10 Fates worse than Death in D&D

GravestoneDeath in D&D is pretty cheap. Literally. The cost of diamonds for a Revivify or Raise Dead spell is nothing to high level adventurers. But there are so many fates a character can suffer that are worse than death, and, I dare say, even worse than having to read and understand the grapple rules…

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The “Turn 3” Standard

Satyr HopliteOnce again I find myself turning to cheap and fun ways to annoy my friends by smashing them with very cheap decks – in this case, less than $20!!! And, if your card draw is good, and they decide not to play any creatures for 3 turns, game over!

The strategy in this deck involves using a combination of the haste, tokens, buff, heroic and prowess mechanics to ensure your creatures are buffed enough to inflict 20 or more damage by the end of turn three. At a very minimum, you’ll have your opponent on their back foot in the first 5 turns of the game – and hopefully by then the game will be yours.

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Roleplaying Evil Characters

dr-evil-austin-powersIn our new D&D 5e campaign I have been playing a character named Hamilcar the Unintended, a Warlock. Now, it wasn’t really necessary for me to choose to be evil – one could always choose to be tied to a Fey creature, or one could postulate that, while you have an unbreakable bond with a creature of evil, you do not share its aims – however, in our circumstance, we thought it would be interesting to choose evil as an alignment.

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Roleplaying through Backgrounds in 5E D&D

SailorA player asked me a question the other day during a gaming session. “Do we know how to tie ropes?” Thinking of all the nonsense of Use Rope in Dungeons & Dragons 3.5, I sighed, preparing to give an answer that I was going to be frustrated with. But a player suddenly spoke up: “Wait, my character background says that I was a sailor! I’d totally know how to tie knots!”

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Big Fatties for casual MtG matches

Pathrazer of UlamogOne of the simplest mechanics to abuse in MtG is to ‘ramp’ mana and then start casting  huge creatures with high costs.  My partner loves this mechanic and she is currently building a hydra deck around this concept (with a few other twists, of course).  In MtG-speak this is called a “Big Fatty” deck.  To illustrate this point we’ll take about my Modern Eldrazi deck.  Rules for Modern format can be found here:


I was playing my Eldrazi (big fatty) deck a few weeks ago when someone pointed out to me that Cloudpost is banned in the format.  Cloudpost is a ‘Locus’ land that gives 1 mana per Locus land in play.  I was using Cloudpost to ramp my mana exponentially – with 4 Cloudpost and 4 Glimmerpost (another Locus land), the mana potential is huge.  Example: 2 Cloudpost and 2 Glimmerpost will give me 10 mana, because each Cloudpost in this scenario gives me 4 mana and each Glimmerpost gives me 1 mana.  Hypothetically, if I had all my Locus lands in play, I could tap each Cloudpost for 8 mana + each Glimmerpost for 1 mana for a total of 36 mana, which would allow me to cast several very large and dangerous spells or creatures simultaneously.

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The Game Ahead: Catacombs

skellig-catacombs-dungeonThe Game Ahead is a weekly series designed to take some of the pain out preparing for the weekend’s game.

Quite recently I overheard two of the players in my group discussing how my dungeons seem to go on for ever without any connection or theme to them. While this didn’t surprise me greatly, I tend to plan my games as they are happening, it did concern me a bit. Making scenarios up on the fly works great for me, generally speaking. The majority of my games are politically focused, free form, and open world. I actually relish when players do something unexpected, go down the ‘other’ corridor, assassinate the wrong target, steal the wrong gem eyes from the statue. This way I am as surprised as my players are when we are around the table. The one place this free form games mastering style doesn’t work, it would seem, is when you’re battling through a dungeon.

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Creating Subtle Roleplaying Campaign Settings By Castle Building

tauntingOf the many different aspects of a roleplaying campaign that contribute to its “success”, or the overall enjoyment of the players, one which I have often found makes a huge difference is the richness of the setting. Now, I have talked before of trying to breathe life into the opponents through detailing their culture. But it is also important to detail the culture and society in which the players exist.

It’s funny that, in so many cases, GM’s rely on fantasy tropes and expect the players to know the basic way everything is situated, perhaps making a change here or there to give it something unique. But often these changes are without subtlety and break the player’s immersion. May I counsel against doing anything hugely weird like “The world is run by Dragons!” or “Wizards everywhere! Magic runs everything!” There is room for subtlety.

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Wiz Dice 100+ Polyhedral Roleplaying Dice Pack Review

dice_squareThe Wiz Dice 100+ Pack of assorted polyhedral roleplaying dice seems like pretty good deal on face value. But how does the set compare to alternatives like Chessex Pound-o-Dice? We bought a pack to find out…

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Creatively constructing themed events for your Magic the Gathering tournaments

magic-the-gathering-timberpack-wolfOne of the great advantages that Magic: the Gathering has is the near infinite number of combinations of cards that are available to players. This ability to constantly develop your strategy, refine your decks and explore new combinations is one of the key ingredients to the game’s longevity. It is also one of its many problems. How do you keep the game even for players who haven’t yet compiled a large collection of cards? How do you cater for the casual player who just wants to play the occasional game with friends and isn’t interested in spending a lot of money on amassing a true treasure trove of cards?

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D&D 5E: Dungeonscape killed off by WotC!

D&D_MarkIt was announced today that Dungeonscape, the 5E D&D electronic tools, are getting shut down! They didn’t even get past a full month of open beta, but Wizards of the Coast has killed it off…

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