Tag: Wizards of the Coast

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. Gnomes, as you can guess, are very small. They are between 3-4′ tall and because of […]

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.

Image Source: Wizards

In this game the different planes, fire, earth, prime material, hell, abyss, fey wild, and everything else, they are all being beset upon by an outside force, a massive massive outside force that is probably controlling one or some of them already and having them branch out against the others.

So in this game you pick different realms, probably fey wild, Sword Coast, Eberron, and whatever else you want and you start playing games in each of them where there are forces, maybe the elemental plane of fire and the abyss have been overrun by whatever this great force is, some evil deity most likely, that is bending them to their will. Have the players then deal with the threats showing up in their worlds.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

Build this story up for some time that something is wrong in the abyss or the plane of fire, but don’t really let on that there is a big bad guy, think that it’s something smaller that is causing the unrest. Eventually have this dark force and their own army also show up in the realm. And here is where you might want to have one combined game for all the groups to spring the big reveal on them. Have this force s how up on all of their planes, and they all get transported to some pocket dimension or something like that where this being is controlling everything from. Then have there be a prophecy, but not one of those impossibly vague prophecies, but something something as specific that they basically have to find the pieces of Voltron or some god killing weapon, or even Dragon Balls.

Then you split back up and make the games take similar paths, but searching for this thing in their own realm. And they shouldn’t really be able to interact with the other realms. Once each group has found their piece of the weapon, come back to together for a final epic battle.

I’d really recommend doing a set piece for this epic battle. As I think having loads of monsters around that the players aren’t really fighting, but are kind of set dressing, but there should be some generals that each group of players need to take out to fight their way to the evil deity. Then some players are going to have to do a challenge to get the weapon assembled while the others are fighting off all sorts of monsters. The big thing is that they can’t do damage to this deity without the weapon and the weapon is a one shot kill. So once they’ve gotten the weapon assembled, and you can do some interesting things with that, like them having to cast spells, deal with things in their minds that the deity might be doing to them, more than just roll a dexterity tinkering check. The other players can then be fighting off hordes and hordes of monsters, and make it cinematic and let them hit more than one thing with a swing, so minion type monsters that just pop, but also can pack a punch if they actually get to attack.

Then once the weapon is ready, take your DM control back, and basically narrate what happens. I wouldn’t let it kill the deity, something that kills a deity besides another deity is too powerful, but it could banish him to a prison dimension, where he had been banished before, but had escaped from, or had been banished for a million years. The weapon should fall apart and Dragon Ball it out of there in it’s separate parts.

That’s where the campaign ends. I would pitch this when you are starting out in sessions zeros as an epic game that is going to be fought for the fate of all the planes. Hopefully every group will be in on the game, but really lean into that this is going to be bigger and more epic than other games. Also, with that, really let the players be heroes. As a DM, you should try and avoid having characters die in this game. Also, try and limit plane hopping, I’d maybe allow conversation to happen after that mid point of the game, but traveling between planes might be locked down by either the evil deity, or by good deities to prevent the spread of the evil deity. Definitely make this game big, and I also wouldn’t make this game all that long. Power level your characters up, getting them to the mid levels by the mid point of the game, and then let them have level 20 for the epic fight, But this game doesn’t have a ton of variety, so having them level up fast, almost as chosen ones, would make the characters seem really powerful.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

I also know that I said, don’t kill off the characters die in this game. The last session, that is out the window. If a character actually die dies, that’s fine, that’s the epic end, in fact, there should be a chance that everyone dies. At level 20, if it seems too easy, have plans to bump up monsters, add in different tougher monsters, add in lair effects and other hazards for the players, make it difficult on them, make them use up resources to get to the final skill challenge, and make them use resources there. Maybe the weapon needs some magic items put into it to power it, make them spend stuff that they’ve got. Maybe they need to load some spell slots into it, take away resources, and make them spend resources to get there, this should be tough. I’d give the deity a way to interact with them throughout the whole battle, so they might be fighting the deity’s generals, but the deity is also causing them problems with large area effect spells and stuff like that, make it work for what you need, even if it “breaks” the D&D rules.

So what do you think of this game? Do you think it could be cool to run something this epic, or is it too simple and combat focused?

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Welcome to the Dungeon! – Why Use a Dungeon?

Welcome to the Dungeon! – Why Use a Dungeon?

Let’s go back to the beginning where we talked about what a dungeon in Dungeons and Dragons is.. A dungeon in Dungeons and Dragons is normally seen as a festering hole in the ground, like you’d end up with in classic games. Instead it really […]

Welcome to the Dungeons! – Riddle Me This

Welcome to the Dungeons! – Riddle Me This

We’ve had some traps in our dungeons, we’ve got monsters wandering around and patrolling, but what about puzzles. It’s fairly iconic as we get in Lord of the Rings Gandalf puzzling out which direction to go in the Mines of Moria, and also sitting outside […]

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 would want to do, the players are clearly going to be the hero of the game or if it’s an evil campaign the villains of the game. But they had one idea that I want to run with more, and that I think could be an interesting game that would allow the players to still be the heroes of the game, while dealing with a chosen one hero who is going to save the day in the end.

Image Source: Encounter Roleplay

Long ago in this game world, there was a prophecy of a chosen one who would defeat the mighty Zorlack, an evil deity from another realm. The hero would be born under a blood moon when the faeries sang their mid summer song and they would be born with the sign of the lioness on their right shoulder.

A couple of thousands of years have passed, and you are not that hero, but you know who the hero is. They are a big pain in everyone’s arse, because while they might be the way to defeat Zorlack, they’ve almost died ten times in the year from silly little problems like getting shot by a single arrow from a goblin, stepping off the edge of a cliff and falling 10 feet, because they wanted to get a better view, swallowing some bird poop from a bird flying overhead that they wanted to look at. They are not the hero that everyone was expecting.

Image Source: Wizards of the Coast

Now, the signs for Zorlack’s return are starting to be fulfilled and you, a scrappy band of adventurers have your hands full dealing with this impending doom. But your life has become more complicated than just the monsters that you’re starting to deal with. There was more to the prophecy, and you’ve been tasked to help deal with the rest of the prophecy.

This is where the game really begins. I don’t see this is a massively long campaign, but it’s going to be a goofy campaign. To start, I think I’d have the players do a few fetch quests to get a few items that the hero is going to need to defeat Zorlack. I think that it makes sense that they are all pieces of an epic weapon that only the hero will be able to wield, somehow. With that, you can introduce Zorlack’s minions, some sort of small monster who are going to be a bother in numbers, but pretty easy to kill.

From there, I’d make the players have to fight their way to the remote monastery where the hero is being kept to keep them protected. This should be a pain in the butt for the adventuring party, dealing with wild creatures, fighting more minions of Zorlack, and probably dealing with some crazy weather. And when the players meet the hero, they are going to find that the hero is whiny, self-entitled, and basically a level 0 character that the players are now going to have to protect on the next fetch quest. But they need the hero to be able to get the weapon together. All the time they are doing this, I would have the hero almost die over and over again, if you have a cleric with revivify, definitely actually have the hero die a few times and have the party have to save them. But do it in absurd goofy ways so that the players don’t feel like you’ve added a complication to them, because it’s so absurd.

Eventually once they’ve collected all the pieces, there’s probably going to be a last part of the prophecy, where only a certain dwarf will be able to forge the weapon by heating it from the lava flows of a volcano. Again, making the players lives more annoying, but probably drop off the hero in one of the large cities at that point to keep him safe. Once the weapon is back together and delivered to the hero, now it’s time to ride into the massive storm that is the battle of the human, dwarf, and elf armies that are holding back the now massive hordes of minions to get to where Zorlack is so that the hero can destroy or banish Zorlack. Don’t have the players really take much part in the battle as the armies will clear a path for them, they’ll just have to deal with a few bands of minions, which should be easy.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

Eventually they’ll finally face off against Zorlack who should be either tiny or the most over the top villain of all time, like those from 80’s cartoons. And I don’t think I’d even have the final battle be a normal battle. Borrow from something like The Devil Went Down to Georgia or Guardian’s of the Galaxy. Have it be a competition of some sort, and something that the players can help with, probably by either performing with the hero, rigging it so that Zorlack does worse, and the hero does better, whatever the rules are for the actual final battle.

In this game, I’d also be adding is something heralding with Zorlack actually shows up. Like a light in the sky that is getting closer, or something that is incredibly stupid, 80’s, and metal.

I’m definitely thinking that this game gets some of it’s styling for making everything over the top from 80’s hair metal bands, He-Man, Heavy Metal/Heavy Metal 2000. Really taking those 80’s sci-fi/future things and twisting them for a fantasy setting. Maybe Zorlack doesn’t end up being a deity, but a super powerful alien that this more primitive world would see as being almost god like powers.

Compared to some of my other ideas, this one is clearly the most silly. But sometime you want silly games with geysers of flame going off as Zorlack’s Minions are chanting the lyrics to We Will Rock You by Queen.

What do you think of this idea? Do you like to prefer in a more serious game or a sillier game?

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Welcome to the Dungeon! – It’s a Trap

Welcome to the Dungeon! – It’s a Trap

Going slightly out of order of what I wrote in the first post about dungeons, but I think this one is useful to talk about early on because it is often a big factor with an ecosystem. Traps are something that I haven’t used in […]

Dungeons and Dragons Character Races: Humans

Dungeons and Dragons Character Races: Humans

This is going to be a shorter article I think. Humans in Dungeons and Dragons and fantasy in general are going to be a little bit more basic because they can be anything and there isn’t some defining trait. They don’t love an extremely long […]

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 living together with random traps thrown in, in a way that would kill the monsters if they actually had left their rooms where apparently they had an infinite supply of food and water.

Image Source: Wizards

So instead you have to plan out your dungeon to make sense. Though, there is an easy way to make an old school dungeon, and that’s with four simple words: “A wizard did it.”. That will get you out of jail free when your dungeon doesn’t make sense. But that only works in some situations. A lot of the time you’re going to be building a dungeon for a specific reason. Maybe it’s an old abandoned temple that is hidden away in the jungle. Having ice monsters in there isn’t going to make sense. You’re going to want to have something like Yuan-ti in there, and they can be bossing around another race. Or maybe it’s in a volcano, well, then fire elementals are probably going to play a big roll in the dungeon.

But it could be boring to just have one type of monster in the dungeon, and I agree with that. If I was playing in a dungeon, I wouldn’t want to run into a fire elemental in one room, then two in the next room, and one after that, then an empty room, and so on and so forth until I reached my goal.

Instead, start by thinking about if there is a big bad in your dungeon? Is there a boss monster that your players are going to have to fight? If there is, who is that guy, is it a demon? Is it a Mind Flayer? Is it a mad wizard? All of those are going to have a different group of monsters working for them. You might, for example, run into lesser demons or even weaker creatures like goblins that the demon has conscripted to guard the upper levels. Then maybe the further in you go, you run across a demon who is in charge of the goblins and imps who is a mid point battle. From there on, you face a mixture of demons of various powers and a few goblins thrown in until you finally face the big boss demon at the end of the dungeon who is most likely doing some evil plot when you get there so you have to stop them from being able to do it.

Image Source: Troll And Toad

Another example with the mind flayer, you’d be looking at Underdark creatures, such as Duegar and Drow who would be being controlled by the mind flayer. You might even run into a band of Githyanki or Githzerai who might want to stop the mind flayer as well, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be an encounter, just might not be combat. Eventually you’ll probably have a situation where you have to sneak around a bunch of mind flayers to get to the elder brain or the main mind flayer leading the charge to disband the other group. But since this is the underdark, which is almost a dungeon onto itself, you can also use natural monsters down there. Various oozes and slimes might be clinging to the wall. A cloaker might be off in the shadows waiting for the next unsuspecting drow or adventuring party to come by.

You can start to see how you can build out a dungeon that really has a theme and feel to it. In fact, that’s one good way to start with a mad wizard dungeon, what sort of theme would they have put in it. Maybe they have it elemental themed and each floor has a different type of elemental in it and the traps are built so that they aren’t an issue to the elemental type on that floor.

But there are also some dungeons that don’t have a big boss in them, or if they do, it isn’t because someone has set this up. The examples above, all of them are probably something that’s been tailored to the group in them. But what happens in the example of the abandoned temple? There isn’t some big bad Yuan-ti in there who set this up to be great for snake people? It was most likely a human or Elven temple from a long time ago. So you have to start to think about how they are going to be using the place. Maybe they’ve only cleared the first few levels of the dungeons because the traps later on are just too nasty. So you’re going to have to deal with them early, but eventually the dungeon will be “safer” or less monster filled, until maybe you get past those really bad traps.

In the example above, it’s possible that the ecology even changes part way through. Maybe the original owners of the temple left some construct monsters further down. Or maybe something is also coming up from the bottom (or down from the top) of the dungeon. Or maybe instead of constructs, there are a group of Drow who are using it for some dark ritual, but it’s easier for you to get to them by going down through the temple, through the Yuan-ti, through the traps, as compared to searching the underdark with it’s dangers and maybe finding what you’re looking for in time.

Image Source: Wizards of the Coast

Hopefully it’s starting to make sense how you can use a dungeon in your game and have it be a part of a bigger story of the world and of your game. By having a more tightly built dungeon you don’t have to have it be a random wizard, but you can tailor it specifically to the spot in your world that you want the dungeon to be and build it to a specific theme, monster, or boss, whatever your game needs.

Have you made a dungeon with a really cool theme or some really cool monsters? Tell us about them in the comments below.

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Dungeons and Dragons Character Races – Dwarves

Dungeons and Dragons Character Races – Dwarves

Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work we go… We all know about dwarves from such classics as Snow White and more so Lord of the Rings. Really, Lord of the Rings is the basis for so much of Dungeons and Dragons, because it […]