The Return

Wow! Life really can get away from you if you let it. It has been almost a year since my last update and it is time to light the forge once more. Things have settled here and we have shifted into our new normal. My plans for this have changed somewhat. This will be a place for me to share all of what I am doing in the hobby, not just D&D. Miniature painting, 40k, VTM, etc.

Leave of Absence

I have a hard time believing that my last post was 3 months ago, but here we are. A lot has been going on that has contributed to taking time away from my hobbies. However, that is life when you are a family man with a job. Poor excuse though.

I work in higher education and when a new semester starts it is always a hectic time. However, this year I ended up switching to a new job in the middle of all that. I’m still in IT for a higher ed, but it’s just a bigger institution than I was at. A better work environment as well.

Now that all that has settled I can get back on this horse. I have different things planned. More that just DnD. I’m going to take a stab at twitch streaming. I know I enjoy watching twitch streams so why not contribute  to the community. Also might be a good way to get my son to play some games with me if I stream them right?

West Marches Campaign

So, I’ve been reading about the west marches style of play. I see it as something that would be really beneficial to my family. With our busy schedules it is difficult for us to sit down a play regularly. Between work and extracurricular activities it’s tough to prepare a story/campaign with depth. Now what I can provide is dungeon delving.

To be honest it’s what my son wants. He’s 12 character development is not a priority. He was to find loot. Also it helps me in a way because I just like drawing out dungeons and caves. If they are connected story wise cool and if not who cares?

When I get the idea as a whole fleshed out I share it here. I know this is nothing new to the community as a whole, but I feel like some of you may have some feed back that will be useful.


My family and I just returned home from our vacation a couple days ago. It started out rough, but ended well. We went to our usual stomping grounds of Gulfport, MS. I ate enough oysters to probably put a dent in the population.

The first few days we were there my youngest kid was sick. She was pitiful. Luckily she bounced back well enough to enjoy herself.

Prior to leaving on this trip I was looking up hobby shop/table top place there in the area. I found just that in Biloxi. A pub called The Wayward Kraken. We loved it. Great atmosphere and the food was good and affordable. They had a good selection of games to choose from that you could take back to your table and play. You could bring your own games in and play. They also had a back room with large tables for D&D and Warhammer.

My wife and son wandered back and discovered a group playing D&D. They were great group. Let my son sit with them and watch and even invited us back that Saturday night for another game. Which we did return to spectate.

The DM (Richard if you’re reading this thanks again!) was really friendly and he did a great job. My wife and I learned a lot from watching their game and we really appreciated them being kind enough to let us sit in.

If you are ever down in Biloxi, MS. Stop in at the Wayward Kraken. Sit down have a beer and order the Ocarina of Lime tacos. You won’t regret it.

D&D and Video Games

I love video games (shocker I know). One thing I’ve noticed since diving head first into this table top rpg world is that there are some D&D based video games. Now I remember playing Baldur’s Gate when I was a teenager, but I never really gave the game mechanics much thought. I just played the game. Same goes for Neverwinter Nights.

Now here we are almost 20 years later and I’ve played the games again (nostalgia is a powerful thing) and I have a greater appreciation for them. Baldur’s Gate is slow going almost to the point that it’s almost unplayable (Damn you Skyrim and Witcher! You’ve spoiled me!). However, it helps me understand basic D&D game mechanics and how the rolls work. Neverwinter Nights on the other hand still holds up in my opinion. Yeah the graphics are dated, but the gameplay has a pace that doesn’t leave me wanting to rip my eyes out.

Interestingly enough I had trouble installing NWN. So a quick google search for a fix led me down a path to a free mmo called Neverwinter. I downloaded and played for a few hours last night. The game is visually pleasing but that is about it. Sure the game is free, but it is absolutely full of micro transactions. I get they need to make some sort of income to keep the game going, but it hurts the story (lack thereof as far as I can tell). This also made me remember there being a Dungeons and Dragon mmo long ago. Which is still around and free to play as well (micro transaction included). I’ve never played it, but I’ve not heard much good about it.

Now here we are to the whole point of this blog post. Why aren’t there many good video games set in the D&D universe? I mean my go to answer is “well why make one when you have this amazing table top game that you can make your own?”, but sometimes you just want to be immersed in that sweet virtual world. Now I’m sure I’m probably missing some D&D universe video games (and if I am let me know I want to check them out!). I hope that in the future they can produce some games that are worth the investment.

Rolling a Character

So you’ve decided you want to give this D&D thing a try! You’re ready to go and want to play, but you’ve reached your first obstacle. How do I make a character? I’ve got this character sheet and there are all these boxes and I’m supposed to put numbers in them. Where to the numbers come from? What do I do? If you are like me this can be intimidating. Thankfully, there are several places on the web that can help you out. (Youtube was a life saver for me this time around. Particularly, this video by WASD20.)

Now you maybe thinking to yourself, DwarvenDad why are you writing this article about character creation when so many have already done it? Well it’s more for me than you. I want to write this all out so I know the process better and possibly learn along the way. (I’m sure someone will let me know if I’ve done it wrong. This is the internet.) So lets get started!

Step 1 – Who are you? What’s your background, motivation, goals, name, etc…

You may already have a general idea of what kind character you want to play as. A heroic dwarven paladin who has been sent out with the charge of purging the land of an evil undead presence.

Step 2Select a race and class

Now you can select a race and a class if you haven’t already. If you are having trouble deciding you can let the dice decide. Get a d10 and roll for race. 1-9 are the nine races and if you roll a 10 roll again. You can do the same for class. Get a d12 and 1-12 are the twelve classes. Now you can get some weird combinations so if you don’t enjoy that kind of chaos you can just skip on down to step 3 and let your stat rolls decide your class.

Step 3 – ROLL FOR IT!

6 numbers are needed. (Strength, Dexterity, Consitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma) You can roll 4d6’s and drop the lowest. Now you can just roll 6 times and plug the stats in the fit the class you’ve already selected or you can use the stats in the order you rolled them to decide your class! Example: I rolled a 14/13/11/12/8/12. So the highest stat being STR I should probably be a fighter. Now we go chose our race to help bump up our stat a bit. My CON is lower that I would like for a fight so we’ll choose dwarf as our race. (dwarves get +2 to CON.) So that bumps me up to a constitution score of 13. Now you can take this further and choose between a hill dwarf or a mountain dwarf. Hill dwarves get a +1 to WIS and mountain dwarves get a +2 to STR. So I’m am mountain dwarf. That brings my strength score up to 16!

Step 4Tally up those modifiers!

Now there is a lovely table in the D&D players handbook (p.13 of 5e.)that gives you the numbers to put in for you modifier. I suggest you memorize it and never forget it. You are always going to be using this. So, according to the table our STR score of 16 gives us a +3 modifier. DEX of 13 is a +1. CON of 13 is a +1. INT of 12 is a +1. WIS of 8 is a -1. (our dwarf is a little dim witted.) CHA of 12 is a +1.

Step 5Proficiencies and Skills!

As a dwarf we have darkvision, dwarven resilience, tool proficiency, stonecunning, language (common and dwarvish), and as a mountain dwarf we get dwarven armor training. As a fighter we are proficient in all armor and shields. Simple weapons and martial weapons. Our saving throws are STR and CON. We also get to choose two skills and I’ll pick Atheletics and Intimidation. Also at level 1 you get a proficiency bonus of +2 (so if you are proficient in something is gets a +2), pick a fighting style, and you have the ability second wind. (I pick the fighting style dueling.)

So, there you have it. Your character is all made and ready to go! Hopefully, this will help you in filling out the character sheet. I know at first it can kind of seem a little esoteric but once you know why the boxes are there and where the number come from it makes it all come together. If you feel I wasn’t clear (left something out) or any an questions leave a comment!

Friendly Local Game Store

I took some time off from work this week and spent some off time with my family. My son is growing like a week and he was in dire need of some new clothes (he is officially in bigger sizes that his father). All that is really pointless to the actual reason for this post. While we were shopping for him we stopped at our friendly local game store (FLGS for short).

Now we have only started playing DnD for a few months and it’s an amazing world that opens up around you when you start looking. We have a game store in our community. I had no clue until I started looking for others who played DnD. So, we went by to see what they were all about. Apparently, we had missed out on tabletop day that weekend before. Most of their stock was wiped out. However, the owner was super friendly and helpful. Magic the Gathering is really his primary focus, but he gave the website for his supplier and told me if there are any minis I wanted to give him the number and he’d order them for me.

They also have meetups and lots of events there. He also pointed me to a group of table top gamers that are local. So, it was worth the visit. We even picked up a second players handbook so the wife and I aren’t fighting over the one we had.

If you have a FLGS in your area check it out. Try to support it the best you can. It’s always good to keep your money in your local community if you can. I know sometimes you just can’t, but the more you do the better it is for your local area!