Showing posts with label 5e. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 5e. Show all posts

Monday, January 8, 2018

Another Keep, Saved from the Forces of Chaos and Evil

This past weekend we finished the first part of my "Into the Nentir Vale" game.





The characters managed to stop the cult of Orcus from opening the rift to the Shadowfell and save Keegan's Keep.  They also managed to get to 3rd level which is keeping with my desire for them to level up two levels per adventure.  They will face Orcus in E3 at 18th level.

Between this big showdown and the last session, I did some searching and looking online for more information about Harpers.  I thought about having the Harpers approach them, talking online I think it would be more in line with the Harpers watching them first.

So enter another 4e to 5e conversion, Jasic Winterhaven!  A gnome warlock/bard.  Something I am calling a Crossroads Bard.  Jasic is a Harper agent assigned to determine the value of these characters.  I am really looking forward to this.
I am basing Jasic loosely on Eric Burdon from the Animals and War. He is also a little on my late brother Mike who could play any instrument he picked up and taught me everything worth knowing about music. My love of the Beatles, Frank Zappa and the great psychedelica of the 60s and early 70s comes from him. 

I will likely get my Keep on the Shadowfell conversion up and out sometime. I think others might interested.

Up next...some prep for the next adventure.


Monday, January 1, 2018

First Game of 2018, Back to the Realms and the Nentir Vale

Still on my Christmas break-vacation so been playing quite a bit of D&D 5.

I am not sure whether I mentioned it or not but I am merging my Forgotten Realms and my Into the Nentir Vale campaigns.  It is not much of a stretch really.  The original intent for 4e and the Nentir Vale was to place it in the Realms, so I have that justification and plenty of material to work with.

Recap.  Earlier this year I talked a lot about my 4e collection and sunk costs.  I discussed the conversions in two different posts, 4e to BECMI and 4e to 5e for the Ghost Tower of the Witchlight Fens.  Both posts generated a lot of interest and I did some quick conversions in Google Sheets.
The Witchlight Fens conversion went well I quickly did them for H1 Keep on the Shadowfell.

We started with H1 Keep on the Shadowfell and I used information from Dungeon #155 for the Forgotten Realms conversions.

Truthfully the Keep on the Shadowfll could be located anywhere.  The Nentir Vale, Cormyr of outside of Denver for all the difference it makes for the characters.  Thankfully there are resources for me to use.  The Forgotten Realms Wiki has entries on both Winterhaven and the Shadowfell Keep.

This week after some initial investigations the revised characters entered the Shadowfell Keep.






It has been going great and everyone is enjoying themselves.

I now need to work out some of the Raven Queen details.  I know a lot of gods in the Forgotten Realms are dead, come back, are dead again.  So finding one isn't going to be the problem, settling on one is.   In 4e the Raven Queen is the new Goddess of Death having been given the mantle when the previous god was killed.  In my 4e game before I assumed it was Nerul, but now I think I am going to go with Bhaal.

So far the 4e to 5e conversion is working out great. I am looking forward to seeing how the other adventures fare.

Here's to a great 2018!

Links

Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 A Look Back

Well, 2017 was an interesting year.

I managed to get a few PDFs out. Mostly for Swords & Wizardry:
And some more Strange Brew for Pathfinder:

So naturally, my blogging took a hit. This was my least productive year in terms of posts since the start really.  But that is cool.

Like last year D&D 5 dominated my play.  Though I did play some other games.

The big game of my year was not Starfinder as I expected, but rather Blue Rose.


I spent a month or so on it back in June and my adoration of it has not lessened.  Looking forward to some more Blue Rose in 2018.

Later in the year I also spent a lot of time with Mighty Protectors.


It was also a joy to review and play. Looking forward to some more.

Hope your 2017 was good. Here is to a better 2018.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas Classes

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays all!

Been sick as a dog the last week.  I was planning on getting some new material out to you all, but that didn't happen.  Day-job was also insane.

BUT I did find something that is filled with Holiday Cheer.

Over at the DMsGuild there is a collection of holiday-themed classes.
Now I have dealt with a very mixed bag at the DMsGuild. There is some good stuff, but also a lot of bad stuff too.  Plus most of it it seems has a lot of art ripped off of the net without regard to ownership and you all know I can't abide by that.

Those issues aside I opted to pick up The Season's Subclasses - Player Options for Winter Cheer by Levi Pressnell.

This is a fun product.
For a buck (or more) you get new class options for all the core D&D 5 classes.

Here are my favorites.
Barbarian: Dancing Lights - The power of the Aurora Borealis is at your finger-tips.  The is a seriously cool concept and one that should be ported over to other settings/games like Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea.

Bard: College of Caroling - with a bit of a tweak you can get a Mummers Dance out of this, and that would be a lot of fun.

Cleric: Domain of Cheer - Love this concept!

Druid: Circle of the Evergreen - I like this one too, not what I thought it would have been, but still really cool.  Remove it from it's Christmas origins and now you have Eco-Protective Druids.  Think Swamp-Thing with spells.

Monk: Way of the Sugar-plum Fairy is far more awesome than a PWYW product should have.  A monk tradition. Based on the Fae?  Ah..yeah! Sign me the heck up!

Paladin: Oath of Winter - "Winter is Coming". That's all you need to say.  Gotta get a blank sheet and get my Ned Stark on.

Rogue: Chimney Lurk - major props for the name alone.  This one is really cool too.

Sorcerer: Frozen Soul - If you get the desire to sing "Let it Go" while playing this character no one will laugh at you.  They can't because you froze them in a block of ice!  Maybe one of my most favorite ones here.

The Wizard, Warlock and Fighter options are also fun, but I liked the others the best.

It's Christmas, pay more than a buck for this. 


Monday, December 11, 2017

Weekend Gaming: The Worlds of David "Zeb" Cook

Spent some time on the Second Campaign this weekend.
Various factors have come together and I have moved the entire campaign over to Mystara.  It just made some things fit better.

I knew I wanted to get the player to I1 Dwellers of the Forbidden City, though a couple of obstacles were in the way. First, they were really not high enough level yet.  Second I have had on the mainland of a fairly generic D&D/Eurocentric area.  No jungles in sight.

That's when I had an idea.  I pulled out my tired, true and very worn copy of X1 The Isle of Dread!
This gave them an excuse to get to a tropical area AND gave them some much-needed adventuring along the way to level up.


 Of course, it was at the moment I took the above picture that I realized that both adventures had been authored by David "Zeb" Cook! The same David Cook as in the Expert Game author and the author of the next adventures in the Second Campaign.

I knew at some level the authors were the same, but I never thought about it save for mentally commenting on the similarities and how well they work with each other.  I am simpling placing the Forbidden City in the central plateau of the Isle of Dread.

It is not an original idea, nor even an uncommon one:


I wish I had given this more thought to be honest!
Right now the characters are mapping the interior of the island in a good old-fashioned hex crawl.  Two characters so far have been hit with "jungle sickness". In fact, the poor wizard was hit with sea sickness and jungle sickness for so long that she has had four (in game) days of disadvantage rolls.

After this the characters are going to go south to a dessert for both the Desert of Desolation series and the Lost Tomb of Martek series.  The Lost Tomb of Martek of course by David Cook.

I just have not figured out how I want to do them.  I will likely go in this order:


and


But have not really figured out the narrative I want for them.
In any case it is going to be fun!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Stranger Things: Zoomer Archetype for D&D 5

"See. Zoomer."
- Maxine "Mad Max" Mayfield

Stranger Things 2 is out and many of you may have binge watched it all by now. We just finished this past weekend and thought it was just as good as season 1.  The newest character introduced is Maxine "Mad Max" Mayfield a new girl from California.  When the boys digress into D&D talk, she makes the statement that she could be a "Zoomer", which gets the predictable results from a bunch of middle schoolers in 1984.

Well, I thought that a Zoomer could totally be a thing.

So here is a Zoomer Rogue Archetype for D&D 5.

ZOOMER

Windrunner by Stanley "Artgerm" Lau
In this world, you have learned there are two types; the quick and the dead.  You prefer not to be among the dead. So speed is not just what you do, it is what you are. Get in fast, attack fast and get out fast. Live another day.

QUICK ATTACK
Starting at 3rd level, you can use the bonus action granted by your Cunning Action to make an extra attack. Strength bonuses do not apply since you are compromising power for speed.

FAST ON YOUR FEET
When you choose this archetype at 3rd level, you gain the ability to move faster than normal; Your base speed increases by 50%. So characters that move at 30 ft can now move at 45 ft.  Terrain that slows down other characters will still affect you, but based on your new movement rate.

UPPER HAND
At 9th level, you may add +5 to your initiative rolls.

BLUR
Starting at 13th level, you move at twice your base speed.  Sneak attacks must still be made at normal movement speed; which is half speed for you.

FASTER THAN THE WIND
When you reach 17th level, you can attack three times per round.  These extra attacks ignore any bonuses due to strength.


Obviously, I have not playtested this, but I think it could work out nicely.
What do you think Max?



Sunday, October 29, 2017

Weekend Gaming: Halloween Gaming, Return of the Vampire Queen

It was our weekend of Halloween gaming.  It's was also my oldest son's birthday weekend.
He ran games all night long and while he slept today I ran  "Hanging Coffins of the Vampire Queen" again, this time for my younger son and his group.



It was 2014 when I first ran this adventure for my oldest son, so I wanted to run it again this year for my youngest since they would have been the same ages.  Very different experiences!

I picked up this adventure back when +Mark Taormino kickstarted a few years back and it is one of my favorites. It's just so much fun.  I also combine it a lot with the classic Palace of the Vampire Queen and the sequels made by Bill Barsh at Pacesetter.

Combined they really make for a great full palace, dungeons, and vampire pits.

Today's group got much further.  I made some changes based on previous runnings and some advice from Mark.

Sin, the Queen on her throne, Diabolica, and the Queen ready to attack
Combined with mins from three different companies this represents one of the things I love the best about this hobby; everyone coming together to provide something new and exciting.
Standing Lady Neeblack is the Vampire from Reaper Minis.


Ok and a bunch of tombstones and coffins from Michaels.



Oh and an old D&D action figure Umber Hulk to represent a giant Umber Hulk.  Yeah, they were scared about that.



They managed to survive long enough to face the Succubi Sin and Diabolica and finally Lady Neeblack the Vampire Queen herself.

I can't say enough good things about these adventures.  It would not be Halloween without them.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Into the Nentir Vale, 5e Style

Vacation day today.  So the boys and I are starting our "Halloween" adventures of Into the Nentir Vale.  Yes, I am converting the 4e the adventures to 5e.  I started these adventures back when 4e came out and they really had an impact on what I am doing now with Come Endless Darkness.


So today we start H1, Keep on the Shadowfell.


I have done the conversions to 5e and they look good.



We are going to stick with this one for a bit and pick up Vault of the Drow when we go to Gen Con in 2018.  That would be a good time to do that!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Temples of Elemental Evil in the Multiverse

I have been thinking a lot about my interconnected D&D 5 campaigns.
  • There is the Mystara/Oerth combination on my wold of Mystoerth I have been running for The Order of the Platinum Dragon. Which cover all the classic "Greyhawk" modules.  Big bad is Lolth.
  • There is the one I have been calling The Second Campaign which I have started in the Forgotten Realms (2017 is my year to be introduced to the Realms).  I am running other classic 1st modules here too.  Big Bad here is Asmodeus.  I am including some elements of Dark Sun here too. 
  • There is a third campaign I have not started completely just yet. It is a resurrection of my old 4e game and deals with the rise of Orcus.  Originally I wanted this one to be the Realms but I am likely to set it in the Nentir Vale.  Have not decided yet. If I do then I need a better home for the Second Campaign.  I'd love to play a little with Krynn, to be honest. 
I still have some details to work out. But all of these fall under the larger umbrella of Come Endless Darkness. Tharizdûn is returning to the multiverse and the PCs of the three campaigns need to stop him.

But I need to know my end game. I know all three are coming together at the very end.  In the "main" Order of the Platinum Dragon game, the PCs have already been to Hommlett. They know about the Temple of Elemental Evil, so they have a pretty good idea that they are headed back there.

I know that I am planning that have the big bads, or at least their proxies, in the final battle too. But how do I get the characters of three universes together?

Then it dawned on me. There is a Temple of Elemental Evil in every game world.


Let's look at it from this point of view.  Nearly every game world (notable exception Mystara) got its genesis from First Edition AD&D.  The first level First Edition adventure was T1 The Village of Hommlett.   So if you played regularly in any game world there is a good chance that that world had a Hommlett and accordingly a Temple of Elemental Evil.

I thought at first I wanted a Tanelorn-style temple that flitted from world to world.  But that is unsatisfactory to me and I already had something like that in Halfway. I thought about having it as a place that exists on all worlds at the same time,  but I also have that in West Haven.
So instead I am thinking of something more along the lines of the Altgeld Castles here in Illinois.

On five different campuses here in Illinois there are five gothic-style castles all (except one) called Altgeld Hall. Named after Gov. Altgeld.   The rumor was that all these buildings can be combined, Voltron-style, to make one complete castle.  There is no facts to back this up, but it is much more fun than the rumors that usually surround campuses in Illinois.

So I propose the following:

Every game world has a Temple of Elemental Evil.  Some are decrepit and decayed, others are active and strong, and others still are only just starting.  The main feature of these is that all are connected.  They can be combined together across time and space to form a giant Temple and Cathedral of Elemental Evil.

For locations, I went to the experts online.
They have given me some good ideas. I didn't go to Eberron or Dark Sun since I know very little about either world other than the most basic basics.  I figure they have them as well.

For maps, it will be easy.  I can grab one from the T1-4 Supermodule for each world. I can also grab an absolute ton of material from the Princes of the Apocalypse.  Appendix C of PotA gives me plenty of ideas of different loacations and backgrounds for the Temple in various game worlds too.



Heroes of the Three Worlds will have to come together to defeat evil and face the ultimate evil in Tharizdûn.

It's gonna be epic!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Kickstart Your Weekend: Aliens in Dungeons, Wizards and Warriors in the Mean Streets.

Starfinder is the new hotness, but D&D 5 is still going strong.  So it seems natural to have a product that can support both.  So here is one of the first:

Alien Bestiary for Starfinder and 5E RPG


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/legendarygames/alien-bestiary-for-starfinder-and-5e-rpg

I am sure converting to White Star will be easy.

If Starfinder takes the Pathfinder rules to the far future, Modern Adventures takes it the dark streets.


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/highergrounds/modern-adventures-tabletop-rpg

I love modern adventure games and like so many I am not yet ready to retire my 3.x-era rules.

I really like what they have here.  Yes, there are LOTS of OGC/3.x based modern games out there but this one has a neat vibe about it.  There is something in it that feels a little like Kult or Chill.  I can also see you playing a cool Supernatural-like game.  I might even pull out my notes for the long abandoned Anita Blake game I was working on to see it would work there.

Combine these two books and you could have the best kick-ass game of X-files outside of Conspiracy X.

Both look really fun!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Eclavdra, D&D Beyond test and stats

I have a big three-ring binder FULL of stuff for my upcoming D12-3/Q1 adventures.  I have been wanting to do this for years and I am very excited.

To that end, I have been prepping on various fronts.  Here are the fruits of some of that labor.

As you might remember I signed up for D&D Beyond.  I am in for the whole deal, the books the builder all of it.  So I have been trying out different sorts of characters to get a feel for what works.

So far I find it superior to the builders I used for 3e and 4e from WotC but not quite as flexible as Hero Lab.  But for D&D 5 with all the content at my finger tips is great.  The HUGE plus for me is the ability to do it all on my Chromebook, switch to my Windows PC or laptop, switch to my phone or tablet or even use my Ubuntu Linux Frankencomputer.   For me, that is the best selling point.  I use too many different technologies that are cross compatible now, I expect that in the tech I use for fun as well.  While working on characters for this post I moved seamlessly between my Chromebook and Android phone.  I have not tried it on an iPad yet.

So far I have only used the character builder and the ability to look up material.   There is a lot here and I have to admit I get a kick anytime a bit of art from 3e and 4e pops up.

Eclavdra
I figure what better to test out this tool and to prep for my "Against the Drow" adventures is to stat up a new version of the classic Drow High Priestess Eclavdra.
Note: This is not going to be a "Power Score" like retrospective like +Sean McG does.  He does a far better job at that than I can do.



We get very little about her in the pages of G3. She is a Drow High Priestess of Lolth. She has some fighter ability and she is also serving the Elder Elemental Eye/Elder Elemental God/Tharizdûn.  +Joseph Bloch would know more and has likely talked about it a lot on his blog.
I have seen 3rd and 4th edition stats for her and I know I have 2nd ed stats for her somewhere.
I was hoping that the recent Tales from the Yawning Portal would have something more "5e-ish" for her, but other than some neat art (above) and a mention, nothing.  Not even the basic stats we got in the original G3.

Last year I talked about Eclavdra when I was getting ready to run the Giants series. I noted then that she was listed as:

Eclavdra (10th level cleric/fighter; H.P.: 60, Wisdom 17, Dexterity 18, Constitution 10, Charisma 18; Armor Class -8 = +3 shield, +5 chainmail, and +4 dexterity bonus).

So I started with that and compared it to the 4e stats I had at hand.



 I know I wanted to change her around a bit, keep her levels of Cleric but instead of Fighter, I gave her 4 levels of a Blade Pact Warlock of Tharizdûn.  I used some feats to also round out her fighting ability and I am very pleased with what I came up with.


A couple of things.  AD&D had lower ability scores but more powerful magic items.  This Eclavdra has greater Charisma and Wisdom, but she is unlikely to have a magic +5 anything.  So her 5e Armor Class of 16 seems weak compared to her AD&D AC of -8.  I might make her elven chain a little more powerful.

I am limited to the items in the software; that is until I make some more myself to use.  Good candidates here are +3 Elven Chain and her Tentacle Rod (not in the software or her sheets just yet).
But all in all I am pleased.  Like I mentioned above the ability to go back and forth on the platforms I use all the time appeals to me.  The phone version is also not too bad. I created a complete character on my phone with no difficulty.



If you want to check her out for yourself here is the PDF output the builder gives you.

Eclavdra, D&D Beyond Sheet.

It might not be perfect, but it is pretty good.

Most of the nitpicks I have with it are rule interpretations that I thought I had known.  So before I call them "bugs" I want to recheck my rulebook.

Is it worth the price tag?  Yeah, for me it is, but we are playing a lot of D&D 5 in this house these days.

Monday, August 21, 2017

D&D Beyond

I signed up for D&D Beyond this morning.



I pretty much knew I was going to sign up anyway, but gaming over the weekend convinced me.

Currently, I am running two D&D 5 games, the Come Endless Darkness game and The Second Campaign.  Eventually, I am going to get my aborted 4e game converted over to 5e and I'll get that going too, tentatively called Into the Nentir Vale.

My son is also running games. A D&D 5 game with his friends,  the same adventures (with different characters) with my youngest son and his friends (average age 14) AND the occasional one we take turns running for his cousins (aged 13 to 22).



So six D&D 5 games with about 40 characters total.
To say we have lost some sheets here and there is an understatement.  To say we need to be able to access our materials in a bunch of different places is also pretty clear.

So I pulled the trigger this morning and got a DM's Subscription and picked up the three core books.

I know there has been a lot of complaining online about the price.
For me, the price compared to what I get was worth it. I was a fan of the 4e character builder and I used it quite a lot.   When Beyond was in Beta I also used it a lot.  So far I am pleased with my purchase so far.

Are there cheaper tools? Of course.
Are there better tools? Maybe.
Are there tools that do everything that Beyond does? None that I know of.

So I'll be sharing my thoughts on this tool over the next few days.  Need to load about 3 dozen characters into it now.

Anyone else using this?

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Weekend Gaming: The Giants Fall

Today the Order of the Platinum Dragon completed their quest to stop the giants.  With King Snuure and his wives defeated, rounding up the rest was easier to do.  Including getting rid of a bunch of giant fire beetles and some red dragons.



Though the brave heroes did not count on the drow on the third level.  They took out many of their elite fighters, but a mysterious drow priestess and her wizard attendant got away.


A satisfying end to an adventure that began at Gen Con last year.

Now it is time for the heroes to descend into the depth of the earth!


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

First Day of Summer

Ok.  I am working like crazy to get something out to you all in the next few hours.  Had projects that came up at my day job that had to take priority (hey. it pays the bills, this doesn't).

Today is the first day of Summer 2017.  I love the Summer Solstice. Everything feels perfect really.

Anyway, Solstices and Equinoxes make me think of Elementals.
I am not the only one either.  +Joseph Bloch over at Greyhawk Grognard is talking the Temple of Elemental Evil again and that is good.

I am just about ready to wrap-up the Giants series with the kids and move on into D12 and 3.  I have given a lot of thought on what I can do with Q1 and a possible Q2.

I have also been thinking ahead to a scenario where I use the Temple of Elemental Evil as the end of my "Gygaxian Classics".  Though I am not 100% sure how I want to it.



Unlike all the other adventures I am taking my kids through I never played or ran Temple of Elemental Evil.   In fact, till today I never even owned a physical copy.  I bought the PDF a while back.  I have a couple of copies of T1 and I have been thinking about this a lot.





Anyone who has ran this adventure, any advice?

I know that this is going to be the capstone to my huge 5e games.  Currently running two, soon to be three concurrent and independent games in 5e.  They are all going to meet at the temple and unless they are really, really good, they will see the rise of Tharizdûn.

Not sure what I am going to do yet, but I know it will be fun.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Kickstart Your Weekend: Lion-tiger-bears and Apocalypses Oh My!

A couple of brand new Kickstarters for you today.

First up is +Andreas Walters and Atlas Animalia - A book of monster variants for Pathfinder and 5th edition Role-Playing.


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/metalweavegames/atlas-animalia-a-book-of-monster-variants?ref=6yv756

Metal Weave games is bringing together an all-star cast of writers, artists, and editors to bring us monsters from any clime and local to drop into your game. The hardcover book reminds me of the old Dragon "Ecology of..." articles. There will be PDFs of monsters stats in Pathfinder and 5e format.  It looks really awesome, to be honest.

The Apocalypse happened.
It sucked and now 70 years later the nations are dead and only The Lost Citadel remains.


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/504269797/the-lost-citadel-post-apocalyptic-fantasy-roleplay

The Lost Citadel — Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy Roleplaying is for 5th edition RPGS, but will be offering "System Hacks" for other systems including AGE.
Funded in a matter of hours I think it is now well on to stretch goals.

It looks like a lot of fun to be honest and I might just pick it up to have some 5e/AGE translation notes.

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