Dungeons and Dragons is the height of geek culture: getting together with like-minded individuals, hanging out for hours on end with nothing but junk food and soda for sustenance, and using your imagination to pretend to be someone you’re not while going on adventures in fantastic lands. From personal experience, it’s great. I’ve only played for a few months, but I’ve enjoyed every moment. Dungeons and Dragons, and by extent other tabletop role playing games, is an excellent way to spend an evening with friends. Lately, the game has gone mainstream, thanks in no small part to people like Vin Diesel, Wil Wheaton, and Felicia Day, yet some people still get cold feet about the game. So, I’m here to help people who are just starting out and/or considering starting. I am by no means an expert on the game, but at least I can help you ease into it.
Tip 1: If you’re confused about something, ask a question.
Dungeons and Dragons can be downright confusing at times, so do not expect do understand how everything works when you’re just starting out. Most of the information you need is located in the player’s handbook, but the book has too many pages to sift through. You might have a question about a certain mechanic, and the answer is buried in a paragraph on one specific page. Alternatively, the book’s answers can be vague or unclear, and sometimes the book doesn’t even answer a question, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. You can ask fellow players how to calculate certain stats, if you’re allowed to perform certain actions, or anything else that comes to mind. Dungeon and Dragons players tend to welcome questions, so don’t feel embarrassed if you need to ask for help. Everyone else has done it.
Tip 2: Don’t be afraid to borrow a handbook. Or five.
What do college course textbooks and Dungeon and Dragons handbooks have in common? There are too many of them; you need a specific edition, and they are obscenely expensive. Dungeons and Dragons has been around since 1974 and has undergone numerous revisions that changed rules and mechanics. Depending on the dungeon master (aka. the DM, also known as the guy or girl who is in charge of the game and determines if your character lives or dies), you will need to use one of several player’s handbooks and/or countless supplemental material books, and I guarantee you do not have the money to buy all of them. In fact, the current player’s handbook will cost a whopping $50 plus tax. When you start playing, ask another player (or the store owner if you meet in a comic/hobby shop) if you can borrow a handbook. These books are a huge investment, so make sure you want to continue playing before buying a handbook.
Tip 3: Do your research.
Before you create your first (or any) Dungeons and Dragons character, you should research all of your options. Ideally, you should have a good idea of the effects of various spells and abilities and which classes can use them. I cannot stress enough how important research is, as spells and abilities that might seem similar have subtle differences. Furthermore, look into various class skills and specialties to understand all the nuances between different classes. Also, don’t forget to research feats; depending on your playstyle, you might want your character to learn how to, say, properly grapple monsters instead of improving its stats. You never know what you might find, so take a weekend to research and don’t forget to look information up on the Internet.
Tip 4: Think outside the box, get creative, and embrace your role.
After you have done your research, you should think about the character you want. Consider obvious factors, such as the race and class, as well as less-obvious personality traits and history. Is your character claustrophobic? Did he or she come from a rich family? These are only basic examples, and the more in-depth and creative you get, the better — as long as you devote yourself to that role. If, for example, your character is a kleptomaniac, you need to make him or her loot every piece of treasure you find. If you don’t, the DM will probably make you suffer. Dungeons and Dragons is a role playing game, so embrace the role. Put your heart into it and enjoy every minute.
Speaking of enjoying every minute, you should pick whatever spells or abilities you think are right for your character (taking into account class and level restrictions, of course), as every spell/ability has its uses. The Grease spell, for instance, turns a small area of ground into a slippery puddle. This spell wouldn’t be useful in a wide open room, but if you use it in a narrow corridor filled with monsters, you suddenly have a conga line of pratfalls. And the fun doesn’t end there, as you can combine spells, abilities, and even items. Combine the Grease spell with something like Evard’s Black Tentacles (I’ll leave that up to your imagination), and you get a patch of land that keeps enemies in an almost never-ending loop of falling down and being beaten/ensnared by eldritch tentacles. Ask your DM before you try combining items or spells, but odds are you can do whatever you imagine so long as you roll the dice properly.
Tip 5: Homebrewed, dungeon master approved.
Some DMs are sticklers for the rules and only let players use races and classes from the official Dungeons and Dragons handbooks, while others are more lenient and may let you use homebrewed (i.e., created by Dungeons and Dragons fans) character options. Homebrew offers a wide variety of classes and races not covered in any edition of the official handbook, including gunslingers, pirates, half-giants, and mind flayers. Furthermore, players can use homebrewed items, backgrounds, and spells, while good DMs know how to utilize (or create) homebrewed settings, locations, monsters, NPCs, and quests in their Dungeon and Dragon campaigns. If a homebrewed character option catches your eye, ask the DM if you can use it. Even if it’s a variation on an existing race or class that changes stat bonuses and abilities, it’s probably worth your while.
Tip 6: Prepare to die. And fumble. And win.
In Dungeons and Dragons, everything is determined by the roll of the dice. If you want to persuade a person to give you some treasure, you need to roll dice to see if you will get the treasure or a punch to the face. If you attack an orc, you have to roll dice and pray you roll a high enough number so your attack makes contact. If you need to dodge an incoming boulder, you must roll the dice to determine if you will get crushed to a bloody pulp. Everything in Dungeons and Dragons begins and ends with the dice, which makes the game more luck based than skill based. If you are clever, the DM might give you a free pass. However, you usually need to roll the dice if you want your character to do anything, which means it’s easy to screw up and have your character die a horrible death. On the other hand, given the way the dice are designed, it’s just as easy to succeed beyond your wildest dreams, usually with what is referred to as a “natural 20.” Since death comes as easily as success, you should never get too attached to your characters, regardless of how much time and effort you put into creating them, but don’t be too surprised if you hold on to one for several years.
Tip 7: Plan your game nights accordingly.
This might arguably be the most important bit of advice I can give anyone: arrange meetups when you (and everyone else) have lots of time, such as weekends or maybe even holidays. That’s it. It might seem a simple if not obvious tip, but you would be surprised how difficult arranging Dungeons and Dragons sessions can be.
Tip 8: Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize.
This is less of a tip and more of a suggestion, but if you enjoy playing Dungeons and Dragons on a regular basis, try to personalize your experience with some accessories. These accessories can include special dice or a dice bag — such as dice with embossed dragons or a plush Beholder respectively — as well as a miniature of your character. If you can’t find an officially licensed version of what you want, odds are you can find something similar on Etsy. You may find something you never knew you wanted, such as a black leather dice-rolling cup with tampographed runes.
Congratulations, new Dungeons and Dragons players: you now have a better idea of what you’re getting into than I did when I started playing. Have fun, and remember to enjoy yourself.
5 Reasons You NEED To Play The Final Fantasy VIII Remaster
After many years of fans begging Square Enix to remaster Final Fantasy VII, they finally listened and did just that. There were numerous excuses as to why the game’s re-release had lagged behind the re-releases of both VII and IX, with the most common excuse being that the game’s original code was lost years ago. However, the company made it happen and the game is finally available for modern audiences to play on modern hardware today. We’re going to give you 5 reasons why you should do just that.
First time available on modern hardware
As we’ve already said, this is the first time that the game is available on modern hardware. While the game originally launched for PS1 back in 1999, it later got a PC port in 2000. That means that is has been a whopping 19 years since a new version of the game has been available for purchase, and that wait was a brutal one. However, it is finally over and you can now play this classic game on PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch along with PC. If the lack of modern hardware support was stopping you from checking out, that excuse just got thrown out the window.
The visuals look better than ever
Thankfully, Square Enix did not just slap this port together quickly and throw it out there to shut everyone up. They did a terrific job of putting on a shiny new coat of paint for the game, with the character models in particular looking much better. While things like environment textures didn’t get quite the same amount of attention, this is nevertheless the best that the game has ever looked. It also helps that the game is simply beautiful from a design standpoint, with the game’s world being gorgeous to behold even though we’re dealing with the hardware limitations of 1999.
Quality of life improvements
While those who played the game 20 years ago will still be getting what is essentially the same experience, Square Enix did add some quality of life improvements to put it more in line with current JRPGs. These changes include the likes of increasing battle speed by 3 times, shutting off random encounters completely and even a cheat to give you max HP and limit breaks. While these may seem minor, these will go a long way to ease some of the tedium that many feel after some particularly long gaming sessions. Max HP and Limit Breaks will also make the incredibly tough Ultima and Omega Weapon boss fights a lot easier to deal with.
The Final Fantasy series is known for having its fair share of enticing side quests and mini games, but there isn’t a single one that is as addicting as Triple Triad. The game is essentially a card game that is played on a 3×3 grid, and each card has a certain number on the top, bottom, left and right sides. You need to place your cards in a manner that the numbers on your cards are higher than your opponents, and seeing as your card can be attacked from four different sides this can be tricky. You’re able to challenge many different characters to a match throughout the course of the entire game, and doing so comes with plenty of nice rewards that will make your quest easier.
The game is awesome
While our previous points focused on specific elements of the game, this one is a simple fact that has been true since 1999: the game is awesome. Unfortunately, releasing immediately after Final Fantasy VII (a watershed moment for gaming) put it under a very cruel microscope, with many knee jerk reactions simply saying it “isn’t as good as VII.” However, in the years that have passed people have revisited the game, and the consensus has definitely changed. This adventure that Square created is unlike any other in the series, being host to an ambitious and bizarre plot filled with some of the best characters the series has ever seen. If you’ve played the game before then this is the perfect time to experience this masterpiece all over again, and if you haven’t then what are you waiting for?
10 Huge Games Still Coming In 2019
2019 has been yet another good year for gaming so far, with several games releasing that will be big contenders for game of the year once the curtain closes. However, despite the year already being more than halfway over, there are still some huge titles on the horizon that are sure to make their own dents on the coming best-of lists. This article will list the 10 biggest games that are still coming in 2019.
A new game from Remedy Entertainment is always highly-anticipated, and Control is no different. The game is an action-adventure game in the same style as Alan Wake or Quantum Break, but with a supernatural twist. Players will control Jesse Faden, who possesses a variety of supernatural abilities like telekinesis, levitation and more. She will be using her abilities in order to defeat an enemy known only as the Hiss, which has corrupted reality. Control launches for PS4, Xbox One and PC on August 27th.
It has been many years since the last game in the Borderlands series released, but the hiatus is finally coming to an end very soon. Those who have played previous games in the series will feel right at home with this game, as it’s once again a loot-driven FPS. The game will offer more zany characters and a charming and insane world to explore, all while dealing with new antagonists Troy and Tyreen Calypso along with their Children of the Vault cult. Borderlands 3 launches for PS4, Xbox One and PC on September 13th, with a Google Stadia port release date being TBA.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon series is returning soon with Breakpoint, which will serve as a continuation of previous game Wildlands. The game is set in an open world environment called Aurora, which is a fictional island in the Pacific Ocean. Players will control Lieutenant Colonel Anthony “Nomad” Perryman, who is a special forces operative that was sent to the island to investigate a series of disturbances in the area. Breakpoint launches for PS4, Xbox One and PC on October 4th, with a Google Stadia port coming in November.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Each new installment in the Call of Duty series is always huge, but Modern Warfare’s release marks a first for the long-running franchise. It will be the first game in the series that is reimagining of a previous game in the series, taking 2004’s original game and updating its mechanics and themes to match today’s world. The game will still have some of the beats that the first game had, but will also incorporate lots of surprises to make it a fresh experience. Modern Warfare launches for PS4, Xbox One and PC on October 25th.
The Outer Worlds
Obsidian Entertainment’s The Outer Worlds is one that will be very highly-anticipated for fans of Fallout: New Vegas, as this game serves as a sort of spiritual successor to that game. It will be an open world RPG that allows you to explore many unique areas crawling with plenty of deadly foes. Players will also be able to encounter and recruit NPCs as companions that have their own personal missions and stories to take part in. The Outer Worlds launches for PS4, Xbox One and PC on October 25th, with a Switch port also being in the works.
Luigi’s Mansion 3
It seemed very unlikely that Luigi’s Mansion would become a recurring franchise for Nintendo following the original GameCube game, but here we are. Luigi’s Mansion 3 is coming to Switch, which also means it will be the first home console release since the original game back in 2003. This time the game is set in a haunted hotel rather than a mansion, and Luigi has some new tricks up his sleeves to take down all those ghosts. Luigi’s Mansion 3 will launch exclusively for Nintendo Switch on October 31st.
If you’re looking for the most ambitious (and weirdest) game still coming in 2019, then look no further. Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding has perplexed gamers ever since its announcement, and each new trailer that releases just brings more and more questions to the table. It is Kojima’s first game since breaking up with Konami after the release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phanton Pain (and the cancellation of Silent Hills), and it looks like Kojima has taken the newfound complete creative control to deliver something truly original. Death Stranding launches exclusively for PS4 on November 8th.
Pokemon Sword & Shield
At this point we all know what to expect from a new Pokemon game, and Sword and Shield seems poised to deliver even more cute creatures for players to capture and battle very soon. What sets Sword and Shield apart from its predecessors is that it will be the first home console release for the series, which is saying something considering the series has been around for over 20 years. Pokemon Sword & Shield launches exclusively for Switch on November 15th.
If you’re a fan of Shenmue then nothing needs to be said for the inclusion of the upcoming third game on this list. Fans of the series have been waiting nearly two decades for a follow-up to the second game, and in just a couple of months that will finally be delivered to them. Brought to life thanks to an extremely successful Kickstarter campaign, the game continues the adventure of protagonist Ryo Hazuki as he hunts down his father’s killer. Shenmue III will launch for PS4 and PC on November 19th.
id Software’s DOOM 2016 was one of the best FPS games to come along in years, so it’s a no-brainer that the follow-up would be on this list. Eternal is set to offer yet another intense FPS campaign for players to plunge into, while also offering a multiplayer component that greatly improves upon the last game’s underwhelming multiplayer mode. There will also be twice as many demon types than there was in the last game, meaning that the chaos level just got that much higher. DOOM Eternal launches for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Google Stadia and PC on November 22nd.
5 Most Exciting Announcements From The Xbox E3 2019 Press Conference
Microsoft’s Xbox E3 2019 Press Conference has officially come to an end, and with it came plenty of big announcements to get excited about. Some new games were announced, whereas previously-announced games got new footage and/or release dates. In this article we’ve narrowed it all down to the 5 most exciting announcements.
New Xbox “Project Scarlett” Coming Holiday 2020
We’ve known for a while now that a new Xbox was in the works, but now we know when to expect it. Microsoft’s fourth console (which hopefully has a better official name than Xbox One did) will be a big step up from the previous console. Things like much faster load times, an AMD Processor that is four times more powerful than the Xbox One X, 8K Resolution and 120 FPS were all mentioned. A price and exact release date weren’t mentioned. It will also be launching with…
Halo Infinite Coming Holiday 2020, Launching On Both Xbox One and Project Scarlett
The wait for the next Halo game has been longer than ever before for series fans, and the announcement at E3 revealed that the wait will continue. Halo Infinite will not be launching until Holiday 2020, meaning it will have been 5 years since the previous game released with Halo 5. It will also be launching on Xbox One and Project Scarlett, meaning the new console will have a big launch title for fans to get pumped about.
Cyberpunk 2077 Coming April 2020, Stars Keanu Reeves
It’s hard to pick a game that people have been more excited about than Cyberpunk 2077, and after Microsoft’s press conference we’re even more excited. Not only is it coming in April of next year, but Keanu Reeves himself will be playing a “key” role in the game. Everything shown from the game has looked great so far, so hopefully it all pans out and we have another classic from CD Projekt RED come April 2020.
FromSoftware and George R.R. Martin Collaboration Elden Ring Announced
This one was actually leaked prior to the presentation, but Dark Souls developer FromSoftware and Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin are collaborating on a new game. The game is called Elden Ring, and it will be a departure from the developer’s most recent games as it will be open world. Very little information on the game is known at this point, as it is still in the early stages of development.
Phantasy Star Online 2 Is Coming West
It took a very long time, but the popular MMORPG is finally coming west. The game is coming to Xbox One in a free-to-play form in Spring 2020, so the wait won’t be that much longer. “There will be no limitations on game experiences,”says Sega, because they want to “provide all players with a fair and exciting experience.”
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