A Review of the 5th Edition D&D Dungeon Master’s Guide

So, as you can probably tell, I failed NaNoWriMo spectacularly, and along with it my plans for a development diary for my Ghartha project. I’m disappointed, but it is an unfortunate reality that we generally need to put our jobs before our hobbies, and holiday season is definitely the busiest time of year for mine.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom, as the Dungeon Master’s Guide is finally here! This tome of all three of the holy triad is the one I’ve been looking forward to the most. I am a tinkerer, enjoying twisting the rules this way and that, and always get more pleasure from running a campaign than I do from playing. With the rumors of a “tinkerer’s manual” on the winds of, well, the internet, my expectations for this book (especially after the first two) were very high.

Well, how did it do?

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A Review of the 5th Edition D&D Dungeon Master’s Guide

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NaNoWriMo Diary: The Lady of Stone (Part 1)

Hello! I’m still trucking a long with my Nano project, an RPG sourcebook for my Ghartha campaign mentioned in the last post. Today I have for you a rough, unedited sampling of a piece of fluff text that will be in the Player’s portion of the book. It tells the tale of a barbarian woman who exiles herself to hunt the enemies of her tribe before she dies. It is called The Lady of Stone, and will be told in multiple parts throughout the text. The beginning is thus:

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A Review of the 5th Edition D&D Monster Manual

My review of the Player’s Handbook, here, was fairly positive. Okay, perhaps overwhelmingly so. Beyond a few fairly glaring indexing issues in the magic section, I found the book to be delightful and highly useable. Having now received the second in the holy trinity of rulebooks, can the same be said for the Monster Manual?

The book is, of course, quite different than the Player’s Handbook, and this review will reflect that. As more of a reference tool, or as a collection of pieces for the DM to use, there’s simply less to review. But, I am sure I can find quite a bit to say.

 

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A Review of the 5th Edition D&D Monster Manual

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A Review of the 5th Edition D&D Player’s Handbook

I’ve had the PHB since the 19th, but I didn’t want to churn out a review as soon as a I got my grubby paws on it. I kind of wanted to play around with it, let it simmer a bit. Flip through it at my leisure, what have you.

What actually happened is that I’ve managed to read it front to back three times now. Let’s just say I’m a bit obsessed with RPGs anyway, so a new edition of my favorite game is hard to resist consuming (multiple times).

Anyway, here are some of my principal impressions. I’m going to try to keep it simple, though this post will end up long. The main question I’ll be leading with is: Is this a book that compels me to play the new edition, and lends itself to table use?

My review will be separated into First Impressions, which will mainly concern the book, art, and layout, and then Digging Into It, in which I will speak about the crunch and fluff and the use of the book in play. Then of course I will wrap up with some closing thoughts.

 

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A Review of the 5th Edition D&D Player’s Handbook

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East, to the Holy Mountain

Fair warning: this post is very rambling, going in every which direction. This is because I’m coming up with ideas while talking about my inspirations as I write. Hopefully it’s not too weird.

I like to consider myself a writer, however amateurish I might be. I write a lot of stuff that never sees the light of day, I participate yearly in “NaNoWriMo“, and I feel like I have a pretty good handle on the basics of cultivating creativity. What I need to work is the back-end stuff. The finishing, the editing, the taking that creativity and turning it into something worthwhile.

One of the biggest fonts for creativity for me is music. We are all affected by music emotionally, and that definitely feeds into my creativity. When I am writing, I am almost always doing so with music playing. Usually this music is Metal, Rock, or some variation of Folk music, which I think provides such a wide range of ideas and emotions.

Another source of inspiration that I draw from frequently is mythology, folklore, and spirituality. I’m sure this has been pretty evident from anyone that has read this blog for a while.

Anyway, the reason why I’m talking about this is because recently I’ve been fomenting different things in my brain pan in order to come up with an adventure I’d like to write that would be a little bit different from other things I’ve done. At its core would be the Holy Mountain, a symbolic stand in for the sacred places, paths, and goals of mysticism, esoteric philosophies, and religions all over the world. Much of the inspiration and the blueprint will be based on pilgrimages and sacred journeys. I want to couple this with the symbolic ideas behind a lot of metal and other music that I enjoy. I’d like to write an adventure that draws its ideas out of both mysticism and that emotional rush and adrenaline that I get from heavier music.

This post will essentially be me talking about this adventure I’d like to write. Feel free to take the ideas and run with them. Hopefully I will have the actual adventure written sometime this year. I’m actually going to be using NaNoWriMo as a “rebel” this november, spending the 50,000 word count exclusively on my blog. I’m hoping a good chunk of that will be on this adventure.

 

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East to the Holy Mountain

An Adventure Idea

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The Hill Dwarves of Trobal’Brae and the Fenglennarry Highlands, Part III

Here it is! The third and final part of this setting module about Hill Dwarves. I hope I’ve given you something to work with, maybe helping you make Hill Dwarves a little more than the boring cousins of Mountain Dwarves.

This section will detail the Northern Taiga, that wild land north of the Fenglennary Highlands. The focus of this post will be adventure ideas and lore. Please enjoy!

 

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(Snowy Forest – Andreas Achenbach)

The Northern Taiga

North of the Fenglennary Highlands

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The Hill Dwarves of Trobal’Brae and the Fenglennarry Highlands, Part II

Finally! I’ve struggled through this post due to some writer’s block, but here it is. First, however, if you don’t mind clicking here and voting on that poll, I’d be appreciative. That is the first post I’ve ever done on the blog, and I still look to that poll to lead the content. So if you haven’t voted on what you’d like to see, please do so!

In this second part, I will go into detail about the Hill Dwarf town of Trobal’Brae and the people and places you can find within.

These two posts together should provide you with a good setting springboard for an adventure or two, or as a place to stick somewhere in your hex crawl. As always, feedback and suggestions are not only welcome but urged.

The third and final post will focus on the northern wilds, called The Taiga, expanding on the adventure oppurtunities.

 

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Trobal’Brae

What is there to say about the Trobal’brae? Everything’s muddy; the streets, the dogs, the dwarves, even the ale. I suppose it’s also home.

-Gwil Goldensong, King of the Fenglennarry Highlands

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The Hill Dwarves of Trobal’Brae and the Fenglennarry Highlands, Part I

Tales abound of the staunch and heroic mountain dwarves, and of the vile schemes of the shadowy deep dwarves. But of the hill dwarves, there seems to be little to tell. The most humble of the dwarven tribes, civilizations, or subraces, they seem to fit seamlessly into human and halfling society.

Those that look, however, will find that there are some things to tell after all.

This first part will detail the Hill Dwarves of the Fenglennarry Highlands as well as the Highlands themselves. The second part will detail the town of Trobal’brae as well as mention locations near the highlands, like the northern taiga.

Trobal’brae is a town for use in your campaign, centered on a Hill Dwarf society. My goal with the town and it’s surroundings is to be easily slipped into a campaign, or plopped down somewhere in a hexcrawl. While not containing any sort of complete adventures, it will provide you with a good amount of adventure seeds and NPCs to get your own ball rolling.

The idea for this setting module actually comes from a campaign that I am a part of that my group plays off and on, in which all of the PCs are Dwarven Kings. It was an ‘epic’ level campaign, and my particular King was actually a bard. Sort of the odd man out, his kingdom was a small highland region of hill dwarves. I’ve enjoyed playing him, so in a way this is sort of an ode to that character. I sort of just lifted the kingdom out of our home world (Taern) and detailed it more thoroughly, so that you might use it.

(As an aside, I was recently invited on the podcast Warmachine V. Warhorse to discuss dark fairy tales and to insult the hosts. It’s a good podcast featuring comparative reviews of movies. The episode I was in (the only important one) can be found here.)

 

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The Hill Dwarves of Trobal’brae and the Fenglennary Highlands

A highland region of hill dwarfs for use in your role playing campaign.

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