Over Half of Roll20 Players Play D&D 5E

Tabletop gaming website Roll20.net released their quarterly report for Q2 2017. They break down some interesting stats on who’s playing what on the website.

Unsurprisingly, Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition reigns supreme, representing 52% of all games and over 62% of players. D&D is still the grand-daddy of tabletop RPGs and D&D 5E has been incredibly well received and nicely supported through regular campaign books and supplements.

Furthermore Roll20 has begun releasing official modules to D&D 5E campaigns, letting DMs purchase a ready-to-play adventure that can last 100 hours. We’re taking advantage of one right now in our “Storm King’s Thunder” campaign, and you can see my review of the Roll20 module “Curse of Strahd” (written and video). More Roll 20 Reviews coming soon! Continue reading “Over Half of Roll20 Players Play D&D 5E”

Advertisements

D&D 5E “Den of the Rotten Kings” Recap

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

We interrupt our regular programming of “Storm King’s Thunder” with this special broadcast! Due to some of our usual players being out of town for the week, we decided to gather together for a one-off side-venture starring new (pre-generated) characters and a pre-built adventure.

Welcome to the “Den of the Rotten Kings!”

I can now add “threw together a 4 hour D&D adventure in a day” to my list of DM accomplishments. The only way I had a chance of doing this was by using a pre-built adventure.

I already had a number of good sources. I thumbed through my Book of Lairs from Kobold Press, a fun collection of over 20 monster lairs and dungeons, many of which can serve as good one-shot dungeon crawls. As a Kickstarter backer I also got a .pdf of all the battle maps, which I could convert into Roll20 pretty quickly.

I settled on the 3rd level dungeon, “Den of the Rotten Kings.” It felt like the easiest to run, with simple foes like bandits, thugs, and wererats, and some classic traps with tripwires. It also had a few fun role-playing and dialogue opportunities with two different potential allies who can be rescued.

It’s impossible to say how long a mini-adventure will last, and we ended up starting very late since we were still scrambling to get our character sheets done by our usual start time. It took us a solid four hours to defeat the leader of the Rotten Kings, but I think it was a fantastic adventure that did a great job telling a complete mini-story. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Den of the Rotten Kings” Recap”

D&D Back On Tonight – With a Twist

I just posted a sad update a few days ago that we were going to have to cancel our weekly D&D session this week. I’m pleased to announce that we will go forward with our session – but it won’t be “Storm King’s Thunder.”

Since two of our players are gone this week, we opted to take a page from our last campaign, when Chris ran an excellent one-shot adventure when we had a player out. Like that one, we’re bringing on another party member to bring us up to four players, and this time I’ll be DMing again!

I can almost guarantee we’ll be starting late and running later tonight and have all kinds of problems as we scramble to plug in our pre-gen characters into Roll20 and try to wrap it up in a single session. I’ve lightened much of the burden by adopting a pre-made adventure, one of the mini-dungeons found in the Book of Lairs by Kobold Press.

So tune in tonight as your slightly altered group takes on a brief side journey with a new cast of characters!

Roll20 Review: Curse of Strahd

Welcome to the first Roll20 Review! This is a new series in which I review the paid modules available for sale in Roll20. First up – Curse of Strahd.

Roll20 has been my group’s go-to resource and website for online role-playing for the last two years. We’ve been enjoying Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition for most of that time, finding it a wonderful system of intuitive mechanics and flexible role-playing. Roll20’s built-in Fifth Edition character sheets help make rolling and stat-tracking a breeze.

Roll20 is free to use (with optional paid subscription for added goodies) with the caveat that it can be a lot of work to put together virtual maps and tactical battlefields.

When I ran both Lost Mine of Phandelver and Princes of the Apocalypse, I purchased the battle maps from the artists, then converted them into Roll20. I created tokens and placed them throughout each map, and built every monster and character sheet from scratch. Roll20 is amazing at giving you the canvas and tools, but you still have to put in the work.

About a year ago Roll20 began releasing the official D&D 5E campaigns as paid modules, beginning with The Lost Mine of Phandelver, followed shortly by Storm King’s Thunder. Since then Roll20 has released paid content for the Monster Manual, and additional published modules in Tales of the Yawning Portal, and, most recently, Curse of Strahd. Continue reading “Roll20 Review: Curse of Strahd”

D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 3 Recap

We’re forced to improvise our tactics when a small force of Zhentarim mercenaries arrive in Nightstone.

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”

As soon as he walked in the door I bashed him in the head with my staff. I can only imagine the look on his face. I was still disguised as their Zhentarim ally, Kella.

“We’re under attack,” someone shouted. Damn! I thought we’d been careful. The Zhentarim mercenaries stopped chasing their horses and drew their weapons. We still had one ace up our sleeve – Halfred in the windmill. One of the Zhents suddenly had an arrow protruding from his eye.

I grinned as I let the rush of adrenaline flow freely. The goblins had caught us flat-footed. This time we had surprise on our side.

Continue reading “D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 3 Recap”

D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 0 – Introducing Our Characters

We create our new level 1 characters for our next D&D campaign

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

After over a year with our first D&D 5e characters, it was time for a change. You’ve already seen the announcement that our next adventure will be another officially published 5E campaign: “Storm King’s Thunder.” The other big news is that Chris (who played everyone’s favorite zealous Paladin Kalinaar) will be sitting in the DM’s chair, and I’ll become a player!

The streaming schedule, YouTube channel, and weekly recaps will remain the same. Our campaign will begin with Session 1 on Friday, April 14. But first we needed to create our new characters. Welcome to Session 0 – Character Creation!

To summarize our session, I’ve copied each player’s character backstory (as written by them) as well as a screencap of their level 1 character sheet. Wish us luck against the giants this year!

Kazin, Half-Elf Warlock (Pact – Great Old One)

Played by Eric

Born as a bastard son of an elf lord, Kazin rarely met his aloof father. He was raised by his human mother in Neverwinter, but his father made sure they never wanted for anything.

Despite middle-upper class upbringing and schooling, Kazin never took to bookwork, instead displaying a natural athleticism. Around puberty, however, he began suffering from terrible headaches. He could hear the thoughts of others, and sometimes they could hear his. His mother sought after numerous physicians, mages, and caregivers. Finally someone showed up who could help, a most unexpected ally – a cloud giant wizard named Zephyros.

After some weeks spent aboard his floating tower, Zephyros delivered him to a solitary monastery nestled in the mountains, home to a little-known and even less understood organization called Mind-Zei. There he learned how to quiet his mind, and tap into the thoughts in his head, controlling them rather than letting them control him.

The Mind-Zei monks told him that many kids are born with “awakened minds” – those touched by the alien beings of the Far Realm. Whether through purpose or cosmic joke, many are driven insane after puberty, when their powers begin to manifest. The Mind-Zei attempt to reach them before that happens and train them to control their telepathic and telekinetic powers. They are not always successful, however…

Kazin flourished under their guidance. Instead of meditation and quiet solitude he would practice martial skills to help keep his mind focused. His natural talents and drive worried some of the order, but when he came of age they agreed to let him travel the world. Their only wish was for Kazin to maintain the harmonic balance within his mind, and help those who exhibit the same symptoms (or put them out of their misery).

d&d

T.I.M., Warforged Cleric (Life Domain)

Played by Reese

T.I.M. hails from Ardeep Forest and started out as a body guard for his master and creator. Although it was an odd occupation, since his (his? its? her? the androgynous construct’s?) creator was a bit of a hermit and needed no protection from the local fauna.

T.I.M. was taught the healing arts from his creator as well as how to spot a bog leach at a hundred paces. One day, as T.I.M. was out looking for said leaches, he returned home to find his creator dead and probably not from natural causes. What could have killed such a mighty god? Food poisoning? An impacted bowel? Healing bog leaches? A paper cut? T.I.M. had not a clue.

T.I.M. then shrugged at this unknown quantity. With a handful of leaches and no other humans to adhere them to, T.I.M. took off for the nearest town.

Before he left, he made sure to gather the holy book of wisdom written by his creator. A book his creator wrote in every day, usually in the evening, and had scrawled diary on the front for some reason. “Onward,” thought T.I.M., “to find other fellow humans that totally aren’t made of metal and wood! Just like me.”

d&d

Bryseis, Tiefling Sorcerer (Wild Magic)

Played by Heather

I grew up as the only daughter of Lyandra Esterborn. Lyandra ran a gambling parlor, Hope House in Baldur’s Gate. She was loved by everyone and despised by those who thought they could beat the house. She loved the irony of calling her business Hope House because while her patrons came in Hoping to fix their troubles they left worse off then before.

From a young age I watched my mother and those who came to Hope House and learned everything I could. I learned how to charm those around me and make them feel at ease even though they couldn’t see past my appearance. As a child they didn’t see me for the threat that I had become.

As a teenager I began to have issues with the world around me. I could feel a force inside me asking to be released. The more I tried to reign in this force the more dangerous I became. It was then that my mother found a teacher who understood what was going on. My teacher taught me that the force I was feeling inside me was the power and magic that was inherent in the world. She taught me how to find the power and how to harness it for my needs.

While I was learning to control this power I fell into the love of gambling. The feel of the cards in my hand, the risk of not coming out on top. My mother taught me how to always win, but with this new magic I never know what is going to happen especially when I left the magic take control.

d&d

Halfred, Halfling Ranger

Played by Raymond

For as long as Halfred can remember (which isn’t long given his worsening memory loss), he has served for his master, Wuce Brayne, and his family. Following the tragic murder of Wuce’s parents, Halfred took him in and raised him as a son. When Wuce came of age, he inherited his parents’ multimillion fortune and the best hill mansion money could buy, with Halfred still at his side.

Unfortunately for halflings, money doesn’t buy happiness. Years before the onset of this campaign, Wuce Brayne had set out on a soul-searching journey, inviting Halfred to join him. Along the way, Halfred learned a few basic combat skills and the skills necessary to survive out in the wild. After precisely one year, two months, and eight days, Wuce and Halfred returned to their home town, Gotham Shire.

Unfortunately, things were not the same. During their absence, a golden ring had gone missing. Giants, ogres, and harpies were becoming unsettled. They were terrorizing the halflings who just wanted to live peacefully and have their afternoon tea. Something had to be done.

It was at this point that Wuce realized his true calling. This journey gave him the strength to achieve what no other halfling could do. Wuce donned his mask and It was this day that the Wombatman was born.

Meanwhile, Halfred continued to serve Master Wuce as the only one who knew the Wombatman’s true identity. He continued to do a couple push-ups a day to maintain his upper body strength. Crime was down. Giants and ogres were no longer terrorizing the halflings of Gotham Shire. Then one day, Halfred could see the eureka moment in his Master Wuce. Wuce said in his gruff voice, “Halfred, the answer is in the giants. Follow the giants.” And with that, Wuce as the Wombatman drove off in his Wombatmobile, never to be seen again.

And thus begins the story of Halfred the servant.

d&d

Korinn, Blue Dragonborn Sorcerer (Draconic Bloodline – White)

Played by Rachelle

Korinn was a renowned warrior of a tribe of blue dragonborn. Tribal wars broke out with the treacherous and low white dragonborn.

In a pivotal battle, Korinn set her sights on the commander of the enemy tribe. One on one battle ensued. Drenched in his blood, she felt herself weakening with his blood corrupting hers and stripping her of much of her power. She was about to give the finishing blow but the enemy was upon her, striking her down. A mortal wound. Sensing death, they left her to her fate.

Alone on the battlefield, writhing in agony, and near the end, she was visited by Bahamut (or so she thinks) who gave her a chance at redemption to lead her tribe to glory. Too ashamed to face her tribe now that she is tainted with white dragon blood, she instead journeys to cleanse herself so that she might someday return.

d&d

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

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 55 Recap

We descend into the volcanic shaft of the final elemental fire dungeon and battle its fiery guards.

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

Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

This week we dove into the final of four elemental dungeons – the volcanic realm of the fire node known as the Weeping Colossus. It’s the smallest but also the most impressive. The party takes a magical floating elevator down into a lava pit to get started, and from there things just get crazy.

Brief aside: the live stream went much more smoothly this week. I ironed out the CPU encoding issues. No more freezing! Please join us on Friday evenings if you want to watch us live. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 55 Recap”