Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen

Wizards takes us to the fabled realm of Dragonlance – with more dragons than you can dragonshake a dragonstick at. What’s in here? Some good stuff. Is it worth your attention? Maybe.

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New Player: Zweihander

I was invited to a one-shot adventure as part of Roll 20’s “TTRPG Indie Showcase” with the d100 system Zweihander. A grimdark, crunchy system prized for its enormous selection of options. How was it for a new player? Find out.

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TTRPG Advice: Cities

New York. Chicago. Denver. London. Mexico City. Onterio. No two cities give the same feel in our real world, but navigating them proves almost a nightmare when set in a TTRPG. How can you give the best possible experience for city-based gameplay? Let’s figure it out together.

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Your First Convention and You: Is the ‘Con Life’ right for you?

2019 was a year of firsts for me. My first time DMing for charity, my first time making bratwurst from scratch, my first year working freelance full-time, and my first time going to a convention. What did I learn from the experience, what insight can I offer to you kind people? Let’s unpack exactly what to expect as learned from my 2019 travels.

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Tabletop Gaming Advice: The 5 Requirements of Combat

There come moments in every combat scenario when your turn devolves into “hit it with a thing until it stops doing what it’s doing” and those moments are pretty rough on some people. If you feel that way – today we’re going to discuss the flow of combat and how your Actions and Reactions can change the entire face of a combat encounter to be far more fun*.

*Fun is subjective – not everyone’s fun will be the same. However, by focusing on the actions and reactions that give your character agency, it gives you more control over the fun you and everyone else enjoys at the table.

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TTRPG Advice: Start Reskinning EVeRyTHinG!

Before you break your skull open trying to figure out the stats for a quarter etter-cap drow or what stats would accurately portray a KATANA (the longest running headache in the D&D community other than encumbrance, I think), why don’t you take a minute to consider the ultimate power… the beating heart of all gaming since its inception: reskinning. 

Let’s figure out the ins and outs to this fuster cluck and see if we can’t get some converts on the side of flavor over additional mechanics.

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TTRPG Advice: Realism In Your Game

Due to some incredibly rainy piss-poor days and being a novice with a camera, I’ve been forced to push back my reviews. Oops. 
However, something keeps coming up in my chats and mentions, posts and public conversations: Realism. There are generally three sides to this argument, people who want to calculate the air-speed velocity that human tissue begins to release from bone, people who let their PCs flap their arms hard enough to fly, and the poor players and GMs caught in the middle.

How can you best navigate the argument? How do you decide what stance you take? How can you defend your ruling against Rules Lawyers or Implacable GMs? Let’s dissect this thing for the world to see.

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TTRPG Advice: Stop Playing to “win the game”

Metagaming, lone-wolf characters who never get involved, min-max characters, broken spell combinations, pocket sand, tucker’s kobolds, player hand-offs: All of these annoying and ceaselessly discussed topics stem from a single point – a patient zero of all problematic TTRPG roleplay: when players are trying to “beat the game” you’re playing.

Let’s talk about why this is a problem and how to fix it!

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TTRPG Advice: The Player Character Backstory

The majority of questions I’ve seen in my Tabletop Gaming history surround a single aspect of the game: The backstory. How much should a player prepare? How much should a DM use? Is there too much? Too little? Can a DM change it?

While the background generation is very important, I think we can tackle the vast majority of your questions and concerns in this one article – as well as give some tips to help you (or your players) make a more meaningful and memorable backstory! So let’s take a look.

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TTRPG Advice: What Makes the Game Fun

Let us climb into the honesty igloo real fast… The entire hobby, all of it, is supposed to be fun. If you’re not having fun, you are – in fact – ‘doing it wrong.’

Likewise, if you’re running a game, I’m sorry to tell you this – it’s your job to ensure as many people at your table are having fun as possible. But do not worry – I’m here to help you understand how to figure this craziness out.

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TTRPG Advice: Connecting Your Plot

We’ve all seen those thread-bare plots used in games and movies, tv shows and novels. But how to connect your “plot threads” into something strong enough to pull your story along is not so easy in a Tabletop Game where other people’s imaginations are involved in the creation of your story. Hopefully I can help shine some light on how to weave together your plot and keep your players from getting lost.

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TTRPG Advice: Persevering a T.P.K (Total Party Kill)

When you put in a video game, even a brutal one like Darkest Dungeon or Demon’s Souls, you are pitted against a faceless and brooding evil – mechanics. A team of developers spent years crafting that game to be beatable yet challenging, unforgiving but surmountable, hair-pullingly frustrating but rewarding in the end.

A Tabletop RPG, on the other hand, has a face, a name, and generally feelings to boot – we call them “Game Masters.” And when disaster strikes and you lose everything, you can throw your head back and shout obscenities at a videogame, but chances are your Game Master might feel a little cross after such a thing. So how do you work past a TPK as a Game Master or as a Player? Let me lend a helping hand with my Three-Step Program.

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TTRPG Advice: Threats and Challenges

“Natural Progression of Threats” is a phrase I use a lot. Eventually, I’m sorry to say, the wheels will fall off of your game if you just keep throwing damage and hitpoint sacks at the players. Today, we’re going to look at how to challenge and threaten your PCs outside of bodily harm and injury!

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TTRPG Advice: How to Narrate Combat

“I run up to it and attack.” “I shoot it with my bow.” “Uhhh, I guess I run up and swing at it?” “I attack it.” “I’m going to create a ring of ice around it, that goes up 30 feet, and it’ll have to dive out of the way to keep from being trapped inside: Dex save.” “I poke it twice.”

Narrative combat should not be just flavor text for spells and abilities. It should fuel decisions and give each player a springboard to jump off of every turn. But it’s tricky to actually do in-game. Hopefully by the end of this article, you’ll have a better grasp on how to draw your players, peers, and friends into the combat!

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