Monday, May 18, 2015

D&D 5e: Divine Trickster Rogue Archetype

For a campaign that started up this past Saturday, one of the players was looking for a way to play a more divine-side rogue, rather than an arcane trickster. Now, a straight replacement of Arcane -> Divine is one thing, but the campaign setting has laws of magic that significantly differ from the Player's Handbook, so there are some things here that look quite odd. Still, a holy trickster figure is a pretty cool idea by itself.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Single-Class Campaign

In my History of the Classes column on, I mentioned the idea of running a single-class 5e campaign, permitting only the Paladin class. Rather than leave it there, though, this post explores the potential of each class for a single-class campaign and similar deviations from "normal" party breakdowns. This article mostly assumes that the reader is a DM looking for a new and unusual campaign concept. I realize that most of us have had an idea like these before, but maybe I can put a new spin on it... or maybe you can teach me something in the Comments.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

D&D 5e: New Warlock Invocations

In a recent post, I went into some detail breaking down what I see as problems in the design of the warlock class. Today I'm suggesting a few new invocations. The invocations that allow the warlock to cast a spell, at the cost of a warlock slot, once per long rest... we can agree that that's paying a very limited resource for a very limited benefit, right? I linked it last time, and I'll do so again: this optimization thread on the Wizards forums is a great resource to me, but not in the light that the author probably imagined.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Encounter Design: Boss Fights in Tabletop Games

Tabletop games, like video games, have long had a concept of a "boss fight," a climactic end to an adventure or series of adventures. Starting from that similar position, though, video games have done far more creative things with the concept, while tabletop games have scarcely advanced beyond what MMO players would call "tank & spank." There are exceptions, and I'll be noting the ones I can think of, but in general I'm interested in expanding the range of options people consider when they design climactic encounters.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

D&D Storyline Postmortem: A Well-Turned Heel

A few weeks ago, I ran a session of D&D in my Aurikesh campaign that everyone at the table really enjoyed, and I wanted to write about what made that particular session and storyline work, what minor things I could have done better, and so on. To do that, though, I have to summarize another two-session adventure from July of 2014. For privacy, such as it is, I'll be referring to players by their character names, and I'll clarify when one player has two or more characters.

Friday, March 27, 2015

D&D 5e: Problems in the Warlock Design

In case you aren't already reading it, I'm still writing a weekly column on exploring the history of D&D's classes. Once I got to the end of the Druid, I took a vote on what I'd write next. It looked like the Paladin would score an easy win, but after I had started writing, the Warlock cut some kind of dark bargain and surged from behind. But, well, there were already words on the page, so I'm writing about Paladins first, then Warlocks. Anyway, the point is that I perceive some key problems in the design of the Warlock class, and I want to talk about them.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

D&D 5e: Elemental Evil Player's Companion

The Elemental Evil Player's Companion is now available for free download on several sites, and since the price is right, people interested in 5e should pick it up even if the Princes of the Apocalypse storyline isn't something you expect to use. This 25-page PDF, by Sasquatch Game Studios and WotC, offers new races, spells, and one lonely feat, all focused on the Aristotelian elements. It's also the first official player-directed content expansion. Which brings me to analysis and review, because in this blog I cover design, not gaming news.