Tomb of Annihilation #49: The Price for Greed

Pathfinders' Guild of Berkeley

In two missing chapters of our tale, the party triggered a room that flooded with wine, escaped, and imprisoned a gray slaad using their magic gem. They found another trickster god and encountered a hostile genie. They sent the slaad on a shopping trip, but days passed and it never came back. They explored the alternate duplicate of the tomb, but the items they found did not return when they came back. They explore more of the dungeon. (-GM) 

10th of Flamerule (“Summertide”), 1493 DR (Dalereckoning)

wraith Wraith

Tired and lost, we wandered. On and on we seemed to go, until finally, we returned to the room with the wine trap. Could this be important? Sunlight leaked into the room and appeared to shine onto the tomb, lighting up the room. We walked past an odd doorway one by one into the room, and inspected the coffin carefully. We figured that…

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Holding on to physical media in a cloudy age

Bio Break

Compared to how I lived even a decade ago, I rely far more on the cloud — and streaming — than I used to. I don’t get physical box copies of games any more, unless it’s a rare Switch title for the family. Most all of my games are on platforms like Epic or GOG, or else are MMOs downloaded from websites. I can’t remember the last time I bought a CD. The only physical books I buy these days are commentaries for work; everything else is on Kindle or Audible. And almost all of my movie and TV entertainment is streamed to me through Tubi or Amazon Video.

The cloud offers a great deal of advantages in regards to instant access, space saving, and organization. I like not having super-crowded bookshelves any more, and I wince when I think back to the days of juggling a music collection spread…

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2+ Ideas on D&D 5e Skill Checks

The Nerdd

The core mechanic in Dungeons & Dragons goes something like this:

Dungeon Master (DM): Explains Situation

Player Character (PC): Attempts an action in response by rolling a 20-sided die (d20), where the higher, the better, adding any related modifiers.

DM: Interprets the number to explain how successful the PC was.

Everything else about D&D comes from this simple 3-step plan. I’ve heard a few ideas on how to affect this core mechanic in a way that I might use, or just think is interesting, and that you might use.

Proficient First

Back to that 3-step plan, it comes in several different varieties. Sometimes, this is in combat, where you have to see if you can hit your enemy, and everyone is taking turns doing their own thing. Sometimes it is jumping over a pit in a dungeon, something everyone has to do in order to progress the story. Sometimes, however…

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To roll, or not to roll.

JVC Parry

To Roll or Not to Roll…

Something that I think many game masters and writers are guilty of is asking for ability checks too frequently, in a way that disturbs that narrative flow and works against the characters, rather than in their favour. In this article, I hope to give some advice on how to use ability checks in your games (forgive the cliché opening).

The D&D 5th Edtion Player’s Handbook defines an ability check thus:

An ability check tests a character’s or monster’s innate talent and training in an effort to overcome a challenge. The DM calls for an ability check when a character or monster attempts an action (other than an attack) that has a chance of failure. When the outcome is uncertain, the dice determine the results.

I think, for the most part, this is something most D&D players, especially most DMs could have had a good…

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Indie World Showcase Recap

Nintendo delivered a new Indie World Showcase today, and if you’re a fan of indie titles, the presentation did not disappoint. Showing 19 games in total, the Indie World came with some titles planned for next year and some dropping today. Without further ado, let’s check out the sights and sounds of the games they showed.

The first game Nintendo revealed was the hip and stylish skating game, Bomb Rush Cyberfunk. With its cel-shaded graphics, hip hop music style, and street graffiti art, it looks like a spiritual successor to Jet Set Radio. The game release is planned for 2022, and it seems it is getting great buzz from the gaming community. Check out the debut trailer.

The next game was the monochromatic and cute game, Toem: A Photo Adventure. In this game, you’ll go around and take pictures for others while listening to some chill music…

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Nintendo Indie World Showcase 8.11.2021

VIDEO GAME BOOK CLUB

Nintendo has been killing the pre-recorded video game reveal showcase for quite some time now (with Nintendo Directs and Indie World Showcases). In recent years, we’ve seen more and more companies adopt the pre-recorded games showcase (especially during the pandemic). It’s fantastic that we not only get a few Nintendo Direct’s each year, but we also get a sneak peak at which indie games are coming to the Nintendo Switch every few months.

Our last Nintendo Indie World Showcase was about four months ago. While many of those games still haven’t reached the eShop yet I’m glad they are still giving us more games to get excited about. I love my big Nintendo first party games (The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Animal Crossing: New Horizons), but I do spend much of my time on the Switch playing smaller indie titles.

If an…

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The Tyrant’s Ruins

Dyson's Dodecahedron

The Tyrant's Ruins
The Tyrant’s Ruins (300 dpi promotional, no commercial license)

There are many ruins in the ghost dunes. Bases of towers long fallen, temples to the pretty ones and to darker gods, and odd bits of debris and structures that are harder to place. This old structure has more than partially collapsed – the left side has no roof remaining, and the ruins atop the right side indicates that at one time this was probably a three or four story structure. What remains is a great hall and adjoining chamber on the right and stairs down to a partly collapsed lower level which has been converted by later users into a tomb.

The Tyrant's Ruins
The Tyrant’s Ruins (1200 dpi)

The left side of the structure has a rough statue of a dragon-like creature (it appears to have once been a statue of a horse that then had additional material added in clay over…

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Boss Rush Banter: Is it Best to Focus on One Game at a Time?

In late 2017 I finally got my hands on a Nintendo Switch. I found myself jumping around between all the new exclusives I had access to: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, Splatoon 2, and more. After juggling all these games at once for some time, I got sucked into Super Mario Odyssey and focused on beating it. I needed something to concentrate on. Prior to the Switch era, I would choose one large AAA game to play at a time, but over the last four years I’ve found myself repeating this new pattern and wondering: is it better to play multiple games at once or play them one at a time?

While there may be a number of large problems facing the world, there is no shortage of quality media to consume. The only problem…

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Building Characters From Archetypes

Cannibal Halfling Gaming

Everyone knows what a character class is. From D&D to Diablo and from Final Fantasy to Facebook personality tests, the notion of starting your RPG adventure with a Fighter, Thief, Mage, or Cleric has transcended D&D and TTRPGs in general to become a nerd pop culture staple. In the modern TTRPG hobby, though, classes are but one way to present a set of archetypes from which to build a character.


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Fists of the Ruby Phoenix #5: First Blood

Pathfinders' Guild of Berkeley

The prequalifying tournament begins in earnest when the sun rises on our heroes’ new temple abode. –GM

9th of Erastus, 4721 AR

“Pegleg” Pete

Our heroes arduously attempted to heal their wounds after the fight with the clay golems, but even after being reduced to mere rubble, the annoying constructs had the last laugh. Their cursed attacks could not be healed by any amount of modern medical practices, and it took the party into the night before they finally managed to patch themselves up.

But danger doesn’t stop with the fall of night, and the party found themselves fighting a magical tree. This arboreous foe was quickly felled, and our heroes were finally able to rest until morning.

However, a new day brings new dangers, and the intrepid adventurers quickly found their first official fight of the tourney: two monks who appeared honorable and kind started the fight. These enemies quickly showed…

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