Posted in Tabletop

Not Quite So Sage Advice


So this isn’t just going to be a huge rant about D&D and Sage Advice, I promise.

I present – The issue:

A Sage Advice post from 2017 that was tweeted again this morning by @SageAdviceD&D, advises that in 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons, an adventuring party is assumed to get 100 magic items between levels 1 and 20. This does include consumables, so in a high combat campaign where you’re drinking healing potions like shots in the club on a saturday night, it’s more than achievable, even to exceed the advised number is doable. But for any other styles of game?

I honestly don’t think I’ve ever advised someone to completely disregard a Sage Advice or Errata ruling, my usual thing is: “read it, see what you think, if it works for your game implement it, if not, then don’t.” When it comes to this though, as both a player and someone with some limited DMing experience, I can’t state loud enough how bullshit this is. Please, just ignore it.

For a party of 5, that’s a Magic Item per level for each character. For a level 10 party that is 50 Magic Items. Granted, take a few off per character for consumables (working on my current game it was on average 3 used consumables per character at this stage) which would leave the party with 35 magic items in play. Even in a more heavily combat focused game where you’re using potions more frequently, that’s still going to leave you with 15-20 magic items in play. 

So where do these characters find these 20-30 Magic items when even in a high magic world like Forgotten Realms, the ‘common’ magical items are said to be comparatively rare?

‘Dungeon crawls!’ I hear you say? Yeah, no.

Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a loot dump at the end of a hard fought dungeon, but make it relevant (there are actually many things wrong with loot drops in dungeon crawls but now is not the time to open that can of worms). Don’t just put magic items there because ‘Crawford said they need 100 by level 20 and they’re 10 behind already!’. The issue with arbitrary goals is when numbers like this are thrown around it creates a false dichotomy – ‘You have to do it this way or you’re not doing it right!’ and it couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s an archaic way of thinking, it’s gatekeeping, and with statements like this Crawford really isn’t helping the issue. Give your players magic items when they deserve it, give your players magical items for story reasons, for backstory reasons, you can give your players magic items for pretty much any reason you want, but that reason should never be “because Crawford said they needed X many by this level.” Make them important, make them mean something.

The use of magic items, especially for new DM’s is extremely daunting and it’s what put me off DMing for so long. When you put a goal of a magic item per character per level on the game, it adds a whole other level of pressure to what can already be an extremely nerve wracking experience. Even now, the idea of running a low level game with that many magic items is somewhat terrifying, it completely fucks with balance and it’s not like they’ve included tables on how to re-balance when items are involved. 

At no point should a DM feel compelled to give magic items to their party, they’re not ‘essential’ mechanics. 

Despite all this though, I wonder where the number ‘100’ comes from.

I was sent this link by @SilentAddle: I’m going to trust the maths on this, because I don’t have the brain power to go through and figure it all out.

By the maths in the link above, as written in the DMG, between levels 1-20 the average adventuring party should get between 98 and 105 magic items, both consumable and permanent, of varying rarities:

“[with rounded figures = 104]

  • 18 common consumables
  • 20 uncommon consumables
  • 19 rare consumables
  • 18 very rare consumables
  • 3 or 4 legendary consumables
  • 9 or 10 uncommon permanent items
  • 5 or 6 rare permanent items
  • 5 very rare permanent items
  • 4 legendary permanent items”


  • 79 consumable items [across all rarities]
  • 86 items above the ‘common’ rarity [both consumable and permanent]
  • 8 legendary items [4 permanent, 4 consumable]
  • 25 permanent items [none of the common rarity]

I’ve been playing 5e for years and I’ve never experienced anything near this level of consumable magic item spread.

And then Xanather’s Guide to Everything releases and we get given an abundance of really freaking awesome common permanent magic items, which goes and completely screws with all the above maths and adds more to the already 100(ish) items a party ‘should have’. 

And that number of 100? announced 12 days before Xanather’s releases (though Sage Advice dates it as release day), and Crawford responds with this:

Without an actual explanation, the maths still doesn’t make sense Jeremy!! 

So what is said in Xanather’s?

XGE – Page 135 – Magic Items Awarded By Tier – Table

Okay, so disregard the stuff in the DMG and use this breakdown instead? Sure.

But wait, what’s this…?

XGE – Page 136 – Are Magic Items Necessary in a Campaign? – Sidebar

Oh yeah, shit, magic items are meant to be rare aren’t they!? Let’s just chuck the word ‘sporadically’ in the sidebar and everything will be fine.

Level 1-20, by the daily xp max as written in the DMG is a year of adventuring. 100 items, over one year IS NOT SPORADIC!!! 

If, as the sidebar suggests, magic items are not in fact necessary for the game, if they are not needed for balance purposes, if the game can be played without them, why on earth do you find it necessary to tell us how many the party should gain? If it’s not an integral part of the game, why the fuck does it matter?

If you want to do a table on item rarity/character level so DMs have a guide to work off to somewhat balance things if they do choose to give magic items out then go for it, it would actually be useful, but none of the rest has any relevance and it just gives people more shit to gatekeep and argue about. So why do it? Why add more fuel to the already raging fire?

So what is my point with all this?

DM’s should never have to worry about how many magic items their party has. The books themselves say so, there is no mechanical reason to need magic items. 

“But what about enemies with an immunity to non-magical damage?” If you have a melee heavy party that doesn’t have a caster able to cast Magic Weapon or the ability to inflict magical damage, then don’t put them up against a monster with an immunity to non-magical damage. It’s that simple. It literally says so in the sidebar.

As long as everyone involved is having fun and enjoying themselves, the amount of magic items in play has absolutely no relevance. You want to run a campaign with little to no magic items? Go for it. You want your magic items to be story points? Go for it. You want to run a campaign in a world with high magic item availability? Then go for it!

It. Really. Doesn’t. Matter. It never should have mattered. It never should matter. They are a choice. They are an optional extra that can add more to your game. THEY. ARE. NOT. NECESSARY.

Posted in History, Media, Tabletop

I’m Back Baby!

Hi! I’ve missed you all! But I’m back with avengence and I’m ready to go!

So a lot has happened over the last month or so, from moving house to shoulder surgery, stepping away from projects and starting new ones, I’ve found myself with some time in my schedule to finally get round to writing my DM’s Guide to Ancient Greece.

Disclosure: I’m not sure what form this will take yet, it’ll either be: a Theros hack; a DMs Guide to building an ancient greek world; or an ancient greek Campaign Setting. Whichever it turns out to be though, I can’t wait to show you all the end result. 

This is something I have been working on for the last year or so on and off, you may have heard me talking about various different versions of this in the past, but I’m finally going to do it and actually finish it this time. So in order to give the project a little jump start, I found this:

Throughout the rest of this month, I will be doing #Slotober alongside my other projects to get myself back into writing this stuff, and the results will be posted on here. Each prompt will show a snapshot into the work I’m doing (though will likely face heavy editing when I finally incorporate them into the finished piece) and will hopefully get you guys as excited for this as I am. As the month comes to a close and we head into November, I’ll keep you all updated and you’ll continue to get snippets and sneak peaks as the journey continues. This isn’t a journey I’m undertaking on my own though, a couple of good friends of mine, @SaltLordRoss and @SilentAddle, will be helping me along the way with new subclasses, monsters and who knows what else along the road.

In the coming week’s you’ll also be getting a new series called FrostyFriends, which will be my D&D 5e Rime of the Frost Maiden character diary. I’m absolutely loving writing this and I hope you all enjoy it too. You can also check out ‘The Wandering Party’ our 5e Actual Play Podcast DM’d by @SaltLordRoss. I will do a full post on it at some point, but until then though, you can find it here!

For those of you less interested in my Tabletop RPG stuff though, don’t be disheartened. I plan to start ‘They’re Reading Greek Tragedy Online’ up again next Saturday with my commentary on their upcoming episode on The Iliad, which I am super excited for. There will also be a few classics reception pieces coming up and as well as another series in the works, and I’m still working on that Stonehenge piece I promised you all.

Having taken huge inspiration from @Hells_Belle99 with her work on After The Belle (which everyone should go check out, her work is amazing!) and @Wrestle Joy (also awesome) there may be a few more wrestling posts coming up, though I’m still undecided on whether they will be posted here, see if they can be hosted elsewhere or if I’ll start up a sister site for them.. We’ll see how that goes and cross that bridge when we come to it. 

For now though, I’m going to leave you to it! Enjoy what’s left of your Sunday (or whatever day it happens to be when you read this) and I’ll see you all again soon!

Posted in Tabletop

Everyone can be a Hero

I generally try to stay out of Twitter discourse, for both my mental health and sanity, but as I sit here typing, fingers swollen, pressure gloves on, finger, wrist and knee splints on, unable to stand long enough to even do last night’s dishes without feeling like I’m going to pass out, it’s become more than clear that I can’t keep quiet on this one. 

Over the last week or two, there has been an overwhelming amount of support, and hate, for certain inclusivity supplements, and I want to send a quick message to all out those haters out there – STFU. Seriously, you look absolutely pathetic and you’re making yourselves sound like idiots, like really, dungeon doors are 5ft wide, how tf is a wheelchair not meant to fit through that? It’s not realisitic enough? Hate to break it to you but disabled folk do actually exist my dear.

Now with that being said, I want to bring to light some of the amazing work that’s been done by members of the community – from games content to supplements, character sheets and dice made to help those who have disabilities and impairments enjoy the hobby we love so much. There is so much out there and below you’ll find some which I’ve found and had sent to me. I will keep updating this post as more are found and brought to my attention, so if you have something that’s not on the list, use the contact form on the ‘about’ page or drop me a DM on Twitter!

Please remember that when using products, especially free ones, you should mention the creator in any streamed or podcast content and show them your love!

D&D 5e

@MustangsartCombat Wheelchair

@Hag_HeroesSpell Adaptations

@JesseMcNameeArcane Prosthesis

Other Systems

@Mustangsart – Witcher RPG – Disability and Witchers & Witcher Prosthetics

@HatchlingDMInspirisles Kickstarter [ASL/BSL Supplements] 

Evil Hat Productions LLC – The Fates: Fate Core Accessibility Toolkit

Onyx Path Publishing – Dystopia Rising: Evoloution [craftable mobility aids] & Legendlore [disabled representation]

Accessibility Tools

@DOTSrpgBraille Dice & Braille Dice 3D Print Files [for personal use only]

Jacob Deitsch – Dyslexia-Assistive 5E Character Sheet

Posted in Media, Tabletop

AEW Does D&D – Murderhobo Style!

AEW. Does. D&D. Yes. A group of 7 wrestlers from the AEW Roster got together Tuesday night and, as one might expect, chaos ensued and it. Was. Fabulous. 


Brandon Cutler – The DM

Leva Bates – Lorelai Onessa Lian the Moon Elf Ranger

Orange Cassidy – Copper Nightflair the Human Rogue

Colt Cabana – Orc Haffington the Half Orc Bard

Peter Avalon – Jonathan Taylor Tortuga the Tortle Wizard

Trent Locks – Rick the Kenku Barbarian

Chuck Taylor – Doc Marten the Lizardfolk Druid

I always enjoy watching learn-to-play streams, there is something extremely wholesome about watching people discover the hobby for the first time and seeing them explore the game mechanics and find their stride in RP – this was no different. In my experience, groups of players who are new to the hobby will go one of two ways, they’ll either stick to the RP, hesitant to get into combat, or they will go the complete polar opposite and dive straight into the dice rolls and just murderhobo their way through the session – if you didn’t guess from the title, this definitely falls into the latter category. 

And just like any good murderhobo session, it all started in a tavern, with the barbarian starting a bar fight. 

Lorelai: Heal him! Heal him!

Peter: I’m going to cast Poison Spray…

Leva Bates & Peter Avalon

From bar fights to prison breaks, and the Druid and the Wizard stealing the deeds to a B&B off an old lady, this game went from 1-11 in the blink of an eye and was a laugh a minute; in the best possible ending, they ended up riding off into.. Well, the pitch black night, it was like midnight.

From an RP perspective, Cassidy and Leva were fantastic, some of the interactions between Lorelai and Copper were awesome and if they continue with these characters I’m looking forward to seeing how that relationship evolves, I can imagine some very memorable moments coming in the future. The personalities of the rest of the party are starting to come through as well and I can’t wait to see the rest of them explore the RP a bit more too. It is a skill that takes time to develop though, and until then I’m more than happy to sit down with my popcorn and watch the chaos unfold.

As the game came to a close, there was a quick chat where Cutler made a point of saying:

There’s no wrong way to [play D&D] as long everyone is haing fun

Brandon Cutler

And that, I think, is the most important thing to take away from this. With all the discourse going on within the TTRPG community at the moment, especially that surrounding D&D, I think we all need to take that step back and realise that no matter what system people chose to play, how they chose to play it, and no matter how many issues there are with that system, as long as they, and the rest of the group, are finding enjoyment in their game and with the hobby as a whole, that’s all that really matters. 

If any of the party are reading this, I would seriously love to play a game with you all at some point, it would be so much fun.

On that note though, I’m going to leave you all to enjoy the rest of your day. If you want to catch up on the madness that unfolded tuesday night, it’s currently up on Colt Cabana’s Twitch VoD for his subscribers, and it will be going up on youtube as well, I’ll drop the link to that here when it’s up!

Posted in Media, Tabletop

Mythic Odysseys of Theros – First Impressions

Before I start, I want to make it clear I know absolutely nothing about the Magic the Gathering story stuff, I play the game occasionally and have a couple of decks from about 5 years ago, but know next to nothing about the lore behind it so I am completely new to the world of Theros, I’ve had so many people asking me for this though, so here it goes!

First impressions – Mythic Odysseys of Theros is great and looks beautiful, which is honestly a surprise (the book being good, not the artwork being brilliant). I have been so worried that this was going to be done badly but I will tip my hat to WoTC, the World Design team and the illustrators, they’ve all done a brilliant job.

Those that know me know that when people screw with Greek mythology, it makes me seriously angry – for example: Clash of Titans (2010) and Wrath of Titans (2012), did you know they actually considered making a 3rd film?! 95% of the time, there is literally no need to screw with Greek mythology in order to make it interesting and engaging, so why do people still find it necessary to do so? With that being said, there are so many issues you have to face when building a Greek TTRPG world, from the treatment of women to widespread prolific slavery and the near limitless capabilities of the gods to railroad the worlds inhabitants into doing whatever the hell they like – as much as it’s a great mythological setting, it provides many challenging hurdles to overcome to effectively mould it into a playable world whilst still doing justice to the mythology and history. 

Am I disappointed that WoTC still haven’t capitalised on the glaringly obvious gap in the market they’ve created by including their version of the Greek pantheon in the 5ePHB? Yes I am, but I think the reason Theros works so well is because it isn’t Greek. As much as it draws its inspiration heavily from that period of history, it doesn’t try to replicate it. They’ve taken the essence of Greek history, mythology and religion and moulded it into this microcosmic world of epic proportions that I can’t wait to play in and DM.

Over the next couple of weeks I’m going to be doing some deep dive posts looking at the character creation options, world lore, pantheon, treasures and the bestiary and breaking down where the inspiration comes from and the differences between the traditional mythology and the world lore, and I’ll be taking a look at the new systems the book introduces. I’m not sure how many of these posts there will be yet, but there will be at least one for each of the sections mentioned. What I’m most looking forward to though, is the Pantheon deep dive because there is so much to unpack there and the write up is so in depth.

I also love the Bardic College – Eloquence? So cool!

From my first read through, the only real issue I can find is the ‘Iconoclast’ Supernatural Gift and it’s not even a real issue, I just really don’t like how they’ve named it. I completely get the need to introduce it as an option, not everyone is going to want to play a character dedicated to one or more of the gods and that’s perfectly fine and they needed to have that option available, but the connotations behind ‘Iconoclast’ are not pretty, it generally bringing to mind images of the mass destruction of religious iconography by ardents of the faith or those that wish to destroy it. 

The Oxford English Dictionary defines an Iconoclast as:

1) a person who attacks or criticizes cherished beliefs or institutions

2) a destroyer of images used in religious worship

In a world where the existence of the gods cannot be refuted, does a personal belief that the gods don’t deserve the worship and reverence they receive equate to me being an Iconoclast? Does my belief automatically mean I will actively seek to criticize the belief of others, attack their beliefs or seek to destroy the iconography of their faith? Nope! It just means my beliefs aren’t the same as theirs and I’m going to continue about my life while they go about theirs. As a supernatural gift, the Iconoclast is a great way to work around the ‘I don’t want to follow the gods’ issue, but I think it should have been named more thoughtfully.

And that is literally the only issue I found from my first read through, which again, is an honest surprise. 

They have clearly put at least some thought into the ongoing arguments about alignment ‘orcs and drow are/aren’t all evil’ ect, having listed multiple alignment options for the gods and creatures within the supplement and made clear distinctions that those ‘evil’ playable races within the world aren’t all evil and the inhabitants of the world recognise that. Is it perfect? No, but it is a step in the right direction and one I’m happy to see in place.

Overall, I am very happy with Theros and I’m really looking forward to diving into this in some more depth over the next few weeks and breaking it all down for you. For now though, I’m going to leave you all to enjoy the rest of your afternoon or evening or whatever time of day it is for you, and get some research done!

Posted in History, Tabletop

Gaming and History are a match made in heaven

This one’s going to be a bit shorter than the rest, but I just want to give you a quick run down of why I think Tabletop Gaming (or any gaming for that matter) and history work so well together.

You ask most people what they thought of History at school, and they’ll say it was really boring and they didn’t pay much attention. You ask someone if they want to play Rome, or an ancient Greek or Viking tabletop Campaign and they’re all up for it. And you want to know the reason why? Gaming is fun, school is boring. The issue stands though, with the historical inaccuracies of some of the games, be them tabletop or console/PC, that are on the market right now, so what can we do to change that?

This brings me to a bit of shameless self-advertising (if that’s even a thing on my own blog?)

Though in its very early days at the moment, I’m currently working on a project called Promethean Kind, part of which is a world building wiki style database of ancient civilisations and cultures for Worldbuilders of any ilk to use as a research base for their ‘ancient and unique’ worlds. Alongside this we will also be hosting a web-show of interviews with DM’s, Authors, Screen Writers and so many more about the where’s why’s and how’s of worldbuilding and their approaches to research and the like, as well as many other suprises yet to be announced.

Our aim is to provide worldbuilders with the information they need in clear, concise, non-academic ways to enable them to develop historically accurate and culturally sensitive worlds, so people can explore the wonders of the history of our world in fun and interactive ways. As I said, it’s early days at the moment but you can follow us on twitter @PromethenKind for more updates as and when they come.