Newbie DM

Syndicate content
www.    Newbie DM    .com
An Ennie Nominated D&D Blog & Podcast. Home of tutorials, advice, and downloads for new DM's
Updated: 38 min 35 sec ago

Star Wars/5e Hack Minor Update

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

 

 


Let’s Build a 5e-Based Star Wars

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:

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


Some magic items of Undermountain converted to 5e

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


5e Magic Item Conversions

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

Menzoberranzan AD&D Boxed Set

Conquest of Nerath: A D&D Boardgame

Legend of Drizzt: A D&D Boardgame


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

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

Menzoberranzan AD&D Boxed Set

Conquest of Nerath: A D&D Boardgame

Legend of Drizzt: A D&D Boardgame


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

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

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

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

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


5e Monster: Living Wall

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 09:00

The Living Wall… one of those… weird monsters that D&D is sometimes famous for, this one appeared in the game through the Ravenloft campaign setting for 2nd ed. It’s a section of wall made up of the corpses of creatures (read adventurers) it has absorbed and taken up as part of its structure. Above all else Its ultimate desire is to kill the one that created it. Evil wizards usually create it to guard a location or object.

livingwall

I was asked to try to make one for 5e, but when I read the 2e description I thought that it wouldn’t translate well (it has as many attacks as creatures absorbed, so it could attack like 15 times if it absorbed 15 fighters), so I changed some things for 5e and took some liberties. I also changed the alignment, it just didn’t really read as a Chaotic Evil creature to me.

So here’s my version of it. A Challenge 6 critter that tries to absorb you into its structure. It has various weapon attacks and can cast spells (to represent other adventurers it has absorbed). It has magic resistance, an illusory appearance, and if it absorbs a character, it gains its hit points.

Check it out, tell me what you think. Where would you put one of these in an adventure?


Elder Brain for 5e

Sun, 04/19/2015 - 23:11

ElderBran2

Here’s my version of an Elder Brain… a mind flayer city’s god-like center of attention.
I made it a Challenge 22 legendary creature, with lair and regional effects. It spawns a brain golem, a challenge 5 creature with mind blasting powers as well as slam attacks. This can make for a dangerously nasty encounter.

Let me know what you think!

Find it here


5 Monsters for your 5e game

Fri, 04/17/2015 - 07:05
A bodak wonders the Abyss in search of victims...

A bodak wonders the Abyss in search of victims…

I’ve been converting old monsters from AD&D that haven’t seen the light of day as (official) 5e critters. My goal obviously was to get the core of what made these monsters unique to work within the 5e ruleset and monster design guidelines.

Here’s what I have for you with this post:

Dark Creeper (Challenge 1/2)
The Dark Creeper made its first D&D appearance in the Fiend Folio for 1e. They live underground, like to steal and explode in a flash when killed.

Blindheim (Challenge 2)
This bizarre frog man also first appeared in the Fiend Folio. It has what are basically high beam headlights for eyes, and blinds you before it eats you. Perhaps one of the silliest D&D monsters for any edition. Oh Fiend Folio, never change.

Crimson Death (Challenge 4)
This undead creature first saw the light of day in 1e’s Monster Manual 2. It lives in swamps and feeds off its victim’s blood. It uses a fear attack as an attempt to neutralize its enemies first.

Son of Kyuss (Challenge 4)
This undead, another Fiend Folio monster, is riddled with worms which it seeks to implant in its victim’s brains to turn them into another Son of Kyuss. It regenerates and causes fear. It is pretty nasty.

Bodak (Challenge 7)
The bodak is a creature who as a mortal died in the Abyss and now roams that plane killing everything in sight. It has a death gaze it uses to kill unsuspecting victims with. This creature first appeared in the classic 1e module “The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth” and later appeared in the 1e Monster Manual 2.

I wrote a post recently where I shared the first few monsters I converted, find that here.

I hope you enjoy using these in your game, let me know if you did and how it went. Keep in mind that I have not play tested these guys yet, so if you want to send along a report, all feedback is welcome!

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


Couple of homebrew 5e monsters…

Mon, 03/23/2015 - 10:43

I went on a bit of a monster kick this weekend, only to see just how easy it was to take old AD&D monsters and turn them into 5e creatures. Here’s what I worked on…

First, the Yuan-Ti Histachii. My version of this creature (a 1/2 Challenge monster) comes from the one found in the 1993 2e Monstrous Compendium, although this creature first appeared in the Kara-Tur campaign setting, and was originally printed in that product’s Monstrous Comendium Appendix. The histachii is a former human, transformed into a reptilian humajoid by a foul yuan-ti mixture. They serve as slaves to the Yuan-Ti, guarding prisoners, hunting, and other tasks. Of course, they can also serve as cannon fodder.

From TSR's 1993 Monstrous Compendium

From TSR’s 1993 Monstrous Compendium

I wanted to make this creature available for 5e because the Yuan-Ti entry in the MM is missing (in my opinion) a suitable low challenge grunt for low level PCs. Sure, the Yuan-Ti Pureblood is there, but in my opinion it serves a different purpose.

My 5e Yuan-Ti Histachii

My 5e Yuan-Ti Histachii

You can find the Yuan-Ti Histachii here. 

The following monsters are a pair of undead, the Skeleton Warrior, and the Huecuva. The skeleton warrior was a nasty monster back in the AD&D days of yore. (It also made for a memorable character in a classic episode of the D&D cartoon). It first appeared in the Fiend Folio for 1e, then reappeared in the Dragonlance Monstrous Compendium appendix, and eventually ended its AD&D appearances in 1993’s 2e Monstrous Compendium. Almost a bit lich-like, the skeleton warrior has an interesting backstory… its soul was trapped long ago in a circlet by powerful demigod or an evil wizard. Their only raison d’etre is to search for and find the circlet containing their souls. The circlet can be used to fully control the skeleton warrior,  but if the circlet gets lost watch out… because the skeleton warrior will stop at nothing to kill its former controller.

From TSR's 1993 Monstrous Compendium

From TSR’s 1993 Monstrous Compendium

Granted, it’s a very situational type monster. But I thought it was a neat backstory. Neat enough that I wanted to see it in 5e. In 2e term, it was a 9+2 to 9+12 HD creature. In 5e I made it a Challenge 13 monster, since the guy is loaded with immunities and can’t even be turned. He’s a nasty critter. Now, one of the things not described in the AD&D version is the magic item which makes up this monster’s story. So I added it to my write up. It’s basically a golden circlet that grants a +1 to AC and saving throws, along with the skeleton controlling abilities.

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 11.20.31 AM

Art shamelessly taken off google...

Art shamelessly taken off google…

Download the Skeleton Warrior here. 

The final monster is a neat one, and a bit of a D&D trivia oddity. The huecuva, or heucuva, depending what you’re reading. You see, it’s one of the few D&D monsters (maybe the only one) that managed to have an editorial error slip through the cracks and become canon. In the Fiend Folio, it was huecuva, and later it became a heucuva due to a typo. The rest is history ( and you can read more about this on page 6 of Dragon Magazine issue 168).

The huecuva (I went back to the original spelling) is a neat undead with a bit of a creepy backstory. It’s origins come from Chilean folklore, specifically the religion of the Mapuche people of south-central Chile. (Read about it here.)

In D&D terms, it’s described as an undead spirit similar in appearance to a skeleton. Legends tell that they are the restless spirits of monastic priests who were unfaithful to their vows and now face eternal punishment, roaming, killing, and making mockeries of their past lives.

It attacks with its claws, causing disease to the unlucky ones it manages to hit. In the Fiend Folio it actually caused terminal renal disease! They could also polymorph themselves into other types of creatures, and are resistant to mind controlling spells. And yes, I know there was a 4e template for this creature, but it seemed to ignore this whole aspect of the monster, so again, I’m working off the AD&D versions.

 

From TSR's 1993 Monstrous Compendium

From TSR’s 1993 Monstrous Compendium

 

In 2e it was a 2 HD creature, I made it a challenge 4 creature for 5e. A shape changing undead that can cause disease and has advantage resisting turning? I’ll take that!

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 11.38.28 AM

Grab the Huecuva here. 

These monsters haven’t been playtested yet. I created them using the guidelines in the DMG, and from reading their older stat blocks. Partly art… partly science. Let me know what you think!

 

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