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So the Lords of Tyr tried out the Dragon Age RPG…

A Hero Twice a Month - Tue, 06/30/2015 - 12:00

Ah Solas, you old heartbreaker.

While I am not the video game fanatic that my wife is (few people are), I do enjoy playing them from time to time.  One of my favorite video game franchises at the moment is the Dragon Age series.  So I have been curious about the pen and paper incarnation of the franchise for awhile, but only bit the bullet with the recently released Dragon Age RPG Core Rulebook, which combines and expands the rules from the previous three sets that Green Ronin has produced.

The basic mechanic of the system will be familiar to anyone who plays RPGs.  Roll some dice (in this case 3d6 instead of a d20), add the appropriate ability modifier, and then compare it to a target number.  Nothing out of the ordinary there.

The most innovative concept introduced in the Dragon Age RPG is the stunt system.  You are rolling 3d6 for most rolls in this system, and whenever you roll doubles, you generate stunt points.  How many stunt points depends on your dragon die (one die of a different color).  You can then use those stunt points immediately to do something cool, like get an extra attack, push an opponent back, or even perform multiple stunts together if you have enough points.

I was intrigued by the stunt system and was curious how it would function in actual play.  I also wondered what gamers who were unfamiliar with the Dragon Age video games would think of the system and the world.

So I gathered together some of my fellow Lords of Tyr and decided to run Duty Unto Death, the introductory adventure featured on Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop.  Only one of my players was at all familiar with the Dragon Age video games, so I figured they would be a good group to evaluate the game on its merits without affection for the franchise seeping in.

The group quickly divvyed up the pregens, a Ferelden Freeman warrior, a Dalish Elf rogue, and a Human Circle Mage.  Because they were new to Dragon Age, I spent some time discussing the world and how they fit into it.  Luckily, the introductory adventure made this easy, as the characters were all new recruits to the Grey Wardens, and it begins with Duncan explaining key concepts like darkspawn and the Blight to the characters.

The first combat was very interesting.  Stunts came up a lot more frequently then I expected and really added a bit of variety to the “I hit it with my axe” rut that fighter heavy games can fall into.  It also forced the group to think tactically, especially as it was discovered how squishy the non-armored circle mage could be when darkspawn closed in on him.

(The circle mage also learned the importance of the rock armor spell from this combat, and he became a bit obsessed about keeping it up as much as possible since it is not a spell that can really be cast once combat has begun because of its long casting time.)

Because the game started a bit late, we only were able to fit in one more combat encounter in the session. By this time the group was pretty acclimated to the rules, and were really looking forward to stunts when they came up.

After the session, feedback was pretty positive.  Stephanie, still the newest gamer in this particular group despite having years of experience at this point, gave the most positive review.  She liked the stunt system, but seemed even more intrigued by the setting, which she thought had a lot of depth.  So I guess that is more of a thumbs up to Bioware, which created the Dragon Age setting for their video games.

All and all, it proved to be a very fun session.  It probably won’t become our regular game, as the group is pretty invested in the two long-term campaigns we currently are running, but I can definitely see us returning to it as time permits.

A quick update

A Hero Twice a Month - Mon, 06/29/2015 - 13:21
I normally try to keep my posts here strictly geek related.  It has been long enough since I posted last though that I thought a quick update was warranted before I (hopefully) begin posting regularly again.
So a lot has been going on in my personal life.  Most significantly, my wife and I have moved halfway across the country from the Windy City to the Valley of the Sun.  We moved because of my work, which has been pretty hectic since I arrived here.  Things have calmed down a bit now though, which is why I am going to try my hand at blogging again.
I am still gaming with the Lords of Tyr using the various amazing digital tools which are available nowadays.  Currently I am running Princes of the Apocalypse (Dungeons & Dragons 5e) and playing through Rise of the Runelords (Pathfinder).  I also recently ran Duty Unto Death (Dragon Age) for my old group when a few of them were in town visiting.
Over the next few weeks I plan to post about virtual table tops, my experience running the Dragon Age RPG, a couple of book and TV show reviews, and possibly a major model building project I am thinking of undertaking.
So if you have been waiting for my triumphant return, here I am!  If you have stumbled across this page by accident (more likely), then I hope you like what you see.

Star Wars/5e Hack Minor Update

Newbie DM - Mon, 06/29/2015 - 10:59

I’m still moving along with my SW/5e hack (my friend Mark from Dice Monkey and Marvel Plot Points has offered to help me out)… I’ve done some thinking about how I’d like to see it progress in certain areas, and here’s what I have:

Classes: I am leaning towards a classless system that gives you decision points as you level instead, leaning on backgrounds a little more (for like weapon proficiencies for example) at character creation. I have a few reasons for this, some having to do with what the films seem to imply (in my eyes), plus I’m interested in experimenting with a classless 5e model, so why not use this hack to try out my thoughts.  I’m heavily leaning on SW Saga to help me out in that regard. That game had many, many, many options for its classes and they could easily help fill in the gaps in a classless 5e system.

The Force: I am going to keep it as simple as possible. The optional spell points (renamed as force points) system from the DMG, with a small tweak for recuperating some points after a short rest. In fact, I’m sure some spells could be simply refluffed into SW and that’s that. Not going to try to invent a whole subsystem. At character creation you’ll decide if you are force sensitive or not. And as you level, you can learn Force Powers in lieu of other choices if you are in fact sensitive. Simple.  Also, I’ll use the optional Honor system, from the DMG, as my Dark Side meter, perhaps tweaked to account for penalties as you slip into the dark side… disadvantage on certain things, that sort of idea.

So that’s the update. Here’s the weapons and armor chart, which I’ve kept short and sweet on purpose, at least for now. Also,  #sw5e is what I tag my posts on twitter about this hack with.

weapons

 

 


3 More Adventure Starters for your D&D games

dungeonmastering.com - Sat, 06/27/2015 - 01:55
We’ve talked before about how there’s a middle ground of having to buy a module or creating absolutely everything yourself.  While there’s an advantage in time saving to simply...

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Let’s Build a 5e-Based Star Wars

Newbie DM - Wed, 06/24/2015 - 00:42

As some of you who know me may know, I love Star Wars.

I also love Star Wars rpgs. I love gaming in that universe, I love reading and playing any and all versions of Star Wars roleplaying. It’s up there with D&D.

I also love trying to hack games into SW. I released a Dragon Age version some time ago, and people dug it, so I figured, it was time to try a 5e one.

So here’s what I’ll do. Little by little I’ll design and whatever I come up with, I’ll put up here on the blog. If I have something to say about it on twitter, I’ll use the #sw5e tag.

Today, I’ll start with some species, the rodian, twi’lek and bothan.

The rodian is a Wisdom +2/Dex +1 species with darkvision who can double its proficiency bonus when tracking prey.

The twi’lek is a Cha +2/Con +1 species with darkvision who gains proficiency in Deception and has advantage on saves against poisons and toxins.

Finally the bothan is a Dex +2/Int +1 species with proficiency in Investigation and advantage on saves against being frightened.

I’m still formulating my thoughts about how some things will work, but 5e gives a nice solid foundation to work off.

If you would like to support NewbieDM.com, perhaps you’d consider visiting Amazon.com for your next rpg related purchase. Check out the following products:

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Conquest of Nerath: A D&D Boardgame

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Lessons for D&D from the GoT season 5 finale

dungeonmastering.com - Mon, 06/22/2015 - 01:54
Since GoT isn’t just great TV, but also the closest thing to D&D that there will ever be on TV, we here at DungeonMastering assume our readers watch it regularly, even if they don’t...

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5 Ways Dice Wreck Your D&D Game (and how to fix them)

dungeonmastering.com - Wed, 06/17/2015 - 01:31
Gamers have a Love/Hate relationship with our funny-shaped polyhedrals.  One minute they’re amazingly awesome.  Then they suddenly suck, transforming into amazingly aggravating things.  Dice...

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3 Adventure Starters for your D&D Campaigns

dungeonmastering.com - Thu, 06/11/2015 - 01:50
Sometimes you as a Dungeon Master want to run an adventure somewhere between ‘Just buying someone else’s idea’ and ‘Making it all up on my own.’  With that in mind, here...

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Some magic items of Undermountain converted to 5e

Newbie DM - Sat, 05/30/2015 - 22:30

I’m working on slowly converting the first Undermountain boxed set (2nd Ed.) to 5e for my home game. I’ve already converted a few of the magical items included in the set, and figured I’d share them here.

They are:

  • Arrow of Holding
  • Glim Gauntlets
  • Grzeenstone Amulet
  • Ring of Gargoyles
  • Stone of Shielding
  • Spellblade
  • Scepter of Entrapment

Here’s a link to the pdf. 

If you would like to support NewbieDM.com, perhaps you’d consider visiting Amazon.com for your next rpg related purchase. Check out the following products:

World of Greyhawk AD&D Boxed Set

Menzoberranzan AD&D Boxed Set

Conquest of Nerath: A D&D Boardgame

Legend of Drizzt: A D&D Boardgame


Lessons from Memorializing D&D characters

dungeonmastering.com - Mon, 05/25/2015 - 01:55
Happy Memorial Day from all of us here at DungeonMastering.com & we hope it was a good ‘long weekend’ for everyone.  Previously we’ve written a somewhat solemn tribute to those...

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In honor of Letterman: Top 10 Funniest Things PC’s Said

dungeonmastering.com - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 01:57
Tonight, David Letterman (along with the help of the irreplaceable Bill Murray) read his very last Top Ten List.  In homage to Dave & the countless laughs he caused, here is a D&D list of the...

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8 ways to make PC’s somewhat ‘super’ with Hero Points

dungeonmastering.com - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 01:54
So Superheroes are pretty much everywhere & are only going to become more widespread.   In addition to the plethora of these movies that have already come out, (seriously, we kept losing track...

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5e Magic Item Conversions

Newbie DM - Tue, 05/12/2015 - 08:28

I’m enjoying converting older D&D material into 5e. I’ve done races and monsters, and now I’m tackling magical items.

I put together a document with conversion for items from two older books filled with magic: 2e’s Tome of Magic by David Cook, and 1e’s The Magister by Ed Greenwood.

I obviously didn’t convert all the items in those books, just a selected few. I tried to avoid items that were either too mechanically complex for what (I believe) 5e does with its items, and I also tried to avoid any overlap with existing items.

For some items I had to get creative and use the item as inspiration, rather than a straight up conversion.

Here’s an example of one of the items:

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 9.24.07 AM

Anyway, you can find the document here.

I’d love to get some feedback, let me know if you end up using any of them!

If you would like to support NewbieDM.com, perhaps you’d consider visiting Amazon.com for your next rpg related purchase. Check out the following products:

World of Greyhawk AD&D Boxed Set

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Conquest of Nerath: A D&D Boardgame

Legend of Drizzt: A D&D Boardgame


Revenge of the 5th: Ideas from Star Wars for D&D games

dungeonmastering.com - Wed, 05/06/2015 - 01:55
We all love Star Wars, & let’s face it, Lucas letting others pilot the spaceships have given everyone a new hope that we will once again cheer when John Williams comes out of the speakers...

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Ideas from Game of Thrones, ‘The House of Black and White’

dungeonmastering.com - Thu, 04/30/2015 - 17:42
It’s a great time to be a Geek.  Marvel movies & TV are out everywhere, while Star Wars movies & TV are coming.  Meantime the Game of Thrones series continues to rock on, even when...

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The mul & thri-kreen PC races for 5e D&D

Newbie DM - Tue, 04/28/2015 - 07:41

I’ve been working on 5e monsters and races lately. Earlier this week I posted a Shardmind and a Loxo, and now here are two more races to add to your 5e options (assuming you like them and your DM approves!)

These two races come from the Dark Sun setting, the Mul and Thri-Kreen. The latter is in the game in the form of a monster, but the mul is not. I tried to stay as close to the “feel” of the races as I could. Here’s how:

The Mul, a half human, half dwarf is known for being a tough race. They don’t tire easily, are strong combatants, etc. They are usually found as slaves and gladiators toiling in the harsh world of Athas.  Here’s how I represented that for 5e with racial traits:

  • Tough as Nails. During a short rest you can reroll a Hit Dice roll and take the higher of the two rolls.
  • Resistant. Once a day, if you fail a Constitution saving throw you can choose to succeed instead.
  • Tireless. You only need to sleep 2 hours a night to gain the benefits of a long rest.
  • Mul Weapon Training. You have proficiency with the spear, whip, pike, handaxe and unarmed strikes.

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 8.23.54 AM

I think I got the feel of the mul down. The re-roll hit dice thing to me is the highlight of the race.

The thri-kreen is an insectoid creature with six claws, also from the world of Athas. I found this one a bit more challenging to translate to a workable race, and it went through various versions. The thri-kreen has a lot of neat things it can do, and there’s a chance of making them a bit too overpowered when compared to other races. They can jump to great heights and lengths, they have psionics, they blend in with their surroundings. Lots of neat tricks, but it can get out of hand.

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 8.33.24 AM

I think I finally cracked that nut after seeing how the Elemental Player’s Companion handled the Deep Gnome’s magic, via a feat, and the talons of the Aarakocra, via a simple proficiency.

Here’s what I gave  them:

  • Long Jumper. You do not need to move any number of feet to make a full long or high jump. Additionally, roll a 1d12 when you make a long or high jump. The result is an additional number of feet you can add to the total of your jump.
  •  Claws. You are proficient with your unarmed strikes, which deal 1d4 slashing damage on a hit. (EDIT: they were 1d8 but I changed to get out of the way of the monk)
  • Chameleon. You can change your color to match your surroundings. You have Advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks made to hide in this manner.
  • Along with an optional feat (subject to DM approval):
    • Thri-Kreen Psionics

 

Prerequisite: Thri-Kreen

You have telepathy out to a range of 60 feet. Additionally, you have innate psionic spell-casting ability. This ability allows you to cast mage hand at will, without needing a material component. You can also cast each of the following spells once with this ability: blur, invisibility, and magic weapon. You regain the ability to cast these spells when you finish a long rest. Intelligence is your spell-casting ability for these spells, and you cast them at their lowest possible levels.

I am inclined to say that the race is fairly balanced versus other races. The first few versions were a bit overpowered. The claws did many attacks, it had innate casting without it being an optional feat.  I am happy with how it came out.

I’d love some feedback on these, either here or on twitter (@newbiedm).

Find the mul here.

FInd the thri-kreen here.

 

If you would like to support NewbieDM.com, perhaps you’d consider visiting Amazon.com for your next rpg related purchase. Check out the following products:

World of Greyhawk AD&D Boxed Set

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Conquest of Nerath: A D&D Boardgame

Legend of Drizzt: A D&D Boardgame


Experiments in building a 5e D&D race: The Shardmind.

Newbie DM - Mon, 04/27/2015 - 00:52

Shardmind

Here’s my 5e version of the Shardmind, a race introduced in the 4e PHB3. The Shardmind origin is described as the shattered pieces of a gate at the edge of the far realm. Or something to that effect. Honestly, I don’t know much about the mythology of 4e. So make the Shardmind’s  origin what you want I guess. I admit the fluff in this write-up was stolen from the PHB3. Just use the stats and invent an origin for your Shardmind.

This was an exercise in translating the stats and feel of the race to 5e. I think I came pretty close. Thoughts?

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B56oe0eWddruMUxoWUpabmotbEU/view?usp=sharing


Experiments in building a 5e D&D race: The Loxo

Newbie DM - Sun, 04/26/2015 - 14:29

I’ve been making monsters for 5e here and there, trying my hand at some homebrew design work, so I decided to try and make a new race for the game.

I felt like going outside the box in my thinking so I went with one of the less popular races, the Loxo. The Loxo became a race through Spelljammer… it’s basically a nomadic bipedal elephant with a split trunk. They favor druid and ranger classes. Here’s the thing I learned about race design in 5e… It’s a little different from previous editions, there aren’t a WHOLE lot of moving parts. Races get a few things and that’s it.

loxo

In 3e’s The Shining South supplement for Forgotten Realms, (where I’m basing this guy from) the Loxo had quite a few things it could do. It could rage like a barbarian when it saw other Loxo getting attacked, it also had a trample attack it could use to run over enemies, and finally a trunk attack. Thing is that in 5e, races don’t really get all these things. The dwarf for example, get some skill proficiencies, advantage on saving throws, weapon training… there’s no offensive attacks or anything of the sort.

So what did I do to the Loxo? Instead of a damage causing trample attack, I made it so that he can walk on occupied spaces when there is a creature a smaller size than it and have it NOT be difficult terrain… Instead of a rage like a barbarian, I gave it Advantage on the first attack against an enemy attacking a Loxo (or a companion). And I did give it proficiency with natural weapon so he could use his trunk as a 1d8 bludgeoning damage weapon.

These are things that I ~think~ manage to keep the flavor of the Loxo’s abilities, without adding too many things outside the scope of 5e design. I also made him a +2 WIS creature, since that was missing from the player’s handbook and I thought it would be an interesting thing since they tend to favor druids.

Here’s what I came up with for my first attempt… let me know what you think.

http://bit.ly/1OqBXGj


5e Monsters: Korred and Froghemoth

Newbie DM - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 07:42

Continuing my conversion of older D&D monsters to 5e, here are two interesting monsters for you to use in your 5th ed. game: the korred (for low level play), and the froghemoth (made for higher level parties to face).

The korred are forest fey, fond of singing, dancing and nature. Thematically, they are close to druids, and are described as being extremely hairy, reclusive and not fond of outsiders entering their forest regions.

The korred first appeared in the 1st Edition Monster Manual 2. It was also the subject of an “Ecology Of…” article in Dragon 119, written by Ed Greenwood, and subsequently it was updated for both 2nd and 3rd editions of the game.

korred

You can find my version of the 5e korred here. I made it a Challenge 1 creature.

Next is the huge tentacled walking frog known as the froghemoth. This massive swamp monster first appeared in the seminal adventure “Expedition to the Barrier Peaks”, and later would find its way to the Monster Manual 2 for 1st. Edition of AD&D. It has since been updated for 2nd Ed. and 3rd and in various third party products.

Incidentally, I only made it because Chris Perkins mentioned it on twitter and I decided to stat it up. Otherwise, it wasn’t really on my list of monsters to update to 5th, so thanks Chris!

Froghemoth

Get the froghemoth here. I made this one a Challenge 15 creature.

If you would like to support NewbieDM.com, perhaps you’d consider visiting Amazon.com for your next rpg related purchase. Check out the following products:

World of Greyhawk AD&D Boxed Set

Menzoberranzan AD&D Boxed Set

Conquest of Nerath: A D&D Boardgame

Legend of Drizzt: A D&D Boardgame


5e Monsters: Dragonne and Dark Creeper

Newbie DM - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 07:18

Here are two more monsters to add to your 5e D&D games.

First, the Dragonne, a sphynx like magical creature described as “cross between a brass dragon and a giant lion”. These creatures have their D&D beginnings way back in the 1ed. Monster Manual. Their defining traits across all editions were its roar and its desire for solitude, both which I attempted to capture with this 5e conversion, which made it a Challenge 6 monster.

Dragonne as seen in the 1st ed. Monster Manual

Dragonne as seen in the 1st ed. Monster Manual

Find the dragonne here. 

Next is the Dark Creeper (I had previously made this one available but I’ve tweaked it due to feedback and basically incorrect 5e monster design work on my part.) The Dark Creeper is a Challenge 2 creature with the power to see in magical darkness. They like to use poisons and have a sneak attack trait as part of their combat tactics. The 1e Fiend Folio described them as having a fondness for magical items and a spontaneous combustion upon death, both traits that I’ve tried to emulate with this conversion. The dark creeper has appeared in all editions of D&D, most recently in the 4th Ed. Monster Manual.

Dark Creeper as seen in the 1st ed. Fiend Folio

Dark Creeper as seen in the 1st ed. Fiend Folio

Find the Dark Creeper here. 

If you would like to support NewbieDM.com, perhaps you’d consider visiting Amazon.com for your next rpg related purchase. Check out the following products:

World of Greyhawk AD&D Boxed Set

Menzoberranzan AD&D Boxed Set

Conquest of Nerath: A D&D Boardgame

Legend of Drizzt: A D&D Boardgame


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