Archive for the D&D Fifth Edition Category

Ravenloft Revamped

Posted in D&D Fifth Edition, D&D Next, Dungeons and Dragons with tags , , on October 20, 2020 by boccobsblog

WotC has revised the Curse of Strahd adventure, and released it as a boxed set. According to WotC:

Bury Yourself in Gothic Horror

Unearth the terror of Ravenloft in this boxed adventure for the world’s greatest roleplaying game.

Under raging storm clouds, the vampire Count Strahd von Zarovich stands silhouetted against the ancient walls of Castle Ravenloft. Rumbling thunder pounds the castle spires. The wind’s howling increases as he turns his gaze down toward the village of Barovia.

Far below, yet not beyond his keen eyesight, a party of adventurers has just entered his domain. Strahd’s face forms the barest hint of a smile as his dark plan unfolds. He knew they were coming, and he knows why they came—all according to his plan.

A lightning flash rips through the darkness, but Strahd is gone. Only the howling of the wind fills the midnight air. The master of Castle Ravenloft is having guests for dinner. And you are invited.

Coffin Components

Curse of Strahd, one of the most popular Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game products of all time, split into three parts: a 224-page perfect-bound adventure for characters of levels 1–10, a 20-page Creatures of Horror booklet of new monsters that appear in the adventure, and an 8-page Tarokka Deck booklet.

A cover sheet with Strahd von Zarovich’s image on one side and Strahd’s monster stat block on the other.

A sturdy, four-panel Dungeon Master’s screen designed for use with the adventure.

A double-sided poster map showing the domain of Barovia on one side and Castle Ravenloft on the other.

54 foil-stamped Tarokka cards, which help determine the heroes’ path through the adventure.

A tuck box to hold the Tarokka deck.

12 postcards (3 copies each of 4 different cards), which you can use to invite friends to your game.

Is this new boxed set just a money grab? Is it in response to recent criticism to WotC handling of the handicapped NPC or the Vistini? In either case, will you be taking your players through the mists to the Demiplane of Dread?

Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden

Posted in D&D 5e, D&D Fifth Edition, D&D Next, Dungeons and Dragons with tags , on September 15, 2020 by boccobsblog

Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden drops today. This arctic-themed adventure, set in Icewind Dale, takes players from level 1 through 12.

According to WotC:

Some Secrets are Worth Dying For

Feel the cold touch of death in this adventure for the world’s greatest roleplaying game.

In Icewind Dale, adventure is a dish best served cold.

Beneath the unyielding night sky, you stand before a towering glacier and recite an ancient rhyme, causing a crack to form in the great wall of ice. Beyond this yawning fissure, the Caves of Hunger await. And past this icy dungeon is a secret so old and terrifying that few dare speak of it. The mad wizards of the Arcane Brotherhood long to possess that which the god of winter’s wrath has so coldly preserved—as do you! What fantastic secrets and treasures are entombed in the sunless heart of the glacier, and what will their discovery mean for the denizens of Icewind Dale? Can you save Ten-Towns from the Frostmaiden’s everlasting night?

Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden is a tale of dark terror that revisits the forlorn, flickering candlelights of civilization known as Ten-Towns and sheds light on the many bone-chilling locations that surround these frontier settlements.

Item details

Price: $49.95
Release Date: 15 September, 2020
Format: Hardcover

Will you be taking your players to the frozen wastes of Icewind Dale?

One-on-One Roleplay

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

Today David Clark of To Have And To Roll is writing about one-on-one roleplaying.

You find yourself in a room. You have no memory of how you got here or why you are here. All you have is the clothes on your back, the feeling of cold stone beneath your feet, and a faint shaft of torchlight, streaming in from the edges of a trapdoor above you. The door is too high for your to reach on your own. Looking about, the only notable object in the room is a heavy stone lever. What do you do?

This is my way of introducing people to tabletop roleplaying games. No dice. No rulebooks. Only a scenario with an open-ended solution. It is the simplest way to get someone into the action and playing a game, and it is also the simplest form of a one-on-one roleplaying game.

When a coworker or an acquaintance asks you what this whole tabletop thing is about, you can respond by telling them about your last session, how the rules work, when your gaming group meets, etc. Or you can simply show them. Tell them they find themselves in a room, give them some sort of means of escape, and tailor what they find along the way to match with their interests. I have brought many a friend into the hobby this way and it has always at least provided a window into what I find so enjoyable about gaming.

As soon as your friend starts making decisions or asking questions, they’re playing the game. Pull the lever, and the walls start closing in. I’ve had people jump out, wait until the walls are close enough to brace themselves and climb through, or just wait and die, praying for a god to watch over their soul when they are gone. Does this provoke a divine intervention? Does the story then shift to the journey of their soul through the afterlife? All of these are relevant paths. The important part about this scenario is that it is a learning experience. Your only goal is to convey why people play tabletop games, not how. Once out of the room, they might find themselves in an orc camp or an orbital prison. They could be in the depths of a drow stronghold, seeking escape from torment and slavery. They might be in a medical ward, with no memory of how they got there and no staff to answer their questions, only bloody footprints and a chained door that rattles and shakes from time to time. Whatever brings the spark of interest to the player’s eye is the right answer, and things that don’t can be glossed over as you present them with more points of interest.

For more experienced players seeking a longer format game than “you find yourself in a room,” you can use mechanics as deep as they want. You could have a single player character with nothing but their starting equipment on their back and a single plot hook to get them on the path to adventure. Your player could run an entire adventure path, complete with a full party of 4-6 adventurers, all crafted and piloted by your one player. They could be a monarch in charge of a kingdom at war, with a full mass combat and resource management system at their disposal. The level of detail is something you will want to discuss beforehand.

One-on-one games often have a more personal tone, which can be both a benefit and a challenge. On one hand, there are some stories that would be too personal to cover in a large group. A personal vendetta with a master assassin or vengeful rival might have more chance to develop when it’s only the Player Character and their nemesis in the room. Scheduling becomes much easier, pacing is handled at whatever rate the two of you care to form, and cancellations are as easily solved as finding the next time two of you have a couple of hours free. If you’re playing with someone you already spend a lot of time with, you can have impromptu sessions when you’re just hanging out. The next time you are waiting for a pizza delivery, just hit them with “When last we left our hero…” On the other hand, there is no group for the player to discuss their plans with. Roleplaying will have less banter and more direct interaction with the world. Combats are much more involved, as there is no time to plan your turns or to relax while others take their actions.

To run a one-on-one game, there are few considerations that must be taken into account before you begin. Many of these aspects will depend on what type of game you want to run, and what level of involvement your player wants in the mechanics and planning.

If you seek to run a traditional homebrew campaign or pre-written adventure, expect a level of adaptation. Both rules and content may need to change to suit your needs. In a one-player run of Pathfinder’s Curse of the Crimson Throne, my player has elected to run a four-person party. One of our early discoveries was simply the need to call for rolls that other players might ask for in a large group. Don’t be afraid to remind your player to doubt someone’s story or check for traps from time to time. In a large group, these are things that someone usually interjects with, but when it’s only you and a single player, sometimes you may need to break the immersion to remind them of mechanics, or point out a plot hook that has special resonance with one character if they are controlling multiples. In these instances, it’s only too much if your player says so.

Running a multi-character party may also necessitate a change in scope. Rather than inhabiting a singleplayer character’s perspective and abilities, the player will be acting more like a manager of the party, as one might find in a video game. They could choose to have a single point-of-view character with NPC companions or alternate between party members. If they chose to have NPC companions, make sure these companions aren’t stealing the spotlight. They can have their own stories and their own moments, but ultimately they are there to complement the point-of-view character.

If you player chooses to act as a manager for a group entirely consisting of Player Characters, it may be best for both of you to treat the game as taking more of a third-person perspective. Conversations among group members can involve swapping off who has control of which character, with the Game Master taking control of player characters in ways that you and your player have worked out. You might describe actions in longer form, much like a novel. If your player likes acting out their characters, don’t be afraid to stop and ask who’s talking at any given time, as this can also get confusing if there is less distinction between individual character voices. Append descriptions of action to break up dialogue. Take a step back from their character perspective and talk about the events of the game in a more omniscient tone.

As the only other person involved in the game, you will also have to do more book-keeping if you elect to run a more traditional party-based game. Tasks which could usually be delegated to other players, such as managing inventory or keeping a journal of quest activities and plot points will have to be managed by either you or your player. Most likely, you will both find yourselves doing these things to make sure everything is recorded accurately. If neither of you care for those things, feel free to reduce all loot to money that can be spent on gear, or just give more experience.

All-in-all, with the proper set-up, and the proper mindset, a one-on-one game can be a great way to fill in for days that you can’t organize a large group. It is, however, by no means a replacement for gaming in a group. By its nature, the stories you tell will tend to be more limited in scope, as you are not seeking to entertain an entire table. There is no reason you can’t face down an ancient dragon, blow up a planet-destroying space laser, or bring a mafia boss to justice in this format. But the scale will almost certainly change to accommodate the smaller pool of participants. There is also nothing that beats the harebrained schemes that a full party of 4 or more players can come up with.

For those that seek to play more games or just have an easy fall-back when larger sessions cancel, this can be a great extra tool to have in your Game-Mastering repertoire. So grab one of your favorite players, find a time that works for both of you, and try a one-on-one. The best way to learn is to play.

About the Author:

David Clark is the Game Master and producer of To Have and To Roll, the treasurer for the Plot Bubble podcast network, and an active participant in many online tabletop discussion groups. If you would like to hear some of these techniques in practice, check out tohaveandtoroll.com, where he and his wife are recording Paizo’s Curse of the Crimson Throne Adventure Path for Pathfinder First Edition as an actual-play podcast. You can follow the podcast @tohaveandtoroll on Twitter or on Tumblr at tohaveandtoroll.tumblr.com. David is active on twitter as @rane0

Looking for some free D&D adventures? Look no further!

Adult Sapphire Dragon Miniature

Posted in D&D 5e, D&D Fifth Edition, D&D Next, Dungeons and Dragons with tags , , , on August 17, 2020 by boccobsblog

Sapphire Dragon

As a part of  D&D’s 45 Anniversary, WotC, in partnership with WizKids has released a gem dragon mini (maxi? it’s pretty big). According to WotC:

Celebrating 45 years of Dungeons & Dragons!

The glittering sapphire dragons are the most territorial of all the gem dragons to a dangerous degree. They collect magical weapons and armor as the centerpieces of their hoards and vault them away in isolated caverns.

A sapphire dragon’s psionic nature is evident in horn and bone structures of their body. Their tail barbs and horn tips are all separate pieces, but they float in place, held aloft by the dragon’s psychic force while the dragon lives. These levitating horns and spines shift slightly with the dragon’s mood, bobbing in amusement or flaring dangerously with anger. Its scales and wing membranes are varied shades of blue, ranging from the light tones of a spring sky, to the rich, crystalline azure of sapphire gems and compressed glacial ice. In the light, many of their scales glitter and shine with luminous starburst images.

Over 160mm tall, this miniature is based on the all new art for thesapphire dragon, released by Wizards of the Coast for the 45th anniversary of Dungeons & Dragons. Completely translucent with gemlike effects on the wings and body, this dragon is a great foe for your next adventure or a beautiful piece for display!

Item details

Price: $69.99
Release Date: 30 August, 2020 (it’s actually available now)

Need a gem dragon for your D&D campaign? You can get one here.

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!

 

.

 

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&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

Sorry for the ads, but I have $5 a day Lemonhead habit…

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