D&D Debate – 5e Starter Set

Family Game Night

Starter Box

What happened to my ThAC0? What the hell is a ThAC0?

My sons wants to play Dungeons & Dragons.  I, like a fool, offer to teach him.  I used to play back in the 70’s and 80’s, so I knew the Original game up through 2nd Edition.  This should be easy.  I’m sure that this new 5th Edition is just an extension or expansion of the game I know.

Wrong.  The first thing I realize is that almost all the core rules have changed from my halcyon days of Advanced D&D.

Where’s my attack matrix? How can a fighter and a wizard have the same chance to hit something?  Where’s my 18/00 Strength? So, ThAC0 is completely gone now?  Wait, Armor Class is reversed too?  What do you mean; I don’t get more XP for having a high requisite stat?  What my Saving Throw vs. Death? vs. Polymorph?…

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Building a D&D Encounter Logically

The Nerdd

Encounters, the building blocks of adventures. The time when your players and their characters are tested. There are random encounters, but this isn’t about that. This is about one of the many steps you will put your players through as they slowly work through their adventure.

When many Dungeon Masters (myself included) build encounters, they see it as a step towards the Big Bad Evil Guy (BBEG). Any BBEG worth their weight in salt doesn’t let any adventurer walk on up and attempt to Murder them. No. They surround themselves with various tiers of soldiers and lackeys, so the BBEG only has to stop their Master Plan if they are dealing with a legitimate threat. And that’s the whole thought process there.

My question to you is: What purpose in the story does this encounter hold? Also, what are the stakes, for everyone involved?

Let’s walk through an encounter, beginning…

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15 Years of Blogging

Me Vs. Myself and I

Holy shit, I totally forgot to make this post when it the anniversary actually happened, but as of January 9th, 2020 this blog turned 15 years old. That’s the majority of my adult life. Clearly, this habit is for life, despite some breaks from time to time.

I’d like to thank those of you who have been along for the ride, no matter how many of those years you were actually reading. I know I’ve had ups and downs, shifts in priorities and shifts in writing style/content. But having anyone read what I have to say gives me a sense of empowerment that my thoughts actually mean something.

I have no intentions on going anywhere. I love doing this thing, and even when I lose motivation, I’m always thinking about the next piece to write. Your support keeps me going.

Here’s to 15 more!

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Family Game Night – One Year Anniversary 2020

Family Game Night

A look back at 2019 and a look ahead to the future of Family Game Night

Xmas Games 2020These are all the games we got this year for Christmas, so look forward to these reviews in 2020.

Wow! I can’t believe that a year has already passed since I began this website/blog. I basically started this thing on a dare, and it has been a fun and unique challenge. I felt good to get back to writing again, even if it’s not my Great American Novel. Yet.

I wanted to give this project a year, to see if I could produce enough articles (I hate the term “content”) to make it worthwhile. I hoped that a post a week would be a manageable start. Incredibly, I managed to churn out over 60 posts. Good, but I need to do better.

I only published 23 game reviews and I want that number to…

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Mega Dads 2020 Gaming Predictions

2020 is here and it’s looking to be a very interesting year in gaming. With big blockbuster games, brand new hardware, and a console scene that is rapidly evolving. So we got the team together to make our predictions for what’s in store for the industry in 2020. Enjoy!

4B342D26-A088-4201-9D35-2E9EF96602211. KOJIMA PRODUCTIONS GOES 1ST PARTY

Sony decided to put a ring on it by acquiring Kojima Productions as a 1st party studio, then at the PlayStation 5 reveal event, Kojima teases their upcoming PS5 exclusive title.


The Xbox Series X will debut as the most powerful home console on the market, but also as the most expensive at $500. They’ll hope to offset this large price tag with the Xbox All Access plan.


By far the biggest criticism of the Xbox One has…

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The Blind Lamia’s Cave

Dyson's Dodecahedron

As the first adventure of the new campaign, we have chosen to rally behind the cleric in their search for artifacts and relics of Saint Sadon the Orange – a champion of Irmos the Victor. The small village of Iyesgarten provides little direct information (it is said that their church once held Sadon’s pauldrons – but that church burned down so long ago that none in Iyesgarten even remember where it used to be).

However, a helpful merchant told us of an ancient sage in the hills south of town that had been providing help and prophecies to those who knew where to find her since at least as far back as his grandfather’s days.

The Blind Lamia's Cave The Blind Lamia’s Cave

Following his directions, we found the cave he referenced – almost appearing to be “tucked under” one of the hills – and the entrance to which is obviously maintained, cleaned of…

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Persuasion Check: Unearthed Arcana 2020- Subclasses, Part 1

Ready To Role

New Year, new Unearthed Arcana! It seems Wizards of the Coast is giving us more love in the form of new subclasses, and this time we have a healthy heaping of four! One each for the Barbarian, Monk, Paladin, and Warlock.

If this is your first time joining us or just coming back after our brief break in December, our Persuasion Check articles are less hardcore analysis and more commentary drawing insights and some direct analysis where needed. If you’re looking for how to make the hardest hitting Warlock ever, there’s plenty of places that can help you! If you want a more flavorful approach to opinions on playtest content backed up with some insights, this is the place for you!

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Wayne's Books

Today I wanted to share some photo comparisons of the dragons in the Council of Wyrms box set versus their old school counterparts. The artist, Arnie Swekel, clearly drew on the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual when drawing many of his dragons.

It’s a full set, but my focus is on the dragon poster. It’s cool.

Council of Wyrms box set 83

Council of Wyrms [BOX SET]
1994 … TSR 1107 … ISBN 1560768576

Council of Wyrms available in the shop

Council of Wyrms available in PDF at DriveThruRPG

The Books and Cards

First a few photos of the rest of the set.

Council of Wyrms booksCouncil of Wyrms cards

The Other Posters

DSCN5519 Dragon Clans of Io’s Blood Islands (1107XXX0703)


DSCN5536 Io’s Blood Island Chain (1107XXX0701)

The map of the Blood Islands is good-looking overall, but suffers in the details I think.


I realize TSR intended this to be a generic supplement. But I think the place names – Weeping Plains, Watertown, Mountains…

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20 for 20 vision: part two

Later Levels

After a lacklustre year for video games for me personally, on Monday I shared part one of my list of releases I’m looking forward to in 2020. The next 12 months are going to hold titles which are far more my ‘thing’ than those released in 2019 so there’s going to be plenty to play.

Forget Cyberpunk 2077 and The Last of Us Part II: indie games will continue to be the focus at Later Levels because they always bring us something new and creative. If you usually go for the big-budget releases and stay away from the smaller stuff, I’d encourage you to give indie a go because you might find something you’ve been missing. With the first ten on my list now behind us, let’s move on to part two and check out another ten upcoming titles which are waiting patiently on my wishlist.

11. In…

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Raids week 156

Micki's Delirium

Raids 156 were Wednesday Jan 8 and Saturday Jan 11.


1. Project Nemesis LH

I posted an hour before on Orien Raiding Discord that I would be posting for sharn raids. When I logged on I invited Torimi, then posted. After waiting a while without getting a full party, we went one short. Osi was main tank, Gore off tank, I was on laser. Completion time (with some waiting inside): 17 min, 26 s. Loot: 84 nemesis runes, 30 threads of fate, Attunement’s Gaze, The Fractured Elegance and Staggershockers.

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