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Otherworldly Incantations Lake Worldbuilding

30+ Lake Features For Fantasy Worldbuilding

Puddle and pond, lake and loch! Welcome back, Outlander, to the 3rd entry in Mythic Ecology, my series on how learning real-world landscape features can enrich our fantasy worldbuilding and storytelling. In this post I return to my minimalist framework for Dungeon Masters, Game Masters, fiction writers, and similar worldbuilders to merge the realms of general myth and geomorphology. Last week we looked at wetlands. As I resume my journey sketching a framework for designing Yridia, my unique D&D 5e fantasy world, let’s learn some lake terms, with a visual guide!

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Otherworldly Incantations Wetlands Worldbuilding

50+ Wetlands Features For Fantasy Worldbuilding

Bog and fen and marsh and swamp, oh my! Welcome back, Outlander, to the 2nd entry in Mythic Ecology, my series on how learning real-world landscape features can enrich our fantasy worldbuilding and storytelling. In this post I return to my minimalist framework for Dungeon Masters, Game Masters, fiction writers, and similar worldbuilders to merge the realms of general myth and geomorphology. Last week we looked at coasts. As I resume my journey sketching a framework for designing Yridia, my unique D&D 5e fantasy world, let’s learn some wetlands terms and processes, with a visual guide!

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Otherworldly Incantations Coastal Worldbuilding

70+ Coastal Features For Fantasy Worldbuilding

Legends writ in Sand, Shore, Sea, and Stone. Welcome, Outlander, to the first entry in Mythic Ecology, my series on how learning real-world landscape features can enrich our fantasy worldbuilding and storytelling. In this post I develop a simple framework for Dungeon Masters, Game Masters, fiction writers, and similar worldbuilders to merge the realms of general myth and geomorphology. As I resume my journey conjuring a unique D&D 5e fantasy world, let’s explore all about coastal and oceanic lands and waters!

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10 Tips On Running a DMPC in D&D 5e

Wolgraff Divinity OS Kickstarter Art
Wolgraff Character Art from Divinity: Original Sin Kickstarter
Dungeon Master Player Characters. If you’ve played Dungeons & Dragons or Pathfinder long enough, you might have encountered a time when a Dungeon Master or Game Master tried to run their own character alongside the party. I’ve thought about this topic for awhile, having run DMPCs myself, and since Wizards of the Coast recently published their guide to running Sidekicks in D&D 5e, I figured it made sense to go into detail. Now, whereas the humble Hireling sidekick is a glorified waterboy played by a Player, a DMPC is a more capable character, perhaps even an adventurer in their own right. I figured I’d give my tips for any DM or GM out there who wants to run a DMPC properly. People like Sly Flourish have addressed at length mostly why you shouldn’t run them, and I recommend getting familiar with that reasoning. But, contrarian that I am, I think D&D 5e can actually work decently well with an occasional DMPC. How so? Well, let’s find out!

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The Breacher Rogue – D&D 5e Homebrew Path

"Infiltrator Is The New Rogue", by Brunofneves.
Rogues at Full Volume. Back from the holidays and having posted my OC D&D memes archive, this week I want to share the initial version of my first homebrew path for D&D 5e Players: the Breacher Rogue, who specializes in blasting open dramatic entrances and exits. I’d love your feedback, particularly on damage scaling, so that next week I can do the full NaturalCrit Homebrewery & DndBeyond postings for this homebrew path. Special thanks to Bruno of Neves for the image permission, and to Falibrand for their Sapper path on D&D Beyond, which I drew inspiration from in working on the Breacher.

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Roleplaying Intelligent Creatures in D&D 5e, P2: Hyper-Intelligence

otherworldly incantations hyper-intelligence
Monstrous Mindscapes. Have you ever struggled to roleplay intelligent creatures and NPCs in Dungeons & Dragons, or to fully understand their thought processes and strategies? After a brief detour in Tactical Roles & Creature Niches, this week I finish my D&D 5e series tackling guidelines for running hyper-intelligence. I detail various aspects of that and articulate how behavioral traits emerge as INT scores progress, concluding with my Intelligence Index graphic. And I flesh out my Intellect Archetypes system more, beginning to envision monstrous mindsets in detail. Using real D&D 5e creatures, not just conjecture. Let’s dive in!

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D&D 5e: Tactical Combat Roles & Empty Creature Niches

Otherworldly Incantations D&D 5e Tactical Roles
Tactical Roles and Creature Niches. Want to play your D&D 5e creatures and characters more tactically? Ever wonder what creature archetypes haven’t been filled yet? Look no further. While I continue to work on my series on roleplaying intelligent creatures, I let my Patrons vote on what to cover in the meantime. This week I introduce a system for mapping physical combat roles, and a handy chart of associated creatures. Theory and practice. Check it out!

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Roleplaying Intelligent Creatures in D&D 5e, P1: Low & Moderate INT

Otherworldly Incantations Monster Intelligence
Monstrous Mindscapes. Have you ever struggled to roleplay creatures in Dungeons & Dragons, or to fully understand their thought processes and strategies? After working on my D&D 5e Resource Compendium the last couple weeks, this week I decided to kick off a D&D 5e series tackling guidelines for running intelligent creatures, starting with low and moderate intelligence then working our way up. I’ve developed an Intelligence Index detailing various aspects of intelligence and articulating how behavioral traits emerge as INT scores progress. And I’ve started an Intellect Archetypes system as well, beginning to envision monstrous mindsets in more detail. Let’s take a look!

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Gamify Your Mental Health: 10 Simple Tools For Gamers & Geeks

Otherworldly Incantations Gamify Mental Health
neo scavenger screenshot Otherworldly Incantations mental health
Gamify your mental health. Last week I wrote about the secrets of difficulty in D&D 5e. This week, I want to talk about a different set of challenges: mental health. I want to explore how gamers and geeks like me can use game mechanics and the psychology of game design to level up our mental health, drawing upon lessons from survival games, RPGs, MMOs, and puzzles. Like a lot of folks, many of us gamers have some struggles in the area of mental health. Yeah, we can tend toward escapism. In fact, I’ll start off with a confession: I myself have struggled a lot with depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem in my life, among other issues. But I’ve had the fortune to learn and develop some mental tools on all this, and I want to share the the best ones with you, in two parts. To start, I’ll run through 10 tools then provide a summary of the gamification concepts at the end. Time to level up your brain!

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Beyond D&D 5e Challenge Rating: 20 Traits of Difficulty, Danger, and Death

dungeonmemer nope
Meme by DungeonMemer
Difficulty, Danger, and Death. Have you ever played Dungeons & Dragons, like D&D 5e, and noticed how Monster Encounter Difficulty becomes increasingly unpredictable at high-level? Ever wondered why? Conversely, ever had a low-level Total Party Kill (TPK)? The traits that really make encounters in D&D 5e difficult or dangerous, don’t always boil down to Challenge Rating. What makes for Deadly Encounters? Using this guide, you as a Dungeon Master can better balance encounters, or just adjust difficulty up or down dramatically. And you as a D&D Player can approach the game more tactically. I contrast Apparent Challenge Rating and Actual Challenge Rating, and discuss Challenge Rating Instability. Beyond just Action Economy Parity, inspired by projects like The Monsters Know, I examine how Supplies, Schema, Status, Space, Structure, and Strategy all shape Game Balance.

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