Blogs

Bonus to your Save vs. HotDQ

dungeonmastering.com - Sun, 08/31/2014 - 01:02
WARNING: This is not a review.  In fact, I don’t own the product in question.  Haven’t even flipped through it.  What this is, instead, is an attempt to make a decision about said unowned...

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Save yourself & skip this D&D Next adventure

dungeonmastering.com - Sat, 08/30/2014 - 01:47
So in the last column I talked about how I was cautiously optimistic about the latest incarnation of D&D.  The 90ish Amazon reviews for the 5th Edition  PHB were overwhelmingly positive, & a...

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D&D Next Review Coming…

dungeonmastering.com - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 01:55
Zone of Truth style Confession.  Even though we’re a D&D-focused Blog, we here at DungeonMastering honestly had a hard time getting excited about D&D Next/What 4.0?/5th Edition.  Maybe...

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On Rewards and Balance

dungeonmastering.com - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 21:09
So I’ve talked a lot about the beginning and end of a campaign, from character and session creation to developing a villain to hate. What I haven’t covered with you is what to do at the end of a...

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Games within Games: The Shifting Tower

dungeonmastering.com - Mon, 08/11/2014 - 17:48
Everyone has their own kind of favorite dungeon. Some of my players prefer gauntlets of traps and monsters, while others prefer dungeons from the likes of Legend of Zelda, where puzzles appear...

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Quick Look at the DnD 5e Player’s Handbook’s Part 1

Newbie DM - Fri, 08/08/2014 - 13:27

Well, the day is finally here. After speculation, announcements, and years of play-testing, the 5th Edition of Dungeons and Dragons has finally arrived as a hardcover book, with the release of the Player’s Handbook. We finally have in our hands “Everything a player needs to create heroic characters for the world’s greatest roleplaying game.” And you know what? It is a beautiful book, with artwork so evocative and elegant, it graces each page it’s on. It’s a book that can sit proudly on a shelf next to your favorite edition of the game as part of the tapestry of DnD. So lets take a look at what’s inside in Part One of the book.

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The cover by Tyler Jacobson depicts the fire giant King Snurre taking care of some unwelcome visitors.

The 5th Edition Player’s Handbook packs 317 pages of content (and we’ve seen a lot of it in the Basic PDF). There are nine chapters, and five appendixes. There is also a four page index and a character sheet. A “What’s Next?” ad rounds out the book, basically promoting the Dungeon Master’s Guide, Monster Manual, and Encounters events. The layout is clear and easy on the eyes. The contrast works, the headers stand out with their red colored letters and the font is clear.

One thing that needs to be talked about before we even touch the actual content is the artwork. It is gorgeous. It’s evocative, fresh, diverse, inclusive, and flavorful.  The artwork in this book is fantastic, and in my opinion is leaps and bounds over 4th Edition artwork. While my favorite stuff is still my nostalgia driven rose colored glasses work of Easley and Elmore, this art created by 62 credited interior artists, sets a new standard for D&D. Producer Greg Bilsland told me via twitter that the art and graphic design was one of his favorite parts of this book, and I can see why.

The 5e Bard, ready to strum the guitar and send you to hell.

The 5e Bard, ready to strum the guitar and send you to hell.

The book opens with a preface by Mike Mearls, and its basic gist is about how special D&D is in creating friendship, memories, and building confidence to go on and be creative.

“The friendships you make around the table will be unique to you.” – Mike Mearls, PHB Preface

It is a nice piece, and I appreciate that the book has one. It didn’t fall into the trap of mentioning other editions, or why this edition exists, etc… No. It’s all about D&D’s strengths and uniqueness. It’s a solid preface.

Next we get a formal introduction to the book, with a short play example and the typical “what is roleplaying” type stuff. We’ve seen this before, and we’ll one day see it again. Nothing new here, except maybe the parts where it hilites some of the new rules of 5th Edition like Advantage/Disadvantage, and mentions the three pillars of adventure: Exploration, Social Interaction, and Combat. I suspect that order was deliberate… We then get into part one of the book, Creating a Character.

Part one opens with a full color splash page piece of art we’ve seen before, as the cover to the “Gencon Exclusive” D&D Next adventure “Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle”.

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So yeah, it’s recycled art… kind of… but it’s good recycled art.

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Chapter 1: Step-by-Step Characters

This chapter teaches you how to build your first 5th Edition character, using the example of “Bob” building Bruenor the dwarf. The instructions are clear, and

important terms are in bold as to attract attention. It’s a short chapter, only 5 pages, but it puts forth the concepts of character creation effectively.

Chapter 2: Races

If you’re familiar with the Basic PDF then you know what this chapter looks like, albeit with more races and artwork thrown in. A total of 9 races are featured in this chapter, and it makes a point to single out Dwarf, Elf, Halflings, and Humans as the most common races, with Humans being the most common of all. 

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Some races have at least two subraces, sometimes three (obviously half elves and half orcs have no subraces, and humans or tieflings don’t have any either). The Human entry also includes nine different ethnic groups native to the Forgotten Realms, that can help serve as inspiration when creating a character. I’m not too crazy about the Realms being so prevalent in the PHB, but it is what it is. The chapter runs 28 pages long,

 

Chapter 3: Classes

This chapter opens with a quick write up about what a class is, and then presents a handy chart listing all the classes, a quick description, their Hit Die (for Hit Point purposes), primary ability, saving throws proficiencies, and armor/weapon proficiencies. I can already see it useful when trying to decide which class to play. There are twelve classes in the book:

  • Barbarian
  • Bard
  • Cleric
  • Druid
  • Fighter
  • Monk
  • Paladin
  • Ranger
  • Rogue
  • Sorcerer
  • Warlock
  • Wizard

Each class gets its write up, some artwork, its advancement table, features, and different class options a player can pick from. Again, it is worth singling out the artwork here, each class is represented with flavorful artwork that is sure to inspire. Different ethnicities are well represented too. 

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Chapter 4: Personality and Backgrounds

The Hermit...

The Hermit…

This is a short chapter, just 5 pages, where you’ll find charts for height and weight, languages, background (13), alignment (nine like the old days), etc. A neat thing… sample alphabets for the Draconic, Elvish, and Dwarvish scripts. It would be great if WOTC released these as fonts for DMs to make handout with, props, etc. 

Chapter 5: Equipment

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I wish these weapons had captions identifying them

The equipment chapter covers obviously all the gear needed for adventure, including weapon and armor, tools, gear, mounts, vehicles, etc. Charts include container capacity, time to don and doff armor, coinage exchange rates, and starting wealth by class. There are others, like weapon and armor costs.

The art is really good here, but I wish I saw each weapon and armor identified like I think we’ve had in previous versions of the game. Coins take on various shapes and aren’t limited to just being round, for example a gold coin is anvil shaped and a silver coin is a triangle. The chapter is rounded out with the “100 trinkets” chart found in the Basic PDF.

Chapter 6: Customization Options

The last chapter in Part One has rules for multiclassing and feats. There are 42 feats in the game, and some of those I wouldn’t think twice about getting, like the Spell Sniper if I were playing a Wizard. It doubles the range of any spell I would have to roll for and it ignores half or three-quarters cover. 

A sample of the Feats section

          A sample of the Feats section

This is a short chapter, leading us into Part Two of the PHB… which I’ll get to later.

So, my thoughts on this book? I really, really like it. It’s D&D, first and foremost. If the goal was to create a new game that hit certain buttons and from the game’s 40-year history, well, they’ve succeeded. The artwork is perhaps a bit of a deviation from what we’ve been used to in D&D. It has a different type of look from some of the things we’ve seen before, a lot of paintings, a lot more non-traditional fantasy types perhaps, but it’s good. A high point. There is a lot of that Basic PDF in here too. When they said they were giving us the game for free, they meant it. This book really expands on what the PDF made available. If you’re sitting on the fence over 5e, try the PDF first. In fact, WOTC released a supplement today for Hoard of the Dragon Queen for free, and it includes monsters and magic items. You can certainly play the 5e experience for free before you commit to this book’s $50.00 price point. Although I suspect if you enjoy what you see in the PDF, you’ll want this gorgeous book.

It may just be one of my favorite D&D Player Handbooks yet. It is that pretty.  I’ll take a look at Part 2 later. 

Player’s Handbook Credits:

 

  • D&D Lead Designers: Mike Mearls & Jeremy Crawford
  • Rules Development: Rodney Thompson & Peter Lee 
  • Writing: James Wyatt, Robert J. Schwalb, Bruce R. Cordell 

Full Disclosure: I received a complementary review copy of this book 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Win a 5e Player’s Handbook!

Newbie DM - Tue, 08/05/2014 - 07:00

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Hey! 5e is finally here and the fine folks at Gator Games thought it would be cool to celebrate by giving away a PHB to one lucky reader. We ran some great giveaways together during the 4e days, and we thought it would be great to do it again… So here’s the deal, starting today, through next Tuesday (8/12/14) at 3:00AM eastern/12AM pac, we will be running a contest and giving away one of these bad boys… Here are the simple rules:

Follow both @gatorgames and @newbiedm on twitter (yes, that’s part of the deal… having a twitter account).

Leave a comment here telling us what Race/Class combo you plan on making for your first 5e game. Please include your  twitter handle in your comment.

That’s it! You’ll be automatically entered to win. I will randomly select a winner at the end of the contest.

Only one entry is allowed per person, and only entries from inside the continental United States will be accepted. We will not ship anywhere outside the USA.   Good luck, and while you’re here, why don’t you take a moment to read about, and visit our sponsor, Gator Games,  below….

About Gator Games:

Gator Games is an FLGS (Friendly Local Gaming Store) operating in San Mateo, CA., and if you are in the area then do yourself a favor and make them your gaming store.  But if you are not, it doesn’t matter, because Gator Games has a website with a great “Used Items” online store that is certain to satisfy all of your hobby needs with some really great deals.  Gator Games also offers German games and an expanded selection of RPG’s, card games, miniatures, dice and boardgames.  Visit Gator Games’ revamped website today at www.gatorgames.com.

 

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The giveaway is now closed, and we randomly selected @diebry as the winner! Congratulations! And thanks to all of you for entering.


Random Reviews: Guardians of the Galaxy

A Hero Twice a Month - Sat, 08/02/2014 - 19:04

Look, you can see the top of Rocket's head!

Unlike most of the movie going audience, I actually knew who the Guardians of the Galaxy were before it was announced they would be appearing in a major motion picture.  That being said, I was pretty ambivalent when it was first announced.  Even though I am a Marvel fanboy, the Marvel cosmic characters were never my thing.  I figured I would catch it on Netflix at some point.  Then the quirky marketing campaign started and I decided to take a chance and see it in the theaters.  I am glad I did.

Guardians of the Galaxy is less of a superhero movie and more of the kind of old-fashioned sci-fi romp that they don’t make anymore.  There is more Star Wars in its DNA than Iron Man.  Peter Quill, or Star-Lord as would prefer to be called, is part Han Solo and part Captain Kirk—at least when it comes to Kirk’s penchant for banging alien-chicks of various skin colors.

Despite being the only human in the cast, Peter Quill is not a point of view character.  By the time you see him as an adult, he has been in space since he was eight years old and is fully acclimated to the strange universe he inhabits.  That is one thing I appreciate about this movie, it is confident enough to do its world-building on screen and drop you straight into the middle of the action.  They filmmakers felt no need to put earth in peril to artificially make the audience care about what was happening.  Instead, the spent the time making you care about the characters and the universe they inhabit.

A lot of the credit for the success of this movie goes to Chris Pratt.  I have been a fan of the actor since I first became aware of him on Parks and Recreation, and his charisma and humor come through full force on the screen.  Much like I have trouble seeing anyone but Robert Downey Jr. playing Tony Stark nowadays, I can’t imagine what this movie would be like without him in it.

This is not to undercut the other performances.  Bradley Cooper is amazing as the voice of Rocket and Vin Diesel is able to convey a surprising amount meaning in saying, “I am Groot”.  Even some of the smaller roles, like John C. Reilly’s “beleaguered cop” member of the Nova Corps and Michael Rooker’s “blueneck” portrayal of Yondu were a joy to see on screen.

Most importantly, the movie knows how to have fun.  It is not the full on comedy you might think it is from seeing the trailers, but it had plenty of laugh out loud moments.  Perhaps more surprising is that the movie was just as good as evoking pathos as it was at evoking laughter.  There are many moments where you really felt the pain of the characters in the movie, even if they were a CGI raccoon or a green skinned alien.

This is my favorite Marvel movie since the Avengers, but the impressive thing is I have been a fan of the Avengers since I was a kid and the Guardians of the Galaxy were a group I mostly knew about as a point of trivia.  The fact that I enjoyed this movie so much is an impressive feat.

Behind the Gear-spun Curtain: A Purely Steampunk Look at Game Design

dungeonmastering.com - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 18:21
Character classes are the gateways through which players enter our games. As DMs, it’s important for us to understand character class design and what kinds of classes our players might enjoy playing....

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My Quick 5e Thoughts

Newbie DM - Sat, 07/19/2014 - 16:16

I wanted to give a quick and dirty “opinion post” on 5e, and this is not meant to be a comprehensive review, just quick thoughts… By now I’ve had a chance (and hopefully if you’re interested in 5e, you have as well) of reading and playing with both the basic rules pdf and the Starter Set for the new 5th edition of D&D. My thoughts on the game are generally positive, and I’ve been able to see it from both sides of the screen.  That said, we are still looking at a very incomplete picture here… no PHB, DMG or MM, so we must keep that in mind…

On the player’s side of things, I appreciate the new lighter approach the rules have taken. Everything is fairly streamlined, ability score bonuses play an important part in the game, and fidgety bonuses have been condensed to Advantage/Disadvantage and proficiency bonuses that don’t change too much through the character’s career.   I also appreciate the game’s attempt at making backgrounds, flaws and other character traits take center stage, granting mechanical rewards for using them in play. D&D has rarely been too interested in how its players role-play, so seeing the new inspiration rule in play brings a smile to my face. I like to see good role-playing at the table, whether I am playing or DMing.

The game just including (for now) the classic races and classes is fine, in my opinion. If for example, Lord of the Rings is your only source of a fantasy frame of reference, you know what a dwarf is, or an elf. A wizard is like Gandalf and a rogue is like Bilbo. No Eladrin, Shardminds or Wilden need apply. We’ll get all that stuff later on in the game’s life, and that’s fine by me.

The short and sweet combat rules are another aspect I like, although I admit that they read to me like a grid game that purposely decides to not mention it is a grid game. Creatures still occupy a 5′ space, which is entirely arbitrary and comes from the game’s previous grid based rules. Nevertheless, the game’s attempt at not requiring a grid is fine, although I feel that there aren’t enough adequate examples for new players on how to run a combat off the grid, just using your imagination. FWIW, I used a grid when I DM’ed the game here at home. I’m also really enjoying the magic pseudo-vancian rules they’ve come up with. Some spells can be cast as rituals, and low level spells can be cast using a higher level spell slot for a stronger effect. We’ll see how the magic vs. martial thing pans out as the edition gets played, as this has been one of the biggest concerns amongst 4e players regarding 5e.

As a DM who came over from 4e, I’m missing rules on encounter building, and the elegance of the 4e stat block for the monsters. There was just something about the way that stat block was laid out that popped and drew your eyes to certain spots on the page. 5e isn’t as nice for me in that regard, and although it wasn’t hard to read or run with, I’m sticking with 4e as my favorite D&D stat block yet. The starter set includes enough in the adventure to give you a few good meaty sessions of play, so that not having the hard covers will affect your play time, but once you get past it you’ll have no use for it again. It brings no maps, tokens, or anything of the sort. It’s really meant to (A) draw in new players, and (B) give fans of D&D something to get started with and try out 5e before it’s really out later this year.

Overall, I’m happy with the direction 5e took. There’s a certain something about it that draws me back to 2e (the edition I played the most in the old days). The writing and  prose used in the basic set draws me in and makes me want to tell stories in these worlds, and I know that  this is entirely subjective and you may not agree with me, but that’s the feel of this game for me. Right now I’m cautiously optimistic with D&D. The tone, the attempts at inclusivity, the call backs to older fiction and worlds, and it’s attempt at reaching out to players of all editions of the game are hitting the right notes for me. I’m on board.

 

If you’d like to help support newbiedm.com, you can by using these Amazon links if you decide to purchase these D&D products at Amazon:

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D&D Starter Set

 

 

 

 

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D&D Player’s Handbook

 

 

 

 

dmgD&D Dungeon Master’s Guide

 


“There can be no heroes where there is no doubt.”

dungeonmastering.com - Fri, 07/18/2014 - 01:50
Being that our name is DungeonMastering.com, we often get emails about DMing questions.  Here’s some from one of our readers, Seth, who writes: “So I am an aspiring DM who is trying...

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Gargoyle!

dungeonmastering.com - Fri, 07/11/2014 - 19:38
This is another illustration I did for the Behind the Monsters Omnibus from Tricky Owlbear. I was pretty happy with how it turned out and even happier when the publisher told me the illustration...

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Talking about the 5e Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set

Newbie DM - Sun, 07/06/2014 - 17:04

I’ll review the product soon, but I wanted to post this here for now… Mike Shea from Slyflourish.com and I recorded a google hangout where we talk about the new 5e starter box for about an hour. If you’re into watching grown men talk about elves and dwarves, I invite you to check it out.

 


Console Cleric #3: How Diablo III helps D&D

dungeonmastering.com - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 11:11
Ah, Diablo.  Where you went through 16 dungeon levels killing monsters before entering Hell itself to fight a Prime Evil.  If you read DungeonMastering.com (thank you), then you most likely play or...

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Behind the Gear-spun Curtain: A Purely Steampunk Look at Game Design

dungeonmastering.com - Fri, 06/27/2014 - 18:22
Creating new races or writing for old ones can be a chore. Given that no matter how incredible our idea may be someone somewhere has probably already done it, we think there are a couple key design...

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WOTC Posts a D&D Starter Set Unboxing Video

Newbie DM - Tue, 06/24/2014 - 00:03

WOTC published an unboxing video today of its upcoming Starter Set box, and I have to say that at first glance, I’m impressed and hopeful that it’ll be a good product. Based on what I can see on the video, it looks like a high quality product (expected from a publisher like WOTC). Full disclosure: I’ve pre ordered one already, although I’m hoping to land a review copy anyway, but in the case I don’t, I’ve bought one to make sure I give it a thorough review here on my site. It’s time to start writing about D&D again.

I was not a fan of the 4e red box, and I’m hoping that this product really is a starter set suitable for new DMs to pick up the game and get rolling right away.

Anyway, here’s the video, and here’s a link to its Amazon’s pre-order page (in case you’d like to support the site a bit).

 

 


Dropping skills for backgrounds in Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition

A Hero Twice a Month - Tue, 06/17/2014 - 22:52

I am the kind of guy who writes pages of character backgrounds for my characters.  Some of them probably qualify as short stories.  Sometimes they are written from a first person point of view, other times in the form of a journal, occasionally from a third person omniscient or the point of view of another character in the story.  I feel I need to write these backgrounds in order to properly play my character.  Even in the MMORPG City of Heroes, where I never played with deep role-players, each of my ‘toons’ had surprisingly detailed character backgrounds.

I realize not everyone plays this way.  When I am running games getting character backgrounds from some of my players is like pulling teeth.  Often players will present me with character backgrounds no more complex than “I grew up in a peasant village and when I was old enough I left to find my fortune”.  That is OK, everyone has a different playing style.

Still, I like games that encourage characters to develop their background a bit.  Probably the first game I encountered that did this was Warhammer Fantasy in which your character development was tied to your career path.  Knowing that your character was a rat catcher or a merchant before they began adventuring wasn’t much, but it was something.  Last Unicorn Games short-lived Star Trek: The Next Generation RPG took a similar path, where during character generation you would take a number of ‘tours’ on previous starships to determine your skillset.  Maybe you spent a tour on the USS Hood as a security officer even though you were in command now so you were handy with a phaser.

I think my favorite take on this mechanic so far is in 13th Age.  During character creation you allocate a number of points to backgrounds.  Rather than specific skills you might say you spent time as a cat-burglar, a guild mage, or a merchant.  Maybe you were a poacher (4 points) who was drafted as a soldier (2 points) and then became a animal trainer (2 points) when you got out.  Rather than have a specific list of skills, you roll and add an appropriate ability modifier plus points in your background where you would roll a skill check in D&D.  If the party needed to track someone through the woods and one character had a poacher background while another had a bounty hunter background, both could make the roll using their background points plus their wisdom modifier.  However, if they needed to tie up a captive probably only the bounty hunter background would be applicable.

During the D&D Next playtest, I always thought this system would be easy to implement as a house rule.  D&D Next was already more skill light than D&D 3e or D&D 4e after all.  So I was pleased to hear that at Origins there was talk of an optional module that would use backgrounds instead of skills in a similar manner.  Assuming it is well implemented, I would definitely use that option in any D&D 5e games I run.

Or I guess I could just run a 13th Age instead.  It really is a fun system.

What digital offerings I want from D&D 5e

A Hero Twice a Month - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 22:26

Bad digital tools make me want to burn the whole place down!My gaming group makes extensive use of digital tools when playing.  We have vast PDF libraries that keep us from breaking our backs hauling books back and forth.  We use various character generation tools to assist with character creation and tracking.  We use virtual game tables both for ease of play and to allow members who cannot attend locally to join in the fun remotely.  Digital tools are an essential part of our game.  Trapdoor Technologies, a new licensee for Dungeons & Dragons digital tools, asked on their website what we want out of Codename Morningstar.  Here is my wish list.

Affordable PDFs

This is more in Wizards of the Coast court than Trapdoor Technologies.

Wizards of the Coast has a spotty history when it comes to PDFs.  In third edition PDFs were priced exactly the same as the physical book.  This meant that they often cost more than you could get the physical books for off of Amazon and even most local game stores.  It also meant that at $30 or more a pop that most gamers had to make a choice between buying a physical book or buying the PDF.  Personally, I enjoy reading a physical book but love the convenience of a searchable PDF during game play.  By offering PDFs at a reasonable price Pazio and other publishers have encouraged me to purchase both.

In fourth edition Wizards of the Coast moved away from PDFs and offered up the D&D Compendium as a digital alternative.  The D&D Compendium was great, but it didn’t allow you to see the rules in their original context.  There is a place for a tool like the D&D Compendium, but I does not replace PDF versions of the books.

Of course Wizards of the Coast has made great strides in their PDF offerings with the D&D Classics site.  However, they still tend to be a bit pricey on the newer stuff and don’t tend to release PDFs concurrently with their new releases.  I hope that this will change with the release of fifth edition.

A robust and customizable character generator

I like character generators and I even liked the D&D Character Builder offered through D&D Insider.  It had a major flaw though, as it did not handle house rules very well.  This is why I prefer a character generator like PCGen.  The ability to load my own datasets far outweighed the occasional quirkiness of the program.  Strong support for house rules is a must.

A useful virtual game table

There are a lot of great virtual game table products out there.  Personally, we use MapTools, but Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds are great products as well.  A great virtual game table must be customizable, allow easy access to remote players, and provide useful management tools for the DM to run encounters.  All three of the virtual game tables I have listed above do this.

To be honest the opportunity here is almost closed.  Where there is still opportunity is to integrate this in with the vast stores of data Wizards of the Coast can provide.  Making it seamless to drop in monsters with full stats and seamless integration with character sheets would make all the difference.  I know it would convince me to switch.

Campaign management tools

There is probably a lot of room for improvement here.  Realm Works is great for campaign prep, but  Obsidian Portal is probably the leader here.  It bills itself as a campaign wiki site, but it provides a lot of tools for game masters to keep track of the locations and characters while only surfacing to the players what the game master wants them to know. 

Outside of the gaming software world, I have found both Workflowy (an outliner) and Evernote (a robust note taking program) to be invaluable tools for organizing campaigns.  I have also been considering trying Scrivner, which is intended for authors who are organizing a novel, but would probably work just as well for a campaign.

I would look to all of these tools for inspiration.

It is more than just a Windows world

D&D Insider ran on Microsoft Silverlight.  While some of my group members use Windows laptops, some use MacBooks, Ubuntu Linux laptops, iPads, and Android devices.  Silverlight did not work very well for them.

Please make sure that whatever digital solutions are created are multi-platform.  Make sure that these solutions are mobile friendly as well.

Behind the Gear-spun Curtain: A Purely Steampunk Look at Game Design

dungeonmastering.com - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 21:39
Pure Steam™ is first and foremost a campaign setting. Settings are important to films, TV, comics, radio plays, novels, and books of all sorts. Settings are places, but settings are also more...

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Wizards of the Coast’s new model?

A Hero Twice a Month - Tue, 06/10/2014 - 21:20

Wizards of the Coast is working with a new licensee, Trapdoor Technologies, to deliver digital tools for Dungeons & Dragons 5e.  In May, Wizards of the Coast announced Kobold Press designed two of the adventures to support the Tyranny of Dragons storylineDriveThruRPG has been powering Dungeons & Dragons Classics for awhile now.  I think this may represent a subtle shift in how Wizards of the Coast is handling Dungeons & Dragons.

I’ve already talked at length about how I feel Wizards of the Coast should focus on their core competencies and let others develop tools for the game in the context of the OGL. It looks like Wizards of the Coast is doing this, except instead of an open source model they are planning to work with specific licensees to fill the void.

While I would personally prefer an open source model, this makes sense from Wizards of the Coast’s point of view.  They can focus their internal resources on the rules and farm tasks that go outside their core competencies to other groups while still maintaining a tight control over how their intellectual property is used.  Seriously, this is win-win for them.

Hopefully, they will open things up a bit more down the road, as Mike Mearls said they would in 2015.  I still maintain that a robust gaming license is good for the hobby, and that what is good for the hobby is good for Dungeons & Dragons.

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