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Unpacking the Pathfinder Playtest

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Unpacking the Pathfinder Playtest

The Pathfinder Playtest ended November 18th and according to Paizo Inc., it was huge in terms of the number of players and incredibly useful to the designers!

Jason Bulmahn updated players on the findings from the Playtest and thanked them heartily for their participation in a video missive from the Paizo Studio.. He talked about data, surprises, and even gave a few spoilers as to what the final version of Pathfinder Second Edition will be like. 

The Paizo team was very clear that Pathfinder Second Edition will not be identical to the Playtest. The Playtest made bold choices to test various options and players will absolutely experience the game differently when the Second Edition is released in August.

While still being written, Pathfinder Second Edition will add storytelling flavor and polish, provide a better introduction for new players, include more useful GM tools, do away with magical Resonance, and refine the Proficiency system. All of this moves towards making a game that is easier to learn, faster to play at all levels, providing the depth of character customization that Paizo is lauded for, and giving GMs the tools to tell the stories they want to tell. Getting the rules just right allows players to focus more on the story at gaming table.

Even though the Playtest is at an end, the Pathfinder Playtest books still create a fascinating and challenging adventure - especially for any party who might want to gain an deeper understanding of game design, compare their experience with the final version coming this year, and of course explore the vast World of Golarian. The chapters of the Doomsday Dawn adventure take place in many of the same locations as Pathfinder’s previous Adventure Paths, giving a sampling to new players and a sentimental journey to veterans. Let’s be honest, it’s just plain fun. Reach out to your FLGS to see if they still have copies available!

Paizo has plans to make the buying experience special for customers who plan to buy Pathfinder Second Edition at their favorite local gaming store which they plan to announce in March.

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Wacky Gaslands - The Mean Machine

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Wacky Gaslands - The Mean Machine

I'll start out by saying that Gaslands has quickly become one of my favorite miniatures games of all time. It has just about the lowest barrier to entry for a minis game ever, clocking in at a whopping $19 for the rule book at your local game store! From there, you just need some Hot Wheels or Matchbox cars (if you don't have any they are about $1 a pop), some d6, and print outs of the templates in the back of the book and you're ready to start! If you want some higher quality dice and templates, check out your local game store or Gaslands.com to find sellers. There are a ton of resources on the game's official website too, including free updates, printable templates, printable car dashboards for stat tracking, new Sponsors, and lots more.

Seeing all the amazing fan submitted cars for Gaslands in our feature last month, I really wanted to give customizing my own crew a go. So I settled on a theme and started building a three car team from there. Choosing a theme wasn't very hard. The moment I started playing I knew I wanted to make the entire cast of Hanna-Barbera's Wacky Races. And what better to start with than #00, The Mean Machine!

To see how creative I could be, I put a limitation on myself: I had to make my cars from whatever I got out of a $20 Hot Wheels pack with random cars. Unfortunately, I didn't get a car that screamed "Mean Machine" but I did find two cars with parts I could smash together, the Twin Mill and the Salt Shaker.

With a plan in mind, I got to modding. Because this was my first time modding Hot Wheels, I unfortunately was so single-minded in my work I forgot to take pictures (forgive me!). But here's a rough outline: 1. Drill the rivets on the bottom of the cars to take them apart. 2. Strip the paint from any pieces you wish to paint. 3. Drill or cut away any unwanted parts. 4. Primer the pieces. 5. Paint the interior pieces. 6. Glue the car back together. 7. Paint!

"The Mean Machine" sponsored by Idris

"The Mean Machine" sponsored by Idris

The one major piece of modding I did was using a Dremel to cut a rectangle out of the hood out of the Twin Mill to slap a rocket from the Salt Shaker into the empty space. I then used Green Stuff to fill in Dremel cuts and the gaps between the rocket and car. Then I snipped a toothpick and stuck it in the middle of the rocket to give it that signature Mean Machine point. A few major mistakes I made were bending the front wheels and needing to replace them, not supporting the rocket while the Green Stuff hardened because it drooped, and applying primer to inside areas when it wasn't necessary (this made the car not fully snap back together).

Despite those missteps, the end result came out better than I hoped! I really like the dirty paint job, the "gold" pieces that you can tell were hastily spray-painted on parts to make them look fancier, and the way the rocket engine looks like it was just welded into place by an amateur. You'll also notice that there are no visible weapons. Sticking to the theme, Dick Dastardly and Muttley use Nitrous to zoom ahead of the pack and then drop Mines, Glue Traps, and Oil Spills to foil the other racers!   Come back next week and check out my next project: The Compact Pussycat!

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D&D Let's Roll Library and Giveaway!

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D&D Let's Roll Library and Giveaway!

Spending the last month writing and chatting with all of you about Dungeons & Dragons has been incredible. We covered every manual and campaign guide along with miniatures, board games and more to provide a comprehensive look at the hobby and the tools you need to enhance your play experience! To celebrate all the content we created, we've collected it into one easily navigated library so that you can bookmark this page and keep our advice on hand whenever you need it. 

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Chapter 1: Adventuring for Dummies

Exploring the world of D&D through Board Games, Twitch Streams, and the Starter Set!

Chapter 2: Quest Accepted

Ready to roll up a character or hop behind the DM screen? Let's roll!

Chapter 3: Gettin' Mini with It

Diving into the colorful world of miniatures and painting!

Chapter 4: Advanced Adventuring

Enhance your game ambience, table presence, and gameplay experience! 

 Active Player Network has partnered with GTS Distribution to offer one lucky Grand Prize winner the entire library of Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition campaign books including the forthcoming Waterdeep Adventures; Dragon Heist and Dungeon of the Mad Mage.

Additionally, five runners-up will receive will receive a prize package of one already published campaign book of their choice between: Storm King’s Thunder, Hoard of the Dragon Queen, Rise of Tiamat, Curse of Strahd, Princes of the Apocalypse, Out of the Abyss, Tomb of Annihilation, or Tales from the Yawning Portal. Distribution of runner up prizes to be determined by the Sponsors.

How do I enter?

You must like APN on Facebook and interact with the posts we will be initiating over the course of the month.

The number of entries per person made during the period of the D&D Let’s Roll event (running July 30-August 24, 2018) will be equal to the number of likes, public shares, and comments/photos/social contributions made on our Facebook Page in response to the community questions, images, and blog posts we share surrounding Dungeons & Dragons. Comments, images, or videos that contain lewd, crass, or inappropriate content are not permitted and do not constitute entries. Entries must be relevant to the Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game.

Let's talk about D&D!

How do I know if I won?

Winners will be notified by Facebook message on August 27, 2018.  

Complete Terms and Conditions

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Advanced Adventuring: Spellbook Cards

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Advanced Adventuring: Spellbook Cards

Spellbook Cards from Gale Force Nine WILL change your life.

I'm the kind of player who gets flustered when the GM or another player questions whether my spell works the way I think it does. The character sheet doesn't leave you enough room to write down every aspect of the spell and I don't like to grind combat or role play to a halt. I want to do something cool/useful, describe it in the most extra way possible and move on. The more time that passes while I'm flipping through the Players Hand Book and Xanathar's Guide to Everything, the more my soul is slowly crushed and I question my life choices.

Does that spell require concentration? What's the exact range? Is there a duration? What type of saving through does the DM need to make? What is the flavor text on Blight? These are ALL questions that can be answered in the palm of your hand with Spellbook Cards from Gale Force Nine. They come in packs specific to you class, meaning you don't have to weed through every option to even search the things available to you. There are even cards for martial classes and racial abilities if you want to make sure you have everything covered.

I recommend this tool especially if you're playing a Cleric, Paladin, Druid, or Wizard who needs to quickly adjust their spell list every long rest. These cards help you eek out every opportunity for customization and preparation that your class offers without interrupting the fun of the game for your friends at the table. Look for them at your FLGS and don't pass them up!

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Advanced Adventuring: Metallic Dice

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Advanced Adventuring: Metallic Dice

We can't talk about Dungeons & Dragons without discussing a very real threat within the hobby: Dice Addiction. To my knowledge - the only cure for it to gather more dice in fancier materials in hopes that those that have been foretold at last make an appearance and the hunger subsides.

What I can say is that at some point: plastic will no longer satisfy our wanton need for fate touched polyhedrals. We need something that honors the weight of our heroic decisions and Metallic Dice Games offers a large span of metal dice to satisfy your cravings at an affordable price! Whether you want dice that feel like gold nuggets or a set that feels like it got lost in the fey wild, you'll find a shining rainbow of options at your FLGS!
 

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Advanced Adventuring: Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide, Volo's Guide to Monsters, Xanathar's Guide to Everything, and Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes

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Advanced Adventuring: Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide, Volo's Guide to Monsters, Xanathar's Guide to Everything, and Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes

So you've bought your Player's Handbook, Your Dungeon Master's Guide, and Monster Manual for Dungeons and Dragons. You've thumbed through all the amazing campaign guides from Wizards of the Coast. What are these other books you're seeing at your FLGS?

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Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide

The Sword Coast is a region of Faerûn in the Forgotten Realms that comprises shining paragons of civilization and culture, perilous locales fraught with dread and evil, and encompassing them all, a wilderness that offers every explorer vast opportunity and simultaneously promises great danger.

This book serves as a campaign setting guide for DM's but also provides several new backgrounds and options to help players further customize their characters.

Volo’s Guide to Monsters

Learn about some of the most iconic monsters in the Forgotten Realms from the esteemed loremaster Volothamp Geddarm. As a Dungeon Master, this book provides even more background on the behaviors and cultures of these villains so that you can infuse your tales with infinite depth when it comes to beholders, mind flayers, and the yuan-ti, as well as classics like orcs, gnolls, and kobolds. 

This book also opens up new racial options - previously only thought of as monsters - to players on the other side of the table. If you've always wanted to play a goblin, orc, or firbolg, you'll need this book to roll up your new character!

Xanathar's Guide to Everything
 
This is Dungeons & Dragons' first major expansion for fifth edition and it is chock full of new rules and options.

  • Over twenty-five new subclasses for the character classes in the Player’s Handbook, including the Cavalier for the fighter, the Circle of Dreams for the druid, the Horizon Walker for the ranger, and many more
  • Dozens of new spells, a collection of racial feats, and a system to give your character a randomized backstory
  • A variety of tools that provide Dungeon Masters fresh ways to use traps, magic items, downtime activities, and more—all designed to enhance a D&D campaign and push it in new directions

Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes

This is the most recent release from Wizards of the Coast and it reads very similar to Volo's Guide to monsters. We covered some of our favorite featured foes already! This book provides you with more insight into demons, devils and denizens of the Underdark such as drow, githyanki, githzerai, and duergar. It also provides new character races and personality trait tables for character creation for the player perspective. There are further background options for tieflings and elves and more otherworldly choices for character races like githyanki or githzerai.

 

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Advanced Adventuring: Dungeon Tiles Reincarnated

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Advanced Adventuring: Dungeon Tiles Reincarnated

So you've had a wet erase grid for a while and you're ready for some illustrated terrain - but not just any terrain; reincarnated terrain. 

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You've likely seen these in your FLGS and personally I used to just ignore them - I already have a grid to work on. Then I got a chance to open one of these and realized how much I had been missing out. These packs are full of illustrated puzzle pieces in the shapes of curved hallways, staircases, cavernous dining halls, and more. This means you're not drawing a dungeon onto a grid, but actually constructing the dungeon out of these shaped tiles. 

They come in three varieties: Dungeon, Wilderness, and City. You can mix and match all these options to create thousands of unique maps that span multiple environment types. Imagine being a dungeon master with little time to plan and writer's block. You toss the setting appropriate tiles into a bag and then pull them at random to create your layout and reignite your inspiration for the session. Of, of course, you lay them all out on the floor and carefully construct a lethal temple to challenge the adventuring party. The options are truly endless. I seriously need to get my hands on every one of these. 

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Advanced Adventuring: WizKids Trophies, Premium Maps, and Deep Cuts Miniatures

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Advanced Adventuring: WizKids Trophies, Premium Maps, and Deep Cuts Miniatures

It is our last week of Let's Roll and we are going to open the door to Advanced Adventuring! These products all represent ways to enhance ambience, table presence, and gameplay experience. 

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It cannot be stressed enough how much WizKids can partner you in play when it comes to D&D. The first time I saw their trophy heads of beholders, dragons, and mindflayers - I knew I needed AT LEAST one for my game room.

Imagine sitting in your living room as candlelight flickers across the horrible visages of some of the most iconic villains in Dungeons & Dragons as your players drink mead and peruse illustrated premium maps enhanced with three dimensional painted miniature furniture and objects from their Deep Cuts line and music/soundscapes from Sirinscape build the tension. Te

These items are the perfect gift for the DM in your life and they the perfect storm for the senses. 

Show us pics of your best D&D Set up! What are your must have items?

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Gettin' Mini with It: Nolzur's Marvelous Miniatures from WizKids

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Gettin' Mini with It: Nolzur's Marvelous Miniatures from WizKids

There are a lot of options when it comes to choosing D&D miniatures from player characters to monsters, but by far the best option when it comes to accessibility, quality, price, and variety is the Nolzur's Marvelous Miniatures line from Wizkids. Here are 7 things you should know about these minis!

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  • There are over 100 varieties to choose from in different combinations of gender, class, and race so it's unlikely that you'll end your search empty handed.
  • The detail in this plastic line is second to none.
  • You'll also find this grade of plastic much harder than their pre-painted line with affordable prices that will make you want to collect them all!
  • Some even feature spell effects in clear plastic which colored wash brings to life in the blink of an eye.
  • Each miniature is pre-primed with a grey Vallejo primer so they're truly ready to paint right out of the box.
  • These miniatures usually come with two to a package, so when you get your female human barbarian, you have two versions in different positions and slightly different gear to select from or to share with a friend.
  • Each has a molded base and a flat circular standard medium creature sized base to glue the miniature to when it is complete.

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Our Adventuring Party - Rycin Pendragon, Human Wizard

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Our Adventuring Party - Rycin Pendragon, Human Wizard

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Rycin Pendragon, Human Wizard, Chaotic Neutral

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Rycin (who was a street orphan with no knowledge of his parents) grew into a life of swindling and thievery. During one act of larceny, he was caught in the act by a hermetic wizard whose home he had invaded. Rycin killed the old man, who seemed to have very little contact with the outside world. Rycin assumed his surname, becoming Rycin Pendragon, and had stolen an old and well-used tome, from which he began to teach himself the ways of magic, hoping to use these newfound skills to become more effective at his natural trade-- a smuggler for hire.   Recently, upon taking a job from an underworld crime lord in order to pay off a financial debt to him, Rycin was tasked to find an ancient and prized relic. But his trail lead him to the underdark, where he was captured. It was upon this, that Rycin had concluded that he was set up, and double-crossed, as punishment for his outstanding debt. Broke, hunted and vengeful, Rycin now finds himself at ground-zero of his life’s story, but with unexplored powers of magic as his new ally.  

INSPIRATION:

I took a lot of inspiration from characters of the properties I loved, growing up. But there are a few characters, specifically, who went into the creation of Rycin Pendragon:

  • Han Solo (Star Wars)- orphan, rogue, smuggler for hire. Always looking over his shoulder, underground. Here’s a guy who has a job to do – Never mind if it’s above-board or not. He doesn’t ask questions, he completes the mission and gets paid.
  • Stormshadow (G.I. Joe)- Here’s a guy who’s shrouded in shadows. His origins obfuscated, his motives mysterious. When his knowledge hit a glass ceiling, he killed his master, and became ronin.
  • Indiana Jones (Raiders of the Lost Ark)- Trained in classical studies, but with an unquenchable drive for fact (not ‘truth’), Indy soon learned that the ancient artifacts that he unearthed held arcane powers that could sway the struggle between the sacred and profane.
  • Bobby Stickel (Me)- I won’t go into details, but one of the great draws of D&D for me, is that I can infuse some of myself into my character. What those aspects are, I’ll let the members of my party find out along the way…

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Gettin' Mini with It: Nolzur's Marvelous Brush Set, P3 Paints from Privateer Press, and The Army Painter Project Paint Station

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Gettin' Mini with It: Nolzur's Marvelous Brush Set, P3 Paints from Privateer Press, and The Army Painter Project Paint Station

We could spend a thousand years just talking about types of paints, miniatures, and the miniature painting process as an art-form and hobby. In fact, we have several painters on our team. Rather than push you down an overwhelming rabbit hole all at once, I'd like to set you up with some great products that can help you get started on your painting adventure over the next few days!

Today we'll focus on paints and brushes!

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We have discussed our passion for Privateer Press previously in regards to Warmachine: Hordes and we did a Let's Paint video for the "Circle Orboros" starter box. However, Privateer Press also makes a great line of P3 paints and brushes that you can find at your FLGS. They offer a  variety of matte and metallic acrylics, washes, and primers to choose from. While not as exciting as all the pretty colors, don't forget to prime your miniature before you start applying paint or there won't be anything for the paint to stick to and you'll likely lose your precious work. With so many paints to choose from, it's hard to select your first set, but make sure you at least grab you primaries (red, blue, yellow) and white so that you can mix your own base coats and highlights. If you mix your paints on a damp paper towel (called a wet palette), it will preserve the paints longer and make the most of all the pots you purchase. 

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This brings us to brushes! The basics you'll need are a small detail brush, a slightly larger base-coat brush (which doesn't require as much precision), and a dry brush. Privateer Press makes some good brushes along with their P3 Paints and The Army Painter's brushes have really nice grips to help you steady and control your application. However, Nolzur's Marvelous Brush Set from Gale Force Nine should not be overlooked because they sell all three of your basic brushes in one package! 

If you're ready to make an investment in a really great set of acrylic paints, washes, and effects paints, then the Mega Paint Set from The Army Painter is a great option. It comes with a stand to array all of your paints on your craft table as well as one of their triangular gripped brushes. When you're ready to truly expand your primary colors into a spectrum of possibilities, this is 100% a great set to acquire with one of the most recommended detail brushes on the market.

What are your favorite paints and brushes to use?

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Gettin' Mini with It: Pathfinder Pawns

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Gettin' Mini with It: Pathfinder Pawns

Do you want an arsenal of pawns for your RPG's? We can't recommend Paizo's Pathfinder Pawns enough when it comes to volume, variety, and cost!

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The NPC codex is fantastic for all of your humanoid needs, whether you're letting your players choose one to represent them or you need to table a hoard of cultists to face off against their heroes. You'll find all the most common races represented - including halflings and gnomes - of all classes/genders. This is some of the best money you can spend if you're not ready to dive into miniature collecting and the boxes work for easy storage that fits right on your shelf next to your rule books.

Are you looking for monsters or something to represent druid or polymorph forms? Bestiary boxes are your best bet! They have a mixture of classic monsters and animals with beautiful art to match. If you are playing Pathfinder, each box's number corresponds to the bestiary book number so you won't have to guess whether what you're looking for is inside.

Looking to split the difference? The Pathfinder Society Pawn Collection features several humanoid and creature options for your table. These correspond to the Pathfinder Society adventure, but can easily be used for any game.

One of the best parts about these boxes is they come with stands that represent correct size foot prints from medium sized creatures on up to huge so you can be sure you're getting an accurate sense of scale even though each pawn is flat.

Do you own any of these boxes? How are you using them in your games?

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Gettin' Mini with It: Help for Players and Dungeon Masters Who Don't Paint

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Gettin' Mini with It: Help for Players and Dungeon Masters Who Don't Paint

It's Week 3 of Dungeons & Dragons: Let's Roll, which means it's time to get mini with it! Miniatures can be really intimidating for folks who can't paint, but Wizkids has some amazing pre-painted tools that can help you bring battles to life whether you've never held a brush in your life or you just don't have time to paint an army of evildoers to take on your players. 

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Let's start with some products to help non-painting players get started.

Not everyone is ready to dive into painting and WizKids has you covered with pre-painted Icons of the Realms miniatures. They sell them individually or even in starter boxes, so you and your party and all go in on one and share the spoils. They even have Ravnica specific Icons of the Realms coming out so you'll be ready for the upcoming Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica Magic: The Gathering campaign setting!

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Dungeon Master's are fun facilitators in D&D and there's nothing like the moment when the big bad appears on the battle grid and it's time to roll initiative. That's a lot of pressure, painting, and cost placed squarely on the shoulders of the GM - especially if they don't fancy themselves miniature painters.

To that end, WizKids provides prepainted Icons of the Realms miniatures in a "Classic Creatures" box set as well as "Monster Menagerie" boxes with villains and monsters that tower over the Icons of the Realms miniatures, striking awe and fear into the hearts of your players. With these tools, you can build your collection without needing to know how to paint!

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Quest Accepted: Out of the Abyss and Tomb of Annihilation

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Quest Accepted: Out of the Abyss and Tomb of Annihilation

Lastly, we'll round out our campaign breakdowns with a look at two adventures that take you to far flung reaches of the Dungeons & Dragons realms for a completely different experience. 

Choose Your Adventure: Out of the Abyss - Rage of Demons

Leave behind the sunlit vales of Faerun and escape the Drow denizens of the Underdark - a maze of twisted gargantuan caverns where madness lurks around every bend and bioluminescent horrors lay in wait. Something truly terrible awaits you in the darkness where demons threaten to break through to the surface world. This adventure has been described as a subterranean “Wonderland-esque” chase.

Support this adventure with a custom Rage of Demons DM screen from Gale Force Nine and figures for key characters from their Icons of the Realms line.

Choose Your Adventure: Tomb of Annihilation

Ride dinosaurs through the tropical jungles surrounding of Chult and discover the Tomb of Annihilation - a lethal catacomb of horrors and traps that will test bravery, skill, and cunning. Home to the classic Dungeons and Dragons villainous Lich, Acererak, this campaign was inspired by one of the all time best selling adventures: Tomb of Horrors. This adventure is non-stop action from the go with curious villains.

Support this dungeon delve adventure with a custom DM screen from Gale Force Nine and figures for key characters from their Icons of the Realms line.

 

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Quest Accepted: Curse of Strahd and Storm King's Thunder

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Quest Accepted: Curse of Strahd and Storm King's Thunder

So you're ready to play Dungeons & Dragons. You've got your dice, your GM Starter Kit and your Player Starter Kits. What's next?

Adventure awaits! Over the next few days we'll be giving you the skinny on all the published adventures from Wizards of the Coast so that you can decide which one might be right for your party. 

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Choose Your Adventure: Curse of Strahd

Walk the cursed misty streets of Barovia and face the dread vampire Count Strahd von Zarovich. Meet Romani bands, battle alongside vampire hunters, and risk becoming damned yourself as you explore the halls of Castle Ravenloft and discover what lays hidden in the darkness.

This fantasy-horror adventure covers levels 1-10 and is not for the faint of heart.

Check out Gale Force Nine's awesome campaign accessories. Tarokka cards are used by a key non-player-character, Madam Eva, and help the GM determine the party's part in several story milestones. They created a physical set for use with Curse of Strahd and they bring a spark of magic and immersion to the table that players won't soon forget. They also developed a campaign specific DM screen to help guide your adventure as well as miniatures to represent several key characters.

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Choose Your Adventure: Storm King's Thunder

The Storm Giant King is missing and all the elemental Giant factions fall into a curious war, destroying towns and disrupting the lives of the small folk in Faerun. You band together with a group of heroes sworn to uncover the mysteries behind the conflict, uncover magical artifacts, and evade the ruthless Uthgardt barbarian tribes that haunt the Frozen North.

This adventure runs from Level 1-11+ and draws inspiration from folk tales and Norse mythology.

Gale Force Nine kills it again with Storm Kings Thunder Accessories. From their GM Screen to the Icons of the Realms line of miniatures from Wizkids, it's easy to enhance your table.
 

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Quest Accepted: Player Starter Kit

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Quest Accepted: Player Starter Kit

Yesterday we covered everything a DM needs to start their journey, but what about the players? Let's run through what our heroes need before their epic saga can commence!

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The very first thing you'll need is a Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition Player's Handbook from Wizards of the Coast. This is your guide to choosing your race (ie. Dwarf, Human, Elf, etc.), selecting your class (ie. Paladin, Monk, Wizard, Bard, Fighter, etc.) and leveling up throughout the game. If you're new to role playing, it has insightful tips, backgrounds, and traits for you to choose from that will help you bring your new character to life at the table. You'll also have a quick reference for spells and rules to keep you on the road to victory!

One of the best things I can recommend for you in to get yourself a Character Folio from Ultra Pro. This paper character sheet could be with you for a night or five years and you want to make sure that you're keeping it fresh and out of harms way. While you can absolutely find resources for phone apps to house your character sheet, Dungeons & Dragons is about being together and unplugging from the outside world so you can go on an adventure. Each of these folios comes with clear sleeves for your character sheet and notes. Erasing your HP during combat and the repeated wear and tear of changing your stats as you gain levels can cause you to have to refresh your character sheet and re-write in all of your stats on fresh paper. You can reduce that by using the folio and tracking your combat stats with wet erase marker on the plastic sleeve, meaning you only have to erase or add notes when you're leveling up or gaining/selling/losing magical items. These folios come with all sorts of art from the D&D books, so you can choose something that inspires you and get rolling!

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Best Tabletop Gaming Accessories

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Best Tabletop Gaming Accessories

The right gaming accessory can change the entire experience of the game itself - whether that's organizing the components of your favorite game, protecting character sheets and cards, or even just enhancing the ambience of your gaming table. Our APN Team rounded up some of their favorites to share with you this week!

Jayme B.

Ultimate Guard Digital Life Pad

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Not every game has perfect player aids; and I learned early on that creating my own can foster a much better play experience for the other folks at the table. (Nobody needs to sit and watch me rifle through a manual when I forget my turn options or the sequence of play.) The new digital life pads from Ultimate Guard provide a clean, eco-friendly, digital solution to my desire to take notes or create cheat sheets for myself, all while leaving my cellphone OFF the table and therefore eliminating distractions. They come in 5” or 9” sizes, have a stylus that is comfortable to hold and write with, and are affordable enough that I think I might pick up a few extras just to have them on-hand for guests at game night!

Ryan

Playmat of Choice

I still remember the first time I used a playmat. I was new to the World of Warcraft TCG, and had picked up a starter product that included several booster packs, a deck-box, and a playmat (the Scourgewar Epic Collection, for you old-timers out there). At first, gathering around the kitchen table, my friends and I thought, “cool art I guess, but gosh what a silly product, why would people spend money a giant mouse pad?”. Then I actually used it: wow, what a difference! The soft nature of a playmat makes picking up and manipulating cards during play so much easier and more natural. Ever try to pick up a card laying flat on your table, and end up just opting to slide it off the end to avoid constantly picking at the edges of the card? Never again once you use a playmat! Now I never head to my FLGS for TCG nights without a playmat in the car, and 9-times-out-of-10 will even opt for buying optional playmats for my board games when they’re available. And that cool art I mentioned before? That’s just a bonus. 😊

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Matte Sleeves

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This will come across as perhaps the most mundane of items to call “life changing”, but not unlike my take on playmats above, I wasn’t always a believer. As I explored the trading card game scene more many years ago I came to understand that card sleeves were so much more than what most see as a way to “protect your investment” (though they do that too). For me, I quickly realized what a difference sleeves made when shuffling a deck of cards, be it in TCG matches where it’s a constant element of the experience, or even in board games that are card-heavy (especially deck-building games!). From there, there were what felt like an overwhelming number of options: What do I buy? What brand? What size? What finish? Art, or non-art? All of these questions have answers (and some of them more important than you may realize!), but generally speaking I found that matte finish sleeves were the ones for me. Not only do they look super sleek on the table, they feel great and shuffle smoothly as well. I find myself often going back and forth between Dragon Shield’s matte line, or Ultra PRO’s Eclipse line. Can’t go wrong with either!

Jayme C.

Ultra PRO: Dungeons and Dragons Character Folio

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Recently I’ve jumped into playing Dungeons & Dragons for the first time, and I am super pleased with these character folios. Being able to organize my character sheet and spell cards all in one place at my fingertips is perfect. As well as having the ability to write on the sheet protectors and easily adjusting my stats makes learning the game a smoother experience. Having extra storage never hurts either for all the supplementary notes I keep accumulating.

 

 

 

Dragon Shield: Playmat – Limited Edition

Out of all the fantasy creatures, dragons are my absolute favorite. Arcane Tinmen knocks it out of the park with their limited edition playmats. The playmats have stitched, rounded edges and absolutely beautiful artwork. They come with a collectible coin, in either gold, silver, or bronze. With gold being the most rare and bronze the most common. A fun addition is that you can use the coin with the notches on the case to track your life total, and the coin itself is a very comfortable weight. With the huge range of colors available you can bet I have a nice hoard of these playmats! 

Justin

Board Games Sleeves by Arcane Tinmen

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I am the crazy gamer that sleeves everything. The idea of a card game getting all bent up, chipped on the edges, and coated in snack dust is enough to give me nightmares. I used Dragon Shield sleeves for years (also awesome and made by Arcane Tinmen) but they were just a little too rigid for my liking. So I tried out the Board Game Sleeves and instantly fell in love. They are durable, non-glare and shuffle smooth all while being pliable and stackable how I want. They also come in every board game card size you can imagine. Definitely the best sleeves to get IMHO.

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Introducing D&D: Let's Roll

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Introducing D&D: Let's Roll

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We are thrilled to announce that for the next four weeks we are going to featuring a veritable hoard of Dungeons & Dragons content here at Active Player Network!

On Monday, July 23rd, 2018, Hasbro CEO and Chairman Brian Goldner pronounced this year the best in the game's storied history - and we couldn't agree more! In fact, this month we are going to invite adventurers new and old to the table so that together, we can explore this amazing hobby one tool at a time and make sure you have everything you need to join the throngs of rabid RPG enthusiasts and of course,  that D&D veterans to can discover new ways to improve their experience. 

Each week will have a theme featuring products and exciting content! 

Week 1: Adventuring for Dummies

Getting started with Dungeons & Dragons can be very intimidating. We will explore all the board games published by Wizards of the Coast and how they are great entryways for each campaign published by Wizards of the Coast.  These games can help you explore the many realms, features, and characters of the Dungeons & Dragons universe without the staggering time commitment the RPG demands. We'll also cover the 5th Edition Starter Set and it's pre-rolled characters for the adventure The Lost Mine of Phandelver. 

 

Week 2: Quest Accepted!

Now it's time to make sure you have everything you need to start playing, whether you're a Dungeon Master or you're rolling up your first character. We'll also give you some insight into the amazing campaigns published by Wizards of the Coast so that you can choose your own adventure!

Image from  The Curse of Strahd

Image from The Curse of Strahd

Week 3: Getting Mini with It

Owlbear from  Nolzurs Marvelous Unpainted D&D Miniatures  by  Wizkids

Owlbear from Nolzurs Marvelous Unpainted D&D Miniatures by Wizkids

We'll be sharing tips and tricks for building and customizing your miniature collection whether you're a proficient painter, a DM who needs to collect a lot of miniatures quickly to build out their campaign, or you want to find great options for pre-painted products. 

 

Week 4: Advanced Adventuring

Want to take your adventuring to the next level? From customized maps and miniature decor, to ambience for your game room, to Spellbook Cards for all your characters, we've got you covered with all the accessories you can collect to ensure the best quest. 

Spellbook Cards by  Gale Force 9

Spellbook Cards by Gale Force 9

That's not all! Starting on Monday July 30th, we will be starting our D&D: Let's Roll Giveaway!

We want you to GET INVOLVED in D&D: Let's Roll. For participating in our weekly conversations and content with likes, public shares, and comments on Facebook, we'll be entering you for a chance to win the ENTIRE Dungeons & Dragons Campaign Library - including the upcoming Waterdeep Adventures: Dragon Heist and Dungeon of the Mad Mage. All this loot could be yours!

For more information on how you can win, click here

Let us be your guide to the amazing world of Dungeons & Dragons. What say you? You bring the dice, we'll bring the discourse. Let's Roll!

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Gen Con Survival Guide

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Gen Con Survival Guide

With Gen Con on the horizon next week, there are tons of gaming enthusiasts frothing at the mouths to hit the con floor and drown themselves in their favorite hobbies. For some attendees, this is a yearly pilgrimage, but for others, this will be their first time experiencing the incredible rush of one of the most classic gaming events in the continental US. No matter what, everyone needs a plan so that they can stay healthy and make the most of their time in Indianapolis. We have put together some gaming convention survival tips from some Gen Con and Gaming Convention Veterans to get you started. Leave your advice in the comments!

Jayme B. - APN's Marketing Analyst

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  • Avoiding Con Crud: I take a Zinc supplement every day for a week before and also during the convention to give my immune system an extra defense against germs. In addition, I carry my own personal hand sanitizer to use after touching any demo games, and implement the fist bump as an alternative to hand-shakes when greeting people (which is a trick my friend Gil from Formal Ferret Games taught me). Since my voice tends to peace out around the second or third day of most cons, I’ve also started carrying Vitamin C drops that double as throat lozenges to use throughout the show.
  • Meal Prep: Taking an hour or more to get lunch at Gen Con isn’t always an option with so many exciting things to see and play, and the food choices in the immediate area don’t always fit my dietary restrictions to begin with (vegetables and non-fried options can be hard to come by). That being said, skipping meals is a NOVICE mistake, and can be avoided easily by taking some extra time to prepare in advance. 

Every year, when I arrive in Indianapolis, I take an hour or two to walk or uber to a nearby market and purchase some food to keep in my hotel room, and some to carry with me in my bag at the show. By ensuring that I have fruit/vegetable juice every morning before hitting the hall, I know I won’t be toast by noon, and I usually take about 30 minutes to run to my hotel to make a sandwich in the afternoon instead of waiting in long lines at one of the busy lunch spots near the convention center. I also pack protein bars, nuts, and clementines in my purse in case I start to feel peckish throughout the day. It might seem excessive, but it helps keep me functioning at a high level for days on end.

  • Water: Hydration is just as important as nutrition, and if you’re doing it on a budget, bringing your own reusable water bottle is a smart way to ensure you stay hydrated. There are bubblers installed throughout the convention center, and I find that simply carrying my thermos with me and filling it up whenever I pass one prevents nasty headaches that I get when I don’t drink enough throughout the day. Plus, more bathroom breaks = more hand-washing, which never hurts.
  • Sleep: I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but most people don’t realize that less than 7 hours of sleep a night is technically sleep deprivation. While it can be super tempting to stay up into the wee hours of the morning to party, game, or both in the company of friends you don’t see very often, your brain will absolutely turn to pudding if you don’t get enough recovery time in between all the fun. I FORCE myself to budget 6-8 hours a night, depending on my wake-up schedule, and in order to help me create a restful environment at the noisy hotel, I carry a portable sound machine with me when I travel (less than $20 online), and meditate before bed to help me unwind from the day’s activities.

Justin - APN's Marketing Support Specialist

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  • Herding the Cats – FACT: If you are going to the convention with friends, you’re going to spend 700% of your time trying to decide what to do next. Or waiting on someone because you’ve turned your hotel room into a clown car and the last person finally got out of the shower at 4pm (on that note, please shower). My math might be a little off on this, but the sentiment holds. For sanity’s sake, come up with a designate time and place to meet your group if you get separated, because nobody is going to have cell service at the con. And you can just get so much more done if everyone ventures off to do their own thing without having to worry about if they’ll ever see each other again.
  • BGG Hot Games Room – The exhibit hall is craaaaaazy busy on Friday and Saturday. The booths are just absolutely packed. The awesome vendors are answering questions about their new and old games and trying their hardest to whip as many people through demos of games as they can. So I head through the hall on Thursday checking out everything I can, make note of the games I’m interested in, and play them at my leisure in the BGGHGR Friday or Saturday afternoon. It’s only $2 for two hours there and it has demo copies of just about every new game being released at GenCon.
  • Energy Drinks are Not a Food – Believe me, I know how tempting it is to power through the weekend without eating or sleeping. It’s the Best Four Days of Gaming! Why would I miss this?! Next thing you know, you’re the person everyone is talking about because they drank a case of Monster to stay awake, started screaming about seeing Cthulhu fighting the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, then flipped a table in the tournament hall because their face hit it so hard when they finally collapsed. Moral of the story: Get sleep and actual food. You’ll enjoy your weekend that much more.

Ryan - APN's Marketing Content Producer

  • Water/Tea/Lozenges/Vocal Care
    • Semi-related to common suggestions to stay hydrated (which is still of course incredibly important, especially at these summer shows), I always make a point to keep something, if not multiple things, on hand to care for one’s voice. As anyone who has attended big conventions before will attest to, the exhibit halls/gaming halls/common areas/restaurants/sidewalks/you name it generate some incredibly high decibel noise, and as a result, you’ll often find your voice getting hoarse before you’ve even realized that you’ve had to spend the last four hours shouting in order to carry on even normal conversations.
  • Food Recommendations
    • There’s SO MANY GOOD OPTIONS within walking distance of the ICC. Everyone has their preferences; here’s a few of mine:
    • The Ram: There’s actually a couple Rams locally to me in Boise, so while not the most unique place ever, they always partner up with Privateer Press to do a totally unique Warmachine/Hordes-thematic menu (same food, just fun names) and decorations. Very cool.
    • Georgia St Food Trucks: Everything here is great if you’re willing to brave the lines in the heat!
    • Rock Bottom Brewery: I’ve never had anything bad here, and always try to make it for at least one meal.
    • Steak & Shake: Let’s be honest, you’re not going here for a great meal. But when you’ve lost yourself in gaming all night and suddenly realize it’s 3am and you need to eat something, this is a close, inexpensive option.

Jayme C. - APN's Marketing Manager

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  • Good walking shoes – You are going to be on your feet a lot. You’ll be raking up the miles hoofing it from one end of the convention to the other. Having footwear that won’t leave blisters and offers support is what I consider a must have. Even with good shoes, there will still be aches and pains, so I enjoy soaking my feet at the end of the day and then propping them up to relax. Stretching is another thing to keep in mind to help with the general con-aches.
  • Snacks – This almost goes hand in hand with water, but conventions are expensive and if I have a granola bar, trail mix, or crackers of some kind, I can snack on those in the down time while still at the convention. It doesn’t replace real meals, but if I find myself getting a bit short tempered or annoyed, I’ll check to see when was the last time I ate anything because let’s face it, being hangry is a real thing. Snacks can also help with that extra energy boost you need to make it to your next meal.
  • Emergency supplies – I pack a ton of stuff with me, and for this bullet point I would specifically include the following: floss, gum, mints, lozenges, safety pins, eyeglass cleaning wipes (no one wants a smudge on their glasses!), hand sanitizer, Kleenex, napkins, band aids, chap stick, hand lotion, pen/pencil, small note pad, Tylenol/aspirin, and nail clippers. Who knows if you or your friends will find themselves in a pinch after lunch and need that floss or mints? Better to be prepared and not need it, than suffer all day after a delicious  pulled pork sandwich!
  • Mobile Power Bank – So much of what we do these days includes our phones. Yeah, the Wi-Fi may not be the best, but between messaging friends to arrange a meetup or searching for that one restaurant everyone recommended, there is a good chance your phone’s batter will start to decline. Not having to be tethered to a wall waiting on your phone to charge can be a great thing, so I have a power bank that will get me and a few friends through the day if they need a recharge.
  • Germ manners – No one wants con crud. Personally I am very pro hand washing every time before eating and every restroom stop. I try to be actively aware to not touch my face/eyes unless I just washed my hands. Also sneezing and coughing into the crook of my elbow or tissue if I have it on hand. While I’m not usually a germaphobe with sharing food or drink with friends, at conventions I’ll be a bit more of a miser unless I can cut off or break my food off or there are multiple straws. And did I mention hand washing?
  • HAVE FUN – It’s a lot to take in, lots of people, excitement, and events, and everyone wants to do the most they can. Having an open attitude of knowing somethings will not go as planned and trying to keep a positive outlook will go far for the overall convention adventure. There can be stress and logistic issues, so making sure to give yourself enough time in your schedule will also help. But at the end of the day, everyone is there to share in their love and passion of gaming, and that is truly an astounding experience!

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