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Grand Duchy: Traits From an Elfen Kingdom

Saint George and the Dragon - RaphaelWho knew that grandmother’s stories told beside the evening fire were entertaining and contained elements of elf history? Did you ever wonder why warriors from Reywald and Donnermark often favored the warhammer, traditionally a dwarven weapon? And who doesn’t trust a resident of Salzbach to taste-test the contents of an unmarked potion?

Players who create PCs native to the Grand Duchy of Dornig might find that including these traits adds some of the region’s character in their Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

But if you use another system, these traits can still be useful without the mechanical aspects. The traits can inspire D&D 5E-style boons or serve as background material for systems like FATE or Savage Worlds.

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Beyond Mapping: Building 3-D Gaming Environments

Diorama1Recently, as part of an effort to teach skills that would be useful in designing video games, Todd Morgan Shirley embarked on a project with his daughter Reina Yoneyama Shirley: teaching her how to play D&D. Todd believes that beyond the fundamental game theory a player and/or DM gains from D&D there are numerous transferable benefits: vocabulary, character and game design, statistics, good note taking, introduction to psychological archetyping, modeling, art, math, common sense development, and performing art—to name a few. Reina took to the idea, and the two began painting miniatures. Then, after some discussion with her friends, they put together a small group to play the fifth edition D&D starter set. Wanting to make sure everyone had a great experience, they decided to go beyond mapping on graph paper or battle mats: they started building 3-D tiles/dungeons.

After some quick research, they discovered that it would not be affordable to build 3-D environments as well as they had envisioned. Reina had taken classes on making dioramas that used recycled materials. So, working with that idea as a foundation, they went online to research the various methods to do this well. The two went all in, and they are in the process of producing terrain, caves, buildings, and dungeons for the campaign, The Lost Mines of Phandelver. During their Christmas 2014 celebration, Reina received gifts of the more advanced books: PH, DMG, MM, and the Hoard of the Dragon Queen and Rise of Tiamat. So, they are going to go through everything eventually.

They both wanted to share the results of their efforts with the Kobold Press public. Take a look at what these two have crafted together!

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Howling Tower: So You’re a Noob

Gustave Doré’s illustration of Lord Alfred Tennyson’s “Idylls of the King”, 1868.Welcome to the end of the Howling Tower hiatus—thanks for coming! The Tower has been silent for too long. During the past year, I’ve been so occupied with huge writing projects that no time or energy was left over for small ones. Lots of good things came out of the past year — Hoard of the Dragon Queen and The Rise of Tiamat for Kobold Press, and a trio of Fifth Edition books published by Necromancer Games: Fifth Edition Foes, Lost Spells, and Quests of Doom. But now that those massive projects are wrapped up, the light is flickering again atop the creepy tower at the dismal end of the valley, and eerie wailing can be heard wafting through the pre-dawn mist again.

This six-part series of columns will be aimed squarely at RPG players instead of GMs. Gamemasters have reams of material to peruse when they want advice on how to do their jobs better, but the pickings can be slim where players are concerned. The goal is to help readers develop better roleplaying habits and attitudes so they can get the most enjoyment from their time around the game table.

Just because the advice is aimed at the players’ side of the screen doesn’t mean GMs should look away. They’re sure to find some useful tidbits here, too. You can’t be a good GM without understanding where your players are coming from.

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Collection of Curiosities: The Bard’s Haversack

"Jiro the Kobold" by Pat LoboykoThe entertaining wizard might leave you with some lasting impressions—and perhaps even some strange little items. You can roll randomly for a result below, or use the handy number provided with each entry to figure out your result on a d12. You can also pick the one that works for the area in which your characters currently linger.

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