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Article Readings on YouTube

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Today is a splendid day, folks! I just finished my penultimate semester of college and that valuable Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science is a measly three courses away. I also was hired on for an internship at a marketing firm here in Michigan. Between finalizing the latter, studying for finals, and life in general, I didn't have enough time to edit my article for this week, so it's been pushed back to next Monday. In the meantime, I thought I'd promote something new I've been doing on my YouTube channel. Article Readings Every Friday, I'll be uploading a video to my channel. It'll simply be me reading aloud the articles I've written, from Legendary Lessons to Worldforge. In addition to giving my readers and viewers another outlet to see my work, it's a good exercise for me to read content aloud; my speaking or improv voice is fine, but I've found that my "reading" voice could use improvement.
In the videos, I'll review what I&#…

The Major Powers in Your D&D Setting

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The dry chamber was silent. All the grand chairs were filled, the table was littered with maps, pins, papers, and quills; yet no one spoke. They were all here, representatives from the greatest powers across Aphesus: A mighty dwarven battlemaster from Utgarda; a bloodthirsty gnoll warlock from Dol Dohur; a shy, enigmatic wood elf from Daioda; a zealotos life cleric from Lorinth; a wild halfling atop his raptor from Zinae. Yet no sound emerged from any of them. They all knew the severity of the disaster that brought them together — the decimation of the gnome country Klavangra — but none could muster the courage to speak. In this sultry, remote outpost, they sat, stunned and unsure of what to say or how to approach the matter at hand. Eventually, the silence would break; these are powerful people after all. Surely they’d know what to do. Here in this arid desert hideout, peace would be brokered...or war declared.

Thus far in the worldbuilding process, we’ve formed core tenets, establish…

Great Ways to Use Spell Components in D&D

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Desperate for a companion in this haunted forest, a shy elf druid pulls out a charred fish and motions toward the crouched lion as green, shining magic courses between her and the animal. In the midst of battle, a near-death halfling wizard pulls out and uncorks a wooden flask, shouting an arcane phrase as water flows from the flask and forms an icy haze around his being. With the only way out the size of a small goblin, a human sorcerer splashes a pinch of powdered iron across the glowing glyphs on her face as she recites an ancient spell and begins to shrink in size.

By many folks, combat is seen as simply a tactical battle, a confrontation between foes, a bloody skirmish. Turn by turn, we go around the table and portray our characters who battle against a squad of squirming goblins, a raging dragon, or a mess of elementals. We hit them, they hit us back, and when someone falls, friend or foe, there’s usually a chance to cast some roleplaying and narration into the battle. Some peop…

Making a D&D Setting Map

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One of the best ways to define your world to others is to visually outline it. It also helps you envision it while creating more in-depth details of it. Establishing your world’s tenets (part 1) and its primary gods and/or pantheons (part 2) doesn’t need to be visualized. However, when you begin to draw up empires, talk about countries, discuss factions, cultures, monsters, and peoples, it’s good to have something to reference. It’s good to have a map.

In this next installment of the Worldforge, we’re going to make a map for our homebrew world. Heed this, though: I am not a great artist. I am not a professional cartographer. I am simply a wannabe writer and creator who loves to play DUNGEONS & DRAGONS and play D&D in my own world. The advice below will mainly be about how I create a map in the context of a world. It will not be how to draw a map, how rivers should never split, how plate tectonics form continents, or the intricacies of where deserts should logically be located.…

Heated Disagreements at a D&D Table

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It’s Saturday afternoon. The members of my Eldar II Campaign have just successfully defended a monk monastery against a small horde of red dragonborn, thri-kreen, and yuan-ti. In doing so, they discovered a dark, ancient secret of what is buried beneath the monastery. It complicates things. The party as a whole has a clear path forward. This defense was merely a pit stop, a side quest. But now, one of its members, a blue dragonborn barbarian named Rovan, is against traveling onward to Imixia, a realm of burning rivers and charred wastes. This secret, the battle, and its fallout have changed Rovan’s perspective on two of his party members. Thus, the once clear path is muddled and murky. Rovan doesn’t think his party has his best interests in mind anymore. Unfortunately for the rest of the party, this disagreement stalls the party in the peaceful monastery. So, what happens when a once unified force is no longer of the same state of mind?

Last Saturday, I experienced the most heated pla…

Building a D&D Pantheon - Part 3

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“The ancient texts, you’ve not read them?” the robed figure asked. Her voice sounded accusatory, angry even, but the minotaur shook his head. “Then the time, it has not come.” The robed figure turned to leave but paused beneath the worn stone doorframe. “Understand this: Our way is not the only way. Before us, there have been many, and still today, there are people different than us.” Her voice quieted. “The Azurian Order rarely acknowledges it. The only way, polytheism is not. Elves of the wood worship spirits of old beasts, bearfolk only the stars. All power rests in the trapped primordials, firbolg think, and kenku think a single god rules all.” At this, the minotaur scoffed and the robed figure appeared before him in a moment, somehow looking down upon him even though he stood a good four feet above her. “I knew, ready you were not. How?” Her eyes locked with his, “...because respect, respect for other religions, you lack.”

Welcome back to the Worldforge, a series in which we buil…

Building a D&D Pantheon - Part 2

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The minotaur, Alovnek, shut the door in his face. The robed man had better leave now, the minotaur thought. Three denials, a feigned gore, and a face full of minotaur spit would drive him away. To Alovnek’s surprise, he still heard breathing on the other side of the thin, wood door a few moments later. He waited longer. The breathing continued. “You’re stubborn. You’re good and stubborn. The Azurian Order likes those kinds of people.” The voice was muffled but still rung in Alovnek’s ears. “You and I both know you’ve felt it- the call of Ispiria; it’s the only reason you let me, a diminutive man wearing strange white robes speak to you.” The minotaur groaned. He knew the man was right, he’d felt the call days earlier...but he was so young. Why would Ispiria rob him of his youth? Life was good here, among his people- “Come on, Alovnek. We need fighters like you. And trust me, in good time, you’ll need us. The goddess’ call might not come again. I’ve risked much in coming here.” There w…

Building a D&D Pantheon - Part 1

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It’s Wednesday night. My Eldar I group sails out of a cove filled with undead and pearls that they’ve just raided. They break into the beautiful light of the day, hear the sounds of the sea - and spot a boat on the horizon. Desperate to see its sails, Alovnek, the party’s rogue cleric of Ispiria, perches on the edge of the ship. He lets out a heavy sigh as the sigil the ship is flying becomes apparent: An enormous, dark circle, the symbol of Takhsis, draconic goddess of order, cruelty, and manipulation. And, of course, the arch-nemesis of his goddess, Ispiria. Simply seeing the symbol invokes a feeling of foreboding doom inside him...and the rest of his companions on the ship...

The presence or lack thereof of gods and goddesses in a DUNGEONS & DRAGONS setting can tell you a lot about a world. Deities also give Dungeon Masters and players alike myriad ideas to base characters, stories, adventures, items, monsters, and more on. 
That’s why the next part of the Worldforge series wil…