A Selection of Subraces

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.)

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A Selection of Subraces

(PDF HERE)

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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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A Review of the 5th Edition D&D Dungeon Master’s Guide

So, as you can probably tell, I failed NaNoWriMo spectacularly, and along with it my plans for a development diary for my Ghartha project. I’m disappointed, but it is an unfortunate reality that we generally need to put our jobs before our hobbies, and holiday season is definitely the busiest time of year for mine.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom, as the Dungeon Master’s Guide is finally here! This tome of all three of the holy triad is the one I’ve been looking forward to the most. I am a tinkerer, enjoying twisting the rules this way and that, and always get more pleasure from running a campaign than I do from playing. With the rumors of a “tinkerer’s manual” on the winds of, well, the internet, my expectations for this book (especially after the first two) were very high.

Well, how did it do?

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A Review of the 5th Edition D&D Dungeon Master’s Guide

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A Review of the 5th Edition D&D Player’s Handbook

I’ve had the PHB since the 19th, but I didn’t want to churn out a review as soon as a I got my grubby paws on it. I kind of wanted to play around with it, let it simmer a bit. Flip through it at my leisure, what have you.

What actually happened is that I’ve managed to read it front to back three times now. Let’s just say I’m a bit obsessed with RPGs anyway, so a new edition of my favorite game is hard to resist consuming (multiple times).

Anyway, here are some of my principal impressions. I’m going to try to keep it simple, though this post will end up long. The main question I’ll be leading with is: Is this a book that compels me to play the new edition, and lends itself to table use?

My review will be separated into First Impressions, which will mainly concern the book, art, and layout, and then Digging Into It, in which I will speak about the crunch and fluff and the use of the book in play. Then of course I will wrap up with some closing thoughts.

 

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A Review of the 5th Edition D&D Player’s Handbook

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The Overly Complicated Weapons and Armor Module

Edit: This blog post will be updated multiple times to reflect changes due to feedback, so check back to see if things have changed!

Change Log: (changes based on feedback include the person that inspired the change) 

  • AP values on weapons messed with. (mikemonaco)
  • Flail ability added for nullifying shields. (mikemonaco)
  • Initiative is no longer rolled each round; rather, the modifiers change your initial initiative roll and thus can move you in the order, making it a little less fiddly. (daganev from the WotC forums)
  • Clarified some weapon attributes. (me)
  • Created a list of all of the playtest weapons to make changes more easily to all of them. Messed around with AP and Initiative modifiers. (me)
  • Changed how AC works completely. Now AC is a score made up of your Dex modifier, any Shield bonuses, and a base AC of 10. Armor provides DR only. AC can now be seen as purely defense/parrying/dodging. (mikemonaco/me/bawlie)
  • Completely removed initiative modifiers/weapon speeds. Way too fiddly in practice. Couldn’t find a way to make it work and fit seamlessly into the rules. The rest of the module should be complicated enough. (me)
  • Added Weapon Attributes Clumsy and Parrying, which effect AC negatively/positively. (me)
  • Shields changed; removed AR, they instead give an AC bonus based on your prof. Proficiency taken out of the AC equation. (bawlie)
  • Added a section for weapon and combat tactics to help spice up combat. Only one tactic added so far (pushing). Can you help me with some more? (me)

It’s certainly an exciting time to be a fan of Dungeons and Dragons. If you’re reading a blog about RPGs, then you are already probably aware of the various book announcements as well as the announcement of a free ‘Basic’ D&D PDF from Wizards of the Coast. The front page of Enworld is a good place to catch up. I could wax poetic about how good of a move this is, but I think the near universal approval is resounding enough.

Instead, today I wanted to work on a rules module for use with D&D Next, or Fifth Edition as it stands now. This is definitely the first ‘draft’, trying to catch a rough idea right now to polish off later when the game has been released.

This module focuses on weapons and armor, and seeks to, in plain terms, make them more complicated. Generally the direction of the game has been to make it  simpler, and this is a noble goal. I thought, however, that since Combat was really rather quick with this edition, it might not hurt to throw a few complications into it. The idea is to make weapons and armor have more mechanical crunch so that they feel like they have more weight in the narrative, if that makes sense. I think these could be made more three dimensional, making some weapons better in certain circumstances, as well as providing a useful reason for choosing a certain armor type over another.

Now, since this IS a rough draft you will not find balance here. I guarantee it. It’s something that needs playtested. If, in fact, you are currently running the playtest (or will be), please feel free to playtest this module as well. I would love some feedback to make the end module that much better. Of course, a lot will factor into how different weapons and armor look in the final product as opposed to the playtest documents I am using currently. I suspect there won’t be much change, however.

 

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The Overly Complicated Weapons and Armor Module

The Very Rough Playtest Draft Version

 

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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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public domain image

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!

The Greenwheel Carnival

I’ve decided to try something a little different this time. I thought it might be fun to try a collaborative effort with my fellow bloggers! Essentially what I will do is give a bit of information about something, in this instance The Greenwheel Carnival, and then ask you to come up with some fun encounters, settings, NPCs, stories, or any other thing you can think of that would involve the carnival. I will then add these to the post as they come in! Sound like fun? I really hope you come up with something! Serious or comedic, light or heavy, bring it on! If this works out well, then I might make it a regular thing, perhaps once a month or so. But first, the Carnival…

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The Greenwheel Carnival: A Collaboration Prompt

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The Adoshen Archipelago

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.

 

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The Adoshen Archipelago

A Campaign Setting Idea

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Dreams of Development

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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The Dreamgate

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