Sunday, February 18, 2018

Counter Culture: Welcome to D&D

Something really cool happened this week at my store. Everyday, I had at least one person come in and tell me they were new to DnD and needed dice, books, miniatures, etc.

They would tell me how they had just played or were about to play in their first game and they were super excited.

I really can't contain my own excitement by this trend. And it's not merely because they are spending money with me, it's great to hear their excitement and to see their interest in my favorite hobby.

I don't know if anyone from Wizards of the Coast will read this, but good job, guys. You are getting it really right this time.

And I thank you as a gamer and a merchant.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

D&D 5th Edition: Aarakocra Windstalker

I've been taking a break from running our Thursday game, but our excellent DM couldn't make it. I didn't want to continue our Oakhurst game without him, so I ran the PCs from his game through a small adventure. The group came upon aarakocra and gargoyles battling and wrongly assumed the gargoyles were the bad guys. They eventually benefited from the kindness of a gargoyle, but fell to an aarkocra ambush.

The region around Stormhaven has become embroiled in open hostilities between Bluefeather's aarakocra tribe who worship Wendigo and Granite's gargoyle clan who worship Asintmah. They battle over the elemental node known as Cloudwrought, a powerful refuge of elemental power formed out of petrified lightning. Granite's clan currently holds Cloudwrought and seeks to keep it from Bluefeather's tribe. Wendigo, in the guise of the Windwalker, has promised the aaracokra chieftain the power to slaughter the gargoyles in his domain once Cloudwrought is secured. Granite, warned by the earth goddess, Asintmah, seeks to keep the node from falling into the hands of such a chaotic and destructive being.

The fate of Stormhaven, and all those traveling the trade routes to it, could be decided by war being waged by these winged rivals.

Aarakocra Windstalker
Medium humanoid, chaotic evil

Armor Class 13 
Hit Points 18 (4d8) 
Speed 20 ft.; fly 50 ft.
   Str            Dex         Con           Int         Wis         Cha
12 (+1)        16 (+3)        11 (+0)        10 (+0)      14 (+2)      10 (+0)

Skills Perception +6
Senses passive Perception 16
Languages Aarakocra, Auran
Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)
Dive Attack. If the aarakocra is flying and dives at least 30 feet straight toward a target and then hits it with a melee weapon attack, the attack deals an extra 4 (1d8) damage to the target.


Talon. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. 
Hit: 5 (1d4 + 3) poison damage.

Boomerang. Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, range 30/60 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) slashing damage.

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Thursday, February 1, 2018

GameStorming: Xavier's Academy for the Talented

I'm playing a DnD 5E Mystic in a game and I'm enjoying it (though I think it might gain access to too many abilities at a lower level than your average class).

In many ways, I see a light super powers system within it, which got me to thinking about a DnD game where each character had at least 1 level in Mystic or Sorcerer. Obviously it's inspired heavily by the X-Men. 

Maybe the Brotherhood could be a band of Wizards?

The Hellfire Club could be Warlocks and Paladins. 

The Sentinel Program could be funded by the local Empire, maybe they are giants or titanic warforged?

I can see replacing the Shi'ar with Eladrin or Shadar-Kai.

Keep Cytorak and let him empower a dwarven Juggernaut.

Maybe I need to steel a Dungeon idea from Arcade?

I can even see taking ideas for races from the X-Men. Eladrin could look like Nightcrawler. Winged Elves like Angel.


Monday, January 29, 2018

Counter Culture: A Trend That Brings a Smile to My Face

I've been working at Comic Book World, Inc. since 1999. I've lived through the launches of DnD 3, 4, and 5. I've seen quite a few trends.

From my perspective, we are the point in DnD 5E's life cycle that we typically would have seen DnD 3.5 or DnD Essentials (4.5). But we haven't, we instead got the excellent Xanathar's Guide to Everything.

I'm so glad that Wizard of the Coast's marketing and release schedule, the excellent work they did in designing 5E, and the rise of Critical Role and all the other streamers and podcasters playing DnD, continue bringing people into the hobby and I don't have to bog them down with why 5.5 Edition is BETTER than 5th Edition. Casual players don't care, it confuses new players, and it makes it harder for families to play.

And that is the trend I'm enjoying. Getting to see Mom's and Dad's (or even both) bring their kids in and they all start playing DnD together. Sure, some of them move on to other games, but most are not gamers, they simply play DnD.

They come in two to three times a month to buy dice or spell cards or miniatures and it makes me happy because I realize that they are spending time together, time most likely away from a screen, and sharing adventures and quality time. They are reading and doing math and using their imagination. With their family.

Isn't that awesome?

And understand, I'm just as happy if they are playing board games or Magic: the Gathering or even reading comics. But DnD is so unique in how you have to interact. It's very...intellectual...I love my parents, but I can't imagine (sadly) playing DnD with them. It requires, in my opinion, a level of communication that I simply don't have with my parents. And that's as much on me as it is them.

I hope 5th Edition goes on another 10 years and I hope I keep seeing all of it's fans, especially the families playing it continue to grow and go on adventures together.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition: Bruders

Art by Damon Hellandbrand

The strange entity know as Bruders came to the attention of the Keepers of the Cerulean Sign several years ago. Apparently it had cultivated several cults to serve it and spread it's alien corruption. Keepers were forced to put sword and flame to each of the villages that were exposed to it as it's taint was too thorough.

Large aberration, chaotic evil

Armor Class 16 (natural armor)
Hit Points 97 (13d10 + 26) 
Speed 50 ft.
   Str            Dex         Con           Int         Wis         Cha
16 (+3)        13 (+1)        15 (+2)        13 (+1)      14 (+2)      13 (+1)

Skills Deception +4, Intimidation +4, Persuasion +4
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 12
Languages Common, Telepathy
Challenge 8 (3900 XP)

Lore of Madness. The Bruders constantly spout blasphemous and foul pronouncements that wreck the minds on any nearby creatures. Any creature that starts it's turn within 30 feet and can hear the Bruders' blasphemies has disadvantage on ability checks and their speed halved until the beginning of its next turn.


Multiattack. The Bruders makes four attacks.
Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. 
Hit: 8 (1d10 + 3) slashing damage.

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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Shadow of the Demon Lord: Gryckle

The cult of Baphomet has become plagued Ironstar and it's denizens for the last decade. A gryckle is a cultist who has willing engaged in sexual intercourse with Baphomet itself. The willing victim hen enters into special coccoon created by other cultists out of their own hair, excrements, menstrual blood, teeth, snot, and nails for nine weeks until they are reborn as hunter killers devoted totally to their demonic master.

Art by rhyshaug

Size 1 frightening monster
Perception 10 (+0); darksight
Defense 13; Health 30
Strength 12 (+2)   Agility 13 (+3)   Intellect 7 (-3)   Will 10 (+0)
Speed 12; climber
Immune gaining insanity; fatigued

Bite (melee) +3 with 1 boon (2d6 plus Tackle on attack roll 
Tackle The target is immoblilzed.

Skitter The gryckle moves up to it's full speed..

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Thursday, January 11, 2018

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition: Colors of Magic: the Gathering

In this month's Plane Shift featuring Magic: the Gathering's plane of Ixalan, James Wyatt discusses a how the colors of M:tG could interact with DnD, but without rules.

I've enjoyed the series from Wizards of the Coast and have been thinking about some simple ways for Colored Mana to influence a spellcaster.

The first step is to move away from spellcasters "tapping" lands for a specific Mana. Instead, the environment has areas where the Mana is a certain color. Perhaps if you are in a mountain stronhold, the Mana is Red, at sea on a galleon it is Blue, etc.

As in the article you have decide at character creation what Mana you are aligned with with it's Blue, Black, White, Red, or Green is up to your character. During play, this can change based on the story and the DM's approval.

When you are in an area that aligns with your Color of Mana, there are several possible benefits the DM can decide upon, based on how potent that Color is.

• Your spell attack rolls and/or your spell save DC increases by +1 to +3.

• Any creature making a saving throw against a spell that is considered in your Color has disadvantage on the save.

• When you cast a spell that is consider in your Color, roll a d6, on a 5-6 the spell slot is not lost.

Other ideas can be improvised or planned out.

The idea is to build certain situational benefits to spellcasters based on the Color of Mana they align with. It's important, however, to not overuse their benefits or underuse them. And don't forget that NPCs gain the same benefit.

Counter Culture: Welcome to D&D

Something really cool happened this week at my store . Everyday, I had at least one person come in and tell me they were new to DnD and ...