Using Skills – Arcana

Last week we covered Athletics. After a hiccup in the order, I present to you Using Skills – Arcana! We are now back on schedule.


Using Skills – Arcana

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A wizened scholar pores over an ancient text once thought of little note, but he is beginning to know better. A treasure hunter traces her finger over the sigil set into the chamber wall, remembering the right way to draw the symbol so as to not set off the ancient trap. The warlock repeats a phrase he learned early in his youth, once believing it to be a child’s rhyme but now knowing its true power. Arcana is the domain of arcane lore and secrets; the deep well of knowledge about the power that weaves itself throughout existence.

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Using Skills – Athletics

Welcome to the third part in the Role Play Craft Using Skills series. Last time in this series we covered Animal Handling, and today we’re covering Athletics! I appreciate the feedback on this series so far, and I’m glad a lot of you are finding it useful or enjoyable.

You might notice that we’ve skipped Arcana. This wasn’t intentional – I’m just bad at planning. We’ll cover Arcana next week.


Using Skills – Athletics

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The half-orc carefully chooses another hand-hold on the sheer cliff face, lifting himself little by little toward the ridge above. A kensei leaps from a tree branch far across the skirmish field to land in front of the goblin chief. The sailor, thrown overboard, tries to calmly keep her head afloat amid the storm-chopped water. Athletics is the domain of heroic physical feats against incredible odds.

The Player’s Handbook describes it thus: “Your Strength (Athletics) check covers
difficult situations you encounter while climbing, jumping, or swimming.” (PHB pg.175)

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Using Skills – Animal Handling

Welcome to part 2 of my weekly series on using the skills of 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons. Last week we covered Acrobatics, and this week we’ll be going over Animal Handling

As mentioned before, the point of this series is to clearly define what each skill is as well as provide examples and options for using it in your game. Some skills, such as Animal Handling, seem (to me) to not be used as much as they should. Hopefully this series of posts will inspire you to try something new in your games, or provide your PCs with the opportunity to do so themselves.


Using Skills – Animal Handling

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A woodsman coaxes a bear cub, badly burned by a bushfire, out from under a dead log. A hunter watches warily as a dire wolf stalks nearer, trying to figure out if the thing is curious – or hungry. A charging knight guides his stallion to jump over a thorny wall of brambles with only the slightest touch. Animal Handling is the domain of those with a connection to the beasts of the world, and the desire to control them in some way.

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Using Skills – Acrobatics

Greetings and welcome to a bit of a departure of the usual Role Play Craft fare. I tend to stick to optional rules mechanics or campaign and story content. However, my content production is around one or fewer posts a month these days – generally because what I do release is pretty comprehensive or wordy.

Recently I’ve begun to try to organize myself using the Bullet Journal technique, and in doing so have challenged myself to practice certain daily, weekly, and monthly habits. One of those that pertains to this blog is to get one post published a week. What this means is I need to generate smaller bite sized bits of content to space out the time between the larger rules modules and story content.

Thus this limited series of blog articles was born: Using Skills. What I hope to accomplish with this series of articles is to give both Players and Dungeon Masters a good idea of what a Skill is, it’s uses, as well as unique ways in which to use it. This latter effort is a bit of a continuation of the last post dealing with Skill Specialties. Hopefully this will make this series useful for beginner, intermediate, and veteran role players.

I’ll be going in alphabetical order, and you can expect a new blog post about Skills each week on Tuesday until we reach “Survival” -whereupon I’ll need to find a new weekly subject. Interspersed with these, hopefully around once a month, will be the larger posts of rules mechanics and story inspiration that I tend to release as PDFs.

That’s the plan, anyway! There’s no telling what might happen between a penchant for procrastination and probable undiagnosed ADD. With that being said, let us begin with the go to skill of gymnasts and foppy duelists…


Using Skills – Acrobatics

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The agile thief leaping from a rooftop into a small window below in the alleyway. An elven ranger falls from a slippery cliff, but rolls expertly to avoid hurting herself. A cocky duelist somersaults over two brutish bandits to come up behind them. Acrobatics is the domain of those wishing to perform stunts of agility and balance.

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Stuff I Like: World Architect Cards and Dungeon Crate

Hello RPC faithful! Just wanted to pop in and let you know I’m still alive and kicking. I’ve been working on a few different things that aren’t quite ready for the blogosphere. I don’t update much, but I usually have something substantive when I do.

I just wanted to make a quick post to give some love to a couple of RPG related projects that have gained my admiration.

The first is a KickStarter which, as of this writing, has 7 days to go on it called World Architect Cards by Simian Circle Games. Now, this independant developer is actually local to me (I live in Lexington, KY and they are based out of Morehead) so I was surprised to learn of their existence. This isn’t their first rodeo either. They’ve got a few products to their name, including a neat looking RPG, as well as a successful kickstarter for Dungeon Architect cards, which are the precursor to these World Architect Cards.

The cards are a fun way to create a roleplaying world. As you can probably tell from the KS, each card is a location with a number of attributes on them to randomize a location. The art is also whimsical and nice to look at. Such items that create a sense of discovery gameplay (to borrow from a video game phenomenon) I’ve found are a great way to electrify tabletop role play. (Another reason why I love random tables in general).

I pledged at the 60 dollar level so as to get the Dungeon Architect cards as well, and I’m looking forward to playing around with them. With only 7 days left, now is the time to jump in.

Another product I’m excited about is Dungeon Crate! A subscription based service, a la Birchbox, based around tabletop RPGs and miniature games. I received the inaugural crate in February, and greatly enjoyed the contents, which I will show you pictures of below.

At 35 dollars a month, it is a bit steep. However, what came in the box felt worth it, and I’ve already gotten use out of a good portion of the bits. Of note were the Flat Plastic Miniatures by Arcknight. The art on those reminds me a Record of Lodoss War, an ancient anime you youngsters should look into, and they were a hit with the players of my current campaign.

The second crate is shipping out today, so the next crate you can sign up for would be the third one. I’ll post pictures of the second one when I get it. Hopefully it continues to be worth the price.

Well, until next time, happy gaming!

2015 in review

Only six posts last year. However, they tend to be large and crunchy. I suppose my goal next year should be a post a month!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 15,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Using 5th Edition D&D to do Sci-Fi: Class Talk

Would it be worth it?

The main reason I enjoy the 5th edition ruleset is it’s simplicity, and the ease at which you can arbitrate the rules at the table. I’ve enjoyed a number of sci-fi rulesets throughout the years, but I can think of none that can match the simplicity of 5e. Could a conversion be worth it? Would the feel of the sci-fi genre be lost in that translation?

GURPS and Traveller are my two favorite systems that can be used for sci-fi, but both of these systems are complex and definitely not pick-up-and-play friendly. In some ways that is the charm of these systems. Traveller character creation is, to me, a game in itself. However, could the ease of play of 5e be used to make a simple and fun sci-fi system?

In this series of posts, I will first lay out my ideas for the conversion, and then start spitballing ideas and hoping they stick.

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Using 5th Edition D&D to do Sci-Fi: Class Talk

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NaNoWriMo Diary: The Lady of Stone (Part 1)

Hello! I’m still trucking a long with my Nano project, an RPG sourcebook for my Ghartha campaign mentioned in the last post. Today I have for you a rough, unedited sampling of a piece of fluff text that will be in the Player’s portion of the book. It tells the tale of a barbarian woman who exiles herself to hunt the enemies of her tribe before she dies. It is called The Lady of Stone, and will be told in multiple parts throughout the text. The beginning is thus:

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Rebuilding the Realms of Twilight

Howdy folks! Sorry about the lack of posts here lately, the job has had me stretched pretty thin when it comes to time, so my next (and final) Ghartha post will be just a little bit. I also have a review of the Role Playing game Yellow Dawn by author David J Roger which will be coming before that (a very nicely detailed setting and system), so keep an eye out!

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I did want to give notice about a KickStarter I’m pretty excited about. The Realms of Twilight is a campaign world for Pathfinder created by Silver Crescent Publishing that offers a unique and dark twist on the usual epic fantasy fare. As I’m sure you’re aware, I like my fantasy pretty dark. The original product was a quality third party campaign setting, so having a new version coming out that really digs into the history of Relistan and offers a whole host of new goodies is pretty exciting. This is the sort of product I usually put in for, and is the sort of product that I hope to be one day making.

There are 13 days to go as of this writing, and it definitely needs some love. If the original product is any indication, then this is almost certainly worth your time.

Oh, did I mention that Ed Greenwood would be making an appearance as a guest author?

Anyway, just wanted to try and spread the word about this because this sort of third party RPG support is really my favorite thing about the hobby as a whole. I hope you back it, or at least go check it out.

Until next time, au revoir!