Archive for November, 2016

A new episode of the podcast Rudy Basso and I make, Have Spellbook, Will Travel, is up on the show’s site!

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Uh-oh!  It’s an interrogation episode flying straight IN.  YOUR.  FACE.  KA-POW.

Are you okay from that ka-powing?  If so, then please take a listen and hear of harpies, kobold fingers, and casino beatdowns!  If not, then we recommend taking a rest and recovering then listening later.

Tweet your Levels Question of the Week at us or #levelsq on Twitter!

Send your mailbag questions via the Contact page.

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If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, like World Builder Blog on Facebook, check out my podcasts, find my products on the DMs Guild, tell your friends about the blog, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

A new episode of my podcast, The Round Table, is up on The Tome Show’s website.


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I sit down with Joe Lastowski, Topher Kohan, Daniel Franco, and Alex Jarzinbinski to discuss the in-store adventure In Volo’s Wake, the Volo’s Guide to Monsters Adventurers League Reference, and an Unearthed Arcana article about Barbarian Primal Paths. Then it’s an interview with Randy Aitken about his Kickstarter for Of Drow Origin. This podcast was recorded on November 12, 2016.


Please rate and review The Tome Show on iTunes. It helps us a bunch!


Open Gaming Store Pick of the Episode: Munchkin Holiday Surprise


DMs Guild Pick of the Episode: Custom Deck of Many Things


Links:

The Tome Show on Facebook

Have Spellbook, Will Travel

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If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, like World Builder Blog on Facebook, check out my podcasts, find my products on the DMs Guild, tell your friends about the blog, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

It’s Thanksgiving today in the United States, so this is going to be a quick post. On this holiday we think about the people in our lives that we’re grateful to know. For me that includes a ton of gamer friends. With the holidays coming up, I’m giving you a few gift ideas for one of your most important gamer friends: your Dungeon Master.

DMs deserves our love, because not only do they have the mammoth task of running the game, they also spend more hours outside the game preparing it, often serve as the organizers and schedulers of games, and usually drop the most coin on gaming products. Here’s how you can appreciate them.

Gifts that Cost Cash

If you’ve got some change to spare, these goodies will make your DM smile… and possibly overlook the next time your PC takes a critical hit!

Gifts that Cost Time

Maybe your philosophy is “Spend more time than money on those you love.” It’s a good one! If that’s the case, here’s some gifts that will fill your DM’s heart with cheer.

  • Create A Game Calendar. Get together with your gaming group and plan a year’s worth of sessions. Put it all onto a calendar you buy or create and you’ve got one of the best gifts a DM could ask for! You can even give this gift digitally. Make sure you ask your DM for their schedule before locking down dates.
  • Run A Game. Many DMs rarely get to play. Offer to run a one-shot for you DM so that they get to have fun in a new way. You’ll gain a new appreciate for what they do.
  • Write A Recap. If you’re in the middle of a long campaign, on your own or with the rest of your group, write a recap of the narrative so far and give it to your DM. Each person in the group could take a few “chapters” of the campaign and write it from their character’s perspective for extra fun. You could post the whole thing on Obsidian Portal to really give your DM a special treat.
  • Find Great Free Products. There are tons of free products out there. Print them out and hand them to your DM. Of course, I recommend you start on the Free Game Resources section of this site (why not try my one-shot adventure Happy Holidays), but you can find tons of free and pay what you want goodies on the DMs Guild. Be sure to leave a review of a product and/or shout it out on social media if you’re grabbing it for free, to help spread the designer’s good work.

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, like World Builder Blog on Facebook, check out my podcasts, find my products on the DMs Guild, tell your friends about the blog, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

A new episode of my podcast, The Round Table, is up on The Tome Show’s website.


the-tome-show-round-table


I sit down with Doug Cole, the owner of Gaming Ballistic, an amazing game designer, and the man behind the recently launched and currently on-going Dungeon Grappling Kickstarter. This podcast was recorded on November 17, 2016.


Please rate and review The Tome Show on iTunes. It takes 30 seconds and helps us a bunch!


Open Gaming Store Pick of the Episode: Kobold Press Pathfinder Megabundle


DMs Guild Pick of the Episode: Puzzles, Riddles, and Traps Set 2


Links:

The Tome Show on Facebook

Have Spellbook, Will Travel


If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, like World Builder Blog on Facebook, check out my podcasts, find my products on the DMs Guild, tell your friends about the blog, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

A  new behind-the-scenes episode of the podcast Rudy Basso and I make, Have Spellbook, Will Travel, is up on the show’s site!

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Today’s SUPERSIZED behind-the-scenes interview is with… RUDY BASSO ?! PLOT TWIIIIIIST.  Yes, we figured that it would probably be a smart idea to give some background info on ourselves rather than just our wonderful cast.  So take a listen and hear about quantity vs. quality writing, Rudy’s accidental Lady Love, and maybe too much friend on friend back pat-tery.  Also there’s a whole lotta gushing about Night’s Black Agents.

Tweet your own Levels Question of the Week at us or #levelsq on Twitter! 

Send your mailbag questions via the Contact page.

VISIT AND CONTRIBUTE TO OUR WIKI!

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, like World Builder Blog on Facebook, check out my podcasts, find my products on the DMs Guild, tell your friends about the blog, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

I know top [INSERT NUMBER HERE] lists have saturated the internet, but let’s face it – we love them. It’s fun to read a few ideas that can give your mind advice or inspiration in bite-sized chunks. This is especially true when it comes to tabletop RPGs!

What would be more appropriate for this blog than a list of five campaign world ideas for D&D? Below are short blurbs on each world to get your brain juices flowing and a few adventure ideas (because a world ain’t worth playing in if it doesn’t have adventure).

1. Avorta, World of Diamonds

Diamonds (an important component in any spell that returns a creature to life) are an adventurer’s best friend in any D&D world. Avorta was once rich with them. Thanks to this fruitful crop many noble families were rich, powerful, and bored. The boredom ended when the nobles became thrill-seekers unafraid of death, thanks to the seemingly endless supplies of diamonds. They engaged in all sorts of reckless activity: hunting powerful creatures both good and evil and sometimes dying just to see what falling 10,000 feet or being completely immolated felt like. The demand for diamonds increased and over-mining began.

The first way to restrict the consumption of diamonds: cut off the poor class, who are mostly the miners themselves. It is illegal for any person who wasn’t of noble blood to own a diamond. Peasants are outlawed from being bards, clerics, druids, paladins, and from pursuing any other path that could allow them to learn to cast spells that rejuvenate.

These new laws barely delayed the inevitable. Some mines have already dried up and those that are left are waning. The noble families are now at war with each other over these remaining mines, sending peasants into battles to fight for them, all the while stockpiling diamonds as the threat of death of death increases.

Adventure Ideas
  • The characters work as mercenaries to the highest bidding noble family. They capture enemy diamond mines, become deep cover spies, and keep the peasants in line.
  • The characters are rich nobles who seek thrills and fight their own battles in the war.
  • The party works is part of an organization lead by druids that wants to end all mining in Avorta as it pillages the earth. They raid and shutdown mines, convince peasants they can get jobs in other industries, and try to get the nobles to see the impact of their actions.
  • The party is a group of peasant rebels, who go against the noble class to take the diamond mines for the people of Avorta. They rally other peasants, topple noble regimes, and make alliances with monsters who are tired of being hunted for sport.

2. Fidala, the Disappearing Land

Fidala is a flat world and a black abyss has begun eating away at its edges. The darkness moves in from all sides of the map. Each morning it is a bit closer to swallowing up the world. No one is sure why this is happening, but creatures and objects that enter the abyss are never seen or heard from again.

The panic surrounding the darkness swallowing the world is great. People on the outskirts of the world flee toward its center as do all of the unsavory monsters in the land. As civilized humanoids watch their resources disappear, they have to battle an incursion of beings from gnats to dragons. The crowded center of the world is only becoming more so with disease and poverty amongst refugees running rampant.

Some governments at the center of the world have closed their borders and refuse to take refugees. As such some of the displaced people have banded together to form a desperate mob that is at war with these nations. All the while, the abyss takes a bit more of Fidala each day…

Adventure Ideas
  • The characters have to battle against monsters and angry mobs who want the center of Fidala for themselves.
  • The characters must discover what’s creating the abyss.
  • The characters must search the rest of the multiverse for a suitable home for the millions of beings in Fidala.
  • The characters must escort large groups of refugees safely to the center of the map.
  • The characters must quell riots and disease in crowded places.
  • The characters must convince governments to open their borders to end lives and stop violence.

3. Enora, the Bound Sky

I’ve already written a post about my world of Enora. The idea is that years ago, a kingdom of prosperous humanoids was beset by a lich necromancer with an army of undead. Dwarves and tieflings retreated underground into a massive city and locked themselves behind heavy doors. The rest of the humanoids called upon the magic of powerful wizards to raise their cities into the sky. Those cities that weren’t raised into the sky were overrun. That was fifty years ago.

Since that time, the armies of undead built huge, smog spewing furnaces that put clouds of soot into the sky to block out the sun. None of the floating cities can see through this smoke layer and do not know what remains of their old surface world. That’s just the start of the problems in the sky. Lack of land and resources have led many souls to pursue life as sky pirates, robbing airship merchants to take what they want. All the while people worry the undead below could be amassing to take over the sky.

The situation underground is no better. Resources are scarce in the crowded city and plenty of other unsavory beasts that burrow made their way underground when the undead took the surface. Everyday the hoard bangs on the doors and it is only a matter of time before they break through and devour the residents… if disease or starvation doesn’t take them first.

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 12.24.28 PM

This map of Enora before the fall made on Roll20 using Russ Hapke‘s Old World Style Maps

Adventure Ideas
  • The characters are from the floating cities and asked to go on expeditions to the surface to discover what’s happening with the undead, search for survivors of a crashed airship, or find resources that can be brought back.
  • The characters are sky pirates who plan airship raids and robberies.
  • The characters are working as spies to infiltrate the sky pirates and bring them down from the inside.
  • The characters live in the underground city and must go out into the tunnels of the world to find resources and defend the doors from hoards of undead.
  • Check this post for a whole campaign arc.

4. Onvale, Land of Strangers

Jonvale seems like an idyllic fantasy world, but there’s one problem. Doppelgangers are plotting to take over the world and already closer than most people know. The creatures once had a peaceful colony underground, but Onvale’s Empress Malticum burned the city down in order to get to the precious adamantine veins beneath. Decades later, the doppelgangers return for their revenge by taking over all of Onvale. They pose as peasants and noble alike, fooling even those closest to their victims.

The rumors of doppelgangers taking over are whispered everywhere, but no one is sure what’s true and what’s not. Who can the adventurers trust with such creatures about?

Adventure Ideas
  • The characters must identify any doppelgangers in the population through spying and interrogation.
  • One of the characters is captured and replaced with a doppelganger, but the others don’t know it.
  • The characters must search the abandoned city of the doppelgangers for clues about where they are hiding now.
  • This world could also work with an incursion of mystauk.

5. Zaltus, the Prison Plane

Zaltus is a harsh world of extreme terrains – deserts, swamps, tundra, and jungles. Predatory beasts roam the plane, but they are not the most dangerous villains Zaltus has to offer. The plane is easy to enter, but nearly impossible to leave. Planar travel spells do not work in Zaltus. As such, other worlds in the multiverse use Zaltus as a prison. The truly dangerous criminals and the folks who others need to be forgotten wind up here. They do have free reign of this world, harsh as it is. It is a place of dangerous anarchy from which there is no escape.

Some criminals have banded together to form gangs, build hideouts, and even form cities. Others wander the wilds alone, content to murder or rob anything they come across. There are good folk in Zaltus who were wrongly accused, plotting against tyrannical governments, or locked up because it was politically convenient. Many search for a way out of Zaltus, but none have succeeded… yet!

Adventure Ideas
  • The characters are wrongfully imprisoned on Zaltus and must escape.
  • The characters must travel to Zaltus to free another prisoner, item, or piece of information and be at a specific location at a specific date and time to catch a portal back home.
  • The characters are imprisoned in Zaltus and must survive by any means.

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, like World Builder Blog on Facebook, check out my podcasts, find my products on the DMs Guild, tell your friends about the blog, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

A new episode of my podcast, The Round Table, is up on The Tome Show’s website.


I sit down with Andrew Kane and Vegas Lancaster to discuss the latest D&D movie news and the new D&D party game from Wiz Kids, Rock Paper Wizard. This podcast was recorded on November 3, 2016.


Please rate and review The Tome Show on iTunes. It takes 30 seconds and helps a bunch!


Open Gaming Store Pick of the Episode: 20 for $20 Legendary Games Bundle


DMs Guild Pick of the Episode: Ravenloft Bestiary – Monster of the Dread Domain


Links:

The Tome Show on Facebook

Have Spellbook, Will Travel

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N Crowd Comedy


If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, like World Builder Blog on Facebook, check out my podcasts, find my products on the DMs Guild, tell your friends about the blog, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

A new episode of the podcast Rudy Basso and I make, Have Spellbook, Will Travel, is up on the show’s site!

47ee0-1462462559930

Uh-oh!  It’s an interrogation episode flying straight IN.  YOUR.  FACE.  KA-POW.

Are you okay from that ka-powing?  If so, then please take a listen and hear of harpies, kobold fingers, and casino beatdowns!  If not, then we recommend taking a rest and recovering then listening later.

Tweet your Levels Question of the Week at us or #levelsq on Twitter!

Send your mailbag questions via the Contact page.

VISIT AND CONTRIBUTE TO OUR WIKI!

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, like World Builder Blog on Facebook, check out my podcasts, find my products on the DMs Guild, tell your friends about the blog, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

Friends, it is time to show off another fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons background I created. This one has been rolling around in my head for awhile, and I thought it was time to share it with the rest of you.

You may know my cursed background (available in the Pay What You Want PDF 15 New Backgrounds on the DMs Guild #ShamelessPlug). In this background, the character suffered a horrible magic curse that haunted them throughout their pre-campaign life. Now I’m happy to show off the blessed background, in which the character has the expectation of greatness thrust upon its shoulders due to some prophetic happening. This background lives in this post and is available as a PDF in the link below and on the Free Game Resources section of this site.

PDF: Blessed

Blessed

Some sign or prophecy has foretold your greatness. The excitement surrounding your soon-to-be-legendary story has spread throughout your home, but you have yet to actually prove you are worthy of your reputation. There are those who accept your prophesied fate as future fact. Others are skeptics, anxious to see you fail as proof that most mystical readings are mumbo jumbo. Some folks might be jealous of you while other desperate people pressure you to be the chosen one they need. You can determine how you became blessed by using the Prophetic Signs table.

Prophetic Signs

d6

Prophetic Sign

1

You were born during a rare astrological or lunar event.

2

Your mother was blessed by an important priest or mage while pregnant with you.

3

A specific birthmark on your skin is a sign of your greatness to come.

4

An ancient scroll, tablet, or other writing foretold your greatness.

5

As a child you miraculously defeated an ancient evil and people took this as a sign of greatness to come.

6

An important person in the community claims to have a dream that showed you are destined for greatness.

Skill Proficiencies: History and Intimidation or Persuasion

Languages: One exotic language and one other language of your choice

Starting Equipment: A set of common clothes, a piece of parchment with the prophecy that pertains to you, a signal whistle, a journal, pen, bottle of ink, and a belt pouch with 5 gp.

Feature: Blessed Guidance

When you are truly stumped and in need of guidance, there is a voice, wind, light, or other force that occasionally guides you. You can ask for this force to aid you when you are at a loss for what to do next and the DM decides if and how this force aids you. It often works in a vague, mysterious way (e.g. speaking in riddles, rustling a key chain on a guard’s belt, etc.) and does not perform any actions for you, but rather provides a hint about some course of action you could take.

Suggested Characteristics

You have an enormous burden of expectation to shoulder. Do you believe in your own greatness or are you worried that the truth is you are just another nobody? In either case, you might strive to prove your doubters (and possibly yourself) wrong by achieving every heroic deed possible. Of course you might be terrified of your fate, running with all haste from what you fear could be true, and simply living your adventuring life as a mercenary who cares only for friends and money.

d8 Personality Traits
1 When others boast, I must top them with my own achievements.
2 This chosen one speaks in the third person.
3 I don’t want to be recognized, so I use a myriad of fake names.
4 I feel out of place and figdety when others don’t fawn all over me.
5 I can’t help but take on a challenge.
6 I don’t take “no” for an answer.
7 I have a personal mantra that I repeat in stressful situations.
8 Nothing I achieve is ever good enough for me.

 

d6 Ideals
1 Strength. Everything accomplishment must be more impressive than my last. (Neutral)
2 Protection. My greatness will be used to protect the defenseless. (Good)
3 Order. I am meant to bring law to the lawless. (Lawful)
4 Tyranny. Only those destined to rule, like me, should have power. (Evil)
5 Freedom. Everyone should be free to live their life. (Chaotic)
6 Community. I do everything I can for the people that believe in me. (Neutral)

 

d6 Bonds
1 I cannot shake the memory of the first time someone called me a fraud.
2 My destiny is intertwined with that of a prophesied evil-doer.
3 I am meant for greatness, but I am prophesied to kill a loved one in order to achieve it.
4 My hometown is the place where I am most revered and most jeered.
5 I have a mentor who always challenged me to rely on myself and not a prophecy to be great.
6 A trinket from home reminds me where I came from and who I am fighting for.

 

d6 Flaws
1 I was born to be better than everyone else and I am.
2 I’ll take money over trust any day.
3 Praise me and I’ll do anything for you.
4 I brag about my greatness just to take others to bed.
5 I do not ask others about themselves or make newcomers feel welcome.
6 I treat my opinions as fact.

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, like World Builder Blog on Facebook, check out my podcasts, find my products on the DMs Guild, tell your friends about the blog, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

A new episode of my podcast, The Round Table, is up on The Tome Show’s website.


I sit down with Dan DillonTeos Abadia, Schuyler Esau, and Round Table newbie Ryan Hennesy to discuss Trapdoor Technologies closing their doors and a Kotaku article about simple D&D adventures. This podcast was recorded on October 31, 2016.


Please rate and review The Tome Show on iTunes. It takes 30 seconds and helps us a bunch!

Open Gaming Store Pick of the Episode: Southlands Heroes

DMs Guild Pick of the Episode: Volo’s Bag of Holding

Links:

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, like World Builder Blog on Facebook, check out my podcasts, find my products on the DMs Guild, tell your friends about the blog, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!