Seems tis the season for projects to go belly up. Last week the UpWorks KS was shutdown, with a note saying that it would probably never be revived.
Oct 30, 2014
Oct 24, 2014
Monsters are the life blood of any good Dungeons and Dragons game. How many past stories do you tell that hing on encountering the imposing dragon or the horrific lich?
There are plenty of Monster Manuals and Bestiaries available for you to choose from, but every so often you may want something original.
For new monster inspiration, I often look to Animal Planet and other nature channels and websites. Recently, I can across a web channel Earth Unplugged and a great video about Bizarre Animals.
Check this out if you want some ideas for easily tweaking animals for your next adventure.
Some of my favorites include the pig-nose turtle (possibly a companion to an underwater ranger, the pig-noose granting some bonus to perception), the thorny devil (lizard with thorny/sharp hide) and the blue dragon (sea slug).
For the blue dragon, I envision a monstrous land based slug with tentacles (which naturally include grapple capabilities) and maybe an ability where if it is hit with poison, not only is it immune, but then it's next attack includes poison damage.
Check out the video here.
Oct 17, 2014
I'm sad to report that the Upworks KS that launched a few weeks ago has been cancelled by the project creators, citing personal reasons.
Not only has the KS been cancelled, but the company has already sold the Upworks domain (and moved over to Upworksgames.com), in an attempt to recover some of their costs of the project so far. From the updates on the KS page, it doesn't look like Upworks will be starting up anytime soon.
In the meantime, the Miniature Building Authority KS is still in full swing, and close to quadrupling their funding goal, with 4 more days to go. If you're looking for some castle pieces for your game, this might be worth checking out.
Oct 16, 2014
I saw a recent post of an article about Dungeons and Dragons from 1985. It includes all the typical D&D-hysteria, and quotes from all the usual suspects, like Patricia Pulling and Thomas Radecki.
What I found surprising about the article was the fact that at least some nod was paid to journalistic balance, in the form of positive comments about D&D from The Association for Gifted-Creative Children, Steven Spielberg, and Dr. Joyce Brothers.
Check out the article yourself here.
For some previous posts about D&D Controversies, check out this list.
Oct 9, 2014
After the events of the last adventure, Duncan and Ataraxia decided to follow up on the rumors they had previously hear about even more kobold activity in the area.
Traveling northward in the Southern Dargaard Mountains, the duo came across a lone man hanging upside down from a tree calling out for help. The man appeared exhausted and weakened from being out in the elements for days. After being rescued, the old man explained that he was a passenger on a road carriage heading for Saltmarsh.
The man, who identified himself as Erik Frause, was in route to the city on behalf of his employee, Diam uth Wathor. He traveled with several other people, including a young boy, a pair of men he recognized as Oswald and Hubert Fastralli (sons of a wealthy gem merchant from Saltmarsh), and the carriage driver.
When the carriage was attacked, Erik was thrown from the vehicle and beaten by a group of kobolds. They then stripped him and hung him upside down from the tree. Erik was able to see some of the kobolds leading the other humans away on foot. In near delirium, he also saw a pair of kobolds seemingly grab a hold of the sky and begin to fly.
This last statement confused Duncan, and Ataraxia. They tried to get Erik to clarify what he meant, but the herald could not explain better what he had seen, other than noting that shortly afterward he passed out from the beating he had received.
The pair gave the old man some clothing, supplies and directions back to Sandyford, and then set off in the direction of the kobold lair.
After crossing the nearby ravine, the duo found themselves before the cave opening where Erik's instructions lead them. The unlit cave was about thirty feet wide at the opening, but quickly narrowed to a tight five foot opening just 12-15 feet inside. The cave roof, at a mere six feet, just cleared Duncan's head. With Duncan's sunrod, the light cut through the darkness and showed the narrow path quickly opening up into a roughly semi circular room with an exit at the opposite end.
Ataraxia noticed something wasn't right in the room. The monk saw that all the tracks in the room followed the right side only. A little poking around revealed that most of the room was covered in a sticky tar substance topped with a layer of dust for camouflage, and only the path to the right seemed clear. After going around it, the pair found the exit hallway covered in shattered glass, which only would be an issue if they weren't wearing their shoes.
The next room was really just a ledge on both sides of the room, with a huge, gaping natural cavern in the middle. On the ledge near the party, a quartet of kobolds were scrambling to react. Two were drawing weapons to attack while the other two were fumbling with some strange harnesses and tarps.
After defeating the two attackers, the other two drew weapons to attack. Soon they were defeated as well. Duncan and Ataraxia examined the strange harnesses and realized that it was some kind of wing contraption. After looking it over for a few moments, it seemed to match the herald's description. Unfortunately these flying devices were only sized for the small and lighter kobolds, neither the cleric nor the monk were willing to test these devices across the huge cavern separating them from the rest of the cave system.
Instead the monk climbed down the cavern wall to the floor, about 60 feet below. Once there, Ataraxia was attacked by a bunch of huge rats that lived off the trash and waste here. After fighting off a few of the rodents, the rest ran back to their dark corners.
Ataraxia started climbing up the other side of the cavern when the monk found a rough natural stairway. Soon the monk and Duncan were standing on the far side of the cavern.
Journeying further into the caverns, the pair entered a room full of bat guano, which was also the lair of a swarm of bats. After chasing them off, they found a crude door at one end of the room and another hallway at the other end.
Thinking they might find more demon creatures, or kobold warriors, Duncan and Ataraxia were surprised to find instead a young man, who looked to be a recent prisoner of the kobold tribe.
Oct 7, 2014
Not surprisingly, the mission goes sideways and there's more going on than appears at first glance; again, like a good D&D session.
While Rat Queens is an ongoing series, this first arc does a good job of setting the stage, introducing the characters, and providing a fun, exciting opening adventure, with just enough loose ends to keep the book going.
Oct 1, 2014
It seems it's been a while since Dungeons and Dragons 5e came out, which means it's a good time to round up some links you may or may not be aware of.
Basic RulesYour first and most important link is here:
So then, what's the difference between Basic and the PHB? The PHB has more--more race options, more class options, more spells, and finally PHB is the only place for the optional feat system, and rules on multiclassing.
It represents a great way to let anyone try D&D for no money down, as you can use the Basic rules to create a dwarf fighter, or human rogue, or even an elven wizard, complete with iconic spells like magic missile and fireball.
Also on the basic rules page is another free PDF, the Basic DMG. This is a brief subset of what may eventually appear in the still-to-be-released DMG book. It also includes a bunch of monsters, a few magic items, and rules on building encounters. Again, enough for you to get started running your own adventures.
Horde of the Dragon Queen SupplementAnother useful link is this one:
Even if you're a DM not running the adventure, you might still want to pick this up as there are some magic items detailed, along with some monsters and spells, that can be useful for anyone creating their own adventures.
The upcoming DMG is supposed to have monster breakdowns by CR, as well as environment, in case you need a low level aquatic monster to plague your players!
Encounter Building Video (may not be SFW)This next link arose when AngryDM was trying to figure out how exactly the Encounter Buiding rules as presented in the Basic DMG (and presumable the forthcoming DMG) actually work. While they may seem familiar to folks comfortable with previous editions, they are not, and if you're not careful, you can end up building encounters that are way out of balance, usually against your players.
If you have any questions about encounter building, check out this video, it should answer all your questions:
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RReMb3s4Zao %E2%80%A6
5e Encounter CalculatorIf you still need some help with encounter building, or just don't have the time to do all the math by hand (and why would you), here's an excel spreadsheet that will do the number crunching for you:
Rules ClarificationHere a like to what looks like a living document attempting to gather and track all the rules questions and answers that have been asked and answered since the release of 5e. Not only is it worth the read, but I've bookmarked it so I can come back again and again. You might want to do the same.
Actual bag of holdingAnd if all that's not enough, here's an actual bag of holding for all your new 5e materials