Top products from r/mattcolville

We found 37 product mentions on r/mattcolville. We ranked the 133 resulting products by number of redditors who mentioned them. Here are the top 20.

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Top comments that mention products on r/mattcolville:

u/BrentRTaylor · 3 pointsr/mattcolville

This is an idea that is dear to my heart and I'm looking forward to running a pirate/naval adventure myself. I've got some inspiration ideas for you!


These books should need no introduction. These are the books that will truly inspire your game.

  • Necronomicon: The Best Weird Tales of H. P. Lovecraft
  • Eldritch Tales
  • Conan the Barbarian - The Original, Unabridged Adventures of the World's Greatest Fantasy Hero
  • Grimms Complete Fairy Tales
  • Tales of Norse Mythology
  • Iliad and Odyssey

    TV Shows

  • Crossbones - This is one of the most underrated TV shows I've ever seen. It got canceled late in it's first season and so the finale was rushed, but despite that it's an amazing show. This show has political intrigue and adventure ideas abound. I'd argue it's damn near required viewing for running any sort of pirate campaign.
  • Black Sails - This amazing show is written as a prequel to the novel, "Treasure Island". It follows Captain Flint, and a young John Silver as they attempt to make an "honest" living while preparing to thwart the predicted demise of piracy. Swashbuckling adventures, intrigue and more adventure ideas here than I can count. The show is a hell of a ride and I can guarantee you'll get plenty of ideas watching this one.
  • Vikings - This show is the show that just keeps on giving. The first two or three episodes are a little slow to start, but you'll be on the edge of your seat every episode thereafter. While this show focuses on vikings, there's plenty here to inspire a pirate adventure. It will especially inspire the creation of your villains.
  • The Musketeers - This isn't that terrible (and oh so amazing) Disney movie from the 90's. This show focuses on the Musketeers you know of, and the Musketeers as a military unit during that time period. If you're focusing on adventures during something similar to the golden age of piracy, you need to watch this show. One of my favorites.

    Tabletop Books

  • The 7th Sea - I am not recommending this as the system you should use, I am recommending it strictly as inspiration for your setting. It easily has the most interesting setting I've ever seen and has some amazing ideas for adventures dealing with curses, the sidhe, naval campaigns, city adventures, etc. Whether this will be useful to you depends entirely on your setting. Are you playing D&D on the high seas? If so, this isn't going to be nearly as useful. Are you playing in a setting reminiscent of the golden age of piracy with some light magical touches (eldritch horrors in the deep sea, curses, magical fey creatures and low magic for the players)? If so, good lord is this book (and the Nations of Theah books) going to be useful to you.
  • Razor Coast - If you're playing D&D on the high seas, this is the book for you. It's a sandbox setting with a ton of adventures and adventure seeds. It is expensive, but it's worth every penny. Highly recommended.

    I can't recommend all of this enough. A lot of this will give you ideas and inspiration for all of your campaigns, naval/pirate or otherwise. Have fun!
u/LilTrashPanda · 222 pointsr/mattcolville

Woah, hey! I'm always happy to talk about my PHB tabs :) Here's a quick breakdown behind my mentality of it and then my execution and some cons of tabbing:


From a new player's perspective (or someone who likes to loan their PHB to those who are new), the PHB can be pretty daunting to pick up and use as a tool at the table. The sections are huge, and the only way to tell that you're in one section versus another is some very light text on the bottom page corners with some (lacking) color-coding that doesn't correlate to the Contents page -- and the sub-sections aren't given any different kind of treatment so it all kinda blends together. I don't expect most people to read it front-to-back either, so needing to reference something quickly can be difficult if you don't have the muscle-memory down.

Additionally, there are quite a few pieces of information I need to look up with some regularity that aren't part of the Contents and aren't indexed well, so I needed a way to pick them out specifically and quickly with some kind of tactile solution.


So I decided to just tab all of the subsections, then the smaller topics -- the sections themselves are already too large to bother putting an extra tab in for, and I can just use the color-coding in the bottom corner if I manage to get lost. I use vertical Post-It tabs for the subsections, and horizontal Post-it arrow tabs for the topics that match in color to the vertical subsection tabs (not only is it useful, it makes it look beaauuutiful!). It took me a weekend to do, but I didn't have a super well-planned tab structure in mind so there was a lot of redoing that took up extra time.

Pro Tips:

  1. Start with the vertical tabs as that'll define where you place your next vertical tab (beneath the first) and your horizontal tabs for that subsection.
  2. Make sure to get tabs that can be repositioned so if something gets out of place, it's not life or death.

    My PHB Tab Breakdown

  • pg17 - Ancestries & Classes [Light Blue]
    • pg19 - Dwarf
    • pg21 - Elf
    • pg27 - Halfling
    • pg29 - Human
    • pg33 - Dragonborn
    • pg35 - Gnome
    • pg39 - Half-Elf
    • pg41 - Half-Orc
    • pg43 - Tiefling
  • (No vertical tab for Classes, start horizontal tabs in-line with Ancestries) [Dark Blue]
    • pg47 - Barbarian
    • pg51 - Bard
    • pg57 - Cleric
    • pg65 - Druid
    • pg71 - Fighter
    • pg77 - Monk
    • pg83 - Paladin
    • pg89 - Ranger
    • pg95 - Rogue
    • pg99 - Sorcerer
    • pg105 - Warlock
    • pg113 - Wizard
  • pg143 - Equipment [Lime-Green]
    • pg145 - Armor
    • pg147 - Weapons (probably could've been put on pg149 to be more useful)
    • pg151 - Kits & Packs
    • pg155 - Tools | Mounts (Separate Tabs)
    • pg159 - Food, Drink, & Lodging
    • pg161 - Trinkets (I never use this, it turns out)
  • Note: We don't use Feats in our game, so they aren't tabbed.
  • pg173 - Abilities [Yellow] (No vertical tabs; tbh, never use this section either)
  • pg181 - Adventuring [Pink]
    • pg183 - Movement | Vision
    • pg187 - Resting
  • pg189 - Combat [ Red]
    • pg189 - Initiative | Bonus
    • pg191 - Reactions
    • pg193 - Actions
    • pg195 - Attacks
    • pg197 - Damage & Healing
  • pg201 - Spells [Purple]
    • pg203 - Concentration
    • pg211 - A
    • pg217 - B
    • pg221 - C
    • pg231 - D
    • pg237 - E
    • pg239 - F
    • pg245 - G
    • pg249 - H
    • pg253 - I
    • pg255 - J, K, L (Single Tab)
    • pg257 - M
    • pg263 - N, O
    • pg265 - P
    • pg271 - R
    • pg272 - S
    • pg281 - T
    • pg285 - U, V, W
    • pg289 - Z
  • pg291 - Conditions [Light Blue]
  • Note: Gods and Planes aren't something I constantly need to know about since Matt makes up his own stuff, so I didn't tab this section.
  • pg305 - Creatures [Lime-Green] (I only tabbed this section since it's useful as a DM when I don't feel like peeling through my DMG or MM)


    Obviously each PHB is unique to its owner, and any tabbing will reflect that; in this exercise I've already discovered tabs I never have needed to use, and there are whole sections I omit because it's not commonly needed for the games I play in/run. I do think that having alphabetized spell tabs has been the BIGGEST time saver out of everything, closely followed by the Classes tabs, so you may want to start there -- though that could lead to tabs not lining up nicely, so if aesthetics are important, just plan out your tab structure in advance then go for it!


    There's only a couple issues I've run into. One is that the tabs that stick out way further still have sticky backs to them and sometimes they get stuck to the other tabs or my arm/sleeves. So far all the tabs have stayed on really well, but it can be a little annoying to peel them off each other.

    The other issue is that I have to be really careful with how I store my PHB now; I can't toss it into a drawer or with the tabs facing a surface it'll smash into, since I'm worried it'll mess them up. It's survived like this for at least a year now, so while it's not really inconvenient I just have to keep it in mind.


    Vertical subsection tabs:

    Horizontal topic tabs:


    Edit: Wow, thank you for the gp! No idea what it does but I'll figure it out ♥

u/mortambo · 1 pointr/mattcolville
  1. With a group of all newbies, definitely go with pre-gens. I'd say in a few sessions/after the one shot maybe let them make new characters once they have some experience with how everything plays.

  2. I recently bought some of the official dungeon tiles but this is literally all I use for a battlemat: I got the larger version for my table but it's really not necessary. This one will do great. However, you can use a dry erase board, or just paper with 1 inch squares printed on it for now. Print out about 4 sheets a "battle" and that should be enough space

  3. As suggested, Matt lays out the Delian Tomb that's great for a quick one shot. Or just make a basic dungeon layout, there's some random tables in the DMG and/or something like donjon to help you out. Lots of great tools there.
u/TheMaskedTom · 2 pointsr/mattcolville


A great many people have simply taken the Starter Set and run with it, with many of them being beginners at D&D!

You could do just that, with the DM-to-be having to read a little bit more to answer questions as they will come (there are many resources online related to being a DM and D&D 5e in general).

I'd encourage you to just take the leap, and confidence will come with practice while you all get experience with playing.

If you want to find people around you, while I suppose small town Missouri isn't the most easiest of places, you might want to look into communities based around fantasy, miniature-based games (warhammer, ...), and board games even in general, you might get some luck over there (assuming googling for local role-play clubs doesn't help).

Otherwise, you might want to try out online communities, such as /r/LFG and /r/roll20LFG, it might give you some experience, which while different from IRL play, still might bring you what you need. You can also come ask questions on the question thread of /r/DnD itself.

In any case, good luck in your first tries, and welcome to the game!

u/randalruvikson · 1 pointr/mattcolville

For when I'm travelling by air for fun, all I have with me are:


==Carry-on Travel Kit==

  • Pathfinder Flip Mat
  • A box each of the squad set & hero set tokens to use in place of minis
  • Customised version of the Lazy DM's Workbook for rules reference
  • Two sets of dice
  • A stack of index cards and a pencil
  • An iPad Pro 11" for access to books on DNDBeyond and the PDFs of the module from DMsGuild


    If I'm "home travelling", I'm usually going to my FLGS to DM Adventurer's League. I carry more gear to make the table nicer for my players. I use two document folders with the main gear, and optional kits for maps, minis, and player handouts. I'd carry this same gear if I was explicitly travelling to DM a Con or Epic.



    DM Kit (Game play)

    I carry two of these document holders. One is larger than the other, and in the larger one I have:

  • Pathfinder Flip Mat
  • A custom DM Table Tent with my name, internet links, and DCI number, printed on 200GSM and laminated
  • Customised version of the Lazy DM's Workbook for rules reference & list of random names
  • A box each of the squad set & hero set tokens to use if I don't have the right minis
  • World's Greatest Screen (Mini) with customised inserts
  • Seven printed potions of healing cards on 200GSM stock (original by /u/cryptocartographer)
  • A collapsible dice tray
  • Seven sets of dice
  • Pencils, pens, highlighters, Inspiration coins, a compass rose in a pencil case
  • Index cards
  • Ziploc bag full of various condition/status rings
  • Player name tents (laminated)
  • A small whiteboard for players to see initiative order / quick sketches
  • An iPad Pro 11" if needed for access to books on DNDBeyond


    Module Kit

    My FLGS prefers non-digital tools at the table (and so do I), so I carry in a folder:

  • Printed copy of the module
  • Printed Initiative Tracker sheets per encounter
  • A player signup sheet (Character Name, Class & Level, Race, PP, AC) - modified version of the tracker sheet above
  • A copy of the module's Adventure Log, ready to be filled and shown to players to copy
  • My printed out prep notes




    I carry them in an A3 art sleeve.


    DM Kit (Adventurer's League Handouts)

    In the smaller document holder, I have:

  • 5E Quick Reference Rules (seven copies)
  • DM David's Adventurer's League Cheat Sheet (seven copies)
  • The Race & Class cards (one set, printed in 200GSM stock)
  • Season 8 Pregens (two copies of each)


    Mini Kits

    If I take minis, all of my minis have small magnets drilled & glued into the base. I then put them into small plastic tubs with metal plates I've screwed & glued in place. This video was inspiration.



    All of the carry items are in a canvas tote bag.

    All up I have the two boxes and the module kit in the tote bag over the shoulder; the mini kit under one arm; and the A3 map sleeve in my off hand.

    Super convenient, and can be pared down to just my carry on kit in a pinch.
u/WhatDoesStarFoxSay · 3 pointsr/mattcolville

The state of Conan ebooks is REALLY iffy. Anyone can rip the text from Project Gutenberg, run it through Calibri and add it to Amazon. (Well, not exactly--but you get the idea.)

Compounding the problem is that these things get pulled all the time, usually for formatting issues. I have two different versions of the same Conan collection in my Kindle library, neither of which is for sale anymore.

My advice is: Either stick with free resources like Project Gutenberg, or shell out for the superb three-volume Del Rey Conan collection. These are the primo, A#1, fully guaranteed versions. The price is steep, but it brings a certain peace of mind that you're getting the real thing edited by actual humans, and not some machine generated nightmare riddled with mistakes. If you like turning pages, used physical copies are considerably less.

They also come packed with cool artwork.

But yeah, either go big, or go free (so you have nothing to lose). Anything in between is probably a cash grab.

u/The3rdCraigRobinson · 15 pointsr/mattcolville

The 5e starter set is a low level adventure (1st to 5th) that you could easily adapt into Collabris. You could just add Phandalin into the setting or rename Phandalin to match an existing setting town.

It's 12-14$ bucks on Amazon. It's very fun and a ton of content for the money. Or 16$.

In terms of branching out: I'm a visual learner so when I'm prepping adventure hooks, I make a cluster graph tied to geography around the PCs. I try to come up with 2-3 different types of hooks for all the various directions they can go: N, E, S, W, Up, Down and staying put.

So let's say you use a typical starting village in Fantasyland: what's there: a reputable inn/tavern, a disreputable inn/tavern, a coster, a smithy, a temple with a priest to heal and a retired Mage to identify shit (because rookies never take identity spell; it's not sexy), and one major form of form of significant income: farms, shepherds, mines, timber, crossroads merchants traffic. And if you want more depth, one major form of illicit income: gambling, consorts, narcotics, pit fighting.

That's 5-6 Hook Locations in a small town. And just make up those 2-3 hooks per each. No matter where they go, there's something to do.

Dew a circle in the middle of the page. Place a dot in the center. This is your party. They are at the disreputable taproom (they have no status in own yet, unless one of the PCs had Origin Story Status).

What are 3 things than can happen:

  • A fight breaks out

    -something valuable gets stolen and planted on a PC As a diversion

  • a distraught young girl bursts into the room and asks for help because goblins carried off her ma & pa and she needs heroes (she's actually a Hag replaced-child and she's Hagbait to draw unsuspecting would-be heroes to the lair of the coven).

    Write bullet points of these 3 hooks under the taproom circle.

    Draw a line out to the side and make a smaller circle. Label it, "smithy."

    What are 2-3 interesting hooks that a smith would need heroes for?

    Jot them down.

    Draw a line from the taproom the other way and make a small circle labeled, "Temple of the Hearth."

    2-3 things.

    After you've done this, starts branching out from the town.

    New sheet of note paper. New circle with dot in the center. That circle is TOWN. When your PCs are 2nd level, they will start going out into the world.

    Line. Smaller circle. "Flooded dwarf mine." 2-3 hooks.

    Line. Smaller circle. "Abandoned Druid grove." 2-3 hooks.

    Line. Smaller circle. "Warlock's Crypt." 2-3 hooks.

    Seeing the pattern? The underlying structure of a Hooked Sandbox? This method is also nice because this would be pages and pages of notes but only a page or two of cluster graphs. It makes a nice at-a-glance reference while you're running.

    You don't have to worry about pre-fabricating connections between hooks. You'll have ah-HA! Moments as you go and that connective tissue forms organically. And your Players will opine about those connections in clever ways. So you will adopt, twist and subvert those expectations to drive the tension.

    You can only really ever see as far as the choices that lie directly before your Players. As a much better writer than I once put it, "does a ship caught in the wave say where it's going?"

u/s5photog · 1 pointr/mattcolville

Lots of folks are wanting to run Night Below (NB) in Collabris but sadly it is rather difficult to find. I think running NB is so focused on the Underdark that you miss out on a chance to let the players explore the world at large.

Against the Cult of the Reptile God is a great starter adventure - does require some adjustment for 5E but that sort of stuff is simple.

Lost Mine of Phandelver from the 5e Starter set is a good place to begin as well.

The Sunless Citadel from 3.0 I recall as being an interesting and fun adventure

u/Time-osaurus_Rex · 3 pointsr/mattcolville

You may try a technique called "The Lazy DM" . or the "Minimalist DM"

Basically, only plan the first 15 minutes of a session, do broad stoke planning on areas of interest (that can be interchangeable) and just improvise the rest.

Since you can't reliably plan for what the players are going to do past 15 minutes of play.... accept it and instead learn to adapt quickly and confidently to what and where the players are moving the story. keep a list of pre planned battle encounters \ interesting hooks and NPCs you can drop in anywhere in the story.. and you are good to go.

here is a great book with many authors, stories, and ideas you can read

All the creative energy you can spend building the world, npcs, factions and relations are great. And i enjoy Dms who can pull it off. but, 75% of your world building won't get explored. instead focus your creative energies in creating scenarios \ and fun encounters that can be switched in and out at will.

Plan broad strokes... and fill in the detail when the players arrive to a new location.

IE you know there is a BIG BAD ENEMY to the east... well the players went west.

Either invent a new evil organization on the fly... (all you need is a name.... then stall for time) or move your BBE to the west.

NOTE: this is an example of an improv heavy DM style.. but, it works great for true sandbox exploring.

u/BullitLeMans · 2 pointsr/mattcolville

Good advice here in this thread. Earlier this year I combined two separate campaigns / groups into one. I'll skip my experiences / philosophy and jump straight into what's working.

What's Working

  • Low expectations. The only thing I expect from players is participating in scheduling polls if they want to play.
  • Clear, direct communication. I use email subjects that start with [D&D To-Do] or [D&D Session Recap] to help separate what a player needs to respond to, and what can safely be ignored. I also use the Respondable plugin for Gmail to help me write these communications.
  • Using Doodle for scheduling. I set up a poll with days I'm available to DM in a given month. I send it out on the 15th of the month prior, and typically text players individually that it's coming.
  • Limit the number of players in a session. My ideal session size is four players, but I'll take five no questions asked. I'll go to 6 or 7 once in a while if necessary.
  • Focus on the PCs and prep using Mike Shea's The Lazy Dungeon Master
  • At the end of a session, ask the players what they're thinking. What questions do they have about what just happened? Who they just met? What do they want to do next? It helps them clarify their version of events in their heads, and gives me a head start on things to include in the future.
  • Use Downtime Activities between each session to set up hooks for the future. PCs meet NPCs before the rest of the party and have their own interactions/opinions, or learn information that becomes important in the not-too-distant future.
u/Varroxx · 7 pointsr/mattcolville

Matt has an obsidianportal wiki with some of the information on his world -

It's not really a campaign so much as a world Matt has built up over the time he has been running the game - it doesn't really have a "plotline" to it and he makes up stories as he goes based on how he believes the world will react to the players and drops in modified versions of old modules he likes running.

He also has been writing a book series set in his D&D world in a different time period that are really good and can be great for inspiration.

u/Zanmechty · 7 pointsr/mattcolville

A book I can't recommend enough if you're interested in building a familiarity with Indian/Chinese/Japanese type gaming is Oriental Adventures from 3rd edition era Dungeons & Dragons.

or the PDF version--

They made a free setting called Mahasarpa as an Indian, Southeast Asian flavored realm, as well as Rokugan (in the book) the d20 version of the Alderac game setting is a great samurai era Sengoku Jidai-ish Japanese setting, if you're looking for models.

u/murarara · 1 pointr/mattcolville

Sounds like a good idea, like everyone has said already.

If you can, get yourself a copy of the Draconomicon for getting more details on how the dragons are and live and what not, I can't vouch for other versions, but the 3.5 Draconomicon is written in a very neat way like an explorer/naturalist writing their observations in a journal.

u/blaek_ · 3 pointsr/mattcolville

Of course the best starting place is with Matt's Running the Game series, and specifically the Delian Tomb.

I made this for my friend a few months ago as a sort of accompaniment to the series: The Delian Tomb Module.

I started running the game with the Delian Tomb, and then moved into the Starter Set by setting the Tomb in the woods near Phandalin.

I have my issues with the Starter Set, primarily that the adventure is not written as an entry point to TTRPG -- there is a lot left unsaid and the motivations of the antagonists are weak.

As a first time TTRPG player and DM I felt like I had to stick to the book 100% or I would ruin the fun for the players... This is not, in fact, true.

The published stuff should be looked at as guides, not playbooks -- and the Running the Game series is invaluable. Good luck :D

u/Kalanth · 2 pointsr/mattcolville

When I started making my homebrew setting back in the late 90's I used Richard Baker's World Builders Guidebook to help me design everything about the world. This book is phenomenal and will help you lay out things that you might not be thinking about, like size of the globe and weather patterns. Yes, the best advice is that you can follow is to remember that you do not need to complete the entire world when you start to design it, but from my perspective it helps to have a skeleton framework to build on when you do start out on that world.

u/harlows_landing · 3 pointsr/mattcolville

I've been reading Jon Peterson's book about the origin of D&D, so I am really curious to see what a modern version of The Ruins of Castle [Greyhawk] looks/plays like. Colville is great at mixing the best (and oft-forgotten) aspects of classic D&D into What The Game Has Become.

I'm also curious about the source material he'd use for a megadungeon like this. If he uses TSR's cheeky Castle Greyhawk book from 1988, I hope the PCs get farther than that damn gas spore that totaled my party when I was 12. (Y'see, the DM described it as a "sphere," but we thought he said "spear...")

u/pfcamygrant · 3 pointsr/mattcolville

Understood! THey have been adding more and more content that can be "Printed" each month; you might be able to find a used/new copy of dungeon delve by other legal means like through amazon stores

u/Animus_Nocturnus · 1 pointr/mattcolville

If you're interested in the Netheril Empire, there is a AD&D Supplement called "Netheril: Empire of Magic". (link just to show the product, I'm not suggesting paying 150 bucks for this)

I'm not sure where one would be able to get it legally for a more appropriate price, but I'm sure that you could be able to get your hands on a pdf.

u/fang_xianfu · 1 pointr/mattcolville

Some wires have gotten crossed somewhere because I have no idea what you're talking about. Yes, post-its. This is the product Anna recommended, it's Post-It branded.

u/Kellywho · 3 pointsr/mattcolville

Have you checked out the 4E book Dungeon Delve?

u/Soylent_G · 5 pointsr/mattcolville

It may be beyond the scope of your argument, which seems to be "What Alignment Has Come to Mean," but I think every DM would be well-served by considering the origins of the Alignment concept. Playing At The World goes into great detail, but a TL;DR is

  • Alignment is a carry-over from the Chainmail wargame rules, where it acted as a shorthand for "Which army are you fielding?" It had less to do with ethos, and was more about which units were available to you to select when building an army.

  • In the Chainmail rules, the factions were limited to Law, Chaos, and Neutrality. Good was synonymous with Law, and Evil with Chaos. It's not until early 1976 in an issue of The Strategic Review that Gygax suggests that the Good/Evil axis is a sliding scale that colors the character of forces aligned to each faction.

  • The idea of the forces of Law and Chaos were borrowed from the fantasy fiction of the day, particularly Three Hearts and Three Lions by Poul Anderson and the Eternal Champion series by Michael Moorcock.

    When you take these three points together you come to the conclusion that Alignment is a feature of the default, assumed setting of OD&D. It's not necessarily appropriate for all fantasy settings. If the driving conflict for the setting of your home campaign is not the eternal struggle between Order and Disorder, and faction membership to Law or Chaos doesn't dictate your characters actions, then Alignment as a concept has little utility in your game.

    In my personal campaign, Alignment is not applicable to creatures native to the Prime Material plane (or its equivalent); It only applies to creatures from the far planes (demons, devils, devas, angels) and creatures powered by their connection to those planes (undead). In my game's cosmology, the father you get from Prime, the closer to two-dimensional your fundamental nature becomes. As such, you become vulnerable to magic that acts against that fundamental nature, like Protection from Good/Evil. Such spells have no effect on creatures of the Prime, no matter how Evil or Chaotic they act.