Tag: Role Playing Game

GenCon Recap – The Con Games

GenCon Recap – The Con Games

Besides being a spot where a lot of new games are released, therea re also ticketed events that you can go to as well. In these, you can play board games, demo out new games, or play RPG’s. There’s never a shortage of things to…

Friday Night D&D – Things that Go Bump

Friday Night D&D – Things that Go Bump

I think that this idea can be used as a campaign or as a one shot, depending on what you want to do with it. When using iconic monsters like werewolves, vampires, and other classic monsters, you can always turn it into a one off…

D&D Alignment: True Neutral

D&D Alignment: True Neutral

The alignments are interesting because, in the middle you have this state of both being neutral on the good and evil axis and the law and chaos axis. And I don’t know that I have the greatest grasp on what this true neutral position is or that most people have that strong a grasp on it when I’ve heard it talked about.

The issue with true neutral is that it doesn’t give you something to grasp onto. With evil and good, you know those concepts, and between law and chaos, you know what those are as well. Neutral is the position is between those, but it doesn’t give you that easy thing to grab onto. The best starting point that I can come up with is talking about the druid.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

The reason for the druid is that as someone who gets their powers from nature, nature isn’t inherently good or evil. It has some chaos, but it also has an order placed on it from the food chain and survival of the fittest, but these aren’t laws with how humans place rules and order around themselves. So someone who is fully devoted to nature could find themselves in this middle ground where they don’t cling too strongly to anything, but they just see life, death, and survival as the cycle of things. This cycle is neither good or bad, but it is needed for the land to survive.

This is where you can get into issues with role playing in an adventuring group but also why you join an adventuring group. Some outside force is working on your land, whether it be a grove or the whole world. So the true neutral character would look at this one of two ways. Either, it wouldn’t get them to do anything, because it’s the natural order of things and survival of the fittest. If you develop a character like that, you aren’t really playing in the spirit of Dungeons and Dragons and need to come up with a reason why your character would care, or roll up a new character.

But that same thing can also be your hook into adventure. Some outside force is working to destroy the land, whether it be your grove or the whole world. Because it’s an outside force, that means that it isn’t a natural force. Your character now has a reason to go out adventuring to stop bad things from happening. Because it isn’t going to be survival of the fittest, it’s just going to be destruction and not from the natural order and chaos of things, but because someone has a plan to destroy it. This true neutral characters mindset wouldn’t be, in this case, to judge the person as bad, but instead to judge their actions as outside of the balance of things.

Image Source: D&D Beyong

This is the tension of the true neutral character. There’s a chance for them to be apathetic in what is happening in the game. So as a player, you need to really find those reasons, either because of the threat, or some other reason, that you’re out adventuring. For me, the easiest way that I’d do this would be to add in some relationship with another character or NPC that is a very strong bond for your character. By doing this, you’re going to always have a reason to go adventuring. And it give the DM something that they know they can motivate your character with as well. I personally like the idea of it being another player character that you’re connected to, because then it gives the true neutral character more of a reason to follow along and and adventure.

So, what classes work, again, I’ll start out with the disclaimer that really any D&D class is going to work for any alignment, you might have a few things that just make less sense. The ones that are going to have the strongest ties to True Neutral, I would say, would be Monk and Druid. However, another class that I think works well is a very tribal Barbarian. They are going to see everything as survival and not have the attachment to things that the more “civialized” characters might. Death, trials, and troubles are just going to be the natural way of things and neither good or bad. Harder to work in are going to be your Cleric and Paladin who naturally leaning towards more lawful or good.

Probably a wild card one that I think would be interesting would a rogue. Generally, you think of them as chaotic, but what about an assassin rogue who just does their job and they get money, but they dispatch the target with out any passion for it and they don’t judge whether the target is good or evil, they just take the job given. You can even give them a loose code, but not hard rules that they follow to keep them from being lawful It would be easy to stray into either chaotic or lawful with this character (as well as good or evil), but that could basically be the rule for the character. They will take any job (somewhat chaotic), but they need their payment and their details before they’ll take it (somewhat lawful), to keep them balanced in a neutral area.

True Neutral is definitely a tricky one for me to try and explain. It’s also going to be a trickier one to try and play, and in my experience is generally just a stopping off point for characters as they go to another alignment. It’s a decent spot to start a campaign for that reason as you figure out the character’s ticks and traits that will allow you to set-up their alignment.

Have you played a true neutral character? Did you find it easy to play or did you have to put a lot of work into it?

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D&D Alignments – Neutral Good

D&D Alignments – Neutral Good

Neutral is an interesting position to talk about when it comes to Dungeons and Dragons characters. I mainly have a harder time nailing down what I think it is and how you use it in role playing. I think, the best way that I can…

Building a D&D Player Character – 201

Building a D&D Player Character – 201

Alright, we’re going to take that character creation to the next level. The first level, 101, is the very basic that you need to do. I go into details in the post on what those three things are, but to recap:1. Make a character that…

D&D Campaign Building

D&D Campaign Building

I decided it was time to jump back into some D&D topics, and I wanted to try something a little bit different, instead of just dispensing advice, I wanted to go through the process of building out a campaign that I may (or may not) use in the future.

If I do use it, for potential players who might read it, things will be tweaked, so you can’t count on everything.

Image Source: Wizards

The First Question?

Do I build this as an epic adventure game or a smaller more focused game?
I wrote an article on this recently, and the basic idea, just to recap fast, is that some games take place over a whole continent or planet or even planets and planes. Think Lord of the Rings which was spread out over so much area. Other games focus on a much smaller area, think Dresden Files, sure there is a whole world, but it takes place in the Fae realms and Chicago, with minor excursions elsewhere, but that’s in the later books.

For this game, I want to try a smaller focused game that’s going to primarily take place in a trade port, I think. Or some trading hub. I don’t want it to be the biggest trading hub though, so probably something that is set off in a further province of a kingdom that sends something important out, versus bringing a ton into the town.

The advantage of having it be a town that size is that it’s still manageable and there are still going to be interesting characters and shops around. I think I want it to be that they are one of the spots that granite or some other type of fancy stone is sent out from in this world. Gold or any type of metal would draw too much attention, but something like granite would be something that the rich want, but wars aren’t always being fought over. But it’s still a good money making opportunity for people, because the granite will sell for a pretty penny.

Image Source: Wizards of the Coast

There’s another advantage to having it be something like a stone or a metal, and that is that you can have a wide variety of races around. Dwarves would be around to help mine. It’s a remote area so you’d likely have elves around. Gnomes often have an artisan sort of background, so they could be making trinkets and what not from the granite. But it most certainly gives you options. You’d have just background wise, sailors who would be transporting the granite on the river who might retire there. Soldiers and mercenaries who guard the granite. Artisans who sculpt but also artisans who write up the contracts and things like that. A town like this would have a heavy religious influence of probably a couple of gods. You’re remote enough that an outlander character could easily come wandering into town.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

Next question I’m going to ask, which is going to be the next article, is what about magic in this town. You can see how deciding on the scope of your game really allows you to decide on what is important to the story. And you can see some of my thought process to end up with a town that can basically be described as the following:

A remote trade town that provides most of the granite for the Kingdom of the Sevens.

I could certainly say more about it than that, which I did, but that gives me a starting place for my game. You could also see people starting with the big plot idea, but I have a few floating around in my head that I’ll come to eventually.

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TableTopTakes: Gloomhaven Part 3

TableTopTakes: Gloomhaven Part 3

I said that I was going to come back to Gloomhaven at some point in time, the first two parts were from when we had started playing the game, now we are a ways in, so I wanted to come back to it as the…

Dungeons and Flagons Episode 84: The Beholder

Dungeons and Flagons Episode 84: The Beholder

Finja, Nimrose, and Torin finally face off against the Beholder. What will happen to them?   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…

D&D Classing it Up: Barbarian

D&D Classing it Up: Barbarian

The Barbarian

When it comes to this class, think Conan the Barbarian. The loner or nomadic fighter who comes in and crushes everyone and everything when they fight. It’s also a bit like the Hulk. A Barbarian is the type of character who is going to end up acting before speaking and doing before thinking most of the time; often, people are going to shy away from them.

In Dungeons and Dragons, the stereotype for this class is the Half-Orc Barbarian who is taller and stronger than everyone else and really stands out. People give them a wide berth when they’re walking around town, and the adventuring party they’re part of would probably have a little bit of infamy because of having a half-orc in their party. We’ve had a Half-Orc Barbarian in one of our games before, in a session prior to Dungeons and Flagons. They were a chaotic evil character, which was interesting to work into the party. I think they bordered on not being completely evil — they would sometimes kill indiscriminately, but never went against their own party.

Image Source: Wizards

From a mechanical standpoint, the thing that stands out about Barbarians is their rage feature. They are obviously going to be strength-based fighters, and oftentimes aren’t the face of the group, but they become even more powerful in combat when they go into a frenzy and rage. That allows them to do extra damage and makes them a major wrecking machine in combat. It does present an interesting role-playing aspect to lean into as well. For example, how blind is the rage that they are going into? Does it have negative effects on the party if they get too out of control?

So, Why would a Barbarian join an adventuring group?

If you’re going chaotic neutral, it’s very possible that they would do it for money. They are in it for themselves, and they want to get money and loot out of the deal, which is why they stick around. It is also possible that they have been kicked out of their own clan for some reason. Maybe they weren’t violent enough; maybe they were too violent; maybe they learned to read? It would give them a reason not to go back somewhere, and since the adventuring group took them in, they wanted to stay with them. That provides more connection in some ways than the greedy character who wants enough money to retire nicely or to get solid gold armor so they can show it off to people.

Image Source: Youtube

What are some backstories that could be used?

Maybe your Barbarian was part of a raiding party that got captured when they tried to pillage a village. While the rest were killed in the party, she turned on her clan and started teaching the villages how to defend themselves from the rest of her clan. They in turn taught her to read, and she is a more mild-mannered Barbarian than most. However, one day something happens in the village and she gets blamed for it, whether it was her fault or not. Now she has to find somewhere to go, since she can’t stay in the village or go back to her tribe.

Or you could be a Barbarian who was a mercenary in a war, but now it’s peacetime. They didn’t know how to do much else, and started drifting from place to place, getting into bar fight after bar fight, and getting further and further into debt. Finally, an adventuring party came along with dreams of gold, but with a squishy Wizard and Rogue in the party, they needed someone to do their heavy lifting and someone who knew the Dwarven mines that they were going into, so to get out of town and get fighting again, the Barbarian signed on with the party.

Or maybe, growing up, your Barbarian lived in a peaceful society; however, he wasn’t as smart as the other people in his town. He was the one who was always getting into trouble. Not feeling at home in his own town, he decided to branch out on his own. It didn’t take long for him to come across a traveling troupe. Their strongman was getting older, and so he took the Barbarian under his wing and started teaching him how to be an entertainer. Eventually, the Barbarian took over as the strongman for the group and found out everything the group was actually up to.

Or possibly, you were party of a raiding party in a large-scale conflict between two kingdoms. You got separated from your party and spent a long time looking for them, but weren’t able to find them or learn what had happened to them. In fact, many things about where you are seem unfamiliar to you. Now you’ve latched onto a group that seems like they know what they are doing and might possibly be able to help you sort out where you are and where you came from.

One last scenario–perhaps your parents always knew you weren’t quite right in the head. As a kid you’d be the sweetest thing and then fly off the handle for no reason. As you grew up, you learned how to channel your anger more constructively, but one day, you flew into a rage and hurt one of your parents. They would have forgiven you, you know that, but you couldn’t let it happen again. Leaving home was the hardest thing you’ve ever done, but it was necessary. Now you try to control yourself, try not to lose yourself to rage in case you hurt someone else you care about. You were doing fairly well on your own, but now there are goblins coming together in the woods, and you had to tell someone, so you’ve signed on with a group that can hopefully help stop the oncoming war.

Would you play any of those Barbarian backstories? Have you played a Barbarian in a game before, and if so, how did you like it? What are some good things about being a Barbarian, and what are some bad things?

Dungeons and Flagons Episode 80: Back to Barbuga

Dungeons and Flagons Episode 80: Back to Barbuga

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. After defeating the eye of the beholder Nimrose and Finja know that the tower is…