Tag: Dungeons & Dragons

Friday Night D&D – The “Heroes” Journey

Friday Night D&D – The “Heroes” Journey

This is another idea that I started formulating while watching a GM 9-1-1 video from Nerdarchy. The question that was asked there was how the GM could create a game where someone else was the hero of the game. Normally this isn’t something that I […]

Welcome to the Dungeon! – Who is in your Dungeon?

Welcome to the Dungeon! – Who is in your Dungeon?

Next thing we’re going to look at with your dungeon is to look at the ecology of your dungeon. I talked about it a little bit in the what is your dungeon, but it used to be that dungeons would have all sorts of monsters […]

Welcome to the Dungeon! – What is a Dungeon?

Welcome to the Dungeon! – What is a Dungeon?

Wait, there was a Dungeons and Dragons post yesterday, and there will probably be a Friday Night Dungeons and Dragons post tomorrow, so even more Dungeons and Dragons?

Yes!

Image Source: D&D Beyond

I wanted to talk about one half of Dungeons and Dragons, and that is the dungeon. I haven’t talked about dragons yet either, but that will be some time later. Instead, I wanted to talk about how you can build interesting dungeons in your D&D game if you want to use them. Dungeons aren’t something that I use that often, or at least what would be considered a dungeon traditionally.

So let’s define what a “dungeon” is for the sake of this article.

A Dungeon is any sort of building or location where the players need to get through it by progressing forward, either to a goal or an exit.

So that might seem wrong to you, you’re thinking of some labyrinth hidden deep under the ground in some remote area that has been long forgotten. That certainly is a dungeon, but a mad wizards tower climbing high into the air is a dungeon. A Minotaur’s labyrinth is also a dungeon. It could be the ruins of a city on the surface, or a druids grove that they’ve grown up to protect them.

All of these options really do want you to move forward or are likely to have something that you want at the end. You’re going to have to fight through monsters and deal with traps.

Let’s also talk some about what dungeons aren’t?

Dungeons aren’t a static thing. The old school dungeon was a collection of monsters and traps thrown together to create a challenge for the players. You’d have an orc in one room, a bugbear and some goblins in another room, a handful of drow the level down in the dungeon with a bunch of random traps and puzzles thrown in the middle of them.

Instead, Dungeons are living locations. While the current inhabitants might not be the original builders of the Dungeon, there is going to be a reason for the monsters to be there. Maybe there are goblins living on the upper levels, and some drow on the bottom levels of the dungeon, but they aren’t going to be living in rooms next to each other, they’d have killed each other. So maybe they would split up floors of a dungeon, leaving buffers between them. The same way, it’s going to have traps or puzzles, have the monsters figured out how to deal with them, or do they just avoid the section that has managed to squish members of the goblin tribe, so it makes where the trap is obvious to adventurers?

Image Source: D&D Beyond

Dungeons also aren’t there for no reason. Someone has built them, so they are going to have had an original purpose, which might be the same purpose as of now, but there was a reason. So there also has to be a reason why it is like it is now. But if you’re going to put a random wizard tower deep into the forest, there are going to be stories and legends about this place and a reason the wizard put it there for a reason.

So now that we’re all on the same page as to what a Dungeon is, let’s talk about what is going to come up after this?

Image Source: Wizards

We’re going to talk about the ecosystem of your dungeon and why that matters.

We’re going to talk about using puzzles in your dungeon and what that might do to a dungeon.

We’re going to talk about how traps work, and how you avoid bogging down your dungeon with traps.

We’re going to talk about why you’d use a dungeon in your game.

So join me in those upcoming articles as you think about building a dungeon for your game of Dungeons and Dragons.

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

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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 […]

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.   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 […]

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 lot of people would use if they were going to play a Wizard. A Wizard has learned magic and has likely studied somewhere for it.

Image Source: Wizards

There are plenty of other classes though that could use the background, they give you a number of areas that you could have studied, but being a Dwarven metal work professor would be out of the ordinary and go against the normal teaching options that they give, or area of study options. It’s also a background that people will use to play a smarty pants character who is condescending or thinks they know more than everyone else, because they might actually  know more than most people. I’d say if you are going to go that route, be aware of two things, make sure that if you are going to be condescending in the game, have it be clearly between characters so it doesn’t seem like it might be above the table and directed at a player. Secondly, consider it being a character arc, maybe this is your characters first adventure and they think they know everything and don’t really need others to make decisions but then as the game progresses, they can come to the realization that they need others, and that book smarts are not the same as street smarts.

Beyond that, I do think that there are two main reasons that people go with this background. It gets two nice features in the Researcher, which means if you don’t know the answer, you know where to find it. Very powerful in a game, especially a city game where you can always go and research. That means that you are going to probably be able to find that information pretty quickly and without much travel. The other being that you get two languages. Might not seem like that big of a deal, but if you are in a port or if you are going to travel a lot in the game, you are going to run into races and places where they might not speak common, or at least will drop out of common when they are going to talk about you.

Now for some story ideas using the sage background:

Image Source: D&D Beyond


You grew up on the rough side of the city and it was your goal to get away from that. When you were a teen, you ran away from home and found yourself on the doorstep of a temple in the nicer neighborhoods. Pretending that you weren’t from around the city and that you had been mugged wasn’t that difficult when you had nothing your whole life. The temple believed me, or if not took pity on me and took me in. They started training me, and gave me shelter and food. As part of our agreement, I was going to work for them and pay back, in work, what I had been given. I got a job in the city library as a librarian, turns out it was run by the temple. After I paid off my debt, I continued to work there and get more training through the temple, then one day, some people who I had known as kids came in before hours and killed a guest from out of town who had gotten special permissions to come in early. They were caught, but they implicated you in the crime, that you had let them in. You were kicked out of your job, but the head of the temple believed you. Now you have to track down who actually called in this hit and clear your name.

Class: Cleric
Alignment: Chaotic Good


Your time in the university was fascinating and you got a great love for people, races, and creatures out of it. In fact, you got so much love for them that you decided to leave any chance at a easy job or well paying job at the university to go out and research some of them. Finding a tribe to follow around and study wasn’t too difficult, but getting close to them and really learning about them was very difficult. The tribe of orcs didn’t let you in easily, but once they were used to you, they opened up. After spending years with them, you were starting to truly understand them like no one had before and they were teaching you their ways. Then a plague hit their village, but it didn’t affect you. You watched as those you had known died around you and you felt powerless to stop it. When the chief became ill, he asked you to help save what was left of his village, because they couldn’t seem to get away from the plague. You took off with a handful of hunters and those who had dealt with society before. Then you met a strange woman in the woods and she offered to help. You needed to save them, so you agreed to go with her, but when you saw her place, you quickly realized she was likely the cause of the plague. Calling her on that, she fled, and while a small bit of the tribe was saved because she left, you want to hunt her down and keep her from experimenting on others.

Class: Barbarian
Alignment: Lawful Neutral
Notes: This one I like because you are playing the dummies of the D&D world with a barbarian, but it’s something that you learned after you were a sage, so it makes a very uniquely flavored character.

Image Source: D&D Beyond


Your family was poor and life was hard for you and your six siblings. Your parents had trouble keeping food on the table. When you were a young teen you told your parents that you’d drop out of school to go out and work at a farm to help make ends meet and to keep everyone fed, but they told you they wouldn’t let you throw away your chance at a better life. That night, you made up your mind, you didn’t want to work on a farm, but you didn’t want to be a burden to your parents and not help. Packing the little that you had, you snuck out of the house and made your way down the road for a week where you knew a wizard lived in a tower. You’d heard stories about them and how they sometimes used an apprentice. You knocked on the door and introduced yourself. It took some begging and testing to get the position. It didn’t make you much money, but you sent, anonymously, the little that you made home to your parents. It wasn’t until you had studied more under the wizard that you realized they were not a good person. They started to do experiments on you and run you through the ringer. One night a voice came to you offering to help and get you away, you took the chance and escaped. You went into hiding for almost a decade before the voice came back to you and told you that your parents had sold  your youngest sibling to the wizard and that it was time for you to act.

Class: Warlock
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral/Chaotic Good


Less backstories than normal, but some longer ones than normal. I hope that you’ve enjoyed them. There are three more backgrounds left to do after this.

Have you played someone with a sage background? Why did you choose that background and what was your backstory?

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

Email us at nerdologists@gmail.com
Follow us on Twitter at @NerdologistCast
Message me directly on Twitter at @TheScando
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D&D Background: Noble

D&D Background: Noble

A lot of RPG characters and D&D characters seem to come from humble backgrounds and work their way up into a more favorable position by gaining money and fame from their adventuring. But what if it’s the other way? What if adventuring is a step […]

Dungeons and Flagons Season 2 Episode 9: Under the City

Dungeons and Flagons Season 2 Episode 9: Under the City

Welcome back to season two of Dungeons and Flagons. Resting after their nearly fatal encounter with the drow, Von’thre, Nori, and Syldi decide to use the tunnels that Von’thre had found out about to see if they could track down the drow and their way […]

Dungeons and Flagons Season 2 Episode 8: Getting Chippy

Dungeons and Flagons Season 2 Episode 8: Getting Chippy

Welcome back to season two of Dungeons and Flagons.

Image Source: Wizards

When things seem to be at their worst, can they figure a way out? Von’thre, Syldi, and Nori find themselves in a rocky situation that they need to find their way out of.


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.


Our players are:

Ashley – Nori the Mountain Dwarf Champion Fighter

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

Clint – Von’thre the High Elf Divination Wizard

The DM:

Peder (@TheScando)


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Dungeons and Flagons Season 2 Episode 7: Let There Be Tentacles

Dungeons and Flagons Season 2 Episode 7: Let There Be Tentacles

Welcome back to season two of Dungeons and Flagons. How did the crate fall onto Nori and Syldi, that’s what we find out in this weeks adventure of Dungeons and Flagons. Also, Tentacles? If you have questions for Nerdologists: Dungeons and Flagons emails them to […]