Using Skills – Nature

Welcome to the next edition of Using Skills! Last week we looked at Medicine, and this week we’ll be looking at Nature. Enjoy!


Using Skills – Nature

Antique Japanese Old Fashioned Vintage Art

The wise woman pulls a cluster of dried herbs from a flour sack and tosses them in a cauldron while making a note in her book. A struggling wood elf scours the floor of the dense forest for a certain white flower, knowing the taproot of this local plant will neutralize snake venom. The green knight scans the trees, confused as to how birch trees could be growing so far south. Nature is the knowledge of flora and fauna, and the lore of the wilderness.

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Using Skills – Medicine

Last week we covered Investigation in our Using Skills series. This week we’re back with Medicine. Enjoy!


Using Skills – Medicine

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A city watchman brings his torch closer to the body in the alley, trying to figure out how the person died. A cleric prays over an ill peasant while taking note of her symptoms to develop a diagnosis. The barbarian gingerly wraps the wounds of his unconscious companion to stop the flow of blood in an attempt to keep him from death’s door. Medicine is the science of health.

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Using Skills – Deception

And now for the next in our ongoing series on Using Skills. Last week we explored Arcana, and now we’re going to explore the shady side of Charisma with Deception.


Using Skills – Deception

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The diplomat plants a small false rumor among the other members of the town committee that is just enough to sway them in the direction he wanted. The thief, being held up by the scruff of her coat by a guard, quickly comes up with a reason for being so interested in the locked door to the merchant’s house. The old barbarian looks at his hand of cards, then at the other players, letting his face show a small imperceptible grin -just long enough for the other players to think they’ve detected a hint of something under the stony exterior. Deception is the art of convincing others that something false is true.

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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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Al-Qadim Equipment for 5th Edition

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(PDF Here)

I’ve been running Al-Qadim (well I have ran one session anyway) converting on the fly to 5th edition. I soon realized that I wanted to get a weapons, armor, and gear list set up for use with it, as a lot of the weapons and armor you see in Al-Qadim are different and there is quite a bit of variety in their goods and services.

So, I’ve spent two manic days putting this monstrous PDF together. I’ve come up with the items and prices based on scouring through the Al-Qadim books, the 2e Player’s Handbook, comparing it to the 5e Player’s Handbook, and a good bit of my own fiat. I’ve added even more items to the lists from the 2e Al-Qadim books that I felt were missing (no coffee beans listed for trade goods? come on!). I also made a table of clothing sets to give examples of how the clothing listed before that might be used by different people in the Land of Fate.

Anyway, here it is in one giant WIP PDF. Enjoy!

Factions: The Knights of the Towerwatch

There are a few things in D&D Fifth Edition which I feel could be expanded upon to great effect. One of these is Downtime (which I have attempted to expand on here), and another is Factions.

In the base D&D rulebooks, factions are a bit of an abstract. In Organized Play they are a bit more structured, but even then gaining reputation within the faction is a linear process that happens automatically as you play in the Adventurer’s League rather than being an entity in the world that you can choose to interact with (or not) for mutual benefit.

This rules module attempts to expand this idea by presenting an example faction, the Knights of the Towerwatch, that as the PCs gain renown with various privileges and amenities are unlocked. However, this goes both ways, and the PCs can get negative ranks with this faction, which could cause some complications for the PCs. This faction could be easily renamed for use in your world.

Eventually I would like to come up with multiple factions that are a bit archetypal (a knighthood, a thieves’ guild, a mage university, etc.) so that players could take those and shape them to their world with minimal effort.

 

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The Knights of the Towerwatch

(pdf coming soon)

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Ranger Archetypes: Manhunter and One of the Ancient Order

In 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons, the subclass structure of classes is where you’ll find a lot of the variety that helps make a class your own. As it stands, between released products, there are around 2 to 4 subclasses per class, not including the 8 or so domains and traditions given to Clerics and Wizards. It is clear that these subclasses will be doing a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to defining these classes in the context of campaign worlds, as well as fulfilling certain character builds from past editions.

The Warlock patron and pact item of my last post inspired me to look at the subclasses we have so far and try to come up with some solid ones for classes that are lacking. The Ranger is one class that is sorely lacking in a good variety of archetypes, so I decided to ruminate and try to come up with a couple that I found interesting. Hopefully you will too!

The following subclasses are works in progress, thoroughly not playtested and more than likely overpowered. The reason for this is that I prefer to scale back then forward. I will be updating this post as I have been the Shamanic Warlock one as I get feedback and am able to test them. (A special shout out to those on Reddit who helped me with your generous feedback!)

The Manhunter is a ranger archetype that focuses around grappling and incapacitating creatures. The One of the Ancient Order is a more mystical style ranger, getting a couple of rituals and a druid cantrip that they can use once per rest. Hopefully I can work these into good subclasses for a class that is sadly lacking those at the moment.

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A Review of the 5th Edition D&D Monster Manual

My review of the Player’s Handbook, here, was fairly positive. Okay, perhaps overwhelmingly so. Beyond a few fairly glaring indexing issues in the magic section, I found the book to be delightful and highly useable. Having now received the second in the holy trinity of rulebooks, can the same be said for the Monster Manual?

The book is, of course, quite different than the Player’s Handbook, and this review will reflect that. As more of a reference tool, or as a collection of pieces for the DM to use, there’s simply less to review. But, I am sure I can find quite a bit to say.

 

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A Review of the 5th Edition D&D Monster Manual

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East, to the Holy Mountain

Fair warning: this post is very rambling, going in every which direction. This is because I’m coming up with ideas while talking about my inspirations as I write. Hopefully it’s not too weird.

I like to consider myself a writer, however amateurish I might be. I write a lot of stuff that never sees the light of day, I participate yearly in “NaNoWriMo“, and I feel like I have a pretty good handle on the basics of cultivating creativity. What I need to work is the back-end stuff. The finishing, the editing, the taking that creativity and turning it into something worthwhile.

One of the biggest fonts for creativity for me is music. We are all affected by music emotionally, and that definitely feeds into my creativity. When I am writing, I am almost always doing so with music playing. Usually this music is Metal, Rock, or some variation of Folk music, which I think provides such a wide range of ideas and emotions.

Another source of inspiration that I draw from frequently is mythology, folklore, and spirituality. I’m sure this has been pretty evident from anyone that has read this blog for a while.

Anyway, the reason why I’m talking about this is because recently I’ve been fomenting different things in my brain pan in order to come up with an adventure I’d like to write that would be a little bit different from other things I’ve done. At its core would be the Holy Mountain, a symbolic stand in for the sacred places, paths, and goals of mysticism, esoteric philosophies, and religions all over the world. Much of the inspiration and the blueprint will be based on pilgrimages and sacred journeys. I want to couple this with the symbolic ideas behind a lot of metal and other music that I enjoy. I’d like to write an adventure that draws its ideas out of both mysticism and that emotional rush and adrenaline that I get from heavier music.

This post will essentially be me talking about this adventure I’d like to write. Feel free to take the ideas and run with them. Hopefully I will have the actual adventure written sometime this year. I’m actually going to be using NaNoWriMo as a “rebel” this november, spending the 50,000 word count exclusively on my blog. I’m hoping a good chunk of that will be on this adventure.

 

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East to the Holy Mountain

An Adventure Idea

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The Hill Dwarves of Trobal’Brae and the Fenglennarry Highlands, Part III

Here it is! The third and final part of this setting module about Hill Dwarves. I hope I’ve given you something to work with, maybe helping you make Hill Dwarves a little more than the boring cousins of Mountain Dwarves.

This section will detail the Northern Taiga, that wild land north of the Fenglennary Highlands. The focus of this post will be adventure ideas and lore. Please enjoy!

 

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(Snowy Forest – Andreas Achenbach)

The Northern Taiga

North of the Fenglennary Highlands

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