Friday, January 20, 2017

Wizards Digital Game Studio Is Probably Not What You Think

So an announcement from Chris Cocks (Wizards of the Coast President) has created a fair amount of speculation about what's in store for digital D&D products in the future. Here's the quick summary of the press release.

Magic the Gathering Tactics
  • Wizards of the Coast is forming a digital studio.
  • The Magic Online team has been folded into this studio.
  • Wizards has been farming talent from other game studios.
  • They wish to "bring Magic and D&D to unexpected settings, genres, and platforms."

So what does this mean for D&D table top? Probably not much (if anything) and not for a long while despite what all the blogs are speculating online.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

D&D: Miniatures on the Cheap

Beaky, the unoffical mascot for
Raging Owlbear was acquired for a cool $5.
One of the more commonly asked questions I see on social media is, "How do I add miniatures to my game inexpensively?"

That's a bit of a loaded question. Miniatures are generally not cheap... but there are ways you can add some pizzazz to your games without completely breaking the bank.

If you know me, or read enough of my blog, you may know I am a bit of a miniatures fiend. What you probably don't know is that I've spent well over $1000 on miniatures alone... probably much more. Between Reaper  Bones Kickstarters, D&D Miniatures and Pathfinder Battles random boxes, and countless lots on Ebay, it all adds up to a sum that I don't actually want to calculate (and I'm not even counting the Dwarven Forge). I've got an absurd amount of miniatures... but I always find more I'd like to get. Let my addiction be a wake-up call for you.

So how can you do it on the cheap?

Thursday, January 5, 2017

D&D 5e: Yawning Portal - Classic Adventures Revisited

Tales from the Yawning Portal
Just the other day, I read Teos Abadia's post ( about "classic" D&D adventures... and then just today, Wizards of the Coast announces Tales from the Yawning Portal, a hardback full to classic adventures translated for 5th Edition (talk about happy coincidence).

The adventures include:
When I read this list, I have to admit I have mixed feelings about some of the titles. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Happy Birthday, J.R.R. Tolkien!

The HobbitHappy Birthday, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien!

Even before I played D&D, I was already ensconced in fantasy and science fiction. From a quite young age, two of my literary influences were Isaac Asimov and J.R.R. Tolkien (with whom I share a special day). I can't even begin to express the extent of how these books (and the many other works of fantasy they inspired) influenced my life.

When my friend brought the AD&D Player's Handbook over to my house and explained the premise (like playing Lord of the Rings!), you could not have gained a life long fan of the game any faster.

Gygax often down played the influence of Tolkien on D&D... However, many of us know that Ents and Hobbits had to be "removed" from the game for Intellectual Property reasons.

Tolkien's influence reached into many different places in pop culture. Not just fantasy, but science fiction and horror as well. It's tentacles probed into D&D and, by proxy, video games, and brought the quest trope back into popularity in modern fiction.

So, Happy Birthday, JRRT... and thank you!

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

Monday, December 19, 2016

D&D 5e: Running Nightstone (Storm King's Thunder)

Source: Tumblr of Gabriel Cassata, freelance artist (used with permission).
I've just started my players into A Great Upheaval, the first chapter (free from Wizards of the Coast) in Storm King's Thunder adventure path . In a prior article, I've already noted some of the adventure design mis-steps that I've come across just in the reading, but a few other minor foibles have been revealed while running the opening chapter in the village of Nightstone.

So here are just a few small tips for DM's to make it run a little smoother.

Some spoilers follow, so if you are planning to play in a Storm King's Thunder campaign, you should stop reading now. For my own players, you can read this after our early January sessions.


Saturday, December 17, 2016

Star Wars: Rogue One

Disclaimer: This is outside of my usual D&D-related posts, but I have to comment being a huge Star Wars nerd. 

Go see this movie. Just go. Like right now! 

No real spoilers ahead.

Back before Disney, I was never a huge Expanded Universe fan. Many of the books often read like some authors' Mary Sue (or Marty Sue) versions of Luke, Han and Leia at best, or internet fan fiction at worst.

But there were some exceptions... specifically books that featured other characters in the Star Wars universe outside of the core three (or four, if you include Chewbacca, but he never really got his own novel...). The point is I was more interested in seeing different protagonists in the Star Wars universe aside from the movie characters. Among those novels were the likes of Timothy Zahn's Thrawn trilogy and Micheal Stackpole's Rogue Squadron.

So when Rogue One was announced, my interest was piqued. I was pretty sure it would not include Corran Horn, but I liked the idea of a movie that told the story of the Rebellion from a different group of Rebels... and the fact that no one has force powers is HUGE.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

D&D 5e: A Plethora of Class Options in Unearthed Arcana

Wow, I must have been sleeping under a rock to miss this one!

I knew that the revised Ranger options had come out in the last couple months, but I had no idea Mike Mearls' Unearthed Arcana articles had been putting out new class options nearly every week!

If you have desired more class options for 5e (I hadn't really... until I read some of these!), then you definitely need to check out the recent UA articles.

There's a few "meh" options, but there's also so much cool. I definitely recommend checking out their wild shape suggestions for Druids. The Druid also has a couple of really interesting new circles... and if you hadn't already been awaiting the Ranger updates, you should check it out! There's really a lot to digest in these.

Be aware that these are play test option, so may be somewhat broken in some places. A discussion between the DM and players needs to occur beforehand, so that there are no hard feeling if the DM has to nerf some power.

Artificer (new class) - Alchemist, Gunsmith

Barbarian Paths - Path of the Ancestral Guardian, Path of the Storm Herald, Path of the Zealot

Bard Colleges - College of Glamour, College of Whispers

Cleric Domains - Forge Domain, Grave Domain, Protection Domain

Druid Circles - Circle of Dreams, Circle of the Shepherd, Circle of Twilight, Wildshape Options (!)

Fighter Options - Arcane Archer, Knight, Samurai

Monk Traditions - Way of the Kensei, Way of Tranquility

Paladin Oaths - Oath of Conquest, Oath of Treachery

Ranger Revisions - Beast Conclave, Hunter Conclave, Deep Stalker Conclave

More Rangers and Rogues - Horizon Walker, Primeval Gaurdian, Scout

Divine Casters -  Warlock Patron: The Seeker, Arcane Tradition: Theurgy

Upcoming weeks will feature the Mystic, Sorcerer, Warlock, and Wizard.

Tell me what you like about the new class options in the comments. I'm still wading through a number of these PDFs, but this looks a bit like a Player's Handbook 2 in the making. Also, let me know if you or your player have tried any of these new options. I'm interested to hear what may be broken... Leave a comment!
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