Here’s the Chant: problems with Chult, Eberron aasimar and trial by ordeal

Each week I put together a roundup of content related to roleplyaing games (mostly 5th edition D&D). I’ve just recently started publishing these on Thursdays instead of Wednesdays. Here’s this week’s roundup:

For players and dungeon masters:

  • ‘Dungeons & Dragons Stumbles With Its Revision Of The Game’s Major Black Culture’ Kotaku – this article looks at the problems with how black characters and cultures have been portrayed in D&D in the past. Cecilia D’Anastasio says that in Tomb of Annihilation there are some improvements but many of the same mistakes.
  • ‘Knife Theory’ reddit/DND – this thread shares a way of writing a player character’s backstory, which offers the dungeon master lots of options for raising the stakes of the story for each player character
  • ‘Dragonmarks: Aasimar’ Keith Baker – in this post Keith Baker looks at how the aasimar player race could fit into his Eberron setting

For players:

For dungeon masters:

For anyone who wants to reflect more deeply on the themes:

My recent content:

  • ‘Thoughts After Running In Volo’s Wake’ – last week I finished running In Volo’s Wake with my regular D&D group. Here are my thoughts on how I think this simple adventure can be deepened, and also some observations on how I could improve my DMing if I was to run it again.
  • ‘Zygmunt Bauman, Social Division and Flesh Golems’
  • I’ve just started running Out of the Abyss with my weekly group. These are some character illustrations I made for the non-player characters who the party found themselves imprisoned with: 

Here’s the Chant: Tomb of Annihilation goes to Eberron and a Spiderman rogueish archetype

Each week I aim to publish a roundup of content related to 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons, and tabletop roleplaying games in general. Here’s this week’s post:

For players and dungeon masters:

  • Skum of the Stars Owlman Press via RPGNow – the core edition of Skum of the Stars, as well as the first issue of SkumMag have just been released. This looks like a very flexible sci-fantasy rule system, and I’m hoping to try it out soon. (I’m also working on illustrations for Owlman’s Phantasmagoria.)
  • ‘A Guide to D&D Coins’ Dungeon Master’s Workshop – ever need to know how many coins it would take to fill a treasure chest?
  • ‘State of Race in the Tabletop Gaming Hobby’ Youtube – Timothy Sherman talks about his experience of racism at the gaming table. People should not have to put up with slurs at the table.

For players:

  • ‘Fey-touched Backgrounds’ Tribality – this post provides a couple of backgrounds you could use if you’re making a character who has been influenced by fey magic
  • ‘Arachnoid Stalker’ Middle Finger of Vecna – here’s a rogueish archetype that seems to be inspired by Spiderman

For dungeon masters:

My content:

Here’s the Chant: Al-Qadim, murder hobos and other disruptive player types

Each Wednesday I’m posting a roundup of content related to Dungeons & Dragons and other roleplaying games. It’s basically whatevery I’ve found this week that I think is interesting, along with some of my own content at the end.

For players and dungeon masters:

  • ‘How This RPG Classic Helped Lift a Depressive Episode’ Optimistic Despite It All – this article looks at how trying out D&D helped get the writer off the couch and interacting with others on the weekend
  • ‘RPG Legends: Al-Qadim’ LitRPG Reads – this article details the history of the Al-Qadim setting (subsetting within the Forgotten Realms inspired by the Middle East)
  • @RichardWhitters – Richard Whitters is the senior art director for D&D, and he’s just recently started posting regularly on Twitter, often sharing artwork he’s done for D&D and Magic: The Gathering. If you’re not already, you should follow him.

For players:

  • ‘Clerics of Thor’ Kobold Press – here are some domains that clerics of the Norse god Thor might use, along with some new spells

For dungeon masters:

My recent content:

  • ‘Yuan-ti and Snake Symbolism’ – last week the party I DM for met a yuan-ti cult for the first time
  • I’ve been trying to find ways to share my drawing process online, so I posted an accelerated video of myself drawing and orc. I’ve also been trying out streaming my drawing process over Twitch, and I think I’ll find a regular time to do that. Here are some drawings I’ve done while streaming on Twitch this week. You can use them with your RPG group if you like.

Here’s the Chant: Phantasmagoria, Off the Table, magical corruption

I’ve recently been getting back into the habit of posting a roundup of D&D and other roleplaying game content each Wednesday. Here’s this week’s roundup:

For players and dungeon masters:

For dungeon masters:

My recent content:

  • ‘Total Party Kill’ – last week I ran a one-shot where two level one characters ventured into the jungles of Chult…
  • ‘Poverty or Subsistence?’ – in the same one-shot the adventurers also visited the community of Malar’s Throat, and I wondered if the community was actually poor or just outside the cash economy
  • ‘Player Death’ Off the Table part 1 part 2 – on Friday I joined a discussion with some other DMs about the role of death in D&D
  • I’ve also been working on some icons for a new tabletop roleplaying game from Owlman Press called Phantasmagoria. Here are some of the ones I like most so far: 

Here’s the Chant: Tomb of Annihilation, feathered serpents and Hogwarts

I’m trying to get back into the habit of drawing toegther a weekly digest of content related to roleplaying games (particularly 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons). Tomb of Annihilation is already available some places, so I’ve included a couple of links to related articles.

For players:

For players and dungeon masters:

For dungeon masters:

  • ‘A Guide to Tomb of Annihilation’ Power Score – extensive notes (with page numbers) for running Tomb of Annihilation
  • Dragons Conquer America: The Coatli Stone Quickstart – Dragons Conquer America appears to be a tabletop roleplaying game about the European invasion of the Americas, featuring dragons and feathered serpents. This free introductory adventure is a promo for their upcoming Kickstarter campaign. I’m interested to see how they navigate colonial history and indigenous cultural knowledge. I’m be interested in having a go at running this, so I’ve done a drawing of a feathered serpent that I could use: 
  • ‘Couatl Tactics’ The Monsters Know What They’re Doing – this article suggests how a couatl (feathered serpent) might behave in combat
  • ‘What’s the Goblin Doing’ Raging Swan Press – here are some suggestions about what activities goblins might be doing when your party finds them
  • ‘Mystic College’ Tribality – this article looks at how to run a game with a feel similar to the Harry Potter series
  • ‘Mission to Sewertopia’ Elf Maids and Octopi – this post contains one hundred missions that players could pursue in the sewers beneath a fantasy city
  • ‘Village Backdrop: Farrav’n’ Raging Swan Press – this post features a village that could be included in a desert setting, including a couple of maps
  • ‘I’m Not Going to Let You Do That’ Medium – this article presents some reasons why a dungeon master might stop a player from doing particular things in the game

Content I’ve published recently:

  • ‘Repeating D&D Adventures’ – I’ve recently run a few different versions of the same scenarios from In Volo’s Wake, and I’ve found that’s been a good opportunity to improve my adventures.

Here’s the Chant: revisiting Phandalin, earthy elves and a boat mimic

I haven’t written any D&D roundup posts for a few weeks. Actually, I haven’t written much for a few weeks! I ended up a bit exhausted and needed to rest, and I was also away at Lake Mungo for a little while. I think I’m not ready to get back into regular posting. So here’s a roundup of content related to roleplaying games, particularly Dungeons & Dragons.

For dungeon masters and players:

For dunegon masters:

  • ‘Dealing with Difficult Topics in RPGs’ Tribality – this article looks at how to handle topics that players may not want to explore – particularly by using a session zero to establish a social contract between your gaming group
  • ‘Artifacts of Primordial Power’ Kobold Press – a few magical items infused with elemental power
  • ‘How much setting detail is appropriate?’ RPG Knights – this blog entry looks at how you can get bogged down by too much detail about your roleplaying game setting
  • ‘Memorable Villains’ The Yawning Portal – this post shows how you can build up anticipation in the lead-up to introducing your main villain
  • ‘Bosses that Don’t Suck’ Monster Manuel – this article looks at how you can make sure your boss monsters are deadly but not unbeatable
  • ‘New Elves’ Trollish Delver – this article presents a fresh, earthy take on elves
  • ‘Examining Phandelver: Side Quests’ Merric’s Musings – this blog post looks at the side quests in D&D 5th edition’s introductory adventure, Lost Mine of Phandelver. I’ve recently been running In Volo’s Wake, which also takes place in the frontier town of Phandalin, which creates an opportunity to reuse some of these subplots.
  • ‘Lonely Boat’ Nerdarchy – this article looks at how to use a mimic disguised as a boat – pretty much like the pirate’s mimic I drew earlier in the year: 
  • ‘Creatures of Commander 2017 in D&D’ Kor Artificer – this article presents stat blocks for some of the creatures from Magic: The Gathering‘s upcoming Commander set
  • ‘Sewers and Cesspits’ Elf Maids & Octopi – here are a couple of extensive tables you can use to generate random items or encounters that adventurers might find whule exploring sewers
  • ’10 Stormy Events to Enhance a Battle’ Raging Swan Press – this article suggests running combat during a storm, and includes a table of ways that a storm could effect the battle

Content I’ve recently published:

  • ‘Running Vault of the Dracolich’ – on Saturday I was involved in running Vault of the Dracolich with a team of dungeon masters at Games Laboratory, and this is my reflection on the experience
  • ‘Brushing up on Basic D&D Rules’ – being involved in running a D&D event was a good incentive to get clear on the basic rules. This is a summary of what I needed to brush up on.

Here’s the Chant: Sheep Lord, fungal fey and Amonkhet

On Wednesdays I normally post a roundup of content related to Dungeons & Dragons and roleplaying games in general. Here’s this week’s roundup:

For players or DMs:

For DMs:

For anyone who wants to reflect more deeply on gaming:

Content I’ve recently published:

Here’s the Chant: Planescape factions, dragon totem barbarians and frogs

On Wednesdays each week I’ve been posting a roundup of content related to Dungeons & Dragons and other roleplaying games. Here’s today’s roundup:

For players and DMs:

  • D&D Beyond – the second and third stages of beta testing are now live, which means you can create characters, manage campaigns and publish some forms of homebrew. I’ve enjoyed seeing how this is eveloping, but there are still some problems – it’s beta testing. (The main problems are with being able to edit homebrew items after they’re saved or published, and I’m sure those problems will be ironed out.)
  • ‘Eberron turns Thirteen’ Keith Baker – the creator of the Eberron campaign setting reflects on the thirteenth anniversary of the setting’s first publication, and answers some players questions about the setting

For players:


Godsman illustration: Tony DiTerlizzi

For DMs:

Content I’ve published:

Here’s the Chant: ooze characters; 5e spells for Spelljammer and Eberron

For players:

For players and DMs:

  • ‘A Guide to Oozes, Slimes and Jellies’ Power Score – a roundup for ooze content from all editions, including monsters, non-player characters and player character options. I’ve done a drawing of the oozemaster:

For DMs:

For anyone wanting to reflect more deeply on RPGs:

Content I’ve published this week:

Here’s the Chant: jungle giants, combat systems and failing forward

One Wednesdays I normally post a roundup of content related to Dungeons & Dragons and other roleplaying games. Here’s this week’s roundup:

For Players or DMs:

For Players:

  • ‘Player Notekeeping’ Marauding Owlbear – looks at why it’s important to keep notes as a player, and what things are good to make a record of

For DMs:

forest giant

  • ‘Frontier 5e’ Tribality – introducing a non-magical American West historical setting
  • ‘A Slew of Ones’ Kobold Press – some suggestion about how to save the game when players keep rolling critical failures
  • ‘Using Intellectual Property’ Gnome Stew – some suggestions for running games using settings from TV shows, films, novels, et cetera
  • ‘Player-awarded XP’ Dwarves in a Trenchcoat – looks at a few ways of letting players divide up experience points
  • ‘Puritans and their Weird Names’ History of Nothing – provides a list of historical Puritan names, which could be useful for non-player characters of a certain variety

For anyone who wants to reflect more deeply on D&D and other RPGs:

Content I’ve published this week: