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Ten Gaming Blogs That Will Make Your 5e Games Better

What better day than today, the release date of the D&D 5th Edition Monster Manual, to list ten great blogs guaranteed to improve your 5E game? In the second of his guest articles here on EN World (his first was Ten RPG Blogs Everyone Should Be Reading), blogger Charles Akins of Dyvers Campaign presents us with a list of ten blogs which will make your D&D 5th Edition game even better than it undoubtedly already is. And - unbidden, I hasten to add! - he very kindly mentions EN World on his list. But that's enough from me; what follows are Charles' words.

What better day than today, the release date of the D&D 5th Edition Monster Manual, to list ten great blogs guaranteed to improve your 5E game? In the second of his guest articles here on EN World (his first was Ten RPG Blogs Everyone Should Be Reading), blogger Charles Akins of Dyvers Campaign presents us with a list of ten blogs which will make your D&D 5th Edition game even better than it undoubtedly already is. And - unbidden, I hasten to add! - he very kindly mentions EN World on his list. But that's enough from me; what follows are Charles' words.

There is always something new to be found coming from the blog-o-sphere and with the advent of Dungeons and Dragons' latest edition it seems that we're seeing a nearly unprecedented level of creativity and activity coming across the board. Since the launch of 5e we've watched more new blogs popping up and more bloggers taking these rules as their own than at any time in recent memory. With so much content appearing every day it's hard to narrow down your reading list to any ten blogs but the ones I've picked to share with you today have done their best to distinguish themselves from the rest of the pack. In this group we've got bloggers creating new settings, monsters, adventures, and exploring the rules and the boundaries of what's possible with the system. With so much content being produced it's hard to know where to start looking when it comes to improving your own 5e games; and with that in mind I've gone out to find ten gaming blogs that will make your 5e games better!


10. Harbinger of Doom by Brandes Stoddard

Since the beginning of Brandes' blog he has made a real effort to design his own game and to document his process; but with the release of 5e he has shifted his focus to designing for the new edition of D&D. This has resulted in a lot of well thought out ideas coming from one of the longer running design blogs out there. Like Rob Conley and Derek Myles from earlier in this list, Brandes breaks down his game play with the new edition but where he differs is that instead of running these huge, expansive scenarios that can take months and months to fully explore (if ever) he tends to focus on smaller, 2-4 session dungeons that allow him to quickly test his ideas. When he breaks these down, as he did recently in Postmortem: Monastery of the Blessed Scroll post, it's easy to see lots of things that can be taken into your own games (like that map prop he used). But what makes this blog even more exceptional though is that the further you dig into the archives, beyond the great 5e stuff, the more you'll find concepts and rules to implement into your own game that will help you shape your gaming experience into the one you've always envisioned.


9. Detect Magic by Daniel Davis

As you're probably aware by now the first product in the Tyranny of Dragons adventure path, Horde of the Dragon Queen, has some issues that have caused many people to find fault with it. But while there are some issues present in the product it has enough potential that many people are actively working to make it the product they had hoped for rather than the product they got. One of those people on the forefront of reshaping the Horde of the Dragon Queen is Daniel Davis. His work on the adventure has been a steady stream of improvements based on his actual play experiences and on his expectations for the product when he picked it up.

Detect Magic is a new blog but Daniel Davis has consistently shown himself to be producing the sort of great content that has made it one of my regular reads - and there is a lot here worth reading. Whether you're looking for more fantastic 5e content or just looking a new way to start a scandal, Detect Magic is going to have something for you.


8. Newbie DM by the Newbie DM

The Newbie DM is a blog that has spent years working to be the go to source for aspiring Dungeon Masters and in many ways it has succeeded. The tutorials are great, the advice is often puissant and intelligently written in the style of an old friend talking about your problems at a local bar. What makes it so great now, with the release of 5e, is how calming the Newbie DM's voice can be when all around you it seems like so many other bloggers and online personalities are racing about to be the first to tell you about the next big thing coming out of Wizards of the Coast. It's fascinating that he's able to maintain that steady tone as he engages with the Wizards' design team on twitter and is often the first person asking the important questions about the new edition. As the Newbie DM has continued to make his own 5e Dungeon Master's Screen and to craft his own version of the Second Edition Forgotten Realms I'm excited to see where he goes in the future and to watch how he helps shape the next generation of Dungeon Masters.


7. Dungeon's Master by Derek Myers (main), Neil Ellis, and Liam Gallagher

It's a rare thing to find a great role-playing blog with multiple authors but when it works you find an exceptional place develop. Like Gnome Stew and Critical Hits before it, Dungeon's Master has steadily carved out a distinctive place within the rpg blogging scene. Where the others tend to provide either non-system specific content or attempt to focus on a wider breadth of topics Dungeon's Master has steadily focused its content on the D&D Encounters program (and now transitioning over to the newly renamed Adventure League program); with the end result of this narrow focus making it the go to place for anyone interested in playing the official adventure program.

The primary force behind this content focus has been Derek Myers. He has steadily been producing a long-running series of posts exploring each of the adventures within the D&D Encounters program (and the now the Adventure League program) and within these posts he has dissected the strengths and weaknesses of each part of the adventures. Yet he rarely stops with simply declaring that there is a problem. Instead he will provide you with his thought process on how to correct the problem and ways to prevent it from reoccurring in the future. With the addition of an audio recording of his actual sessions he has taken this one step further and allowed the readers to fully experience the adventures in a way that many who have no other opportunity to join in could never have hoped for in the past.

Even if you have no interest in following along with the D&D Encounters / Adventure League programs Dungeon's Master has a wide range of content available for you. This blog's archives are filled with everything from book reviews, to adventure hooks, to countless great ideas to help you move your home campaigns forward; and every Friday they dig through their archives to find some of their best content from the past and present it to their readers.


6. DM David by DM David

With each new edition of the game there are countless rules questions and moments where players find themselves scratching their heads in bewilderment with the decisions of Wizards of the Coast's design team. When I run across those points one of the first placed I check (after Wizards' official site) for answers is DM David.

David has the exceptional ability to take the esoteric ephemera of this hobby and make it interesting to anyone. With an analytical mind that will dissect each facet of the game and explore not only where it came from but what it brings to the game in its current form, and if you should change it, he has steadily made his blog into one of the better rpg blogs of today. His explorations into 5e and of older editions have allowed him to carve out a unique place in the blog-o-sphere where his voice is a constant reassurance that even if things aren't the way that you would like in the game of today, you can change it for the better by critically thinking about the problem and finding a solution that rectifies it.


5. Bat in the Attic by Rob Conley

Rob Conley has spent the last six and a half years carving out a distinctive niche for himself in the gaming blog-o-sphere. Where other bloggers tend to talk about building their campaigns with the sort of secrecy generally reserved for nuclear secrets and hiding pornography from their parents Rob has proudly set his campaigns and style of play out for the world to see. He's a staunch proponent of sandbox gaming - even going so far as to write a free pdf explaining how to create a Fantasy Sandbox - and Old School gaming; but what has given his voice such resonance within the community is his consistent effort think about the effects of his decisions as a game master on the games he runs. Regardless of the edition or the game his thoughtful dissection of his rulings is often a great trigger for helping you understand the results of your own actions as a Game Master.

No where on the blog do his reflections carry more weight than in his session write-ups. There he attempts to recreate the game as it happened with an eye towards dissecting what helped and failed him during play. In his current series, the Majestic Wilderlands, he's running 5e with six other players (which should be read in conjunction with Chris C.'s, of the blog Clash of Spear on Shield, hilarious Adventure Soundbites from the same campaign). Reading his use of the system is a fascinating way to explore the potential of the new edition and to see its weaknesses in actual play. With his decades of experience behind him, seeing him deal with the new edition and coming to grips with what works for his style of play has been a real treat.


4. Blog of Holding by Paul Hughes and Rory Madden

Paul Hughes and Rory Madden are always looking for new ways to improve their current games - whether they're playing 4e, 5e, or anything else under the sun - and as a result they have produced a blog that has continued to improve over time. At times it seems like Paul and Rory's maxim for their blog has been, "See a Need, Fill a Need," as they have produced an Index by Challenge Rating for the 5e Monster Manual, plundered the Dragonlance books for all their wonders, and used every book they come across as a D&D Sourcebook.

In recent weeks Paul and Rory have continued to press themselves forward with the launch of the new edition and their reveal as 'Alpha' testers for the new Monster Manual. After having read them for years I can only add that their inclusion as testers for any book is a good thing. Whether you're looking for an exploration of rituals in 5e, additional trinkets, or are just looking for a great place to find new ways to improve your game this is a great blog to explore.


3. Wrathofzombie's Blog by Mike Evans ADULT CONTENT WARNING

In this hobby there are a lot of people out there who will tell you that doing things yourself is a waste of time when you could just wait for the next official product to do it for you. If you'd rather let someone else do your thinking and creating for you then that's fine; but if you want to find someone in this hobby to tell you that not only can you create your own content for your favorite game, but that you absolutely should, then look no further than the heart and soul of the do-it-yourself movement: Mike Evans. Mike's brazen approach to the hobby is infectious and will have you asking yourself why you aren't making a gigantic, three-armed dwarf with a beard made of fire that shoots lasers from its eyes and spits curses with every breath. Yet even if he never gets you to produce the crazy thoughts that have been bouncing about your brain since third grade he puts out some of the most fantastic free content for 5e that you're going to find. Whether you're looking for new oaths for the Paladin, new class archetypes, or if you're just looking to find inspiration for your next Dungeons and Dragons villain this blog will give you everything you're looking for and more.


2. Hack & Slash by Courtney Campbell

Like Mike Evans before him Courtney Campbell is is a do-it-yourself master who's constantly shaping every game that he touches to reflect his inner vision for where the hobby can go and the possibilities that his own games can accomplish. Over the years he's reshaped numerous monsters through his Monstrous Ecology series and now he's putting out some brilliant 5e Backgrounds where he has gone out of his way to bring in his favorite old school elements for the new edition in an effort to sculpt it to his own vision for the game he's running.

In recent week's Courtney has updated On the Non-Player Character and the Hack & Slash Compendium I for 5e and has continued to help define what the monsters in 5e are capable of by never allowing his creativity to stop where the lines on the page end. If you're looking for someone to help you see the possibilities for where the new edition can go then this blog is a great place to start exploring (a great place to start is this handy Hack & Slash Index).

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1. EN World by Russ Morrissey

Nowhere online has there been better coverage of what's going on with the new edition of Dungeons and Dragons than on EN World. Morrus has consistently beaten every blog and every news outlet to the punch time and time again. He has been able to gather all the scattered responses coming out of Wizards of the Coast's social networking outlets into useable form and to consistently bring attention to lots of great content coming from across the wide swath of websites, blogs, and news outlets. It's hard to have a discussion about 5e in any way without bringing up EN World as the first place to check for what's coming next, what's happened, and what's going on right now.

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Thanks for the shout out, and there another session in the hopper. The write up should be posted for in a day or so.

Rob Conley
Bat in the Attic


My thanks to all of these excellent sites. I've benefited from some of these for years. It takes a lot of work to produce consistently great ideas. Thanks!


Speculation Specialist Wizard
Note to self: Improve blog to be featured here one day. Secondary note to self: Post more in blog!

This is quite an awesome list!

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