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 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 then enters into a 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.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition: Zyklon

Magic weapon (flail), rare (requries attunement)

• You gain a +2 on attack and damage rolls with this weapon.

• If your d20 roll for an attack hits and is even, the flail deals an additional 1d8 damage.

• If your d20 roll for an attack hits and is 16 or higher, the flail deals an additional 1d8 damage.

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition: Helmet of Nabu

Wondrous item, legendary (Bard, Cleric, Druid, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard)

• You gain a +3 on spell attack and damage rolls with the helmet.

• You gain advantage on a saving throw against magic. You may not use this ability again until you finish a short or long rest.

• As a reaction, you may recover an expended spell slot, but you take damage equal to the level of the spell slot recovered. You may not use this ability again until you finish a short or long rest.

• When you roll damage for a spell, you can reroll a number of the damage dice up to your Spellcasting modifier (minimum of one). You must use the new rolls. You may not use this ability again until you finish a short or long rest.

• When you cast a spell that has a casting time of 1 action, you can change the casting time to 1 bonus action for this casting. 
You may not use this ability again until you finish a short or long rest.

• When you cast a spell that forces other creatures to make a saving throw, you can protect some of those creatures from the spell’s full force. Choose a number of those creatures up to your Spellcasting modifier (minimum of one creature). A chosen creature automatically succeeds on its saving throw against the spell. You may not use this ability again until you finish a short or long rest.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition: Bogkeeper

Bogkeepers quietly and vigilantly protect their territory. They will often spend several hours observing newcomers to determine if they are are a threat to their hunting grounds and if they decide a threat is imminent they will swiftly attack the opposition.

Medium elemental, neutral

Armor Class 14 (natural armor)
Hit Points 93 (11d10 + 33) 
Speed 30 ft., swim 20 ft.
   Str            Dex         Con           Int         Wis         Cha
14 (+2)        15 (+2)        13 (+1)        9 (-1)      16 (+3)      9 (-1)

Saving Throws CON +3, WIS +5
Damage Resistances Necrotic; Poison
Condition Immunities Poisoned
Senses truesight 60 ft., passive Perception 11
Languages Common, Terran
Challenge 2 (450 XP)

Magic Resistance. The elemental has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.


Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. 
Hit: 15 (3d8 + 2) bludgeoning damage.

Spit. Ranged Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, range 30/60 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (2d10 + 2) poison damage. If the target is hit they must make a DC 13 Constitution saving throw or have disadvantage on any saving throw they make until the end of their next round.

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Monday, January 1, 2018

Heading into 2018

Today was a good day. Last night I got to end 2017 playing board games with friends and family, I hope 2018 ends that way.

As I begin this year, I'm not as clear on my goals as I have been in the past.

I'm not sure what I wan to achieve with the blog, but I do know I'd like to publish one or two things.

I do want to reward my Patrons more than I have, that is for sure.

I'm running a DnD 5E game set in my own world that began using the Sunless Citadel as has become focused on the Blood War. I'm anxious to see where that leads as I really strive to let the player's drive the story. 

I'm playing in a DnD 5E game that is a spiritual sequel to a Tomb of Annihilation campaign I ran. It's set in the Forgotten Realms 1,000 years in the future where Thay has usurped Faerun. My character is a champion of Kord and a grown-up version of Bobby the Barbarian from the DnD Cartoon.

I would like to run some Shadow of the Demon Lord this year. We'll see if I find time for that.

I would also like to do something with Villains and Vigilantes: Mighty Protectors.

Who know where we'll end up, but I'm hopeful for this new year.

Thundarr the Movie

As a life-long comics fan and a retailer with a quarter century of experience, I was today years old when I discovered that Buzz Dixon and ...