System Agnostic: Fisher Binding (Epic Spell)

This epic level magic binds a specific office (a kingship, mayoral office, or other… although lesser offices can usually not afford the incredibly steep material costs of the spell) with a specific land. While this spell is in effect, the mood, health, and alignment of the office holder will have direct effects on the land bound or overseen. This binding is then transferred to the new office holder upon the death or retirement of the previous office holder. This office so bound to a specific land is hereafter referred to as a Fisher King even though the office holder need not be a king.

6 Ways to Improve Your Combats

Running a good combat situation involves many things like finding a good match between the characters’ skill level and the foes’ abilities, keeping the action fast-paced, and trying to find that sweet spot where the characters feel challenged but not overwhelmed (unless of course, that’s what you are deliberately trying to do). However, adding a few surprises or some bells and whistles can make a good combat a great one.

Paizo’s “The Emerald Spire” for 5th edition, Part 3

Late last year, Paizo Kickstarted a superdungeon called “The Emerald Spire“. Along with the characteristicly beautiful production value and stunning art, each of the 16 levels of this detailed module has its own fold-out map in the style of Paizo’s other excellent flip-maps, making it a very easy crawl to run.

I recently decide to host a series of all-day “Retro 80s” Game Days for my players who never had the opportunity to come home from school on Friday afternoons and game non-stop until Sunday night, fueled on little more than Mountain Dew and Cheetos. Since I had backed the Kickstarter at a level where I received all eight double-sided maps as well as the campaign cards, I decided to convert “The Emerald Spire” to 5th edition to use as my old-school dungeon crawl.

The module’s base of operations, Fort Inevitable, requires little conversion as most of the conflicts there are political rather than physical. The dungeon’s levels are designed to equal the PC levels, meaning at 1st level the characters should be able to take on level 1, and by 8th level they should be able to handle level 8. As my players started at level 3, I needed to increase the power of each level a bit.

Below you will find some of my conversions for Level 3, “The Splinterden”. You will not find detailed information on the Emerald Spire. If you aren’t running “The Emerald Spire”, you may still find these new monsters and traps helpful for your personal campaign.

Interview: Nolan T. Jones from Roll20

At Tribality, we’ve been interviewing some of the people who are behind all the awesome stuff that is being created for tabletop gamers – such as virtual tabletops. I’ve been using heavily for over a year now and I was really excited to talk to Nolan when he agreed to an interview to talk about tabletop gaming and Roll20.

Roll20 began as an effort to keep The Orr Group founders Riley Dutton, Nolan T. Jones, and Richard Zayas in touch via long distance gaming. Since launching via Kickstarter in 2012, it has attracted more than 825,000 users as a free service. The program continues to be funded by subscribers who receive features that assist advanced gameplay. The program’s upcoming ‘Update of Holding’ will introduce native iPad and Android apps to the existing digital toolkit.

Character Creation: Background Stories

A guest post by Ben J. Latham

My character is a first level wizard. I met my fellow adventurers a bar.

Sometimes, as a DM, you will encounter characters who have written the previous line as a background story. They may come to the table with a character sheet or stat table, but lack any depth to their character. And so it falls to you, as a DM to help players create stories that will put them in the setting. You may need to prod players to create for a story that explains why they are a first level wizard who is going to be an adventurer. And often, I find that many of the players I have interacted with have little idea on where to begin. So I thought I might share some advice with my fellow dungeon masters and players on how to make a character background story, or (for the dungeon master) on how to help your players construct interesting stories. Most of this advice also applies to the creation of NPCs, so this advice can apply to campaigns which have already been started.

6 Kinds of Waterborne Cutthroats from History

I thought this guest post by Mark Cookman might be interesting to listeners who caught my spot as a guest on the Dungeon Master’s Block podcast. In the episode we talked about pirate campaigns and this look at the different types of pirates is a good follow-up.

Diversity spices up any encounter table and the goal of this article is to provide you, the GM, with a description of 6 different kinds of sailing villains from the pages of history so that you can spice up your own pirate encounters. We are going to explore the differences between six types of seafaring scoundrels. They are pirates, privateers, buccaneers, corsairs, smugglers, and marooners. When we are done, you’ll know what each of these names mean, you’ll understand why the old adage ‘once a thief, always a thief’ also applies to pirates, and you’ll also learn what pirates called themselves. So freshen your drinks, pull up your chairs, and let’s begin.

World Building – Part 7: Letting Your Players into the World

Now that we’ve examined creating a world by giving it history, religion, geography, technology, magic, people and places, the really scary part comes next. It’s time to let your players into the world! In this final article in the series (Part 7), I share how I let my players into my own fantasy world, before the paint had even dried, with details on the good and bad.

The Paladin Class, Part One

At the time I started this post, the Paladin class was tied for the top spot in the Future History of the Classes post. Since then, Warlock edged ahead, but since I didn’t set an end date to the polling, it is anybody’s ballgame… until they turn off the internet for good. Anyway, I’m writing about the Paladin. Much like when I discussed the Ranger over in my personal blog, Harbinger of Doom, there’s a common question that comes up when discussing the Paladin: does this class justify its existence, or would it be better for the class to be the result of multi-classing? To give this question due consideration, I’ll begin at the beginning.