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Author: Ostron

Gnomish Workshop: Adventurers are the 1%

This article was first broadcast in Episode Ninety Seven on 20th November 2019. Lennon: And here I was so holding out hope that my day wasn't going completely downhill. Killer DM: Awww does someone need a hug? Lennon: I will pay you money if you never ever say that again. ROSTRO: Probability analysis suggests you possess insufficient physical currency to facilitate that transaction. Lennon: Yeah, because I'm pretty sure Ryu stole it! Killer DM: Don't look at me, she was doing that long before my favorite accessory settled upon her brow. ROSTRO: Your current predicament would quite easily be remedied by engaging in a quest or adventuring excursion. Lennon: Really? Killer DM: Oh yes darling there's gold practically littering the ground...

Adventurer’s Journal: Blending Your Character’s Story Into the DM’s Story

This article was first broadcast in Episode Eighty Four on 14th August 2019. Ostron: *sound of firebolt and then burning* Aaaaand boom. That's all set now. Ryu: Please tell me that was a mathematical summary we don't have to discuss in the Gnomish Workshop Ostron: No, that was one of my players' backstories. Lennon: That thing was like 20 pages, who do you have as a player, George RR Martin? Wait, no, that backstory was finished...

Unearthed Mundana: Superstitions, Monsters and D&D

This article was first broadcast in Episode Eighty Two on 31st July 2019. Killer DM (tinkering): That'll do I think. ROSTRO: Your assistance is appreciated. I believe we can now conclude the matter at hand. Lennon: Does the matter at hand have anything to do with the research beholders doing laps between here and the Candlekeep annex? ROSTRO: Surprisingly astute observation The rules of Dungeons and Dragons enumerate an extensive bestiary of creatures benign and belligerent. Fifth edition currently has a comparatively tiny collection of creatures when compared with previous incarnations. Many of those editions had at least three monster manuals in addition to ancillary materials collating collections of fauna, easily...

Archives of Candlekeep: Revisiting Realism

This article was first broadcast in Episode Eighty One on 24th July 2019. Ryu: I want it noted for the record that I’m really trying to solve this without the hat. Gath: Solve what? Did we have a fight on-air I wasn’t aware of?  Ryu: No, no, this is with my players. I’ve got a couple that are whining about wanting more realism and they really don’t know what they’re asking for.  Ostron: The Killer DM already covered some of the variant rules the DMG says make things more realistic.  Ryu: Yeah, these players are still whining.  Ostron: Ugh, yeah, they don’t know what they’re asking for.  Gath: What’s the problem? As we’ve discussed previously, and as...

Adventurer’s Journal: Preparing for your First Ever Game

This article was first broadcast in Episode Seventy Four on 29th May 2019. Ryu: Yeah, HR said they want to “have a word with” KayDee about how we can’t farm new employees for kidneys. Ostron: I'm sorry, what? Lennon: Doesn’t matter. Speaking of new employees, can you guys look over what I've got so far? Ryu: Sure Sitting down for your first ever session of D&D can be a daunting prospect for a lot of people. Assuming you looked through the basic rules or player's handbook (which, hint, you should have done) you know there's a lot of information and rules involved with this, and it's very...

Gnomish Workshop: Critical Bonuses

This article was first broadcast in Episode Seventy Three on 22nd May 2019. Lennon: Right, so I thought we covered critical hits? ROSTRO: I would classify the information previously discussed as a primer on the general category. If you direct your attention to the display crystals, we can proceed. Lennon: What if I close my eyes and start running? KDM: Then you'll hit the door, dear, I've just locked it. Now come along...

Gnomish Workshop: How Do You Crit?

This article was first broadcast in Episode Seventy Two on 15th May 2019. ROSTRO: Your information on critical hits is alarmingly deficient. Please consult the output crystals and confer with my colleague. Lennon: I think I'd rather go meet with HR. KDM: Lennon, don't make me use hold person. Critical hits are a primary goal of many players in combat, with good reason; the ability to roll twice as many dice when doing damage usually means the character's hitting harder than usual. If you have a character such as a rogue making a sneak attack or a paladin using smite, the number of extra dice rolled can cause...

Archives of Candlekeep: Spelljammer Part 2: An Overview

This article was first broadcast in Episode Seventy One on 1st May 2019. Ryu: Okay so now I'm morbidly curious. If Spelljammer's lore was so crazy, how did that work with gameplay? Lennon: Awesomely, I'm sure. Ostron: Did Spelljammer pay off your mortgage or something? Lennon: So far it's D&D in space, there are 7ft hippos with muskets and I get to throw Kender out of airlocks. I'm sold. Ostron: Well there weren't actually airlocks, you know. Spelljammer is presented as a separate campaign setting that uses spaceships, space, and planets to substitute for horses, open plains, and cities. The original sourcebook explains the separation as willful apathy: people...

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Gnomish Workshop: Hidden Advantages

This article was first broadcast in Episode Sixty-seven on 3rd April 2019. Lennon: By the rollacks of Ralishaz, not again! Ryu: What happened? Lennon: Well, how would you describe… that? Ryu: Well, Ostron's unconscious neatly laid out on the floor of the Workshop again… there are absolute piles and piles of dice around… so either he miscast a sleep spell and knocked himself out, or...

Unearthed Mundana: Metagaming

This article was first broadcast in Episode Sixty-Four on 6th March 2019. Ostron: Oh come on! This should be working! Lennon: Did you de-power an artifact in the workshop again? Ostron: No. I'm trying to configure the Realized Oikumenata- Ryu: You know it's easier to just say ROSTRO. Ostron: Oh...

Adventurer’s Journal: Flawed Personas

This article was first broadcast in Episode Sixty-Two on 20th February 2019. Ryu: Blah. Okay, time to kill some characters. Lennon: We hid the hat again, just so you're aware. Ryu: Yeah that never matters, but anyway, I'm not going to need KayDee's help for this one;  I've got another player that's decided "annoying edgelord" is a cool character concept, and they've come up with mechanics where they're in such mental anguish that even brief moments of happiness count as a short rest for them because they're so rejuvenating. "Rejuvenating" isn't "resurrecting," though, so that character isn't going to see a session two. Ostron: You know you're asking to just...

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Wisdom of the Masters: The KDM’s Christmas Gifts

This article was first broadcast in Episode Fifty-Four on 26th December 2018.   Killer DM: Oh there you are Lennon. So nice to see you again. I can't help noticing it's Christmas Lennon: Yes Kay- Killer DM: Go ahead. Try using that name Lennon: -Killer DM. I just can't begin to tell you how good it is to see you. It's your first anniversary isn't it? Killer DM: It is, but you know what it's not? Lennon: What? Killer DM: Thanksgiving. Do you remember anything about Thanksgiving? Lennon: Um..no? Because I'm British? Ostron: Still can't get the power cells to recharge right, I wonder...

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A Short Rest: Archives of Candlekeep: 4th Edition, the Rebellious Child

This article was first broadcast in Episode Fifty-One on 5th December 2018. The fifth edition of Dungeons and Dragons is arguably one of the most popular iterations of the rules, but it’s taken some time to get to where we are today. In honor of Art and Arcana, the book released October 23rd that showcases all the artwork and tells the evolving story of D&D over the years, we decided to take a look back at this hobby of ours ourselves and see where it started, and how it’s evolved over time. In June 2008, Wizards of the Coast released the 4th...

Archives of Candlekeep: Edition 3.5: The Golden Child

This article was first broadcast in Episode Fifty on 28th November 2018. The fifth edition of Dungeons and Dragons is arguably one of the most popular iterations of the rules, but it’s taken some time to get to where we are today. In honor of Art and Arcana, the book released October 23rd that showcases all the artwork and tells the evolving story of D&D over the years, we decided to take a look back at this hobby of ours ourselves and see where it started, and how it’s evolved over time. As established in our last article, while everyone liked 3.0 as...

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Archives of Candlekeep: 3rd Edition: The Friendly, Embarrassing Child

This article was first broadcast in Episode Forty-Nine on 14th November 2018. The fifth edition of Dungeons and Dragons is arguably one of the most popular iterations of the rules, but it’s taken some time to get to where we are today. In honor of Art and Arcana, the book released October 23rd that showcases all the artwork and tells the evolving story of D&D over the years, we decided to take a look back at this hobby of ours ourselves and see where it started, and how it’s evolved over time. When D&D came under the control of Wizards of the Coast,...

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A Short Rest: Archives of Candlekeep: 2nd Edition; the temperate, responsible

This article was first broadcast in Episode Forty-Eight on 7th November 2018. The fifth edition of Dungeons and Dragons is arguably one of the most popular iterations of the rules, but it’s taken some time to get to where we are today. In honour of Art and Arcana, the book released October 23rd that showcases all the artwork and tells the evolving story of D&D over the years, we decided to take a look back at this hobby of ours ourselves and see where it started, and how it’s evolved over time. By the late 1980s, D&D had become even larger but...

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Wisdom of the Masters: Population: Evil

This article was first broadcast in Episode Forty-Seven on 31st October 2018. Killer DM: Ahh good, that was an annoying long wait. Ostron: Have to wait a while for Ryu to fail her saves? Killer DM: And there I was thinking you didn’t have a sense of humor… Oh, you’re serious? You think she still tries to make the saves? You dear thing. Lennon: Um...

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Wisdom of the Masters: Campaigning for Evil

This article was first broadcast in Episode Forty-Six on 24th October 2018. Lennon: Really? Again? Ostron: We're talking about running evil campaigns, who's at the top of *YOUR* subject matter expert list for that? Lennon: Whatever, they're your kidneys Killer DM: It's so nice that you all invite me around for the holidays. It almost makes me forget that you didn't do that last Halloween. Lennon: In our defense, we hadn't actually started broadcasting yet. Killer DM: I just hear excuses but I suppose I might let it pass if we're talking about something fun. Ostron: Running an evil campaign Killer DM: Oh Ostron! I knew there was hope for you. Now, let's talk about unfair encounters...

Archives of Candlekeep: The Fraternal Twins: AD&D and the Basic Set…

This article was first broadcast in Episode Forty-Five on 13th October 2018. The fifth edition of Dungeons and Dragons is arguably one of the most popular iterations of the rules, but it’s taken some time to get to where we are today. In honor of the upcoming Art and Arcana book, releasing October 23rd that showcases all the artwork and tells the evolving story of D&D over the years, we decided to take a look back at this hobby of ours ourselves and see where it started, and how it’s evolved over time. By 1977, four years after the original release of D&D,...

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Archives of Candlekeep: In The Beginning…

This article was first broadcast in Episode Forty-Four on 10th October 2018. The fifth edition of Dungeons and Dragons is arguably one of the most popular iterations of the rules, but it’s taken some time to get to where we are today. In honor of the upcoming Art and Arcana book, releasing October 23rd that showcases all the artwork and tells the evolving story of D&D over the years, we decided to take a look back at this hobby of ours ourselves and see where it started, and how it’s evolved over time. Late in the year 1970, Gary Gygax and Jeff Perran...

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Unearthed Mundana: Exotic Royalty

This article was first broadcast in Episode Forty-Two on 26th September 2018. Ryu: I'm so sick of kings and queens Lennon: No European vacation for you then? Ryu: No, I mean, I don't mind them as people but every campaign you run into the land is ruled over by "king" this or "queen" that. Even when we were running through this jungle of sentient monkey-lizards they ended up being led by "Duke Longtail." It was kind of disappointing. Ostron: Oh, well, a little bit of linguistic modification is in order then. Along with scenery and inhabitants, names have a huge impact on immersion and characters' sense of displacement. Characters are...

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Adventurer’s Journal: Nobody Likes Warlocks

This article was first broadcast in Episode Thirty-Nine on 5th September 2018. Ryu: Look, we need to deal with this Lennon: No we don't, because there's no problem Ostron: Okay, you keep saying that nobody likes warlocks but it's honestly just you. Lennon: Ryu is on my side! Ryu: The Killer DM is more on your side than I am and really she hates everyone so that's not a good basis. Ostron: Do you even have any legitimate complaints? Lennon: Do I need them? Ostron: … Yes. Lennon: Alright. You might want to take a seat though, we’ll be here a while. Warlock is one of those classes that make people nervous. If the Monk is a confusing and...

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Archives of Candlekeep: Odd Dragon Out

This article was first broadcast in Episode Thirty-Five on 8th August 2018. Ryu: Now? Now? Can we do it now? Lennon: Yes, fine, go ahead Ryu: Yaaaay! THUNK Ostron: What is that? Ryu: That's my notes on all the other dragons Lennon: *sigh* okay, we can cover SOME of them. Pick the ones most people will recognize, at least. Ryu: Fine...

Archives of Candlekeep: Behold the Beholders

This article was first broadcast in Episode Thirty-Three on 25th July 2018. Mikey: So this is backstage, huh? Ryu: You’ve never been here before? Mikey: They don’t let me leave the cave that often… thumbing through papers What’s this? Lennon: Those are some notes that Ostron was having difficulty compiling. Mikey: What happened to the research beholders? Ryu: Well, this is ON beholders, specifically their history, so when he tried to get their help they all just passed in their own life stories and said that's all he needed to know. Mikey: Ah, yeah...

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Adventurer’s Journal: Elemental Wizards

This article was first broadcast in Episode Thirty-One on 11th July 2018. Ostron: Lennon? Did you take my dictionary out of the gnomish workshop? Lennon: I did, and then the research beholders took it. Ryu: Weren't you working on elemental wizards? Ohhh you meant to grab a spellbook and ended up with the dictionary instead didn't you? Lennon: No!...

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Adventurer’s Journal: Efficient Use of Infernal Influence

This article was first broadcast in Episode Thirty on 27th June 2018. Killer DM: Is it “die” when there’s more than one? Or is it “dice”? One die, two dice? I always forget. Anyway, 15 people are dead. Lennon: I'm not sure what that has to do with anything, but tell me why did Ryu decide to put the Killer DM hat on? Killer DM: Well, Ryu knew you were talking about Devils and I've always done some of my best work with them, so I...

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Unearthed Mundana: Truly Exotic Weapons

This article was first broadcast in Episode Twenty-Eight on 13th June 2018. Lennon: Hey guys, can you help me out with something?  I’ve been trying to make some locations in my game a little more exotic, and it got me thinking. I can flavor the buildings, sights, sounds and smells, even the names and local customs, but everyone still has shortswords, longbows and all those mundane types of weaponry. It reminded me of when we went to Ixalan. Ryu: Because your party’s wizard almost got them all killed? Ostron: Okay look- Lennon: Hey, hey, we’re talking about my problem here. Remember those blades the merfolk carried? They looked...

Archives of Candlekeep: Dragons

This article was first broadcast in Episode Twenty-Seven on 6th June 2018. Lennon: Ryu… are you ok? Ryu: *disappointed* Yeah, it’s fine… just… why’d they put “Dragon Heist” in the title if it’s nothing to do with dragons? Lennon: Yeah, I’m sorry, though Dungeon of the Mad Mage might have them… Ostron: Ok guys, I’ve finished my article on Comparative analysis of Ranged vs Melee Damage per Class and-- Ryu, are you alright? Ryu: Yeah, it’s fine… Lennon: You know… I don’t really know much about the history of dragons Ostron: Yeah you do, you’re the one who told me about-- why are you looking at me like tha--- oooh! Yeah, he knows nothing. Lennon: Right,...

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Massive Battles

This article was first broadcast in Episode Twenty-Six on 30th May 2018. Lennon: Ok, so two plus two is four, minus one that’s three Ryu: What on earth are you doing? Other than quick maths? Lennon: I’m doing a dry run of a thing for a game. See, I may have painted myself into a corner a bit… or rather into a wide open-field that’s about to be filled with 25,000 creatures on 3 sides, each vying for control of the county RaeRae: And, let me guess, you’re trying to figure out the damage received during a single round of combat? Lennon: Combat? I’ve not even gotten as far as...

Bounded Accuracy

This article was first broadcast in Episode Twenty-Four on 16th May 2018. Ryu: Lennon? Why did we just get a delivery of 500 yards of parachute cord? Lennon: Oh did that show up? Great! Yeah it’s a research project I’m doing about bounded accuracy. Ryu: Okay...

Listen, Good People

This article was first broadcast in Episode Twenty-Three on 9th May 2018. Ryu: Okay, no more weddings. Lennon: I didn't realize you were ordained. Ryu: No, I mean I added an arranged marriage plot to my campaign and my characters started fighting about how the "good" aligned characters would react. Ostron: That can get tricky. Ryu: I didn't even know how to rule it myself. I just play my characters, I usually don't think too much about alignment. Well, unless I'm wearing the hat… Lennon: No Hat! Ostron: It's okay, don't need the hat. I've got a quick primer on being good here. Depending on the crowd of players at the table, the announcement that...

Probability

This article was first broadcast in Episode Twenty-One on 25th April 2018. Ryu: Are you sure about this? Lennon: I think we have to Ryu: I'm getting the hat Lennon: No, no… Let’s just let him have this one. Ryu: You're REALLY sure? I mean, last time some people didn't wake up for days. Lennon: Well, we can dress it up as a public service. Insomnia is a real issue for a lot of people. Now, breathe in… and out… ok, go get em! Ryu: Okay… Hey Ostron? What'cha been working on in the Gnomish Workshop?     With all of this talk of Mordenkainen’s Mayhem, and the Mike Mearls...

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Switching Characters

This article was first broadcast in Episode Seventeen on 28th March 2018. Ostron: One of my players used the sending stone, they want to change characters AGAIN. It's something like the fourth time and I have no idea what to do here. Lennon: What are they now? Ostron: Gnome Cleric Lennon: And they're switching to… Ostron: Goliath Barbarian Ryu: That's...

To Add A Dragon

This article was first broadcast in Episode Sixteen on 21st March 2018. Raerae: So were you guys debating dragons this week? Ryu: No Raerae: Why not? Ryu: Because there isn't a debate. Ostron: No, the point is that we're asking if you should add dragons to a campaign or not. Ryu: I don't understand the question. Ostron: I'm not sure how to rewrite that Ryu: Look, here, guys, why don't we just read over this paper I wrote up on dragons instead, huh? Dragons are probably the most iconic creatures in the entire D&D mythos. I mean, they're the second "D" in the name; it's hard to argue they...

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Are You Evil?

This article was first broadcast in Episode Fifteen on 14th March 2018. Lennon: Really? You just GAVE her the hat? Ostron: Look, it's not like The Killer DM causes chaos or anything. She's Lawful Evil, that's manageable. Killer DM: Do I hear the sounds of overconfidence? Lennon: Not from me Ostron: We were just saying you're a good source of information for players that want to play evil characters Killer DM: Oh my goodness yes. There are soooo many posers out there that think they're SO evil and still go to puddles when there are a bunch of kittens around. Pull up a chair, people.       At some...

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Healing Without Healing

This article was first broadcast in Episode Fourteen on 7th March 2018. Lennon: Ok, so I’ve been thinking about our Ixalan adventure… well, mis-adventure… and I think I’ve gotten to the bottom of it. We need a cleric. Ryu: No we don’t Ostron: Right -- a paladin would probably be better. They can absorb more damage. Ryu: Wrong again Lennon: Ok, well what do you suggest? Ryu:  Well, I find that depends on how you look at it.   The easiest way to guarantee blind panic in most players is to drain the group’s healer of spell slots or hit points. Some players refuse to engage in a...

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Party Composition

This article was first broadcast in Episode Twelve on 21st February 2018. Lennon: That was close! Ryu: Next time we go to Ixalan, we should probably balance our party better. Ostron: Now we're safe backstage, let’s take a Short Rest...

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Royal Titles

This article was first broadcast in Episode Six on 3rd January 2018. Lennon: Why does the break room wall have dry erase lines everywhere with some pictures of Duke Ellington, Elvis, and Christopher Lee from Star Wars? Ostron: Oh, yeah, we wanted to add some stuff to our campaigns and have it be authentic. Royalty! Kings, Princes, Dukes. I mean an evil baron- Ryu: Or Baroness! Ostron: -right trying to take over the kingdom is classic! But we wanted it to be authentic and we’re not used to the whole royalty, lines of succession thing. Lennon: Ryu, Ostron, I’m British. We’ve got this. Here’s your...