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Unboxing, Reviews, Getting Connected, Pokemon, and Free RPG Day Recap!

It was an absolutely amazing week! We had a Reaper Bones Unboxing thanks to Reaper Miniatures. We also have a set of dice on the way from Dice Bard. On Tabletop Gaming with Juce there will be a review of the miniatures and the dice. Also this past week connected with a lot of companies, and content creators. Managed to get a couple products for Free RPG Day 2018, and celebrated my daughters seventh birthday party!

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Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition Is Here To Stay

I have been playing Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition since the play test. I've loved almost every aspect of the system and how they implemented new options. By doing the play testing in the Unearthed Arcana articles it is just wetting our appetites as fans of the game. Plus the fact they aren't releasing tons of books at an alarming rate it making it more digestible. The one concern I do have though is the open gaming license and DM's Guild seems to be over saturating the 3rd party market. Ultimately though Wizards of the Coast is doing things right.

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Free RPG Day 2015

Free RPG Day 2015 has passed us by. This year the store I pick my stuff up from was having a Magic the Gathering Tournament which meant that no RPG events were happening. They had the stuff laid out on the counter though for anyone to just come up and get what they want. I had taken my 4 year old daughter so she could get something and she chose the Pathfinder Card Game Cards, the Pencil, and Valiant. I picked up the Coin, Munchkin Bookmark, 13th Age At Lands Edge/Nights Black Agents The Harker Intrusion, Castles & Crusades Shadows of a Green Sky, Atlantis Second Edition, Fifth Edition Fantasy Into the Dragons Maw, Through the Breach Recruitment Drive, Dungeon Crawl Classics Judges Screen, Pathfinder Module We Be Goblins Free. 

13th Age RPG Core Book
By Lee; McConnell, Aaron; Heinsoo, Rob; Tweet, Jonathan Moyer

Last year I picked up just as much but ended up giving most of it away to people I thought would enjoy the things I had. There is a lot that people can try out for the first time and that is the beauty of Free RPG Day. I highly recommend people go out and pick up whatever they ca especially if they are new to RPGs or looking to try them sometime.

The thing I always do first when I get all of the free stuff is look through the products and cherry pick ideas for the games I am currently running. Then anything that stands out I will tend to use. If everything seems good like a full adventure then I may consider converting it over to the system I am currently favoring. This year that would be 5e. So Fantasy products are the go to for me.

This year the things that really stood out to me were the Goodman Games Fifth Edition Fantasy Into the Dragons Maw, Atlantis, and Castles & Crusades Shadows of a Green Sky. The Dungeon Crawl Classics Screen has some useful crit hit and fumble charts I like and I like the artwork too. The coin is really high quality as well.

Into the Dragons Maw is perfectly compatible with 5th Edition D&D. The adventure is solid, and has a really cool monster that I want to use pretty bad. They also have some new magic items in the back which are decent. I am planning how I can use this in one of my upcoming games. This would be something I would use in my family D&D game.

Atlantis is a really nice product that I have only skimmed over. The system seems interesting and actually looks like it may be pretty simple. If I gamed a lot more I would probably consider picking up the core book for this game even.

Castles & Crusades is a good game and there product last year gave me a lot of inspiration. This year I have skimmed through it but haven't felt too inspired yet. I am hoping once I read it I will get a lot of great ideas. 

All of the products are great and they are FREE! They lead to great chances to try new games and I am surprised more systems don't participate. For example Dungeons & Dragons could have taken their FREE PDF and made a print version for this event. Wouldn't that be great? I will wrap this up by saying next year don't miss out! Get out to your local game store and pick up the items they are giving away for free if you like RPGs.

Do You Use A DM Screen For Dungeons and Dragons?

Last night at Dungeons and Dragons Encounters I had a player bring the new Fifth Edition DM Screen which I was able to use. That thing is absolutely beautiful! Feels very durable and I felt as though it had some very useful information on it. Too many times a DM Screen is packed with information you will never use or beyond the 1st or 2nd time you won't ever use again. I loved the low profile of it allowing me to see over the screen.

Recently in video responses on YouTube many people have discussed their own thoughts on using DM Screens or not. I am surprised at how many people choose not to use any. For me I find them useful because I like to have all my miniatures hidden behind the screen especially the bigger encounters.

Having the screen also allows me to keep my notes and maps hidden from the players. Players eyes will wander down and look in a lot of cases which can ruin some surprises. One of the greatest things about this hobby is the randomness and surprises of the game. Isn't that why we use dice?

Speaking of dice I have seen a lot of people mention rolling in the open. When you roll dice in the open there is no denying that the players around the table begin to meta game. They will start figuring out the to hit bonus of the monster and things like that. I sometimes roll in the open and have noticed this happens all of the time. When I run D&D Encounters the players there seem to do it a lot more than my other groups. While that is fine I can't imagine as a player it would be fun knowing these things.

Speaking of the 5e screen the things I would have liked to see on it would be XP for Leveling. The CR/XP by offense and defense of monsters from the DMG. Also quick rules on how to make an encounter with modifiers based on # of enemies and such. This would have helped with being able to run the game on the fly but it is still a very good screen.

The highlights of the screen for me are the conditions because those will be used pretty frequently. I like the name generator, NPC generators, and random things on the far right section of the screen like random events.

If you run games primarily online there is no need to use a screen but if you run games in person I highly recommend it for the reasons above. I will be picking up my own 5e screen very soon because it is really well done I think. Even though I feel they could have added more to really make it great this screen is one I could see myself using for other games even. The system neutral things are the main reason for that.

Hope you liked this post. Please check out and follow me on my YouTube Channel, Twitter, Facebook, and G+.

Busiest Time of Year!

It is the busiest time of the year for a lot of people right now. For me I am busy preparing for the new year in my career. Then with the Tabletop RPG One Shot group on Facebook, this website, YouTube channel, this blog, podcast, and potential merchandise for all of this on top of that I can say this is the busiest I think I have ever been! It is fantastic though. So many things for me to feel optimistic about.

The Tabletop RPG One Shot group on Facebook is over 600 members now! I know of people who have played/ran in over 20 games since its inception back in September. That is amazing to me! There has been a lot of Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition played but surprisingly the next most popular system has been Palladium Books with Rifts, Ninjas and Superspies, and Heroes Unlimited being played more than any other games. One thing I can say is that we always need more people willing to run games. Really looking forward to seeing what 2015 brings for this group.

With the launch of my website I relocated my blog from Wordpress to here. This was a really effective move because I am getting more views than I ever did over there. I enjoy posting blog posts more than I did before as well. I probably enjoy it more because I have much more interaction here since moving it. If people have learned from my YouTube Channel and this Blog I love interacting with people. Hearing others opinions and sometimes opposing views is interesting to me.

Then there is the Podcast which will be recorded later on tonight actually. I will be editing a couple things into it before posting so that should be up this week sometime. Been looking forward to doing this and couldn't be more excited about it. Andrew aka sr2joker will be my co-host which is awesome! He is an awesome guy with an excellent YouTube channel. The guy is very smart and brings a lot to the table. I trust that you will enjoy our Podcast that we will try to bring you monthly and possibly twice a month at times.

The podcast will talk about the games we currently are running or playing as well as anything else that has us excited. Right now we both are playing a lot of D&D5e and Palladium Books too. Most of our discussions will probably be about 5e in the near future but I am sure we will cover a lot more.

Planning on getting some stuff up in the store for the YouTube Channel, Tabletop RPG One Shot group, the Podcast, and so much more. If you have any suggestions feel free to let us know. 

As you can see there is a lot going on around here. All of it good! 2015 looks like it will be a crazy year from the start but that is a good thing. I love being busy and hope you will all be coming along for the ride. Again if you have any suggestions feel free to contact me with them.

Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition Thoughts

So the three core books are all released and we can begin talking about the actual game now. Many have said they were concerned about how the game would be after all the books were released. The Players Handbook had all the rules in it and the Dungeon Master's Guide has only optional rules really. To me it was odd hearing people concerned about giving an opinion based on the PHB and MM only. They seemed to think the DMG would give you more of the core rules but really it didn't. The PHB gave you everything you needed. Very curious to hear what people now think about Fifth Edition.

Player's Handbook (Dungeons & Dragons)
$29.95
By Wizards RPG Team

I knew with the Players Handbook this edition was something fantastic. The rules are great and very simple to run. They have everything you need to ever run or play a game. For me right now there wasn't anything rules wise that I think needs to be changed. They are good as is for me.

Monster Manual (D&D Core Rulebook)
$31.61
By Wizards RPG Team

When the Monster Manual came out we got to see how they truly balanced the encounters. It seems to work for me and again I don't have any gripes here. The Monster Manual covers the basic monsters you will need for any game. You can re-skin monsters really easily to set up things for your own games without changing much.

Check out the video reviews of each chapter for the Dungeon Masters Guide by clicking here!

D&D5e Chapters 1-6 Review (Half Way Read)

Ok so originally this was going to be the first half review in written form but I read Chapter 6 this morning of the Dungeon Master's Guide when I couldn't sleep. So far the conclusions I have come up with are that this is a good book. It is great for brand new Dungeon Masters and is highly recommended for anyone looking to run Fifth Edition D&D. There is a lot of inspiring things in this book but for the experienced DM they could do without it. This is not the best book for Dungeon Master's/Game Master's I have ever read. This isn't about other books though so on to the review.

The Good

There is a lot of things in this book that got me thinking about my games on a deeper level. Things like the different planes for example. They give you enough in this book about the planes to get your mind working for an adventure that travels there. My players in one of my two campaigns may experience this in an upcoming game sometime.

The book does a great job covering the basic things a new DM should focus on. It gives a lot of nice little pointers to help with world building, creating an adventure, creating a campaign, running npcs, building encounters, and bringing things together to make a cohesive game.

TABLES! Seriously this book has a good amount of tables. Not as many as other books but they have some good ones in here. They are general enough to give you some flexibility with them too.

New mechanics and optional rules. In Chapter 6 they give you some new downtime activities that I really like. There is a new optional rule for leveling up too which is intriguing to me. Not sure if I will ever use it but if I have a group interested in doing things that way I look forward to trying this new rule with them.

The Bad

TABLES! With all of the tables they have in here not all of them are good. There are some pretty lame or lackluster tables in this book. For example on Pg. 87 there is Sylvan Forest Encounters. That is the only random encounters table in the whole book that I have seen. They really could have done some more random encounter tables in this portion of the book. Maybe a full 2 page spread would have been good. It wouldn't have been too hard for them since they have done it before.

Villains are not given much attention in this book. NPC's get some decent attention but the specific villains to not. I wish they would have talked a bit about the art of having a villain the players really enjoy and want to interact with more. They could have taken notes from their workshop video that is on YouTube somewhere for this portion of the book. This section also gives you two new Class Domains/Archetypes with the Cleric Death Domain, and Paladin Oathbreaker. Wish these were in the players handbook more than in this book.

No real exotic locations in this book. Not much about deserts, mountains, rain forests, or other exotic type settings. This was a missed opportunity. We have all been playing the new edition for months now. Would have been nice to get some new things for various locations so we could mix our games up some. For experienced DM's we have other books and experience to lean on. For new DM's this may be an issue.

Summary

It is a good book and I do recommend it if you are enjoying Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition. If you never plan on running it though it is up to you and if you think you can find value in it. If I wasn't really enjoying the system and running it I would not own it. Luckily though I love Fifth Edition D&D. It is my favorite game for fantasy hands down.