I’m joining a new Dungeons & Dragons 5E campaign at 5th level, playing the Gambler we designed on Episode 61 of Total Party Thrill. Rasputin Goldfingers will begin his playing career as Bard 3/Warlock 2, with the character concept that he’s made a pact with a fiend for mortal power, but must play a single hand of cards for his immortal soul upon his death. Obviously, he intends to ensure he wins that final hand. I wrote the following vignette as his backstory:
“And so, the bargain is struck, the pact completed!” roars the archfiend joyously, as the halfling’s blood dries upon the parchment. “Rasputin Goldfingers, your soul shall be mine. And sooner than you think, I’m sure!”
The halfling grins, his golden eyes glittering with greed. “We shall see, Avarixhal. As I reckon it, I’ve got a good 60 or 70 years to figure out your tell. If I can’t, then I suppose I deserve what fate befalls me, mate.”
A second cackling joins the devil’s raucous laughter.
As we discussed this week on the podcast, on September 4th, on the Sunday of the PAX West gaming convention, hundreds of fans filed into a theater to watch Chris Perkins, Patrick Rothfuss, and the rest of the Acquisitions, Incorporated cast play Dungeons & Dragons for a few hours. While it continued an annual tradition, this year was a bit different: it was streamed live to theaters across the country via Fathom Events.
Wizards of the Coast was kind enough to send me to a nearby theater to watch the event, so along with a few dozen other faithful nerds, I filed into a theater at 8:30pm. Despite the fact that I’ve never seen a single episode of Acquisitions, Inc., I enjoyed myself, in no small part because I was livetweeting the whole thing. Here is that feed, preserving my bewilderment at the crowd reaction, amusement at dick jokes, and otherwise favorite moments for all time.
Headed to the PAX Acquisitions Inc live D&D screening at Empire 25 in Times Square. Anyone else there? Let me know.
This week, Wizards of the Coast released the much-awaited The Ranger, Revised Unearthed Arcana, in which they took the first pass at a truly redesigned Ranger class. In previous Unearthed Arcana editions, they proposed new archetypes to mixed reception, but this one is actually a rebuild from level 1 to 20, with three subclasses: the Hunter Conclave, the Beast Conclave, and the Deep Stalker Conclave.
Full disclosure: I’m a Ranger critic. As we discussed on Total Party Thrill #18, I love the concept of the Ranger class in Dungeons & Dragons, but I’ve been disappointed with its implementation in 5th Edition. As printed in the Player’s Handbook, the Ranger is a total mess; it’s the weakest of the martial classes in combat, it lacks a niche, and its class-defining abilities are either useless, overshadowed by other classes, or simply less fun in practice than they should be. The Fighter has both trickiness and brute force in combat, the Paladin has better burst damage and party buffs, the Barbarian tanks, the Rogue dominates the Exploration pillar with its Expertise, and the Druid has identical-or-better wilderness and animal handling capabilities. The last hope for the Ranger, his last One Cool Thing, is the animal companion. It’s only available to one subclass, and it happens to be the single worst class in the game by a longshot.
In short, this revision is overdue. Let’s break it down, ability by ability.
I want to take a moment and thank everyone who listened to our preview episode and sent in their feedback. It was immensely helpful, and I-Hsien and I truly appreciate it as we try to make Total Party Thrill the best RPG discussion podcast we possibly can.
All of that effort and kindness has finally borne fruit, as yesterday we officially launched on iTunes, and only a couple days later than we anticipated! Our third full episode (Player-Centric Campaigns & Combat Medic) went up today, and we’ll continue a weekly Thursday release schedule.
Total Party Thrill is a podcast for GMs and players where we discuss our campaigns in order to inspire yours. We draw heavily from a 3-year, level 1-20 D&D 5th Edition Eberron campaign. Each episode covers a particular aspect of game planning and playing, and we share tips and advice drawn from our own experience. Then follow us into the Character Creation Forge, where we build iconic character archetypes from outside traditional D&D using the D&D 5E rules.
You may have noticed a dearth of updates around these parts recently, and that’s because I’ve been hard at work on a new project: a podcast, titled Total Party Thrill.
We’re officially launching our first few episodes on iTunes on August 17th, but I wanted to give a preview of what we have planned. You can listen to a preview of our first episode, “Heists and Swashbucklers,” below:
On Total Party Thrill, my co-host I-Hsien and I will share lessons learned from our recent three-year, levels 1-20 D&D 5th Edition Eberron campaign, pulling out story ideas and inspiration for use in your own campaign, as well as providing more tactile advice to ensure your sessions run smoothly. We also include our Character Creation Forge segment, in which we take a character archetype from popular fiction that doesn’t fit into D&D’s traditional classes and build a character using only the options available for D&D Adventurer’s League. In this preview episode, we discuss Heist encounters and build the Errol Flynn-style Swashbuckler (spoiler: neither of us used the Rogue class.)
I’ve been heads-down recording, editing, and otherwise prepping everything we need in order to launch this project, and I would love to hear your honest feedback. Please feel free to tweet your thoughts to me at @Mundangerous, or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.