Tag: Cleric

Dungeons and Dragons Character Races: Humans

Dungeons and Dragons Character Races: Humans

This is going to be a shorter article I think. Humans in Dungeons and Dragons and fantasy in general are going to be a little bit more basic because they can be anything and there isn’t some defining trait. They don’t love an extremely long […]

Dungeons and Dragons Character Races – Dwarves

Dungeons and Dragons Character Races – Dwarves

Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work we go… We all know about dwarves from such classics as Snow White and more so Lord of the Rings. Really, Lord of the Rings is the basis for so much of Dungeons and Dragons, because it […]

D&D Campaign: Session 1

D&D Campaign: Session 1

Alright, I said I was going to talk about town building, but I am going to wrap that into what I would then do to plan session one. I think that a fair amount of my work is already taken care of when it comes to the hook, but depending on how you wanted to go, that might just be a little bit of game play for everyone to introduce their characters at the end of session 0.

Image Source: Wizards

But I tend to split up character creation and some of the planning that goes into a campaign that the group can do together into a session 0, and then in session 1 is when the game play actually starts.

So what was our hook again?

Our Fighter, Cleric, and Wizard who all know the Paladin were helping defend the temple after the powerful Wizard in the town demanded that everyone gives him all their gems in order to prevent some unknown future disaster. The temple has several gems of great value, and now there is a mob outside the door that is fighting, some trying to break in and get the gems, and some trying to stop the other side from stealing things.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

Okay, so what do I need to set-up for session 1 with the hook?

You might think about picking my monsters who will play the mob, and giving them hit points and weapons. But for me, I don’t think that’s extremely important. I tend to think that the mob will have a few key players and whatever side the players decide to go with, they will face off against the other sides keys. So I might go through and quickly grab a couple of bad guys, but that’s less important than other things to me.

What does the temple look like and where are the gems, that’s more important. The gems are likely kept in a back room, probably attached to some ancient relic. If the players want to protect it, they are going to have to go outside of the temple or deal with the people as they come crashing through the door. The main area of the temple has some chandeliers and some pews as well as an altar in the front.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

Outside of the temple is the town square where there are a couple of other temples in other parts of the square. There are also some of the nicer and fancier shops, the best blacksmith in town, or the one who advertises himself as that. There’s also a “the best” woodworker and other such businesses. In the middle of what is generally a fairly open square there’s a stand where the local noble will give speeches.

You can start to see how the town is coming together for what the players need to know. The temples, while frequented by most of the people in the town are also in the nicer section or more expensive section of the town. In fact, it’s probably a mob of more commoners up against the city watch at this point, with some people who are worried about their businesses also with the watch.

The mob is going to be coming from off in the direction of the city bazaar where most of the common people shop to get their wares as compared to the town center. The mob will definitely have picked up some looters as well with the group who are going to be causing the city watch to have to split their attention which is why they aren’t driving back the common folk.

If the players want, they can probably turn the mob aside to a jewelry merchant, which might seem like a better place to go, but the jewelry shop is better secured, and the common people know more about the temple than they do about that shop.

Image Source: Wizards

At this point in time, I don’t know that I would flesh out too much more about the town or for session one. If things go quickly as they fight against the mob and try and get it turned, which it won’t because the players will spend some time planning, then I would have to move onto the next part of the story.

That would be skipping ahead a day and either having the Wizard or Grima Wormtongue character coming and thanking the players if they helped the jewels get stolen, or the noble for helping turn the tide of the mob, or the noble complaining about them not turning the tide of the mob. But whatever it would be, it would be some role playing for the players to do.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

That’s a bit more free form and requires less planning. Just know what stat block you’re planning on using for the noble, wizard, and Wormtongue, just in case the players decide to attack. And if they do that, have the person do non-lethal damage to the characters. Unless you decide to have the players all play the B-Team.

And what’s how I’d create my first session and start building out the town. You can see that I left a lot of the town building blank. I’d start asking the players, if they start wondering, for shop ideas that the rich would want in the town center. The players can help you fill out the town and even come up with some of the physical characteristics of what the city watch might look like, what the noble or wizard could even look like as well. It means that you have to be ready to improvise and work with it on the fly, but it will give the players even more buy-in to the world and story.

What do you think of that session 1? Would you have planned out more of it in your game, or maybe less of it? How much input do the players have in world building?

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D&D Campaign Building: The Hook

D&D Campaign Building: The Hook

Every D&D game that you’re going to run is going to have some sort of hook for the players. To me, this is a two part thing. The players have to be willing to invest in the story as it gets going, even if that […]

D&D Campaign Building: Magic

D&D Campaign Building: Magic

So a couple of days ago I started building out a D&D Campaign – the first part can be found here. I want to try and write on it and add in more things a couple of times a week at least, might be more […]

What’s My Motivation? – D&D

What’s My Motivation? – D&D

This ties into the articles I’ve written on different characters class, backgrounds, and most recently on having a happy backstory instead of having a darker backstory, so it’s area that I’ve covered a fair amount, but I wanted to write about it really focusing in some more on role playing and playing your characters motivations.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

I would say that the ideas I’ve been giving in posts have been medium levels of backstory. It has been more than just suggesting playing a rogue who likes to stab stuff. But it also hasn’t been creating a lot of very depth heavy backstories. I leave stuff generally vague like what deity it is that the cleric is following, what town or area you grew up in that something horrible happened in. It is very possible to set-up a very in depth backstory where you list out your friends, you family members, everyone who has wronged you, what your life was like growing up, what all of your hopes and dreams had been.

There are multiple reasons for me doing that, the first being, if you want to use it, some of those things are things you’ll have to work through with your DM, because I don’t know your game, and some of them are stuff that you don’t need to know. Knowing too much about your character does a few things, it can limit what the DM can do around your character, because there will be a lack of mystery. It can force you into playing a character in a certain way and finding out that you don’t enjoy it. It can limit your character in how they can develop.

The one that I want to focus on for this topic is the fact that it can force you into playing your character a certain way.

The point of this topic was to cover two things, the first being, what’s my motivation for adventuring, the other other being, what’s my motivation for role playing. These two topics are fairly closely held together. Most likely the reason you have for adventuring is also the reason that you’re going to have for some of your characters motivations and interactions in role playing. If goblins murdered your family, you’re probably adventuring to get revenge on the goblins, it’s also probably going to mean that when you run across an injured goblin that poses no threat to you, you’re still going to want to kill it.

With motivation for adventuring, there can be a lot of different reasons. A bard might be in it to see the world, be able to travel and perform on different stages that they wouldn’t have access to otherwise. You could also have a Barbarian who is just in need of and bad with money, so they don’t care too much about the adventuring, but they always need money and the adventuring party always gives them a little money. Or you could be out looking for a lost holy artifact as a cleric, getting revenge on a ruler who slaughtered your village as a fighter, or out to protect your grove against a blight that is on the land as a druid. There are a lot of reasons otherwise that you could be looking into adventuring. But one of your jobs as a player when creating your character is to make sure you have this answered.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

Along with having that answered, a lot of DM’s will put your party together, but if you and fellow players can come up with a reason for putting together, or better yet come up with a reason for keeping your party together, that is huge. Whether it’s because your party has similar goals or needs or because you actually like each other, it’s important to have some reason. This motivation with help inform some of your interactions and will help it make sense when the story of the game isn’t focused on your character to keep them as part of the group. Now, this isn’t all on you as a player, the DM has to keep all the characters involved in the story as well, but if you’re creating the loner Druid who cares only about her part of the forest, when the characters aren’t focused on that, that druid is probably going to leave the party to either go off on their own or to find another adventuring party to help them.

But also with motivation, we want to talk about the idea of role playing your character. I talked some earlier about having a medium depth background story. Some of the reason was that it doesn’t lock you into a single specific way of playing your character, but also because it doesn’t lock you into a single path going forward. It’s too easy to lock your self into a single purpose and single goal while role playing and then finding out that you really don’t enjoy it.

Now, I realize that sometimes it’s fun coming up with a ton of backstory and all of these different plot hooks, but often times it’s going to be too much to actually work into a game and there is a chance to feel disappointment because it wasn’t fully touched upon. As a DM, personally I don’t try and avoid using peoples backstories and generally I’ll try and tie them into the campaign as I go. However, if something doesn’t fit in with the overall story, or if I feel like the story is leaning too heavily on a single person, I am going to try and change it up which might keep it from using all of your backstory. If there are too many plot hooks as well for your character, I might not touch on all of them, instead just focusing on one of them to really add into the main story with a nod or two thrown to others of them.

Beyond having too many plot hooks, having too few is bad as well. If, as a DM, I don’t get much to work with, I’m not going to put as much effort into keeping your character engaged story wise. My assumption is that you’re going to like combat more so and I’ll make sure to sprinkle enough of those in as well. But it also doesn’t give you much framework to role play, if you want to role play a lot, a consistent character. They might end up being consistent because you’re just playing your own personality, but it might be that they are very chaotic in how they respond to everything presented to them. Being a little chaotic isn’t bad, and a lot of people play chaotic characters, in fact, the Total Party Thrill podcast has an episode (linked here) about how Chaotic Good is probably where most adventurers should be playing out of.

So there is chaos in a good way and in a bad way. A chaotic character can at times be used as an excuse to do whatever you want, but chaos means less that you just do whatever sounds the most fun in the moment, it more means that you’re willing to do what it takes in situations laws be damned, and you’re willing to be flexible for the greater good, again, I think that Total Party Thrill with their episode does a really good job of explaining it, so I’ll leave that as a listen for people.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

There is one major exception for having much of a backstory, or any of one really, and that’s at a Convention or while playing a one-shot. When playing those shorter games, focus in on a single thing for your characters. When I was playing Dungeons and Dinosaurs game at AcadeCon the first year I was there, one person made their T-Rex very impulsive, I had an herbivore and I made him into a researcher who was watching and documenting everything. We didn’t have more backstory or direction for character than what we gave them, in fact about the only thing we knew about the dinosaurs came on a dinosaur fact sheet. In that case, having that one thing you role play to is important as it’s going to allow you to have a focused character for that short time without slowing down the game because you’re trying to pick out or build more depth into your character.

What are some things you’ve used as motivation for either being part of a party or role playing a character in Dungeons and Dragons or any role playing system?


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If You’re Happy and You Know It – D&D

If You’re Happy and You Know It – D&D

This was something that I saw on twitter, I believe, earlier this week or it was part of a podcast, Total Party Thrill, that I’ve been listening to, but it was a hypothetical about why someone might join an adventuring group if they have a […]

City Building in D&D

City Building in D&D

Building a city as a home base or where your adventure is taking place can be a cool thing to do, it can also be a daunting thing to do, because putting together a whole city can be a lot of work. I rarely go […]

Building a Panteon – RPG

Building a Panteon – RPG

So one thing when playing a D&D game or any RPG where religion is involved is figuring out the pantheon that you want to use in the game. This can be as simple as grabbing one from the rule books or using the Greek or Norse mythological pantheons. But a lot of the time, people want to have their own deities, they don’t want it to be the same god’s as the Forgotten Realms, or they don’t want it to be like the real worlds pantheons. So how do you go about creating your own pantheon of deities?

Image Source: D&D Beyond

This can be a daunting task to figure out all the deities that you might need. Do the Elves, Humans, Dwarves,  Halflings, Tieflings, Orcs, etc. all worship their own god’s? If so, now you got to create not just a pantheon, but several of them.

I would go that they don’t all need their full pantheons, you can overlap some of them. If you think about it, a deity of nature might go by different names if they races are separate enough, but why would you have to have a Elven deity of nature who takes care of the forest and makes it grow and the human deity of farming that makes the crops grow be very different? That’s mainly just a lot more work for yourself. Along with that, do you need to know much about the Elven deity of the forest if they aren’t going to be part of the story? Figure out which ones you need at the start of your story and create the information on them, then if you need more, you can always add them in later as they come up.

Let me list out the pieces of advice I’ve already said and what I’m going to be talking about still, so it’s easy to understand the information:
1. Overlap Pantheons to reduce number you have to create.
2. Don’t come up with all of them, just as many as you need right now.
3. Let your players help you come up with them as needed.
4. Combine the areas that a deity might rule over.
5. Put most effort into the ones who are going to talk to your players, however that might be.

So, I’ve generally covered the first two on the list. Both of those are going to help you focus down on the number that you have to come up with, but let’s unpack them a little more.

Image Source: Wizards of the Coast

Overlap Pantheons to reduce the number of deities  you have to create.

Now, you might be thinking that your Elves, Dwarves, Humans, etc. are going to be very separate. So they are all going to have their own set of gods to work with, and that seems like a lot of work. You really want to keep them separate, because the Elves, Humans, and Dwarves don’t get along and if they worship the game gods you’re going to have to make them get along. I would still give them a lot of overlap and maybe a unique one or two deities for each race. The way you can have them overlap, though, so that they still won’t be worshiping the same gods is let them have different names for each race. So Etheilien the Elves goddess of the sun, Manakal the Dwarven goddess of light, and Sepheria the Human goddess of the sun can all be the same deity, but all of the races can still deny that they are the same goddess. Or maybe it’s only the Elves who simply refuse to believe that the deity is the same for all three of them because they are Elves and they are special damn it. But this is going to keep your pantheons a whole lot more condensed and easy to work with.

You don’t need to know your full Pantheons at the start.

Unless your player characters are supposed to be demi-gods who interact with the pantheon all the time, you probably don’t need to know them all. If your party is a Dwarven cleric, Human ranger, and a Halfling rogue, you can probably cut down on everything you need to know. In this case, let’s say that all of them are tied in with a deity, and that’s kind of the focus of your game, the Dwarf would need to know about their deity that the cleric follows, probably a god of the forge, the Human who has a farming background would probably know the god and goddess of nature and fertility, and the Halfling rogue would probably follow some trickster god or maybe even a dark god of assassins. But start with the ones that are plot critical and work out from there as you need more.

Let your Players help come up with them.

This can even by tied in to the one above, but you don’t need to come up with everything on your own. Maybe you know that you have a few deities who you are going to focus on who need to be in the story. So spend your time creating those, however, you also know that you want your PC’s (player characters) to be connected to deities as well, just lesser ones. When you are having session 0, let your players know that, and work with them then and help them create their own deities that you can slot into the pantheon. So, maybe the Dwarven cleric still is going to follow the god of the forge, and the rogue follows the goddess of assassins and those are normal. But then you get the Human Ranger who follows the spirit of the great toad in the sky. Now you’ve got a toad in the sky as part of your pantheon, and that’s something that will probably be unique forever to your world, but you didn’t have to come up with any of them yourself, and your players are really able to tailor the deities to their characters backstories.

Image Source: Marvel

Give your deities a broad domain to rule over.

The extreme example of this would be to have a goddess of crops who then has lesser gods and goddesses under them for wheat, corn, flax, barley, etc. That’s too much effort, especially if it isn’t critical to the story. Now, if the story is that these lesser gods and goddess are fighting which is destroying crops and sending the lands into a famine, that could be interesting, but normally, you aren’t going to need that. In fact, you probably won’t even need the goddess of the crops, just make her the goddess of life. Now her domain stretches from plants, to fertility and birth, and where ever else makes sense. You’ve probably just saved yourself from having to come up with four or five other deities for the pantheon. So keep the areas broad and that will make your work easier.

Put Your Effort into the ones who are active in the world.

It’s very possible that you will need some elder gods who haven’t been involved with your world in a long time. Maybe they are still worshiped but they are less active. With those, don’t spend as much time on them. You’re going to create some lore for them, I’m sure, but if you also have some newer gods and goddesses who are active in the world, focus on those, because those are the ones that you’re players are going to interact with, not the elder gods in the background. Just focus on the ones who are important for the plot of the story you’re telling and the ones the PC’s are going to be interacting with.

Hopefully this has made what could be a very daunting task less daunting. I would really recommend just stealing from an existing mythological pantheon. If you don’t want it to be as obvious, change up a few abilities and rename them, you could keep everything else the same, and you’ve made it yours enough that your players aren’t going recognize it easily, and even if they do, that doesn’t really matter.

Have you run an epic game about the gods and goddesses of a realm. What tips do you have for creating a pantheon?


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D&D Backgrounds: Sage

D&D Backgrounds: Sage

The sage is the scholar of the D&D backgrounds. While you might not be studying now, you have studied a lot in the past, even to the point where you might now be teaching or have taught in the past. This background is what a […]