Xanathar's Guide to Cleavin' a Goblin Clean in Twain (feat. D&D)

Doesn’t look like we’ve got a Dungeons and Dragons thread yet, and there is no way you dweebs haven’t conjured a Mordenkainen’s Private Sanctum or two in your day.

Started playing for the first time about a year and a half ago, when a friend started a campaign with an American Reconstruction theme and let me be the thing from The Thing. Absolutely loved it. D&D is easily the most fun tabletop game I’ve ever played, due largely to how many bizarre, memorable stories come out of each session.

I’ve proceeded to get sucked into five other campaigns, each with a different friend group, and now I am basically playing D&D twice a week.

Couple things:

  • The roleplaying part of this game is far and away the core of the fun here. I have one campaign that gets sucked into long, protracted battles and god does it kill the energy.

    • I will concede that this is where the tension can ramp up and the most intense moments can happen, if players are willing to take tactical sacrifices/risks for the sake of character stuff.
  • Holy god are Paladins powerful. I worked out a combo move with another player we called “Time and a Half” where he brings 7 coins to life, and I cast a spell that gives everything in range 1d8 radiant damage, so those coins do like 80 damage in a single turn. It’s wild.

  • Two of my campaigns use Roll20, and it is definitely growing on me. It gives a way, way better sense of were we are spacially, during battles and during exploration. I had one bring us through a sewer dungeon and exploring around corners and into rooms was very cool.

    • Similarly, another campaign laid out a city, and we could move our icons to buildings to explore or chat with people. Also made investigating a murder and remembering a wide cast of characters easier.
  • Character voices make all the difference. Being able to drop in and out of character with a minimum of stage-setting does wonders for keeping the flow going. I’ve only pulled off a few of them so far, so I’m open to suggestions if you guys have had good success with others:

    • The Tick/All Might over-the-top heroic voice. This one is super fun to do. Used this one for a Kenku paladin that suffered a headwound and got “stuck” in-character while mocking a paladin with the voice.

    • Froppy-style perma-congested nerd. Used this one for an aloof broom-riding witch who came from Shadowfell and is allergic to the material plane.

    • Carl from Aqua Teen/Harvey Bullock/Danny DeVito crass gnome detective type.

  • Seems like the amount of work the DM has to do vs the amount of effort the players have to put in is super uneven? That’d be my only real complaint about the system, aside from how long battles take.


It is, but there are ways to mitigate this that aren’t just “play another system”

Anyway, check out the sb gaiden podcast No Rangers Allowed if you wanna hear how sb folks have been D&Ding this past year.


Character voices are cool but they require you to like, come up with a character voice. Which is really hard?

Though I also never have any idea what my characters look like, either.

Very figurative, my theater of the mind.

This is the premium content I subscribe to this mailing list for


a partial list of my character voices

  • Peter Lorre
  • Wallace Shawn/The Monarch
  • Warcraft 2 Orc after you click on them too much
  • New Jersey
  • Larry David
  • Dramatic Wizard Voice (Jokkmokk)
  • Space Lance (this character died immediately after showing up and I haven’t reused this voice yet)
  • My voice but breathier

I think these are fine! people find them funny and they’re all pretty low effort

So long as characters are easily distinguishable thats about all a character voice needs IMO… anyone going all out on the voice acting end might spend their efforts better elsewhere


Oooo, good call on The Monarch. That and Skeletor are incredibly fun voices to do for a bad guy.

At a certain point in the campaign with the paladin, the DM had my character intermittently “become sane” again, reverting to his original evil personality (if I lost a dex roll at the start of a battle), so I would shift from All Might to Skeletor for that.

Here’s my list of Skeletorisms:

“You muscle-bound boob!”
“Neheh… neheheheheheh!”
“You blundering fool!”
“You’re all FOOLS if you think you can stop me!!”
“You meatheads!”
“Your mangy hide”
“You furry coward!”
“You fleabag!”
“You dog-tongued dolt!”
“You slime-soaked nematode!”
“You flea-bitten fur-brain!”
“You pathetic pair of pitiful pin-heads!”
“Silence you furry fool!”
“I have you now you muscle-bound oaf!”
“You moss-munching moron!”
“Dolts! Half-wits!! Bunglers!!!”


I just got into a 5th Edition group. I don’t know what to make of it yet. It seems like a super streamlined 3rd?

The skills or proficiencies or whatever they’re called now seem to be paired down to just core adventuring activities, which on one had discourages that awful 3rd Edition-fostered practice of rolling for success in every day situation rather than playing it out. On the other hand, you don’t really get to get into character during character creation by picking quirky proficiencies that can help inform/express a backstory.

2nd Edition with the three Players Option books is still the best D&D.


As a person who really has only played D&D editions thru the years and has done very little live experimenting with other systems I am hugely sold on 5e. I think it’s the best the default game has ever been by far. It retains the emphasis on tactical combat while providing ample space for improvisation. The rules are both (relatively) lightweight and powerful. It also, and I think this is overlooked by fancypants tabletop snobs who are bored of 40 years of D&D (and hell, fair enough), is very good at imparting its weird allfantasy blend of mythological, horror, and high fantasy influences. There’s a reason it’s still by far the most popular system and I don’t think it’s 100% because of branding.

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ALSO it is goddamn shocking that you made a D&D thread on sb without explicitly talking about our very own locally grown and sourced farm to table D&D podcast, wtf man

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I didn’t even know it existed!!! Tulpa didn’t even link the gablin-blasted thing

This podcast is a delight.


i think i play dnd totally differently to everyone else here: i love combat and i just feel weird and awkward doing actual roleplaying stuff.

i guess that might change as i play more rpgs that aren’t so heavily designed around combat though. like i’ve played one session of vampire the masquerade and like, two sessions of tenra bansho zero?


I felt the same way until I started playing with the nra crew

What’s cool is that you can play however you want

Not being facetious, that’s totally what’s cool!

I still have that itch, at least a little bit! I want to find some irl people to trawl through Dungeon of the Mad Mage with me to help scratch it

yeah that’s partly because dnd proper only gives you real support for combat

There’s ways around this! most of the hacks in no rangers allowed are just swapping out the experience system for something that supports player-directed goals and ‘roleplaying’ and it is one of the main things that makes our game work the way it does

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I like DMing 5e but my last group kind of fell apart because it’s really hard to get 6 people in their thirties in the same room on weekends consistently.

Just fyi my rage was an entirely manufactured jovial jest so do not feel compelled to pretend to like the thing

This is actually normal! If you equate tabletop games to vidcons then “normal, as-intended” D&D is more like Fire Emblem than interactive fiction or something. You’re explicitly supposed to have something like two or three combats per normal session (the DMG says this) as opposed to us when we fight like once every three sessions or something. We are actually using the Wrong System for the game we like to play but I forced everyone to do that on purpose because I think it’s hilarious

When I started up the NRA game the whole thing was like “you have to be adult enough to actually commit to do this” and stating that up front has been very successful. Much easier to get people together on the internet than irl of course

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I should really try a dnd group here so i can have finally played a dnd and have an outlet for fun voices.

No Rangers Allowed is good.


A little bit I miss the at-will/encounter/daily powers system from 4e

Especially as someone who plays melee classes a lot, the first few levels of vanilla melee attacking are a bit dull

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Agreed, but I really don’t like the flattening effect 4e has, where every class feels so similar. I played enough WoW already.

I do find that melee is sort of as interesting as you make it (as long as you have a willing DM). I’ve ended like 10% of our encounters with grappling!

Also there’s no law you have to start at first level either.

On the other other hand I am willing to concede that probably I don’t think melee is boring because we’ve had like 15 combats in 8 levels and I haven’t run out of new fun things to try to do