Monday, October 5, 2015

D&D 5e Playtest: Prestige Classes and Rune Magic

There's a new Unearthed Arcana feature in town, and it's kind of a double feature: both prestige classes in concept and the Rune Scribe prestige class in particular. As I start this article, I haven't even read the whole thing yet - the Rune Scribe is a dense read, since it has a freestanding "spell list" - so we'll experience this together.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

D&D 5e: Lantern-Bearer Ranger Archetype

My mental image. What if this guy were, you know, a protagonist?

I've always liked heroes that have the courage and ability to wander in dark places. This ranger archetype focuses on that thematic element. (I've just this moment learned that there's a group in the Pathfinder setting called the Lantern Bearers. This is unrelated to that group.) At the same time, I'm also interested in addressing, in a piecemeal way, some of the mechanical shortcomings of the Ranger class. Whether I've addressed thematic shortcomings is more a matter of personal taste. Also, you probably know by now that I'm not shy about references to Tolkien; Aragorn fighting with sword and torch at Weathertop is another point of reference in my imagination here.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

D&D 5e: The Halfling Personality

Since I've written posts for the Elven Personality and the Dwarven Personality, it would seem silly not to at least finish the Professor Tolkien Collectible Cup Set with this post. Not that I won't continue on to races not found in Middle-Earth but included in the Player's Handbook, but it might be a little while. Not gonna lie, it's a lot easier when I have the Professor's books and Peter Jackson's movies to draw on for details. (For whatever reason, they're more useful to my creative process for the Flaws section than anything else.)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Don't Turn Your Back: After One Game

I was a Kickstarter backer for Don't Turn Your Back, a new board game from Evil Hat. It arrived very shortly before Dragon*Con, so Kainenchen and I took it with us, in case we had a few hours to kill in our hotel room. I'm already a fan of Don't Rest Your Head, as I described from the session that Samhaine ran for us some years ago. We explored the setting of the Mad City somewhat in that game, but not enough for me to know it well in coming to DTYB.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

D&D 5e Playtest: The (Alternate) Ranger

In this month's Unearthed Arcana, Mearls describes the community's lukewarm-at-best reaction to 5e's Ranger class and presents a very different vision of what that class name might mean. Quite a while back, I wrote about my own views on the class, and thanks to the State of the Game podcast, we've known for a little while that the Ranger was up for some kind of major variant offering. As with other first-look playtests, the article only includes levels 1-5.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

D&D 5e: The Dwarven Personality

My breakdown of elven personality, with traits, ideals, bonds, and flaws, was kindly received, so I have moved on to dwarves. This is still some serious easy-mode of stereotypes, but even halflings are a less-trodden ground than elves and dwarves in fantasy. As before, I've made no effort here to cover the less-common dwarven subraces - duergar, gully dwarves, jungle dwarves, arctic dwarves, and whatever else you've got - though I think only the gully dwarves would need a ground-up rewrite rather than a few tweaks.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

D&D 5e: The Elven Personality

In the Unearthed Arcana playtest document that included the minotaur race, the designers included traits, ideals, bonds, and flaws specific to the race, which proved to be a great way to present ready-to-play stereotypes of the minotaurs. (Remember, kids: stereotyping is awful in Real Life, but when used correctly, it is immensely useful in gaming.) I'm surprised I haven't seen an outpouring of bloggers doing the same for the other races, but maybe I'm not looking hard enough. In any case, here's my breakdown of traits, ideals, bonds, and flaws for non-drow elves. I'm assuming a strong Tolkien influence, which should fit well for elves in most published settings that are not Athas. Personality differences by subrace are also beyond the scope of this post.