DMs Guild Masterpieces: Adversaries & Allies

A few weeks back, I decided to try my hand Adversaries and Alliesat a brand spanking new campaign world. I’ve played a lot of pre-written adventures set in Golarion and Forgotten Realms in the last five years or so, and it turns out that I’ve lost my knack for building NPCs. Personalities? Fine. But if one of my players wants to make a Diplomacy check, I need to know what kind of stats my little shopkeeper has! And making it up on the spot always left me feeling a little cold. So books like Paizo’s NPC Codex easily find a place on my shelf. 

And yet, I felt a bit of trepidation when my gaze landed on Adversaries & Allies by Dan Layman-Kennedy. Sometimes, an NPC guide is too focused on building commoners rather than villains. But if it swings too far the other way, you lose the ability to populate your world. Without a solid mix of both, an NPC book loses its usefulness to a DM like me. Would this 38 page document be able to make the cut?

Are you holding your breath? Go ahead and let it out, because Dan figured out the ideal balance.

Look, this book is filled with fantastic NPCs. Your world certainly needs sailors, farmers, rulers, and scholars. But it’s also going to need to fill out every rank of an evil wizards’ guild. Or a host of rogues and fighters. You need skalds, oracles, masterminds, and diabolists. Some of the entries even have variants just in case you find yourself in the mood for something a little different.

Finally, like many of my favorite DMs Guild resources, Adversaries & Allies includes two pages of design notes from Dan about his choices throughout the document. Dan seems to be well versed in the kinds of characters a DM truly needs to make a world seem filled with developed characters, even if the DM doesn’t quite have the time to round out every single NPC. This is clearly a labour of love, and I am so satisfied with the results.

Adversaries & Allies is an excellent resource for anyone looking to build their own world and fill it with a horde of realistic NPCs. Listen in for more on why it caught my eye in Episode 173!

dungeon-masters-guild-2

Are you a 5E D&D Superfan? Then the DMs Guild is for you! Check out this marketplace of fantasy ideas for the latest in what D&D fans are writing, all using an official license from Wizards of the Coast and the official Forgotten Realms setting! Every episode, Rich scours the Guild for the most clever and ingenious options to add to your campaign. 

Episode 172

This episode we wrap two RPGs we’ve been playing in, look forward to Ravenloft and marvel at the ongoing developments in DMs Guild. We also are looking forward to several board game Kickstarters and catch up with how a few kickstarters are finding mainstream publishing! So much to cover!

Fortnight in Nerddom, Two Sennights in Sorcery:

Gaming News:

DMs Guild Masterpieces:

Kickstarters:

Pickstarters: [K] Kenna & {R} Rich

Questions:

DMs Guild Masterpieces: Ravenloft Archetypes

Ravenloft ArchetypesI remember one bright, perfect summer back in high school. I was outside all the time, teaching and working out in the sun and heat, which meant it was the ideal opportunity to play Ravenloft. You know, the horror-themed setting of D&D featuring Count Strahd von Zarovich, the vampire lord of his own little dreary demi-plane called Barovia. Brought us all right out of the light and into darkness and dread and the overwhelming sense of impending doom. No matter how much I played Ravenloft, that remains the clearest memory: a setting so encompassing that it made me shiver on a sunny day.

Fortunately for all of us, Wizards of the Coast has finally brought back the wonders of Ravenloft! And with the recent release of Curse of Strahd, Wizards moved quickly to make sure the entire D&D publishing community had access to the entire Ravenloft campaign setting for their own macabre adventures. Plenty of folks have already tried their hand, and the absolute best right now is Ravenloft Adventures: Nightmares of Barovia by Jeremy Forbing.

This fantastic 37-page document is absolutely dripping with the gritty feel of Ravenloft. From paladins suffering from vampirism, to rangers and rogues dedicated to stalking and staking their way through history, the new archetypes in this book bring a lot of new options based around living in a world of terror and rooting out its darkest secrets. And then there are the new races, spells and monsters. Is there anything more I need in my game than a creepy halfling vampire named Meriadoc casting create poison? Probably not.

With supplements set in both Ravenloft and Al-Qadim, Jeremy Forbing is developing a strong reputation on DMs Guild for creating setting appropriate products that are just dripping with thematic flavor. While this is the kind of work I’d prefer to see closer to $5, the price is currently only $1 for this exceptional document which is absolutely worth it. Jeremy also has a few Pay What You Want products if you’re looking for a preview.

Ravenloft Adventures: Nightmares of Barovia is a fantastic addition to any Ravenloft campaign. Listen in for more on why it caught my eye in Episode 172!

dungeon-masters-guild-2

Are you a 5E D&D Superfan? Then the DMs Guild is for you! Check out this marketplace of fantasy ideas for the latest in what D&D fans are writing, all using an official license from Wizards of the Coast and the official Forgotten Realms setting! Every episode, Rich scours the Guild for the most clever and ingenious options to add to your campaign. 

Episode 171

This episode, Rich plays games about beautiful trees while I gain victory points through utter draconic destruction! We’ve also got all the latest in news and kickstarters – coming up!

Fortnight in Nerddom, Two Sennights in Sorcery

Gaming News:

DM’s Guild THING OF THE EPISODE

Kickstarters:

Pickstarters: [K] Kenna & {R} Rich

DMs Guild Masterpieces: Bringing your Characters to the Forest!

SAdditional Archetypes screenshotince 5E has been out for more than a year and a half, I’ve had plenty of great opportunities to jump in and play all of the amazing character classes that were designed in the Player’s Handbook. And my favorite part is when I get to make them special. That moment when you get to pick a domain, school, or archetype just feels fantastic. Finally, my character does what I’ve always wanted them to do! My rogue? Nay, foolish reader. Don’t you mean my arcane trickster? Or my assassin? But here’s the thing. I’ve already built my assassin. And my arcane trickster. So what’s the fun of playing a rogue again?

Oh, because someone made some new options for every character class. PERFECT. Tell me more!

My favorite offering on DMs Guild at the moment is Additional Archetypes by Kyle Consolver, featuring TWELVE brand new subclasses! This outstanding pdf has new options for the Bardic College of Dance, Arcane Archers, Clerics of the Hunt, Shadow Warlocks, and my all-time favorite, the Wizardly School of Botany. You can tell that Kyle was missing some Nature influences in the PHB, because this book is chock full of them.

If you’re looking for real game-changers, this book has a couple interesting options. Not all of these options shine quite as brightly as the rest, but this is absolutely the right level of new content I’m looking for. And the price? $1. You just can’t beat that.

Listen in for more on why Additional Archetypes caught my eye in Episode 170!

dungeon-masters-guild-2

Are you a 5E D&D Superfan? Then the DMs Guild is for you! Check out this marketplace of fantasy ideas for the latest in what D&D fans are writing, all using an official license from Wizards of the Coast and the official Forgotten Realms setting! Every episode, Rich scours the Guild for the most clever and ingenious options to add to your campaign. 

Kickstarter Review: YAGER by Maribel Lopez

Yager titleIs this a game? Is it art? Can it be both? We don’t know! Yager is a quirky little woodcut game by first time designer Maribel Lopez. While this is a tiny little limited Kickstarter run that will certainly be able to reach fulfillment with access to a woodshop and some hard work, we’re not quite sure how much of a game this actually is. In Yager, you play the Cocori—four weird wooden pawns that feel a lot like those creepy woodland spirits in your favorite Miyazaki film. The Cocori wander around trying to avoid the Beast. But they might turn into it through clever and/or random game play? There’s also a Bird. The Bird might fly overhead and is probably spooky because it’s made out of origami? Or you can play the Environment?

Okay fine, you caught us. We know these are all pieces, but we don’t actually know how to play Yager. But as far as we can tell, neither does anyone else. However, as little as we know about it, the game has caught my eye. I’m a big fan of the artwork and the general design, and I’m willing to have this sit on my bookshelf if nothing else. I wish I was able to find out what it’s like, but the print run is already filled!

Check out the Yager campaign on Kickstarter or listen into Episode 170 (starts around 1:18:30) to learn more about what Kenna and I thought about this quirky little game!

Episode 168

Happy 2016 to our FAVORITE listeners! Yes, we mean you! We spend Boxing Day, UNBOXING our unopened games and played some doozies! We also have a lot to unpack in gaming news thanks to Wizards of the Coast dropping the 5th Ed. OGL and Asmodee continuing to gobble up the world. And not to worry, we also cover kickstarters and your favorite segment: Kenna’s Licensing Korner!

Fortnight in Nerddom, Two Sennights in Sorcery

Gaming News:

Kenna’s Licensing Korner:

Kickstarters:

Pickstarter Picks: [K] Kenna & {R} Rich

Questions:

Special Interview – Jason Tagmire

Jason Tagmire is the powerhouse behind game publisher Button Shy Games. Best known for their wallet series (micro 19-card games), they are now delving into even smaller games via their Patreon. Teaming up with 12 game designers, they are unleashing a Postcard Game series based on classic cult movies. When Tagmire isn’t teaming up with other designers to publish their games, he’s teaming up with other publishers to design for them. We had a great time digging into comparing big publisher versus the very small, designing to intentional constraints and much more!

Please enjoy our hour with Jason Tagmire!
[Twitter] [Patreon – Board Game of the Month Club]

Designed:

Designed and Self Published as Button Shy Games:

THE THREE

(1)  What color Meeple do you typically choose?   Yellow. Always.

(2)  What is a favorite entry level game for new gamers?   Survive!

(3)  Who is a game designer that has your attention right now?   Rob Daviau

Special Interview – Daniel Solis

We had the absolute privilege of sitting down with Daniel Solis for an hour. Daniel is a game designer well known for being open to discuss all parts his process and this interview is no exception! We get into everything from mechanics vs. theme to a rare behind the scenes peek into publishing finances and licensing. We learned so much from Daniel and we hope you do too!

Daniel Solis:  Website  /  Twitter  /  Smart Play Games  /  Patreon / Card at Work

Designer / Publisher of:  Trickster / Kigi / Heir to Europa

When we talked to Daniel, he discussed the reimaging of Kigi  – which turned out to be Kodama: the Tree Spirits, made in conjunction with Action Phase Games.

Daniel Solis’s Shopping List of Amazing Sounding Games (and Books):

Episode 154

We’re back with another new episode of geekery on GoingLast! In Week in Geek, I chat a little bit about organized play RPG campaigns, and Kenna and I review some of the board games we’ve played recently. And of course we cover all the latest in tabletop news and Kickstarters! Check out the links below for more on anything we talked about this episode!

Week in Geek

Tabletop Gaming News:

Kickstarters:

Pickstarter: [K] Kenna’s pick  {R} Rich’s pick