I met our own Level One Wonk via a gaming group that actually spends most of its time playing games online; although the core of original members were all playing together in college, these days they (now we) primarily play over Skype/Twiddla/Google+/etc. However, starting six years ago, we have all gathered together in Delaware once a year to trade stories, raise a few glasses, and play a bunch of games over the course of a long weekend. I’m writing this in Delaware, most of our way through Beach Weekend VI (which I suppose could also, given that the pair of us did most of the GMing, be thought of as Cannibal Halfling Con I), and I’ve definitely learned a few things over the years about turning tabletop roleplaying into a marathon affair.
Are you a Butt-Kicker, a Specialist, or a Story-Teller? There is a huge world of games out there to satisfy every player’s and group’s style. And while there are academic discussions in every corner of the internet, sometimes it’s best to start at level one. Join the Level One Wonk in exploring the possibilities that RPGs have to offer, from Aberrant to Zorcerer of Zo. Today, we look into the tricky business of building an empire. Want to turn your role-playing game into a wargame? That’s done with rules for domain-level play!
With the announcement of Xanathar’s Guide to Everything coming out this November the speculation is finally over: Unearthed Arcana materials are being published in their final forms for Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition! That doesn’t mean that Unearthed Arcana is done, however, and June’s release features more revised subclasses and player options for us to peruse. A druid from the Circle of the Shepherd, a Cavalier fighter, a paladin under the Oath of Conquest, and a warlock tied to a Celestial are all ready to playtest, so let’s Meet the Party!
A barbarian who brings the spirits of her ancestors wherever she goes, leading them to protect her allies. A bard who almost seems to prefer a sword to a song, a consummate swashbuckling duelist. A fighter whose arrows are steeped in magic, with every shot visiting a different sort of arcane assault upon his foes. A monk who has studied the martial arts of weaponry, and is one with her blades. A sorcerer who taps into the divine blood within her to heal her allies and strike down her foes. The flurry of weekly Unearthed Arcana for Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition has come to an end, but that doesn’t mean Mearls and Crawford are done giving us material to chew on. Five different builds have returned from their original UA foray, so let’s Meet the Party and see what changed!
A wizard who specializes not in lengthy arcane study but the application of magic in warfare. A monk who masks her amazing skill with the stumbling movements of a drunkard. A paladin who seeks to save the evil from themselves, and who would rather take a hit than deal one out. A ranger who specializes in hunting down magical threats to the world. The 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons options continue to grow via Unearthed Arcana, and Meet the Party will continue to build ready-to-play characters for your use and inspiration, as well as the continued playtesting for the game!
An acolyte who peers into the hearts of enemy and ally alike, to motivate and discourage as victory requires. An investigator who always gets the information they need, even if the suspect doesn’t talk. A soldier who wades into combat unarmored, their sheer willpower shrugging off death blows easier than a breeze. A wanderer who can see the easy path, even it’s not precisely direct. An assassin whose blades leave no mark on the target’s body, but instead burn out their mind. A master of the elements and the forces of the natural world, commanding them with but a thought. There are a lot more Mystics running around D&D 5th Edition now, so we might as well Meet the Party and see what they can do!
The onslaught of Unearthed Arcana continues for Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition, and this time we’ve been presented with Mk. III of a UA subject: the psionic Mystic! The two previous iterations of the Mystic included a limited number of builds and only got as far up the ladder as Level 10, but this time we have all 20 levels and another four builds to work with. Psionics can always be an interesting subject for D&D, and with unique mechanics and loads of new material there’s a lot to mull over here, so let’s dig through it and see what the Mystic has to offer!
Among the hustle and bustle of a Sunday crowd of a certain PAX East, I found myself running to and fro through the tabletop area. It was the only day I was able to attend, and I had actually been somewhat forced to go by loved ones because life had sprung some nasty surprises recently (a long story for another time, perhaps), so I was determined to see and do as much as I could. As I actually rushed out of the tabletop area for a panel I came across an old friend from high school I hadn’t seen in a while; we exchanged greetings and well-wishes, then went our separate ways. After that weekend he got in touch, expressing a regret that he’d never gotten to play D&D and that he was wondering if I could help him out with that. Sure enough, I was able to put together a group, and we started playing. That was in 2013. The party reached Level 24 this past Wednesday.
A half-elf with divine magic flowing through her blood, as capable of healing and helping as she is harming. A tiefling with the soul of a phoenix, wreathed in flames that protect him and burn his enemies. A halfling with the strength of the sea, who sits at the heart of a storm and literally flows away from danger. A dwarf with skin of stone, with magic in the metal of her weapons that lets her bring sorcery into melee. The onslaught of Unearthed Arcana material for Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition has continued, and Meet the Party continues to provide ready-to-play characters. This time out the gate we have four new options for the sorcerer class, so let’s meet a homogeneous party that only needs one section of the book, but provides lots of sorcerous variety!
A paladin sworn not to protect or to heal but to conquer and dominate, crushing all in her path for power’s sake. A monk who meditates with a blade in his hand, seeking perfection of mind and body in the heat of battle. A wandering samurai, clan-less and master-less, using his steel and his will to rebuild everything that he lost. A rogue and a scout of the wild places of the world, who has fought for years and now thinks of the easy life. It’s been a busy few months for Unearthed Arcana, the Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition column that presents new options for the community to playtest. There are still loads of builds for lots of classes, so let’s keep Unearthing some Arcana and Meet the Party!