Tag: rpgs

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Avatar Tyson Fraleigh - June 10, 2021

Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos!

Strixhaven is coming to D&D! Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos is the brand new game setting by Wizards of the Coast that will be coming to game shops this year!

Explore the rich and wild world of Strixhaven in this new source book. Take on the role of a student at one of the five colleges: Lorehold, Quandrix, Prismari, Silverquill, or Witherbloom. Whether your story is a coming of age, Hogwarts-esque adventure, or perhaps something more sinister in the lands outside of Strixhaven, there is a lot to explore.

Early editions of the different Strixhaven college subclasses are available now! Check them out here!

Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos

Strixhaven: Curriculum of Chaos comes out November 16th, 2021!

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Avatar Tyson Fraleigh - June 8, 2021

The Game Night Guide: Beyond the Campaign Guide

So: your players are entering the final act of your campaign guide. They are on their way to the big bad, but decide to take a pit stop on the way to rest and power up.

Then, suddenly, it all falls apart. They try to complete a side quest, but it goes horribly wrong. Not only have they awakened an ancient evil, they have failed to defeat the real big bad, and now you have a TPK on your hands.

What now? Do you start over? The whole story is a mess now.

This is every GMs worst nightmare. But there is always a solution to your gaming troubles, no matter the difficulty. This kind of challenge actually has some great benefits, as it offers you a chance to stretch your storytelling muscles, and make something beautiful. You do not have to stress about building a full world like homebrew, nor are you limited to in book restrictions.

So, where do you start?

A New League or the Old Guard?

The first big question is what do your players want to play? Do they want to make new characters? Or do they want to keep playing the characters who tragically fell? If new characters are the way to go, then you just need to find a way to get them in the world.

If the players want to continue playing the characters they have been growing over the course of the campaign, what ways could they be brought back to life? Could it be to make a dark bargain with one of the dark forces they were fighting against? Or perhaps a source of divinity was able to step in, turning one of the party into a cleric or paladin. There are plenty of options to explore, so take a bit of time to figure out what makes sense for the party and the world at large.

Consequences

So, the side mission didn’t go as planned. What are the consequences of that failure? Does a new baddie start to make moves in the campaign world? Is a nearby town destroyed or plundered?

The possible events will vary depending on the mission that failed when the party died. Determine what the new baddies wanted to accomplish and let them succeed. This will give your players a sense of continuity as well as a sense that their choices matter. It will also make it that much more satisfying when they take their revenge.

Knowing The Enemy

Finally, consider the big bad. What is their reaction to the party’s failings? Was the party on their radar? If they did know about the party, perhaps the big bad is relieved and continues on their business. Perhaps the big bad is the one to resurrect them in order to kill a new player on the political field. Or, if all else fails, the big bad could simply get stronger, getting closer to their goals one step at a time.

It is always interesting to consider how the big bad will react if the side quest that the players failed results in a new enemy. This can build a lot of opportunities for your players to play both sides of the field. Opportunity and challenge are the birth of innovation.

In the end, make sure that the new story is going to be satisfying to the players. They lost their characters in a dire situation, experienced heartbreak. Let them take back their power and show the world their might once again. They will be all the more grateful for it.

Get all your board game news from The Bag of Loot! www.thebagofloot.com

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Avatar Tyson Fraleigh - May 19, 2021

Help Wanted: Electric Bastionland

Looking for work in the vast city of Bastion? Not interested in heading into the Deep Country to do farming work? Find the Living Skies too haunting to explore? Well, there is plenty of work in Bastion, some jobs more odd than others.

Let’s explore the help wanted page to get an idea of some of the work you could pick up while here in the city (and inevitably fail).

Acupressurist of Inanimate Objects

You were taught to ease and adjust the energy flowing through things. You never finished your training.

Energy moves through all things. Some people believe it is through their chi or perhaps their living spirit. But why do we isolate it to the living?

That’s right – the unliving have this energy too. Have you ever noticed that a room can make you feel a specific way? How sitting in a chair can make you feel more relaxed? Or how a good bed can help you fall asleep so quickly, you didn’t notice you were even asleep?

These emotions and auras exist in objects and we need to tend to them. Acupressure is not only for the living. You have to look after your objects too. Otherwise, who knows what would happen?

Retail Therapist

You helped people spend money you had no hope of ever earning. None of it rubbed off onto you.

People with money want to spend it. People with too much money need to spend it. You help them out.

The practice of retail therapy is sometimes seen as a negative thing. People see it as wealthy people frivolously spending money on things they don’t need to make themselves feel better. But retail therapy is more than that. Retail therapy is… having wealthy people frivolously spend money on things they don’t need so you can get a paycheck. It isn’t much – hardly anything really – but it is better than nothing.

Public Nuisance

Something about you has always annoyed others. You can’t imagine what it is.

Sometimes the world just needs a little more weird in it. Sometimes people don’t appreciate it.

Being an nuisance is an art in itself. You need to be annoying, frustrating, an endless pest. Different nuisances perform this responsibility differently. Some are frightening, some are disgusting. Whatever your brand of nuisance, just make sure to lean into it. Otherwise, are you really doing your job?

Mockery

An imitation of life in felt, wood, and string. You don’t need to eat, drink, sleep, or love, but still feel the drives.

Mockeries lived cursed in their cute and cuddly bodies. Whether they be a teddy bear, an old puppet, or a strange spliced raccoon, Mockeries live a half life. They experience the hungers and thirsts of humanity, but have no way of feeding these needs. Still, it’s an important job… for some reason.

Want to make yourself into a Mockery? All you would have to do is walk into the Underground. You would probably find a machine that would do it… if you didn’t find another kind of machine first.

Masked Horrorist

Horrors rise from the Underground. We must make a friend of fear, and scare them back down.

The Masked Horrorist has devoted their lives to making sure the strange creatures in the Underground stay there. The machines under the city will construct anything from anything – some good and some bad. The important thing is that some things need to stay down there.

You can do this in any way you wish, just make it frightening. Masks, pyrotechnics, gunfire – just make sure they stay down there. Otherwise, you might find yourself dropped there in their place.

If you want to see what other strange jobs are available in Bastion (I highly recommend you do), pick up your copy of Electric Bastionland here!

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Avatar Tyson Fraleigh - May 18, 2021

Dude, Where’s My D&D Campaign? (Round 2)

So, you are looking for some new D&D adventures, hm? Something to really excite you down to your bones? Want something that get you doing your victory dance after defeating a nearly indestructible enemy?

Well, check these campaign books below that might tickle your adventurous spirit! Face off against giants, insane wizards, and –

Well, let’s get into it before I spoil too much.

Storm King’s Thunder

Want something big to fight? We can give you something BIG to fight.

Storm King’s Thunder asks a simple question – what would happen if all the giants around the world suddenly became angry and bloodthirsty? All across Faerun, giants are pillaging, burning, and otherwise conquering. Humanity is left to wonder what is going, and what can they do to save the world from this endless destruction?

That’s where you come in. Fight giants and dragons utilizing ancient rune magics, becoming adventuring titans. Do you have what it takes to fight these colossal creatures? Will you be squished like the rest of Faerun?

Waterdeep: Dragon Heist + Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage

Welcome to Waterdeep, a city of both strange and fantastic mysteries. The most developed city in all of Faerun, the City of Splendors holds both wonderful and terrifying things to explore.

I am putting these two guides together because Dragon Heist is often used as a lead into Dungeon of the Mad Mage. If your characters are already in Waterdeep, why fix something that’s not broken?

Waterdeep: Dragon Heist will introduce characters to Waterdeep and all of its nooks and secrets. As the title suggests, it is a heist story, so have your masks, hidden identities, and secret gadgets ready! Travel through the numerous districts of the city, learning more and more about Skullport, The Undermountain, and the famous Yawning Portal tavern. Travel into the sewers to face off against creatures of all varieties, and maybe even get to visit the infamous gang leader Xanathar…

Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage progresses characters to visit the Undermountain, some of which is introduced in Dragon Heist. You will have to delve deep into Undermountain, the largest dungeon in all of Faerun. Beneath, you will have to face endless drow, illithid, and the mage who is causing all this madness to begin with.

D&DD&D

Balder’s Gate: Descent Into Avernus

Has anyone told you to ‘go to hell’ and you wondered what it would be like? Then Descent Into Avernus is for you.

Baldur’s Gate, always known for its greed and corruption, has fallen into the hands of the archdevil Zariel, tempting officials and the powerful with untold strength. However, if these devils succeed, the gate between worlds will reopen to reignite the Blood War in Faerun! Will you and the party be able to save your home from the fiendish clutches? Or will you be tempted with power, the same as the rest?

D&D

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Avatar Tyson Fraleigh - May 17, 2021

Signal Boost – Jiangshi: Blood In The Banquet Hall!

Enter a world of danger, both real and surreal. You shall face monsters of all varieties, both man and otherwise. You will have to go head to head with undead creatures, corrupt officials, and… business troubles?

Jiangshi: Blood In The Banquet Hall

Jiangshi: Blood In The Banquet Hall is a RPG about living in the 1920s in the United States as a Chinese family. Your group’s objective: keep running your restaurant by fighting against racism and societal conflict by day, then fighting undead jiangshi by night. It is a careful balance between choosing between protecting your business and protecting your city’s community.

Not only does this game have some great roleplay possibility with some much needed Chinese-American representation, it also has some gorgeous art!

Jiangshi: Blood In The Banquet Hall Jiangshi: Blood In The Banquet HallJiangshi: Blood In The Banquet Hall

Creators Banana Chan and Sen-Foong Lim have dedicated a lot of heart and imagination into this game and I highly suggest you check it out! Both of these highly regarded game writers have other work I highly suggest you check out!

Banana Chan – http://gameandacurry.com/bananachan/

Sen-Foong Lim – https://senfoonglim.carrd.co/

Get your copy of Jiangshi: Blood In The Banquet Hall here!

Get your board game news at The Bag of Loot! www.thebagofloot.com

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Avatar Tyson Fraleigh - May 13, 2021

Tales From The Loop: Lessons From The TV Show

A while back, Tales From The Loop became both a TV series and an tabletop RPG. Building on the sci-fi 1980s genre, this world is set in Mercer, Ohio, telling the story of those in town who experience strange things due to their closeness to ‘The Loop’, a experimental physics laboratory outside of town.

While Tales From The Loop began as a artbook by Simon Stalenberg, the TV series really built on the art and lore that Simon Stalenberg built. Even further, the TV series helped illustrate some of the most important elements of running a Tales From The Loop game. While every episode ranges in tone and message, it follows a few rules that every GM and player should be aware of before starting their first game.

*SPOILER WARNING*: This article contains minor spoilers for the Tales From The Loop TV series.

Embracing The Strange

Strangeness is pivotal to Tales From The Loop. Everything should be familiar but just slightly off. The uncanny is your ally when running this kind of game.

If the TV series taught us anything when running a game, it’s to lean into the weird. The world should always seem just slightly off. People smile a bit too brightly. When the players encounter the sci-fi side of the story, make the effects weird. Some can be straight forward, but others can be surreal and strange beyond words. Go for both ends of the spectrum for maximum effect.

Tales From The Loop

Simple But Effective

Unlike some sci-fi works, Tales From The Loop doesn’t drown you in hard science or complex reality theory. That is never the point (unless you would like to make it so). The important element of the world has been the story and how life responds around the Loop.

For this reason, the sci-fi encounters the characters face in the TV series are relatively simple. Whether it is a time warp or a thermos that allows you to stop time, the characters are never facing anything exceedingly complicated. It isn’t necessary to understand the intricacies of string theory or quantum mechanics to solve puzzles. Some things in the Loop are just strange.

Therefore, don’t feel that you need to make your Tales From The Loop game heavily based in complex science. If you want to build a game around the implications of string theory on the multiverse concept, sure, go for it. However, it isn’t necessary. Science in this world works closer to a soft magic system in a fantasy world. So go nuts with all your crazy sci-fi ideas – don’t hold back.

Tales From The Loop

Growing Up

The most important part of Tales From The Loop is the focus on young perspectives of the world. Adults don’t understand, and they never will. Something is off and it’s up to us to fix it.

There are a lot of themes you could go into here. The TV series looked at the themes of loss, death, and responsibility. However, no matter what theme you want to focus on, it should revolve around one key element – it should be about growing up. How does the story you want to tell inform the characters about what life is? What is life like? How you create the story around that will dictate the characters perspective on the world, both now, and for the rest of their lives.

The growing up theme is not exclusive the the children of the world, however. The adults have some growing up to do too, more than likely because of the intervention of the kid players.

Everyone is learning and growing – that is Tales From The Loop.

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Avatar Tyson Fraleigh - May 7, 2021

Game On! Homebrewing Your Own World

In this video, we are outlining some beginner tips and steps for homebrewing your own world!

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Avatar Tyson Fraleigh - May 6, 2021

Level Up: Building Your Back Story

So, you’ve got to come up with a PC for your next game. A lot of people can rush into building a back story, but by the end find that it wasn’t what they were hoping. Without some guidance, you might accidentally find yourself creating unintentional satire’s of your favourite characters, or just build something not very fun to play.

So, how do you build a satisfying back story for your characters? I’m so happy you asked.

Following Your Inspiration

A lot of people say that all characters fall into archetypes that can be translated across multiple stories, and you should build characters based on these archetypes. While I can understand this perspective, I find it can be very subjective and creativity killer. In my experience, it is way more fun to build a character back story off a story/character you admire, and then tinker.

What are you favourite stories? Who are you favourite characters from those stories? What do they have in common? Asking yourself these questions can lend to some interesting PCs. Don’t lean entirely on an already developed character – making a carbon copy of Thor will probably leave you more disappointed than satisfied. Instead, try and rebuild some of their characteristics to fit something new.

Do you like Tony Stark’s wit and arrogance? Maybe your character has the same arrogance from being in private school or as a way to fake their way into high society. Do you like Kvothe’s strong connection to music and his ability to translate experience into music? Instead of being out in the woods for years with a lute, perhaps your PC was locked in the attic of their evil stepmother, with only a lute to play. The options are endless.

Building a Stable House

With the inspiration there, now it’s time to cover your story bases. There are a few questions you should answer before giving the information to your game master:

  • Do you know your birth family? Who are/were they?
  • What town did you grow up in? What was your relationship with the community? Did you make any friends/notable allies while in that town?
  • Have you made any enemies? What did you do to them to piss them off? Alternatively, what did they do to you? How does this fit into you becoming an adventurer?
  • Did you have any special experiences before joining your adventuring party? Why are you deciding to go adventuring?

Consider all of these things when sending your DM your back story.

Letting Go

This part is key. This can make or break a back story arc for your character.

When building your back story, only add details that your character is aware of. Don’t tell the story from a third person perspective. The DM will be able to take those little nuggets of story you have provided and grow it into a full story.

This can also be one of the most difficult parts of a back story. You may want to enforce a story you have in your head. But, I promise you, if you have all the pieces to a story, it won’t be half as fun to play. You can note to your DM if there are any family/allies/enemies you want to keep alive for character reasons. However, let you DM play – you never know what you will find.

Get all your board game news here at The Bag of Loot! www.thebagofloot.com

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