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D&D 5E What is ARCADIA?

ARCADIA has joined the ranks of online D&D magazines; this one is from Matt Colville's company, MCDM. The e-zine is being launched today or tomorrow (it should appear on MCDM's store for $7 at some point), and the first issue contains new rules for mounts, an adventure, a sorcerer subclass, and a pair of celestial villains. Take a peek!

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Yeah, the numbers just don’t work these days. We’ve been involved in a couple of print magazines in the last 20 years, and neither worked out. And we’ve considered print versions of EN5ider and that just doesn’t work either. Even WotC couldn’t keep a print mag going. I had hopes for Gygax magazine. But e-zines have been the way for a couple of decades now.
 

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You could do it if people were willing to pay $20 an issue. But the people who keep wishing for magazines to return arn't willing to pay that price.
Yeah, magazines and newspapers were subsidized by advertising, in most cases. Historically, subscriptions only pay for the actual delivery charge.

And with print advertising in the toilet, even pre-pandemic, that math is starting to change. If you want a print subscription, you should expect to pay dearly for it. (Point of reference: The Economist, which has never had ads to my knowledge, costs $85/year.)
 

Dire Bare

Legend
Supporter
I like Matt Coville. I’d love to hear some reviews of the mounted rules. I’ll buy it if they are any good but I’m hesitant to spend $7 risking disappointment. What are they? Is it just a bunch of weird mounts or does it add good, interesting mechanics?
I just gave them a quick read-thru, certainly not a play-test, but . . . I like'em! It's a short, simple add-on to increase the playability and diversity of PC mounts.

So far, the whole issue gets a thumbs-up from me! I decided to head over to the MCDM Patreon and sub at the $5 level, which got me the issue. It's a little more expensive purchasing separately, and I couldn't find the link on the MCDM store . . . but worth it either way IMO.
 

AdmundfortGeographer

Getting lost in fantasy maps
Right, the mount ”rules” look to be designed to add onto to the 5e rules, not replace. And it’s not an adding of complexity IMO, any more than adding any a player-controlled monster is adding complexity.

There are 6 mounted-variant monster stat blocks, for variants of creatures that were raised from birth to be mounts. Basilisk mount, giant toad mount, hippogriff mount, nightmare mount, owlbear mount, and warhorse mount. So not the full blown owlbear or basilisks that are encountered as wild monsters, but trained mounts. These mounts all come with the “mounted” trait in their stat block.

All between CR 3 and 1, they get extra stuff when ridden by their rider like better AC, Saves, and some temp hp, for example. But riders can use their bonus action to command their mount to do a variety of actions from their iconic attacks, to some 1/day or 3/day actions. Even warhorse mount has a 3/day and 1/day actions that fit what you’d expect a cool ass hero horse to do.

The dismounting attack for the rider is an obvious cool idea.
 

So is there a limit on the new Arcadia Mount Rules? Imagine if you roll super good and manage to tame a Colossal Dragon. (Okay that's hyperbole but still, I was chuckling at that possibility.)
 

All between CR 3 and 1, they get extra stuff when ridden by their rider like better AC, Saves, and some temp hp, for example. But riders can use their bonus action to command their mount to do a variety of actions from their iconic attacks, to some 1/day or 3/day actions. Even warhorse mount has a 3/day and 1/day actions that fit what you’d expect a cool ass hero horse to do.
I particularly like how badass the Warhorse Charge is. Also easy to refluff if your mount is something that isn't a warhorse as well.
 

tetrasodium

Hero
Supporter
I like Matt Coville. I’d love to hear some reviews of the mounted rules. I’ll buy it if they are any good but I’m hesitant to spend $7 risking disappointment. What are they? Is it just a bunch of weird mounts or does it add good, interesting mechanics?
I did the 5$ patreon tier for it & don't regret it after looking over the mount stuff & skimming through a few areas. @AdmundfortGeographer did a nice little summary earlier that I agree with. The mount stuff is definitely interesting & I might use or draw from them for magebred mounts if I ever run o5e again. With the rest of the system so stripped down for simplicity there isn't much room for them to build mount rules around but they did a good job of it. Right now I'm most interested in seeing what areas of rules & crunch they carve into over the next few issues because it looks like arcadia will be filling a niche sorely lacking in 5e.

Back when I ran 3.5 & earlier I didn't use or allow everything from dragon, but it was an option to consider or starting point that gm & player could use to cook up something fitting together often enough to be a big help. It seems like this will fill a similar useful niche & the price is low enough I won't feel bad if an occasional issue doesn't seem useful to me.
 

OMG the Titan Heart Sorcerer is a genius idea! I’m loving this whole issue so much.
I'll admit it's probably my second favorite 5E Sorcerer subclass. And it seems like it would fit in particularly well alongside the Demi-God Sorcerer subclass, as a choice, for an Odyssey of the Dragonlords campaign.

Also it comes with a Sidekick/Retainer so that's another thing you can add on to a sidekick in your 5E games.
 
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AdmundfortGeographer

Getting lost in fantasy maps
The retainer was such an unexpected bonus! I hope any subclass they publish in future articles includes a retainer version.

I expect my PCs are already going to get a chance to earn a Titan sorcerer retainer. They are now entering the Fire Giant King’s fortress in Against the Giants and there are prisoners to free...
 

FickleKnight

The Torn
The logistics of making Arcadia a traditional printed magazine are . . . challenging, and not likely to be successful, sadly.

But MCDM could do a POD (print-on-demand) version, possibly at some point. If you watch the video, Colville makes it pretty clear that there are only 3 issues currently planned, and that this is an experiment . . . if successful, we'll see more issues of Arcadia, and if MCDM gets the right feedback, they might be willing to offer a POD option.

EDIT: To be clear, Colville isn't saying anything about a POD option, that part is my speculation.
For sure. I completely (don't) understand the publishing challenges which means that if MCDM chose not to I know there is a very good reason for that. I agree, we might see some sort of POD option at some point, which would be good enough for me. It isn't going to stop me from buying something if it isn't physical, but I would be lying to say the reading experience isn't better for me on paper.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
I like Matt Coville. I’d love to hear some reviews of the mounted rules. I’ll buy it if they are any good but I’m hesitant to spend $7 risking disappointment. What are they? Is it just a bunch of weird mounts or does it add good, interesting mechanics?

So it's really just an extension of the current mounted rules, but the biggest piece of it is how it allows you to spend your bonus action to make an attack with your mount. That in combination with redesigning all the normal mounts (horse, hippogriff) and adding new ones (basilisk, owlbear, nightmare, giant frog) makes it pretty good.
 







After watching that Interview, I really am digging the concept that S.A.M. is a Living Spell that has sentience. A nice way of adding or explaining Living Spells in a non Eberron setting.
Living Spells were one of those ideas that I slapped my forehead when I first read it. So brilliant, so obvious in retrospect. You can go from a spooky cloudkill ooze to something really awe-inspiring, like a living commune or wish spell.

It really ought to have made the jump to a core monster type in 5E.
 

Corrosive

Adventurer
Living Spells were one of those ideas that I slapped my forehead when I first read it. So brilliant, so obvious in retrospect. You can go from a spooky cloudkill ooze to something really awe-inspiring, like a living commune or wish spell.

It really ought to have made the jump to a core monster type in 5E.
Are they a new thing, or the same as the Eberron living spells?
 

tetrasodium

Hero
Supporter
Are they a new thing, or the same as the Eberron living spells?
The SAM in the arcadia adventure could be a living spell or not as it's probably closer to HAL than any of the living spells ever put together in eberron stuff. I figured it more of a eldritch machine or at least close to one since it's pretty linked to the building. One of the waterdeep adventures has a living spell or two that's little more than an demonstration for why they should have existed from the start if there wasn't such a focus on FR exclusivity in the core books so now that it has been published in FR content wotc can stop applying NIH & admit they are a thing that can exist in print or possibly one day a core book.
 

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