The World’s Greatest Screen

Posted in Dungeons and Dragons, GURPS, Pathfinder, Product Review with tags , , , , on January 30, 2019 by boccobsblog

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DM screens are sometimes a hot button issue. DMs either love them or hate. A lot of players complain that DMs are cheating behind their screens. I personally use a screen to hide minis and terrain pieces. I still make my rolls on the table in front of my players. One issue I do have with using a DM’s screen is that I can’t see the whole table/battle mat. That issue was resolved when I found the  The World’s Greatest Screen at Gen Con a few years back (you can find the original article here).

Hammerdog offer their screens in three formats: vertical, horizontal, and mini. What makes them the world’s greatest? Well according to their website:

  • You can put anything you want in the pockets.
  • You can fold it up and use it any way you like.
  • You can write all over it with wet erase markers.
  • Magnetic Game Aids work through the pockets.
  • You can download inserts for it free from our site.
  • What more do you need?

I use the mini, it hides my minis, but doesn’t obscure the table. The mini uses 4×6 index cards, and has 12 pockets. I’ve created some inserts for the mini screen (free download).

What to use the player-facing pockets for?

  • NPC pictures and names
  • Maps
  • Player images
  • Artwork
  • Track Initiative
  • Dank memes

real-dm-tips-1-dungeons-dragons-dm-screen-ey-31244113

The Weirdest Crap I Could Find on Amazon
The Gift of Nothing
Instant Underwear
Bacon Mints

Sweet sweet click bait:

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20 D&D Monk Quest Ideas

Posted in D&D 5e, D&D Fifth Edition, D&D Next, Dungeons and Dragons, Gaming Culture with tags , , , , on January 25, 2019 by boccobsblog

monk quest ideas

This week’s D&D Quest Ideas come from Don Caraco, of Philadelphia’s Drinks and Dragons. Don shares 20 D&D Monk quest hooks (plus a bonus hook).

  1. On your masters’ deathbed he tells you of a brother that still lives deep in hostile territory in the frozen north, to complete your training you must seek him out.
  2. You were placed as a bodyguard for a VIP at your temple, you failed and must prove that it was a set up by a jealous rival student to clear your name.
  3. (Every 80s kids favorite) you are bullied by bigger older students of a monk school, saved by an old gardener/maintenance worker and trained in the ancient ways of Ki to teach them a lesson. PS, they are blonde, wealthy, jerks, and good-looking so you know they are bad guys.
  4. Doing your chores one day you dig up an old amulet that is cursed with the spirit of a long-dead warrior. You put it on to admire yourself and are endowed with all the memories and skills of this warrior, what do you do now?
  5. Having sworn to never use your skills again after a tragic accident, you retire to a simple the life in a small town, only to find that your old shogun will stop at nothing to get you back. If the shogun can’t have you, then no one can.
  6. Having lost the use of your hands, you overhear a bard singing of a Dwarf blacksmith that has unlocked the secret of the Iron Fists, you believe that this is the key to get your self-worth back.
  7. You are hired to protect an orphanage from a marauding horde of hyenas, and gnolls, led by a vrock. All your years of training have prepared you for this.
  8. You stumble across a newborn baby floating down a river in a basket, with it is a pouch of 500 gold, and a note to please safeguard it till its 18th birthday; at that time, you are to see the child safely back to the kingdom to claim the child’s rightful place on the throne.
  9. You are a noble that got mixed up in the wrong crowd and find yourself buried alive, in your desperation, you discover your Ki and escape your grave now free to do what you will and to extract your revenge.
  10. Your family and village were raised in front of you by a warlord ransacking the countryside, you as a child then sold to slavery, as you grew you were trained to the art of hand to hand combat for others entertainment, now you are free what do you do?
  11. Having had passed all the levels of your training you are now ready to train a new generation, on a trip to visit your family your ship is lost in a storm you wake up in a strange land.
  12. All the leaders in the land have united against a shadowy threat forming and posed to take over the world, your destiny has been clear since your birth that you are the one to lead 4 great heroes to face and vanquish this evil.
  13. Growing up as an orphan on the streets you would often beg across from a monastery, growing up watching them train you to find that you to have learned the ways of the monks.
  14. You are part of a group of monks trained to protect and stop anyone from miss using an ancient portal, you discover there is a long-running plot almost ready to be completed be cultists that have infiltrated your order and seek to crack open this portal and unleash what is locked behind it.
  15. You retire to watch over your children after the loss of your spouse, when a bested but not vanquished foe from your past rears its ugly head and kidnaps your children.
  16. You live in a large lake town lead by a greedy Mayor, this person’s greed and lust for magic items has brought the eye and wrath of a group of Oni down upon your town and its children.
  17. You have been sent a letter that your master has been slain by a master of a rival school, you are the only one left that can stop the takeover of your school now.
  18. You have heard stories of a haunted Dojo in the swamps and that there are still many items of value left behind.
  19. A local drug gang has noticed your lack of respect for the local law and their rules and has invited you to a meeting, having broken up several of the gangs’ past dealings this may be a trap under the guise of an olive branch.
  20. Your sister has been commissioned to deliver ten barrels of rice wine the best in the land for the capitals winter fest, a rival maker will stop at nothing to stop the delivery and make her look bad.
  21. A magic staff has been planted in a large rock at the center of the capital, it is said that the warrior that can pull the rad from its resting place will be the ruler.

Don Caraco born in Alaska in 1974, the year of the great RPG awakening. He grew up in South Carolina, and moved to Philadelphia for college, and still resides there today.  I am an artist, general contractor, renovator and restorer of a single family home, home inspector and as of December of 2016, founder of Phillys’ first open TTRPG group Drinks and Dragons.

I, with help from the community, run multiple adults-only open TTRPG game nights. At great Philadelphia pubs like The American Sardine Bar , the Black Cat Tavern on 12th, Bourbon and Branch, Thirsty Dice, and our newest event the Abbaye. We run games for all level of players as time allows for on both sides of the screen.

You can check us out on Facebook, email us at drinksanddragons215@gmail.com, or find me on Twitter. Thanks for letting me share these hooks! I hope they are useful. Ideas for the 20 plus hooks came from myself and from members of Philadelphia’s original open TTRPG night, Drinks and Dragons.

Read more about Drinks and Dragons:

Gaming Trend
EnWorld
Philly.com

Build your ninja crime-fighting team:
Sweet Ass Nunchucks (Do you even chuck brah?!)
Stabby Sais (cuz Raph was the best turtle)
Kickass Katana (B3 is not responsible for any stabbings)
The Bo Staff Beatdown

 

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 who used to play D&D, but who didn’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 27 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, free of 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.

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)
Get 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 5-6 years of play.

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

20 D&D Ranger Quest Ideas

Posted in D&D 5e, D&D Fifth Edition, Dungeons and Dragons with tags , , on January 18, 2019 by boccobsblog

ranger quest ideas

This week’s guest blogger is Nerditor Doug from Nerdarchy.com. He was kind enough to write up 20 D&D ideas for the ranger in your party.

  1. Home for the Holidays. A young scholar needs an escort from their school through the wilderness of your favored terrain back to their home village for a traditional celebration, and your favored enemy’s activity has been on the rise in the region, making the journey perilous.
  2. Timing is Everything. A magical flower with rumored healing powers blooms only once a year in a remote glade in the shadow of Trimount when the light of twin full moons pierces the darkness of the mountain, and a sage wants a sample for their botanical research.
  3. Myth Becomes Reality. Local legend tells of Goldhorn, a white ibex with horns of brilliant gold that are the key to discovering a hidden treasure, but hunters who have pursued the beast in the past all met unfortunate ends according to myths told by the folk of the area.
  4. Pitiless Protector. The beasts of the forest have become increasingly aggressive, and even the plant life has grown dangerous, after a madness infected the wood woad deep within whose heart tree grows from the gravesite of the druid circle that created it.
  5. Fane of the Frost Wyrm. The chieftain of the Frost Wyrm Clan has heard of your exploits and invites you to join in their Great Hunt — an expedition to track down and defeat a remorhaz in their arctic homeland as part of a rite of passage.
  6. Danger Among the Dunes. Travellers along a desert trade route have started to go missing, and it turns out a lamia is using a powerful magical item to cast mirage arcane to create an illusion of an oasis to lure victims into its grasp.
  7. Enemy of My Enemy is My…Enemy? Your favored enemy, normally kept in check, has been growing more aggressive lately and you discover an even greater danger threatening them, causing the uncharacteristic behavior.
  8. Spawn of the Star Toad. Cultists devoted to a froghemoth lurk in the sewers, kidnapping vagrants and feeding them to the star toad’s spawn to cultivate its progeny and transform the tunnels into a swampy lair for their abhorrent master.
  9. Weirder Things. A child from the village went missing, and their friends went into the deepest, darkest parts of the forest to try and find them but the same nothic who abducted their friend now imperils the young adventurers.
  10. What Nobility Wants. A messenger arrives in a frontier town, proclaiming the land is now part of a barony granted to a knight who plans to divert the nearby river for tactical reasons, which would have a severe impact on the town and the environment.
  11. But It Was There Last Week! Returning to a familiar hamlet for supplies and to check on the folk there, the entire place is missing as if it were never there at all with no trace of the people or buildings remaining and the surrounding plant life in full bloom — but it’s winter.
  12. Here, Kitty Kitty. Drawn by an unusual mewling sound, you find two kittens crying out of fear and hunger but they’re no ordinary kittens — their fur is purple-black and they have six legs and two nubs on their shoulders — but how did these displacer beast kitties get here and what happens when mom comes looking for them?
  13. Caravan of Cruelty. Slavers are returning to their remote stronghold after a successful raid with cages full of captives to be sold, and confronting the terrible slavers without any of the captives getting harmed in the process will be difficult — but no one should live in chains! (Alternatively could be drow returning to the Underdark after a successful raid on the surface world.)
  14. Not All Who Are Lost Are Wanderers. Far from civilization, a lost woman is distraught and says she does not remember how she got out here…but the woman is actually a night hag who will haunt the ranger’s dreams and attempt to corrupt or kill them in their sleep during the trek back to settled lands.
  15. Hunter’s Feast. A group of hunters set up camp in the woods and offer a place to rest and a warm meal, except you are the meal when they reveal themselves as werewolves and attack!
  16. Extreme Environmentalism. Seeping emanations from the Shadowfell corrupted a dryad’s tree, pushing her to take on extreme methods to protect the area and those she kills are thrown into a midden heap that’s become a shambling mound.
  17. With Foxes We Must Play the Fox. A fox is caught in a bear trap, and a hungry pack of wolves is moving in for the kill but if you can defeat or drive off the pack and free the fox it shapeshifts into a thankful druid who grants a boon.
  18. Equal Pay for Equal Work. Two groups square off in the wilderness over a pile of treasure, with a group of adventurers claiming ownership for destroying a gnoll encampment and a group of bandits demanding a share for saving them from certain death even though no help was asked for.
  19. Bravery or Foolishness? In order to become a knight and fulfill a lifelong dream, a young warrior is tasked with slaying a green dragon but despite their prowess they’re in over their heads unless you help them.
  20. Haunted By the Past. The ghost of a veteran soldier haunts the spot where they and the knights under his command were killed by a terrible beast, filling the apparition with guilt and remorse that their decision led to the group’s death and no one from their homeland knows their fate.

Nerditor Doug is a writer, editor and content creator with Nerdarchy and clients in the tabletop gaming community. A proud Clevelander, Doug is a news designer by night and RPG content creator by…later in the night. He invites gaming fans to check out the Nerdarchy YouTube channel, Nerdarchy.com and the Nerdarchy Patreon where he and fellow Nerdarchists Dave and Ted are constantly at work to entertain, share their love of RPGs and make new stuff for gamers around the world.


Buy me an 1/18 of a cup of coffee
D&D 5E Core Rulebook Gift Set
Dungeon Mayhem – D&D Card Game
Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica
Waterdeep: Dragon Heist

 

 

A Spoiler-Free Review of Bandersnatch

Posted in Movie Review with tags , , , on January 16, 2019 by boccobsblog

black-mirror-bandersnatch-11

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch

  • Initial release: December 28, 2018
  • Director: David Slade (30 Days of Night)
  • Screenplay: Charlie Brooker (Black Mirror)
  • Music composed by: Brian Reitzell
  • Production company: Netflix
  • Producer: Russell McLean
Cast
From Netflix:
In 1984, a young programmer begins to question reality as he adapts a dark fantasy novel into a video game. A mind-bending tale with multiple endings.

Bandersnatch follows Stefan Butler who is played by Fionn Whitehead (I Google it, this is not a type of zip that plagues high elf adolescents) as he attempts to create an interactive video game called Bandersnatch (a fictional character/creature created by Lewis Carroll). Here is our review of Netflix’s first adult interactive movie:

The Good
  • Great soundtrack (which you can partially control)
  • Dozens of Black Mirror Easter eggs
  • Fionn White makes a creepy programmer with a dark past
  • Will Poulter plays a acidmancer with a sweet Billy Idol hairdo
The Badass
  • New and novel interactive TV experience
  • 5 “main” endings, but as many as 12 possible endings
  • Readers of Choose Your Own Adventure books will feel a great sense of nostalgia
  • Bandersnatch keeps the dark/gritty feel that makes Black Mirror so good
  • The Tuckersoft Games website gimmick
The Ugly
  • The restarts get a bit tiring, like watching Run Lolo Run
  • The show is a bit limited (but as the first of its kind that is to be expected)
  • It relies a bit too much on being meta (the viewer controlling the action) over strong storytelling

Netflix Sued

Chooseco, the current owner of the popular Choose Your Own Adventure titles from the 80s and 90s, filed a 25 million dollar lawsuit against Netflix claiming copyright infringement.

“We have received an unprecedented amount of outreach from people who believed we were associated with the creation of this film, including parents who were concerned that we had aligned the CYOA brand they knew and loved with content that surprised and offended them,” Shannon Gilligan, co-founder and publisher of Chooseco, said in a statement. (NBC)

Hopefully Netflix will continue producing interactive titles. Leading up to Bandersnatch, Netflix created an interactive Puss in Boots shows as well as a Minecraft cartoon.

 

Skanky Clickbait:

Gen Con 2019 Badge Registration Open

Posted in Conventions, Gen Con 2019 with tags , on January 13, 2019 by boccobsblog

Registration for Gen Con 2019 is now open!

(Just in case you live in the Underdark:)

Gen Con is the original, longest-running gaming convention in the world!

Founded in 1968, Gen Con hosts the largest consumer hobby, fantasy, science fiction, and adventure game convention in North America. With 500 exhibiting game companies, award-winning authors and artists, vibrant costumes, thousands of events, family entertainment, food trucks, a beer garden, and the debut of hundreds of exciting new games, Gen Con truly is The Best Four Days in Gaming™.

Here are some pictures from last year’s trip:

 

Buy me an 1/18 of a cup of coffee
D&D 5E Core Rulebook Gift Set
Dungeon Mayhem – D&D Card Game
Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica
Waterdeep: Dragon Heist

 

 

20 D&D Rogue Quest Ideas

Posted in D&D 5e, D&D Fifth Edition, D&D Next, Dungeons and Dragons with tags , , on January 11, 2019 by boccobsblog

d&amp;d rogue quest ideas

This week’s guest blogger is author, Thomas Biehl. He has prepared 20 quest ideas for the party’s rogue.

  1. An adventuring group asks you to open a chest for them, it’s empty, but they don’t believe you and think you stole its contents.
  2. The local magistrate wants someone to be gotten rid of ‘quietly’, so they hire you, but then you realize you are the intended target.
  3. You use Mage Hand to pickpocket a wizard’s spell book, which contains dark magic; you think nothing of it until someone close to you dies under mysterious circumstances.
  4. A local noble hires you to spy on his enemy who is gathering righteous forces; to do so you have to impersonate a paladin.
  5. A healer needs money; she asks you wound, but not kill, several people so that she can heal them and split the profits with you.
  6. A party hired you to deal with traps, then left you for dead; you escaped and are ready to get even.
  7. A ranger scout on an opposing side spots you alone in a thick forest, and a deadly game of hide and seek ensues.
  8. A party is auditioning for a thief; the task, steal the jeweled necklace of a local nobleman’s wife, which she never takes off.
  9. Members of your old guild are disappearing when a mysterious note appears in handwriting you recognize and asks you to meet.
  10. A fellow Rogue inadvertently tries out a new form of poison on you…
  11. You awake stripped of all your equipment and weapons; you must escape using only your skills.
  12. A lout at a bar challenges you to a dagger throwing contest, and you win his dagger only to find out that it is cursed.
  13. The only way to get to something you need to steal is by an opening only a child could fit through, what do you do?
  14. A man is certain that his wife is cheating on him and wants proof, he will only pay you for proof. You find out that she isn’t cheating, but is rather attractive…
  15. A dragon suspects a rogue stole from his hoard and tells you to find out who or he’ll roast you.
  16. A lord hires you to attend a dinner party for his noble. He wants you to steal something special from each one of the guests.
  17. You are hired to assassinate a local rabble-rouser; when you got to his home, he isn’t there, but his daughter catches you there.
  18. A member of your party finds things of theirs missing and blames you; you scoff, but the items are found among your belongings.
  19. An anonymous person hires you to test out the traps they set to protect their dungeon, but it turns out to be an old rival who is trying to trap you.
  20. You wake up, hung over, to find out several people were stabbed by daggers, a few died, in a tavern brawl and you are being blamed.

About the author:
Thomas Biehl is a writer, teacher, parent, and petty dabbler in theoretical physics, metaphysical philosophy, and abnormal psychology. Read more at biehlsnotebook.wordpress.com.

 

Buy me an 1/18 of a cup of coffee
D&D 5E Core Rulebook Gift Set
Dungeon Mayhem – D&D Card Game
Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica
Waterdeep: Dragon Heist