Using Skills – Performance

So I may have missed a couple of updates here for a couple of weeks. Holidays keep me busy and tired because of my real (lame) job, and so my blog suffers. Nevertheless, late though it is, I have for you the next part of our Using Skills series. Last time on this series we covered Perception, which I recommend you go back and read. This time clear your throat and tune those strings, it’s…


Using Skills – Performance

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The old warrior, far past his battle years though those long near-forgotten days still marked him with scars upon his arms and face, leaned forward in his customary chair by the fire. His audience, a small group of disparate children, crowded around him. The light of the fire cast shadows that danced behind them on the oaken beams of the great hall. He stared past the children to these fey shapes and as he leaned in, they did the same – ready to cling on to his every word. His voice, it was said, had the power to summon up the spirits of warriors and dragons from days gone by; to transport you to primeval glades and crystalline caverns; to unveil the very fabric of the magical universe. Finally his old voice, gravelly and low, spoke out the first incantation that brought all of this to life: “Once upon a time…”

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Using Skills – Perception

Thank you for joining us for this week’s edition of Using Skills, covering perception. Last time in this series we took a look at Nature. Last week we had taken a break and instead presented to you a new version of the Automaton race. Check it out!


 

Using Skills – Perception

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As her party circumvents a dank old tunnel, the sorceress taking up the rear finds that an odd shape on the ceiling above catches her eye. From his hidden spot on the balcony above the ancient chamber, the thief gazes around trying to find anything out of the ordinary in the chamber below. As he makes his way through a large crowd, the knight notices a small dirty hand make its way to his belt pouch. Perception is the boon of any adventurer that wants to survive in the dark and hidden places of the world.

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Using Skills – Investigation

All right, we’re finally back on track with our ongoing series Using Skills, in which we define and explore each skill in Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition. Last time in this series we took a look at Intimidation. Today we’re looking at Investigation. Enjoy!


Using Skills – Investigation

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A scholar pores over a text, surrounded by piles of books, looking for the one clue that will cause everything else to fall into place. The scout inspects a tile in the floor that looks ever so slightly different then the rest. The dwarven foreman taps the cavern wall lightly with his small surveyor hammer, listening to the sound, looking for the best place to begin work on a new tunnel. Investigation is using your powers of deduction to link clues and arrive at a conclusion.

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Using Skills – Insight

Last week we covered History. This week, it’s all about that woogy feeling you get around creeps. That’s right, Insight. Or, a PCs spider sense. Enjoy!


 

Using Skills – Insight

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The guard captain reads over the suicide note a third time, noting a rather matter-of-fact tone that wouldn’t match the nervous man now hanging from the barn rafters. The barbarian narrows her eyes at the guide she hired to get her through the city to the harbor, finding his manner and speech ringing false. The minstrel strikes a chord on his lute as he listens to the crowd, getting a feel for their mood before deciding what to play. Insight is your natural awareness and empathy of other people and creatures.

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Using Skills – History

And now back to our Using Skills series. Last time we covered Deception, this time its…


Using Skills – History

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The cleric studies the small wooden idol, trying to determine if it matches the descriptions of ancient orc fetishes she had learned about years ago as a scholar. A thief selects an unassuming jewel from the vault he has broken into, knowing this one to be the crown jewel of the old kingdom. The paladin pales as he deciphers the name carved in old draconic above the sarcophagus, having heard it many times in ancient tales of evil. History is the domain of those who study the past in order to further their fortunes in the future. Continue reading “Using Skills – History”

A Review: Dungeons and Dragons Beyond

Last week at the end of my Using Skills – Deception post I mentioned doing a new version of my Rodential Rodents for this week’s “monthly” post as a break from the Using Skills series. Instead, having been immersing myself in the Dungeons and Dragons Beyond program, I thought I would type out my thoughts on it. Please enjoy this review.


Dungeons and Dragons Beyond is the belated digital arm of the new edition. Wizards of the Coast has long been fraught with problems when it comes to offering digital tools and programs for its games, so when I heard they were partnering with Curse (owned by Twitch and famous for hosting one of the largest modding networks on the internet), I was intrigued. These people know how to utilize digital product, having used them for World of Warcraft mods in the past, and being owned by Twitch certainly gave them impressive backing.

Now that the tools are out, are they the Fifth edition dream made reality? Do they improve or change the game in any way? Are they worth the price? Let’s get into it.

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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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Paladin Option: Oath of the Quest

The questing grail knights of Arthur, the paladin Roland in the Matter of France, Sir Gawain and his trial against the Green Knight – all of these are knights who travel through strange lands on adventures in search of something. A divine relic, a crusade to protect their homeland, or the meaning of bravery.

This Oath of the Quest option represents a more “chaotic good” sort of knight, used to the freedom of the road. They seek something, and along the way they help who they might. Not tied down by a lord or a strict religious order, they are free to go where they may, spreading their influence and forging their own legends to be told by the smallfolk for generations to come.

This is a play-test version of this paladin option. It has not been tested extensively and feedback is both sought and appreciated.

 

update: Based on feedback from Reddit and Twitter, the Oath of the Quest has been tweaked! I adjusted power levels across the board. I got rid of Mark the Craven and instead have Pilgrim’s Rebuke. Enjoy!


Oath of the Quest

(pdf here)

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The Oath of the Quest represents the Paladin’s pursuit of a sacred task, binding them to a life of travel and adventure. Seeking a holy relic, attempting to pilgrimage to a sacred land, seeking the favor of a powerful fey lord or lady, or crusading into the unknown to defeat a particular foe are all impetus for a Paladin to take up this oath. As constant travelers, they tend to gain a love for the freedom of the road and rapport with commoners. Sometimes called Knight-Errants, Free Knights, or Questing Knights, those of this oath typify the ideal of the traveling roads-worn knight unbound from their home to seek that which will bring salvation, honor, or glory.

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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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