Dungeons & Dragons

Dungeons & Dragons Funko Coming in February 2020

Minsc & Boo (you just know that adorable giant space hamster is itching to go for the eyes)

Minsc & Boo (you just know that adorable giant space hamster is itching to go for the eyes)

Whilst scouring Amazon last night, I happened upon the equivalent of chocolate and peanut butter for me (note: I also like chocolate and peanut butter). It seems that Funko and Wizards of the Coast are going to be putting out some cool looking Dungeons & Dragons Funko Pop! Figures including Asmodeus and Minsc & Boo (both pictured), which are already available for preorder. I’ve heard that there will be a Mind Flayer, as well, but I am yet to see an image of it on Amazon.

What Could Come Next?

I imagine that there will be future collaborations, as Funko lines tend to grow over time. With all of the options available in the rich lore of Dungeons & Dragons, there could be a lot of really cool Funkos in our future.

Asmodeus… a pleasant sort of fellow.

Asmodeus… a pleasant sort of fellow.

Imagine some figures from the old cartoon from the 1980s, or a Drizzt Do’Urden figure (maybe even one of Guenhwyvar), or how about the Companions of the Lance like Raistlin, Tanis, and the Hoff (well, Tasslehoff Burrfoot anyway) and the rest. I imagine that quite a few people would like a Strahd figure, as well. How about a giant Tiamat Funko? Just think of all of the cool monster figures they could do! I could seriously go completely broke, and I imagine I’m not alone.

There are a lot of possibilities, and I am excited to see what else might be coming in the future from this pairing. What types of D&D Funkos might you like to see?

Explore the Upcoming 5E Campaign Setting of Kisarta for Dungeons & Dragons: Grim Horror at Its Finest

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You remember the teeth of the wolf sinking into your throat and tearing it out. You remember the blood spilling out of you, steaming as it hit the frost-covered ground. You died. But you didn’t enter the afterlife you were promised. Your Soul was lost and trapped somewhere else entirely….

Every Soul that enters Kisarta awakens inside a tomb with their name, in a gloomy and seemingly endless cemetery. As they raise from their tombs, Souls catch glimpses of the faint lights of Limbo, and above them the pale, heatless light of a ghostly sun eternally floating in a black, starless sky: Kisarta.

- From the Kisarta Quickstart Guide

I love reading about new campaign settings, and I was excited to take a look at this setting when the publisher reached out to RollforGeek on Facebook to let me know about the setting and to see if it might be something that interested me.

It has me more than a little intrigued. It’s dark, grim, dismal, and still have beautiful and evocative artwork, which you can see below. If you’ve been looking for a truly dark D&D setting, Kisarta could be for you. It will be published in Italian and English, and it has a Kickstarter that begins on July 22.

What is Kisarta?

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The entire premise of the Kisarta 5E campaign setting is grim and dismal. The city of Limbo is vast, bizarre, and the world is connected to different planes called the Seven Dominions each ruled by a Guardian. The Seven Dominions are not any nicer than Limbo. There’s the Crucible of the Damned, The Howling Forest, The Nameless Abyss, The Ocean of Lost Souls, The Pit of Eternity, The Radiant Citadel, and The Whispering Desert.

There are also the Lords of the Black Circle, who are even more powerful and evil than the Guardians of the Seven Dominions, cults and religions, madness and damnation rules, organizations, new races, changes to classes, new classes, and so much more. In fact, the Abomination class looks like a lot of fun to play. There’s all sorts of weirdness and horror happening in this setting, and that makes me happy.

It includes some brutal rules that you might not be used to in 5E, as well. For example, a short rest in Kisarta is eight hours, and a long rest is seven days. This will make most parties carefully consider how and when they get into combat. It will also require that the GM is creating encounters that are still balanced. This helps to emphasize just how unfriendly this setting is.

The City of Limbo with the Pale Sun Hanging Overhead

The City of Limbo with the Pale Sun Hanging Overhead

There is going to be a lot to explore in this campaign setting, and the quickstart guide only touches on them right now. It’s enough to get you started, and there is a lot of meat in the 35 pages. In fact, there’s more information in the guide than I’ve found in some fully released products that are twice the size. I can’t wait to eventually get my hands on the fully realized product.

I suggest that you consider checking out the free guide. You can download it here or through DriveThruRPG.

Check out the free guide to see if it might be something that’s right for you and that you will want to support through the Kickstarter. You can also learn more and provide feedback by checking out the Kisarta Facebook Page or the official Facebook Group.

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5 Things I Love About Ghosts of Saltmarsh

Ghosts of Saltmarsh

Ghosts of Saltmarsh

I’ve finally had some time to go through the latest offering from Dungeons & Dragons, Ghosts of Saltmarsh and thought I would let folks know about a few of the things that I really enjoyed and found useful from the book. I imagine that some others will find these to be useful, as well, and it might help them in their buying decisions. So, let’s take a look at five things that I love about this supplement.

Thing the First: The Town of Saltmarsh

All seven of the adventures in the book take place in and around the area of Saltmarsh, which really could be placed in just about any campaign world with very little tweaking. The town itself has quite a bit of background information provided, and it might be fun to have characters from the town or a nearby settlement. There are even some new backgrounds, along with tips on how to use backgrounds from the Player’s Handbook in the setting. New backgrounds include Fisher, Marine, Shipwright, and Smuggler.

The town and the region are well-detailed with plenty of places to go, factions, NPCs to interact with, locales for adventure, and more. Geographic features of interested include The Dreadwood, Drowned Forest, and Hool Marshes.

There is plenty to mine from in the book even if you don’t use the adventures as they are written. I usually pick and choose with these sorts of books, and there is a lot here, as you will see. Actually, this is one that I might try to run some of the adventures closer to how they are written rather than just mining from them.

Thing the Second: The Ships, Crew, and Upgrades

There are several stat blocks and maps for different types of ships including:

  • Galleys

  • Keelboats

  • Longships

  • Rowboats

  • Sailing ships

  • Warships

There’s some brief information on crew members and officers that a ship would need, there are hull and movement upgrades that can be added to ships, weapon upgrades, figurehead upgrades, and more. One of my favorites, because it is weird, is the Death Vessel hull upgrade, which uses materials harvested from the Shadowfell to provide the ship with an aura of dread… that just sounds neato.

Thing the Third: Combat, Travel, and Hazards on the Seas

The rules for ship combat and travel on the seas are straightforward and simple, which I like. Everything is streamlined in combat and the travel portions. DMs can learn how to add various types of hazards to the travel, and to the combat, such as having a fire erupt on a ship while it is in combat. There are simple tables to help deal with a range of issues that could crop up, and best of all, it really helps to ignite my imagination.

Thing the Fourth: Ocean Environs and Ship Encounters

This section of the book deals with all of the strangeness and awesomeness of the sea. You will find information on blue holes, sandbars, coral reefs, learn how currents can affect travel, and learn more about the dangers of the depths. Some of the other fun environs detailed include kelp forests, Kraken graves, eldritch mist, magical storms, and… you get the idea. There is a lot, and they all have DCs or tables with them to make them easy to use.

The Ship Encounters section is great too, making it easy to come up with random encounters quickly. The ship name generator is a lot of fun, as is the crew name generator.

Thing the Fifth: Mysterious Islands

This is a great feature and a simple way to set up some wild and fun encounters for your players. You roll to determine the theme of the island, the leader of the island, and story hooks. Very simple, but great for getting the imagination going. Let’s take a look at a random result that I will roll right now (mainly because I want to roll some dice). And for the fun of it, I rolled up a crew member name.

So…

Our crew member, Drizzly Mast (I swear that’s a possible combo in the book), finds a mysterious island that is about two miles long and five miles wide. Since good ol’ Drizzly has been in the tropics, he will come across a tropical island. It has an “alien” theme and the island leader is a beholder. Some of the inhabitants on the island are cult fanatics who refuse to interact with the characters, seeing them as lesser beings. The story hook rolled for the island is that the leader has a spell scroll of true resurrection in its belongings.

It is a quick and easy encounter that could be a lot of fun and quite a challenge.

These are just five of the things that I love about the book. There are more, but I am already getting dangerously close to 1,000 words.

Do You Need to Buy Ghosts of Saltmarsh?

As with most of the Dungeons & Dragons books that are not a part of the core three (Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide, and the Monster Manual), you don’t need them. However, there are some fun adventures in the book, along with the other elements that I discussed above.

It has a lot going for it in my opinion, and if you like nautical adventures and you plan to have some seafaring in your campaign, this is a great way to get some new backgrounds, additional rules, and new creatures that you can use. If you are on the fence and you have the money for it, I’d say go for it. For me, it was well worth the money.

Just the Gist: Two Interesting Roleplaying Games to Check Out

Are you looking for a game to try that’s a bit different from the typical Dungeons & Dragons or Pathfinder? Maybe you want to run a one-shot or a short campaign, or you are looking for something brand new to play for a longer spell.

While I haven’t played the games below yet, I’ve read through the books and am excited about the possibilities they can offer. Instead of providing a deep and in-depth review, I figured that I would give you just the gist of what the basics of the setting and core mechanic are like to see if you might be interested. I will do these types of posts with games that I find and like every once in a while.

Of course, if enough people would like to know more about the games, let me know, and I could do a full review. Until then, here are two cool games that you might want to consider. You can find these on places like Amazon and DriveThruRPG.com. The links I’ve included are affiliate links, and they help out the site.

Colonial Gothic

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I find something really fricking cool about the Colonial-era aesthetic, especially when paired with the supernatural. Imagine a dark and fog-shrouded forest. It is the middle of the night, damp and desolate. A woman wearing a tricorn hat and long coat, sword in one hand, a pistol in the other. Fog swirls around her as howls grow closer and closer. Now, this might seem like it’s part and parcel of fantasy fare. However, now imagine that she’s a spy for George Washington and she’s carrying a message to the general, while a pack of ravenous werewolves attacks her on the road. Are they merely hungry or are they working for the British?

The system is simple enough with the core mechanic revolving around 2d12 for all actions. You roll the 2d12 and add modifiers to hit the target number. If it hits the target or is higher, it succeeds. It is a nice and simple system. Lots of story possibilities with this setting, and it could be fun to draw on real history, meet historical characters, and take on all manner of supernatural foes.

It has magic, monsters, and more, including a lot of historical info to help GMs and players nail the setting. I’d say it’s worth checking out. There are options for Kindle, as well as PDF and print options. Those who have Kindle Unlimited will be able to read this book and a range of the supplementary books with their subscription, which is nice. I’d love the print, but I will probably wait a bit to order it through DriveThruRPG.com until I can find more people who want to play.

Kids on Bikes

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Over the past few years, there have been a number of games that have been influenced by Stranger Things and many novels, films, and television shows from the 1980s (Dark Places & Demogorgons, Tales from the Loop). Kids on Bikes has a very similar feel in terms of the tone and the setting. The stories take place in any small town prior to things like cellphones and other bits of modern technology.

Players can create trope characters like the Popular Kid, the Scout, or the Young Provider. It’s a fast and easy way to get up and running. Of course, players who don’t want to use one of the tropes can work with the GM to come up with something unique. If you have the time, I suggest doing this to have just the character you want. Maybe you want a smart jock, for example. Also, while the focus of the game does tend to be on kids and teens, there are options to play as adults, with the trope of the Overprotective Parent, as an example.

A jock, for example, might have a d20 in Brawn and a d12 in Fight, but only a d6 in brains. The GM comes up with the difficulty number, which is from 1 to 20, with 20 being the highest. If the player rolls the highest number on their die, such as a 4 on a 1d4, the dice “explodes” and they roll again. The die can keep exploding up until they hit the target number. Of course, there are other game elements that can come into play, but that’s the basics of the core mechanic.

The rules are simple, which is good, at least to a certain point. It has the potential to become problematic. They are bare bones, which means it will require good judgment for making decisions on the fly on the part of the GM. They need to make sure that their rulings are consistent, as well. While I haven’t played yet, I imagine that it wouldn’t really be much of an issue with a good group with a fair GM.

There aren’t hit points in the game, but there is a table that can help the GM come up with narrative results for combat. This is a rules-light game that works best when there is a good back and forth between the players and the GM to come up with the world and to narrate what happens.

One element that makes Kids on Bikes a bit different is the addition of a powered character. Think Eleven from Stranger Things. However, this character is not played by just one player. The responsibility of the powered character is shared among the players at the table. Each player controls different aspects of that character.

I believe that there is some great potential with this game, but I haven’t played it yet. I’d like to run something similar to Stephen King’s It, where we start out with the kids are young and dealing with some type of horror, and then run again when they are adults. Stats and even character types could change as the kids grow up and become adults. For a game like this, I might even scrap the idea of a powered character.

There is the regular print and PDF versions of the game, as well as a version that’s free and contains the ashcan rules for the game, so you can give it a shot without spending money. You can also head to Renegade Games and pick up the deluxe hardcover, which is what I did.

Anyway, that’s just the gist of two roleplaying games that I think look like a lot of fun and that I’d love to play or run at some point. What other great games are out there?

A Quick Review of Festivals, Feasts and Fairs by Ashley May

An easy to use and affordable resource for Dungeon Masters.

An easy to use and affordable resource for Dungeon Masters.

I do a lot of homebrewing and I often have to come up with ideas on the fly… which can sometimes be more taxing than I really like. This is especially true after a long week of writing for my day job. That’s why I really appreciate products like Festivals, Feasts and Fairs by Ashley May. This book is fun and filled to the brim with useful information.

Available on the DM’s Guild, this .pdf is filled with easy to use, fun activities/ideas that you can throw into your Dungeons & Dragons games for when the characters have a little bit of downtime. There will be plenty of fun interactive activities, which you can incorporate into more than just fairs and festivals.

Although the book is only about 40 pages, it is full of great information that makes it easy to create holiday celebrations for a town or city, to create a carnival or circus, to create festivals, feasts, fairs, and to round them out with a wealth of activities.

You will even find rules for archery contests, arm wrestling, drinking contests, eating contests, jousting, milking cows, pig calling, carnival games, and… so much more. It gets even better. The book has information about vendors of different types, fortune telling, different types of items that can be found around a carnival or fair, six new magic items, two new backgrounds – carnie and mummer.

Lots of content that will be easy to integrate into just about any campaign.

Lots of content that will be easy to integrate into just about any campaign.

The book gives you plenty of information to put a festival or event (or even an entire traveling carnival) together relatively quickly and easily, which is a huge benefit to me. You will even find sample festivals that can be quickly re-skinned and slipped right into your campaign.

I’ve already used information from the book a couple of times, and I will be doing so in the future, as well. It’s one of my favorite purchases from the DM’s Guild thus far.

For less than $4, I highly recommend this for any overworked DMs who might want to have a simple way to put together some fast, fun things for the players to do. And like I said, it’s likely to ignite your imagination and provide you with some interesting story ideas. Check it out.

Basics of What You Need to Know About Wayfinder’s Guide to Eberron

Well, the Eberron campaign guide is here. Well, it’s mostly here. Currently, you can pick up a PDF version of the guide, which is called Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron, on the DM’s Guild by clicking the link. The current cost is $19.99, and having had a quick look at it, I have to say that thus far, there is quite a bit to enjoy.

What I’ve read so far is well-written and engaging, and there appears to be quite a lot that I will want to use. It also makes me want to run a setting in Eberron, which is saying quite a lot since I am mainly a homebrewer.

However, there’s a bit to unpack when it comes to exactly what this book is and why there is not currently a hardback release, as one might initially expect from a D&D release from Wizards of the Coast.

Rumors for New Dungeons & Dragons 5E Settings - Will Eberron Be Coming Soon? What About Other Settings, Like Planescape?

It's been an unfortunately long time since I've been able to post, mostly because the day writing job as a freelancer and the work on other personal writing projects has impacted just how much time I have to write posts. It happens. Hopefully, things will change to give me more time sooner rather than later.

For now, though,  here's a short post based on some rumors and, well, some decent evidence. @BrainClouds (David Flor) posted on Twitter that he discovered that the DM's Guild is adding a setting that many people already know and love - Eberron. It looks like Wizards of the Coast might have leaked their own secret a bit early through the DM's Guild, and David was keen-eyed enough to spot it.

Happy Mother’s Day: D&D Origin Story

I’ve talked about this before. It’s essentially the origin story of why I love and play Dungeons & Dragons, similar to what I have on the about us page. Being Mother’s Day, thought, I wanted to write about it again here because there are just those days where I miss my mother a lot, and this is certainly one of them.

Northeastern Olandara: My First Map for the New Campaign World With Inkarnate Pro

I haven’t had much of a chance to put up as many posts as I would like, and a big part of that is due to the amount of work I’ve been putting into a massive Dungeons & Dragons project that will eventually (hopefully) see the light of day – we’re pushing for fall of 2018. Of course, this will all depend on a range of factors, and one of those is my ability to take care of a bunch or preproduction and production stuff. But that’s not really the focus of this article. This is about my experience with Inkarnate, an online map making tool.

5 Things Game Masters Wish Players Did

If you love playing Dungeons & Dragons, Starfinder, and other tabletop roleplaying games, you are going to want to help keep your game master sane and happy. After all, they are doing all of the behind the scenes work to help make the game as fun as possible. While I’ve been quite lucky with the players that I’ve had (at least over the past year or so), not all GMs are quite so fortunate. So, players out there, if you want to make sure your GM is happy, there are a few things that you can do.

Don’t Be a Backseat DM: Let the Dungeon Master Handle the Game

In the last article, I talked about some tips for those who were new to DMing and gamemastering. I thought it was appropriate to follow up with a quick bit of advice for Dungeon Masters who are now players in campaigns whether they are run by experienced or novice DMs. As the title states, don’t be a backseat DM. What does this mean though?

Don’t Be Afraid to DM! 6 Tips to Help You Get Ready to Take on the Dungeon Master’s Seat

Since the dawn of roleplaying games, there has always been a shortage of gamemasters. Everyone loves to play, but people tend to be somewhat reticent when it comes to sitting in the DM’s chair for one reason or another. Sure, there’s more work that goes into planning a session on the DM’s part than the players’, but it is also highly rewarding. Watching people partake in stories that you’ve created, and watching their characters grow and develop is fantastic.

You get to create storylines and adventures, become the NPCs and the monsters, and develop your own world if you wish (or play in one of the campaign settings already in place, such as Forgotten Realms, Eberron, or Tal’Dorei from Critical Role.)

Of course, there’s also the elements of fear and doubt that creep into the mind when you’ve never been a DM before. You are afraid of getting it wrong.

Don’t worry. It’s not as hard as you think. I’ve written about this sort of thing before, but it bears repeating. Being a DM is honestly not that difficult once you get rolling, and the tips below can help to make it even easier.

Miniature from Hero Forge - A Half-Orc Named Pesci

I've only recently started down the path to minis for Dungeons & Dragons, and I still don't use them in all of my games. I started with some of the pawn sets put out by Paizo, which were of a higher quality than I had initially anticipated. Then, I started to fall down the rabbit hole even further, and I began to look at the many different mini options out there, including the prepainted minis from Pathfinder, along with Nolzur's Marvelous Miniatures. They were all relatively cheap, and I figured I could grab a few here and there and then eventually learn how to paint (still working on that last part).

I had also heard of a popular company called Hero Forge, which allows people to make custom minis for their game. I loved the idea, but it's a costly venture. I spent about $35 for a single mini (a birthday present of the half-orc fighter Pesci, my friend Erin's character in a game we play set in Tal'Dorei). Let's look at some photos of Pesci and images of some other minis for a comparison.

New D&D Book Coming Soon: Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes

Some great news from the folks at Wizards of the Coast! They just announced that there will be a new book releasing on May 29, 2018, called, as you saw in the title, Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes. While we don’t know a whole lot about the book quite yet, I’m already looking forward to it based on how happy I’ve been with Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, which I find myself perusing and using more and more often.

DM Tips and Opinions: Running a Small Group for D&D and Other RPGs

Back in the day, the crew I used to play with would be six or seven strong most of the time, and that’s what I was accustomed to. Today, I generally run much smaller groups for D&D, Star Wars, and other RPGs. In fact, it’s often just four in total, including me as the DM. There are both good and bad things about running a small group. Let's look into it.

D&D Random Tables: What’s for Dinner at the Tavern Tonight?

Tables can make the life of a Dungeon Master a lot easier, and I have always been a big fan. They can allow the GM to come up with exactly what they need on the fly

Since I feel there can never be too many tables, I thought I might put up a very simple table from time to time that you can take and use in your own games. Depending on whether people find these handy or now, I will try to add a new table of some sort every couple of weeks, and I will try to switch things up a bit with different types of tables for different sorts of games (modern, horror, etc.). For now, though…

5 Gifts for Tabletop RPG Players

Recently, I put up an article on items that DMs and GMs might like as a gift. However, I don’t want to leave out the players. I also figured I should do it before the holidays, even though these are great gifts no matter the occasion. After all, a gamemaster wouldn’t have much to do if there were no players. So, here’s a list of some items that you may want to consider picking up for some of your favorite roleplayers out there. While they might not need all these items, they can be a lot of fun.

Check out 5 great types of gifts for tabletop RPG players.

Do You Use Miniatures for Your Tabletop Roleplaying Games?

I love the idea of using miniatures and tokens in games like Dungeons & Dragons and Starfinder. However, it’s not something that I do very often. In fact, the only time I’ve used any type of minis or maps recently has been in a couple of Star Wars games that I’ve run, and then on Roll20, of course, since it’s so easy to do. Before that, I hadn’t used any since the third edition of D&D. Even then, they were my DMs minis and terrains, not my own.

Why haven’t I started using minis and terrain? Well, there are a couple of reasons.

Great RPGs for Kids and All New Players

In yesterday’s post, we talked about some of the benefits that can come from having your children play tabletop RPGs such as D&D. Today, I wanted to write just a bit about some of the different game systems and settings that tend to be nice and easy to use, even for those who are just starting out. So, let’s have a look at some of these roleplaying games that would work well for kids, as well as any new player for that matter.

DM Tips and Opinions: 10 Benefits of Kids Playing Tabletop Roleplaying Games Like Dungeons & Dragons

Roleplaying games, whether it’s Dungeons & Dragons, Star Wars, Starfinder, Cypher System or anything else, really can be for just about everyone. If you are on this site, then there’s a good chance you feel the same way or you at least want to learn more about how RPGs can affect kids.

There’s something magic about these types of games. They pull you away into a new world or into the setting of your favorite book or movie. I feel that they can be great for people of just about every age (why not have people in retirement homes start playing to keep sharp? It's better than sitting and staring at the television). Let's check out some of the best reasons kids should play.