Tag: Dungeons and Dragons

Changes to Our TableTop Game Store

Game Store Changes

Hey everyone,

We made a lot of changes to our Tabletop Game Store!  We added several sections including a Dungeons and Dragons section and a market affiliate program with Amazon. Darrell Hardy kindly put up some of his books up here in the Ghost Puncher Section. Angry Ogre put some PDFs into the store for their selection of Board Games. We plan to add more products soon. Sales of our products in the store fund our website and help us to expand. If you need to buy a D&D book, or any other table-top game material consider our portal.

Richard Leon has slacked off of posting so apologies. This will become a weekly thing now. More Game content from now on!

New Gods of Mankind Salamanders of House Draax

Salamanders of House Draax is right around the corner. We plan to release it by next week. Next Monday is the goal. Edits are happening. New content added. Check out an edited excerpt below.

Naalgrom Ports

Sssnamon

Qann

Qann sits to the far east of Naalgrom, a lonely port city burning night and day. Once an outpost during the War of Elements, it grew into an elegant port city befitting its benefactor, Draax. Surrounded by inhospitable wastes and hostiles this port stands isolated and well protected. Here the main temple to Draax stands erects to the Dragon God of the Boiling Seas. Gray stone walls and cobblestone white streets stand in contrast to wooden blue shops with white dragon tiled roofs. A dark blue granite temple trimmed in gold stands at the heart of the city. The Needle of Draax, towering over 300 ft into the air guides ships into the secured harbor. Artificial sea walls stand erect around the port, with small towers at every corner. Inside the small city a healthy trade of exotic slaves and beasts takes place.

Landmarks and Noteworthy Places:

The Needle of Draax

The Needle of Draax looms over the Bay of Qann near the main harbor, isolated on a small outcropping of rocks. Once destroyed by an Undine fleet, the bronze and white marble tower stands rebuilt. It gleams during the day casting a bright yellow-orange flame with a green tinge across the surrounding coasts. A huge mirror inside the top of the lighthouse helps push the light around. The bright yellow-orange flame with its special green ting aura is unique in the whole world. This special light signals all who come near this port, this area belongs to House Draax and the goddess herself.

The Main Harbor of Qann

Large, blue grey walls towering over 50 feet protect the main Harbor of Qann. An underwater sea maze of artificial stones, wave barriers and levies hampers unwelcomed vessels. The harbor master protects the harbor with a garrison of three Shimmering Fang Companies. Shimmering Fangs companies patrol each sea tower and wall. Human, Gnome and Undine saboteurs still continue to attack this harbor.

Draax’s Main Temple

Draax’s Temple towers over the whole port city a huge sea blue granite building cut by the goddess herself. The structure itself has over four wings connecting to a central pool area and sits in the center of the town. Near the central pool is a vast throne room covered in gold and lapis lazuli for the Merchant Queen of Naalgrom. Inside the Merchant Queen’s room is an inner sanctum where the Merchant Queen can commune with the goddess herself. In front of the temple’s southern gates is a life-size statue of Draax herself, painted in detail to look like the goddess incarnate. The boiling sea pools within the center of the temple are world famous.

During the summer months thousands of members of House Draax come to Qann for a pilgrimage. Worshippers make this pilgrimage to Draax’s Temple at least once during their lifetime. Every salamander house knows the Feasts of Draax, is a wild orgy event. Many salamanders conceive during this season long festival. Hostels and Inns fill up during the summer months in the City of Qann.

Slaver’s Market

Inside near the warehouse district sits the Slaver’s Market, a selection of unique people from all over the world of Naalrinnon. This market is an internal market for members of House Draax only. A majority of the slaves are humans, but the occasional Undine, Wood Nymph and Gnome make their way into the market. Several Sylphs help to run the market and do their best to keep it a secret from the other species of Naalrinnon. The summer months is when this market does its best business, right along with the Festival of Draax.

Exotic Beasts Market

The Exotic Beasts Market is a recent addition to Qann. Originally started as a Sylph emporium, it turned into a huge market ran by Salamander Merchant Priests, Sylphs and a few humans as well. Merchants procure and sell all types of beasts including many types of Lashon and the mimic predator, Nassyx. Many salamanders from every House visit this place in this walled off district. Fresh meats from these exotic animals fetch a high price.

Oh and check out the awesome cardstock buildings we have in the store. 

Temple of the Gods Richard Leon

  • Time to worship your god. Some places require a place of worship. Give your followers a place to call home with our set. Customization flames and pillars set this set apart from other buildings. Check it out and bring your village to life
  • Dark Skull Studios

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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Plans for 2017

ngom-sw5

Hey everybody,

I figure now is a good time to chat about 2017 and what will happen next year. To be frank with all of you, I have some ideas on what will and will not happen next year.

New Gods of Mankind 2nd Edition Table-Top RPG is on hold until further notice.

Why?

The market is still too small for Table-top RPGs. There are so many mediocre products out there flooding the marketplace.  I do not feel a kick starter will be successful for a 2nd edition. Also several other companies have ripped off my idea and put out products close to mine, stealing my customer base.

If I see some positive traffic from my marketing efforts I will change my mind.

At one time several thousand people downloaded and loved this product. Now it is just sitting on someone’s hard drive. Some of it is my fault.I should not have hired people I did over the years. I learned a lot about the industry. I know it is filled with crooks as it is very hard to make any money in table top RPGs. See unlike others I actually pay my artist and writers.

I have a lot of love and admiration from the artist community and writers as well. As a boss.

As a fellow writer I think the jury is still out. I know my work is good. But do people have time to actually read my writing? No. Most people just skip it and move on. People already have select authors they love. It is hard to grab people’s attention when so many others do so. Maybe one day an idea, novel or game will stick.

I would love to join someone’s project. But it is also an insider industry filled with who knows who. I am not in the in crowd. I know I can produce quality writing in a proper format.

If you need me to work on a project with you email me bphophix@gmail.com

So what am I going to work on?

Novels based off of New Gods of Mankind.

I think this goes without saying. There is a huge story here that needs to be told. It is a great world with lots of unique ideas. I do not plan to abandon it. I plan to develop the whole series of novels into something great. January will see at least 5 to 10 chapters complete for the second novel.

Card Game Thirsty Patrons.

This is a project dedicated to a friend I met out in the desert. He is slowly degenerating because of a disease. I want to get this project done soon. For him and myself. I need this project to succeed before his illness overcomes him. This is a cool game about two or four patrons in a bar looking to get rid of their rival by Boasts, Insults, Seduction and Intimidation. Ego will be the main stat with Gold Coins being the second stat. People can play Humans, Elves and Dwarves.

Blogging about life and humanity.

I see a weekly blog of at least 1000 words. I plan to keep moving forward with my work on Niume.com I want to build up a good readership and improve my writing style. Expect more writing and I want to make sure my words hit home. I want, no I need to make a difference with all of you.

I might take up arms and get into table-top again. I just do not see any true success there. The top company still is WoTC with a few other companies eeking out an existence underneath. I do want to do what I love, but not just for creating it. I would like to make a profit as well.

(Artwork by G. Garcia for New Gods of Mankind 1st Edition)

See you guys in 2017!

 

 

 

Spending All The Loot/ Gaining Responsibilities in Role-Playing Games

Responsibility is one of those nouns that sneaks up on you. Your character emerges victorious from the clutches of Amon Ra’s Tomb with a sacred gem. You sell said gem for a fortune. Now the bank gives you a promissory note. Or if you’re lucky, you get stacks upon stacks of gold coins.

tc

Time to party.

 

Or is it?

 

Often we take on more goods and items during this time period. Fresh from a game we buy a shiny new set of armor. Or better yet, a small wizard’s tower complete with servants, cooks, and a stable with mules.

wizard_tower_by_samize-d3fgsm8

Artwork found here.

Notice the last part, servants, cooks, and a stable with mules.

 

You just gained all sorts of responsibilities.

 

Every career class, from Assassin to Rat Catcher, Paladin to Murder Hobos… they all buy stuff.

 

We spend countless hours finding the right weapons, making deals with the game master, and figuring out what gems should be invested where.

 

But little if any thought goes into the ‘boring’ part of the game. Taking care of what you gain. All those new responsibilities are there for your character to actually use for their benefit. Servants are great, especially if they are a 12 foot tall Minotaur you defeated in battle, but he needs food too.

 

One can argue that small stuff like this distracts from the main story. It bogs down the story into endless chattering about details which are not important to the fun.

 

I submit that one can turn this into part of the fun.

 

Imagine your wizard tower being under siege by a necromancer who wants revenge on the previous occupant. Unbeknown to you, the necromancer has plotted his revenge for years. You wondered why you got the tower for only a single chest of gold.

 

As the undead horde marches towards the tower where you and your companions rest in the dining hall, you wonder if all this is worth defending?

march_of_the_zombie_king_by_aaronmiller-d5qrpws

Artwork credit here.

YES

 

Even the most vile, backstabbing, greasy, unkempt murder hobo will defend this newfound responsibility. Nobody likes an army of undead marching towards them.

 

This is where the game master (Dungeon Master for you D&D players) must take steps to incorporate fun into the new responsibilities players have.

 

Below are some ideas on how to incorporate loot responsibilites into your game.

 

  1. The Raid: Send orcs to ransack the players’ new keep. Have local authorities, paid off by a wealthy landowner who owned the dungeon the players plundered, seize back the property. Get the players to care about the new house/fortress/tower they purchased.
  2. The Quest: Develop empathy between your players and servants. Set up a scenario where a valued servant becomes ill and needs a rare cure from a far away land. A demonologist put a curse on the new treasure chest filled with gold and now you must find the demonologist to lift the curse.
  3. The Rival: All this newfound wealth has created new enemies for your players. Their elevated status has garnered notice from a wealthy politician. This person might attempt to befriend the party of players only to entrap them somewhere and eliminate a potential threat. Nothing threatens people of power more than others who also have power. Players with newfound wealth that spend it will eventually see someone pay attention.
  4. The Neglect: If players decide to buy a keep and staff it, but neglect it for a year or more will come back to several nasty surprises. The staff might think of themselves as the owners. Or possibly a disease has taken hold, killing everyone within a week. Now the players might contract it.

 

Everyone agrees that the number one rule is for players to enjoy the game. If murdering everything in sight without paying the consequences counts as fun for you, by all means enjoy yourself (as long as you are not doing this for real)!

 

Taking your game to another level involves creating responsibilities and consequences for actions. This is, after all, a simulation. Even if you own your own star ship, the game master and players should understand that some love and care is needed for the upkeep on those hard earned items.

 

More money, more problems, more opportunities to express your creativity. More chances to create a three dimensional game filled with passion and rewards.

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