D&D 5E “The Haunt” Recap

A one-shot Halloween adventure in a spooky haunted mansion with secret passages, ghostly visions, and deadly swimming pools.

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It’s bonus D&D week! In a nod to Halloween I temporarily took over the DM reigns to host an extra horror-themed one-shot adventure this week, using our pre-built characters from previous one-shots.

Welcome to the “The Haunt!”

I used a one-shot adventure from the DM’s Guild called “The Haunt,” by P.B. Publishing. I built the entire two-story mansion from scratch in Roll20, and also needed to make several adjustments for both time and difficulty.

While I wanted a horror one-shot to be challenging, the original adventure was written for a party of 4th-5th level, whereas the PCs we were using were only going to be 3rd level.

Our cast (all 3rd level):

  • Gramosk, half-orc barbarian
  • Falafel, half-elf bard
  • Filkur, gnome druid
  • Scarlet O’Fair, human paladin
  • Zinli, gnome rogue

Furthermore I needed to run the whole thing in a single evening, which for us is ideally around three hours. We skipped some fights and a few rooms and still took an additional 40 minutes but we got it all in and had a great time. Continue reading “D&D 5E “The Haunt” Recap”

Roll20 Review: Tyranny of Dragons

Welcome to another Roll20 Review, my written and video series in which I review the paid modules available for sale at Roll20. A review copy of the module was provided.

“Tyranny of Dragons” was the name of the first two campaign books released for Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition back in 2014: “Hoard of the Dragon Queen” and “The Rise of Tiamat.”

As the first official campaign story published for 5E, “Tyranny of Dragons” is a bit rough around the edges. Some of the rules weren’t quite solidified yet. The Monster Manual wouldn’t even be released until several months after RoT; the Dungeon Master’s Guide and even Player’s Handbook not until after HotDQ.

Lost Mine of Phandelver” was designed as a the first intro starter adventure, whereas “Tyranny of Dragons” had to evoke a full campaign. While it tells a fun story of both dungeons and dragons, it’s very linear and railroady, with few overly large maps that don’t look very good on a virtual tabletop. Continue reading “Roll20 Review: Tyranny of Dragons”

Special One-Shot Halloween D&D Session Tonight

Since we began doing weekly D&D sessions over two years ago, I’ve always wanted to do a special Halloween ‘episode.’ As the regular DM it was always too much for me to prepare on top of the regular campaign.

Now, however, I’m currently a player in our “Storm King’s Thunder” campaign, giving me the perfect excuse to temporarily don my DM hat once more and invite my group for a spooky, haunted evening of thrills and scares.

Our Halloween one-shot session will take place tonight, Monday October 30, beginning at 7pm Pacific/10 pm Eastern, streaming on my YouTube channel.

I’ll be adapting the one-shot adventure “The Haunt” from the DMs Guild. I’ve custom built the map in Roll20 and made several changes to downscale the 4th/5h level adventure for our 3rd level party, while keeping it scary as hell. We’ll be bringing in characters from previous one-shot adventures, and we’ll have at least one new character as well.

I think of this group as The Defenders of our D&D Cinematic Universe. They take care of the street-level threats while the big Avengers team tackles the world-threatening Giant uprising. Best of all – this one-shot will in no way interrupt our regular weekly adventures with the A-team.

Tune in tonight for extra bonus D&D goodness!

D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 27 Recap

We delve into a haunted underground labyrinth seeking an artifact of the Stone Giants.

Streamed, recorded and uploaded every week. Subscribe for our weekly adventures. Join us live on Fridays at 7pm Pacific/10pm Eastern!

Previously on “Storm King’s Thunder”

Whispered echoes raged throughout the dark hallways. The air was cold, and despite being underground grass crunched under our feet as we explored the labyrinth beneath the Grandfather Tree.

Halfred had recognized the literal writing on the walls – Stone Giants had built this ancient place. For what purpose we could only guess. Now it seemed to be a tomb for a host of restless spirits. They were not happy to see us trespassing.

Churlish giggling sent a chill through my spine. I turned to see the ghostly apparition of a long dead elf girl rush toward me, as if in embrace. 

I lashed out with my psi-glaive, hoping to cut this one down before it could reach me, as I did the first. But I had hesitated. My mark was off, and I stumbled. My spear bit into the ghost’s side but didn’t deter it.

It seemed to pass right through me. I felt a horrible coldness I hadn’t experienced since I lay dying in the snow from the yeti mauling, and a scream echoed throughout my mind. I wasn’t sure if it was the ghostly girl, or my own. 

Just as quickly, the spirit vanished back into the nearest stone wall. The whispering continued. T.I.M. lay a concerned hand on my should, and I felt his healing magic warm my body. We all exchanged worried glances, and soldiered on through the darkness.

We’re back to dungeon crawling this week, albeit with a fairly short, straight-forward dungeon. I later learned that this dungeon didn’t even exist in the official “Storm King’s Thunder” campaign book. Player characters simply dig under the Grandfather Tree and find the artifact.

Thumbs up to the DM for providing us not only a fun little dungeon crawl, but one that was legitimately harrowing. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 27 Recap”

Weekly D&D Session Moved Up to Tonight

Our adventures in “Storm King’s Thunder” have been rescheduled this week to make room for one of our players attending a Stranger Things season two party. I can’t blame them, Stranger Things is amazing and one of my favorite shows. It even included Dungeons & Dragons in a neat way.

So we’re moving our weekly session up to tonight. We’ll start in about an hour. Watch our excellent antics tonight, and watch the (hopefully excellent) second season of Stranger Things tomorrow!

We’re Witnessing the Death of the Toys-to-Life Genre [Pixelkin]

Read the full article on Pixelkin

Last year Disney abruptly announced they were ending Disney Infinity after three years. Earlier this year Activision gave the foreboding announcement that they would not release a new Skylanders game this year– for the first time in six years. This week Warner Bros. confirmed that they’re ceasing development on LEGO Dimensions (though online support will remain).

At this point there are more discontinued (or on hiatus) toys-to-life games than ongoing. In the span of a year we went from most major game publishers wanting a piece of the surging toys-to-life pie, to suddenly being left with a grim outlook for the future of the genre.

Read the full article on Pixelkin

The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 1 “Mercy” Recap

Normally you would see an excerpt of my Walking Dead recap here, and the full post at Polygon. Unfortunately Polygon didn’t get the contract ready in time for the premiere, so I’m doing it right here on my website. We should be squared away starting next week!

War. War never changes. But sometimes it weaponizes zombies. The season eight premiere kicked off the war with the saviors with some literal bangs, and like Rick, it gave me hope for the future.

We left off last season with our three main groups: the Kingdom (lead by King Ezekiel), Alexandria (lead by Rick) and the Hilltop (currently changing leadership in favor of Maggie) all pledging to join forces against the growing oppressive threat of the Negan-led Saviors.

After some rousing gung-ho military-style speeches (of which King Ezekiel’s dramatic theatrics are particularly well-suited), they moved to execute their plan: assaulting the Savior factory headquarters head-on with armored cars, machine guns, and a giant horde of walkers. Continue reading “The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 1 “Mercy” Recap”