In the fall of 1984, Jay opened his first Basic Set of D&D. It was a gift on his 10th birthday. It had orange dice that he had to color in the numbers with a black crayon. The older teenage kids who lived next door taught him how to play, and he in turn taught all his friends. He went on to play many, many different RPG and table-top battle systems. But there has always been something about D&D that felt like coming home to him. Thirty years later, along with his son, Jay has come home to the game in a big way. He plays at a few different tables each week, and runs his own "limited edition" mini-campaigns during holiday breaks when he can get friends in a room for extended periods for several days in a row. He still has that first set of dice.
Episode | May 21st, 2022 | 53 mins 40 secs
adding flavor, combat, dm tips, game prep, session zero, table rules
We look at a number of ways to spice up your combat, from streamlining play so players get to act more frequently, to adding just the right type of crunchy table rules to provide extra excitement. Join us as we discuss the best ways to strike a balance between speeding up combat rounds, and making it still feel meaningful and carefully considered.
Episode | May 13th, 2022 | 57 mins 10 secs
As the fifth edition of D&D continues to evolve (can we say that it's 5.5e, yet?), we see two books being "de-listed" on DnDBeyond this week: Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes, and Volo's Guide to Monsters. And while it's clear that some of what these books offered now feel out of date, what we loved about these books was all the deep lore and storytelling found between the covers. Join us as we turn the pages of history, looking back and what made these books both good and bad.
Episode | May 6th, 2022 | 1 hr 1 min
armor class, character build, dm tips, game mechanics
This week we discuss everything Armor Class. From how to calculate the old THAC0 to the bounded accuracy of 5E's system. We dive into the spells, feats, and races that can boost AC. And we take cover and dodge around to find more ways to keep from getting hit -- we even come up with a way to boost AC to 30, if only for 6 seconds. Stick around to the end for the actual maths on which class will give you the best AC.
Episode | April 29th, 2022 | 1 hr 8 mins
adding flavor, conditions, dm tips, game prep
Conditions are a fundamental component to D&D, but are often misunderstood, or poorly applied. We discuss better ways to use everything from grappling to poisoned, from incapacitated to invisible. Don't be stunned by our unrestrained conversation that is prone to being charming.
Episode | April 25th, 2022 | 1 hr 2 mins
adding flavor, cosmic horror, dm tips, game prep, monsters, spelljammer
We take a look into the newest announcement of D&D settings: Spelljammer. While we don't yet know all the details of how 5e will be different from 2e (the last time we saw official Spelljammer content) there are a few things we do know. Join us as we unpack this setting and look at some of its new monsters.
Episode | April 15th, 2022 | 1 hr 1 min
oath of conquest, oath of vengeance, oathbreakers, paladins, steal this character, subverting tropes, tips, warlocks, weirdness
Sometimes we get misled by the name of a subclass, and probably none more so than Oathbreaker. We discuss where this unusual subclass comes from, the weird quirks it offers, and how to build something better. We also clear up the old javelin vs. spear debate (and why your Paladin might want to switch to spears). And we do some comparisons with Warlock, noting how Paladins are about the oath they make, and Warlocks are about who they make the oath to -- and how that affects the way you might want to roleplay them.
Episode | April 4th, 2022 | 51 mins 34 secs
adding flavor, pirate, sailor, sea elf, steal this character, subverting tropes, tips, triton, weirdness
From the decks of a ship to the bottom of the ocean, nothing says adventure like the life at sea. This week we look at ways that players and DMs can create characters and environments well adapted to water-borne combat.
Episode | March 25th, 2022 | 58 mins 33 secs
aberrations, aboleths, boss monster, call of the netherdeep, dm tips, flumph, horror, slaad, sorrowfish, star spawn
With the release of the adventure, Call of the Netherdeep, D&D has a few new aberrations to check out. Generally as a cohort of creatures, Aberrations probably don't get looked at as much as Dragons, Giants, Fey or Fiends. But there is plenty of interesting ideas for unusual settings, or strange and terrifying twists thanks to the alien nature of these creatures. Join us to unpack some Aboleths, Flumphs, Slaads and Star Spawns -- plus a few new creatures you've never heard of before.
Episode | March 20th, 2022 | 42 mins 2 secs
adding flavor, dm skills, improv, npcs, preparation, social interaction, three pillars, tips, weirdness
Good DMs tell their players how to improve, but GREAT DMs use NPCs to show their PCs how to live up to their true heroic potential. But there are many NPC pitfalls to avoid. This week we look at a few different types of NPCs that can change the dynamic, and maybe help the PCs in a less obvious way. Join us as we delve into Sidekicks, Rivals, Survivors and Adversaries.
Episode | March 11th, 2022 | 52 mins 25 secs
comabt, death, dm skills, improv, preparation, social interaction, three pillars
Death can be a real bummer -- especially if you didn't see it coming. While it has always been a part of the D&D experience, how you handle that experience as a DM or a player can be the difference between tears or cheers. Join us as we explore how to make death meaningful to players and the campaign.
Episode | February 19th, 2022 | 50 mins 37 secs
adding flavor, three pillars, tips, world building
One of the most enjoyable aspects of being a DM can be the time you spend creating a world for your players to adventure within. For those considering building a setting for a campaign, or even those who have done this before but want to up their game, we offer enthusiastic words of advice from our own experience.
Episode | January 28th, 2022 | 1 hr 1 min
extradimensional spaces, magic items, spells, tips
Ever needed to carry more stuff than your strength allows? Looking for a place to hide your party for an hour? Maybe your need to imprison a dozen of your enemies? Or store 27,000 cubic feet of gold coin? Whatever your storage needs, we've got you covered this week with our guide to extradimensional spaces.
Episode | January 21st, 2022 | 57 mins 43 secs
Sometimes we find ourselves grinding through battles only to reduce our foes to zero hit points -- and frankly, that can get a bit boring. So this week we look at different ways you as either DM or player, can spice up combat by re-focusing the combat objectives away from simply killing everything, towards other more unusual and interesting objectives.
Episode | January 14th, 2022 | 39 mins 15 secs
Sometimes as DMs we tend to over do it. And when it comes to treasure, it's easy to shovel out mountains of gold. But then what do you expect players to do with it? What if they start spending it in ways that de-rails the game? This week we look at some creative options for reducing player wealth.
Episode | December 21st, 2021 | 52 mins 10 secs
artifacts, character buffs, magic items, tips
'Twas the night before Mid-Winter Fest and all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a Brigganock. Join us for our annual look at the magic items we hope to see under the tree this year -- with a special focus this season on the best items in the game: Artifacts!
Episode | December 10th, 2021 | 44 mins 37 secs
ability check, backgrounds, feats, proficiencies, roleplay, social interaction, three pillars
There are so many interesting feats that you will never get to play. Well you could, if you didn't value an ability score bump more. So here's our hot take: with more and more feats being introduced into the game, why not let everyone take one or even two more just to round out their character?