will be shared soon on the event’s website: www.OriginsGameFair.com.

Free D&D Adventures!

Posted in D&D 5e, D&D Fifth Edition, D&D Next, Dungeons and Dragons, Wizards of the Coast with tags , , on April 7, 2020 by boccobsblog

free D&amp;D quest

In order to keep gamers rolling dice during Covid-19, Wizards of the Coast is offering free D&D content each day. According to their website:

As an added resource for gamers, the D&D team is pleased to offer the following material as free adventures and resources for use in your games—whether you’re playing in a kitchen table campaign, you’re an active participant in the D&D Adventures League, or are simply interested in learning more about Dungeons & Dragons and trying it out for yourself.

With schools closed around the world, many parents and caregivers are at home with their kids, including many in the D&D community. If you are in need of fun & educational material to share and/or play with your kids, you can check back here each day for D&D stuff to help during this time. If you (or someone you know) is a younger gamer, we’re also releasing resources to make it even easier to get into D&D.

Content will be added daily, Monday-Friday. Check back each day for the latest free, downloadable content. Please note that certain adventures are being made free on the DMs Guild for a limited time, so be sure to grab them now while you can!

Be sure to check the WotC website each week for more Free D&D Adventures!

Need more D&D Adventures? Check out
Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount
Mythic Odysseys of Theros
Ghosts of Saltmarsh

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Interview with a Professional DM

Posted in D&D 5e, D&D Fifth Edition, D&D Next, Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder with tags , , , , on April 1, 2020 by boccobsblog

We sat down with GM Jeremy, a professional game master.

What differentiates a casual DM from a professional DM?
I would say the expectations from the players. Anytime a customer is purchasing a professional service there is the expectation of excellent customer service, a high quality product, within an inclusive and respectful environment.

What services do you offer?
I provide game mastering services for a variety of table top role-playing games including D&D 5e, AD&D, Call of Cthulhu, Star Wars, Star Trek, Aliens, Fate, and Apocalypse World.

Due to the massive popularity of D&D 5e I also offer workshops on learning how to play D&D online using tools like Roll20.

Professional dungeon mastering is a controversial topic in our community, why do you think that is?
I really don’t think it is very controversial. I think Social Media provides a small percentage of people to have a really loud voice. The reality is that people will complain about anything and everything. At the end of the day, this is a service that is provided for others. It’s no different than paying someone to change your oil, mow your lawn, or do your taxes. Can you do all those things yourself? Yes you can. So, does that mean these services shouldn’t exist? Absolutely not. There are a million reasons why some people choose to pay someone else for those services. Just because I personally wouldn’t pay my friend to give me a ride to the store, doesn’t mean that Uber shouldn’t exist as a paid service.

Could you beat Matt Mercer at Boggle? 
This may not be a popular thing to say… I am familiar with Critical Role.. but I have never watched an episode. I tried to watch one episode. But it was 15 minutes of ads and just them talking about the companies that support them and so I turned it off. I know these guys are voice actors(I guess… on video games or cartoons). I don’t know. I know people like the show but I guess I’m just not interested enough to make it past the first 15 minutes of ads.

So would I win? I think I would get bored halfway through the game and then I would say, “so tell me about yourself, I literally know nothing about you”… and then we would go watch a movie or something.

What does your yearly convention schedule look like?
I own a game store that sells toys, comics, and games. So I go to comic book and game conventions. I love going to Gamestorm in Portland. I have been attending that convention since 2002. I also do Emerald City Comic Con, Rose City Comic Con, Wizard World, Dallas Fan Expo, Comicpalooza, and several smaller events in the Pacific Northwest.

How does your pro game prep differ from your home game prep?
Are my players reading this? LOL just kidding.
I would say for my professional games I do a lot of reading of new material. And I do a lot of note taking in the Roll20 games to make the campaigns fit my style better. The professional games are 90% official D&D 5e Adventures like “Ghosts of Saltmarsh” or “Tyranny of the Dragons”. So I have less map-building to do and more note taking so that I can tweak the adventure to fit that particular gaming group.

In my home game? Wow, I’ve been gaming with these guys for 20 and 30 years, so I do a lot more “off the cuff” role playing. Home games are a mix of 50/50 home-brew with official stuff. But for my guys I incorporate more old school adventures from the OSR community and original AD&D modules. Because of that I do a lot more map-building in Roll20 for my home game.

What challenges do professional dungeon mastering present?
I would say, getting the word out. It took me about a year before my website showed up on the first page of Google when searching for “dm for hire”.

What US President (living or dead) would have made the best DM?
Teddy Roosevelt. That guy really liked adventures!

With tabletop gaming at an all time high, do you foresee an increase in gaming as a mainstream paid form of entertainment?
I do. It really started with video gaming and e-sports. Now the generation of kids that started the whole e-gaming phenomena are adults with jobs.

Tell us about your D&D class.
Yes its a class that teaches people how to get started playing D&D online. So the course covers the basics of how to play D&D, how to use Roll20, how to use Discord, and then we practice what we have learned by going through a short dungeon crawl.
Most of the interest has been coming from homeschool children ages 12+.

Where can people learn more about professional DMing?
Why my website of course! www.gmjeremynow.com as well as Facebook and Instagram @gmjeremynow .

Thank you so much for your time and your questions.

Thinking of becoming a professional Dungeon Master?
Pick up a few supplies:

Bear Mace
Bitchin’ Dice
Breath Mints

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