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.

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

***

Sorry for the ads, but tacos aint free:

Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount

Posted in D&D 5e, D&D Fifth Edition, D&D Next, Dungeons and Dragons with tags , , , , on March 23, 2020 by boccobsblog

Explorer's Guide to Wildemount

According to Wizards.com

Create your own Critical Role campaigns with this sourcebook for the world’s greatest roleplaying game!

Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount provides everything you need to play Dungeons & Dragons on the continent of Wildemount (set within the world of Exandria)—a land of war, betrayal, and swashbuckling adventure.

Comprised of four regions, Wildemount provides endless potential for adventure in a land of brewing conflict and incredible magic. Rising tensions boil over into all-out war between the politically dubious Dwendalian Empire and the light-worshiping wastefolk of Xhorhas, supplying a vibrant backdrop for any D&D campaign to explore.

  • Uncover a trove of new options usable in any D&D game, featuring subclasses, spells, magic items, monsters, and more, rooted in the adventures of Critical Role—such as Vestiges of Divergence and the possibility manipulating magic of dunamancy.
  • Start a campaign in any of Wildemount’s regions using a variety of introductory adventures, dozens of regional plot seeds, and the heroic chronicle system—a way to create character backstories rooted in Wildemount.
  • Explore every corner of Wildemount and discover mysteries revealed for the first time by Critical Role Dungeon Master, Matthew Mercer.

Item details

Price: $49.95
Release Date: 17 March, 2020

This book’s contents include the following:

  • An expansive Wildemount gazetteer.
  • Descriptions of the major factions of Wildemount.
  • Player options that include new subclasses, new spells, and a tool to help players deeply integrate their characters into the setting.
  • New magic items, including weapons that become more powerful to match their wielders.
  • New creatures native to Wildemount.
  • Four introductory adventures—one for each unique region of Wildemount.

Largely written and helmed by Matthew Mercer, the Dungeon Master of Critical Role and creator of the world of Exandria, this 304-page book features work by talented designers, writers, and artists from the D&D and Critical Role communities.

Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount is an expansive, vivid campaign setting anyone can enjoy regardless of their familiarity with Critical Role, and an open invitation to make the mysteries and dangers of Wildemount your own.

Looking for some great dice games? Try:
When Zombie’s Attack!
Roach Party!
Dungeon Attack!

The Long Soak – A Free D&D5e Adventure

Posted in Cheatin' Fair Games, D&D 5e, D&D Fifth Edition, Dungeons and Dragons with tags , , , on January 22, 2020 by boccobsblog

 

I’ve written a short closed-door mystery for D&D5e. You can download it at DrivethruRPG. If you like it let me know in the comments. I plan to release one of these one-page adventures every month or two.

-Andrew

Monsters of the City

Posted in Crowdfunding, D&D 5e, D&D Fifth Edition, D&D Next, Dungeons and Dragons, Kickstarter with tags , on January 14, 2020 by boccobsblog

Today we sit down with Andrew Cawood of Cawood Publishing to discuss their latest project.

As I understand it, you have a new Kickstarter launching on Tues, Jan 14. What can you tell us about Monsters of the City?
Really it’s a campaign book with 100 new monsters. Around 130 pages, full-color with illustrations for each monster. Divided into seven city districts with a legendary monster for a sin and virtue in each section. Some of the other monsters in each district will be connected to the sin or virtue as well. Adventure hooks, Encounter tables, Events and Locations tables, and each district will have a resource page for specific resources to run that part of the city. Devils, demons, celestials, fey, undead, three new humanoid races and more.

How does MotC differ from your earlier monster books?
Unique monsters you won’t find anywhere else. Strong narrative theme built-in and resources to run a campaign included. All the art is connected to the theme and style as it’s all by the same artist, Travis Hanson.

First we entered Feyland with an A-Z monster book that has some setting resources.
Underworld is more of a setting book with monsters. MOC will be similar but has a built-in narrative as well.

You must assemble and personally lead an adventuring party of 3 Canadian Prime Minsters (living or dead), go!
Ok Jean Chrétien as he’s seen everything, Pierre Trudeau to call in soldiers if we need them, and Stephen Harper to check for traps.

Interesting choices, explain.
Chrétien as he’s a wise old dude, but not much empathy. Trudeau called out the army when a violent separatist group was active. Harper…no comment

Which creature in Monsters of the City would you personally fear the most?
Feared monster? The sins are tough but the vampire lord is a handful too

Have you given any thought to possible stretch goals?
A hardcover version, Extra art like full-page illustrations of the sins and virtues, PC subclasses, Maps, Endsheets, Custom d20s from Q-Workshop

How long does the Kickstarter run?
Jan 14th to Feb 12th.

Where can we find this awesome book?
The Monsters of the City Kickstarter can be found here.

Ruins of the Lorn Keep

Posted in board game, Cheatin' Fair Games, Crowdfunding, Kickstarter with tags , , on January 7, 2020 by boccobsblog

card back left right(1)

Ruins of the Lorn Keep

Ruins of the Lorn Keep is the first project from Cheatin’ Fair Games. CFG is the brainchild Andrew Hand, co-founder of Limitless Adventures. Ruins of the Lorn Keep, Andrew’s first non-roleplaying game, is one-part memory game, one-part dungeon delve. Players choose from three character classes: the thief, the warrior, or the wizard. Each class excels at one of the three types of challenges: strength, skill, and magic. Players continue to explore the dungeon battling monsters, disarming traps, and collecting treasures until one player earn victory points.

Ruins of the Lorn Keep is currently on Kickstarter until January 24th and has already reached its funding goal. Shipping is available worldwide, and manufacturing will be handled by The Game Crafter.  This affordable, portable, and easy-to-learn game will appeal to fans of Dungeons and Dragons, Hero Quest, and Descent.

Details:

Designer: Andrew Hand
Artist: Rizky Nugraha
Time Required: 30 minutes
Players: 2-3
Age: 10+
Contents: 1 hook box w/ rules, 18 cards
Price: $10

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Form-Fillable PDF D&D Character Sheet

Posted in D&D 5e, D&D Fifth Edition, D&D Next, Dungeons and Dragons with tags , on September 8, 2019 by boccobsblog

I’ve added a fillable PDF character sheet to the 5e Resource page. Download it for free.

Fillable

20 D&D Barbarian quests

Posted in D&D 5e, D&D Fifth Edition, Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder with tags , , , on August 16, 2019 by boccobsblog

 

Barbarian Quests D&amp;D, Pathfinder

20 Barbarian quests

  1. Feat of endurance – longish obstacle course or mini-marathon. The only trick is that you must drink a mouthful of water and return the same amount of liquid from your mouth after the event. That or with a raw egg not breaking the egg for the duration the test.
  2. A flock of Harpies have roosted in the local orchard and are not allowing the villagers to get the ripe fruit. They are desperate for help before the harpies eat all the fruit or before it goes off.
  3. A local shrine despite being heavily protected by a series of intricate traps was recently pillaged. Catch the thief, mete out justice in such a way to deter the thief doing it again. Return the artifact to the shrine and reset all the traps.
  4. A bask of crocodiles have moved further upstream and are creating a problem for the local fishermen. Its twofold: The fish are not coming as far down the river anymore and secondly the fishermen are being maimed and its ruining the local economy and diets.  The problem needs investigating and sorting out.
  5. As a result of a gold rush, a settlement has popped up seemingly out of nowhere. With no law enforcement going on it’s a regular frontier type town where might is right and deaths can happen daily.  Work a solution.
  6. On the eve on her wedding the chief’s daughter has gone missing. The wedding is to bring together two tribes that have been bitter entrenched enemies for many years. The ceremony has been planned for in advance and it has taken many months for some of the guests to even arrive for the momentous occasion. It’s the one thing that both tribes can agree on as a necessity for moving forward.  Even better is the fact that the bride & groom love each other deeply. A failure now would be catastrophic.
  7. A local Witch doctor claims god like powers and indeed the last few folks who have gone against him have died in mysterious conditions. He is now demanding tribute from your village [and the other surrounding villages].  You are their last chance before having to pay a tribute that cannot afford.
  8. The village chief has died in mysterious circumstance. The only evidence is the arrow from a local tribe who for years have remained friendly and even helpful in droughts and poor harvests. Investigate for the killer and seek justice / revenge.
  9. As a rite of passage, you must face your deepest fears. This is so that no fear nor enemy may best you through your weaknesses. Your fears include claustrophobia and arachnophobia. You have been sealed into the cave warren know to host very large spiders.  Not only are you to survive a ten day there, you are to do so taking no provisions in with you.
  10. The chief’s son is coming of age and soon to start the training cycle to take over from his father. Trouble is that the chief only recognizes now that the son is a spoilt brat and without tempering without make a disastrous leader.  You have been charged with making a ‘’man out of him’’
  11. A friend of yours is jailed for committing some heinous crimes. You have known him as a brother knows a brother and you simply can’t believe the charges being leveled at him. You undertake to learn the full story and work towards his acquittal.
  12. The locals have taken to eating some of the newer imported foods coming into the region. Local businesses are going bankrupt and you are certain that foul play is involved.  The folks who should seem the obvious culprits have no evidence stacked against them and it’s all at a dead end. Step in and resolve it.
  13. A winter flood has wiped out the entire south defenses from a village and they need it repairing before spring arrives. The woodcutters and other laborers can’t complete their tasks on time due to local wildlife getting hungry for manflesh.
  14. A burly orc has moved into a hamlet unchallenged and has made the residents his private slaves. Liberate them.
  15. The Townmaster is having a hard time collecting the all the taxes from the villagers and seeks someone to ‘’encourage’’ them to pay up.
  16. Local sheep farmers are having wolf problems and are losing more stock than normal. If someone doesn’t help soon there will be no more sheep to tend.
  17. A particularly large tree has fallen in a recent bad storm. It covers the entirety of the path and then some either side.  The villagers on that trade route are seeking help with either moving the tree or carving a new path out of the existing forest.
  18. A black dragon wyrmling has taken up residence under the only bridge route in and out of the town, capriciously eating from and threatening traders at random. The traders to the town are getting rarer and the food and supplies situation is getting desperate.
  19. You are sent out to the plains in the start of autumn, wearing only a loincloth and are expected to have caught, cleaned and created your own leather armor before winter fully sets in.
  20. Winter has set in and an unexpected fire has wiped out most of the grain stock. You must traverse the mountain pass to beg or barter grain from the village beyond the mountain for your village to survive the winter.

About the author:
DM Badger is a Veteran D&D player [since 1987], but fairly new to the DM side of the screen [since 2018]. He’s looking to give back to the D&D community 🙂

Essential Barbarian Gear
Sweet Loincloth
Badass Conan Sword
Dope Kicks