This article has a weird back story so bear with me! I was just relaxing one evening and looking through my notifications and noticed I had a new follower on Twitter. Now I usually am quite curious about people who follow me on Twitter. I wonder if they don’t know me personally then I wonder which bit of random content bought them to me. So I begin to head down the so-called rabbit hole which led me to somewhere rather interesting.
I may have mentioned… repeatedly, that I am a tremendous fan of Matthew Colville, and that I gave to the Kickstarter that was ostensibly to get a streaming series up onto Twitch and YouTube, but for the purposes of putting a product into the hands of backers, it was also for the Strongholds & Followers supplement that he had hinted at repeatedly in his “Running the Game” videos that a few fans had been asking about.
Well the MCDM stream began last Wednesday, and aired on YouTube (where I will be watching) over the weekend, and I squeezed in watching between games I was running, and as I already reviewed the book, it’s only fair I have a look at what else our generously given donations have yielded. Side note Strongholds & Followers has had an update with extra artwork and some fault-fixes! Version 1.1 is available for download now, and free if you’ve already got 1.0. (more…)
Growing in popularity thanks to their frequent reoccurrence in Critical Role’s second campaign, the race of gentle fey giants appearing in Volo’s Guide to Monsters are forest-dwelling wardens and guardians, living peacefully and quietly with nature until situation demands that they act to protect their sworn homes. Despite their incredible size, they are more adept in matters of stealth and ambuscade, and are better fit to silently exterminate interlopers in the night than to assault them head-on.
A quick review of firbolgs as they appear in Volo’s, they’re tough to fit into an adventuring party without some heavy modifications to narrative: they abhor greed, prefer not to leave their homes, and are generally peaceful and slow to resort to violence. They also utterly lack a physical description, but general opinion seems to lean more toward hints of the bovine, hircine, or cervine elements mixed into an oversized humanoid body.
Here I present ten ideas on how to use this race, in which I will be including a few variations on the theme, none of which will be characters from Critical Role (although some artwork from the series may appear). (more…)
Sufficiently challenging your players at higher levels can be a difficult task for any DM/GM. With players of 15th level or higher who can take out creatures like dragons with relative ease, making encounters that are both interesting and a challenge can be tricky but ultimately worthwhile, if done well.
Below I have prepared a number of encounters using 3 different sets of monsters, two of which are from Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes, that have been designed to both be a challenge to a party and be interesting and unique encounters.
Right, where were we? Travelling companions eleven through twenty. Here’s one through ten if you missed them.
The softly spoken halfling dresses in soft leathers and expensive looking silks, but without much by way of ornamentation or showy colours. Her hair is a thick bundle of dun dreadlocks tied with a chord, and she goes barefoot most places while travelling. She’s hard to hear in the midst of heavy conversation, but happy enough to listen and participate only when she feels it’s her “turn” to speak, waiting for lulls where she might be heard clearly. (more…)
Ahhh… this may have to be a two-parter. This is going to be a two-parter. Having hit 1600+ words with only half of my wandering NPCs written, I shall save another ten for next Thursday.
Here below I offer you ten NPCs who may travel with your party. Some may help, others may hinder, all were created using random tables and generators for race, gender, jobs and roles, although the names and details are all my own. Thanks to the Hyper Halfling’s Book of Lists, Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, and Fantasy Name Generators for giving the bare bones of the characters brought to life below.
Allow these fine folk to join the party for their next journey to help bridge the gaps between civilisation and adventure. If nothing else… it’ll be memorable. (more…)
Most parties, upon entering a new town, have a simple shopping list: blacksmith for weapons, alchemist for potions, anyone dealing in magic items, and onwards to food and booze. And if any of that intro sounds familiar to you, you may have already read a previous Dungeon Situational in which I presented a list of unusual traders and merchants. A fun trader or NPC can lend life to a town, but what if the very shop and all its contents are a fascination in themselves? Enough useful items can bring the players back again and again, and an entire story may unravel therein.
I will expand on the notion of a herbalist and perfumer I mentioned in the Unusual Traders article. As usual, the information below is designed for Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition, but is readily modified for other editions and systems. (more…)
As promised a while back, it’s time to bring back Dungeon Situational; a weekly series where I present content designed for Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition, but broadly adaptable for other editions and systems.
This week, as promised in a previous article, I will be creating five levels of a new class that reflects a few minor grievances and absences I find in the D&D class system. None of the material is play-tested, so if you try out this class or any of the class features please do let me know how it goes. At the bottom of the article you can also vote on what you’d like me to create next week. (more…)
Oh man am I tired. Well done Amecon, I am mentally and bodily drained. What a wonderful and weird weekend, and surprisingly well managed in the face of the adverse conditions.
I am not a hot-weather person, so the forecast of overwhelming heat was daunting in its own right, especially as I’d already resolved to cosplay (more on that later in the week) the concept of layering up beyond the basics of shorts and t-shirt was nightmarish, but I’d already made my decision. A lot of construction being done at Warwick meant some chronic reshuffling of the venue to allow space for all of the events taking place throughout the con, which meant a few insufficiently air-conditioned rooms. In many ways the weather turning on Sunday was a blessing, but I’m already getting ahead of myself.
I’m getting used to arriving on a Thursday to a convention. It usually offers an opportunity to socialise but this year, perhaps because we were not staying on-site (due in no small part to this year’s accommodation issues) we encountered very few people. We instead resolved to return to the hotel early, get a nice meal at the hotel, and kill the evening with some Magic.
Friday! The queue for registration was long and warm, we got a head start on making new friends (hello queue-friend, see you some other time) while the big monitor over the circle gave us an exciting countdown to an animated dance routine by AmeChan that made several reappearances during the weekend – why not, if you’ve put the effort into something like that then get your worth out of it. There were some organisational issues, not so much with managing reg itself, but managing the queue itself, but everyone managed to get through with little enough fuss before opening ceremonies.
Two complaints of my own for the day, apparently as a VIP (or premiere member, whichever) I did not get the traditional box of Pocky in my con-bag, does put a crimp in the start of ones convention, but I was more upset that I was barely boo’d at as I walked past the rest of the queue! Last year was such a delight, I was vilified, hated! None of that this year, shame on all of you.
I attended a handful of panels during the day, starting with an intro to Bunkazilla: a geek culture radio channel hosted online and created by Iain Boulton, his post-convention retirement project. A mech panel with a particularly dirty minded slant that proved as enlightening as it was entertaining, I suddenly understand far more of the jokes in Gurren Lagann. Then onwards to take, what would be a regular post in the traditional games room to prepare for the evening.
Now, Tim may have more pictures than I, but the end of my Friday was the GM’s Round Table panel, and I know I’ve said this to you both already but Chris and Lynsey, thank you both so much for making that panel what it was. While I enjoy hosting panels on my own, it was a much warmer affair to have you both on hand to answer those questions I could not, to really keep the conversation flowing, and turn the hour into an hour and a half.
In the panel we swapped stories, many of which not safe for this website, but tales of character ingenuity turned games master’s despair, conversations on the matters of player management, inter-personal disputes at the table, and some of our proudest and most embarrassing role-play moments. You – the audience – were fantastic, thank you all for the feedback, both positive and negative, it all helps make us better. See you in the future with something bigger and better than before.
There’s a lot of my Saturday I’ll need to circle around to in a day or two, suffice to say that I got an early peek into the dealers room and landed a harvest of dice and materials for a project that’s been in the works for some time. A panel about coffee in anime and gaming proved interesting, delving into how coffee has taken hold as a culture in Japan, although walking in to the gentle smell of a fresh brew was both tantalising, and a cheap trick to buy my affections, bravo. Thank you to those of you who joined the game of Dungeons & Dragons that evening, I shall say nothing about what took place, but those of you who played or witnessed were fantastic, and to you, my table is always open.
It is currently two in the morning, you’ll pardon me if I do not go overly in-depth on the subject of Sunday. I attended a variety of panels, saw some more friends, attempted to actually spend some time catching up with them, all of which felt inadequate, and so many of you I never even got to talk to beyond a quick “Hi, how was your weekend?” Let’s address some of the serious news of the day…
ChairChan is back.
It’s a convention meme that predates my time being involved with conventions, a chair, a magnificent chair, made wondrous by the adoration of its hoard of adoring fans, and the props that get left on it….
Y’know what, that’s not it.
My first convention was at Ayacon Apocalypse in 2013, and in the five years that followed I have learned and done a great deal, and consider myself to be experienced enough to know that I was spoiled, and that the venue may very well be the single greatest venue for an event of this kind, with rooms for panels and events, an enormous live-stage, party rooms, amenities, and on-site accommodation at reasonable rates, the Warwick Art Centre has it all. So the renovations taking place there now can only improve matters, right?
For now, they are a hindrance, an impediment that has caused something of a pall to be cast over next year’s Kitacon, and its bearers are the titans of the committee vacating their posts, and passing the baton down to a new generation of inveterate con-goers, event managers, and dyed-in-the-wool nerds. Their rest is well earned, but the duty of finding a new venue, even a temporary one for Kita 2019 is an uphill battle for anyone. Just don’t take us back to Nottingham guys.
Ame, we will see you again in 2020.
Wizards of the Coast continue their current run of guides as penned by some of their historical giants. Volo, Xanathar are names you might not know if you’re only familiar with the core rule books, but Mordenkainen should be a name familiar to even those with a passing knowledge. You might recall Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Mansion, Mordenkainen’s Sword, or Mordenkainen’s faithful hound, or even his Magnificent Emporium if you got into 4e in the same way I did (still some interesting magic items in there by the way, worth a read for the ideas).
Scattered with his rather ominous notes, the Tome of Foes discusses some of the greater conflicts in D&D history, the parties involved, and what horrors lurk beyond the world, awaiting those who would dare rise to the challenge. My copy arrived last week, here’s what I thought… (more…)