Tag: Dungeons and Flagons

10 Minute Marvel

10 Minute Marvel

I’m going to be putting up articles on this from time to time and I talked about it on twitter yesterday. Dungeons and Flagons and the The Trilogies content is going to be going away. If/when we decide to do more Dungeons and Flagons in…

Playing Your D&D Character – 201

Playing Your D&D Character – 201

We’ve started going down the route of playing your D&D character, in 101, we talked primarily about how much you should stay in character, and the expectations of being in character and differentiating in and out of character should work at the table. In 201,…

Building a D&D Player Character – 301

Building a D&D Player Character – 301

Back into building a D&D character.

We’ve talked previously about the simplest ways to make a character that doesn’t step on other players toes, that fits into the game, and one that is fun to play.

Image Source: Wizards

Next we’ve talked about how you can use the personality traits, ideals, bonds, and flaws to create some back story for your character. This allows you to really start creating a backstory for your character and your role playing. You can review 201 here.

Now we’re onto really delving into the backstory and what makes a good backstory. This will be covered in the final two posts about creating backstory and creating your player character.

When creating a backstory there are a few things that you should be writing into your backstory:

Image Source: D&D Beyond

Role Playing Prompts –
This is probably the trickiest one to explain, but basically you are looking to expand upon the personality traits, ideals, bonds, and flaws that you’ve previously created or at this time create those along with your backstory to give you things to role play with. But now you get the chance to really expand upon that. If you have a flaw that you hate all goblins, well, now you can explain why you hate all goblins since they murdered your family and burned down your village. So as you develop your backstory, look to drop in those little tidbits of information to support the personality traits, ideals, bonds, and flaws. Also, look to add in more role playing elements for you. You can create little pieces of story that are going to give your character a more rich background and more depth to role play with.

A Reason to Adventure –
This one is pretty straight forward. You need a reason to be about adventuring. If you spent your whole life on a farm and you are going to inherit the farm, why are you out adventuring? Or if you are a hermit in the woods who hates people, why are you adventuring? Give yourself a reason to be adventuring, and a reason to keep adventuring. If a bunch of goblins killed off your family and burned down your village, that’s probably a reason to start adventuring to get revenge and also a reason to continue adventuring after you get revenge because you don’t have a place to go back to. It doesn’t have to be that tragic, and with elves or other longer living races, you might adventure just to leave your mark on the world. But use your backstory as your opportunity to create a reason why you are adventuring and why you will continue adventuring with the adventuring party.

Image Source: Encounter Roleplay

Goals/Story Hooks for Your Character
Now, this is partially covered when you create your bonds as they can be things that is your characters goal, but work on adding in some goals and story hooks for your character that the DM is going to be able to use. It doesn’t mean that all of them will be used, but they are things that the DM can use if they want. In our example of wanting to get revenge on the goblins who killed your family, that’s a story hook that the DM can use. If you write that you’ve already taken care of the goblin in your backstory you’ve now closed off that part of your backstory and completed it already. The DM now can’t pull out your hate of goblins, give you the chance to track down the goblins and maybe have a change of heart about goblins as a whole. As a DM, I really appreciate those bits of mystery that people leave in their backstories. In the first season of Dungeons and Flagons, we had a great example of this as Ashley’s character was left somewhere as a young child and all she remembered from it was the stars in the sky. That gives me a ton to play with as a DM.

If you have, especially the first two added into your backstory, you are going to have a character that has a reason to go adventuring and a fun character to play. The last piece really allows you to be more a part of the story and have those story arcs that really focus in on you. If you are a player who wants to sit back and enjoy the story more, having less of those hooks is going to make it so you’re less involved.

Are there other backstory elements that make a good Dungeons and Dragons character? Have you done these while creating characters before?

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RPG – Epic or Small

RPG – Epic or Small

As I’ve been thinking about finding people to run a new D&D game with, I started thinking, what sort of scope do I want for my D&D game? Do I want to do another epic story like the first season of Dungeons and Flagons where…

Minis or the Mind?

Minis or the Mind?

There are two main ways that you can play Dungeons and Dragons, and they primarily resolve around combat. Do you do combat in theater of the mind or do you have a battle map with minis? There are some people that are going to prefer…

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 into a city knowing everything about it, even if I’m running the game. There are multiple reasons for this, from me not wanting to spend the time to giving the players more control over the shape and feel of the game. But you might want to lay out more of a city, if it’s very important to your game.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

When you start to build the city, first ask yourself, what is this city built around. In the case of D&D, most cities are going to spring up close to water for shipping purposes or along trade routes. That’s how most cities were founded in the real world for the large cities. You’re also going to have the smaller towns spring up along these trade routes. So, what is the primary good that’s being traded along this route? Is it going to be that there are a lot of different things coming down into a port city, so they have basically everything, or are you going to make this a city at the edge of a large forest that sends furs and wood down the river to a city along the coast with no trees?

To go along with trade, what significance does your city have in the realm that you are building. Is it a city that has a lord or lady ruling over it, but is under a king. Is it something that is near the border of two realms so it might be in a state of war more often than a city in the middle of a kingdom would be, though even in the middle, there could be land disputes around it. Or is it the seat of the king or queen of the realm and so it has that more heavily political atmosphere around it. Some of this will depend on the story you want to tell in the game, maybe you want the throne or politics to be further away from your game, if that’s the case, and you still want a city game, keep them away from the politicians and a long ways away from that.

Once you have an idea of the basics of your city, trade and political positioning,  you can move more into the finer details. You will want to consider the different aspects of the city such as crime, wealth, what sort of businesses are going to be common, what sort of education is there, what sort of power merchants have in the city, how common are temples, how much magic is there, and more. Now, that is daunting, so I tend to keep it pretty simple in my games.

Generally, I think it is good to know how much crime there is outside of thieve’s guilds or other sort of criminal organizations. A good criminal organization is going to keep other crime down so that they are able to operate more freely, and also to keep the law enforcement off of their back. An example of this would be John Marcone from the Dresden Files who keeps other gangs and criminal organizations out of Chicago. Yes, Marcone is not a good man and causes a lot of issues of his own, but he’s running a business of crime, and that is what a thieve’s guild would do in a city.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

The other big one is magic, how common is magic in the city, is it only tied to the temples, or are there shops set-up on street corners that are selling potions. There are going to be some cities that have more magic in them than others because of having a wizarding school or something of the sort in them. But you can also think about this on a grander scale as well. If you’re world is fairly low magic, you might then need to consider how special it would be if in a city you had magical items. That would have to be an extremely rich city, and most likely is going to have to be the seat of power for that realm. Or it could be that magic is mainly focused on those given by the divine, so clerics and paladins are accepted, but warlocks, wizards, and sorcerers might not be.

You can see how it is a bit daunting to completely build a city, so what are some things that you can do to make it easier on yourself.

You could have, as part of session 0, a brainstorming session with the players.  Together you can come up with what sort of city it is. There are several nice things about doing this or doing my next suggestion of asking players to help describe the city in game when needed. The reasons being that it takes pressure off of you to come up with everything for the city and it gives the players more ownership over the game and the city.

If you were to go with either brainstorming in session 0 or asking in game for help building the city, I’d consider having a few surprises. If you’ve listened to Dungeons And Flagons season 2, you’ll hear me asking for things, but there are certain things, like the underground city that had been there that they stumbled into that were meant to be surprises for the players. That will keep the world and city more interesting for the players when they realize that their characters might know the city well or at least parts of it well, but there are still surprises even for their characters that they didn’t realize were happening in the background.

The World of Dungeons and Flagons!

Another solution is to use an online resource. There are various things that will help you build your city, especially the layout of it and map it out for you that would be a lot of work otherwise. I haven’t used it much, but https://watabou.itch.io/medieval-fantasy-city-generator makes a beautiful city and you can tweak it as you need. It would help you get up and running faster. There are also more detailed articles on building cities out there, but if you’re trying to lesson your work load, using something to generate the map would be very helpful.

Finally, you can just build your city as you need it on demand. Quickly figure out if this is a big city or a small city. Will your characters run into the politics of the city, and how much magic there is. Then just build it as you go, if you need a docks section of the city for a session, spend time fleshing that out. Flesh it out only as you need it and you’ll have a fully planned out city eventually. That can keep some pressure off of you at the start, but you’ll eventually have to put the effort in.

How have you built cities before for an RPG? What’s worked well for you before or do you keep them out in the country and in dungeons so that you don’t have to build a city?


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The Death of a Bard

The Death of a Bard

The party rushes into a cavern. Red glowing eyes stare at them from the blackness and they stop quickly. The bard opens her mouth and begins to speak but is quickly cut off as the dragon reaches it’s long neck out and chomps down, swallowing…

Dungeons and Flagons Episode 14: The Lie and The Cheat

Dungeons and Flagons Episode 14: The Lie and The Cheat

Welcome back to season two of Dungeons and Flagons.   Von’thre and Nori find out that what they think is happening isn’t quite what it seems. Syldi on the other hand has to spend some time with the enemy. If you have questions for Nerdologists:…

Dungeons and Flagons Season 2 Episode 13: Sideways

Dungeons and Flagons Season 2 Episode 13: Sideways

Welcome back to season two of Dungeons and Flagons.

Image Source: Wizards

 

The best laid plans of Nori, Von’thre, and Syldi go sideways pretty quickly on them. What is the next twist and turn?


If you have questions for Nerdologists: Dungeons and Flagons emails them to nerdologists@gmail.com or find us on Facebook or Twitter! We’ll be doing a recap and Q&A every twenty-five episodes.


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Ashley – Nori the Mountain Dwarf Champion Fighter

Kristen (@Kefka73) – Syldi the Half-Elf Rogue Thief

Clint – Von’thre the High Elf Divination Wizard

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Peder (@TheScando)


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Dungeons and Flagons Season 2 Episode 10: So Where are We Again?

Dungeons and Flagons Season 2 Episode 10: So Where are We Again?

Welcome back to season two of Dungeons and Flagons. After making some shocking discoveries deep in the underground, our adventurers begin to wonder if they actually know there way back out of there. If you have questions for Nerdologists: Dungeons and Flagons emails them to…