Make it Personal – Magic Items & Your Campaign

Let’s look at how to make those magic items we give out to players a little more personal. We’re 6 levels and 16 session into my 5th edition campaign set in the Nentir Vale. Along the way I provided my players with some magic items I personalized for them. This week on the Campaign Trail, I’ll provide strategies for giving out magic items, example magic items I created (from scratch or by simply tweaking an existing magic item) and the bit of history I write for each to bring them to life.

Deities of the Nentir Vale (4e) for D&D 5th Edition

The Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition Player’s Handbook includes the awesome Appendix B that provides deities for running your game in the multiverse worlds of the Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, Dragonlance and Eberron. It also provides the Celtic, Greek, Egyptian and Norse pantheons of antiquity. This can be a big help since creating a religion for your world can be lots of work. While not included in the 5th edition Player’s Handbook, the default pantheon from 4th edition was provided as a sample pantheon called Dawn War Deities on page 10 of the 5th edition Dungeon Master’s Guide. I’m looking to revisit my previous campaign that was set in 4th edition’s default setting of the Nentir Vale and this pantheon provides a set of ready to use deities for a campaign in the Vale.

Run a Nentir Vale Campaign for D&D 5th Edition

Earlier this week, I was surprised to see the Nentir Vale on the list of settings in the latest D&D poll alongside Greyhawk, Eberron and other big settings. Seeing Nentir Vale on the poll gave me hope D&D’s 4th default setting may get official support in the future (but I wouldn’t bet on it). One of the biggest strengths of the Nentir Vale as a setting is the fact that there’s less material written about it than other settings such as Forgotten Realms, Eberron, Greyhawk, Dragonlance, Dark Sun and Golarion. This can be a major benefit, since a DM can learn all they need to know about the Vale setting quickly, without having to handle the baggage of countless campaign books, novels, comics and video games. Many of the details of the Nentir Vale are intentionally mysterious and vague, leaving tons of room for the DM to world build, filling in the blanks with their own ideas.

New Options for Githyanki and Githzerai PCs

My previous article on githanki and githzerai PCs generated a lot of conversation about the history of these races across more than 30 years of D&D, including discussions about the kind of options people would like to see converted to the newest edition. Below you will find several new class archetypes inspired by James Wyatt‘s brilliant “Rise of the Githyanki” in Polyhedron #159, including the ghustil (arcane healers) for both bards and rangers, a holocaust warrior variant for eldritch knights, and a new warlock patron, the Lich Queen herself.

Gith Player Characters for 5th edition

The githyanki and githzerai (sometimes referred to collectively as the “gith”) were created by Charles Stross for his own AD&D game and first appeared in the April/May 1979 issue of White Dwarf magazine. They gained their prominence in the D&D pantheon for their fascinating origin and unique powers, as well as gracing the cover of the 1981 Fiend Folio.

Though the history of the gith races and their link to theFiendFolioCover illithids (mind flayers) are described in the 5th ed Monster Manual, no article would be complete without mentioning the now-classic “Incursion”, a detailed campaign concept running through July 2003’s Dragon #309 and Dungeon #100. These two issues focused almost exclusively on the githyanki, granting detailed insight into their culture, new templates, alternate classes, prestige classes, campaign ideas, and even a mini-game where you play evil githyanki in the service of their queen. Dungeon #100 included the duthka’gith, the kr’y’izoth, the tl’a’ikith, and Vlaakith the Lich-Queen.

Dragon’s Day in Hammerfast

I like when worlds have days of the week, holidays and other information to make the place seem old and real. For the ending of my campaign in the Nentir Vale I needed to have my heroes do more than just fight the big dragon and save the city. Hammerfast comes built in with some history to use as your backstory if you want to create an epic showdown with Calastryx.

What is Dragon’s Day?

Every year in late summer, the people of Hammerfast celebrate the defeat of the red dragon Calastryx by the wizard Starris in a battle that took place nearly 300 years ago. The Trade Guild constructs an elaborate puppet of the dragon, 30 feet tall. The puppet is paraded trough Hammerfast and the people gather along the street to throw rocks at it. The parade finishes at temple of Moradin, where the puppet is cast into a giant pool of fire.

Final Session – Farewell to the Vale

Thanks to Joseph for writing most of this final farewell to our 4th edition campaign in the Nentir Vale. A great recap of the finale I was DM for.

Trade Ward, Hammerfast

The sounds of battle were almost deafening, as Naivara and Leoric landed. The crackle of fire, and the clashing of steel rang out through the smoke and rubble of the city. Before they landed, Naivara saw countless city guards doing battle with Orcs, Ogres and Humans. Thar had landed before them, they were hot on his heels.

Naivara looked over to Helgrund, who was fighting the female rider from before. Leoric dismounted his griffon, Naivara soon landed and quickly followed. She saw Leoric stab the female rider, who had been blinded. Naivara conjured thick fire, reducing the woman to a pile of ash. From behind the woman, Calastryx entered her vision. Naivara heard her griffon take to the skies behind her. No going back now. She thought.

Out the corner of her eye, she saw Leoric fighting Thar. Turning back to Calastryx, and acting quickly, she escaped Calastryx’s jaws just before they bit down, using magic. “That was too close.” Naivara muttered. She held the Wormspike up, finding resolve in carrying a weapon suited for the task at hand.

Goodbye to 4e & The Nentir Vale

I am officially done with Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition as both a player and a Dungeon Master. I’m happy and a little sad about boxing up my 4e collection to make room for my growing collection of 5e books. I’ve had a chance to reflect on what I will miss and won’t miss about the 4th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons in the Nentir Vale.

Adventures in the Nentir Vale

The Nentir Vale is the default “Points of Light” setting for Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition. This setting is composed of isolated pockets of civilization surrounded by dark areas of untamed wild. The small communities and even largest cities’ inhabitants are mostly cut off from the world outside their walls. Travel between cities and villages is dangerous, and most people are ignorant about the rest of the world aside from rumor. Bandits, vicious humanoids, and monsters of all kinds inhabit the darkness between settled areas, and those who wish to venture out do so at their own risk.

Ballad of the Silver Six

Here is a fun little ballad I wrote with one of my players for the adventurers to start to hear about themselves after winning a huge battle and gaining fame early on (level 4 and 5). We’re not poets, but anything that helps show the impact the PCs are having on a world is good in my books.

The Silver Six met in Fallcrest from afar
With a dragonborn’s missed punch in a bar
Big Nadarr missed by a whole bunch
But little Ander hit back with a crunch

Coppernight found treasure digging deep
But kolbolds and a dragon invaded the keep
The Six won with blade, shield and magic
But the loss of many dwarves was tragic