I Made Something!

I Made Something!

The product can be found over here, for free: http://www.dmsguild.com/product/204716/Optional-Rule-Minor-Skills?filters=45469_0_0_0_0_0 A friend of mine collaborated with me in creating a new optional rule for D&D 5th edition. It’s a way to add minor skills to the world, allowing your players to enhance their customization without causing power creep issues for you as a DM. The idea is that each player gets these minor skills which are tied to the existing skills. That way, you might not be an acrobat but you enjoy tightropes or diving. These minor skills can be taught between players, giving them more to do during downtime and extends to language and crafting systems as well. Give it a look. It’s free, and if you donate money to the cause, that would be really neat. If you’re allergic to that site, it can also be found free on The...
Contest Time! Give a Monster, Get A Monster!

Contest Time! Give a Monster, Get A Monster!

My friend over at MonsterWorkbench.com has started a contest. It’s 100% free, and gives you a chance to win a pretty awesome Dwarf bust AND get your monsters put into the tool. My own Monster Making tool just added the ability to export a compatible file for the Workbench to make things even easier! Running from the 20th of December to the 10th of January, all you need to do is submit your awesome idea for a monster! More information can be found at the link...
DM Corner: A Sense of Time

DM Corner: A Sense of Time

We’ve all done it, as DMs. The players come into town with a sense that things aren’t quite what they seem. There’s some simmering evil lurking just under the skin, and it’s up to the players to stop them before it achieves its goal. The Dragon Queen is rising, and if the players don’t stop her cultists, the world is doomed. The Giants are marching across the mountains with the intent of committing to a siege against the capitol of the human lands. All situations the players are asked to stop something before bad happens, but real life isn’t like that and that’s what I’m hoping each DM thinks about before they write their adventure: at what point in the villains story do the players enter? The dragon queen rising is an interesting one, because it’s a quest that Wizards of the Coast wrote themselves. A way to punch it up, from a DM perspective, would have been simply to have the cults already won. The adventure would go from “Let’s stop them from getting treasure to the well of wyrms” to “how did they raise a dragon queen from her prison?”. The players would have to seek out those knowledgeable in dragon lore, ask them how going about raising Tiamat works and then finding a way to lock her back up (or defeat her entirely). Likewise, the players could instead arrive so early, evil hasn’t happened yet. Looking at the Giants, maybe the town wants to establish a diplomatic line of communication with the Giants. The players are assigned to escort the ambassador to the Giants kingdom. They don’t know (although it’s...
DM Corner: Beastial Civilizations

DM Corner: Beastial Civilizations

Last night I was discussing with a friend the various ‘enemy’ races. These are the guys that everyone ‘knows’ is a bad guy. Orcs, Goblins, Hobgoblins, Kobolds, Gnolls and the like. Now of course, each of these are different but if the players are thinking they’re so similar then obviously something needs to be done to differentiate them. The answer to “why bother” falls somewhere between “because we can” to “it’ll make a more interesting encounter”. The image above shows the Charr race of Guild Wars. Initially ‘bad guys’ they’ve since joined the rest of the world as another civilization. So firstly, we need to answer the five basic questions of who, what, why, where and how. Who are they, on a philosophical level? What is it that makes them unique (a good time for creation myths)? Where do they dwell and where do they stand in the world? How do they interact with the world? How do their daily lives work? Why would someone interact with them? Why do they matter? I’ll give an example of Orcs that I like to use myself, but these aren’t hard nor fast rules. Who are the Orcs? A race bent on the ‘Might Makes Right’ mentality. The strongest lead, although they also have a superstitious side. What makes the Orcs unique? Because they respect power, they will accept anyone as ‘family’. They believe all power stems from Grumish. Where do the Orcs live: Orcs live in the inhospitable places where few dwell. Mountain ranges, steppe plains and other places where it’s hard to survive. Why do Orcs matter: While some find them vile,...
Sword Coast Legends

Sword Coast Legends

In 2000, I had six CD’s shoved into my hands. Each one marked with black marker, scrawled with ‘Baldur’s Gate 2: Shadows of Amn’ on them. I had no idea what I was getting into at the time, even though I was familiar with Dungeons and Dragons. The scope and size of the game, the sweeping story and memorable characters. Then, a few years later, Neverwinter Nights came out. While BG2 was epic, NWN gave me the tools I needed to make my own stories and share them with others. If Baldur’s Gate had depth, Neverwinter had breadth. Releasing soon is Sword Coast Legends and it’s looking like if you wanted to scratch that Neverwinter itch, then you’ll soon be given those tools all over again.   Set in the same Forgotten Realms as nearly all existing Dungeons and Dragons video games, it has the familiar isometric viewpoint excepting that the game is full 3d. This means you can pan around, rotate and zoom in and out around your character. The main story has been pretty standard so far, with the sorts of characters you’d expect in a game like this. In fact, if this were the pen and paper version of Dungeons and Dragons, I’d have as much fun playing it. The music from the game comes from Inon Zur, who did the music for Dragon Age: Origins and Fallout 3 and it’s similarly atmospheric.   Where this game shines is the multiplayer. Asymmetric gameplay is nothing new with colossal games like Evolve and Crawl giving us two very different sides to play with in multiplayer battles. Sword...