Pardon the mess…we just moved!

You’ve probably noticed that Pen & Paper Tavern is looking a bit different these days. That’s because I’ve decided to switch from Ghost back to WordPress. The new platform offers more flexibility, like better file hosting and galleries, so it’s a move for the better.

The image migration is still a work in progress, so bear with me on that front. I’m tweaking things here and there, but once it’s all sorted, I think you’ll like the new setup.

In the meantime, feel free to dive into some of our older posts. Till then, have fun and roll some dice!

Introducing Spellcraft Sessions

Magic in D&D: it’s a topic that’s sparked more debates at the table than I care to count. We’ve all been there—arguing about how a spell should work, getting bogged down in the minutiae of its mechanics, or just wishing it was more… intuitive. Rules as written are one thing, but what about rules as they should be?

That’s where Spellcraft Sessions comes into play.

This new segment on Pen & Paper Tavern is all about dissecting those spells that have us scratching our heads or, let’s be honest, throwing our Player’s Handbooks across the room. We’ll delve into what makes these spells tick, pinpoint where they fall short, and brainstorm ways to streamline them without turning our games into a convoluted mess.

Because here’s the thing: I’m not interested in getting lost in the weeds of arcane jargon. I want my games to flow. I want clarity without sacrificing depth. And I’m willing to bet many of you do too.

So, as we embark on this journey of magical refinement, I invite you to join the conversation. Let’s challenge the status quo, question the sacred cows, and maybe—just maybe—craft some spells that make sense.

Our first target? The ever-controversial Counterspell. But more on that later.

Until then, have fun and roll some dice!

Unveiling the DM FAQ: A Growing Guide for New Dungeon Masters

Hey there, fellow adventurers,

So, you’ve decided to step into the intriguing world of Dungeon Mastering. Fantastic! I can tell you from personal experience, it’s a journey that offers boundless creative possibilities and storytelling adventures. It’s a unique role where you not only play the game but also get to shape unforgettable experiences for others.

To help guide you on this journey, we’ve been hard at work creating a comprehensive Dungeon Master FAQ page. This handy resource has been designed with new DMs in mind, gathering insights from countless dice rolls, character creations, and plot twists.

Our DM FAQ provides a clear path through the varied terrain of DMing: picking your first adventure or one-shot, laying the groundwork for session zero, steering the action during the game, and navigating towards a satisfying conclusion. We’ve also included some special sections on preparing sessions and the art of encounter building.

Each part of the FAQ is packed with answers to common questions and useful advice, aiming to equip you with the knowledge and confidence to step behind the DM screen. Whether you’re prepping for your first session or are a few campaigns in, we’ve got your back.

Remember, being a Dungeon Master isn’t about knowing all the answers or executing the “perfect” game. It’s about crafting a shared story, igniting imaginations, and creating characters and worlds that stay with your players long after the session ends.

Feel free to explore our new DM FAQ page , and don’t forget to share your thoughts! We’re excited to grow this FAQ into something that rivals even the Great Library of Candlekeep (though with fewer restrictions on taking out books).

So, here’s to the start of your DM journey and the continuous growth of our shared knowledge. May your tales be engaging, your characters memorable, and your dice rolls ever in your favor!

The Dawn of a New Era: Coriolis – Wake of the Icons

Greetings, fellow adventurers of the Third Horizon! We have some thrilling news to share with you today. The long-awaited final chapter of the epic Mercy of the Icons campaign, “Wake of the Icons,” has finally been released for the acclaimed Coriolis – The Third Horizon roleplaying game. This is a momentous occasion for all of us who have been eagerly awaiting this release.

A Call from the Dark Space

In the world of Coriolis, dreams and visions are not mere figments of the imagination. They are harbingers of prophecies, omens of the future, and whispers from the dark space of the Third Horizon. A new presence, or perhaps something ancient, is reaching out, and it may hold the answers to the future. It speaks of a prophecy, the Chosen, and the impending Horizon Wars.

Image: Free League Publishing

Wake of the Icons: A Closer Look

“Wake of the Icons” is a beautifully illustrated book of over 200 pages, packed with extensive background information for the Gamemaster. It describes the events that threaten the entirety of the Third Horizon. The expansion includes three scenarios:

  1. “A Song for Kua”: This opening scenario starts with a series of visions, leading the characters back to Kua.
  2. “The Tenth Icon”: The second scenario sets the characters on a diplomatic mission to Sadaal to acquire the Nadir Flotilla as war in the Third Horizon looms.
  3. “The Horizon Wars”: In the final climactic scenario, war breaks out, and the characters must lead the people of the Third Horizon to victory.

In addition to these scenarios, the expansion introduces a metagame where the Gamemaster and the players can play out the fleet movements and clashes of the war. The appendix contains over twenty different ship types that participate in the war of the horizons.

The Third Horizon RPG

For those unfamiliar, Coriolis – The Third Horizon is a highly praised science fiction roleplaying game set in a remote cluster of star systems known as The Third Horizon. It’s a place marked by conflicts and war, but also home to proud civilizations, both new and old. As players, you crew a spaceship and travel the Horizon, exploring the ancient ruins of the Portal Builders, undertaking missions for the powerful factions, and partaking in the game of political intrigue on Coriolis station – the center of power in the Third Horizon. You might even encounter strange beings from the Dark Between the Stars.

The release of “Wake of the Icons” marks a significant milestone in the journey of Coriolis – The Third Horizon. It’s an opportunity for players to dive deeper into the mysteries of the Third Horizon and shape its future. So, gear up, adventurers, for the Third Horizon awaits your exploration!

You can get your copy of “Coriolis: Wake of the Icons” here. Happy adventuring!

This post was written based on the official announcement from Free League Publishing. All information is accurate as of the time of writing.

Discover the Magnificence of Dragons with the Practically Complete Guide to Dragons

Navigating the fantastical realms of Dungeons & Dragons is an exhilarating expedition, but confronting the mythical beasts that rule these worlds can be a formidable challenge. To equip adventurers for these epic confrontations, the Practically Complete Guide to Dragons serves as an indispensable companion. Launched on August 15, 2023, this compendium of wisdom is a vital resource for D&D enthusiasts, regardless of their age or expertise.

Conceived by the master wizard Sindri Suncatcher, the guide acts as a beacon for readers, illuminating the elaborate world of dragon lore. It presents a thorough examination of ten distinct dragon species, outlining their physical characteristics, abilities, behaviors, habitats, and hoards. Sindri’s personal anecdotes and insights offer priceless advice to adventurers, from comprehending the life cycle of the friendly copper dragon to devising tactical maneuvers against a red dragon’s blazing inferno.

The Practically Complete Guide to Dragons is more than an encyclopedia; it’s a portal to a realm of enchanting tales where dragons aren’t just adversaries, but also allies. The guide is a splendid amalgamation of the choicest content from three timeless classics: A Practical Guide to Dragons, A Practical Guide to Dragon Riding, and A Practical Guide to Dragon Magic. This updated edition, steeped in the most recent lore, is a crucial tool for anyone who wishes to immerse themselves in the mesmerizing world of D&D.

Dungeon Masters, both new to the hobby and seasoned veterans, will find this guide to be a reservoir of inspiration. The extensive dragon lore embedded in its pages can breathe life into their D&D campaigns, introducing layers of intrigue and complexity. But the guide’s value extends beyond narrative enhancement; it’s also a spark that can ignite a lifelong fascination for the fantastical and adventurous. It offers a tantalizing invitation to budding dragon aficionados to embark on a spellbinding journey that could span a lifetime.

The Practically Complete Guide to Dragons is also a visual spectacle. Each page is graced with exquisite artwork rendered by some of the most esteemed fantasy artists of our era, encapsulating the awe-inspiring majesty of these magical beasts in all their splendor.

In essence, the Practically Complete Guide to Dragons is not just a book; it’s a guide, a narrative amplifier, a source of inspiration, and a cherished memento for those captivated by the mystique and the allure of the most iconic creatures of fantasy. Set sail on your adventure today, and let the dragons guide your path.

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A Beastly Expansion: The Book of Beasts and The Bloodmarch Now Available for Forbidden Lands RPG

Beware, adventurers! Dangerous monsters and demons have breached the boundaries of the Forbidden Lands. Free League Publishing has announced the release of not one, but two major expansions for the multiple award-winning RPG Forbidden Lands.

The first expansion, “Book of Beasts,” is a beautifully illustrated bestiary filled with deadly creatures and lethal encounters. This new addition features 28 meticulously detailed monsters, each one equipped with its own set of mini-adventures, allowing Gamemasters to seamlessly incorporate these creatures into their campaigns. The book also introduces new gameplay elements, including the ability to harvest resources from defeated beasts and use Lore skills to gain insights into a monster’s strengths and weaknesses.

Expect to encounter beasts such as the Amphibian, the Basilisk, the Iron Dragon, the Twisted Ent, and many more. Andreas Marklund and acclaimed Swedish fantasy author Erik Granström penned the “Book of Beasts,” with illustrations by Henrik Rosenborg and graphic design by Niklas Brandt.

The second expansion, “The Bloodmarch” takes players into the volcanic region west of Ravenland, a land of battle-hardened horse riders and secretive dwarves. This ancient region is undergoing rapid changes due to a demonic vegetation spreading across the land. This red curse is seen by many as a threat, while others view it as a necessary evil or even a boon.

“The Bloodmarch” also introduces the “Legacy of Horn” campaign, which sets players on a quest for Horn’s Astra, legendary artifacts said to either halt the demonic growth or ensure its triumph. Erik Granström, the lead setting writer for Forbidden Lands RPG and designer of the game’s first campaign module, “Raven’s Purge,” is the author of “The Bloodmarch.” The expansion is also illustrated by Henrik Rosenborg.

Both expansions are now available in print, PDF, and virtual tabletop formats in the Free League webshop, on DriveThruRPG, and will soon arrive in hobby stores worldwide.

About Forbidden Lands:

The Forbidden Lands RPG is an open-world survival RPG that puts a new spin on classic fantasy role-playing. Instead of being heroes on predetermined quests, players take on the roles of raiders and rogues striving to leave their mark on a cursed world. The game involves discovering lost tombs, battling horrifying monsters, wandering the wild lands, and building strongholds to defend against the dangers of the land.

Forbidden Lands has received numerous accolades, including four ENNIE Awards in 2018, and it was voted Best RPG at the UK Game Expo. Geek & Sundry recognized it as one of the best RPGs of 2018, and Tabletop Magazine described it as a mix of “classic D&D game” memories with a touch of “bleak Scandinavian darkness.”

With these new expansions, the dangerous and exciting world of Forbidden Lands continues to grow, offering even more thrilling adventures for rogues and raiders. So, sharpen your swords, gather your party, and venture forth into the Book of Beasts and The Bloodmarch.

Navigating the High Seas: A preview of PIRATE BORG

Ahoy, mateys! In the realm of tabletop role-playing games, a new star has risen on the horizon, and it’s a briny, gritty, and downright thrilling one. Called PIRATE BORG, this role-playing game (RPG) is a treasure trove of adventure, intrigue, and good old-fashioned pirate chicanery.

Image:Free League Press | Limithron

Created by Luke Stratton, a.k.a. Limithron, PIRATE BORG allows players to fully embrace their inner buccaneer. The game’s tagline perfectly encapsulates its spirit: “No prey, no pay.” It’s all about getting your hands dirty, living on the edge, and plundering to your heart’s content.

The world of PIRATE BORG is a place where scoundrels thrive and fortune favors the bold. Find a ship, recruit a motley crew, and set sail for the high seas. From raiding and pillaging to upgrading your ship, fleeing from terrifying sea creatures, and hunting for hidden treasure, this game offers a bounty of opportunities for high-stakes escapades.

Image:Free League Press | Limithron

One of the exciting aspects of PIRATE BORG is the strategic depth it offers. Beyond the usual RPG character building and adventuring, there’s a strong emphasis on ship-based combat and upgrades, making the naval aspect just as critical as your ground activities.

Image:Free League Press | Limithron

The game comes in a 166-page book that includes eight character classes, easy-to-learn naval combat rules, stats for 18 vessels, 80+ NPCs & monsters, and 90+ system agnostic tables. It also includes The Curse of Skeleton Point, a sandbox-style adventure teeming with pirate-themed locations. Each page is brimming with the love and attention to detail that Stratton is renowned for, making the book a gem in its own right.

Image:Free League Press | Limithron

Luke Stratton, known to many as Limithron, is a creator with an enduring fascination for the Golden Age of Piracy. His journey into the world of RPGs was born out of a need to pivot his career during the pandemic. Starting with creating pirate ship battle maps on Patreon, his passion and creativity quickly garnered a strong following. Now, he is the proud author and illustrator of PIRATE BORG and Limithron’s Guide to Naval Combat for 5th Edition.

PIRATE BORG is a testament to Stratton’s dedication to his craft and his love for the pirate genre. It’s an immersive RPG experience that promises countless hours of excitement, danger, and, of course, treasure hunting. So, load your cannons, hoist the Jolly Roger, and set sail into the world of PIRATE BORG.

Exploring the Depths in Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk

Today we are taking a glance at “Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk“, an upcoming addition to the Dungeons and Dragons universe that will take adventurers on a new journey from level 1 to 12. This expansion promises a gripping foray into the world of dark cults and inscrutable mysteries and should not be overlooked by those who have a fondness for a well-structured D&D dungeon crawl, infused with a contemporary element of horror.

Setting the Scene

This adventure sets sail in the well-recognized locale of Phandalin, a favorite from the classic Lost Mine of Phandelver. But tranquility is short-lived as a malevolent cult shadows over this peaceful town. Players will find themselves delving into the depth of the narrative and into the ominous, perilous Underdark.

A Journey Into the Unknown

The Shattered Obelisk beckons you into the intricate maze of the Underdark, amplifying the stakes for veterans of the Lost Mine of Phandelver. Expect escalated challenges that will test your party’s fortitude and strategic competence to its limits.

This expansion brings with it a trove of new additions. Close to two dozen fresh creatures, bearing psionic magic and mutations, enrich the bestiary, providing a host of new obstacles for your party. The expansion also offers a magic appendix with innovative consumable metamagic items and duergar magic, ensuring a wide array of valuable tools to aid your journey in this ominous and demanding environment.

Release Details

The much-awaited “Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk” is scheduled for release on September 19 and will be available on DnDBeyond in two formats – Digital only and a Digital + Physical Bundle. We also urge you to visit your Local Friendly Game Store (LFGS) to snag the collector’s edition cover.

This meticulously crafted expansion offers a novel blend of high fantasy and traditional D&D, making it an essential addition to every role-player’s collection. Have fun, roll some dice!

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Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants – A Journey into the World of Giants in D&D 5e

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition continues to expand its horizons with the upcoming release of “Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants“. This new sourcebook, available for pre-order on D&D Beyond, promises to take players on an epic journey into the history, myth, and society of giants, some of the most iconic creatures in the D&D universe. Pre-ordering the book also unlocks the Prehistoric Gemstone dice set, character sheet frames, and backdrops based on the book.

Who is Bigby?

Bigby is a legendary wizard known for his hands-on spell invention. An associate of Mordenkainen and a member of the Circle of Eight, Bigby is known for inventing many handy spells, several of which were used in the Realms. Despite his death, Bigby’s influence continues to be felt in the Realms, with his spells being widely used and his name recognized by many as one of the most magnificent wizards of all time.

Giants in D&D History

In the Dungeons & Dragons universe, giants have been a staple adversary since the game’s inception. They were first introduced in the original D&D boxed set in 1974, and have been present in every edition since. Giants are typically depicted as humanoid creatures of exceptional size and strength, often with a distinct culture and societal structure.

In the fifth edition of D&D, giants once again play a significant role. The Ordning was shattered, leading to chaos among the giants and providing a major storyline in the Storm King’s Thunder adventure. The fifth edition also reintroduced the concept of giant runes, magical symbols used by giants that had been largely absent since the first edition.

Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants

“Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants” is a comprehensive guide to the realms of giants in the worlds of Dungeons & Dragons. Narrated by Bigby the Great and the demigod Diancastra, child of the giants’ All-Father, Annam, the book unveils the secrets of Annam’s mighty descendants. It delves into unrevealed giant lore, including an overview of the hierarchical structure of the ordning, giants’ religion, and ideas about giants’ organizations and societies across the multiverse.

Player Character Options

The sourcebook introduces a wealth of giant-themed character options. Players can choose a new barbarian subclass, The Path of the Giant, and explore the vast world of giants with two new backgrounds. Additionally, there are eight new feats that allow players to unleash runic magic and wield elemental power, further enhancing the giant-themed gameplay experience.

Monsters, Treasures, and More

Dungeon Masters are in for a treat with over 70 new monsters and other enormous creatures to add to their encounters. The book also includes a wondrous collection of over 30 magic items, including three illustrious artifacts. These new additions promise to bring a fresh layer of excitement and challenge to your D&D campaigns.

Tools for Dungeon Masters

“Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants” offers a plethora of tools for Dungeon Masters. From lair maps and detailed lore to adventure hooks and encounter tables, the book provides everything you need to bring giants to life in your campaigns. The sourcebook also includes treasures and giant roleplaying inspiration, offering endless possibilities for creating engaging and immersive giant-themed adventures.

Pre-ordering on DnDBeyond grants you Early Access to the digital version of ‘Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants‘ starting from August 1, 2023.

Secure your pre-order from your Friendly Local Game Store (FLGS) today to receive the exclusive alternate cover edition of ‘Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants’.


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