Tag: Wizards of the Coast

Dungeons and Dragons Online

Dungeons and Dragons Online

Kind of continuing the midst of physical distancing that we have going on all around the world, I want to keep talking about ways that we can still socially be close and possibly some ways to even grow the nerd community around you. I wrote…

Dungeons and Dragons: Birthright

Dungeons and Dragons: Birthright

I’ve talked about a lot of games that are about that epic adventure for a small group of characters. Birthright is about epic things, but not on that smaller level. Birthright is about great leaders going to battle against other nations, probably with other world…

Dungeons and Dragons: Greyhawk

Dungeons and Dragons: Greyhawk

Time to get back to talking abut a little bit of D&D, this time looking at the campaign setting of Greyhawk. This setting is a Gygax original creation that just started out as a simple dungeon under a castle, grew into having a nearby town, of Greyhawk, and eventually a whole world. While some of the worlds were created fully formed, Eberron for example, Greyhawk is an example of how I think you should homebrew a world, start small and grow it as you need to.

Image Source: Wizards of the Coast

Greyhawk is a traditional fantasy style world and, as I said, possibly one of the original worlds for Dungeons and Dragons. It has the elements of spell casting while focusing on a war style of game. But in order to differentiate itself from war games, there was the role playing element added to it, and it was a dungeon, an early dungeon crawler, that eventually ended up in having a 13 floor dungeon in which players battled their way through traps, monsters, found secret passages and eventually made their way down to a slide in the 13th floor which would take them back to the outside. Then Gygax stepped aside and let someone else run a game in Greyhawk and working with that DM, eventually the dungeon under the old castle Greyhawk reached 50 levels.

If you’re following along with the Dungeons and Dragons source books for 5th Edition, you’ll have heard of the book Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes or heard of the spell Bigby’s Hand. These are characters who were created and played in this Greyhawk setting, so, beyond them, a lot of interesting characters who have continued to shape the worlds of Dungeons and Dragons came into being.

Greyhawk as a setting for playing it, again it’s going to be that more traditional setting. I’d probably say it’s somewhere between Sword and Sorcery and High Fantasy setting, but it is fairly Forgotten Realms before Forgotten Realms was a thing. If you wanted to start out as nobodies to eventually become a hero, you would play a game in Greyhawk. The one difference is as an older setting it’s going to be filled with dungeon crawling experiences. Yes, you might end up exploring the lands, but it’s a setting where you’ll go from a dungeon to a dungeon more than you would in the Forgotten Realms.

Image Source: Wizards of the Coast

Would I play in this world? Probably not, again, because we have Forgotten Realms now. If someone suggested a game in this world and wanted to adapt it for 5th Edition, I guess I would, but there isn’t a massive reason to do that as Forgotten Realms can do the same thing. It is a good setting if you wanted to adapt a dungeon delve. Like I was saying at the beginning of the article, there is a dungeon under the old castle Greyhawk that goes down 50 levels. So if you and your group want to turn that into something for 5th Edition, it’s sitting out there ready to get taken on, it’ll just take time to convert it.

How about you? Would you play as a PC or run a game as a DM in Greyhawk? Is there anything unique that I should have pointed out?

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Dungeons and Dragons: Dragonlance

Dungeons and Dragons: Dragonlance

Back into Dungeons and Dragons settings with Dragonlance. This one is probably best known for the D&D books that came out around it, though it is one of the oldest settings for D&D. Dragonlance falls into that more classic fantasy flavor, which makes sense for…

Dungeons and Dragons: A Great Experience

Dungeons and Dragons: A Great Experience

One of the parts of Dungeons and Dragons that people really love is leveling up their characters. You get more cool things that you can do almost every level or new spells you can use or even improved stats so that you can hit harder.…

Dungeons and Dragons: High vs Low Magic as a Player

Dungeons and Dragons: High vs Low Magic as a Player

I’ve previously posted about this (You can find it here), but that was from more of a world building aspect, if you’re playing in a game of Dungeons and Dragons, and your character is magical how does that affect how you might role play your character in the game?

Quick refresher, high magic means that magic is common and is used for common tasks or that towns will often have a healer or someone who can cast some spells. When people see you cast a spell they won’t want to either worship you or burn you as a witch. Low magic means that magic is rare. If you can do magic, you might be revered or you might be seen as an abomination that should be killed.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about how it can affect how you role play in a game.

I think if you’re a magic user in a high magic world, you aren’t going to be set apart at a lower level. A spell like mend or cure wounds, your small towns are probably going to have someone who can do those things. People are just going to see that as normal and it won’t be until you start casting higher level spells that you’ll be considered special. In game, I would use that a motivation for a character, you want to be the best smartest wizard, most powerful sorcerer, or devout cleric. It gives a reason for a character to go off adventuring from their small town where they might be able to live a good life, but they want more because they’ve heard of that powerful and revered wizard who now consults for nations and can travel to other planes of existence, you want to be like that. Or maybe you have a rival who is just slightly better than you.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

You can also, since magic is common, take some role playing queues from maybe you are just common and not needed in your town. You can almost be kicked out to go find a small town where your skills are needed or maybe you’re just not as good yet, as the person in town, so they want you to take over as being the towns healer, but they send you away to get more experience first. So instead of leaving to make a name, you might be leaving to adventure so that you can come back home. I like this one because it can give you a nice hook for adventuring and gives the DM something to play with.

Let’s look at the flip side of this, what if there is very little magic in the world, how do you role play that?

Firstly, there’s always getting kicked out of your town because you’re a witch or needing to flee, especially if it isn’t a holy magic. So any class that isn’t Cleric or Paladin could be seen as being some sort of abomination. And if you’re a Warlock, maybe your pact actually is with a demon. But, how can you use that to role play. You might be out to prove that you are in fact great. Or prove that your town should have kept you around because some day they might need you. This is a very chaotic and potentially neutral or even possible for an evil character. And, again I like it for a hook as a DM, at some point in time, when you have the power to stop something to happening, I’d force you to make a decision, do you go back to your home town to save them or do you let them burn because they kicked you out? If you still have family there, did they kick you out or was it the town, do you need to still save them?

Image Source: D&D Beyond

Or, on the other hand, you might be almost revered. Does that make your character pompous because they can do something else that others can’t and everyone loves them for it? Will they hold that over everyone? I can see a couple of backstory hooks, one where the town sends out the person to save them from some impending doom because you are the best person for it in the town and you must be able to save them because you have magic. But what happens if you can’t? The other would be if you’re playing more a pompous character, are you going to go out and make a name for yourself because the town you’re from is too small? If someone did that, I would then definitely have something happen to the town that you could have stopped, and how does that affect the character? Is it an acceptable loss for their fame or do they feel guilt over something having happened?

There are a ton of hooks you can choose to play around with for both low and high magic worlds and playing a spell caster in them. I didn’t even get into how it might affect party dynamics, but that’s something you’d probably need to role play out with your own adventuring group. Do any of the hooks I’ve presented interest you? Have you played a character like any of those before?

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Dungeons and Dragons: Warlocks as Spell Casters

Dungeons and Dragons: Warlocks as Spell Casters

One of the main Dungeons and Dragons spell casting classes is the Warlock, and Warlock is a popular class. It allows you to play an edgy sort of character, because you’ve made a deal with a demon, elder god, or high fey for some reason,…

Malts and Meeples – Drinking in D&D Character Creation Rush

Malts and Meeples – Drinking in D&D Character Creation Rush

Almost forgot to share this, it was a rush, but I go through nine different level 1 characters for Dungeons and Dragons. I was hoping that I could knock them out fast, but it took a little bit, but I got them done. And I…

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 wanted something for fifth edition that I could run and easily get the information for Eberron. That’s out now in the form of the Eberron: Rising from the Last War setting book.

There are so many games that you can run in Eberron, and I’ll probably do a series on the setting coming up here soon. But just quickly about the setting, it’s pulp, noir, and magic punk. Magic is in place of technology, but they are more advanced with magical flying ships and magical trains than your standard D&D settings, mainly because we’ve only had The Forgotten Realm to this point, and Ravenloft in The Curse of Strahd.

Image Source: Wizards of the Coast

So, what sort of campaign are we going to be running?

In Eberron the Last War has wrapped up two years ago when the day of mourning happened. This was some massive event that destroyed and contaminated the land of Cyre. At that point in time, because of what is basically a cold war standoff, because no one knows what happened in Cyre to cause the day of mourning, the war stopped. That’s the setting that we’re jumping into.

Going with something that is more classic noir, our adventuring party is going to start a campaign where they are a team of private detectives or adventurers for hire who are getting called into a situation where they have to find and rescue the love of the damsel in distress. That seems like a straight forward job, but in this setting, nothing is going to seem as simple as it looks.

This is going to be a less combat focused campaign, but when you have air ships and trains racing around the main city of the land of Khorvaire, you are going to have some good settings for those set piece combats. Especially since the Sharn, the city, is built up, rather than built out. You’re doing combat on top of a train that is doing it’s circuit 2000 feet above the ground. Doesn’t matter if you have a sigil of feather fall, it’s going to have run out well before you hit the ground.

I’d layer in the intrigue. And I’d even throw some red herrings into a game like this. I feel like that standard noir and standard pulp. If it seems obvious that it was someone who did it, suddenly they will have an air tight alibi. Or do they, was some magic employed or is something not what it seems. Keep the intrigue high, create multiple cases for the players to be working on at the same time, and then tie them all back together.

There are plenty of bad guys to choose from in Eberron because while there are definitely bad people, the good guys are even more shades of grey, again leaning into that pulp and noir sort of feel. In my campaign, I think that I would make it that one of the Outsiders, who are evil beings and bound beneath the surface in the underdark is influencing the mind of a noble into doing a bunch of kidnappings or things that will improve the outsiders place in the world and give them more influence, and they hope eventually free them.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

At the same time, the reason that the outsider and exert so much influence, it’s because there is a cult worshiping that outsider and giving them more power through their worship. So the players are going to have to deal with the cult. Because if they just deal with the noble, the events start up again and the players will realize that maybe there is something greater going on than just this.

And at the same time as that, there is an artificer of some renown who has come to down and claiming to be able to create this amazing magical effect. And they are setting up equipment to show off the newest and latest and greatest thing. But, they are actually part of the cult of the outsider, just from a different location, so working independently to get the outsider freed.

And finally, it turns out that the missing damsel isn’t actually missing, or possibly doesn’t even exist. The person who hired the adventurers is actually part of a secret organization who is trying to keep the outsiders influence from spreading further, but is not allowed to act openly until the time is right. But also isn’t as competent at what they are doing as they should be and they should seem suspicious themselves, to the players.

You can see how you can tangle everything together. In Eberron, you want to set-up a lot of drama, a lot of pulp action and feeling for the players. While this is clearly more of an intrigue sort of game, do definitely have the big set piece combats and make it so that the adventurers and the bad guys can throw people off the edge of high buildings, go adventuring outside of Sharn if need be, meet powerful people, and generally have way more trouble going on than they should. Give it an epic feel, but make it feel different than your normal fantasy.

So as always, would you want to play in or run a game like this one?

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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…