Hands on look at the D&D 5E GM Screen Reincarnated

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I know I’m a little late to the party in my review of the 5e reincarnated DM screen. So let’s get right into it and take a look at what we got. Personally Even with much of the cover art is pretty blank the picture is beautiful. I much prefer the Dungeons and Dragons logo as well as ampersand compared to that of the old 5e symbol on the original GM screen.

So for this review, I’ll be looking at the panels from left to right for my review. The left panel has the most changes overall this product. The tables for NPC characteristics, NPC ideas, NPC flaws and bonds and the Name Generator all have been removed.

In their place, we have a Actions in Combat table that describes in detail everything that a player can do in a combat round. This table covers Attack, Cast Spells, Dash, Dodge, Help, Hide and Ready Actions as well as Search, Use A Magic Item, Use an Object and Use a Special Ability actions.

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We are also given a table with some rules that are not always easy to remember and will save you time looking things up like Long and High Jump, Suffocation and the easiest of all to remember Concentration. As easy as the concentration check is to remember it’s still good to have it here. Additionally, they managed to squeeze in one more little section on this panel for things that you can do in a turn listing everything that a player can do as a little quick reminder.

This panel does have one piece of art and I like it! The art is straight out of the player’s handbook and it is the of “Points of Origin” of Area Spell Effects. I really like this because one of my biggest criticisms of the old GM screen was the art wasn’t helpful and it took up to much real estate on the screen. By comparison, this art doesn’t take up a lot of space and it’s very helpful for a GM.

Myself I actually used these tables fairly often and will be sad to see them go. That said overall the replacement tables that they have put in this panel are a far better choice and if I myself had to make the choice to decide which of these panels to keep I would have gone with the new panels in the reincarnated GM screen as well.

The 2nd panel covers Conditions and is exactly the same as the old GM screen right down to the artwork. Again my complaint on the conditions panel is much the same as it was before. Granted conditions are likely the main thing we will be looking up as a GM’s during a game. I just feel that a panel and a half of the GM screen is just too much real estate for this information. Simply by sacrificing the artwork for the conditions table, they could have condensed a panel a half worth of information into one panel. This would have remained just as effective and we would have gotten more space for use out of this GM screen.

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The new and old GM screen third panels are very similar. The last half of the Conditions Table and the Exhaustion Chart are exactly the same on both of these panels. The only tables remaining the same are the Skills And Ability Table and the Setting A DC table. The tables of Light Obscured Areas and Cover we’re moved to the fourth panel on the new GM screen. In their place, the tables of Damage By Level of Severity, Object Hit Points, Object Armor Class, Setting A DC and Tracking DC’s tables have now taken their place.

Lastly, the fourth panel has changed quite a bit. Gone is my much-disliked artwork of the Tarrasque. This has been replaced by another piece of art comparing the sizes of creatures from tiny, small, medium, large, huge and gargantuan creatures.

The Something Happens table that I really wasn’t a fan of his now gone as well as the Quick Finds table. In my opinion, it is an improvement that they have been removed. The Travel Pace table and Encounter Distance tables have remained. Lastly, we’ve been given two new tables that I think are an excellent addition to the D5e DM Reincarnated screen. These tables are Food Drink and Lodging And Services both of these tables I think will see a lot of use in most players games.

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Runkle’s Ranking

The last GM screen I gave it abysmal 6 to even though I came back earlier and had given an almost to 7, All Things Considered, there’s not a whole lot been changed in this GM screen but it is far more useful I will give this screen a rating of a 13. It’s landscape, it’s useful, it has many tables now that it didn’t have before that will be helpful for a GM. The artwork has been reduced and its overall an improvement over its predecessor. D20 #11-14

So what keeps up with such a low ranking for me? The simple fact that it doesn’t have inserts. it’s only useful for one thing and that is base generic 5e. With Gale Force 9 producing a GM screen for every new campaign setting that comes out. A much-improved GM screen reincarnated would have been a landscape GM screen with insertable sheets. Then we could customize each screen, and every time we ran a particular campaign we could pick and choose the tables and maps that we would wish to add to your particular screen.

Final thoughts

If you already own a GM screen you will be able to make do without this product. If you do not have one this is a better choice over the old one. If you are willing to make your own screen then I would suggest a GM screen with inserts that you can customise.

If you want to pick up one of these hit up your FLGS and grab one or head on over to Amazon to get yours.

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Or if you prefer to pick up a customisable screen you can get one at your FLGS as well or grab one off Amazon as well. I recommend the landscape screen by Hammerdog, You can also pick up a non-landscape version if you prefer or the screen that I use. The Hammerdog Mini.

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R.P.G. Reviews:Dungeons & Dragons Dungeonology

Come fellow adventurers sit with me and feast your eyes on this breathtakingly crafted tome. Dungeons & Dragons Dungeonolgy.

I have the great pleasure and honor to have been given a copy of Dungeonology for review. My first impression of the book was the cover art, the raised Foil image of the Mind Flayer is striking. The oversized style of the Ology line makes you feel like a kid again when you crack the binding and open the book for the first time.

From the moment you open the book, it begins to draw you in. You don’t just read an ology Book you experience it. With a letter from the great Elminster himself to the writing style, this book is written to draw the reader in. You the reader are about to set down the path of a glorious and deadly profession, Adventurer! This guidebook has been written to help you along the way.

This guidebook covers the basics introducing new adventures over the course of several chapters (Pages) to their new profession. 

Each of these pages focuse on elements of what it is like to be an adventure in a Dungeons & Dragons game. From the people you will travel with the the equipment that you will need to survie in the world. 

Allies you can find along the way and the monsters and villans  you will face with thoes companions.

In true Ology book form and like the Pop-out flip books of our childhood almost every page has some form of interactive element to draw you further into the product. Dungeonology is wonderful for young and old readers alike. With a few surprises you might not expect.Trust me I did not expect to find THIS! A nearly two-foot MAP of Volo’s favorite stomping grounds.

The Writing is excellent and the art is beautiful even if largely if not entirely reprinted from other existing sources. The layout is second to none. The book’s pages will stand up to countless flip-throughs. Several of the pages when folded out give the reader two full foot of reading surface when laying flat.

I only have one complaint about this product and that would be the spine of this book. I only have one other Ology book to compare it with but I think it might have been a page count issue. The other books are a slight bit thicker. With the Ology style poster print pages, they take up a lot more space in the books binding. Dungeonology ends up for all of its beauty to have an awkward appearance on the table and feel in the hand because of this. That said it is not a large enough issue to detract from the content within.

 

Like other Ology books in the series, Dungeonology makes a beautiful book for your coffee table to show off your passion for the game you love. It also would be a treasured edition to add to any young readers collection who might be a fan of fantasy books or about to be introduced to the hobby of Dungeons & Dragons. Pair this with the D&D 5E starter  box set as a Christmas gift and you will be giving the gift on a hobby to your children are likely to treasure for a lifetime!

About the Author

Matt Forbeck, an award-winning and New York Times best-selling author and games designer, has been playing Dungeons & Dragons since he was thirteen. After earning his degree in creative writing from the University of Michigan, he embarked on a prolific writing career that included working with the late legendary Dungeons & Dragons co-creator, Gary Gygax. He is the author of the well-received Secret of the Spiritkeeper, the first book in the Knights of the Silver Dragon series. Matt Forbeck lives in Wisconsin with his wife and five children.

Runkles Ranking

D20 #17I give Dungeons & Dragons Dungeonology a 17 out of 20. This would make an excellent addition to your gaming collection and a fine coffee table book to show off to guests. More than that it would make a wonderful companion book to give to anyone as an introduction to the wonderful hobby of Dungeons & Dragons. As well as an excellent gift for children or collectors of the Ology lines of books.

You can pick up a copy by clicking any of the images below. It also helps out my blogs!

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Homebrew Archetype Spotlight Barbarian Path of the Skald

While scouring the internet for Classes,Subclasses,Races and Optional rules to bring to play in my personal game I decided I would bring my followers along. I welcome your input to any classes I list here on your thoughts of balance and what you think of them in general. This like many of the others I am likely to share here in the coming days are not my personal work. They represent the hard work of other gamers and I have found what they have done to be good quality and fitting for my Homebrew game. I am welcoming input for two reasons.

  1. I plan on bringing these items to my personal game. Any thoughts on balance compared to other Archetype offerings are desired.
  2. If in that discussion I find things I missed you and I will have saved my players the grief of discovering it in a game.
  3. This also gives me the chance to “Polish” of my personal setting anything that might come up in the discussion of these Archetypes for my personal use.

I love the concept of the Skald. I have liked the concept of Skalds ever since I first came across the optional Barbarian Variant in 3.5 D&D. I also enjoy the idea of “Battle Bards” In my mind, the majority of Bards never play an instrument. So the Skald helps fill that niche for me. Additional I think the Skald not only fits that roll but fits it well.

So my first Homebrew Extra allowed in Primordia will be Path of the Skald.

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This Path was created by Reddit user fest-

Monday Rainy Monday. Monday Musing 9/12/16

a6b0b700dc0305c8b44fe92a5775010a-d4987paA lovely rainy day greets me today as I sit down to muse. Today like many other gamers out there I am undertaking preparations to run Storm Kings Thunder. The newest adventure line in D&D 5Es lineup. Fitting to muse about Storm Kings Thunder while it’s storming outside.

My first thoughts on the product are that this is an excellent sandbox for my players to play in. My second thought is… Oh my, where am I going to stick this in my personal world! The adventure itself is set in the Forgotten Realms. But I run a homebrew world so placement will be important for my personal game.

The thought of this is very exciting for me and at the same time fill me with a bit of anxiety. As many of you know this is the first time that my players will have the opportunity to leave my homebrews “Motherland” so to speak.  As well as with Storm Kings Thunder being a large sandbox story with plenty of options for the players to travel great distances in their effort to complete the story. The likelihood that this will be the first game campaign that will spend at least part of its time outside of the region of my world where my games have been taking place for nearly 20 years is strong. Hence my anxiety.

But I go into this knowing that I am very pleased with the new regions of the world that I have developed. Even if I do have some anxiety I know it is only natural and I look forward to reintroducing my players to the world of Primordia.

With growth comes change I guess.

Weekend Roundup Feb 26-28 2015

This week was a slow week gaming wise. Normally there would have been a truckload of gaming going on but unlike normal many of our game’s this week did not make.

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Friday I called my Edge of the Empire game. I needed a good break with so much Real Life things going on I just needed to take a session to recover.

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Saturday was scheduled to be our D&D 5E out of the Abyss game. This game also dropped and did not make do with real life reasons as well. Our GM needed a personal day much like I did on Friday.

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My Sunday game did make, Iron kingdoms RPG. In this game, I am playing Tovivar Anvilbock. He is a Dwarf Arcane Mechanic, Feild Mechanic with a light labor jack. This game was my introduction to the group and I spent most of my time tweaking and making final adjustments to my character before my introduction. Not much to rely on this session other than I am chomping at the bit to get back to it in two weeks!

12790955_1044561765603112_4201656670402184799_nOne new piece of gaming news for me and my group. I am now the proud owner of a 3D printer. I have been feeling out the printer and already have had some great 3D print runs. There have been an error or two but thus far I am exceptionally happy with the printer.

I have had the chance to print out a few cool pieces that I will share with you here. I likely will do a longer blog about the 3D printer in the coming days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gaming on the cheep Week 3 Terrain

 

So In this weeks search for cheep game stuff I went in search of Terrain. Again like last week I hit the stores knowing that I was on the edge of that sweet spot for finding lucky deals. The close you get the actual day of Halloween.. the less likely you will get that last min deal on Halloween goodies you can use at your table. Why is that, you would think that the day after this wold be the case. If you’re talking about Halloween candy this is the case. But all of the other things around now are already being pushed out for Christmas stuff.  And Thanksgiving stuff has been pushing deep into the clearance products that Halloween stuff was in only a week before.  Lets not get me started about Both Thanksgiving and Halloween taking the punch to the near trend of Christmas in July to December.

So I got my hands on some great deals this time. Unlike last weeks two dollar find I spend closer to 20 but I made out with a great haul. So what did we get ? Lets take a look
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Not a bad little pile of goodies. I picked up the spooky town fencing at Michaels A&C.  As well as the tombstones and Weeping statue. All for under $15 dollars on a 50% off sale and a half off mark down. The Gazebo and the Mausoleum were a dollar each.  So all in all I got a nice little grave yard for under 20 buck. SO with a little looking and a bit of luck there are great deals out there to be had. Granted it is not Dwarven forge but it also does not come with the price tag of DF. And it looks great along side of it.  So there you go cheep cool terrain that wont break your wallet. SO get out keep your eyes open for deals and have a great games !  Next week Paper Terrain, Fold flats and Isometric maps on the cheep.
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Jack-o’-Lantern

It’s interesting to note that when you do a little looking you come to learn a few cool and creepy facts about Jack o lanterns. First off.. they were the original considered to be the will-o’-the-wisp. So even though they came to represent the chasing off of evil spirits.. They were in the beginning the lights that lead you off to die in the swamps.

So this week were going to talk about one of my more recent favorite monsters to pull out at least once a year in some variation at the table. Jack-o’-Lanterns or Pumpkin heads in all shapes and forms ! It is that time of year and man have I found some scary ways to use Jack-o-lanterns in many different ways to great effect.  Here are a few fun ones I have thrown down over the years. Feel free to steal any of these and bring the Terror to your players !

I will start off with the kid’s Track game I ran a few years back at the local Green Dragon’s Non-Con all night game Night. They are our FLGS in the area and I decided for the early crowd I was going to run a kids game the parents and the early Trick Or Treat crowd. It was a great hit as with each hit of the monsters I passed out candies to the kids. They took on Taffy snakes a Candy Corn Golem. And I also had Jumping  Jack o lanterns attack the players ! The kids loved it as they entered the pumpkin patch and they were assaulted by bouncing pumpkins with Gnashing teeth..
I made them from Skulpy and gave them a bit of a bake and Done !
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Then came the adult game. People going missing during harvest session. Where are they going… Strange noises coming form the old grave yard. Trees feeding on the blood of the living and sprouting strange pumpkin like pods. That rise up out of the ground and attack when the party gets close ! Pumpkin Golem ! Twisted but fun.
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And then inspired by my friends over at Pirate Press and their Savage Worlds Game. Battle for OZ.  ZOMBIE PUMPKINS !! HELL YES ! This was one that I got to play in as much as I am looking to find a way of squeezing it in on my players one day.. Yeah Cats out of the bag now guys sorry.
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Oh yes.. this will happen. Humans planted in the ground and Jack-o-lantern placed over their heads. The vines and such then wrap around the body and make a cool ass zombie!  Oh Boy ! the fun I will have when i get to run this one !