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
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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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
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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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
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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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
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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I have for you today three subraces for Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons. They’re based on my want of something a little less Faerunian for players when choosing these races. The Dark Elf especially is my attempt to come up with an elven subrace more connected with the unseelie side of the fairy/elf mythos than the now ubiquitous drow.
The Brownie Halfling is a classic take on the halfling based on fairy myth. I enjoy the image of a furry halfling, similar in my mind to the Orlan from Pillars of Eternity. Brownie tales were some of my favorite ones from my childhood.
The Dark Elf is a bit of a gothy-take on bad elves. I like the idea of not-good elves that have a code of honor and are very orderly. Living in stone fortresses among the cold highlands, wearing heavy cloaks and thick sable boots and looking around haughtily.
The Deep Dwarf is just an update of a subrace that often gets overlooked in favor of the Duergar. Not all deep delving dwarves are evil illithid-slaves that can inflate like Mario.
Update: And now a River Gnome for your perusal!
Anyway, enough gabbing. Here you go! (Expect a PDF version later today for those that like that sort of thing.)
A Selection of Subraces
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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!
In this part of the Ghartha series, I wanted to explore Ghartha through the classic class system of Dungeons and Dragons. Essentially, I wanted to list each class and describe how something like that might fit into the world. Sometimes the fit is seamless, and other times some edges needed smoothing. I also wanted to talk a bit more about magic before talking about how the classes of D&D fit into Ghartha. If you want to use this world without a D&D system, by all means do so! This post might, however, give you a good idea about some of the peoples and characters you might find in the tomb-world.
My next post later in the week I think I’m going to talk a bit more about how people survive in the eternal darkness of Ghartha. tl:dr: glow sticks!
(Illustration from around 1882 by S. Barth)
Ghartha, the Tomb-World III
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The following setting is actually a micro setting I made for an arc inside the shared world of a group of friends. I wanted it to be tucked away and insular from the main happenings of the shared world (which has a long and rich history of longer than a real life decade), and decided the best way to do that would be to make the figurative literal and make it an island setting.
I drew from real life sources for a lot of the setting (the main two being Southern India as well as Polynesia), as well as fictional (the main two of that being the Earthsea novels as well as the video game Chrono Cross). One big motivation for this setting was wanting to do something that was exotic, and that was also sand-boxish in that the party could travel the islands on their own little vessel. The arc didn’t last very long, but I always enjoyed what I had made, and have decided to present it to you (with additions) as a setting idea that you can hopefully take and run with. Rather than a well developed setting, I want to provide it as more a skeleton that you can add on to.
So, tucked somewhere in the subtropical zone of your campaign world, there may be a set of islands. Far away from civilized kingdoms, separated by leagues of cerulean ocean, they lay spread out like green crystals across a blue table. There are many of them, some as small as a little hill in the water. Others are large, hosting great mountains, forests, and jungles. The southern islands are rimmed with bright white sand, and throughout the whole of the kingdom the smell of spice and fruit permeates like an exotic perfume.
Here is Adosh, archipelago of the joyful fat dragon.
The Adoshen Archipelago
A Campaign Setting Idea
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A lot of the point of this blog is to provide myself with a personal space to play with development and created works for Dungeons and Dragons. I know I’m not at a professional level, but I’d like to be one day. Having this blog helps me practice. It’s been a lot of fun so far! It’s also opened my eyes a bit to the difficulty and amount of work that has to go into something like a complete adventure or even a set of optional rules. My last adventure, for instance, definitely fell short of my plans and I had to cut a lot out of it, mostly because the amount of work involved would have stalled the blog far too much for my liking. It was a tall order, especially after coming down off of Nanowrimo.
So what I’m probably going to do is write adventures on the side instead of serializing them, and then releasing it as one thing around once a year. This gives me the luxury to take my time and make sure they’re both deep and wide, instead of smattering of events strung together by some box text. I could then do posts every once in awhile about the adventure I’m working on. Does that sound interesting?
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This is the last part of the Maiden, Mother, and Crone series. It will present a small adventure that will utilize the first two parts to be a complete package. This will probably be the longest post, as I want it to be as complete an adventure as possible. I thank you in advance for reading this series, as I’ve had a lot of fun writing it. So, without further ado, part 3…
The Three Wise Women of Haethorn Wood I
An adventure for 4 level 1 characters.
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