But it’s hard to forget how gamey D&D was not too long ago – the rules were many, rigid, and often lifeless. Quite simply, the rules use to get in the way of the story. Adventures often felt like exercises in dice rolling and finding every mathematical advantage around every corner. Who among us didn’t often forget whyour characters were doing what they were doing as another grueling crunch-fest-filled hour dragged by?
Thankfully that’s all changed in 5e! Beautiful edition, recalling the wonder and balance of the classic storytelling and gaming experience that truly is the heart of D&D. I love it! And so does everyone who plays it, novice or veteran. Just check ratings, reviews and sales and it’s obvious D&D 5th edition is phenomenal.
(Note: To be clear, D&D 5e’s astounding quality and “soul” means we’re mostly reduced to nitpicking a few minor rules – like in this article – rather than criticizing massive chunks of the game like in last edition. What a relief! So with this understanding clear, let’s get to the point of this piece.)
However, there is oneawkwardly placed section in the PHB that recalled some recent gamey-ness. The “Inspiration” rule may have been well-intended, but it doesn’t quite feel right.
One of the more innovative and engrossing additions to the RPG video game genre is the War Table in Dragon Age: Inquisition. In short, your war council of advisors helps identify, lead and complete missions using markers on a sprawling world map.
The war table adds a strategic, higher level RPG element to the classic first-person RPG missions you take on with your character and small party of adventurers. Which member of your council leads a specific effort matters as far as results and rewards, as they have different personalities, methods and contacts.
Some efforts are brief and simple (e.g. gathering raw materials), while others are complex and lengthy, involving political alliances, underground contacts or long investigations of people or locales. The War Table adds more stories to your story, in short, as you coordinate the efforts of others across the world.
Having just completed this tremendous game, the richness of the War Table reminds us to make sure “the world turns” while the PC party goes on its own adventures – or as they participate in or even lead their own war. There are always more missions, more quests, and more stakes – connected to and beyond the PCs’ desires and reach. And, through the War Table, a reminder that you have close friends and allies who will help you pursue greater, even global interests.
And having just caught up on the latest season of Vikings, here’s to your inner circles being less like those and more like Dragon Age!
So how do you smoothly time travel in your games? That’s the key. It’s got to be believable (or actually, plausible) while simple enough to process.
The few times I’ve included time travel in my game – and hey, who doesn’t at least once? – it’s been with mixed results. As DM, I’ve even confused myself!
So here’s a favorite resource of mine: Dragon issue #430; in particular, I like Robert Schwalb’s article, “Unearthed Arcana: Time Travel.” Some good time travel articles in that issue, and Schwalb’s simply rocks.
League of Legends is one of the extremely few games I’ve played off and on for years. It still captures my imagination (it’s a MOBA with fantasy RPG themes) and fires up my competitive gaming juices every time. And this is true even after several weeks or months away from the game.
A big draw for me is its unique characters, and just like in D&D – their stories are tremendous and their themes inspire. I especially love how the the artists “re-imagine” these champions with new looks or skins.
The creators of League of Legends also draw upon, blend and unleash all things fantasy and art, like in this stunningly emotional music video.
Soon the D&D 5th edition core rules will be complete and ours for the creative taking! The D&D 5th edition Dungeon Master’s Guide will finally slay shelves and be in our hands in less than ten days.
There are a few particular things I can’t wait to investigate… or devour! Here are five things I’ll be searching its hallowed pages for immediately:
Critical Hit Alternative Rules. It’s no secret I love impactfulcritical hits in my D&D. Who wants critical hits that don’t… feel critical? Crits that aren’t scary, that disappoint? The 5e critical hit is flawed in that you can actually end up with less than a normal strike’s maximum damage, which I find to be no less than ridiculous. Surely, there’s other options to consider, like a few of those during playtest? I personally enjoyed the “max your damage and then roll one more die” critical hit from playtest. But I can do even better! See my Stop Rolling Your Bonus Crit Dice article for cooler, deadlier crit options for your D&D game.