Tag: dnd

Roll 20 RPG Virtual Tabletop Products

Awesome art assets for #Roll20 #RPG #dnd #pathfinder #savageworlds

Check out the New Gods of Mankind Roll 20 selection and let us enhance your next game. All products created for intent and use on Roll 20. Some figures you can find on Drive Thru RPG as stock card figures. Check out the whole selection. Links are provided on each art asset.

A three part series of demonstrations on how to use these assets coming soon!

Fantasy Villagers for your next virtual tabletop game

Fantasy Villagers and Heroes

2D Isometric Buildings Great for Making Maps in Roll20

Fantasy Village Buildings

Gorgeous 2D Isometric Buildings great for making maps in Roll 20

Fantasy Town and City Buildings

Great 2d Isometric Terrain and tiles to go along with the buildings

Terrain and Tiles Pack 1

Great Elder Races of Naalrinnon ready to fight for you.

Elder Races and Leviathans

Bring forth the gods and their champions

Gods and Champions Pack

Great items to collect and put into your next game

Fantasy Items and Collectibles

Excellent collection of weapons and armor available for your next roll20 game

Fantasy Weapons and Armor

Great collection of tokens ready to use for your next game

Fantasy Tokens and Markers

Get these cool symbols and markers for your next rpg tabletop game

Celebration Decoration and Status

Great Leviathans and Heroes await

Ancient Foes and Heroes

A host of artist contributed to this collection including, Joe Slucher, Eric Lofgren, Chris Malidore, Josh Finney, Jason Juta, Adam Schmidt, Jeremy McHugh, Frank Walls, and more.

Get the full collection of New Gods of Mankind books here. 

Selling Your Tabletop RPG Adventure to Players

Wild Hair RPG Tabletop Player Schemes

Game Masters deal with many problems during a tabletop roleplay session. Player issues become the highest percentage of problems. GMs plan and prepare for all sorts of paths a character can take. Yet players will do unpredictable decisions. Often based on little to no information, except for what the Game Master explains. Everything the GM utters players process and use to further make decisions. The decision to take the fork in the road or the tunnel down below comes down to player thoughts. Each fork, turn, tunnel and path becomes influenced directly by the Game Master.

If you want players to go down a path, don’t force them to go there.

Sell The Path To Your Players.

Salesmanship is one of many social tools a game master needs in her bag of goodies. You need to sell your players on the paths you want them to go down. This is not railroading. Players should always have a choice. The art of persuasion can lead to many great nights of gaming for the game master and the players. Along with improvisation this can turn an ordinary night of frustration into smooth sailing for both players and game master. Instead of creating a 20 hour dungeon that no one wants to go into, you create an appealing place both players and game masters want to explore. Below, you will find several tips on how to sell the game scenario you set up to player.

  • Understand your players.
    • You need to know your players. Game Masters who do not will have a tougher time creating a collaborative atmosphere and selling your players. It’s great to game with people you grew up with in High School. Old friends and family make for great player groups. Knowing what makes a person tick will help game masters sell new content.
    • For the game master getting a group of players who are strangers can bring lots of problems. If you don’t know the players, sit down and talk to them. Ask them straightforward questions about ethics, conduct and what they expect out of a gaming session. You should get an idea of who they are after the interview. Creating a social contract brings lots of value with unknown players.
  • Use your words wisely
    • What you say as a game master players take to heart. Do not mince words, or throw about harsh words casually. Make a habit of listening to players twice as much as talking. Ask questions about each player’s intentions. Ensure both players and game master talk in clear terms. Words are powerful and you can bring joy or ruin to a participant’s experience. Choose your words carefully.
  • Talk about the value in your proposed event, scenario, path
    • This is where you “sell” the portion of the game you worked hard on. Make sure you ask a few questions to yourself players would ask.
      • Why would I go there?
      • What is in it for my character?
      • Does this event, scenario or path match the player’s possible choices she would make?
      • If I was playing a character, would I go here?
    • If the answer is no to at least two of the questions, you might want to reevaluate the idea. Reconfigure how it shows up. If it’s a surprise, make sure it is one players would respect.
  • Create excitement
    • When you talk about the necromancer’s castle in the distance, do you say it with enthusiasm? Maybe hint at the untold riches lying in wait? Old art and valuables lying around? Talk to the player’s sense of excitement. Enthusiasm breeds enthusiasm. Bring an extra oomph to your voice.

Closing the Plot Point

Presentation and wording will help your castle get discovered. Knowing your players and what they like helps to create the visuals, by words or props. It’s not recommended to railroad players into going towards the castle. But make a compelling case for your players to explore your hard worked dungeon. When you get done creating the weekend adventure, don’t forget to plan out how you will convince them the rewards is greater than the risk.

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Original cover artwork by Mark Facey.

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Stay on Target: Keeping Distracted Table-Top Gamers Engaged

If you ever played a table-top role-playing game you understand about distractions. Endless diversions hampering plot, game play and flow. Sometimes you get together and it seems as if you might as well meet at a bar and get it over with. The game master and several players might enjoy a few straying conversations. But often too much conversation not related to game will dampen everyone’s fun. Lighthearted conversations and off topic jokes CAN kill game sessions, ruining the fun for everyone.

I have a few suggestions on how to keep everyone on target and working towards a fun night of gaming.

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Should PCs Act Responsible in a Fictional World?

When you escape into a game, should you escape all responsibilities as well?

Escapism is a HUGE part of our culture. Everyone wants to soar with the eagles, surf the volcanic moons of Jupiter, or dive deep into the bottom of the ocean. Unfortunately our lives turn into moments of waiting in lines, going to work, and paying bills.

Being responsible.

When the gang gets together to “escape it all” on the weekend, be it for a round of Call of Duty or a night of 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons (he said 4th edition!!!), do you throw down your sense of being responsible for anything, or anyone?

Heroic adventuring takes gamers into fantastic worlds. When you enter those worlds, another facet of your personality comes out.

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Tommy’s Take on D&D 5th Edition Monster Manual

Monster books for D&D and D&D-like games are kind of a thing. No real surprise, then, that the second core release for D&D 5e proved to be the Monster Manual.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: Retail price is about $50, and the book is smidge over 350 pages. It provides the monsters for your D&D game, though you can check out the free DM Guide to get a selection of monsters, and all the stat blocks you need for Tyranny of Dragons are either in the respective adventure books or the free supplements.
So really, you have a lot to work with, already…but you can download and read those for free. The Monster Manual costs money, so I’m going to talk about that.
The production values are fantastic, as should be expected. I like the art direction for Fifth Edition, for the most part, and several of the art pieces look fantastic and evocative, like the Slaads (I love the Death Slaad), the vampire layer, most of the dragons…special props go to The Death Knight which, if it isn’t Lord Soth, it certainly evokes him, and the Werebear, which spells out the difference between a bear and a werebear by brandishing a battle axe.
There’s not a ton of surprises here for the  D&D faithful: Orcs, goblins, hobgoblins, bugbears, chromatic and metallic dragons, drow, mind flayers, beholders, nightmares, demons, devils, the various giants…even The Tarrasque. Honestly, I’m not sure there’s anything I expected to be here that’s missing. A couple of things have been renamed (Titans are not Empyreans, for instance), and some (like Drow and orcs) get multiple statblocks to show off the variances within the race.
Stat blocks are a bit more streamlined in some ways, one of the most notable being that creatures with reams of spell-like abilities have been greatly reduced (this may have happened in 4e, I honestly do not know)…with dragons, demons and devils standing out to me as having reduced (or missing altogether) spellcasting capabilities. Monsters do keep Ability Scores, however, something I approve of greatly.
The bigger and nastier monsters get Legendary actions, which often give them extra attacks after other characters have gone, and some get Lair Actions, which make them even deadlier if you fight them on their own turf (lookin’ at you, dragons). Fight a red dragon in its lair and it may start a spontaneous earthquake, or take on a lich and find that it can summon the spirits of the those that passed in its lair and use them to tear away at a target. Another awesome touch is that creatures with lairs actually impose their will on the surrounding terrain, twisting it to reflect their temperament (like creepy fog that grip the land when a vampire takes a lair, or people within a mile of a copper dragon’s lair becoming prone to fits of giggling).
The monster entries typically provide about three plot seeds/lore tidbits per entry (sometimes more, sometimes less, but that’s probably a fair average), though some (like liches) get more, but the Monster Manual infamously omitted indexes by environment or challenge rating, as well as the guidelines for actually creating monsters (all of which were found in the DMG).
It’s a good book but not strictly necessary, especially if you are running the Tyranny of Dragons pretty much as written, or if you are comfortable looking at the free monsters and extrapolating from there, and while I do enjoy the book, for sheer utility the 2nd Edition Monstrous Manual trumps it, in my opinion.

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Tommy’s Take on D&D 5th Edition Dungeon Master’s Guide

I have reviewed the Player’s Handbook, the Monster Manual and the Hoard of the Dragon Queen…but I got sidetracked before I reviewed the Dungeon Master’s Guide. Honestly, I think this review is going to be a bit better than it would have been, because the first impressions have washed away, and I’ve been using the book in play since it was released.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: The book retails for $50, but you can get it for less all over the internet. It’s a stocky 320 pages that contains no *essential* rules, but tries to act as guide to unlocking 5th Edition.
Part 1: Master of Worlds is all about setting up your campaign, even if you are using an established campaign. Yes, they say in plain English that if you are using Forgotten Realms, that it becomes yours from the moment you start running it and the adventures affect the world. This chapter attempts to look at campaign creation from both the top down and the bottom up, beginning with the overall world concept as well as just beginning with a small settlement. Guidelines are provided for advancing up in factions, random charts for massive, world-shaking events, and even a breakdown of the tiers of play (based on character level) and how they are envisioned to interact with the world. There’s even a section breaking down various “flavors of fantasy” (like Epic Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Wuxia, War, Intrigue and so on). Forgotten Realms examples are prevalent in this section, seemingly cementing it as the unofficial baseline for D&D.

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Tommy’s Take on D&D Player’s Handbook 5th Edition

First off, apologies for all the reviews I’m behind on. I did, however, cave and pick up the D&D 5th Edition Player’s Handbook, and given my vocal anti-D&D stance, I’ve actually been asked by a few people to do a review, so here goes:

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: First off, this book was not provided by Wizards of the Coast as a comp. You can get it at your local game store for $50, or on Amazon for noticeably less. You can also download the basic rules from the D&D website, which covers the four iconic races (elves, dwarves, humans and halflings) and the four iconic classes (fighter, wizard, rogue and cleric).

The next thing you should probably know is where I come from: If you haven’t been reading my #RPGaDay posts, I got started with Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition, and I used to have a massive collection across most of the campaign worlds. I tried the earlier versions (I don’t like “Race as Class”), and I DMed 3.5 for a while (and it is entirely too much work for the reward for me). I’ve read 4th edition but only played the 4e-based board games (which are crazy amounts of fun). I signed up for the playtest but never really got a chance to take it seriously, though I was impressed with the speed of character creation. I played a session online with a group, which was alright, but a) I’m not used to playing online and b) I’m not used to being a player instead of a DM/GM. Of course, I read the basic rules but they left me flat.

For some reason, despite preparing a 13th Age game to scratch the D&D itch, I caved and got the Player’s Handbook.

One thing that is screamingly obvious is that D&D is completely shaped like itself now. It makes references to D&D literature from the past (especially Drizzt and Dragonlance novels), drawing specifically on what came before as much as it does things like The Lord of the Rings or Lankhmar.

In addition to dwarves (hill and mountain), elves (high, wood and dark), halflings (lightfoot and stout) and humans, the Player’s Handbook adds dragonborn, gnomes (forest and rock), half-elves, half-orcs and tieflings. The additional classes are barbarian, bard, druid, monk, paladin, ranger, sorcerer and warlock.

There are no race or class minimums or restrictions, and even classic alignment restrictions are removed, so you technically can be a Chaotic Evil Halfling Paladin if you so choose.

Now, and this raised a stink among some folk, the first two levels are generally easy to blow through. Level 2 is only 300 XP and level 3 is only 900, but this is by design…essentially, they are “training levels”, and every class makes a meaningful choice at (generally, but not always) 3rd level that causes their character to branch out. Barbarians adopt a Primal Path, Bards join a College, Clerics…okay, they’ve already made their big choice, Druids join a Circle (at 2nd level, not 3rd), Fighters adopt a Martial Archetype, Monks adopt a Monastic Tradition, Paladins swear a Sacred Oath, Rangers adopt a Ranger Archetype, Rogues select a Rogueish Archetype, Sorcerers reveal a Sorcerous Origin at 1st level, Warlocks make a pact with an Otherworldly Patron (at 1st level) and Wizards embrace an Arcane Tradition at 2nd level.

Gone are Prestige Classes, and class progression is much closer to Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, with customization coming in the form of the path you take your character down, as well as one of my other favorite mechanics: Backgrounds. What were you before you were an adventurer? An Acolyte? A Charlatan? An Entertainer? A Sage? A Hermit? A Noble?

Get the Player’s Guide here. 

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