Sunday, April 12, 2020

Character Sheet for 5E

I was up late last night enjoying the quiet in my house and looking for a way to entertain myself. I decided to make this character sheet in Excel that gave me some nostalgic feeling of the AD&D 2E character sheets I spent so much time with as a youngster.

This is not the coolest character sheet by far, but I got enjoyment out of figuring out how to arrange all the boxes.

Click here for link to the PDF

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Buddies and Pets for 5E

I recently purchased the 5E Essentials Kit boxed set to play with my kids. It allows for the PCs to have sidekicks if you have a small party of only like 1 or 2 PCs. Provided are stat blocks and leveling rules for three sidekick types: Expert, Warrior, and Spellcaster.

I think this is a cool idea, but I wanted to provide more options, so here is the list I allowed them to choose from, which generally consists of CR 1/8 or 1/4 entries.
  1. Aarakocra (MM 12)
  2. Axe Beak (MM 317)
  3. Blink Dog (MM 318)
  4. Blood Hawk (MM 319)
  5. Boar (MM 319) 
  6. Bullywug (MM 35)
  7. Camel (MM 320)
  8. Constrictor Snake (MM 320)
  9. Dretch (MM 57)
  10. Duodrone (MM 225)
  11. Flumph (MM 135)
  12. Flying Snake (MM 322)
  13. Giant Badger (MM 323)
  14. Giant Bat (MM 323)
  15. Giant Centipede (MM 323)
  16. Giant Crab (MM 324)
  17. Giant Frog (MM 325)
  18. Giant Lizard (MM 326)
  19. Giant Rat (MM 327)
  20. Giant Weasel (MM 329)
  21. Giant Wolf Spider (MM 330)
  22. Goblin (MM 166)
  23. Grimlock (MM 175)
  24. Kenku (MM 194)
  25. Kobold (MM 195)
  26. Kuo-Toa (MM 199)
  27. Manes (MM 60)
  28. Mastiff (MM 332)
  29. Monodrone (MM 224)
  30. Needle Blight (MM 32)
  31. Panther (MM 333) 
  32. Pixie* (MM 253)
  33. Poisonous Snake (MM 334)
  34. Pony (MM 335)
  35. Pseudodragon (MM 254)
  36. Pteranodon (MM 80)
  37. Riding Horse (MM 336) 
  38. Skeleton (MM 272)
  39. Slaad Tadpole (MM 276)
  40. Smoke Mephit (MM 217)
  41. Stirge (MM 284)
  42. Wolf (MM 341)
  43. Zombie (MM 316)
A mastiff and a blink dog were chosen.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Goblin Slayer Adventurer Ranks

One of the interesting things in Goblin Slayer is the adventurer's guild ranking system. Level 1 scrubs start out as "Porcelain" rank, and if they survive through many adventures they can work their way all the way up to "Platinum" rank.

The full rank list is provided below.
  1. Porcelain
  2. Obsidian
  3. Steel
  4. Sapphire
  5. Emerald
  6. Ruby
  7. Bronze
  8. Silver
  9. Gold
  10. Platinum

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Dungeon Crawling with TOON

Over the past "shelter in place" weekend I got the opportunity to play in a handful of online games in lieu of going to GaryCon. One of the games was TOON, a game I first played in 1995. This session helped me remember all the things I love about TOON. Let me list a few of them here for you now:
  • Fast character creation
  • No concern for balance
  • You can't die, so you can focus on having fun instead of staying alive
  • Failure makes things more interesting
  • It's just goddamn hilarious
Anyways, after the game, we were talking about doing some D&D-style dungeon crawls using TOON as the system. The more I've been thinking about it, the more excited I've gotten about the idea. I've been in search of the perfect mix of two of my favorite things - 80s cartoons and dungeon crawling - and I think this might be just what the doctor ordered.

Here are some draft character generation rules I've been thinking about.

Equipment: two or three six-sided dice
  1. Choose species/race. It's important to do this first to increase the chance you get something weird that doesn't fit the stats you roll.
  2. Roll 1d6 for each attribute: Muscle, Zip, Smarts, Chutzpuh. Maybe you can reroll 1s. Or maybe not. Sucking can be fun in this system.
  3. Roll 1d6+6 to determine max hit points.
  4. Select a class: Fighter, Thief, or Wizard (see details below). Make adjustments as needed. I've included some simple stat adjustments but the net effect is zero and I feel like they are optional.
  5. Spend your 30 skill points. You can buy one schtick if you like (you will get 1 or more schticks for free from your class).
  6. Choose 1-2 Natural Enemies.
  7. Choose Beliefs & Goals.
  8. Record starting equipment: 4 weird items and 4 mundane items.
  9. Draw a picture, or snag one from the internet.
  10. Write a description of your character.
Stat Adjustments: +1 Muscle, -1 Smarts
+3 to Max Hit Points, +2 to Damage Rolls
Schtick: Toughness (Physical),

Stat Adjustments: +1 Zip, -1 Muscle
Schticks: Bag of Many Things, Maximum Boggle

Stat Adjustments: +1 Smarts, -1 Muscle
Schticks: Cosmic Shift or choose two Spells

Other Considerations
In playing a few online games, I found the sweet spot for the length of a session for me to be about 3 hours. Beyond that I would start to get burned out. Others' opinions may differ, but let's operate under this premise.

Small Dungeons: This game should run a bit faster than traditional D&D, so small dungeons of 5-10 rooms should be about right for a 3-hour session.

Running a Megadungeon: I think a fun way to run different groups through a megadungeon in short sessions would be to have some sort of teleporter at the beginning that transports the group to a randomly determined area in the dungeon. The dungeon rooms themselves should be somehow marked or labeled so that the players can create maps in each delve, and have a way to know how to stitch them together after the fact.

Classic TSR Modules: I first got this idea from hearing about Adam Thornton's "TOON of Horrors" game. It sounded to me like a great way to experience that classic module. Since you never actually die you could play it more aggressively and not have to worry about dealing with the death of a high-level character as you would in D&D. Why not play the other TSR modules on my shelf as well? There's less of a barrier to entry with TOON characters and casual players.

Monday, January 20, 2020

New Campaign and World: Planet X

It's been a few years since I've run a campaign in earnest, and I'm looking to get a new one going. I have 2-3 potential groups right off the bat that I could run games for, so I want to get a decent amount of material together to get started.

System: The base system I will use for this is the excellent fan-made Gamma Five rules by Emanuele Galletto. I really like the streamlined character generation, and the fact that its basically 5E but even simpler.

Setting: The overarching idea for the world is that at some point in history (probably today plus or minus 20 years), the earth was devoured by another planet. Most of humanity, and the entirety of the world as we know it was wiped out. The result was an entirely new planet, henceforth referred to as Planet X. Fast-forward unknown aeons, and this new planet is inhabited by a mix of mutated life forms from the original two planets. The surface is largely primitive and wild, and there are underworlds made up of the lost ruined cities of past ages.

Characters: I will do away with plant-men and robots, but use all the other character bios (avian, beast, insectoid, mutated human, pure-strain human, and saurian). The idea I have for pure-strain humans is that they are hatched from ancient eggs. The ancient humans knew of the impending collision and stored as many embryos as they could in these biotechnological wonder-eggs that could sustain their lives and allow them to hatch when conditions were safe enough.

Influences: I've been reading some Clark Ashton Smith lately (the two Xiccarph stories, as well as Vulthoom), and I've also been watching 80's cartoons to get that beautiful science-fantasy vibe. These include He-Man, Blackstar, Thundarr and Silverhawks. Here is some additional inspirational art below...