Thursday, May 26, 2016

D&D 5e: The Tiefling Personality



This is the eighth article in my series on personality traits, ideals, bonds, and flaws for the PC races of D&D 5e. Along with dragonborn, tieflings are one of the more divisive races of D&D, with plenty of grognards insisting that any races introduced after 1979 or so are right out. On the other hand, they've been immensely popular with the rest of the community, as they've gradually gone from their introduction in Planescape (in 1994) to a core "monster" and a Forgotten Realms player race in 3.0, (2001), to a core player race in 4e (2008) and 5e. They've always been the exotic, edgy ones, giving us a clear place (other than the half-orc) to talk (ham-handedly) about fantasy racism and whether evil is inherent or learned.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Give Your PCs Treasure With These Six Weird Tricks


I've been doing some hard work on magic item design over in Tribality, and I've talked a bit about the two 5e campaigns I play in, so in this post I'm looking at different approaches to magic items in roleplaying games. I've identified six so far, which is my justification for the clickbait title (also, I want to see if it draws in readers); if you think of meaningfully different approaches, I want to hear about them.

Friday, May 13, 2016

D&D 5e: Three New Cleric Spells

As part of working on a new manuscript for Tribality Publishing, I decided that I wanted to create some new cleric spells. I've already got a handful of new cantrips ready to go, so I wanted these to be 1st-level or higher. I also wanted to explore some divine magic themes that the current cleric and cleric spell list don't draw on very much. Oh, and here's a previous collection of five cleric spells that I wrote.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

D&D 5e: Crown of Madness Rework

Crown of madness is a spell with excellent theme and, in my view, underwhelming mechanics. In this post, I discuss what I see as the problems, propose an alternate implementation, and explain my reasoning. I have every expectation that this spell has its hardcore supporters, or perhaps just those who oppose any change to the mechanics on principle. But, well, that's the internet for you - it's pretty clear that the community as a whole is on my side here. I am open to the possibility that I'm wrong about this spell, though.


Saturday, April 23, 2016

D&D 5e: The Other Side of the Screen

In every edition of D&D I've played, I've spent much more time as a DM than as a PC. I played maybe two session of 2e, compared to the hundred-or-so that I ran. I ran considerably more 3.x than 2e, maybe double or so, but also played a good bit more; instead of 50:1, it was probably more like 20:1. Of all the editions of D&D, 4e is my high-water mark - I probably only ran two sessions for every one that I played (special thanks go to Stands-in-Fire and the Marsupialmancer for this being the case). I've been running 5e since the beginning of the D&D Next public playtest, and because it's mostly been a single ongoing campaign, my session log even tells me how much Next/5e I've run: 54 sessions. Up against that, six sessions as a PC, spread across three different characters. Because my view is otherwise so slanted toward being a DM, I wanted to say a few words about 5e from the other side of the screen. There are some great game-running lessons to learn from both of my DMs.

Friday, April 15, 2016

D&D 5e: Winter Kin Sorcerous Origin

Shortly after I sold my first article to ENWorld, full of Halloween-themed subclasses, I tried to do something similar with winter-themed subclasses. It didn't fly, and it was a little while longer before I tried again. The important thing is that the Winter Kin sorcerous origin is something I dreamed up for that, but only now got around to hashing out for real.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

D&D 5e Playtest: Gothic Heroes


This month's Unearthed Arcana offers playtest support for the new and widely popular (from all that I've heard) Curse of Strahd adventure. It is relatively brief - three pages, covering one new subrace that is available to many races, one fighter archetype and one rogue archetype. Let's go through it and see what we've got.