The 5e Resources Page has been updated, please take a look and let me know if I’m missing any official Wizards content that has been released.
Recently I had the privilege of playing an advanced copy of Expedition and couldn’t be more impressed. The game’s creator, Todd Medema was kind enough to send a copy to B3 and I’m hooked. The game follows familiar fantasy game tropes that fans of Dungeons and Dragons and Pathfinder will find familiar.
- 1-8 players (Yes, you can play this game solo)
- Combat is fast and easy
- Combat is made even easier with the use of a free app
- The app works well on smart phones and tablets
- While the rules are simplified, the game can still be played tactically
- The deck is available for free through the Creative Commons license
- The game is customizable and allows you create unique cards
- The website has an amazing Demo to give you an idea of game play (the demo is replayable)
- The Expedition website is impressive and has been expertly crafted
- The game’s Kickstarter campaign starts today
All in all, Expedition is a solid game. You can play it solo or with a group, as a distraction as you wait for your other players to arrive, or as an RPG system of its own. I will be excited to see what stretch goals are reached, I’d love to see a web-based game (multi-player or solo) created. I hope you’ll check out the demo and view their Kickstarter page (the campaign runs until November 9th). Expedition is, in a word…impressive.
Improv just got easier! We’ve updated the Oh Sh!t Sheet for D&D fifth edition. This handout contains several useful charts to help a DM trapped in an “oh shit” moment, when the players take you in a direction you weren’t expecting and you need to come up with something on the fly.
Pretty self-explanatory. This is usually the first place a DM gets tripped up at improv. Your PC’s interact with a seemingly unremarkable NPC that you’ve written nothing about and for some reason they ask for his/her name, you can grab one quickly off your sheet and it will seem planned.You may also be interested in our longer name list posted a few years back: Names.
We’ve added a few “mostly” non-combat encounters that could be dropped into a session that runs short or goes off the rails entirely. Be sure to check out our 5e Skills challenge conversion sheet: Skills Cheat Sheet
I love the simplicity of the 5e trap system. Just slap a common trap archetype on the table like a pit, chest, rigged door, etc and the chart does the rest. This chart can be used for unintentional traps as well; like removing someone from a burning building, falling debris or a weak floor in an abandoned building.
This is a list of possible urban locations when you need a business or place name on the fly. They are generic enough to drop in any city of village.
This area works like the Urban section, all the names are generic enough to be used in any setting. Additionally, the geographic features are small enough to explain their absence from a campaign map. We avoided rivers, mountains, oceans, etc. that would seem conspicuously absent from lore and instead used creeks, hills, and ponds that will provide you an instant location for your impromptu quest.
Hard Encounter Cheat Chart
This handy gem comes to us directly from Slyflourish.com. Mike Shea is all about making a DM’s life easier and is known best for his book, The Lazy Dungeon Master. Shea’s chart is the quickest and simplest way to create an encounter on the fly. Mike was kind enough to allow us to replicate his work so check out his site; there are a lot of amazing articles over there.
These three NPCs are the most common you’ll need in village or city setting and are taken directly from the D&D 5e PDF’s on Wizards.com each stat block has a few possible quirks to make the NPC memorable.
It is impossible to plan for every possible scenario in a D&D session, but hopefully this handout will help when your players taken you off the planned path. Now when they ask about an NPC you didn’t plan for, you can quickly reply with a name and a quirk and even have stats should you need them.
From RPG News and Reviews:
On Friday night, July 31st, in the Union Station Grand Hall, Indianapolis, the 2015 Gen Con EN World RPG Awards ceremony took place – and the winners were announced! Hosted by Mike Selinker, with guest presenters including Amanda Valentine, John Adamus, Kevin Kulp, and Matt McElroy, the ENnies this year were sponsored by DriveThruRPG and Campaign Coins. The ENnies were voted on by a record number of over 20,000 individual voters from all across the tabletop gaming community.
Silver: Black Green Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition RPG Dice Set (Q-Workshop)
Gold: Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Masters Screen (Wizards of the Coast)
Best Miniatures Product
Silver: Pathfinder Pawns Inner Sea Pawn Box (Paizo Inc.)
Gold: Dungeons & Dragons Icons of the Realms Elemental Evil Boosters (WizKids)
Best RPG Related Product
Silver: Temple of Elemental Evil (WizKids)
Gold: Designers & Dragons: A History of the Roleplaying Game Industry (Evil Hat Productions)
Silver: MUTANT Year Zero The Roleplaying Game (Modiphius Entertainment Ltd)
Gold: Dungeons & Dragons Players Handbook (Wizards of the Coast)
Silver: The Strange (Monte Cook Games, LLC)
Gold: A Red & Pleasant Land (Lamentations of the Flame Princess)
Silver: D&D Players Handbook by Jeremy Crawford, James Wyatt, Robert J. Schwalb, Bruce R. Cordell (Wizards of the Coast)
Gold: A Red & Pleasant Land by Zak S (Lamentations of the Flame Princess)
I think this shows overwhelmingly that D&D 5th edition is a success! 14 top awards is very impressive indeed.
Two D&D 5e updates from Wizards of the Coast:
Wizards released the latest Unearthed Arcana article yesterday and the topic is modern magic. The UA Modern Magic PDF (also archived in our 5e resource page) outlines content needed to adapt D&D casters to a modern or futuristic setting. The article contains a new cleric domain (city), a new warlock patron (The Ghost in the Machine), the Technomancy tradition for the wizard, hacking tools, and 14 new spells.
All in all it looks pretty cool. The info could be used to make a neat time travel quest, but if I want to play D&D set in the future, I’ll probably stick with Shadowrun.
A New D&D Movie Announced
A press release posted yesterday by Warner Brothers details a partnership between Warner Brothers Pictures, Hasbro, and Sweetpea Entertainment to create a new D&D movie (franchise?) set in the Forgotten Realms. According to the release, a script has already been written by David Leslie Johnson.
From the press release:
“We are so excited about bringing the world of Dungeons & Dragons to life on the big screen,” said Greg Silverman, President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production, Warner Bros. Pictures. “This is far and away the most well-known brand in fantasy, which is the genre that drives the most passionate film followings. D&D has endless creative possibilities, giving our filmmakers immense opportunities to delight and thrill both fans and moviegoers new to the property.”
“This is such an enormous opportunity to bring the rich fantasy setting of the Forgotten Realms to life and, together with the creative powerhouse of Warner Bros., use movies to tell the stories that have enchanted passionate D&D fans for decades,” said Stephen Davis, Executive Vice President and Chief Content Officer of Hasbro, Inc. “D&D is the role-playing game that started it all and now we have the opportunity to ignite a franchise for its legions of avid fans in a way never done before.”
I remain hopefully optimistic.
While I disliked many aspects of D&D fourth edition, I did like skill challenges. The following article outlines my conversion of that system to fifth edition. Credit where credit is due-this article draws heavily on the skill challenge chapter of the fourth edition Dungeon Master’s Guide II.
Choosing the Skills (and non-skills) for the Challenge
The short answer is, don’t choose any. Present the party with a problem or scenario and let them decide how best to deal with it rather than drawing a box of skills and secondary skills to confine your players, give them free rein to come up with a creative solution. Reward creative thought, award successes for non-skills too, for example if the players want to use a magical item, or a spell in place of a skill. Perhaps they bride the gruff city guard rather than try to use the persuasion skill.
Level of Complexity
Fourth edition used a five-tier complexity system for its skill challenges and I’ve reduced this to four to make it align better with fifth’s easy, medium, hard, deadly encounter scheme. Select a level of complexity from one to four. If your players are just poking about a small village trying to solve a crime, a one should do, however, if they are taking a voyage across a desert or sailing an airship to another country, perhaps a level four challenge is in order. Note: complexity differs from difficulty. Complexity only refers to the number of steps involved in the challenge, not how difficult those steps are. To be successful the players will need x number of successes before y number of failures. I’m using the patterns from fourth edition’s DMG2 where they refined the numbers published in the original 4e DMG.
Complexity Successes Failures
1 4 3
2 6 3
3 8 3
4 10 3
Difficulty Class for 5e Skills/Ability Checks
Much like encounter creation, use a varying degree of difficulty for each step of your challenge. Lob a few soft balls (DC 10 – 15), and put a few challenges in their path (DC 20). Keep in mind that DC’s for skills are much lower fifth edition than they were for third and fourth. Without all those modifiers, the bar needs to be a bit lower. Gone are the days of fifth level bards rolling fifty on their perform checks.
Skill Difficulty Class
Very Easy 5
Very Hard 25
Nearly Impossible 30
Dealing with Failure
What if you players botch a roll or fail the challenge entirely? Failure shouldn’t end the adventure, it should just change the path the players need to take. If your players stealth through the prison but fail to unlock the door to the cell of the NPC they were sent to free, unlock the door but sound an alarm or alert the guards. Here are some ideas for failed rolls or failed challenges:
Possible Consequences for Failure:
• Increase the CR of the next encounter or raise the DC of the next skill roll
• Wandering monster
• Loss of a resource (Spell slot, per-rest power, hit dice, etc.)
• Apply a condition (poisoned, fatigued, etc)
• Inflict a curse or disease
• Expenditure of money or time
• Decrease an NPC’s attitude a step
• Disallow additional uses of that skill
• Impose disadvantage on the next roll
Experience Points for Skills Challenge
Giving XP for role playing is a great way to reward RP, but it can be difficult to decide how much XP is warranted. I think the “XP Threshold by Character Level” is a good place to start. Try awarding each player XP based on the chart below based on the complexity of the challenge (1-4) and character level.
I hope this conversion helps you maintain a healthy balance of Role and Roll. I would welcome any feedback you may have in the comments section below. Please download the free, Boccob’s Blessed Blog 5e Skill Challenge Cheat Sheet below.
A good skills challenge should:
• Involve each player
• Use several skills
• Allow successes from non-skills
• Reward creativity
• Measure how well the PCs succeed, not if they succeed.
Wizards just released a new Unearthed Arcana article containing rules for fifth edition psionics. The article contains a new base class, the Mystic, (that only goes to level five) and two psionic orders (Order of the Awakened, and Ordered of the Immortal). Wizards is asking for playtesters to download the new rules, use them in their home game, and fill out the next survey.
Love em or hate em, here are the 5e Psionics.