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Player Character Spotlight - Armaria Cosplay, Turnfolio Cosplay, and Caketastrophe Cosplay


Player Character Spotlight - Armaria Cosplay, Turnfolio Cosplay, and Caketastrophe Cosplay


One of the best parts of being a gamer is that games and the stories they tell inspire incredible amounts of creativity. Making good on that exchange, are the many cosplayers around the world who bring characters to life at conventions and events throughout the year.

Today you’ll meet three such crafting crusaders! Armaria Cosplay, Turnfolio Cosplay, and Caketastrophe Cosplay chatted with us about how their cosplay identities intersect with their life as active players.

Do you consider gamer an integral part of your identity

Turnfolio: it’s generally just part of things I do as a nerd. 

Armaria: There’s so many definitions of gamer - no matter what you’re into. 

Caketastrophe: Video games, board games - whatever you’re into - it takes up at least half of my day every day. So I would consider myself…yes. (laughs)

Turnfolio Cosplay as Nott “The Brave” from Critical Role

Turnfolio Cosplay as Nott “The Brave” from Critical Role

Why are you a gamer?

Caketastrophe: It gives me a bit of happiness in my everyday life. It’s a constant source of fun and creativity. 

Armaria: The type of games I’m into include a lot of interactive story telling. For me it’s all about escaping reality and living in a fantasy, sci fi, or slightly altered world. I want an escape from every day monotony. 

Turnfolio: I always am here for a good story that allows me to experience the world in a way I don’t normally. You might be limited by your own circumstances, but games open up the world so you can experience something new. 

How does cosplay interact with your gamer identity? 

Turnfolio: This is a way for me to experience the game that someone else is playing and then put myself into it. 

Armaria: The best thing is to bring these characters to life for people who aren’t cosplayers.

Turnfolio: And! It reminds you that while we’re all watching these stories separately - we’re not alone. 

Caketastrophe: it’s really nice when you get to bring a character to life that means something to you and then you get to connect with someone who also enjoys that character and they get to see it close up. It’s priceless. 

Armaria Cosplay as Caleb from Critical Role

Armaria Cosplay as Caleb from Critical Role

How do you balance gaming with your real life. 

Caketastrophe: Eeeeeeerrrrrrrragh. It’s a lot of not prioritizing for me. I have a hard time balancing. I really need to start scheduling my time. With D&D, I have scheduled meetings. Whether or not I campaign prep more than two hours in advance - that’s another question. I run two games right now and participate in three others. I should probably prioritize real life a little bit more…

Armaria: For me, my work time is my work time. My home time is my home time. As soon as I’m out of work - that’s my time to work on cosplay or play a game, or D&D. It’s about all of my escapes and it’s more of a hard line. 

Turnfolio: It’s a matter of finding my creativity and using it as an outlet. I have a serious 9 to 5 job and I am dedicated to it. I use games to recharge and to get out stress and express emotion. It’s a release. 

What significance do conventions play win your life?

Caketastrophe: Conventions offer you a place to connect with people who share similar feelings about games. As a cosplayer, it’s a chance to show off your work - the hours you’ve spent in your craft room swaddled in fabric and trim. And tears. Sweat. Blood. Here, we get to emerge from all that!

Armaria: I’m so bad about finding new board games. But at cons there are all these people asking me to try new things and I find so many opportunities to explore. 

Do you like cooperative games or competitive games?

Turnfolio: I won’t lie. I really like winning. (laughs) I love channelling that into a cooperative game though. We grow up competing - it’s the easy thing. Everyone for themselves - it’s important to get cooperative play in there. 

Armaria: Sometimes it’s nice to compete, but cooperative story telling Is great because it’s about everyone working together to make things better. 

Caketastrophe: Welp, I like sabotage games. Werewolf. Resistance. Social sabotage is cooperative in a deceptive sort of way right?

Caketastrophe Cosplay as Mollymauk from Critical Role

Caketastrophe Cosplay as Mollymauk from Critical Role

What is the relationship between gaming and your mental health?

Caketastrophe: Gaming is a big part of my mental health. Cosplay is a huge creative outlet when I’ve had a bad day. If I don’t want to sew or play games, it’s actually a big sign that I might want to check up on my meds. It’s a good point of reference. Did I make as many costumes this year as last? How long has it been since I went out to play with friends? Gaming and cosplay and cons really help me with my social anxiety. 

Armaria: I work a very left brain job while cosplay exercises my right brain. After so much work and hours of sewing - gaming is my escape from both factors. It keeps me sane. I’m an extreme extrovert so when I’m sewing and crafting alone, I need and crave that social interaction that comes with gaming. 

Turnfolio: Board gaming is also nice for compartmentalizing. They’re so practical and tactical for when I don’t want to deal with stress and emotions. 

How do you find people to play with?

Turnfolio: I suppose it’s whoever looks approachable at cons. In real life, I ask a lot of questions. I find out what people are into and figure out where it matches up. We have to be compatible in a way.

Armaria: Honestly half the time I find people to play D&D with through cosplay. 

Caketastophe: I build solid friendships and then bring games into the friendships. I share a game and then they will share a game with me. Then the friendships build along with the games. 


Player Character Spotlight - Rick Baer


Player Character Spotlight - Rick Baer


At Gen Con last year, I sat down for a chat with Misfit Toys Inc. President and Creative Director, Rick Baer. I wanted to learn about how someone who has made a career out of producing narrative webseries as well as streaming RPG entertainment for Saving Throw Show and Project Alpha prioritizes play in his own life.

“On the video game front, I’ve always been a gamer for as long as I can remember - computer games and Nintendo were staples.”

When asked about whether his gaming pastime is something he shares with his family, Rick described his gaming life as being very separate. The hobby is something he developed on his own. .

“I’m the gamer in the family. There might be occasional board games - classics like Monopoly.”

I was very interested to find out more about why RPGs have really taken over his personal and professional life.

“In terms of tabletop RPGs, gaming has become important to me because the collaborative story telling and world-building is a lot of fun. Anyone becomes a storyteller and writer when they play an RPG which is awesome.”

His passion for story telling is something he describes as intoxicating.

“I do find myself kind of craving it if I haven’t played in a while. I don’t know if you could say I do it for my mental health, but I get endorphins like crazy when I’m playing RPGs - especially if everyone is as into it as I’m trying to be. I’m totally committed and I play with a lot of committed players. “

With a busy life, it can be hard to get a group together, whether producing content or prioritizing play in his own life.

“Finding people who are just as passionate and interested and make a time for when we play is important. If you have a loose “let’s play a game together” deal, it just doesn’t work. You have to actually get out a calendar and figure out when it’s going to happen. You have a much better chance to follow through on it.””

Rick admits his situation is pretty optimal when it comes to finding players and that it may not be the case for everyone.

“I’m really lucky in that I’m part of a thriving RPG community. I know lots of different people who play in each others games. If somebody doesn’t make it into one then they’ll be in another one - theres definitely too many of us to play in one together.”

Tabletop role-playing games speak to Rick because he enjoys cooperative play and doesn’t enjoy the psychology of putting others at unease, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t enjoy collaborating with the table to create narrative tension.

“I won’t necessarily go along with everything anyone wants to do in the narrative, but I try to support what’s happening in interesting ways. I played a game of 10 Candles and I elected to be taken over by this horrible creeping darkness that was pursuing us. It created interesting tension because without having to turn against them at any particular time, there was always the chance that I could which was a lot a of fun.”

Rick Baer was also instrumental in the development of the VAST Star Trek RPG show for Project Alpha.

My favorite game that I play in is a home-brew Star Trek setting run by my friend Jackson Lanzing. It runs on a heavily modified version of White Wolf’s Storyteller. It started 6+ years ago. It was my first ever RPG. I came into the game as a star ship captain and went from that to somebody who accidentally caused the death of most of his species, to a crime lord, to the… Pope? It was crazy.

That game gave birth to VAST, the game I work on for Project Alpha. The system is essentially the same. I got to see a different aspect of creating games from that production side. I had been a player, but here I was a writer most of the time - creating modules for the campaign.

Rick has also come to enjoy the empathic side of story telling - giving him a chance to get behind the wheel of characters with totally different values.

“Playing my second character who is the polar opposite - a horrible awful racist, sexist, psychopathic smuggler and switching between those two extremes with my original Star Trek character gave me this whole range of things to explore and got me comfortable with playing lots of different kinds of characters - not just another version of myself. That’s what I really enjoy now.”

Follow Rick on Twitter as well as Misfit Toys, Inc. to get in on the action and support all the incredible stories he’s telling.


D&D Recipes: Vex'ahlia's Conjure Donut Barrage


D&D Recipes: Vex'ahlia's Conjure Donut Barrage

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Critical Role is a weekly live-streamed show where a bunch of nerdy-ass voice actors sit down and play Dungeons and Dragons. Their fan base of Critters is incredibly creative and talented and one such fan, Monica Haworth, has taken her love of the show and the game straight to the kitchen! Each Thursday, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you from her collection, "The Slayer's Cake Recipe Book" with illustrations by fellow Critter, Taylor Willemot. 

I have to believe that Jester would be VERY into these Conjure Donut Barrage treats courtesy of everyone's favorite ranger, Vex'ahlia. 

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D&D Let's Roll Library and Giveaway!


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. 


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


Advanced Adventuring: Metallic Dice


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!



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


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?


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.



Advanced Adventuring: Dungeon Tiles Reincarnated


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. 


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. 


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


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. 


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?


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


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!

  • 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.


Our Adventuring Party - Rycin Pendragon, Human Wizard


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.  


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…


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


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!


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. 


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?


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


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. 


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!


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!


Quest Accepted: Out of the Abyss and Tomb of Annihilation


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.



Quest Accepted: Tyranny of Dragons: Rise of Tiamat, Hoard of the Dragon Queen, and Princes of the Apocalypse


Quest Accepted: Tyranny of Dragons: Rise of Tiamat, Hoard of the Dragon Queen, and Princes of the Apocalypse

We are at it again, helping you choose your next adventure! Yesterday we talked about Curse of Strahd and Storm King's Thunder. Today we'll take a closer look at the Tyranny of Dragons campaign set and Princes of the Apocalypse: Elemental Evil. One is is subsequently very Dragon heavy and one is very dungeon crawl heavy!


Choose Your Adventure: Tyranny of Dragons

In the Rise of Tiamat, discover and stem the rising tide of the Cult of the Dragon and in Hoard of the Dragon Queen, rush to prevent the five headed dragon goddess from escaping her prison in the Nine Hells so that she can lay waste to Faerun. This two part adventure is everything you could want from a high fantasy epic - moving from small adventures in the lower levels as every day lives are effected by doomsday threats from the Cult of the Dragon and political factions move to protect their interests, to facing down the Goddess Tiamat herself in the second half of the adventure.

You can also enhance your Tyranny of Dragons experience with Icons of the Realms figures and an adventure specific DM screen from Gale Force Nine.

Choose Your Adventure: Princes of the Apocalypse

Four corrupt princes rise with four corrupt prophets as you face four lethal elemental temples. Confront cadres of cultists and creatures bound to the service of the Elder Elemental Eye. Search for the source of elemental corruption and save the Sword Coast from the Princes of the Apocalypse.

Support the campaign with a DM Screen from Gale Force Nine and Elemental Evil Booster Bricks chock full of miniatures from Wizkids!

Have you played these adventures? Let us know what you thought in the comments!


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


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. 


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.


Quest Accepted: Player Starter Kit


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!


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!


Quest Accepted: The Dungeon Master's Starter Kit and Dice Galore!


Quest Accepted: The Dungeon Master's Starter Kit and Dice Galore!

Welcome to week two of D&D: Let's Roll! This week, we'll be focusing on taking our next steps into the larger world of role playing. This week of content is all about actually sitting down to play Dungeons & Dragons and will assist you with gathering all the tools you need whether you're planning to be a Dungeon Master or a player. We want to make sure that you have a list of items that will make you comfortable with managing the rules and focused on story telling with your friends, which is where the magic happens!


This is my recommended DM starter kit! For real, taking up the mantle of Dungeon Master can be intimidating. Having the right tools from Wizards of the Coast means you can keep the emphasis on immersive story telling through-out role play and combat.

While the Player's handbook covers all the rules you'll need to know, the Dungeon Master's Guide expands your arsenal of world-building tips, alternative rules to suit your play-style, and a cornucopia of magical items to bestow on your adventurers. The Monster Manual provides a non stop shop of creatures to help and hinder the party and keep them guessing about both the horrors and wonders they'll face.

Nothing makes you feel more like a DM than your very own screen! Confidence only grows when you can spread out your notes, miniatures, and more under cover of darkness! You'll have combat actions, DC ratings, and condition rules all at your finger tips. Character Condition Tokens give you the tools to run monsters with more complicated abilities, track any conditions they force on the party and keep your friends on their toes as you increase the challenges they face.

Adventure Grids allow you to quickly sketch battlemaps with wet erase markers and ensure faire and equitable combat for both Dungeon Master and Player Characters.

Lastly, a tool that will follow you to any role playing system is Paizo's Starfinder Combat Pad. Magnets allow you to track initiative order for heroes and villains and rounds - as well as make notes about hit point totals in wet erase marker. This is truly one of the best tools on the market to improve your game.

With these basic tools, even brave new DM's will be ready to roll!


Whether you're the Dungeon Master or a Player, you're going to need a set of 7 polyhedral dice to get rolling! Each dice is referred to as "d" followed by the number of sides it has.

A D20 is used for attacks and skill checks. It is the most commonly rolled of your set and will determine whether you succeed at doing what your character wants to do.

You'll use your d4, d6, d8, d10, and d12 for determning the damage of your attacks.

A d10 percentile dice might be used if you're a wild mage, using a magical item with myriad possible effects, or if you're a faith based class calling upon the power of your god. They aren't used often, but it's often exciting when they are!

Chessex makes a great range of colorful and exciting polyhedral dice that are sure to enchant and inspire you at the table.


Adventuring for Dummies: Storm King's Thunder, Assault of Giants, Lords of Waterdeep, and Tales from the Yawning Portal


Adventuring for Dummies: Storm King's Thunder, Assault of Giants, Lords of Waterdeep, and Tales from the Yawning Portal

Is it already the end of week one? Let's have a look at the rest of our board games and resources that make it easy to dip your toes into dungeon delving. 


Unlike some of the other Dungeons & Dragons board games that we've shared this week, Assault of the Giants from Wizkids is a competitive area control game with victory points to determine the winner. This game gives a glimpse of the different giants cultures you'll discover and interact with in the Storm King's Thunder campaign and will help you understand the concept of the Ordenning which plays a key role in that adventure. 

Learn more from The Dice Tower.


Waterdeep is a sprawling metropolis that has oft been referred to as "fantasy NYC." If that sparks your interest, you may be interested in playing the forthcoming Waterdeep Adventures: Dragon Heist and Dungeon of the Mad Mage. However, if you're still on the edge, you might want to ease your way into Waterdhavian society with Lords of Waterdeep and its expansion Scoundrels of Skullport. Each player takes on the role of one of the 11 masked rulers of Waterdeep and competes for influence over the domain. The game will also introduce you to the five most influential factions in Waterdeep, the Red Sashes, City Watch, the Harpers, the Knights of the Shield, and the Silverstars - each of which play a key role in D&D adventures. You'll get to know the culture and layout of the city that will house both upcoming campaigns and grab a head start on your journey into "The City of Splendors."

Watch Wil Wheaton Felicia Day, Pat Rothfuss, and Brandon Laatsch play Lords of Waterdeep on TableTop!

We've talked a lot about new players this week, but of course, there will always be veteran players who played D&D many editions ago and might want to return to beloved adventure modules from the past 40+ years that are no longer compatible with the 5th edition rules. If you're looking to the glory days and breathe new life into these classics, Tales from the Yawning Portal is exactly what you're looking for. You'll find such adventures as:

  • Against the Giants
  • Dead in Thay
  • Forge of Fury
  • Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan
  • Sunless Citadel
  • Tomb of Horrors
  • White Plume Mountain

Learn more in this epic review from DawnforgedCast


Best Tabletop Gaming Accessories


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


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!


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. 😊


Matte Sleeves


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


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! 


Board Games Sleeves by Arcane Tinmen


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.


Adventuring for Dummies: Princes of the Apocalypse, The Temple of Elemental Evil, The Curse of Strahd, and Castle Ravenloft


Adventuring for Dummies: Princes of the Apocalypse, The Temple of Elemental Evil, The Curse of Strahd, and Castle Ravenloft

This week we're looking at products that make great introductions to the gameplay and settings of Dungeons & Dragons. Today, we'll be looking at two more games for the adventure and campaign building co-operative board game adventure system series from Wizards of the Coast. 

The Temple of Elemental Evil, from WizKids, is compatible with Wrath of Ashardalon, Legend of Drizzt, Tomb of Annihilation, and Castle Ravenloft. If you're looking for a traditional fantasy campaign where the big bad isn't an evil dragon, we recommend The Temple of Elemental Evil as a primer for the Princes of the Apocalypse campaign and a quick overview of the Sword Coast's locations, denizens, and culture!

Check out this great "Let's Play" from Wizards of the Coast and dive right into the second adventure!

This is the title that started the D&D board game series from Wizards of the Coast. If you're thinking of embarking on a gothic horror themed adventure in Barovia via the Curse of Strahd campaign, then this Castle Ravenloft a perfect opportunity to explore Strahd's infamous castle and play as several classic class archetypes. 

For a quick breakdown of this classic, watch this review from GamerNode!