<description/> <link>https://www.gameskinny.com/</link> <language>en</language> <copyright>Launch Media Network</copyright> <atom:link href="https://www.gameskinny.com/game-dungeons-dragons/?format=rss" rel="self" type="application/rss+xml"/> <item> <title>9 Best Witcher Quests to Recreate in Dungeons & Dragons https://www.gameskinny.com/7h3xw/9-best-witcher-quests-to-recreate-in-dungeons-dragons https://www.gameskinny.com/7h3xw/9-best-witcher-quests-to-recreate-in-dungeons-dragons Fri, 28 Feb 2020 12:55:59 -0500 Ty Arthur

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What did you think of our picks, and are there any other quests from The Witcher games or Netflix series you think would make a great RPG adventure?

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R. Taslorian previously announced a collection of The Witcher adventures titled the Book Of Tales was in the works, although there doesn't seem to be an actual release date at this point. If you need more ideas for a Witcher campaign, the games and books are probably your best bet for inspiration right now.

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If you've already gone through all those stories, keep in min the Netflix show is getting at least two new major characters -- one from the books, and one from The Witcher 3 -- when it lands in 2021, and we also have an animated Witcher film focusing on Vesemir to look forward to soon.

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A Matter Of Life And Death

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While the backing reasons for getting into this quest probably don't connect to your existing campaign, several of the major plot points make for excellent D&D fodder.

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Shadowy deals, following contacts through markets, secret passwords, and intrigue during a masquerade ball are all great ways to get your party more into the roleplaying side if you've had too much combat lately.

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Of course, the quest doesn't completely lack in that either, as there's bandit ambushes and witch hunter zealots looking to annihilate all spellcasters.

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The Last Wish

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This iconic short story of the same name was adapted as a major plot point of the Netflix series, and while it may not work as-is for most gaming groups, the basic story beats are perfect for a D&D translation.

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The romance subplot can probably be jettisoned (unless you've got a co-dependent couple of characters who need to be forcibly removed from one another somehow) but the notion of capturing a djinn to work powerful wish magics has everything you need for an adventure.

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Be careful how you structure this one though, as party members getting to proclaim wishes is a quick way to unbalance a game world although that might be half the fun!

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A Princess In Distress

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This one is a fun way to turn expectations on their heads, and can allow the party's ranger to finally see some serious usage. In this case, the "princess" that's gone missing is a goat, and it's needed for a magic ritual.

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A diabolical DM could work all kinds of problems into that simple setup, with everything going wrong and the goat getting into all kinds of dangerous situations. 

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From goblin gangs with fireworks to bear traps to any number of large forest monsters, just simply getting Princess home safe might be a whole adventure on its own.

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The Phantom Of Eldberg Contract 

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This contract could be simple to plop into any setting or existing campaign. Some locals the party has interacted with before might go missing, and a haunted lighthouse could need investigating to find the root of the problem.

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The penitent wraith inhabiting the lighthouse could have any number of connections to your existing story, depending on what it misdeeds it needs to atone for.

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An encounter with the penitent wraith might even serve as a warning for players going the murder-hobo route who need to see some possible consequences for their misdeeds.

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The Tower Outta Nowheres

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If you've got a druid or a wizard with a penchant for teleportation magic in the group, it will be incredibly easy to hook the party into The Tower Outta Nowheres.

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When the weather goes haywire as a magic tower just poofs into existence, there's no question a group of heroes will need to investigate to calm the frightened locals.

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Assaulting a wizard's tower is a pretty common occurrence, but the twist here is that the wizard needs your help to deal with his defenses gone haywire! After completing the quest, said wizard could serve as a mentor to the party, with the conquered tower a new possible mobile base of operations.

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Face Me If You Dare!

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Want to spice up the overland travel scenes or throw a little color into the mix when re-supplying in town? This quest is a great springboard for a recurring nuisance to the party.

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Imagine if Noober from Baldur's Gate wanted to challenge you to personal combat, but kept coming back time and again after leveling up and hiring more guards to even the odds.

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The specific reason for the duel could easily be worked into your main campaign's backstory, as perhaps your group ticked off the wrong tavern owners, town guards, or local guild.

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A Towerful of Mice

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This Witcher 3 side quest is ripe for either an investigative group a combat-heavy group, as the party will need to plan a launch point and then assault an island infested with undead monsters. There's tons of room here to tease the story as each combat encounter is followed by clues as to what happened with the recently-deceased locals.

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The means of telling the story could be switched up to be uncovered through various investigative abilities and wizard / cleric spells, or you could keep it as-is with ghosts re-enacting past events if you want to run this as a spooky Halloween one shot.

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If you've got any aspects of plague or evil wizards running amok in your campaign, A Towerful of Mice is also simple to plop into the existing storyline.

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Recreating the interior of the tower at the center of the island itself as a dungeon to be stomped includes some interesting possibilities for D&D. Rogue abilities for detecting traps and climbing, as well as low level wizard spells like Mage Hand, can be very useful.

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If you want to connect this quest to a larger campaign, introduce characters to take the parts of Annabelle, Alexander, Kiera, and Graham ahead of time. If you're already running a campaign, there's no reason those roles couldn't transition to existing characters your party knows well for a bigger impact.

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Of Dairy & Darkness

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Really want to throw your players for a loop while injecting some levity and creating a whole host of table in-jokes? This cheese-focused quest is ripe for conversion into a tabletop D&D session. With a little work, tyromancy (divination based on studying cheese mold) could become a whole new way to use magic in your campaign.

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There's a wizard's laboratory to explore, which is a classic RPG trope, but the twist is that its filled with deadly toxic cheese fumes! Protection From Elements and Gust Of Wind might come in handy here, or the party may need to come up with a more creative way to deal with those hazards.

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If you want to include the various lizard, bull, and snake figurines in the quest, they could easily become a Figurine Of Wondrous Power that summons a giant gecko, frilled lizard, snake, or other creepies.

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Carnal Sins

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Some of the most fun to be had in a fantasy RPG session is when your players discover the cities can be just as dangerous as the dungeons.

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If you've got a bard in the party, that player could easily take the role of Dandelion, or any tavern regular the group has interacted with in the past could start the quest instead.

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Rather than focusing on a series of combat set pieces, this quest will have the group on the trail of a serial killer but it isn't lacking in classic locations, like a sewer. The morgue and brothel scenes serve as great ways to get characters with lesser-used skills a chance to shine, and it would be simple to work in NPCs the party already cares about as possible victims to save.

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For the quest's resolution you could keep the vampire connection, or change it to any bad guy lurking in the background who is killing for any number of reasons connected to your existing campaign storyline.

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While there's countless hours of play to be found in The Witcher 3 and its DLC, CD Projekt Red's masterpiece can extend well beyond the PC or console as a springboard for tabletop RPG adventures.

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Whether you're a Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition fan or prefer the tried and true Pathfinder, there's a treasure trove of adventure seeds to be found in The Witcher quests.

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For those who prefer game rules that more appropriately evoke the feel of Geralt's adventures, there is in fact a licensed pen and paper RPG adaptation of The Witcher out now from R. Taslorian Games.

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The writer of that RPG recommends the bedroom exploits of these quests all happen off screen -- but do whatever your group is comfortable with! No matter which system you use (or if you keep in the parts where most groups fade to black), there are some basic ideas to always keep in mind if you want to nail that Witcher feel.

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In general, always keep in mind the world doesn't need a hero it needs a professional. Preferably one who looks great in the bath tub and mostly mutters an expletive whenever something happens.

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While most Witcher adventures will revolve around some sort of monstrous menace, directly fighting those creatures shouldn't necessarily be the main focus. Rather, a successful quest should be more about how those monsters have impacted the local people.

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Ready to 'Witch' up your weekly RPG session? Let's take a look at the nine best The Witcher quests to recreate for your D&D campaign!

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Wizards Of The Coast Launches Narrative-Focused RPG Studio With Ex-Bioware Devs https://www.gameskinny.com/05qzr/wizards-of-the-coast-launches-narrative-focused-rpg-studio-with-ex-bioware-devs https://www.gameskinny.com/05qzr/wizards-of-the-coast-launches-narrative-focused-rpg-studio-with-ex-bioware-devs Fri, 31 Jan 2020 11:33:57 -0500 Ty Arthur

A crop of narrative-driven RPGs are in the works from a newly-launched development studio based in Austin, Texas. Tabletop roleplaying giant Wizards Of The Coast recently announced details on Archetype Entertainment, which is led by Head Of Studio James Ohlen and General Manager Chad Robertson. Both formerly worked with Bioware.

Despite the Wizards Of The Coast connection, the team's first game won't involve Magic or D&D 5th edition. Rather, the game will take place in an original sci-fi world. 

The development process seems to be in the very early stages, as Archetype Entertainment is still looking to fill these roles in the coming weeks:

  • Art Director
  • Lead Character Artist
  • Lead Environment Artist
  • Lead VFX Artist
  • Lead Gameplay Engineer
  • Senior Gameplay Designer
  • Senior Level Designer
  • Gameplay Engineer
  • Technical Animator

While Archetype puts together a standalone sci-fi RPG that "puts the player at the center of an epic personal narrative with impactful choices," there are still multiple D&D games set to arrive soon.

We already know that Baldur's Gate 3 and co-op action title Neverwrinter are supposed to launch later this year. Wizards Of The Coast President Chris Cocks also recently divulged that additional D&D video game adaptations are due to be announced soon.

What are you looking forward to seeing from Wizards Of The Coast, and are you stoked for a new narrative RPG studio arriving? Sound off in the comments below, and stay tuned to GameSkinny for more on Archetype Entertainment and upcoming D&D games as news develops.

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DC Comics to Release The Last God D&D Sourcebook https://www.gameskinny.com/0zpt0/dc-comics-to-release-the-last-god-dd-sourcebook https://www.gameskinny.com/0zpt0/dc-comics-to-release-the-last-god-dd-sourcebook Tue, 21 Jan 2020 15:00:03 -0500 Ty Arthur

Thanks to the open game license, an unexpected name is about to release a Dungeons & Dragons sourcebook. DC Comics decided to dip into the pen and paper RPG realm with a book of rules covering the city of Cain Anuun.

The Last God: Tales from the Book of Ages is scheduled to drop on April 29. The 40-page one-shot 5th Edition supplement will set you back $4.99 and will make its appearance at local comic shop retailers, as well as digital storefronts.

DC Comics commented on the release, saying:

In Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Riccardo Federici’s The Last God, the city of Cain Anuun serves as a rich and layered backdrop to a story of fantasy, adventure and horror. The evil armies of the Last God are marching across the mythical city, laying waste to everything in its path and a group of unlikely allies are the last line of defense against absolute destruction.

DC isn't the only company to unexpectedly get into tabletop RPGs lately, as fast-food giant Wendy's released the free Feast Of Legends PDF back in October.

In addition to new primary and third-party book releases, D&D is set to make a major digital return with at least eight games currently in various stages of production.

Right now, the 4-player co-op hack 'n slash Dark Alliance and long-awaited return to roleplaying roots Baldur's Gate 3 are the next video games in the franchise slated for release.

Wondering what current D&D video games are worth your time? We ranked every single one of them in the franchise's 30+ year history from best to worst here!

Back on the tabletop side, Wizards Of The Coast recently confirmed that Explorer's Guide to Wildemount is the next campaign setting hardcover. That tome will bring the homebrew world of the popular Critical Role series into official D&D canon.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news and info on Dungeons & Dragons as it develops. 

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It's Official: The Next D&D Campaign Setting is Coming From Critical Role https://www.gameskinny.com/ix84j/its-official-the-next-dd-campaign-setting-is-coming-from-critical-role https://www.gameskinny.com/ix84j/its-official-the-next-dd-campaign-setting-is-coming-from-critical-role Mon, 13 Jan 2020 13:33:49 -0500 Ty Arthur

Ever since Wizards of the Coast drastically cut back the physical release schedule of 5th Edition D&D, players have been wondering what campaign setting book would be next. If you were expecting a return of famous settings like Dark Sun and Planescape, you're in for a surprise. It turns out that the next official Dungeons & Dragons setting is the homebrew campaign from the Critical Role web series!

An early Amazon pre-order listing page let the cat out of the bag before official confirmation arrived from Wizards Of The Coast today.

Explorer's Guide to Wildemount will arrive March 17 and follows other unexpected forays from D&D lately, like a Magic: The Gathering crossover with the Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica hardcover release.

Here's what Wizards Of The Coast had to say about the upcoming expedition into Wildemount:

A war brews on a continent that has withstood more than its fair share of conflict. The Dwendalian Empire and the Kryn Dynasty are carving up the lands around them, and only the greatest heroes would dare stand between them.

Somewhere in the far corners of this war-torn landscape are secrets that could end this conflict and usher in a new age of peace —or burn the world to a cinder.

The campaign book will include subclasses like the Echo Knight option for the Fighter class, as well as new spells, magic items, and monsters set in Critical Role's second main campaign. 

The tabletop role-playing phenomena is about to see a resurgence on the digital front as well, with the long-awaited Baldur's Gate 3 and the hack 'n slash Dark Alliance coming soon. 

Are you planning on picking up the Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, and was this the D&D 5th Edition campaign setting you were hoping would arrive next? Sound off in the comments below!

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Football Fantasy Interview: Turning Football Into A Tabletop RPG https://www.gameskinny.com/615n6/football-fantasy-interview-turning-football-into-a-tabletop-rpg https://www.gameskinny.com/615n6/football-fantasy-interview-turning-football-into-a-tabletop-rpg Mon, 08 Apr 2019 16:11:27 -0400 RobotsFightingDinosaurs

Gaming and nerd culture has come a long way since the 1980s. Hobbies like video games, cosplay, and tabletop RPGs are now mainstream parts of modern life, almost completely accepted into the larger tapestry of pop culture as a whole. That said, there's still a little bit of culture shock when the less nerdy reveal a secret love for Dungeons & Dragons.

So it might surprise you to know that a Kickstarter campaign that sought to combine gridiron football with Dungeons & Dragons in a single ruleset zine met its funding goal and is now moving forward. For fans of both, the appeal is obvious.

There's a wealth of created sports in fictional worlds where magic is woven into normal society, from Harry Potter's quidditch to Final Fantasy's blitzball to The Legend of Korra's pro-bending, each capturing folks' imagination by introducing magical elements to sport. So why not do the same with football?

Read on for our interview with Football Fantasy creator Samuel Ashton Roberts!

GS: What inspired the RPG in the first place? How did you get the idea to mash up football and tabletop RPG gaming?

Samuel Ashton Roberts: As a longtime fan of both football and Dungeons & Dragons, I have experimented with mixing the two for a long time. I've run football themed combats, puzzles that required football moves to complete, and integrated other elements in campaigns I have run over the years. I also played a fair amount of Blood Bowl as a young man, and like the general idea of exploring a game like football with the speculative fiction of fantasy and science fiction worlds.

In my 20's my Sundays were watching NFL games all day and playing D&D all night, so it seemed an appropriate thing to explore. I am particularly interested in rule sets that inspire creative and amazing play from humans, and both D&D and football do that.

Without getting in the weeds too much, what was it like to adapt these rules so that they fit well? Football is one of the most complicated sports out there, and Dungeons & Dragons is one of the most complicated tabletop games out there. Was it as much of a hassle as it seems like it'd be to make the two dovetail?

It was about figuring out what parts of each experience I was interested in - there are parts of both that are very tactical and about moment to moment decision making.

For the core of the zine, I focus on those, and that adaptation took some tinkering with, but I was able to find what I believe to be a satisfying place where they combine and feed each other. I focused around the choices of play calling and route running as seen through the turn-based D&D tactical combat, as there is a satisfying core of D&D that can create the sort of field leverage choices that we are regularly confronted with in football.

The rest of the zine is sort of how the rest of both games (outside moment to moment conflict between players on the field for football / outside of combat situations for D&D) can inform one another and be used together - i.e. what does a football themed campaign look like for D&D, what is a player class for a football player, what do football stats look like, who could be a football encounter or NPC, etc..

Since the Kickstarter was successful, it seems like you found an audience, even for a product like this, that could seem niche from the outside. What did you do to find your audience, and who do you think your audience is?

I think my audience is fans of Bloodbowl, and old school D&D fans who also like football. Mostly I tweeted promotionally about the zine, and I tried to recruit or reach influencers with a known interest in both. A few retweets from them, plus regular, steady promotion on my side and the reach of Kickstarter as a platform helped me find that fairly niche audience.

What was development like in terms of balancing everything in a way where the entire play group can have fun? Football is a sport that's defined usually by individual play, spurred on by a supporting cast that doesn't get much credit. How has that translated into an RPG where the spotlight is shared?

This is a fabulous question. The balancing came into making sure that non-QB players have a significant effect on the 'field.' The rules are structured so that when the throw happens, every player's position is a factor in determining the success or failure of the throw and the end result. Making sure each position had an effect that felt equal was the most difficult balancing act, as well as making sure that players who acted 'after' the throw had meaningful choices to make.

How has the game changed over its development?

Not a ton - the original rules had deep rulings and structures for magic on the field, but I decided to let a 'league' determine what was legal and not, and then simply adjudicate the physical effects of magic spells under the same rules. Also, as the content is being finalized, I'm finding that there is a depth to league creating and NPC creating that I am finding engaging, and I have built the zine to include more of that (without abandoning the system core.)

What is your dream scenario, in terms of people playing your game, or integrating it into an already-existing campaign? What do you want to see people doing with the rules you have created?

I would love to see someone start a football themed D&D campaign, where the players all work for a team or league. I expect more one-offs where an adventure is football themed, or DMs leverage the rules to have an encounter that is a football game in their current campaigns.

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Popular shows, streams, and podcasts like Critical Role, The Adventure Zone, and Stranger Things have brought the world of tabletop gaming to a constantly growing, diverse audience.

It bodes well for the future that endlessly creative and enterprising folks like Samuel Ashton Roberts (and countless others!) are creating rulesets that riff on and augment the standard D&D rules to cater to fans of different genres (Check out the one-pager subreddit, you won't be disappointed).

At the end of the day, Football Fantasy isn't the biggest or most ambitious project on Kickstarter, but it's a unique collaboration of two things most would think is impossible -- and its success is a very good sign for dungeon masters and adventurers alike.

Many thanks to Samuel Ashton Roberts for the interview, and best of luck to Football Fantasy when it releases into the wild!

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8 Mechanics Modern RPGs Take Straight From Dungeons & Dragons https://www.gameskinny.com/vm4sx/8-mechanics-modern-rpgs-take-straight-from-dungeons-dragons https://www.gameskinny.com/vm4sx/8-mechanics-modern-rpgs-take-straight-from-dungeons-dragons Sun, 18 Feb 2018 12:19:39 -0500 Nicolas Entrabartolo

As the father of modern RPGs, Dungeons & Dragons was a pivotal game in the early days of gaming, and since then developers have taken the system and translated it into computer code. And even though many have veered away from the classic D&D systems like turn-based combat, their mechanics often still hearken back to it.

Attribute System

For many RPGs, character attributes and statistics help you advance through the game either by bettering a skill or attribute of your character's, so that they are able to accomplish more challenging tasks. Dungeons & Dragons started it all with Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma as the basic character attributes. Though you might not necessarily see these specific stats in a modern RPG, they're probably still running in the background, helping your character be a better hero.

Random Encounters

For most RPGs, the random encounter mechanic helps keep the game from being boring, making it so that you can have unplanned encounters while exploring (much like in the real world). This isn't too far from the random encounter generators that Dungeons & Dragons created, along with the Dungeon Masters who helped pioneer them. The idea behind random encounters was to break up the downtime between planned encounters in the story, and DMs could even use those random encounters strengthen the game's immersion by specifically pulling from a list of monsters that resided in the party's vicinity. Modern RPGs use this same mechanic to help keep players engaged and to bring life to their own world.

Intelligent Items

Items that can think on their own have been a staple of fantasy RPGs and stories. Usually, it'll be the (or one of the) most powerful items in the world that helps the player/party in their quest for loot and glory. Once again, Dungeons & Dragons had this system first.

Taking the idea from mythical items such as Excalibur and Mjölnir, these weapons were generally only bestowed upon those worthy of them, giving the sense that these weapons consciously chose who could wield them. Dungeons & Dragons took it one step further, giving the items the ability to speak. The idea of the sentient blade is common throughout D&D and RPGs -- sometimes its a deity speaking through a weapon or the weapon itself having some sort of soul.

Turn-Based Combat

A staple of the Final Fantasy and Fire Emblem franchises, turn-based games are for people who wish for more strategic gameplay, something where you can optimize your characters' numbers. Combat in Dungeons & Dragons is based on the initiative of each character, which determines the order in which each character acts in a given turn, with characters taking turns one after the other until combat ends. Developers took this system and modified it to work similarly (sometimes enemies respond to getting hit or they use abilities in a certain order), but the classic turn-based formula is still around in certain RPGs.

Bosses Dropping Epic Loot

The best loot always comes from the most powerful beings in the world, as they wield, horde, or have created some of the strongest weapons, armor, and trinkets ever made. Well, these boss fights are just as epic in Dungeons & Dragons.

The DM would increase the power of custom-made villains by giving them special items of their own to use, which pushes the party of players to want to engage them to claim that item for themselves! Most boss loot is generally of epic tier or higher, having a special ability or aura about them. So it was only natural for developers to give their endgame bosses some of the best loot in the game. Why would anyone want to go after these bosses if the loot was easier to get elsewhere?

Taverns Being Quest Hubs

Taverns have always been the place that players go to rest, but it is also the place where you pick up rumors and start quests. For must Dungeon Masters, a place to hook a party with an interesting questline is usually the tavern. For example, the players might hear a nearby NPC talking about something happening in the mountains or the barkeep will give them info about a missing person. These are easy quest hooks for any experienced DM, but developers also incorporated them into their games. At the start of many modern RPGs, taverns and inns will generally have the innkeeper giving the player a quest that leads into the larger story, or the tavern is a source of randomly generated quests.

Dungeon Crawling

One of the most iconic types of instances in any RPG, and even Dungeons & Dragons, is the dungeon crawl -- just a simple hack and slash through a level. Diablo's gameplay is centered entirely around this style of gameplay (as are its many clones). Some of the earliest encounters in D&D were these very dungeon crawls with simple layouts and quick encounters, allowing for easy and straightforward gameplay. As time progressed, more story was added, allowing players to be more invested in the dungeons and in the things that inhabit them. In most modern RPGs, dungeon crawls are the boss dungeons at the end of most adventures. 

Dragons... 'nough Said

Dragons are forever iconic to the fantasy genre, but they didn't become popular until D&D brought them into the fold. The most powerful mortal creatures to exist, Dragons are symbols of power, magic, and wonder. In most games, dragons are either tyrants that snuff out life or bearers of knowledge that help the players along their adventure. In all these cases, RPGs adopted them as important characters in their stories, either as allies or enemies.

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Though there are many more mechanics that RPGs have taken from this amazing game, these are some of the most pivotal in the creation of modern day RPGs. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Dungeons & Dragons news. Until next time, stay classy, gamers!

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Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes: Coming Soon https://www.gameskinny.com/mtud6/mordenkainens-tome-of-foes-coming-soon https://www.gameskinny.com/mtud6/mordenkainens-tome-of-foes-coming-soon Mon, 12 Feb 2018 14:44:37 -0500 Alex Tharp

Dungeons and Dragons, 5th Edition was a return to the classics for Wizards of the Coast. Likewise, Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes is a return to a successful format of lore book. This title will examine the classic cosmic problems that define the D&D multiverse. 

According to Wizards of the Coast's website, readers can expect to "learn more about the schism between drow and other elves, githyanki and githzerai, and dwarves and duergar, in addition to reading about the incessant Blood War between demons and devils."

In a D&D Beyond interview, Mike Mearls, D&D Creative Lead, explained a little more about what is in Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes. The layout of the book will be similar to that of Volo's Guide to Monsters, including new monster stats, lore, and player character options.

Mike Mearls especially goes into detail regarding the lore that has been put in this new book. Mordenkainen, the fictional author of this supplement, has a particularly cosmic point of view. To reflect that, there will be much more information on the major players in the multiverse of D&D. Information about such historical topics as the feuds between Elves and Drow, Dwarves and Duergar, Githzerai and Githyanki, and even between Demons and Devils in the Blood War will be covered in detail. Speaking of demons and devils ....

In response to feedback to Volo's Guide to Monsters, Wizards of the Coast decided to pay special attention to more challenging monsters. According to Mike Mearls, at least half of the monsters should be Challenge Rating 10+!

In fact, the Sage Advice blog advertises that there will be "130+ monsters new and old," including such creatures as New Yugoloths, Elder Elementals, and Clockwork Creatures.

Also being added are several new player character options, so Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes will be just as useful for the players as for the Dungeon Masters out there. Githzerai, Githyanki, Sea Elves, Shadar-Kai elves, and Eladrin are all getting race options. Duergar and Tiefling are also getting new content, according to the same Sage Advice blog post.

The normal cover for Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes

You can preorder a hardcover copy of Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes from participating local game stores or from Amazon for $49.95. The limited alternative cover edition will be available at local game shops May 18th, 2018. The normal cover edition will be available everywhere starting on May 29th, 2018.

 

 

 

 

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Geek & Sundry Posts New Critical Role Artwork https://www.gameskinny.com/buy41/geek-sundry-posts-new-critical-role-artwork https://www.gameskinny.com/buy41/geek-sundry-posts-new-critical-role-artwork Wed, 17 Jan 2018 11:16:13 -0500 Nicolas Entrabartolo

Today on Geek & Sundry, the first pieces of artwork of the new Critical Role characters were posted. Each character had its own respective image, along with a large group portrait akin to the silhouette announcement during the holidays. From the Game & Sundry announcement:

"Ariana Orner is the new official Critical Role artist starting with the second campaign, although she’s not new at all to the show itself. 'I got into it back in April 2016 and I haven’t stopped loving it since,' she says. So it’s no surprise that Ariana is thrilled to contribute to the new campaign ...."

Now with a base to work from, this is the beginning of a stream of new fan art that will be showcased on the show during breaks and on the site. The full gallery of images can be found here, with information pertaining to which character is being presented.

But be sure to stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Critical Role and Dungeons and Dragons news!

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D&D's New Storyline Is Tomb Of Annihilation https://www.gameskinny.com/0qaw6/dds-new-storyline-is-tomb-of-annihilation https://www.gameskinny.com/0qaw6/dds-new-storyline-is-tomb-of-annihilation Tue, 06 Jun 2017 08:53:49 -0400 glados131

Wizards of the Coast has just announced that the new storyline for Dungeons & Dragons will be called "Tomb of Annihilation".

Set to be released on September 19, the adventure has been pitched as the latest re-imagining of the classic adventure "Tomb of Horrors"complete with the return of the demilich Acererak. It will take place in the land of Chult, a jungle region filled with zombies, dinosaurs, and zombie dinosaurs. The plot will be centered around a so-called death curse.

Avoid ending up like these guys.

The announcement came as part of a two-day stream event on the D&D Twitch page called the Stream of Annihilation. Several games of D&D were played over the course of the event, some of which tied into the new storyline.

Also announced were Xanathar's Guide to Everything, a supplement with new rule options, including more than twenty new subclasses, and Betrayal at Baldur's Gate, a D&D-themed variant on the popular board game Betrayal at House on the Hill.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more D&D news

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Worthwhile Tabletop Simulator games that aren't D&D, Pathfinder, or Warhammer https://www.gameskinny.com/1pq40/worthwhile-tabletop-simulator-games-that-arent-dd-pathfinder-or-warhammer https://www.gameskinny.com/1pq40/worthwhile-tabletop-simulator-games-that-arent-dd-pathfinder-or-warhammer Mon, 23 Jan 2017 03:00:01 -0500 Bryant Pereira

The popularity of tabletop games is steadily rising year to year, and the easy access to information thanks to the internet plays a huge part. Youtube channels like Geek & Sundry show that interest in tabletop games is higher than expected.

Tabletop Simulator gives players a virtual environment where they can place and move figurines, set up complete dungeons, and most importantly, boasts a booming mod community. At this time there are 12,770 mods on the steam workshop for Tabletop Simulator. These range from figurines, to custom dungeons, to full on board games like Uno and Cards Against Humanity. Through the use of mods, the number of ways to play is near infinite.

Look into any tabletop gaming forum and you’ll find a plethora of information for games like Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, and Warhammer, but what else is out there for people who are interested in Tabletop Simulator?

Shadowrun

Published in 1989, the Shadowrun pen-and-paper RPG has had a strong following for several years now, spawning multiple video game adaptations and novels within its unique universe. The setting of Shadowrun is what truly makes the experience. Rather than the formulaic fantasy settings present in many tabletop games, Shadowrun places players in a cyberpunk environment.

Set in the distant future where mega corporations rule the world, Shadowrun mixes elements of a dystopia with magical elements and mythological creatures. Humans turn into orcs and elves, all while technology is advancing so quickly you might mistake it for a Deus Ex game.

Players take the roles of Shadowrunners -- smugglers who do the dirty work for the mega-corporations. Shadowrunners remain anonymous in the society where most citizens are tagged with a System Identification Number. Magicians in the game are able to cast spells and summon spirits to fight at their side, similar to other fantasy RPG games. Most importantly, though, you can be an orc with lethal assault rifles.

Shadowrun shares similarities with D&D in which players choose what they want to do, and they roll a dice to see how well they succeeded. The type of dice rolled and the way outcomes are determined is different, but the main difference between both games is the level of caution required. In Shadowrun a small mistake can cause a big consequence, turning players into ashes from laser cannons in the sky.

Star Wars RPG

Star Wars pen-and-paper RPG games have been around for a long time. There are two previous, out of print versions of a Star Wars RPG, but the current edition by Fantasy Flight Games is an adventure any Star Wars fan can get into.

Played similarly to D&D, the Star Wars RPG’s let players use the force to lift objects, carry lightsabers, and shoot lasers before your enemy does. Fantasy Flight Games released three different editions since 2012. The first Star Wars: Edge of the Empire, puts players in the role of smugglers and scoundrels. Star Wars: Age of Rebellion dons the classic theme of rebels fighting against the empire, while Star Wars: Force and Destiny makes all of our dreams come true, putting players in the shoes of the last Jedi knights under the Empire’s rule.

All three games are set in the original trilogy timeline. Players create their characters on a Racial Template and choose their careers and talents. The game uses a custom dice to determine how successful a skill check is, along with how lucky the attempt is.

The books can be purchased through Fantasy Flight’s website, with a few custom mods available on the Steam Workshop.

The End of The World

Another popular Fantasy Flight series is The End of the World roleplaying line. Players journey through the apocalypse in varying scenarios depending on which book you buy. The series consists of four scenarios: Zombie Apocalypse, Wrath of the Gods, Alien Invasion, and Revolt of the Machines.

Unlike the majority of tabletop RPG games, The End of the World game series gives players the opportunity to play as themselves. The system the games use allow players to use their hometown as the settings, pitting players against enemies on familiar streets and shops in their town or city.

Each player assigns points to different characteristics which determine what they’re capable of when aliens attack or machines become self-aware. Each book provides five scenarios players can immerse themselves in and survive as long as possible. The game features a similar dice system to Shadowrun.

Settlers of Catan

While not an RPG tabletop game, Settlers of Catan is one of the most expansive and influential board games of all time. Unlike setting the game pieces up physically, a variety of mods on the Steam Workshop make setting up Settlers of Catan a quick and simple process.

Settlers of Catan is a very social board game. Players place settlements and roads on a randomized map in order to harvest different types of resources such as wood and wheat. These resources are used to build more settlements and obtain different items in the game that allow for more construction and advancements. Victory Points are earned by building different structures and meeting certain conditions. The player who reaches ten or more victory points wins the game.

Sounds simple enough, right? While simple in concept, the game requires planned out strategies and great communication skills to win. Players must trade resources with each other to build what they need, all while making sure that nobody else is advancing too quickly. Giving players the options to halt each other's advancements and steal cards from each other means trade embargos are a strong possibility in any given game.

Settlers of Catan has multiple expansions that either add to the board or present different scenarios for gamers to explore. With a randomized board and strong social elements, no game of Catan is the same.

Dragon Strike

Released in 1993 with the most amazing tutorial VHS ever, Dragon Strike mixes D&D role-playing elements in a board game format. Rather than creating a character sheet and requiring hours of pre-planning from a Dungeon Master, Dragon Strike supplies players with an Adventure Book and character cards. Missions have a set number of turns to be completed in and are controlled by a Dragon Master -- a fancier name for Dungeon Master.

Dragon Strike is a great introduction for people who are interested in the tabletop RPG genre. Stripping D&D down to its basics, and providing a fold-out board game brings a sense of familiarity to the game. If you are familiar with HeroQuest, it’s pretty much the same but with D&D elements. The entire game is available as a mod on the Steam Workshop.

Tabletop Simulator continues to show the gaming community that tabletop games are only getting bigger. The number of mods in the workshop probably grew by the time you reached this section of the article, and with full VR support, imagination will continue to run wild.

What games do you enjoy best on Tabletop Simulator? Is Dungeon & Dragons still king of the land of tabletop games, or do you have your own favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

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Neverwinter Arrives on PS4 this Summer https://www.gameskinny.com/5uv6f/neverwinter-arrives-on-ps4-this-summer https://www.gameskinny.com/5uv6f/neverwinter-arrives-on-ps4-this-summer Thu, 02 Jun 2016 19:07:34 -0400 John Robson

After almost three years after the video game's initial release on the PC platform, Neverwinter, a Massive Multi-player Online Role-playing Game published by Perfect World Entertainment, is arriving this summer on PlayStation 4.

What to Expect

Based on Dungeons and Dragons, the father of modern day role-playing games, Neverwinter is slated to be a free-to-play game. Once Neverwinter releases on PS4, it will contain all previous existing content from the PC version, including eight playable classes and nine game expansions, offering hundreds of different quests for players to complete.

With monsters taken directly from Dungeons and Dragons lore as well as locations players can travel through, this appears to be an exciting adventure for grizzled fans of classic table-top games. Also, accompanying the myriad of Dungeons and Dragons-inspired mythos are characters taken directly from the novels of author R. A. Salvatore.

Neverwinter is coming later this year on PlayStation 4 and won't even require a PlayStation Plus account to access.

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The top 10 most terrifying monsters of Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition https://www.gameskinny.com/z2y7u/the-top-10-most-terrifying-monsters-of-dungeons-and-dragons-5th-edition https://www.gameskinny.com/z2y7u/the-top-10-most-terrifying-monsters-of-dungeons-and-dragons-5th-edition Mon, 28 Mar 2016 06:01:43 -0400 Joshua Potter

Dungeons and Dragons' most recent adventure book, The Curse of Strahd was released just last week. This is an early level adventure written by the great Chris Perkins of DnD fame and is set in a dark, fantasy gothic theme.

In celebration of this dark new adventure, let's count down a list of all the scariest, creepiest, and downright most villainous monsters we can assemble to help you give your fellow role players the fright of their lives.

10. Slaadi

Slaadi are basically frog men with some pretty horrifying attributes. While you're in danger of them just outright gobbling you up, that's probably not what's going to happen to you. Instead, it's more likely that you'll be injected full of tadpole babies by glands under their claws. These tadpoles eventually nom their way out of you and then go on to become more Slaadi. Other times, they can infect you with a disease called chaos phage, which promptly turns you into a full fledged member of their species.

These chaos beasts can also shape-shift into just about any sized humanoid, meaning that your best friend could actually be a toad demon. This theory actually explains a lot about my friends...

  9. Gelatinous Cubes (and other oozes)

Oozes are pretty creepy in general, as they don't really have any type of malicious purpose, they just exist to break down matter and gain nourishment from doing so. What makes gelatinous cubes so scary, however, is not their intent, but their inevitability.

Say you're doing your normal Monday-to-Friday thing, raiding tombs or whatnot, and suddenly you walk face first into a cold jelly substance. Most gelatinous cubes are made up of a substance so clear its near invisible. Once you've made contact, they pull you inside of them to prevent your escape, if no one is around to help you, then it's not likely you're ever getting out again. A lot like spider webs.

8. Ropers

Much like their name implies, ropers enjoy roping things -- mainly you. They are often silent and stoic, waiting inside of a deep forest or dark cavern disguised as a tree trunk or stalagmite. When you've gotten close enough, they whip out at you with their tendrils in an attempt to drag you into their cavernous maw. Once caught by their tentacles, tiny hairlike growths on their limbs sink into your skin and suck the strength from you. They can digest nearly anything, and their digestive juices fetch a high price on the market, so there's a plus!

7. Cockatrice

You may be familiar with these guys from the Final Fantasy series. The Dungeons and Dragons variety are pretty similar in terms of how dangerous they are. They're described as some sort of hideous lizard-bat-bird, and are well known for their ability to turn victims of their attacks to stone.

What's interesting is that besides the fact that getting scratched by one turns you into a human gargoyle, they're actually not too scary. Their diet is not to dissimilar to a normal uhh...bat...lizard...bird thing. It's just that when they get riled up they go completely bonkers on you, and it only takes one small scratch to begin the petrification process.

6. Peryton

Perytons are some pretty creepy bird monsters. First off, let me direct your attention to the fact that they have teeth. Super useful for them, considering they have a diet consisting of humanoids, like humans or elves. Once downed, the peryton pulls out its prey's heart and brings it back to its mate to feed. This is how they mate.

Apparently some bards spread rumors that there was once a woman who ate the heart of her husband's mistress in an attempt to gain his love. Carrion birds ate her corpse after she was hung for the crime, and these peryton are an embodiment of her vengeance. Then again, bards romanticize everything.

5. Carrion Crawlers

Oh wow, that is one big bunch of nope.  Carrion Crawlers have a lot going for them in the creepy factor. First off, they prefer to hunt in dark environments, and will follow their prey for hours on end. They will find blind corners to hide behind and attempt to surprise their soon-to-be meal, often dropping from above or pulling you into their nests with their dexterous tentacles. As their name implies, they are often drawn to areas permeated with death, such as cemeteries or battlefields. You don't want to be found by these guys.

4. Skin Kites

We're cheating a little here and going to Forgotten Realms to discuss this monster, but no list of terrifying Dungeons and Dragons enemies would be complete without discussing something as awful as skin kites. They are literally kites of skin. I don't know what you expected, but the point is they're just awful.

Their bodies are made up of the skin types of their recent prey, and they fall slowly from the sky onto their victims, tearing off sections of skin and absorbing it into their rotting bodies. This is how they keep themselves alive, and there are no real limits to how big they can get -- it's all dependent on how often they feed. See? Creepy.

3. Yochlols

Yochlols are shape-changers, so what you see is just one form of many. They are a form of demon that happens to also be telepathic and extremely sadistic. When you encounter a Yochlol, it may present itself as a beautiful man or woman to gain your sympathies, before transforming into a poisonous mist to engulf its prey, or a giant spider to consume any unfortunates found to be too trusting.

If you escape, they will gladly whisper their name into your mind, so you know that somewhere out there, this particular servant of Lolth remembers you, and is hunting you down. 

Speaking of Lolth...

2. Lolth, Queen of the Spiders

Spider queen of the Drow race, Lolth is considered to be cruel even among her followers. Vicious and depraved, this demon lord chooses to visit the material plane more often than most others of her kind. This is to make sure that her intricate webs of secrets and her maniacal and calculated plots are still proceeding as she desires, or simply to transform into her vicious spider form to terrorize her subordinates. Lolth is both merciless and equitable in her destruction, tearing apart those who displease her with spiked appendages and razor-sharp mandibles.

1. Mind flayers

Now I know what you're thinking, "Mind flayers? That's an anti-climactic ending, we know all about mind flayers." I'm going to go ahead and take this opportunity to remind you what mind flayers can do. They literally flay your mind

The nomenclature of these things is pretty simple, and they live up to it in a pretty horrible fashion. Several races of countless worlds have been enslaved by this species, and they have a diet subsisting of brain tissue. What's worse, is they gain an almost euphoric sensation while consuming you: eating your hopes, dreams, fears, where you left your keys...it's all delicious to them. They can even harvest brains and turn them into a whole new type of monster. It's pretty easy to see why they've become so well known, even among those who have never picked up a 20-sided die. 

Well that's our list for now, hopefully you now have some fun ideas for how to terrorize your unsuspecting party, or maybe just came for the fun and scary pictures. Either way, that Yochlol from earlier still remembers your name.

Sleep well!

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Tracy and Laura Hickman help revive famous 1983 "Curse of Strahd" Ravenloft campaign for D&D 5th edition https://www.gameskinny.com/cqena/tracy-and-laura-hickman-help-revive-famous-1983-curse-of-strahd-ravenloft-campaign-for-dd-5th-edition https://www.gameskinny.com/cqena/tracy-and-laura-hickman-help-revive-famous-1983-curse-of-strahd-ravenloft-campaign-for-dd-5th-edition Fri, 22 Jan 2016 10:59:26 -0500 Jessa Rittenhouse

Dungeons & Dragons is about to release a new module for 5th edition - and it's a recreation of Tracy and Laura Hickman's famous 1983 Ravenloft module, The Curse of Strahd. And to give it the best treatment possible, they've asked the Hickmans for help.

Reviving the Undead

The new module will revive one of Ravenloft's most iconic villains, the vampire Strahd von Zarovich - as well as bring one of Dungeons & Dragons' darkest campaign settings to the game's latest edition. Principle designer Chris Perkins told Polygon in a recent interview:

"Prior to the release of this adventure, D&D adventures kind of followed a format where they were basically location-driven dungeons that you went into in search of treasure. ... Ravenloft changed that. It expanded your mind in terms of what a D&D adventure could be [when] driven by the machinations of a truly, truly horrible villain."

Rather than starting from scratch, Perkins enlisted the aid of the Hickmans as the original module's creators, so they could brainstorm ways to resurrect the perennial favorite for a new audience.

Will fortune favor the bold, or lead them to dark, untold horrors? - Image source: D&D Adventurers League.

The famous 32-page module, released nearly a decade after Dungeons & Dragons was first published, will now be over 255 pages. It will have an expanded playing area (half the size of Rhode Island, according to Perkins) and new ways to keep the story fresh through multiple tabletop campaigns, thanks to the inclusion of the tarot-like "tarokka cards," which will be published by the folks at Gale Force Nine. These cards will let the Dungeon Master read the fortunes of the players at the table, while also guiding the DM through interesting ways to reveal the secrets of Barovia to them.

Curse of Strahd will be releasing for 5th edition online and in stores on March 19, so you don't have long to wait. Will you be playing the new module? Did you play the original? Tell us all about it in the comments.

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Want your gamer child to read more? Get them these books! https://www.gameskinny.com/q80wg/want-your-gamer-child-to-read-more-get-them-these-books https://www.gameskinny.com/q80wg/want-your-gamer-child-to-read-more-get-them-these-books Mon, 07 Dec 2015 07:06:10 -0500 The Soapbox Lord

Video games are a wonderful way to tell stories and create memorable experiences; there’s nothing quite like a well-crafted yarn in a digital realm to capture your imagination. However, as much as I enjoy playing games, there is another past time I enjoy at the same level or more so than I enjoy video games: reading. While an excellent game narrative can transport you to fantastical worlds, there is nothing quite like reading an utterly captivating book and becoming lost in its world as your imagination brings it to life.

This is a list of books for the gamer in your life. Some are aimed more at children, and some will be aimed more at adults. However, gamers of all ages should be able to find something enjoyable here. Who knows? They might just become so enthralled in some of these tales they’ll forget about the games, for a short time anyway. 

This list is split in three: first, we'll look at books based on popular video game franchises; second, we'll look at books that inspired video games; third, we'll look at books that are not game-related but are likely to appeal to gamers.

Books based on video game series

Halo series

The Halo series is a science-fiction shooter series that has been running since 2001 with no signs of slowing down. Halo made waves for having a far-reaching and ambitious story as compared to most other shooters of its time. Given this emphasis on narrative in the series, book adaptations were inevitable. There are several entries in the series with only one book, Halo: The Flood, being an adaptation of a game’s story while the rest expand upon the Halo universe. Fans of the series will undoubtedly hungrily devour more information on their beloved Master Chief, and the struggles humanity face in this universe.

A Parent’s Take

The Halo series has been rated M for Mature, with the exception of the recent Halo 5: Guardians and the spin-off Halo Wars. The series is without major gore, and players only encounter mild profanities such as “damn.” In some books, there is some adult content like violence and some scattered strong profanity, but not an overabundance - and rarely more than the games do. I doubt the other books have much problematic content, but the ones we've reviewed were pretty much fine.

Notable Titles

Warcraft series

The Warcraft franchise has changed quite a bit over the years. What started as a strategy game evolved into an MMO juggernaut that has continually dwarfed the competition for over ten years. The games are known for their strong narratives and memorable characters that fans have grown to love over several games. The books for this franchise are unique compared to other game adaptations. One series follows the Warcraft strategy series while the other books deal with the ever-popular World of Warcraft. With nearly twenty novels, there are plenty of choices for Alliance and Horde alike.

A Parent’s Take

All of the games in the Warcraft universe are rated T. There is your typical fantasy violence, some mild cursing, and various minor offenses. Otherwise, expect some well-written fantasy narratives!

Notable Titles

There are countless other books based on games; far too many to mention here. For those interested, more exhaustive lists can be found here and here. Now onto our next category! 

Books that inspired games

The Witcher series

The Witcher is a series of action-role-playing games set on delivering a mature experience for older players. The third entry in the series launched in early 2015 to much acclaim. The games are based on a series of fantasy novels by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. With the release of the first The Witcher title, players outside of Poland clamored for a translation, which came not long after the game’s release. Any fans of the games or dark fantasy, in general, should find plenty to enjoy here.

A Parent’s Take

The Witcher games are rated M for good reason. Gore, mutilating monsters and humans alike, copious amounts of harsh language along with plenty of sexual innuendos, sexual situations, and even digital nudity await those who plunge into Geralt’s dark world. These games are most certainly not aimed at the kiddos. If your kid has played the games, don't expect much more to shock them as the books are aimed at the same older audiences as the games are.

Notable Titles
Metro 2033

Metro 2033 is a Russian post-apocalyptic novel that finds the remnants of humanity fighting for survival in the ruined metro (subway) tunnels underground after a nuclear war decimated the surface of Earth. Humans wage war against radiation, harsh environments, mutated monstrosities, fellow humans, and other impediments in this unforgiving world. 

An eponymous game based on the novel released in 2010 with a sequel that followed in 2013. The novel has since spawned an official sequel along with giving birth to a book franchise that the original author, Dmitry Glukhovsky, has overseen.

A Parent’s Take

Both of the Metro games are rated M. The games have some intense violence against human and inhuman enemies, plenty of language, and the last title, Metro: Last Light, even had some digital nudity. Like The Witcher, expect the books to be similar in content.

Notable Titles
Alamut

The Assassin’s Creed series has several inspirations, but this 1938 novel by Vladimir Bartol was possibly been one the biggest influences on the game. The plot follows Ibn Tahir, a young soldier who joins a garrison held by the Ismalis at a fortress named Alamut. The fortress is led by the charismatic Hassan, who may or may not be deceiving his troops to manipulate them. Tahir is sent to assassinate a vizier who reveals Hassan has been deceiving his troops (sound familiar yet?).  Tahir confronts his leader who reveals his life motto: “Nothing is an absolute reality, all is permitted.” Disillusioned Tahir is sent on a global odyssey while Hassan attempts to cultivate his power.

A Parent’s Take

Most of the games in the Assassin’s Creed franchise have been rated M, usually for violence, some vulgar language, and blood. As this novel was written in 1938, it doesn't have much that will shock young adult readers but the themes may be a bit much for some.

 

Books gamers will like (but are not directly related to gaming)

Artemis Fowl series

Artemis Fowl follows the exploits of Artemis Fowl, who just so happens to be a genius and world-renowned criminal at the age of twelve. Young Artemis discovers fairies do exist and seeks to capture one in order to obtain a lucrative ransom. What follows is a series of misadventures for readers young and old alike.

As the series goes on, the characters grow and experience major trauma. While the later entries weren’t quite as strong as the earlier ones, I wholeheartedly recommend this series to everyone. This is one of those rare series that may be aimed at younger audiences, but contains plenty of meaty content for older readers as well. I have read the entire series at least three times now, and I cannot wait until my daughter is old enough for me to share these with her.

A Parent’s Take

The series has plenty of action, though nothing ever gets bloody and characters rarely die. There is plenty of swearing in the fairy tongue (which can’t be translated due to how offensive the words are) and “damn” may be used twice over the entire series. There is some crude humor with one character’s abilities revolving around his flatulence, but it is never gross or over the top. There shouldn’t be too much here to find fault with.

Also, if you’re a fan of audiobooks, I cannot recommend these enough. The reader is one of the best I have ever heard and manages to do a distinct voice for each character on top of a great narration.

Notable Titles
The Old Kingdom series

Garth Nix may be more known to modern readers as the author of the Keys to the Kingdom series, but I want to shine a spotlight on his under appreciated The Old Kingdom series. The series follows a young girl named Sabriel, who goes looking for her father after receiving a strange message from one of his undead servants. Sabriel’s father is known as “Abhorsen,” a magician who fights necromancers and undead creatures in an attempt to keep peace in the kingdom. An old evil is manipulating events and threatens to awake, and it’s up to Sabriel and her talking, surly cat companion to find her father and stop the evil.

A Parent’s Take

While there is some fantasy violence, parents should note there are plenty of undead and other nightmarish creatures found within these pages. While nothing is too scary for younger readers, sensitive ones might find Nix’s descriptions of these creatures a tad much. Besides that, I cannot remember a single curse word or anything else to give parents pause. The series is also available in audiobook form as read by the always-terrific Tim Curry, which is an excellent listen.

Titles in the Series
The Bartimaeus Sequence

The Bartimaeus novels follow the exploits of magical apprentice Nathaniel and the five-thousand-year-old djinni Bartimaeus, whom Nathaniel summons to do his bidding. The first novel revolves around the unlikely duo perpetrating a petty theft that quickly evolves into a more serious threat than either could have anticipated.

The books are characterized by the witty banter of Bartimaeus and his relationship with the young and vain Nathaniel. Their bond evolves as the books progress and Nathaniel changes from an unlikable, haughty twerp to a person the reader can actually care about.

 A Parent’s Take

One of the cores of the Bartimaeus universe is summoning demons, afrits, and other magical beings to do one’s bidding. As such, there are lot of otherworldly beasties and nasties in the series. There is no adult language, and the violence is sporadic and rarely intense. There shouldn’t be too much here to keep younger ones away, and the books are excellent enough for older readers to enjoy as well.

Titles in the Series
Mistborn series

Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series launched with one hell of a debut set in a fully-realized world begging for more stories to be told. The books follow Vin, a thief who scrapes by in a crew of rowdy thieves. Vin comes to discover she has powers she can use by “burning” metal scrapings she ingests. Vin becomes involved in a plot to overthrow the oppressive dictatorship of The Lord Ruler, a seemingly omnipotent being who has been alive for hundreds of years.

The world is extremely fleshed out in the first book alone, and the themes of slavery and dictatorship in a high fantasy setting make for a different type fantasy novel. This one also has a great audiobook reader.

A Parent’s Take

I have only read the first title in the series, but there was not a lot of content I would say warrants a warning flag. The biggest thing may be the themes of slavery, oppression, government, and evil the novel presents. There is also a sizeable cast of characters and things to keep up with; the series might be better suited for older readers.

Notable Titles
The works of R. A. Salvatore

Few modern fantasy authors have had the success or popularity of Mr. Salvatore. Salvatore is most known for his works set in the Forgotten Realms universe, which is from the world of Dungeons and Dragons, and the character Drizzt Do’Urden. Salvatore has fourteen series set in the Forgotten Realms universe alone, not counting his other series or other works. Needless to say, most fans of fantasy games will probably enjoy something Salvatore has written.

A Parent’s Take

The titles are all appropriate for most ages, as long as you are ok with a bit of violence and some beasties straight out of D&D's Monster Manual. There is very rare profanity or sexual content and most of the titles are about overcoming various obstacles such as bandits and ice dragons in order to reach goals. There is some fantasy violence, but nothing grotesque or gory.

Notable Titles
Works by John Scalzi

John Scalzi burst onto the scene with Old Man’s War, an excellent sci-fi tale of an army that only recruits from the older population of Earth. While he has continued the series, he has written several other books that are just as good as his debut novel.

Scalzi’s novels are usually filled with smart-aleck characters, witty dialogue, and imaginative narrative cores. Doubtless, most people reading this have read one of his books or heard of him by now. If you haven’t, I highly recommend checking some of his works out.

A Parent’s Take

I have thoroughly enjoyed most of Scalzi’s books I have read, but I must caution parents - These books are aimed at older readers. There is enough profanity here to fill a Quentin Tarantino movie, plenty of blood, guts, and detailed dismemberments, on top of some sexual situations and issues only older readers can relate to. That said, if you can get past these issues, you’ll find some great books for your teen's collection.

Notable Titles
The Dresden Files

Harry Dresden is a wizard-for-hire practicing in modern-day Chicago. Needless to say, he leads an interesting life. The Dresden series is essentially a neo-noir saga following a down-on-his-luck wizard in lieu of a gumshoe. While the trappings and archetypes of noir pervade the books, the focus on a wizard in modern times and Jim Butcher’s take on magic keeps things fresh.

There are also plenty of interesting characters, including wise-cracking femme fatales, trolls, fairies, vampires, and countless other magical beings. There are over 15 novels in the series, and each can serve as a jumping on point thanks to Butcher reiterating some major concepts for newer readers without becoming annoying for veteran readers.

A Parent’s Take

Like any good noir, there are crimes aplenty in the world of Harry Dresden. Besides the crimes, there is a fair amount of language and a good deal of violence. There are also some nasty denizens of magic floating about that might be a bit scary for the younger ones. I recommend this one for the older kids.

Notable Titles
Star Wars

The Star Wars franchise has been running strong ever since the release of A New Hope in 1977. The franchise has become one of the most beloved in nerd and mainstream culture. With the release of Episode VII: The Force Awakens looming ever closer on the horizon, a new generation will grow up with Jedis, Sith, and the Force.

With the massive success of the franchise, it should come as no surprise there are a plethora of books. Seriously. There are a ton of books in the series as you can see by looking here. Just take your pick for the gamer in your life.

A Parent’s Take

With rare exception, expect these books to match up with the content of the films: essentially, a great deal of sci-fi action, heroic journeys, and coming of age stories in a galaxy far, far away - but nothing that would keep the younglings at bay.

Notable Titles

Just scroll down this list and take your pick.

 

Obviously, there are countless other books gamers might find enticing. This is just scratching the surface on the wonderful world of books. If you have any favorites you would like to share, please do so in the comments below!

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Dungeons & Dragons meets VR https://www.gameskinny.com/ae7e4/dungeons-dragons-meets-vr https://www.gameskinny.com/ae7e4/dungeons-dragons-meets-vr Wed, 18 Nov 2015 04:29:36 -0500 Courtney Gamache

A small virtual reality company called AltspaceVR has decided to add Dungeons & Dragons to the virtual reality world, and has full backing from Wizards of the Coast -- a name that might seem familiar, because they own both Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering

Gathering Around the D&D Table

Using the Oculus DK2 VR headset, players can simulate that they're sitting around a table playing Dungeons & Dragons in real life. Each user has an in-game avatar, and the game is played through different panels. There are two specific panels that represent a web browser for referencing, and another with dice needed for the game.

If you're lucky enough to be the Dungeon Master, you'll have some awesome superpowers in-game, like playing theme music for different scenarios, and also changing the tiles to fit battles.

This Could Get Confusing, Quickly

With multiplayer virtual reality games, playing could easily become problematic due to confusion and chaos. Luckily in the VR world of Dungeons & Dragons, there's a setting that shows the entire group all die rolls, making the process of keeping track of turns and placements easier.

“One thing we want to do is create things you can only do in VR and make experiences people are going to want.

But the next big challenge will be enabling people to make their own games, to basically take this over from us.” 

-Bruce Wooden, AltspaceVR’s head of Developer Relations

With the app currently in design by AltspaceVR and Wizards of the Coast, it's expected to become commercial in early 2016.

Do you think VR Dungeons & Dragons will become a popular fad? Could it take away from the personal experience being in a room together? Share your thoughts with me below!

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A Store of Fire and Dice: Long Island's Gaming Hub https://www.gameskinny.com/uz80n/a-store-of-fire-and-dice-long-islands-gaming-hub https://www.gameskinny.com/uz80n/a-store-of-fire-and-dice-long-islands-gaming-hub Sun, 15 Nov 2015 15:14:04 -0500 Joe DeClara

"We bring the dice. You bring the fire."

When first stepping into A Store of Fire and Dice, one can immediately see where it diverges from other gaming retail stores. To the left is your usual display of shelved video/board games, glass-encased figurines, and wall racks devoted to all the latest comics. Upon entering the store for my interview with the CEO, I even spotted some old NES shells propped next to his register, which were apparently due for repairing by the man himself.

The other side of the store is almost jarringly deviant from the rest. Instead of a continuation of comics and collectibles, rows of tables line the store’s scarlet walls from the front desk to the back TV wall. Here, gamers of Long Island gather regularly to partake in games like Magic: The Gathering, Risk, Hearthstone, and Super Smash Bros.

A typical event night at A Store of Fire and Dice.

Sporting a beard most reminiscent of the epic fantasy series the store is named for, and a black t-shirt emblazoned with the business emblem, CEO Jesse James De Marco looks the part of a comics and games store owner. His demeanor proved congruous with this identity. Whether you’re an old-time friend or a fresh face, De Marco welcomes you with a genuineness and subtle gregariousness which has sadly become increasingly rare in today’s small-business owners.

Before opening A Store of Fire and Dice (ASoFaD), De Marco spent many of his formidable years hanging around local comic book store Mark’s Comics and Collectibles.

I went there as a kid, and I would bother [Mark] enough to give me a position organizing comics. I started vending for him, Magic: The Gathering blew up, then from there I built up enough equity to go out on my own once he was ready to retire. [A Store of Fire and Dice] is similar, but different. We offer a gaming location that’s different than any other. Originally, most gaming locations were comic stores that all evolved into gaming stores. We’re a gaming store built from the ground up.

 

Upon first hearing about A Store of Fire and Dice from a friend, my first thoughts were aligned with excitement, yet some trepidation, for this new approach to arcades. De Marco was quick to correct my misguided association.

Arcades are entirely different from what we offer. Arcades are a kind of social hub … but the focus of what they sell you is more of an isolationist entertainment experience, while this is more of a socially connected network. Arcades existed essentially because people couldn’t afford to play the games … so they would pay up less for a similar experience. What we do … is much more of a hobbyist center than a video game arcade center.

 

Of course, whenever two gamers reminisce about the age of the arcade, its downfall is bound to eventually come up. At this point, I voiced my curiosity for the gaming hub’s viability, in spite of online multiplayer connectivity, internet streaming services, and the continually lucrative home console.

A console experience, no matter how connected you are via your live, your PSN, your headset, your webcam, or your Twitch—as connected as you feel via technology, you're absolutely not connected. You're disconnected. It's very against human principle, because we are social creatures. [ASoFaD] is a social hub. Yes, you can be competitive, and there's people to test your mettle against, prizes to be won, and glories to be had. But ultimately, [ASoFaD] offers a place to develop a family. We're a family here. Everyone knows each other. You can get that from your clan online, you can sort of get that. But it’s different.

It's kind of like how a bar works: It's a social environment, it's a getaway environment, you can relax and be yourself and not be judged, because everyone there is an alcoholic [laughs]. In that respect, it's similar. People feel at home. We sponsor an environment that's all-inclusive.

 A particularly engaging bout of Super Smash Bros.

Of the adopted brothers and sisters coming to A Store of Fire and Dice, most come to play either Super Smash Bros. every Sunday, or Magic: The Gathering, which sometimes has featured events every day of the week. On the sidelines, however, many come in for games of Hearthstone, Dungeons and Dragons, and even severely modified versions of classic board games like Risk. Being a novice in the board games ecosystem, I asked De Marco what his thoughts were on the medium’s recent renaissance.

Board games are more social. If Risk wasn’t better as a social tabletop game, it would´ve gone digital and killed the board game, just like most other media. It’s also a money vs. time investment thing. Let´s say you're gonna spend $70 on your Skyrim, maybe you spend 100 hours playing it. But normally, if you’re a casual player, you get a game for $60, you put 20 hours in, beat the game, then return it to your GameStop for zero-value store credit and reinvest it in something else.

But if you look at games like Axis and Allies, Settlers of Catan, Agricala, and games that have been around for over 20 years—I've spent thousands of hours playing these games. The core mechanics are the same every time you play, but the people you play with inherently changes your strategies. If you put a Call of Duty game down, you can't pick it up again in a year, because it's become irrelevant and no one's on the servers. You can always pick up a game like Settlers, and everyone's there to play.

 De Marco overseeing the goings-on in his social gaming hub.

ASoFaD is not completely immune to the times, however. Despite his humanitarian aspirations for a “here and now” social gaming hub, De Marco has embraced technological platforms like Twitch for publicity and advertising, branding the live-stream service a “necessary evil.”


It's like people that don't want to use Facebook in the 21st century. If you do not keep up with the times, you fall behind. We've streamed things like our Dungeons & Dragons experiences before, and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

 

De Marco still has his concerns for these isolationist services, as well as society’s devotion to technology in general.

The more connected people get with technology, the more disconnected we become. I feel a lot of the social problems we have as a first world country ... could be caused by this disconnect. I'm from a mantra that if that game looks like fun, then I'm just gonna play it.

I see a lot of unnecessary fandom [with Twitch]. It's like sports; I don't morally agree with paying someone $20 million a year to hit a ball with a bat if we haven't funded things like space colonization, or public rights for the cure for cancer - there's a million other things we could be spending equity on that's more socially productive.

 

De Marco makes his contribution to social productivity quite plain, though he needn’t have bothered.

Right around this point in the interview, a young boy named Carl ran into the store, making a beeline for the CEO. De Marco attempts to ward Carl off before tainting my recording, but the boy immediately blurts out questions on the most recent Nintendo Direct. De Marco then—not harshly, though curtly—tells Carl to shut his mouth and wait for the interview to be over. Unfazed, Carl obeys with a “Yes, sir!” then happily wanders off to meander about the latest comics and Amiibo.

Looking back to my notes, I smile to myself, then ask my final question. “What are your hopes for this store? What do you hope to accomplish?”

I've done very well for myself in life, having come from nothing. I never had a father, never had a mother. I pretty much educated myself on the Discovery channel, the History channel, and gaming for all of my social interactions and intelligence. Gaming was a big part of my early education; it taught me critical thinking, how to study evidence empirically, understanding the value of moves - it's all very deep.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Jesse has clarified as of Nov. 19th - his parents are alive, but they have been estranged for about 20 years.

In that respect, I've taken it upon myself to educate the youth in ways that the schools and their parents haven't found. Every kid that comes into this store all have a respect for me, because they know that I have their best interest at heart, and that I'm always looking out for them, their education, their social lives - everything. Anyone who walks into this store is family. Other than that...well, paying the bills is nice.

As I pack up my notes and prepare to leave, I watch De Marco walk over to Carl and the horde of kids now waiting to talk to him about Cloud’s induction into the Super Smash Bros. roster. While De Marco begrudgingly reminds them of the Final Fantasy VII character’s complete absence from all Nintendo games, I realize that he’s already accomplished what he’s set out to do.

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New Dungeons & Dragons Film in the Works After Long Legal Battle https://www.gameskinny.com/aauqo/new-dungeons-dragons-film-in-the-works-after-long-legal-battle https://www.gameskinny.com/aauqo/new-dungeons-dragons-film-in-the-works-after-long-legal-battle Wed, 05 Aug 2015 08:13:21 -0400 Jessa Rittenhouse

The long wait for a new Dungeons & Dragons film is over.

After a protracted legal battle between Hasbro, Warner Bros., and Sweetpea Entertainment, an undisclosed settlement has been reached and a film is now in the works.

In 2013, Warner Bros. had previously announced their acquisition of the rights to make the next Dungeons & Dragons film, but Hasbro had intervened, filing suit against both Warner Bros. and Sweetpea Entertainment producer Courtney Solomon, claiming Sweetpea no longer owned the rights after a period of inactivity with the property

Solomon disputed this claim, citing the two sequels they had already made - one for TV, the other a direct-to-dvd movie - as the impetus for the production company's continued work on the franchise. Meanwhile, Hasbro had been developing their own script with Universal Studios.

The first Dungeons & Dragons film was a box-office flop. Can Hasbro, Warner Bros., and Sweetpea do better this time around?

The details of the compromise have not been released, but it seems Warner Bros., Sweetpea Entertainment and Hasbro will be working together again bringing to life Dungeons & Dragons' most popular campaign setting, Forgotten Realms.

Stephen Davis of Hasbro, one of the two producers of the film, is excited to see Forgotten Realms finally get some screen time. "D&D is the role-playing game that started it all," he said, "and now we have the opportunity to ignite a franchise for its legions of avid fans in a way never done before."

The 2000 flick was an underwhelming performer at the box-office and was widely hated by critics and fans of the tabletop franchise alike. Here's hoping that this latest reboot does the job right. 

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