Tag: dd

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Avatar Tyson Fraleigh - May 27, 2021

Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft: Deal With The Devil

With Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft recently come out, it was inevitable that people start becoming fascinated by the Dark Deals. While there are plenty of options to get down and dirty with an evil patron, there are a few gifts that soar among the rest.

Which of these will prove the most powerful in the lands of the dead? Let’s take a look.

Misty Travels

With a traveler’s spirit, you can go anywhere. The Misty Travels feature allows you to traverse through the Mists of Ravenloft, and every other Dread Domain, with ease. You act as a Mist talisman to any Dread Domain that you wish to access. The only thing that can get in your way is if the Dread Lord of a plane locks access to the plane. You also gain access to the Misty Step spell if you did not have it previous.

The one big downside is that the world around will make you suffer for the deal you have made. You can stay in one area within a 10 mile radius for a number of weeks equal to your Constitution modifier. While this is pairs well with a traveling Bard, I think this is best played by a character who desperately wants to stay with their loved ones. It adds a dimension of tension that could lend to some great roleplay moments.

Touch of Death

Touch of Death allows you to deal some damage whenever you grapple or strike a target with an unarmed attack. When grappling, you deal 1d10 additional necrotic damage, and unarmed strikes can deal anywhere from 1d10 to 5d10 necrotic damage based on your level. This gift is especially useful for Monks, who will be able to absolutely destroy an enemy from the inside out.

As the mechanic and name suggests, this Dark Gift makes it extremely dangerous for anyone to touch you. It doesn’t matter if it’s an ally, an enemy, a random creature. If they touch you, there is a good chance that it’s going to kill them.

There are plenty of ways that this kind of gift could cause the character strife – not able to touch loved ones, not able to interact with people in a way they find meaningful, etc. Just make sure to lean into these moments. While very useful, this Dark Gift will have huge psychological repercussions on a character.

Symbiotic Nature

Ah yes, the Dark Gift that Eddie Brock took. Paid off well for him, hm?

The Symbiotic Nature gift is all about making friends with the thing that lives inside you. Whether it was placed there by you or someone else, this gift gives you a little friend who is living inside your body at all times.

This gift allows you to gain one additional skill proficiency that your Symbiotic friend would have knowledge about. Also, since your new bestie doesn’t want you to die, you are able to add its hit dice rolls to your saving throws if you fail on a check. If you activate this ability on a death save, then you immediately gain one hit point.

The only downside is that your new buddy isn’t a nice creature – not all the time anyway. It is constantly trying to pressure you into performing something it wants to accomplish. Whether you agree of not is up to you, but don’t think it will give up easily. If you’re not careful, it has the ability to charm you for up to twelve hours. A lot of stuff can happen within that time…

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Avatar Tyson Fraleigh - April 20, 2021

The Magic of Resin: Getting Your Next Set of Dice

Looking to get some new dice but want something a bit different? We’ve got some of our favourite creators here to help!

While Chessex may have a monopoly on the RPG dice scene, they are not the only one. More and more small time dice makers are coming out of the wood-work to provide people with beautiful dice sets.

While these sets will be pricer than something from Chessex, I still highly suggest you check out these creators. Even if you have to save a bit to get one of these beauties, you won’t be disappointed.

The Crown and Beau

The Crown and Beau creates some of the most unique dice sets I have ever seen. These resin dice have had numerous things added within, including eggs and bacon cartoon figures, tattoo artwork, and even palm trees. These dice will absolutely bring personality to your gaming sessions, and everyone will be asking where you got them from.

However, do be warned – these dice are very expensive. Keep that in mind before jumping in with two feet into shopping for these beauties.

Check out Crown and Beau here!

Dice

Miami Dice

Red Raven Diceworks

Red Raven Diceworks has created some gorgeous dice. The types of dice have ranged from drink flavors to Spider-Man themed. The numbers on the dice are crisp, clean, and the colours are vibrant. Each set has it’s own unique flair, resulting in some beautiful dice sets. If you are looking for something unique, don’t hesitate to try here.

Check out Red Raven Dice here!

Dice

Confetti Dice

Three Fates Dice

Three Fates Dice is a small creator set-up in Tennesse. With a dedication to creating some of the most beautiful dice sets know to D&D, Anna Holden does not disappoint. While the themes of the dice shift, the craftsmanship never wanes. Previous dice sets have had pirate themes, shadowfell themes, and even a Witcher theme!

If dice sets aren’t enough for you, check out Anna’s D&D 5e one-shot called The Queen’s Cage.

Three Fates has proven time and time again that beautiful dice sets are here to stay. Three Fates Dice is absolutely my favourite dice creator that I have yet to encounter.

Check out Three Fates Dice here!

Yennefer Dice

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Avatar Tyson Fraleigh - April 19, 2021

Level Up: Becoming the Dungeon Master

Looking to become the next game master or dungeon master for your friends? Then let’s help you get your first game off the ground!

Choose Your Own Adventure

Before starting on your notes, you will want to figure out what kind of adventure you want to run. Do you want to use a campaign guide? Or do you want to homebrew a world?

If you want to use a campaign guide, check out the different guides available for your RPG. This option is great if you want a bit more of a pick and play option. Just make sure to take a few hours before each game to go over what the players may encounter based on their situation.

If you want to homebrew… well, the world is your oyster. Start anywhere. Want to name all the continents first? Do it. Going to make up all the maps first? Do it. Want to name each grain of sand in a vast desert? Sure, why not? Just be aware that it is going to take a lot more time to prep this kind of game.

The Prep Work

No matter what kind of campaign you want to run, you will want to make sure you want to have some notes. These notes should cover a number of different areas.

Who are the important characters your players may interact with?

Who are the key figures of the campaign? What do they look like? What are their motives? It is key to have this information on hand so you can make sure that you are giving players correct information about a social encounter.

What does the scenery looks like?

What does the space look like? Writing out what a space looks like can be a great help when you are caught in the moment having to describe a location. Write it down ahead of time and add however much flourish you would like. When it comes time to recite the description, your players will be in awe.

Random NPC and Location Tables

No matter what you do, you are always going to have NPCs you never dreamed of showing up in your game. Having a list of names to choose from is greatly helpful in those moments of NPC improv, making it seem you knew about this character all along…

Running the Game

Now it’s time to run the game. You’ve got your research, your books, your notes – now what?

Running the game is the one true job of being a dungeon master, but also the job that people often feel the most worried about. The key to running any game are two rules: ‘the rule of cool’ and ‘yes, and…’.

Simply put, the rule of cool is if a player tries something that is so unexpected, so over the top crazy that it might just work… reduce the DC a bit. See if their antics pay off. If they succeed, then they have an awesome moment they are going to remember forever. If they still botch the roll, then they have a tragic miss that could end up even funnier than what they were initially trying to do.

The yes, and rule is a fundamental improv rule. Whenever a player asks to do something (as long as it is even slightly in the realm of possibility), then let them try it. The DC might be crazy high, but who knows? You may have heard another version of this rule – you can certainly try.

Now, get out there adventurer – become the Dungeon Master you were always destined to be!

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Avatar Tyson Fraleigh - April 15, 2021

Dude, Where’s My D&D Campaign? (Round 1)

Looking for your next D&D campaign? Let us help you find your next campaign guide to explore the world of Faerun and beyond! Whether you are looking for some dark and gloomy, or something rife with high fantasy adventure, we will help you find the best campaign guide for you!

Let’s get straight to it with –

Curse of Strahd

Curse of Strahd is not for the weak of heart. Set in a dark, gloomy expanse of Barovia, Strahd’s domain is riddled with undead, dark magics, and the broken willed. You will face off against gothic monsters of all varieties – werewolves, ghouls, ghosts, and of course, vampires.

For this game, for everything good in this world, have a cleric. Have a larger party. Hell, take a Paladin too. And, perhaps most importantly, have a back-up character ready. You are going to need them. This game is brutal for a smaller party. It’s near impossible without a healer of one kind or another. If your the DM and your party doesn’t have a cleric, give them one. I’m not kidding. They will need it.

Tomb of Annihilation

Right off the heels of one undead land, let’s travel to another. The island of Chult is riddled with adventure – dinosaur races, unmapped jungles, and undead. Throw in a strange contraption known as The Soulmonger (such an awesome name) and an ancient lich who is enacted a Death Curse, and you have a Indiana Jones style adventure ready for the taking.

Similar to Curse of Strahd, this campaign can be brutal for a small party without healers. The Death Curse mechanic makes it impossible for resurrection, so you need to make sure you are granting healing as you fight. Also, make sure you have a Ranger. It will make traversing the jungles that much easier.

D&D

Mythic Odysseys of Theros

Ah, Theros. A land where mortals and the immortals are constantly at odds. Theros is based on Greek myth, filled with monsters of all varieties. Fight for the will of a god and gain piety, or go against divinity and see what happens. No matter your choice, it is a high fantasy adventure that won’t disappoint.

What makes Theros very interesting is that since it is inspired by Greek myth, every god has two faces. The gods are prideful, arrogant, and make decisions based on their own interests. It is suggested in game to lean into the the contradictions of gods, and to decide which one will be the game villain. It doesn’t mean they are entirely evil – it just means that perhaps they have been a real jerk and messing with humanity. Theros offers a lot of possibilities when exploring some big themes about the relationship between the divine and humanity.

The piety mechanic is also worth checking out! It has some big bonuses for those who are divinely inspired.

D&D

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Avatar Tyson Fraleigh - April 13, 2021

Legend Lore: Hags, Werewolves, and Dragons!

Welcome to Legend Lore! Here we are going to explore the history of some of your favourite monsters that are in numerous board games of all kinds. Whether it be an RPG, a campaign game, or a one off card game, the folklore behind these creatures can be very helpful when adding flavour to your own games!

Today, we will be covering three classic creatures that are everywhere in fantasy worlds – the coven hags, the feral werewolves, and the ancient dragons.

But, are they as simple as the games let them on to be? Let’s find out.

Hags

Hags are known under many names – witches, covenesses, weird sisters. These old women of the woods tap into the old arcane ways, crafting runes and elixirs from cauldrons.

The old stories tell tales about cruel and trickster women who are able to disguise themselves as animals and other people to torture others. The natural world around them seems to sense their dangers – animals avoid them, fires burn green and blue around them, and water begins flowing in the wrong direction. These omens are warning signs that a witch may be hiding somewhere nearby.

Different witches have different stories. The Baba Yaga is the biggest bad, kidnapping and eating children in the night. But there are also some famous witches that were known in mythology as goddesses and gods. Freyja, in Norse Myth, was one of the first ever witches to grace the planes, able to concoct elixirs and magics of all kinds.

However, no matter good or bad, witches and hags all have one thing in common – they love their tricks. Whether it be their relationship to fey or just leaning into the mysterious aspect of their nature, hags always have a trick up their sleeve.

Legend Lore

Werewolves

Werewolves have an interesting history throughout history. More recently, we know werewolves as moody, ripped teenagers who get too involved with the vampire community. However, this was not always the case.

The old tale of werewolves is the tale of King Lycaon of Arcadia. Lycaon fell in love with a child of Zeux, and tried to impress Zeus with a large feast. However, Zeus was never satisfied – Zeus did not think Lycaon was a good match for his daughter because of Lycaon’s temper. In frustration, Lycaon tried to trick Zeus into eating human flesh, which angered the God. Zeus turned Lycaon into a wolf for his behaviour. Lycaon only transformed into a beast when his anger overtook him.

This old tale from Ovid is not the only rendition however. Bishop Patrick of Ireland tells how some Irishmen were able to turn themselves into wolves, leaving their human bodies behind. Their bodies had to be tended to, some they would leave them with their wives while the wolves went out to eat.

The Bishop looks at this tale with regard and awe, not as much harsh judgement as the tale of Lycaon. As they say – to each their own.

Legend Lore

Dragons

Dragons have seen multiple iterations across multiple different many different cultures. European dragons looks much more bestial than that of dragons from Asian cultures. Their personalities are also very different depending on locations. Western European dragons are historically known as covetous beasts, hoarding huge amounts of wealth. This comparison was easily drawn from the Biblical serpent, the one and only Satan, who tempted  In Eastern Europe, some dragons were known to have wisdom, similar to dragons in Asian cultures.

However, this is not to say that all renditions of dragons are ancient beasts. In the tale of Sigurd, a hero of Germanic legend, Sigurd’s brother Fafnir turned into a dragon due to his greed. Fafnir murdered the king, Fafnir and Sigurd’s father, in order to obtain the family hoard. Over time, Fafnir began to change, before Sigurd found his brother transformed into a large serpent.

I guess family reunions are awkward for everybody sometimes, huh?

Legend Lore

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Avatar Tyson Fraleigh - April 8, 2021

Level Up: Being a Good Player

We’ve all heard the stories before. There are playlists on YouTube and Reddit communities dedicated to those RPG and board game players. Always quick act, ready to back stab NPCs and PCs alike – just for the joy or coin of it.

They have their names – the edgelords, the Mary Sue’s, the lone wolves. They’re dangerous to any party because they can destroy an entire game by trying to control the circumstances.

How do you not end up as one of these creatures? Let me tell you a few tricks that will help you out.

Work Together

This would should be obvious, but it can sometimes slip the mind. You are working in a party. Help each other out. Don’t go running out on your own to be a badass. You are just going to get yourself killed and have to re-roll a new character.

Some players won’t acknowledge their party at first, suggesting they are more the desperado-type. If this is pivotal to your characters back story, you can have it in there. Just make sure that you find a reason to be willing to work with the party. If you can’t find a reason, perhaps this character should be saved for a different adventure.

No matter your back story, background, anything – just make sure your character has a reason for being with the party. Otherwise, they will very quickly be out of it.

Give What You Get

With any kind of RPG, you get what you put into it. As a DM, this means prepping sessions, coming up with plot hooks and adventures. DM’s have their work cut out for them in the beginning, but that doesn’t mean that players get to fly under the radar.

For players, you have to be willing to put in the time to help get your character invested in the game. Who amongst the party do they hang out with? How do they get along with others? Having scenes amongst yourself in the group is a great way to develop your character and find out who they really are.

Also, please, for everything holy in this world, take notes. It will save you a lot of headaches later.

Find The Path

Some players are very resistant to plot hooks. They will reject a plot hook by saying ‘my character doesn’t care about this‘,  or ‘this isn’t something my character would be invested in.‘ This is the mark of either a new player or someone who wants to tell their own story.

If the DM offers a plot hook for you, then take it. Find a reason to want it. If you are currently running after something else, then it’s totally fine to reject it. However, if you are given a story hook by the DM, there is more than likely a good reason for it.

Not all plot hooks need to be played the same way. If it is a straight forward plot hook, then maybe there is a character aspect you haven’t explored yet that would make your character take a chance. If the plot hook is opposite to your character’s ideals or thoughts, then perhaps an opportunity for betrayal is afoot. Discuss it in-game with your party. Perhaps there is a member of your group that is holding a secret that gets addressed in this story. Maybe it is something seemingly small that will grow and reveal itself to be a larger conspiracy.

Never look away from a plot hook – you never know when it’s going to stab you in the back.

Be Open to Possibility

The biggest difficulty you hear about player characters is that they are resistant to change. Mary Sue’s and edgelord’s constantly believe they know their character inside and out, and no one will tell them otherwise.

Here’s the problem – people change. Characters change. Stagnate characters offer nothing.

Be open to change in the game. Perhaps an event will change your character’s mind about an event or personal aspect about themselves. When someone brings up a back story event, have a chat with them. Learn more about your fellow PCs. You never know how your character might change for the better – or worse.

Always Ask

If you ever confused about something, ask. Don’t be worried or nervous – your DM or fellow players are there to help back you up. An adventure is hardly ever accomplished alone. If you want more of a world question, ask as you character. That way, you can distance yourself from the question if you are nervous about asking.

In the end, no matter what monster your facing or what trial is ahead of you, everyone at the table is there to help. It is better for everyone if you are all on the same page.

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Avatar Tyson Fraleigh - April 7, 2021

The Game Night Guide: Mini Painting

Welcome back to The Game Night Guide! Today, I thought we might be able to cover a long coveted knowledge that many wish to attain. It is an ancient art, going back generations. Some have attempted and failed miserably. But the few who are dedicated to this art create some of the finest works known to man.

What is this art you ask? Well, it is… mini painting.

It is not a simple art, but it is one that has incredible pay-offs. Being able to look to your battlefield as see your own work showcased has no greater feeling in the world.

So, how do you do it? Let’s get started.

Starting Off

Mini painting does not use traditional paints. Acrylic paints will not do in making your masterpiece. It will require special paints and brushes to make sure that you are going to succeed. Make sure that you get a variety of sizes for the mini paint brushes, as well as a dry brush.

The best way to get all of these items is to get a mini painting starter set. You can find these online from your local game shop!

If your mini(s) are black, then you are also going to need to prime them. Primer comes in white and grey, which will help make sure that the paint sticks to the mini. Otherwise, you’re hard work will seem squandered.

The Base Coat

The base coat can be a bit tricky, but is by far the easiest part of the process. The base coat is the colours of your mini’s clothes and armor. You will want to diversify the colours to make sure that the whole outfit doesn’t blend together.

Depending on the size of the mini, you may be able to take a wider brush to cover the entire area in one colour of paint. However, if you are painting a smaller mini, like a humanoid, you are going to want to use the smallest brush to make sure to get all those hard to reach areas.

During this coat, make sure you double check all the hard to reach spots. You may find some white and grey areas that you accidentally missed while focusing on the more visible areas. The most common areas are the inside of the legs, underside of the arms, and underneath a cape or cloak.

Drying Up

Dry brushing is key to any finished mini. Dry brushing is when you take paint, wipe the excess off on a cloth, and use the little bit remaining to accent the figure. This is best done with darker colours, such as black, browns, or greens.

Before dry brushing, make sure you have wiped off as much of the paint as you can from the brush. Even if you think you have wiped off all the paint from your brush, you have not. Keep wiping it against the cloth until there is seemingly no paint on the brush.

Using black is a very good way to accent the notches and smaller features of the mini. It will help show off any smaller textures on the armor, capes, etc. that would otherwise be hidden by the first coat. Browns and greens are great to create stains of mud, dirt, or grass.

If you want a piece of armor or clothing to have a shimmering effect, dry brush with a lighter colour. Use either silver or a lighter version the same colour as what was used for that piece of armor. For example, if you want a dark blue cape to have a shimmering effect, dry brush a light blue onto the cape.

Those are the basics! Now, get out there, and start painting the PC minis of your dreams!

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Avatar Tyson Fraleigh - March 25, 2021

Unearthed Arcana: A Journey to the Dark Side

So – you have gone through every adventure available, and you’re looking for something to spice up your world? Unearthed Arcana is a great way to find some interesting hooks to set in your players.

But what should you add into your game? There is a huge amount of material released by Wizards of the Coast, so what are the highlights?

Let’s jump into the land of overpowered abilities together.

For The Power Gamers: Mystic

Everyone’s heard of it. The Mystic is the bane of every game – a DMs nightmare. But that hasn’t stopped starry eyed, long experienced players from trying to make sense of this convoluted class.

There is just so many things it can do. Want to be a fast moving, teleporting trickster? Do it. Want to be able to manipulate the elements? Totally cool.

Want be able to make yourself so small you can fit through a inch wide crack in a wall? Go off sis.

The versatility of this class is great, which is why it is so difficult to control – with so many things going on, you might accidentally flub up some key abilities. If you decide to try this class, just make sure you know EVERYTHING you can do. All of it.

Check out the Mystic class here!

Unearthed Arcana

For Halloween Lovers: Gothic Lineages

You were really hoping to join a Vampire: The Masquerade game, but all your friends really wanted to play D&D. That’s fine – you can still live your undead self.

Whether you want to be a new undead, a dhampir, or even a child of hags, Gothic Lineages will keep you covered. All these race options will offer you some truly unique character flavour abilities.

Plus… you get to be the child of a vampire! Or witches! How cool is that? How could you not make your next character something spooky and shifty?

Check out the Gothic Lineages here!

Unearthed Arcana

A child of Strahd anyone…?

For Arcane Tattoo Artist: Magic Tattoos

Want to both be able to cast spells and look like an absolute punk? Then why not try magic tattoos?

Whether caster or non-caster, arcane be right at your fingertips. Want a Barbarian that can cast spells while out of Rage? Want to conserve some spell slots? Magic tattoos are your rechargeable spell scrolls, giving you a bonus reason to go into a fight without a shirt on (this will help Bard’s especially).

You can also use magic tattoos to boost ability scores, gain damage resistances, and gain some unique special abilities. What you make of it is up to you, just get ready for a wild ride.

Check out Magic Tattoos here!

Unearthed Arcana

Like, come ON.

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