Tag: rogue

Friday Night D&D – Tower of the Gods Session 9

Friday Night D&D – Tower of the Gods Session 9

After a month off, just because of business of life, we were back again with Tower of the Gods. And we’re back with a surprise, we have had a fourth player join our group, not taking over as Parrag, but as a “transfer” student into 

10 Minute Marvel Episode 62: Top 10 Marvel Heroes – 5 through 1

10 Minute Marvel Episode 62: Top 10 Marvel Heroes – 5 through 1

Recording episodes back to back before a move, we we’re light on news, but I talk about a new expansion that has come out for Marvel Champions. Plus, I finish off my Top 10 Marvel heroes. Thank you for checking out the podcast, I hope 

Your Hero Has Done Too Much – D&D Advice

Your Hero Has Done Too Much – D&D Advice

So you’re starting out a campaign at level 1 and you’re rolling into your first session with your rogue. They’ve gotten a name for themselves, they helped steal the royal jewels of Hemenklot and the Dwarven empire. After getting that money, they went and sailed around the world with no crew except for their best friend Ethiel Batherain the son of a noble family and heir to their estates. When tragedy befell him and he disappeared at see you had to bring the news to their family and your finance, Merriel, Ethiel’s sister. To prove that you were still worthy of her hand, they gave you a series of five tasks which ended with you besting a Rakshasa in a game of wits. So you’re very well prepared for the campaign.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

Session one, the first thing you have to do to show off your skills is use a rope, attached to a flag pole and swing with it to a balcony. And you fall in your face. You try it again, and you fall on your face. Somehow you managed to leap from roof top to roof top and then repel down into a secret chamber to steal some crown jewels, but this is impossible.

So, what’s wrong with this picture?

There are probably a couple of things, but I want to talk about one thing in particular, and that’s having a backstory that is just too big for your level 1 character.

There’s a really strong desire to jump into an epic game and an epic moment with your epic character. But if the campaign starts at level 1, you aren’t epic yet. You might have had some small adventures, but to have big epic stories as to what’s happened in your past, it can be jarring when the reality of playing the character and the fickle nature of the dice end up causing your character to feel not like the backstory that you created.

So much of this is driven by wanting your character to be that end product of the dashing rogue who steals form the rick and gives to the poor, and can toss out a witty one-liner and insult the King and get away with it with a wink. Or to be Batman and the force in the dark keeping the peace. Or to be a powerful wizard hurling lightning bolts and calling down meteor storms on the heads of your enemies. But this is really the end product that you should be striving for.

At level 1, you are a hero, you are better than the average person, but there are so many bigger and scarier and more powerful things out there in the world than you. So when creating your backstory keep is scaled to who you are. Maybe you helped with the heist to steal the crown jewels, but you were just the lookout two blocks away. Maybe you did sale around the world, but you helped the cook on the ship and spent most of your time killing rats. Maybe you did have to prove your love and worthiness to your fiance and their family, and this is it. But it is about keeping your story in line with the level that you are at. You probably don’t have many big and grand adventures yet, and that’s why you are setting out adventuring now.

Now, I think to go along with scaling down your heroic actions in a game, you also need to shift the focus of your character concept. A lot of the time people end up with a way to big backstory because they start their character fully into the concept. Being Batman is an end goal, a bad one but one, so instead of thinking that you’re Batman from the start, think about the path that Bruce Wayne took to becoming Batman, you’re somewhere right after Bruce Wayne’s parents were killed at level 1, or Spider-Man before he was bitten by the spider. So your goal is to become Spider-Man or I guess if you have to, Batman. So what do you need to do to create those two backstories? If you’re Batman, be focused on revenge, be paranoid, and have dead parents, that’s the level 1 backstory for Batman. So, whatever your concept would be, consider where they would start at level 1 and when they hit level X where you want that concept to be fleshed out, what are the steps to get there?

Image Source: Wizards

Taking the approach of building towards and end character, someone who grows into that style of play you want over time, gives you a lot of motivation for what your character is going to do in the campaign, giving you clearer decision and role play paths. It’s also going to help keep that story from being too expansive or feeling like you should be better and leading to frustration because your character isn’t better or doesn’t match what you have in your head. Now, for some people they have a concept, they want to drop it into a game and play it immediately. So maybe you are Spider-Man, but you’re just learning the ropes, and consider how you want your character to grow more and more into that role so it feels more and more like your concept.

When creating a backstory do you just do something that has a lot of epic moments like I talk about, or do you build one that allows your character to grow into a concept? What’s the hardest part of doing it that way, because it is more difficult? What have you done to overcome challenges with a backstory?

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Top 10 – Marvel Heroes

Top 10 – Marvel Heroes

Yes, I am limiting myself again, I wanted to do my Top 10 Marvel heroes, I considered for a moment Superheroes, but I will come back and do DC at some point. I also considered adding in villains, but again, that’s another list, and why 

10 Minute Marvel Episode 57: Top 5 X-Men

10 Minute Marvel Episode 57: Top 5 X-Men

There’s some news as Marvel is starting to ramp up some filming again, plus a new comer to direct Captain Marvel 2? I also look at a question posed by Gail Simone, who would be my team of 5 X-Men? Thank you for checking out 

Gencon 2020 – Fantasy Flight In-Flight Report

Gencon 2020 – Fantasy Flight In-Flight Report

So, I’m going to do what I did with Frosthaven when that was announced and talked about on videos, I’m doing a video breakdown. This Fantasy Flight In-Flight report is normally a big deal, kind of a kick-off for Gencon to find out what Fantasy Flight has coming up. This time they had to do it digitally and while that didn’t work properly, we do have the video up on Youtube.

We start off with basically a video package of all the games that Fantasy Flight has and has had and is working on fairly actively.

Then we get an introduction to the video by Chris Gerber, the head of FFG Studio.

We’re getting deep dive live streams starting today for the new games, expansions, etc. now through Sunday.

Image Source: Fantasy Flight

John Shaffer was up next talking about miniatures games.

  • Updated Points for building team for X-Wing
  • Working on solo rules for X-Wing
  • New ships coming out in September
  • New Tie-Fighter and Rise of Skywalker ships in October
  • Four new ships from the Clone Wars, including Jango Fetts ship, available in November
  • X-Wing product stream today at 3 PM Central
  • Two force wielding characters, Anakin Skywalker and Darth Maul for Legion
  • Release for the characters in November
  • More options for Clone Wars teams as well
  • Four new droids for core units
  • Republic gets more clones to add to their side
  • These have a January 2021 release date
  • Legion Live stream Saturday at 4 PM Central – GenCon Twitch Channel
  • Announcing Clone Wars coming to Armada!
  • Cool little teaser video for what is coming
  • Obviously we are getting Galactic Republic and Separatists
  • Faction specific pack for Galactic Republic, kind of an introductory box for new players if you want.
  • Republic Fighters expansion pack
  • Separatists fleet starter as well
  • Separatists Fighters as well
  • Dials pack basically is the additional stuff you might need for a bigger set
  • Upgrade card pack to standardize their upgrade cards
  • All to be released in December
  • Live Friday at 9 AM Central
Image Source: Fantasy Flight

That’s it for miniature announcements, that’s a lot of them. And now I’m very tempted by the Armada Clone Wars Starters.

Now board and card game announcements –

  • Talking about Mass Mutations which was just released and talking about the features in that
  • Keyforge Dark Tidings is announced, a new Keyforge Set
  • 250 brand new cards in it
  • Introducing a new house, The Unfathomable, sounds
  • Replacing House Dis
  • High and Low Tide Mechanic to add a new mechanic
  • Will be a push pull to keep the High tide on your side
  • Evil Twin Decks, dark reflections of an existing deck
  • Altered evil twin versions of the normal cards from the existing deck
  • Dark Tidings is coming February 2021
  • Arkham Horror Time
  • The Arkham line is going to Innsmouth
  • Underdark Waves and Innsmouth Conspiracy for Arkham Horror and Arkham Horror LCG already announced
  • Announcing Arkham Horror LCG mythos packs announced
  • Bless and Curse tokens in Arkham LCG
  • Vehicles added
  • Begins in November
  • War of the Outer Gods scenario pack
  • December release date
  • Aconyte Books releasing more stories, mentioned in this section
Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle Earth
Image Source: Fantasy Flight
  • Journeys in Middle Earth time
  • Talking about Shadowed Paths Expansion that’s already been released
  • Two new products
  • Haunting of Dale digital campaign is going to be available in the app
  • Dwellers in Darkness figure pack
  • Both are set for release in October
  • Hinting that in 2021 Middle Earth is Going to War
Image Source: Fantasy Flight Games
  • Legend of the Five Rings
  • Temptations Cycle Announced
  • Resolves around each clan having something that they’ll go after no matter the cost
  • Adding in a Dire keyword
  • Starting in November for the release cycle
  • Two new Role Playing Products
  • Fields of Victory and Blood of the Lioness
  • Rules for mass battle for military themed campaigns in Fields of Victory
  • Blood of the Lioness is an adventure book
  • March 2021 for the RPG release
  • These will be the last two released by FFG
  • More on that on Noon Central on Friday stream
  • Marvel Champions, what I have been waiting for
  • Reminders that Hulk is releasing in August, plus Rise of Red Skull in September, and October Kang
  • New Heroes, following Kang release
  • Ant-Man, Wasp, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch
  • Ant-Man and Wasp – Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch synergize
  • Next campaign expansion, Galaxy Most Wanted
  • 5 new scenarios and Rocket Raccoon and Groot
  • The Collector and Ronan the Accuser n Galaxies Most Wanted
  • Expansion for Twilight Imperium 4th Edition
  • Prophecy of Kings
  • This is new mechanics and things
  • 7 New Factions
  • Forty new system and hyperlane tiles
  • Player count can expand up to 8 players
  • 3 new leaders for every faction
  • And new mech units adding fire power to planetary battles
  • And many new extra cards
  • November release date
  • More information Unboxing Friday at 3 PM Central
  • New Marvel game announced
  • Dice game to complete missions, showdown against villains, etc
  • Mutants in the game as the characters you’ll be playing
  • Marvel X-Men: Mutant Insurrection is the name of the game
  • Cooperative game for 1-6 players
  • It has Gambit in it, that’s all you really need to know, or at least I do
  • Rogue, Storm, Cyclops, Wolverine and More
  • 8 different plots, each featuring an iconic X-Men threat
  • Release in Q1 for 2021
  • Demo Sunday at 9 AM Central live stream
  • The End?
  • Massive massive massive massive Descent Box! Descent 3rd Edition Teased!

So, clearly there is a lot that’s been announced, including two new games, though the one was just teased with Descent at the very end, in a fun way. But I’m excited mainly for more Marvel Champions and Marvel X-Men: Mutant Insurrection as well, because I want to play Gambit.

What announcement has you the most excited? I’m really tempted now by some of the new Armada stuff announced, and all of this makes me want to get Arkham Horror LCG and regular Arkham Horror back to the table to catch-up to where they are now. And if you don’t have time to watch the video, at least look at the last few seconds to see how massive that Descent box is!

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Friday Night D&D – Tower of the Gods Session 3

Friday Night D&D – Tower of the Gods Session 3

We were back at it again last night with the third session of Tower of the Gods. Previously, our “heroes” Barrai, Bokken, and Thrain had gone through the test of the Tower with Steve as their fourth, unfortunately, Steve didn’t make it. Upon exiting the 

Friday Night D&D – Tower of the Gods (Part 2)

Friday Night D&D – Tower of the Gods (Part 2)

Two weeks ago, I ran my first session in the Tower of the God’s campaign. We got back to it again this past Thursday where our main character, Barrai, Thrain, and Bokken have completed the trial of the tower. For more information on that part 

Magic Economy in D&D

Magic Economy in D&D

So, I put down the word mechanics, because, magic economy could also describe the level of magic in your world and how much of a vibrant magic trade set up there is. But in Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition, you have a magic economy of how much and when the player characters should get magic items.

The first thing that you need to know about magic items in 5th edition, they make it so that your magic items are limited. Now, this doesn’t count things like spell scrolls, potions, or other consumable magic items, but for things like magical swords, bows, armor, etc. 5th edition has brought in a thing called attunement. When an item has the attunement keyword, it means that you have to spend some time and get attuned to it. And as a character, you can only be attuned to so many items, that total being 3 items.

There are a couple of reasons that in Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition that they have attunement to limit your items. The first, the 5th edition reason, is that they have a thing called bounded accuracy. This means that you are not likely to roll higher than a certain number or lower than a certain number when rolling for an attack or a check. And if you have more items that would give you a +1 to +4 to attack, you would now be rolling outside of the normal range and apt to hit more, or they would have to adjust their armor classes, which means that it could become impossible without getting a critical hit for low level players to hit mid level monsters. The other reason is that in previous editions you’ve been able to have a lot of items, and they didn’t have the bounded accuracy, but you had to do a whole lot more math. If you had four or five items that give you a plus to attack or damage, you are having to add those up for every attack that you do, which takes the game away from being as much of a role playing game.
But let’s get back to magic items, because we know that you have a limited number of attunement slots for a party, so how do you give them interesting items and give them magical items. And how quickly should you give them magical items?

I think that how many and how quickly you give them is really up to you in the game. It is possible that they are always swamped with them because your world has a higher amount of magic, it’s also very likely that you’ll only hand out a few items because you don’t want to add that power creep.
One good way to balance this out is with the consumable items. Especially since that can help your party of all martial characters stay alive without needing a healer. Let your party be able to find items like healing potions or be able to purchase more common items like that in town. Even something like a bead of force where it’s a more powerful item, but it has a limited number of uses it will be a way to give you more magical items in the game, without bumping up the players combat stats too much.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

But maybe you want to reward them with more permanent items. There are plenty of items that are more utility items that you can give them. For example, the ring of water walking is very situationally useful, and it won’t affect combat much, if at all. But now it gives you a thematic item which you create traps or puzzles around that your group wouldn’t have been able to solve before. There are a lot of items like this in the Dungeon Master’s Guide (DMG) that you can use to add more magic to your games and to give the players something more than just gold off of the monsters that they kill.

Let’s quickly, though, talk about those items that do require attunement. How do you portion out those items so that you don’t end up with someone being too strong?

When I give out +1 magical items for either offense or defense or whatever, I like to hand out several of them in rapid succession. The reason for that is that you don’t want your party to go too far out of balance. If you have a fighter, a rogue, and a wizard, and you give the fighter a +1 sword, now the fighter is going to be better in combat than either of the other characters. So I try and hand out things in a few straight sessions until every character has that attuned item that improves them in a way that they want to be improved, whether it’s combat or not.

I also make the items specific for a character. If, for example, we have that party of a fighter, rogue, and a wizard, and the fighter uses a great sword, instead of giving him a short sword and thinking that they’ll want it and that the rogue won’t take it, I would give them that great sword with a plus one on it. Give the wizard robes that provide armor or a staff that does a plus one. Give the rogue a thieves kit that is magically enchanted to give them advantage on lock picking if that’s what they want. But a magical staff, great sword, and lock picking kit are clear as to whom they are going to go to, and you don’t end up with the party fighting over magical items.
Finally, with those attuned items, how often do you give them to the party? I think that many DM’s are going to give players a couple of these items per character by around level 5-7. I tend to give them out at a slower rate than that. But it really does depend on the game that you are running. If you have a higher level of magic and magic items in your world, your player characters will probably have more.

With whatever items you are giving out though, make sure it makes sense for the monster/shopkeeper to have them. A lot of people don’t let you buy magical items in their game, and unless it’s consumable, I tend not to have them in shops in my game. But let’s talk really quickly about if a monster drops it. Something like a ring of water walking, sure, the monster isn’t going to know much about it or probably can’t use it to their advantage. But if it’s a +1 great sword that the goblin boss is going to drop, the goblin boss should be using the weapon. So plan for your party when you are going to have the drop happen and let the goblin boss use that in the fight with the players. It’s little things like that which are going to make your game feel more immersive to the players.

How do you use magic items in your game? Do you let your players pick the magic items that they want throughout the game? Do you roll randomly for what is going to be dropped? Do you use a lot of them, or only a few of them?

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PvP in D&D

PvP in D&D

I’m going to continue doing some articles hitting on lesser talked about things in Dungeons and Dragons. There’s a lot for building your character and campaign and I’ve talked a lot about them as well. There are less articles talking about things like death of