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NewbieDM Review: Encounter Decks 3 by Inkwell Ideas

Wed, 09/02/2015 - 13:20

During Gencon, I saw that my friend Mike, who runs SlyFlourish, picked up a deck of cards with what looked like an encounter and a map on them. These cards intrigued me, so I looked around and picked up a batch from Drivethru RPG. I picked up the bundle that includes the PDF of the deck, and the physical products. I’ll give me thoughts on this print-on-demand service at the end of the review, but first let me get to the cards…

Encounter Decks are basically a set of cards with a ready made map and plot ideas for a nights worth of gaming.

The deck includes 54 cards.

The deck includes 54 numbered cards, with one side showing a quick line or two about the hook of the adventure, suggestions for getting the PCs involved, encounter ideas, and suggestions on how to expand the story past the presented adventure. The other side includes a map suitable for the adventure. Here’s the map for card #25 “And the Children Shall Lead” from the picture above:

IMG_1943

As you can see, they cram a lot into a regular poker sized card, perhaps too much, but in essence you are getting a solid framework for a night’s worth of gaming in each card. A good GM might take these cards and be able to randomly pull one for that night’s one shot or side trek.

IMG_1944

Each card has either a Sword & Sorcery or a Science Fantasy theme, although it would probably be easy to re-skin these into any theme you need for your campaign. The plots range from dragon cults stealing livestock in the area, to stopping a brain connected to a super computer from taking over the city….

To me what’s most valuable about these cards are the hooks and encounters. The maps don’t do much for me because in order for them to be useful I’d need to blow them up larger, and they aren’t keyed anyway, so they can really just serve as inspiration for making my own maps or by hand or whatever. The fact that they managed to cram so much into a regular playing card is enough for me though, and I appreciate the effort, I just don’t know if I’ll get to use the maps. They even suggest using maps from other cards interchangeably, so they are playing fast and loose with them as it is.

There’s probably going to be some bit of prep time for the average GM that chooses to use these cards. I know that I’d probably take the time and flesh out the plots a bit and make them custom for my game, tie them in to my setting, etc, but some people may be content with a beer and pretzel “shuffle the cards” and lets see what comes up. For both those types of gamers, I think the product shines.

As far as Drivethru’s physical quality, I was really impressed. The cards are strong, not flimsy at all, rounded corners and have a gloss to them. They came packaged in a sturdy acrylic box with a removable lid, and I paid about $12 for the whole thing.

IMG_1945

Overall, I think these Encounter Decks are a solid product from Inkwell Ideas. I appreciate having 54 adventures ready to go, and even if the maps are perhaps a bit too small for the cards to use as intended, there are workarounds and ways to use them effectively, so I feel comfortable recommending the product.

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


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