Tag: rpg

Dungeons and Dragons: I Got That Magic In Me

Dungeons and Dragons: I Got That Magic In Me

So, it’s been a little while since I’ve written much about Dungeons and Dragons. But I did run a game not that long ago, and I got to thinking about all of the different types of magic in D&D and while I’ve talked about the…

Christmas Ideas – The Grab Bag

Christmas Ideas – The Grab Bag

Last list post, I considered doing a couple more for things like Sci-Fi and Anime, but there are so many specific things, like with Fantasy in both of those, that I thought, let’s wrap it up with a nerdy grab bag of ideas. This list…

Christmas Ideas: RPG’s

Christmas Ideas: RPG’s

So, I had thought of splitting it into two parts, one for the players and for the DM/GM. But that felt a little bit silly, and I want to encourage more players to become DM/GM’s, so if you have a player in your life who you think might be good or interested, these will be good ideas for them. But it’ll also have a lot of ideas for players as well.

Image Credit: The Geek Flag

Dice Set – Now, I am going to primarily suggest that you get the normal 7 dice set which has a D20, D12, D10, D10 Percentile, D8, D6, and D4. These are the most common, and for games like D&D and Pathfinder. If you play other systems, you need to look at what dice those games use. The Fantasy Flight Star Wars RPG and Genesys use specific dice that you can use normal dice for, but having a couple of sets of those dice make the game easier for everyone as well.

Dice Tray/Dice Tower – These are not something that you need for playing an RPG, but they can be useful. Both of them are basically something that can add for rolling dice. It’s nice if you have a wood table or something like that to use a dice tray as they are often padded so it makes rolling dice less noisy. It also keeps an enthusiastic roller from rolling them off of the table. A dice tower doesn’t make it any quieter, but it does the rolling for you. And it’s kind of fun to hear or see it bonk down the dice tower until it’s rolled.

The Core D&D Books – This is for someone who is getting into RPG’s and wants to run a game, the core D&D books are going to be great for getting them up and running. You get the Players Handbook, Monster Manual, and Dungeon Master’s Guide. That’s enough to run as many games of D&D as you want. It’s possible that they already have some of them, but you can buy them separately or as a bundle. If they don’t have them, the bundles sometimes have cool covers. I wouldn’t spring this on someone who hasn’t expressed any interest in DM’ing though, because they might feel like you’re pressuring them into DM’ing.

Image Source: Wizards of the Coast

Adventure Modules – Now, it might be that you have someone who likes D&D plays, as a player, fairly often, but is intimidated by running their own game from scratch. This is where you can use the adventure modules. The starter kit would be a great one to get them, but there are a lot of other adventures. Curse of Strahd is generally the best received one, and while I didn’t have the best time running it, I think that it is put together well and that my issue was more the group than it was the module itself. But you have a ton to choose from, so if you want dragons, you can get that, demons you can get that, or giants, that’s out there as well. This is where I’d encourage someone who likes D&D a lot to maybe thing about DM’ing by giving them an adventure module.

DM Screen – This one is definitely for the person who is the DM in you game, otherwise there’s no real need for it, but if they have a makeshift DM screen, get them an official one or a cool one off of Etsy. The basic one from Dungeons and Dragons/Wizards of the Coast is fine, and I have it and I like it, but there are some custom CNC cut wood ones that are amazing out there and if you want to bling out your game, a custom DM screen, some with built in dice towers, but those tend to be a bunch spendier.

Adventure Zone Comic Books – What, this isn’t an RPG, no, but it’s RPG related, and with all the RPG podcast information out there, and all the people who are doing them, even me for a while. But this takes one of the actual play podcasts that is extremely popular and turns it into a comic. Definitely good for someone who likes the podcast and got into D&D because of the podcast, or just loves the podcast. I’ve looked a little bit at the books, but the artwork is nice, and definitely looks like a fun time.

Legacy of Dragonholt – This is often put into an area between choose your own adventure and RPG and board game, but I think that it’d scratch the itch for people who like the ideas of RPG’s but aren’t ready to make the leap. The character creation is simple, the role playing piece is low in it, but it’s story driven, and you have a character that can do things. It works simply on you either being able to do something or not. It is also a game that can be played solo, so if there is someone in your life who doesn’t have a group or who can’t play as often as they would want, this would be a solid option as well, though, a serious min/maxing player will find this way to light.

There’s so much more out there. There are a lot of indie RPG’s that people can check out as well that give you more specific settings than fantasy. And I talked only about the basic Dungeons and Dragons books and adventures, but there are other books that add in more monsters, more character options and many other things. Overall, there is a ton out there for RPG’s right now, and it’s a hobby that is growing still, which is cool. If you have someone who you think might like an RPG, you can also just give the gift of running a game for them, maybe you have a relative who they are their friends want to try and RPG, but none of them want to run it, you can give the gift of running a few sessions.

What would you want for your pen and paper RPG collection? Is there something on the list that looks really cool?

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Friday Night D&D – Looking for Love in Eberron Places

Friday Night D&D – Looking for Love in Eberron Places

So I just picked up the Eberron source book for fifth edition. And I’ve been waiting for it for a while. With the games that @evilsanscarne and @Mundangerous have run or played in that they talk about on the @TPTCast (Total Party Thrill) podcast, I…

Silly vs Serious D&D

Silly vs Serious D&D

The forest quakes as the heavy footsteps of the dragon shakes the trees. The critters are running away from the flames of the dragons breath. The village, not too far away is raising the alarm with a clanging bell, but that seems to be drawing…

You, Me, and NPC – Building Interesting NPC’s in D&D

You, Me, and NPC – Building Interesting NPC’s in D&D

I’ve been busy with my top 100 list and Halloween for the past couple of weeks, so I haven’t written much about Dungeons and Dragons. Today I’m getting back to it and look at creating an NPC for Dungeons and Dragons.

This is a topic that I believe that I’ve touched on before, but I wanted to revisit it, because it’s been a while, and I think I wrote about it a bit more generally. Like I did with Greenfang and building out a town in Dungeons and Dragons, I want to go through the process of building out an NPC when I do it on my best days.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

So let’s start out with, what is an NPC? An NPC is a non-player character. The players at the table are playing the PCs (player characters), and the DM is controlling the rest of the characters whom they interact with, whether it’s a shop keep, a quest giver, a priestess, or the BBEG (big bad evil guy/gal) of the campaign. Anyone whom the players are going to interact with and hear what they have to say is an NPC.

What do you have NPCs in your game? I touched on this some already, but the big reason is that it helps flesh out your world. If you have interesting NPCs in your game, you are going to have a world that feels more real and it’ll make the stakes of the story seem like they have more meaningful consequences. If the BBEG kidnaps the daughter of the shop keeper who the players always shop with and have gotten to know his family, that has weight for the PC’s.

Do you need to flesh out all of your NPCs? Yes, and no. You never know who the players are going to decide to follow and make important, so it’s smart to have some idea, but it takes work to make a fully fleshed out NPC. So, no, not everyone needs to have a full backstory, only the ones who are important. And that might mean that you have to come up with some of it on the fly, but when you see who the players are interested and interacting with, you can flesh out that NPC between sessions. And if there is an NPC that is going to be important to the story, you can flesh them out ahead of time as well. It would be too much work to flesh out an NPC every time.

What do you need to plan for a fleshed out NPC in the moment? Alright, so your players decided that the shop keeper Weasel Bob was going to be important and their main spot to do business, because he seemed like he was cool. They start asking you what Weasel Bob looks like and if there’s anything interesting about him. The important things to get started in developing your fleshed out NPC in the moment are going to be something about their look and something that they do or is unique about them. And you don’t even have to do all of this.

You don’t? No, you can ask the players to help flesh out an NPC in the moment. If they make the decisions for that NPC, it’s going to create more of a connection to that NPC as well. If you even have a generic shop keep who runs a generic shop and the players ask what the NPC is named, you can ask them to give you a name and what they look like and probably end up with a pretty good Weasel Bob. That also helps you know when fleshing out the character, based off of what the players said in the session, how to create a Weasel Bob that they are going to enjoy.

This technique works well in the moment when you want to have a bar with a number of people in it or to create a few important people in the bar. Have every player at the table go around and tell you about one person or one table full in the bar. Soon you’ll have a lot of characters that you can bring back into the game later and use again to create that richer and more vibrant world. And it means that you don’t have to generate as much content on the fly, because the players are helping to populate your world with NPCs.

So, now we’ve created a bit of a character on the fly in Weasel Bob, he, like I did with Greenfang is going to be the character that I spend some time fleshing out in future articles so demonstrate how you can spend some time and build out interesting and more fulfilling NPC’s in your game. Hopefully there’s been some useful information to grab from the article thus far on why we use NPC’s in D&D and how you can start to generate more meaningful NPC’s on the fly.

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We Built this City in D&D – Greenfang – Getting Criminal

We Built this City in D&D – Greenfang – Getting Criminal

We’ve already talked what Greenfang is known for and why it was built where it was. We’ve talked about how the merchant guilds run the show around Greenfang and how they have mercenaries to keep the peace, but how well do they really keep the…

We Built This City in D&D – Greenfang – Take Me to Church

We Built This City in D&D – Greenfang – Take Me to Church

Alright, time to wrap up the city build, there is so much more that I could talk about, there is actually building out shops and places like that, but I wanted to keep this at a slightly higher level since you don’t need to see…

We Built this City in D&D – Greenfang

We Built this City in D&D – Greenfang

Alright, I was going to write something board game related today or talk about the book that I just finished, but I wanted to get back to writing about and building out my city for D&D because D&D is really on my brain. And it isn’t something that I’ve done before, spending the time to build out the city.
So let’s talk about the thing that I said was needed first, and that was a name. And the cities name is Greenfang.

Alright, the article is done, you can all go home now.

No, let’s talk a bit more about it and start to talk about where and what this city is.

Greenfang, as a name, doesn’t imply this big sprawling metropolis with a lot of rich people who want a nice and comfortable life. I would put, and I think for the city, it out into the wilderness. Probably deep in the woods on a river. The reason that there’s a city there is a little bit limited. Greenfang is probably other a hub of trade, meaning that it has several different trade routes going into and out of it, or it’s a logging community that then sends everything down the river, or both.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

For my city, Greenfang was a small trading post, but things changed when ore was found in one of the nearby mountains. Now, dwarves trade ore from the mountains with humans and elves and whomever is willing to buy. While shipping the ore down the river worked to reach some of their potential customers, other peddlers and the like started creating roads through the woods, and more powerful merchant guilds from neighboring lands have hired mercenaries to watch the forest routes. The forest routes are the most dangerous, but players want the ore and the armor/weapons that the dwarves are forging.

Greenfang, since it wasn’t much of a town until there was ore, so the name hasn’t been made fancy, and it’s probably more of a rough and tumble town. And it’s probably something where the city has spread out into the forest and to both sides of the river. I think that it’s more of a sprawling city, versus something that gets built up with tall buildings. These buildings are a bit more rustic and rough looking, most of them wood buildings with a few of the larger buildings being a combination of stone and wood, but there are no pure stone buildings or any buildings that stand more than two levels in height.

You can see what the name is able to imply. I’ll dig into some of the ideas that I’ve talked about here and how they are going to continue to to shape the idea for the city in the next article. In fact, the next article is going to dig into the trade aspect to see how the city might be set-up and spread out and how a city building up because of ore will look differently than other cities.

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We Built This City in D&D – Greenfang – Economy/Politics

We Built This City in D&D – Greenfang – Economy/Politics

Oh boy, we’re talking about everyone’s hot button issue, the economy and it’s best friend politics. Fortunately, it’s the economy of a fictional D&D town, so that should be less of a sticking point and how it’s important for creating your fictional city and make…