Unboxing the ’80s With Wil Wheaton and Quarterly.co

WW80s-Features

As luck would have it, my Quarterly Co. Wil Wheaton box was delivered the day I went out of town last week, so, as soon as I got home yesterday, I tore into it to see what magical wonders of the ’80s awaited me. I was pretty happy with the first box and was very hopeful for this second, much larger box. Continue reading

PaizoCon 2015: A Newbie’s Perspective

PaizoCon-mainhall

Not only am I a PaizoCon newbie, but I’m a ‘Pathfinder Adventure Card Game’ newbie as well. PaizoCon was the perfect introduction to both the game and the company. Continue reading

‘D&D’ Players Beware — A New Dragon Has Been Spotted…

Dragon+ cover

‘Dragon+’ is a free ‘D&D’ resource that is available for iOS and Android devices (best viewed on a tablet, and my screenshots are from iPad–not sure if features and functions are identical with Android tablets). It contains articles and interviews with a mix of individuals and companies that are providing content and services to ‘D&D’ fans, along with videos, hyperlinks to external content, and plenty of eye candy. Continue reading

Build Your Own Treasure Hoard With Fantasy Coins and Bars

Fantasy Coins and Bars

Dwarven coins emblazoned with anvils and the stoic bearded faces of kings-beneath-mountains. Egyptian specie adorned with Osiris and pyramids. Multicolored hexagonal gems reminiscent of Hyrulean rupees. Every single piece is highly detailed and has the heft of real coinage. Continue reading

The Dice Section #28: ‘Temple of Elemental Evil’

Temple of Elemental Evil board game

Haircuts. Boxing. Sword and sorcery and dungeon crawls, including a revolutionary occurrence in our 5th Edition ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ campaign and a review of the new ‘Temple of Elemental Evil’ board game from Wizards of the Coast and WizKids. We reminisce about childhood games like ‘Hero Quest’ and ‘Dragon Strike’, and (spoiler alert) decide that we could all do a lot worse than ‘Temple of Elemental Evil’ as an introduction to the dungeon crawl genre. Continue reading

‘D&D’ Encounters DM Report: Elemental Evil Session 7

Elemental Evil

Over the last week (since the party returned from defeating the evil necromancer), small tremors have been felt — driving animals crazy (“barking horses”) and causing all sorts of unrest in the town. Just as the party was starting to get restless and considering moving on, a large sinkhole opened up in the center of town — four young children dropped down into the opening. The adventurers wasted no time in mounting a rescue — Goliath Tom lowered down Gnome Krieger with a rope, and they group proceeded to bring the children up, two at a time. As the rescue was going on, Krieger took a moment to examine his surroundings… a natural cave with two exits… one to the north and one to the east. The one to the north was a natural fissure, but the east passageway was obviously (to a Deep Gnome) carved/chiseled into a hallway. Continue reading

Hey DMs! Two MORE New 5th Edition Adventures!

Fifth Edition Fantasy Collection

If you missed David Ewalt’s interview with Nathan Stewart, Wizards of the Coast’s brand director for ‘Dungeons & Dragons,’ one of the big takeaways from that article was that ‘D&D’ 5e is very much alive… and doing quite well. Steward shared that ‘D&D’ 5e was “the best launch we’ve ever had” and stated that “everything exceeded our forecast,” two statements that are sure to bring smiles to ‘D&D’ fans everywhere.

Here’s something else that will bring a smile to D&D fans (especially DMs) — Goodman Games has a new Kickstarter to raise funds to get two more Fifth Edition Fantasy adventures published and added to the two current adventures, FEF #1 Glitterdoom and FEF #2 The Fey Sisters’ Fate. Continue reading

‘The Adventure Zone': One ‘D&D’ Podcast to Rule Them All

The Adventure Zone Podcast

‘The Adventure Zone’ features three brothers–Justin, Travis, and Griffin McElroy–playing ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ with their dad, Clint. Continue reading

‘D&D’ Encounters DM Report: Elemental Evil Session 6

Adventurers League

Tonight’s Encounters session wrapped up a three-part storyline called “The Necromancer’s Cave.” Because this adventure was spread over three weeks, the players were not given a long rest… meaning that spell casters were all out of spell slots and those players who had not yet died and burned up their hit dice during a few short rests were most likely very low on HP. This was a slog, pure and simple… and the players were definitely on their guard tonight (sort of). Continue reading

‘D&D’ Encounters DM Report: Elemental Evil Session 5

Adventurers League

Things are getting a bit crazy on the outskirts of Red Larch–who could have guessed this small town would have so many unusual activities and dangerous locales within walking distance? This week, Session 5 picked up where Session 4 ended… the players had begun exploring a cave where a few of the town constable’s deputies went looking for trouble… and found it. Continue reading

‘D&D’ Encounters DM Report: Elemental Evil Session 3

Adventurers League

Session 3 — The Haunted Tomb. With a title like that, I had to come up with something a little more involved than what was provided in the DM handout. The basic adventure provided to DMs allowed for a two-room tomb and a couple of encounters, but I wanted to give my players something special — they’re rooting around in an unknown tomb, the final resting place of someone who’d never done them a disservice, so come on… don’t they deserve any harsh punishments that come their way? Continue reading

‘D&D’ Encounters DM Report: Elemental Evil Session 2

Adventurers League

Things are rolling again with the Adventurers League–the new season has started with the Elemental Evil theme, and I’m back in the weekly DM chair for at least another four to five months. Before I get started, I can already hear a bunch of you asking “where’s the DM report for Session 1?” I’ll give a little summary shortly of what happened last week, but the truth of the matter is I had just returned from spring break with my family and was completely swamped with work when I returned. But not this week… NOPE! I had a chance to sit down and do some prep work for what I hope my players really enjoyed. Continue reading

The Dice Section #25: ‘Wrath of Ashardalon’ and the Perfect Dungeon Crawl

Dungeon crawling with The Dice Section

This week on the podcast, we talk about the perennial geek favorite: the dungeon crawl. Why does the lure of loot always get us back down into those dark, dank catacombs? What makes the perfect dungeon crawl experience, and why do so many games fall just short of what we’re hoping for? We play Wrath of Ashardalon, one of the Dungeons & Dragons Adventure System games, and talk about everything from Descent: Journeys in The Dark to Diablo III. Continue reading

‘The Folio’ Fantasy RPG Campaign & Module: ROS1 Beneath Roslof Keep

Folio 1 Maps

I know how time consuming it can be for DMs to create custom adventures for their players. If you’re a DM looking for that help or a player with a new AND nervous DM, you might just want to check out a new resource from Art of the Genre that has me grinning ear to ear.
Continue reading

Original ‘D&D’ and 5th Edition, Some Side-by-Side Comparisons Part II

D&D Logo

In the previous post in this series, I began a comparison of elements from the Original Dungeons & Dragons (OD&D, 1974) boxed set to today’s 5th edition D&D (2014). For Part I, I selected elements for comparison from the 35-page Volume 1: Men & Magic relating to character classes, races, experience and spells. Let’s now jump to the challenges and rewards that those early OD&D players faced. For this, an examination of the OD&D monsters and magical items is needed, and that information was found in Volume 2: Monsters & Treasure. Let’s take a look at this 40-page booklet and see how it compares to today’s 352-page 5th edition Monster Manual. Continue reading

‘D&D’ Encounters DM Report — “A Bright Light,” Part II

D&D Logo

Last night, my six players wrapped up the second-half of my latest mini-adventure titled “A Bright Light.” Now that it’s over, I can share many more details than I was able to share last week. Please keep in mind that if you’re a player looking for something different, you might want to ask your DM to read this post (and Part I) and see if he or she is willing to run it. Reading any further will spoil some of the surprises, so consider yourself warned. Continue reading

Original ‘D&D’ and 5th Edition, Some Side-by-Side Comparisons Part I

D&D Logo

For the past few weeks, I’ve been doing some investigations into “classic” Dungeons & Dragons for an upcoming Adventurers League three-week (six hours) session. Way before Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, and even before the Basic Set (1977) that was my starting point with the game. I’m talking about what many folks refers to as Original D&D or OD&D. Continue reading

‘D&D’ Encounters DM Report — “A Bright Light,” Part I

Adventurers League

Spoiler alert: If you are a regular player and have a DM, you might ask your DM to read this post FIRST and decide whether they’re interested in running it. I tell you this only because if you continue to read, you’ll be exposed to some major giveaways for this week’s two-part adventure I’ve titled “A Bright Light.” Continue reading

The Dice Section #22: ‘Dungeons & Dragons’

The Dice Section: Dungeons & Dragons

The Dice Section is a podcast about tabletop games and what makes them great. On and off for the past few years, my co-host, Dave Kirby, and I get together and talk about what we’ve been playing and why. We try to go in-depth with the games we love and explain what’s so special about them, how they fit in with our own personal day-to-day stories, and why we keep coming back to the table to play more.

I’m excited to bring the show over to the GeekDad Podcast Network and host it here. Continue reading

‘D&D’ Encounters DM Report — ‘Sholla’s Dream’ Part II

D&D Logo - Stacked

I continue to enjoy my return to the DM’s chair, and I hope my players are enjoying the custom adventures I’ve been developing to hold them over until the new campaign starts up in a few more months. Last week, my six players found themselves on the water. They are on a mission to intercept a caravan of cultists that will be arriving in Baldur’s Gate a few days after they are scheduled to arrive via the River Chiontharr that runs between Elturel and Baldur’s Gate. First, a small abandoned raft (with cargo still in place) was investigated — the party was attacked by a single ghoul and two zombies. The mystery starts. The next evening, the sloop almost collided with a large cargo ship anchored in the middle of the river. An investigation of the cargo ship provided some clues to a larger mystery yet to reveal itself. We wrapped up last Wednesday night’s event with the players fighting a wave of ghasts and ghouls on the top deck. While victorious, a few of the players were injured… and there were still two lower decks to investigate. Continue reading

D&D Encounters DM Report — Sholla’s Dream Part I

Adventurers League

Wednesday nights are D&D Encounters sessions (for novice and veteran players) at Titan Games & Comics in Atlanta, GA (and at other locations around the globe), and for the last few weeks I’ve enjoyed my return to the role of Dungeon Master. Last week concluded a two-part adventure that had the players encountering a group of cultists hiding out in a cavern beneath a crypt where they were performing a dark ritual to strengthen a young black dragon. The players were successful in defeating the dragon and collapsing the only escape from the cavern after narrowly escaping a chase around a circular four-level ramp that led to the bottom of said cavern. RIP cultists.

This week, the players found themselves in the city of Elturel, hunting down Leosin, a monk who had given them an earlier mission to try and discover information on this new dragon cult. The players made their way into the city where they would need to find Leosin as well as the Order of the Gauntlet to receive the reward that was promised them when they defeated the black dragon and cultists. Continue reading

D&D Encounters DM Report — Running a Chase & The Road to Elturel Part II (Conclusion)

Adventurers League

Last night as I was setting up my table for the night’s game, I began to receive some fun and interesting comments about my 3D creation for running the second-half of my mini-adventure, The Road to Elturel. Our game night coordinator, Topher, continues to call me an over-achiever. I can live with that. I’ve always tried to push myself to give my players a memorable game; when I was younger, I would create props and sketches to hand out at different points in a game. Now that I’m a bit older and wiser (and have a debit card), I’m finding I have even more fun and interesting ideas to toss at my players… such as the situation where my players found themselves tonight. Continue reading

D&D Encounters Report — Digital DMing and The Road to Elturel Part I

Adventurers League

For this week’s game, I chose to create a two-part mini-adventure that takes place on the road halfway between Greenest and Elturel. Given the cultists and a few other bad guys/creatures encountered in earlier sessions, I decided to try and create an adventure that would be loosely linked to the goings-on along the Sword Coast. Joining my table for the night were the following adventurers:

Essie – Human Fighter
Chi Tan – Human Fighter
Oenn – Dwarf Cleric
Rolann – Elf Ranger
Edaliu – Gnome Bard
Borax – Dwarf Cleric Continue reading

Roll an Adventure Using the 5e Dungeon Master’s Guide — Part IV (Conclusion)

Rollin'

I remember many years ago being asked whether I preferred to DM or to play. Even though when I first started playing D&D (well, AD&D to be more specific) I had to take on the DM duties mainly because no one else had the DM Guide or the interest, the real secret was that I did enjoy the role. Being a DM scratched a creative itch that has never gone away. Even now, with the three new 5th edition D&D rulebooks out… I still reach out for the Dungeon Master’s Guide over all others. That’s the role I prefer. And the DMG is the book for me. Continue reading