Tag: D&D

Friday Night D&D – The Dark of the City

Friday Night D&D – The Dark of the City

Welcome back for another Friday Night D&D, where I try and come up with different campaign ideas for myself to run sometime, or for you to run in your game. Today’s idea borrows from Hell to Pay, the 1.5 book of the Ascend Online series […]

Friday Night D&D – Secret Invasion

Friday Night D&D – Secret Invasion

Yes, I am stealing this from Marvel and what I think we’re likely to get in Marvel Phase 4 and forward. In the Marvel comics, the Secret Invasion happens as super heroes are replaced slowly by the Skrull in a secret plan to take over […]

Dungeons and Dragons Character Races – Half Elf

Dungeons and Dragons Character Races – Half Elf

Final character race in the Player Handbook. There are plenty more in other books like Xanathar’s Guide to Everything or Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica. I’ll let you explore those as I haven’t explored all of them yet either.

Half Elves fall into the category of a race without a home. They feel out of place among humans and among elves. Being that they don’t look quite like either, half elves, where ever they go, are going to stand out. They are welcome in human cities, but still remain apart, whereas elves tend to look down on them for their mixed blood. This is going to be a pretty standard hook that you can use for your player character to go adventuring, they’ve needed to wander for a long time. I will say, play this carefully, though, as racism is going to be an issue for some people at your table who have been passed over for race or some other ism in their life. Just be aware of your table to know if it will work to play that trope.

Statistically, Half-Elves are a great race to play. You get a bump to Charisma and two other abilities of your choice. That means that the half elf is set-up to play anything and often is the face of the party. And the two other ability scores makes it really good at anything else, whether your want to be a barbarian or a wizard. They also pick up Dark Vision and Fey Ancestry, which gives them advantage against being charmed, from their elven half, and two skills of their choice from their human half. The skills, again, make them good at anything.

Image Source: Wizards

Beyond that, how do you play a half elf. I think the big thing is that you don’t have a home. But beyond that, when you did have a home, where did you grow up? Did you grow up in elven society or human society. If you grew up in Elven society, check out my article on Elves. If you grew up in Human society, check out my article on humans. You are going to have some traits of the other, but where you grew up is going to shape you. If you were cast out at a young age from both societies, that is going to shape you as well.

I don’t know that there is a ton more to say about half elves, so let’s jump into some backstories.

I was born to an elven mother and a human father. I’ve been told that is the way that you don’t want things to go. But from what I’ve seen, no one treats half elves all that well. We were cast out of elven society, and that was that. Things were fine for a few years, until my father died at the age of 50 while I was still fairly young. Our Elven clan wouldn’t take us back in when that happened as I was still a half breed and we were forced to live on the street before my mother became a handmaid for a noble house. It wasn’t the work that she wanted, but human nobles value elven help as they can live through generations and be with the family a long time. I was being groomed to join the nobles guard when another elf in the families employ accused me of stealing, which I didn’t do, and got me kicked out of the house as well as my mother. I want to clear my mothers name so she can have at least a decent life again and make whomever did frame us pay.
Class: Fighter
Background: Soldier/Urchin
Alignment: Chaotic Good

Image Source: Geek & Sundry

I come from a noble house. As a half elf, t hat is pretty nice, and better than I’ve seen a lot of half elves treated. It was a treaty that was signed between a human house and an elven house that was sealed with a marriage that led to me. I was given a nice comfortable life and I didn’t have to do anything that I didn’t want to. What I wanted to do was sit around and read books, so that is what I did. Then, however, someone broke the treaty. I don’t know who broke it first, but the humans claimed the elves did, and the elves claimed the humans did, and my family was torn apart. Things were said on both sides, but I haven’t seen my father in several years now. The war that is breaking out is bad, and I’m searching for a way to solve it. I believe that I’ve found something in a higher power, but until I know for sure, I try and help as much as I can.
Alignment: Lawful Good
Class: Paladin/Cleric
Background: Sage/Noble

A deal was made before I was born for my soul. I don’t like it at all, but that is what my mother decided for me. She was in a tough spot, on the run after she’d stolen money from a crime baron and she had been nearly caught. She was hiding in the woods and crying, praying that someone would help her, when a beautiful and powerful looking elf showed up and agreed to help. He was able to deal with the criminals who were chasing her, in exchange for me. I wasn’t conceived yet, but nine months later, there I was. We lived a simple life with my mother using her stolen money to set-up a shop. I worked with her there, eventually taking over most of the business. Then one day, the same elf knocked on the door and said that they had a job for me, and that it was time for me to start fulfilling my part of my mothers deal. And what I need to do for him starts with dealing with the crime baron.
Alignment: Anywhere on the good spectrum
Class: Warlock – Fey Pact
Background: Guild Artisan

Those are just some ideas. You can see that I lean into playing with the birth of the characters to determine some of their life story and how it’s influenced them as a half elf.

Have you played a half elf in a game of Dungeons and Dragons? Was it for the stat bonuses or for the role playing aspect?

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GenCon Vol 1 – Planning

GenCon Vol 1 – Planning

Alright, I’m getting excited. GenCon is coming up in a while, August 1st through 4th, and I’m going this year! A board game and RPG convention with 60 thousand plus people in attendance will be crazy. I’ll probably get to see some people whom I’ve […]

Dungeons and Dragons Character Races: Dragonborn

Dungeons and Dragons Character Races: Dragonborn

And after a week of Avengers: Endgame (no spoilers in this post), we’re finally getting back to some D&D. This time we’re looking at the Character Race of Dragonborn. Dragonborn, are a bit like tieflings or other races where they get some heritage from something […]

Dungeons and Dragons Character Races – Half-Orc

Dungeons and Dragons Character Races – Half-Orc

Back into Dungeons and Dragons character races, here is one of the two half races, along with Half-Elf. The basic ideas is that it’s a half human and half orc, but there’s no real reason, other than that they are statted in a way that makes sense for that, that you couldn’t have it be half another race as well, you’d just have to make a few minor tweaks to it.

Image Source: Wizards

When playing a half orc, like the Tieflilng, you have to know that you’re going to stick out like a sore thumb as you’re going to be larger than most any human or smaller than most any orc. It’s really a race that is stuck between two things. I think a half-orc adventuring makes a lot of sense for that reason, because you don’t fit into human society, you might take up adventuring or mercenary work to get into a situation where you can become a hero, or people like you because you are big and strong. And with getting stat bumps to strength and constitution, you are certainly big and strong.

Half-Orcs, beyond their strength score bump are really made for melee characters. They get two abilities, relentless endurance and savage attack that make them great at going into the middle of things. Relentless endurance allows them, once per day, when they would have hit 0 HP, they go back up to 1 HP. And savage attack means that when they strike with a melee weapon and get a critical hit, they do an extra die of damage which means that they hit even harder. Things like Champion Fighter and Barbarian really are where the Half-Orc is going to shine.

When role playing one, it is really about playing a character who is out of place. In a human society, people are going to be scared of you because orcs are a monstrous race. In orc society, you are going to be a weakling and a liability on their hunting and raiding parties. Those things are reason enough to play against type if you want to. Since you would be stuck with menial tasks in an orc tribe, maybe you’ve spent more time honing magic or some other skills such as scouting, since you’d be the smallest orc. Or in human society, maybe you joined a religious order as a way to show that you aren’t just a big brutish monster.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

Let’s hop into some backstory ideas, as I think there are interesting game elements that you can tie into a half-orc.

Times were difficult in your tribe and being the child of an orc who loved a human was even more difficult. When a drought hit and all the animals left the area and food was scarce, you were the first to be kicked out of the tribe. You were small for your tribe and you couldn’t hunt as well. You had to make it on your own if you wanted to survive, and you learned to live off of the land better than your old tribe had. Now you’ve been doing that for several decades, and the drought has come back every ten years, to the date and you are worried about the land you live on and that something more might be happening than just a weather pattern.
Class: Druid
Background: Hermit/Outland
Alignment: Neutral/Neutral Good

They said that you were lucky, besides your larger size, you don’t look that unlike a human compared to other half orcs. That made you a perfect choice to join the kings guard, someone who is stronger than the other guards. That worked out great and you grew to be one of the favorites of the King. You followed his rules to the letter, but the other guards became jealous and planted fake letters from you to the prince/princess and had those shown to the King. As a lowly kings guard and a half orc at that, you were kicked out and banished from the kingdom. Little did the guards know that you actually do care a lot about the prince/princess and they care for you. Now you have a new goal, to get back to them.
Class: Fighter
Background: Soldier
Alignment: Lawful Neutral/Chaotic Good

You have a very nice job working for the Black Coat Mercenary guild. They pay you well and give you a spot where you feel like you fit in. You mainly go on missions that are to squash insurrections or other things like that, bolster a kingdom when needed. You aren’t supposed to have any attachments, but when you saw that one mission was supposed to have you kill a well known wizard who was helping a town survive from a powerful kingdom that wanted that land, you decided not to do your mission. Instead you helped the wizard and the townfolk move miles away and relocate then you went and burned down the village. But now that wizard has popped up again under a new name, and you are worried that your secret is going to come out and your standing with the guild will be ruined and you might become their next target.
Class: Rogue/Fighter/Ranger/Barbarian
Background: Soldier/Criminal
Alignment: Lawful Good/Neutral Good

Have you played an half-orc before? Were there anythings that you leaned into with playing a half-orc? Would you play on of these backstories?

Share questions, ideas for articles, or comments with us!

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Friday Night D&D – Burn it Down

Friday Night D&D – Burn it Down

Welcome back to another installment of Friday Night Dungeons and Dragons. The idea for this game came from my writing about Tieflings yesterday. I kind of did a light version of the story with the firefighter backstory that I created, however, I think that can […]

Dungeons and Dragons Character Race – Tiefling

Dungeons and Dragons Character Race – Tiefling

Now we’re getting towards the edges of the races you can play in Dungeons and Dragons from the main Players Handbook. There are additional races or race options in other books. I’m going to call out some Tiefling things are from Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes. […]

Dungeons and Dragons Character Races: Gnomes

Dungeons and Dragons Character Races: Gnomes

There’s no place like Gnome, there’s no place like Gnome.

Alright, now that my bad joke is out of my system, let’s talk about Gnomes in Dungeons and Dragons.

Image Source: Wizards

Gnomes, as you can guess, are very small. They are between 3-4′ tall and because of that, they end up moving slower than other races. However, they make up for that by being smart, which comes out in some areas like them being able to talk to animals and being really good at tinkering with little mechanical devices. This is shown in some of the racial abilities that you get, but also with the bump to the intelligence stat that you get. For that reason, Gnomes make very good Wizards.

Gnomes are also a naturally curious race that has a real joy for living. Though, they might accidentally blow themselves up, they really seek to live life to the fullest. And that includes trying new things, trying to make new things, and with that they are a race that really makes a lot of sense to go adventuring. Also being friendly, they are going to get along with all of the other races very well. This love of life and curiosity also tends to make them good jokesters. And while everyone might not appreciate their gnomish humor, that generally isn’t going to dissuade them.

Image Source: Encounter Roleplay

Because of those traits, you can really have a lot of story hooks. A gnome merchant would make a lot of sense as someone who might go along with adventurers if there is a chance to make a profit and see more of the world. Gnomes also leave their homes for stuff like tutoring a noble family, since they are so smart, they will leave to go study at different places and learn even more. Their tinkering and nature focus also can allow them to develop little trinkets that they want to show off.

Let’s jump into some adventuring backstory ideas that are pretty gnomish.

You always had a deft hand with tinkering and making things. It brought you a lot of joy and everyone in the town loved the shows that you’d put on with your little clockwork creatures. You decided to pick up and take your show on the road. It was a great time, however, you weren’t super business savvy and after a little while you ended up losing most of your money and you had to start selling your clockwork performers. Now you just have one left, but you’ve figured out you can make some good money adventuring, and then you’ll track them down and get all of your old friends back.
Class: Wizard/Sorcerer
Alignment: Neutral Good
Background: Entertainer

As one of the smarter gnomes in your village you were recruited, as one gnome was every generation to tutor the local human noble’s children. It was a great job that everyone wanted and while there, you got training with combat that you wouldn’t have gotten back home. But the best part was teaching the children, until one of them was killed with what looked like a gnomish dagger and poison. You had to go on the run as they thought it was you. You, however, are fairly confident that it was an up and coming neighboring noble that had this done, you just need to prove it.
Class: Any Class
Alignment: Lawful Good
Background: Sage

Being small has it’s advantages. It means that I was always able to get into smaller places and get the leftovers in the kitchens while the cooks weren’t looking. That allowed me to survive. My parents left me behind, accidentally I think, in the city when we visited when I was young. I learned quickly to fend for myself and that people weren’t as nice as they seemed. I fell in with a group of children and we were able to survive and eventually we had a nice little group that I was running. Now, I’ve gotten older, a lot of the group has disappeared. I want to go and find my parents if I can to see why I was left behind.
Class: Rogue
Alignment: Lawful Neutral
Background: Urchin

That’s a pretty brief overview of playing a gnome. Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes has more information on gnomes that you can read if you want. Would you play a gnome in a Dungeons and Dragons game?

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Friday Night D&D – The War of Realms

Friday Night D&D – The War of Realms

Time to make a huge game. I think that there are a lot of interesting things that you could do with this idea, including something a long ways out there, which is have it played with multiple groups. In this game the different planes, fire, […]