League of Explorers Card Highlights

What is League of Explorers bringing to the Hearthstone table?

“The Discover mechanic!” is the easy answer. As the Zinaar boss already showed us in a not so subtle way, Discover lets you pick between three different cards and add one of them to your hand, just like an Arena draft. Discover isn’t going to take over the game, but its a new way to gain card advantage. You play a card that has a Battlecry: Discover effect and then it trades with something. You traded card for card, but you also got a bonus card through the Battlecry.

With that said here’s a few of the cards that look the best to me in the League of Explorers adventure for Hearthstone.

Sir Finley Mrrgglton

Super useful if you’re building a deck for a class, but don’t plan on using that classes hero power very much. A Rogue Inspire deck for example. And if you wanted to have more Murloc stuff Sir Finley Mrrgglton can be included in a deck with these two beauties: Everyfin is Awesome and Anyfin Can Happen

Brann BronzebeardRumbling Elemental

Both of these cards will make Battlecry decks way more popular and viable. I’d wager that this will be on the level of the rise of Deathrattle decks after the release of Naxxramas.

Reno Jackson

He was released in the first wing and already has a few highlights on YouTube. Good in any control deck. Reno’s Battlecry will trigger based off the cards in your deck at the time he is played, so if you are using a deck that runs two of everything, but you’ve drawn or played one copy of each of those cards then his effect will trigger.

Arch-Thief Rafaam

Just a strong late game card. Rafaam lets you choose between three different cards and put one in your hand. These three cards are:

Mirror of DoomLantern of PowerTimepiece of Horror

Rafaam has the advantage of giving you whatever tool you need to take control of the game. His disadvantage is that you won’t be able to take advantage of that tool until the turn after you play Rafaam. Also, imagine a combination of Rafaam and Brann. Two super cards! They remain super expensive though.

Animated Armor

I saw a lot of buzz about this card being good and how it will make Mages even more untouchable. I gotta say that’s not true. Most of the time this will act as a 4/4 taunt. Just a slightly different stat allocation that Sen’jin Shieldmasta.

Keeper of Uldaman

This one functions a lot like Aldor Peacekeeper but it has an alternative use, buffing a Silver Hand Recruit up! When use that way it comes with a grand total of 5/6 stats making it one of the best 4 mana cards out there.

Unearthed Raptor

I routinely compete in a Hearthstone card creation contest on Order of the Stick’s Forums and cards like this have been suggested many times in the past. I’m glad that Blizzard has introduced the card. It’s got good stats and it should reliably have a good Deathrattle effect. Or it could be used to make Mill Rogue stronger by copying Deathlord or Dancing Swords Deathrattle.

Explorer's Hat

I don’t think this card will be particularly good, but I’m excited that it was released. Hearthstone is based off of Magic the Gathering and there are obvious similarities between the two games. Hearthstone has spells that buff creatures, and Magic has enchant creature spells. Enchant creature spells hang around as a card that is actively affecting it’s creature while Hearthstone cleans up that mess by having the effects of the spell visually appear on the card’s stats.

But what if you want to separate the buff/enchant creature from the creature after you’ve played it? that was easy enough in Magic, if you have a card that lets you do that, you move the enchant creature to a different creature. Wizards of the Coast made that process even easier with the release of equipment cards. In Hearthstone… There’s no easy way to do that and have it integrated with the game’s current mechanics.

So instead we get this janky mess! It hearkens back to the early days before Magic’s equipments were released. When Rancor and Angelic Destiny were the staple for reapplying enchant creatures. I understand Explorer’s Hat perfectly well, but it’s going to be a confusing card for novice players.

There’s a lot more cards but none that wowed me like these ones did. If you want to look at the others they are all posted here.

-GoCorral

Hearthstone Adventures: The Old and The New

League of Explorers Banner

Blizzard had released the next Hearthstone adventure and I still haven’t finished the Heroic versions of all the Blackrock Mountain bosses.

When the adventure was announced I rushed to do a few of them. Here are the decks I came up with.

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A lot of double taunt creatures in this deck help with Direbrew’s nonstop aggression. Then there’s some high attack minions to deal him damage. The Windfury card is what really pulls it together. Drop it on something like a Core Hound to deal a bunch of damage to Direbrew at once.

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Thaurissan’s challenge remains the same, you have to keep his wife alive. Only now instead of being a 1/3 she’s a 3/1. So you’re taking more damage from her each turn and she dies from just one stray point of damage. The solution? Flip-flop her attack and health with Crazed Alchemist, buff her health and heal her when Thaurissan gets all “wife-beaty,” and win in the end with the typical Divine Spirit/Inner Fire combo.

In this deck I also included a few cards to try and steal Moira. I never got the chance to use them, so I’m not sure what happens if you succeed. Let me know if you do! Either way, the minion theft cards are unnecessary to clear Heroic Thaurissan.

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For finishing off Executus and Ragnaros I give you the traditional Divine Spirit/Inner Fire deck. This one works a little differently. The idea is to kill Executus and Ragnaros in the same turn so Ragnaros doesn’t get to use his double strength hero power. The deck also has some Light Warden/Holy Champion heal combos to try and get some more minions with super high attack while sustaining yourself. Executus has 30 Health and 15 Armor while Ragnaros has 30 Health and 30 Armor. Coming up with 60+ damage in one turn might seem difficult, but this deck manages it well.

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Omokk kills a minion every turn. To get around that, we have to give him a lot of weak targets. Imp Master spawns a few and the Paladin’s hero power pumps out one every turn. Couple that with the Inspire spawning power of Silver Hand Regent and Murloc Knight and by the midgame you should be ending every turn with a board of 7 minions. The deck has a little difficulty starting because often you can’t play anything until turn 3 or 4 because Omokk will kill any minion you play by itself. If you stabilize after getting to the point where you can play some cards and hero power every turn, then you should win.

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Drakkisath has a nice thing going because he can play two cards every turn while you only get one card. So what do we do? Try to trade two for one as much as we can! Not much else to say about this deck. Getting Alexstrasza and Ragnaros are probably the most important parts to beating Drakkisath and you need them to get you a big advantage before he plays Twisting Nether. Winning this takes some luck and as you can see, a lot of legendaries.

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Defeating Razorgore means never letting his eggs hatch. They turn into 7/7 drakes once they reach 5 health. The deck has a lot of low cost minions so you can start keeping the eggs under control right away. Razorgore will build a little bit of an advantage while you concentrate on his eggs. You’ll take a lot of damage from his attacks, so the Tournament Medic is in the deck to help stabilize. Once you have enough minions the egg count will start reducing and you can slowly push back against Razorgore and win the game.

Now on to League of Explorers. The first wing is out, the second releases on Thursday, with a third and fourth wing coming after Thanksgiving.

League of Explorers has an Indiana Jones theme to it. Delving into ancient ruins to uncover forbidden treasure, trading witty insults back and forth with your trusted teammates, and battling Azerothian Nazis or something like that. All of these things and more are part of the League of Explorers.

Obviously there’s some new cards. I’ll be covering those and my opinions on them in a post later this week. For now I’d like to give some guides to beating all the Heroic bosses of League of Explorers first wing, the Temple of Orsis.

Zinaar Deck

Zinaar’s whole thing is that he has more cards and mana than you, but at the cost of giving you free stuff, specifically, a bunch of spells that cost 0 mana. To take advantage of that we make a deck that has Mana Addicts, Mana Wyrms, and Questing Adventurers in it (Flamewakers would also work). These get buffed every time you cast one of the wishes. You attack Zinaar with your buffed minions while freezing his hordes out with typical Mage freeze stuff. Easy win!

Phaerix Deck

Phaerix’s staff only makes him immune for Heroic and is a 3/8 for Phaerix while only being a 0/5 for you. A 3/8 is still killable with a Shadow Word: Pain spell though. Then proceed to do the typical Divine Spirit/Inner Fire nonsense. I had a perfect draw with this one where I got all three of the necessary cards in my starting hand. Phaerix had no answer for it and lost quickly.

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Not sure if Duplicate and Lorewalker Cho do anything in this deck…

This boss was a lot of fun! Instead of trying to defeat the Temple, you are trying to get out as fast as you can. You need to survive ten turns while the temple’s guardians and traps attack you. Since you don’t need to (and can’t) attack your enemy, all you need to do is survive. Freeze Mage is perfect at surviving a long time and now the deck doesn’t even need a win condition like Antonidas! There is a specific sequence event for each turn as follows.
1. Summons a 6/7. You get to draw a card or gain a mana crystal.
2. Summons a 7/7 that also summons a 1/1 with Taunt every turn. You get to take 5 damage or flip a coin to take 0 or 10 damage.
3. Summons 2 8/8 minions with Divine Shield. A Rolling Boulder is summoned to the far right side of your board that destroys one minion to its left every turn.
4. Summons a 10/10. You draw 2 cards or gain 10 Health.
5. All minions are destroyed on both sides.
6. Summons 2 6/15 minions.
7. Summons a 7/7 that also summons a 1/1 with Taunt every turn. You can do nothing or reduce the turn counter by 1 and let the temple summon an additional 7/7.
8. Summons a 5/9 that deals 5 damage to you and all your stuff at the end of every turn (skipped if you summoned the 7/7).
9. Summons 3 10/6 minions.
10. Survive this turn and you win!

I hope all of this helps you beat a few more of the Heroic Hearthstone bosses!

Blackrock Mountain Wrapup

I haven’t posted anything about Hearthstone’s Blackrock Mountain adventure since it came out and I think it’s about time I got around to that.

The adventure was a lot of fun. The bosses had their own little quirks that you had to work around to win, but none of them were too hard.

The Mage class challenge was awesome and I have replayed it a bunch of times. The deck you get is a solid 30 Unstable Portals!

Unstable_Portal

I’ve tried my hand at a few of the Heroic bosses and beaten three of them. My decklists and a glimpse of how the decks work are available on YouTube at these links: Grim Guzzler, Emperor Thaurissan, and General Drakkisath.

Now that the adventure is over and I’ve collected all the cards, which ones are the best and most fun?

Hungry_Dragon

Hungry Dragon stays a favorite for me. You get a good creature and your opponent gets something useless or something that completely messes you up. Shieldbearer is one of my least favorite minions to pop for my opponent even though its usually trash.

Volcanic_Drake

Volcanic Drake is pretty good in Arena and might make mid-range Hunter much more viable. The Drake combines well with Unleash the Hounds. Drop the Hounds, wipe your opponent’s board, and then play the Drake for free.

Blackwing_Corruptor

Blackwing Corruptor is pretty much an auto-include if you’re building a dragon tribe deck. The Battlecry effect is just so strong. Get a decent sized minion and probably eliminate one of your opponent’s minions as well. Awesome card.

Drakonid_Crusher

Drakonid Crusher is another winner for Arena. 6 mana for a 6/6 isn’t bad. It’s only got 1 worse health than Boulderfist Ogre. And Drakonid is a dragon so it can activate the Battlecries of Blackwing Corruptor and other similar cards. Best part is that if you’re already winning and you drop Drakonid, you get a 9/9. Even bigger than a giant! Solid draft in Arena. Not so good in constructed because you usually need things other than huge creatures in constructed.

Dragonkin_Sorcerer

Dragonkin Sorcerer is terrifying when a Paladin plays it. It’s stats are average for its cost, but if the Paladin drops a buff spell on it, look out. And its a dragon for that dragon synergy as well.

Emperor_Thaurissan

Emperor Thaurissan made a lot of combo decks much more viable. Specifically Freeze Mage and Combo Druid. If the cards necessary for lethal are all 1 mana cheaper then the combo can be pulled of in one turn instead of two if needed or at an earlier turn thatn previously possible. Thaurissan is a great card.

NefarianMajordomo_Executus

Nefarian and Majordomo Exectus both underperformed my expectations to be honest. Nefarian often gets you spells that are completely useless in your current situation. Exectus is often a liability because becoming Ragnaros reduces your health to 8. In what situation would you want your health to go that low? Usually if its already that low. And if it is that low, then your opponent will just deal damage to you instead of Exectus.

Resurrect

Resurrect is one card that I’m excited to see more of. I’ve heard that it combos well with Injured Blademaster because it comes back at 4/7 instead of 4/3. I’d like to see if slightly modifying a Preist deck could make this card awesome, but I don’t play that much Priest anymore. I’ll give a try sometime! Maybe for the Heroic bosses.

Imp_Gang_Boss

Imp Gang Boss is a really nice Warlock card. Demons are getting better and better as Blizzard releases more of them. Imp Gang Boss is chock full of demons and quite difficult for your opponent to fully remove. Pretty much a solid card in any situation.

Lava_ShockFireguard_Destroyer

Lava Shock and Fireguard Destroyer are the two new Shaman class cards. Lava Shock is definitely cool. There are a few Shaman decks I’ve wanted to try out in the past, but Overloading too much stopped those decks from working. Lava Shock could fix that. And Fireguard is just a good card for its cost. It will almost always be worth the Overload cost you pay for it, just like Crackle.

Druid_of_the_Flame

Druid of the Flame is a good Druid card and it counts as a Beast to combo with Druid of the Fang. I once had Druid of the Fang, Druid of the Claw, and Druid of the Flame all out at the same time and I felt very naturey. You’ll almost always play the Druid of the Flame in 2/5 form just like Ancient of War, but its a good card regardless of the false choice.

Quick_Shot

Quick Shot is the latest upgrade to the Face Hunter deck. Out of cards? Why not deal damage and draw more cards! Plus it allows for more burst from the hand to surprise your opponent with lethal when they thought they were safe. Good card.

That’s all the new cards that stuck out to me. I’ll be posting more YouTube guides to beating the Heroic bosses as I manage to do it!

-GoCorral

Blackrock Mountain Announcement

Been a while since I’ve made a post because I’ve been quite sick. The flu is a terrible thing!

I’ve been wanting to make a post about Hearthstone’s new adventure expansion, Blackrock Mountain. Now that I’m no longer as concerned about dying I can write the post! Woohoo!

The adventure is based off a famous WoW raid once again that I know almost nothing about.

Looking at whats been released so far on the official website and trailer I can tell that the expansion has dragons, fire, and dwarves in it.

I LOVE dragons, so this is gonna be a killer set for me.

Moving on to a selection of the previewed cards though!

First up is the previewed Legendary, Rend Blackhand.

Rend_Blackhand

Only useful in a very very specific situation. You have to have him and a dragon in your hand and your opponent has to have a Legendary on their board that is worth killing. Otherwise it’s basically a weak Core Hound and no one plays that because it’s bad.

Next is the Hungry Dragon.

Hungry_Dragon

 

I’m pleased by this new addition to the dragon forces in the game. It’s strong, but not overwhelmingly strong. Did I mention that it’s a DRAGON?!?

Then we have the Dark Iron Skulker.

Dark_Iron_Skulker

Pretty obviously intended as an anti-aggro card for Rogues. Rogues already have a few tools for this with Fan of Knives and their hero power. This card is even better because its basically a Consecration stapled to a 3 mana cost minion body for only 5 mana. You’re getting 2 mana of oomph for free if the Skulker damages all of your opponent’s minions. I think this one will see a lot of play.

And the best for last! Axe Flinger!

Axe_Flinger

Super useful alongside Bouncing Blade, the GVG Warrior spell that deals 1 damage to a random minion and then another random minion until a minion dies. And the best thing about the Axe Flinger is that it immediately inspired me to make this video!

Blackrock Mountain is scheduled to come out sometime in April. Hopefully we’ll get to see a few more cards before then!

-GoCorral

Dracula Untold Review

I saw Dracula Untold the other night in theaters.

It was decent, but not as good as the trailers made it seem to me.

The movie attempts to juggle a lot of different themes and ultimately fails on most of them.

The movie attempts to unify the historical story of Vlad the Impaler with the mythological story of Dracula. It does a decent job.

The historical story is heavily condensed, turning a three year war into something that takes about a week, but that’s to be expected when making a movie. The personalities of the participating characters are changed as well, but that was necessary for the story the script writers wanted to tell.

The mythological story is compromised to make Vlad seem more appealing to the audience. This is an origin story, so Vlad doesn’t start off as a horrible bloodsucking villain. He’s a family man who fights the Turks to protect his country as well as his son. He’s all but turned into card-carrying monster by the end of the movie though.

But if Vlad is a good person, how does he become a vampire? The “evil vampire” is a monster that is trapped by a curse within a cave. The vampire can turn someone else into a vampire. If that person does not drink blood within the next three days then they will turn back into a human. However, if they do drink blood then the original vampire will be freed from the cave to do horrible vampire things to people.

Vlad takes this deal with the devil to protect his family from the coming Turk invasion. The three days don’t prove to be enough to stop the Turk invasion, mostly because Vlad wastes his second day doing nothing of significance. Vlad chooses to extend his gift into eternity by drinking blood. He then shares his gift with a few of his loyal soldiers and they wreck the entire Turk army. The tactics employed by the vampires reminded me so much of the short story Out of the Dark by David Weber that I’m sure the script writers read the short story as well.

There’s lots of actions and special effects. A few wonky camera angles that mess up the movie, but those are fortunately rare.

I think my main issue with the movie was the multiple different personas Vlad has. We all act differently in different situations and around different people, there’s nothing unusual about that.

My problem was that there was no obvious transition between Vlad’s different personas.

Vlad comes back home after encountering the original vampire. This is before he makes a deal with the original. The vampire killed two of Vlad’s most loyal soldiers.

Vlad returns to his family, puts on a happy face, and kisses his wife. She notices he seems distant and he says, “I was only distracted by your unbelievable beauty.” Vlad then goes on to play and joke with his children before tucking them into bed before having sex with his wife in the bathtub.

But he just saw two of his men killed by a demon a few hours before this? It is possible that he transitions this quickly. He probably needs to do so often as he is a military ruler of his country with the nickname, “The Impaler,” but the audience does not see this transition. All the movie needed was to show Vlad outside the door to his family room before going in. He could sigh and shake his head before entering, having mentally prepared himself for hiding the brutal murders he just witnessed from his family. Nothing like that is in the movie. It goes straight from a discussion with a monk about the vampire to him reuniting with his family.

That’s not the only issue. When Vlad first accepts the curse of the vampire he understands that it might cost him his soul. He realizes that later on while praying in a church. Yet when he’s about to lose his power if he doesn’t drink blood, he doesn’t remember. The person who he drinks the blood of doesn’t remind him either. There should’ve been some discussion of whether his soul was worth expelling the Turks from Wallachia and saving his son’s life, but there isn’t! We at least get an anguished scream from Vlad after he drinks the blood, but that’s all. No traumatic battle between good and evil within him over becoming a demon. Just a battle over the sin of cannibalism.

Who would I recommend this movie to? Probably not fans of the historical Vlad the Impaler. Too much of the story is changed to truly match the real version.

It feels more like a typical action/adventure movie. If you liked The Mummy or Raiders of the Lost Ark then this will be a good movie for you to watch. Not as good as those classics, but a decent movie with fighting and special effects to entertain you. The characterization isn’t great and the plot… Well we all already know what happens in the Dracula story.

-Mister Ed

Heroic Kel’Thuzad

 

The ideal situation against the big bad lich boss.
The ideal situation against the big bad lich boss.

Beating Heroic Kel’Thuzad was a pain.

What are Kel’Thuzad’s advantages over you in Heroic? EVERYTHING!

He starts off with 20 armor and 45 health.

If you’ve played against him then you probably already know that he has two hero powers.

His first hero power is used for free very turn. It freezes you and deals you 3 damage.

His second hero power is unlocked when you remove Kel’Thuzad’s armor or when you finish your tenth turn, whichever comes first.

The second hero power costs 8 and allows Kel to steal a random minion from your side of the board. And when his hero power changes he also gets two 5/5 minions with taunt.

Plus he’s got some of the best cards in the game in his deck.

I tried so many decks against him. I tried Paladin, Shaman, and Mage before I landed on Divine Spirit/Inner Fire Priest once again.

The Paladin deck I tried was too slow to build a board presence against Kel’Thuzad. The 3 damage a turn from his hero power brought me down before I could get the buff train rolling on my minions.

My Shaman deck focused around dealing lots of early damage with Dust Devils, but Kel killed the Dust Devils every time with Frostbolt.

The Mage deck I created had some success. It could consistently survive to Kel’Thuzad’s second stage, but it faltered at that point.

The Mage deck was a Secret deck. Mad Scientist and Ethereal Arcanist featured heavily in it.

I usually broke through Kel’s armor with a buffed Arcanist.

Then Kel would transform, drop two huge taunt minions, and steal my Arcanist.

I couldn’t figure out a way to recover from that.

Sooo… Back to the Divine Spirit/Inner Fire Priest! Here’s the deck list:
Circle of Healing x2
Silence x2
Inner Fire x2
Power Word: Shield x2
Northshire Cleric x2
Divine Spirit x2
Lightwell x2
Loot Hoarder x2
Novice Engineer x2
Deathlord x2
Imp Master x2
Stoneskin Gargoyle x2
Shadow Madness x2
Lightspawn x2
Holy Nova x2

Just the usual jazz for Divine Spirit/Inner Fire, but with the addition of a bit more card draw to get the required pieces. The Loot Hoarder and Novice Engineer will hopefully take some of Kel’s removal spells with them as well.

The Silence is added to remove any taunts that Kel might get. Racing him was how I won and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the Silence. Ironbeak Owl might work just as well though.

Getting a big beastie should be fine, but then Kel will transform and get his minion stealing power. What do we do then?

That’s why I put Imp Master in. Kel will steal a 1 attack creature more often than not, so he’ll just avoid using the ability entirely.

Shadow Madness is also quite useful against Kel’Thuzad because he runs Dark Cultist and Sludge Belcher. If they die on your side of the field then you get the deathrattle as well!

While the deck is pretty simple, the boss fight is still quite hard. I beat Kel’Thuzad on my tenth try after going into fatigue and being one turn from losing.

But I unlocked this baby!

Heroic Naxxramas

So good luck taking down the Heroic bosses of Naxxramas. My other Heroic boss guides can be found here: Maexxna, PatchwerkGlobbulus, GluthThaddiusSapphiron, Everyone else.

-Mister Ed

Curse of Naxxramas

Curse of Naxxramas

The first Hearthstone expansion just came out today!

Blizzard released a trailer that you can check out to see what the theme of the expansion is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SDJgW3A_sw

I streamed on my Twitch channel while exploring the new expansion called Curse of Naxxramas. It is named after one of the first big raids in World of Warcraft (WoW), Hearthstone’s ancestor game.

In WoW a raid is a group of computer-controlled enemy bosses lumped together to be taken on for fun and loot.

Hearthstone sets up Naxxramas in just the same way.

The bosses are split up into five different groups.

One new group will come out each week. Defeating each boss unlocks a card and beating a whole group unlocks an additional card.

The expansion also includes “class challenges.”

These modes give you a specific deck to use against one of the bosses.

If you win the class challenge you unlock a card for that class.

The final new mode included in the expansion is Heroic mode.

Heroic mode allows you to face the computer-controlled bosses once again, but this time the bosses have a ridiculous advantage.

The bosses already get cards and powers that no one else has access to, but Heroic mode takes that a step further.

Now the powers are ridiculously strong, making it almost impossible to win.

The only way it possible way to win that I’ve seen is to construct a specific deck to defeat the bosses.

For example, one of the Heroic bosses gets to return two of your minions to your hand every turn without any cost to the boss.

But what if you constructed a deck where every time you played a minion you got an additional effect?

With that deck the boss’s power would be working against it, constantly giving you and advantage.

I’ve yet to come up with ideas for ways to take down the other two bosses. I’ll think of something or find a good idea already existing on the internet.

The expansion was a lot of fun. Heroic mode was frustrating, but beating it will be satisfying once I get there.

-Mister Ed

A Short D&D Glossary

A photo of the glossary page in the 4th edition D&D Monster Manual
A photo of the glossary page in the 4th edition D&D Monster Manual

There’s a few words that get tossed around a lot in D&D. I often forget that other people don’t know the specific D&D meanings of those words, so I thought I’d provide a short glossary of terms today.

The first word that I realized others might not know was teleport. None of the auto-spellcheckers I have used ever recognize teleport as a correctly spelled word  (And now I’ve confirmed that WordPress’s spellchecker doesn’t catch it either). Teleport is a word that means to instantly appear somewhere else. The transporter in Star Trek and apparating in Harry Potter are essentially both teleporting. The act of teleporting is called teleportation.

Campaign: A series of adventures that the players undertake, often with an underlying theme. My players are in a campaign where they fight a vampiric empire. The campaign before that was an attempt to prevent the establishment of the vampiric empire (they failed in the end). Prior to that they were fighting an evil death wizard (or necromancer since this is the blog post to teach you these words).

Campaign World: The main fantasy world in which a campaign takes place. My campaign world is based off Greek and Roman mythology and takes place in a place far to the east that the Greeks called Cimmeria.

Plane: There are often other worlds connected to the campaign world. These alternate dimensions are called planes. They appear as pools in some of the prequels to the Narnia series. The other worlds could be parallel dimensions or versions of heaven or hell, or anything else you can think of.

Cleric: A cleric is a person who devotes their life to religion. In English we often associate specific words with specific religions. A minister is Christian, a rabbi is Jewish, an iman is Muslim, etc. To avoid that confusion, D&D uses cleric to refer to priests of all gods and religions.

Encounter: A single conflict between the players and an adversary represented by the DM. These conflicts are often violent, but they don’t need to be. A diplomatic negotiation could also be an encounter.

Adventure: A string of encounters that have a unifying villain or objective. Adventures are composed of encounters and campaigns are composed of adventures. Campaigns can also have overarching villains and objectives, but the individual villains in each adventure will often change. You fight the henchmen before you fight the villain (Deatheaters before Voldemort in Harry Potter).

Experience: When the players defeat an encounter their characters are awarded experience points (EXP or XP). These are used to make their character stronger. They’re an important extrinsic reward in the game. A character’s power is defined by how much XP they have. If a character is more powerful then they can take on greater challenges. A hero could start off slaying orcs, gaining more experience til he is slaying giants and dragons.

Level: As characters gain more experience they increase in level. Each level has a set amount of XP required to reach it. Thus power increases in a stepwise fashion. More and more XP is needed for the higher levels. D&D levels typically range from 1-20.

System: D&D is the most well known pen and paper roleplaying game, but its not the only one. Many others exist and most have their own acronyms as well. Generic Universal RolePlaying System (GURPS) favors realism over the fantastical heroism of D&D. Call of Cthulu (CoC) simulates the Lovecraftian horror genre instead of high fantasy. Star Wars is for science fiction and World of Darkness (WoD) is for playing in a world of vampires and werewolves. D&D is the flagship of roleplaying games, but it probably has less than half the overall market share within the business. The rules of D&D and the rules of all its competitors are called roleplaying systems.

Edition: All these roleplaying systems have different editions. D&D is about to release its 5th edition. I believe GURPS is on its 4th now. WoD is on its 2nd edition. My friends and I started off playing 2nd edition D&D and switched to 3.0 and then 3.5 when they came out. We became entrenched in 3.5 and never switched to 4th edition (4E) and are only considering it now. This unwillingness to change leads to what are called edition wars in D&D. Different groups will argue that their system or edition is far superior to any other. It’s a snobbish elitism that exists in any hobby from beer drinking to bird watching.

Class: A character in D&D must pick a class to decide what powers they have access to. Wizards can cast powerful spells, but can’t fight very well. Fighters can swing a sword, but they can’t sneak into buildings. Rogues can sneak around and lie to people convincingly, but they can’t heal wounds. Clerics can heal wounds and cast some of the weaker spells, but not the more powerful ones. The wizard, fighter, rogue, and cleric make up the 4 basic class types in D&D. Each character must be one of these classes or a variation on them. Each level a character has is in one of these classes. A character could have all of their levels in one class or spread them out as much as they like between the many variations on the basic four.

Race: Players pick a race or species when they first create their character. The basic races are human, elf, dwarf, halfling, half-orc, gnome, and half-elf,  but there are many more. Each race gives a character a few small bonuses and penalties along with a set of typical physical features to choose from and a racial history to assist in writing a character’s backstory.

Skills: Characters have a few things they are good at. This could be something like cooking, playing an instrument, climbing, or using magical items. Most if not all roleplaying systems have skills.

Feats: Feats give a character additional options or bonuses beyond what their race, class, and skills give. A character gets one feat every three levels. Feats are unique to D&D. A feat could be something like the ability to create magic items, running for long distances without tiring, or using one weapon much better than any other.

That’s enough for now! With this info you’ll be able to understand my future posts on D&D a little better.

-Mister Ed