Immik is a powerful entity worshiped by the citizens of Tophet, a small village North of the Somber Woods on the islands of Parepidaymos (par-ep-id’-ay-mos) in the Land of Nod. Immik is described as a mighty angel whose very body burns with flames. He is the Lord of Flame, Bringer of Fire, and Sacred Master of the Fivefold Secrets.

Immik’s Hunger spell


Forest Gremlins are a distinct breed of forest-dwelling Goblin species that are known to in many forested locations within Mawveth, especially the Dark Forest. Similar in both culture and appearance to the common Goblin, the Forest Gremlins have in a sense, degenerated into a primitive shamanistic culture that revolves around the spiritual veneration of the Giant Spiders that have made the forest their home.


So I created GRIMDARK: A SNEAK PEEK and offered it for download on The DM’s Guild and I’m happy with the document. It provides some radical changes to the Core rules of D&D 5th edition and shakes things up well enough. But the downside of this is that it’s clunky and complicated, especially for new players.

So my next goal is to create GRIMDARK rules that do not reinvent the wheel. I want to stick with the Core Rules of D&D and present them in such a way that allows for grim, gritty, and uberdark storytelling. I’d like to present the rules within a campaign setting much like Eberron or Ravica. This setting at this point will be called “Mawveth.”

So that’s what I’ll be focusing on for the next few months. If you have any suggestions, any at all, please comment below. In order to comment you need to click on the title of this post to view is as a single page.

My plans for Grimdark.
Photo by Renato Danyi on


Something sinister is afoot in the village of Tophet. Children have been disappearing in the middle of the night. The normally xenophobic townsfolk have become so desperate that they have sent out a plea for help to the residents of Seven Towns. 

Can the adventurers solve the mystery and return the children safely to their homes?   Can the adventurers solve the mystery and return the children safely to their homes? Or will they succumb to whatever foul creature is kidnapping the children?


Once upon a time, on the Island of Parepidaymos (par-ep-id’-ay-mos) there was a small community called Seven Towns. When Tophet requested assistance, the Council of Seven Town saw this as an excellent opportunity to open trading routes with the separatist, xenophobic, self-sustaining village of Tophet. Opening the trading routes North would be quite lucrative. And so the Council decided to elect representatives to go help Tophet.


  • Emet Cooperson is a seeker of the One True God and wielder of secret magicks. He comes from the Seven Towns lumber village of Clarion. He is young and enthusiastic to a fault. Emet seeks to rescue the children of Tophet to promote the Greater Good.
  • The Seven Towns coal mining town of Dagnus Mines has put their trust in the scout named Uwe Gudderson. He hopes to open trading between Seven Towns and Tophet by helping to find the missing children. Uwe is a follower of Torm the True whose main temple is located in the city of Shamokin.
  • The mountain village of Rockton elected to send Jessie to aid Tophet. She is a valiant fighter, speaking more with actions than words.
  • Rayna Mithrow is a high ranking noble from the mountain village of Rockton. She has elected to seek out and rescue the children of Tophet because she feels she cannot trust anyone else to carry out the mission despite Jessie having been sent by the Council.
  • Old Man Lev wanders the wilds of Seven Towns ceaselessly patrolling its boundaries. Little is known about this man, but many know of him. His good deeds are legendary in Seven Towns, and many whisper that he is a survivor of the massacre at Devil’s Rocks between Men and Elves.
  • Sir Sven Prefontain hails from the village of Duboistown. He is a knight in the Order of Torm, the One True God. He earned his knighthood after nearly giving his life in the Battle of Devil’s Rocks. It is his holy mission to promote truth and justice by weeding out and obliterating wickedness and Evil.
  • Dale Buckman the Archer of Buckland is a young man. He was elected to seek out and rescue the lost children of Tophet because he is a part of the original patriarchy of Buckland. Dale sees this mission as a way to test his abilities and hone his skills.
  • Lady Rhallesi of Shamokin is an acolyte of the Temple of Torm. She has spent most of her years within the walls of the temple. She elected to represent Shamokin for the Council of Seen Towns in aiding Tophet. Those who serve Torm know of her and her dedication to the Faith.

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Once upon a time in Seven Towns, a priest from Tophet visited the Burgomaster asking for help. The priest, Father Gemtun, explained that for the past six months children have been vanishing from their homes in the middle of the night. Despite their efforts, the people of Tophet have not been able to solve this mystery. Thus far 26 children have been lost.

The Burgomaster sent word throughout Seven Towns, seeking heroes. Each town chose their representatives with the hope of recovering the children and maybe beginning a relationship with the usually xenophobic Tophet. Each hero received provisions for the trip along with ten gold pieces as payment for their service.

The heroes traveled to Cook Trading Post at Crossroads. They heard rumors on the road of goblins ambushing lone riders and small bands along the road South. However, none of them encountered any issues along the way to the Trading Post.

With the assistance of Brian and Karen Dragoncache, they met with Father Gemtun. He paid them each ten gold with promises of ten more when the job was finished.
Once they were on the road, they proceeded further Northwest towards the Somber Woods. From there they would need to enter the forest itself, passing through it to the boundaries of Tophet.
A few hours into the trip the group intervened with a battle between some goblins and a lone horseman. The man escaped into the Dark Woods, and the group defeated the goblins, taking one captive.

The group noticed that the goblins were strangely warped and mutated. As they continued South, they debated what the source of the mutations might be.

GRIMDARK is my attempt to create “gritty” rules for #DnD 5th edition that emulates dark fantasy and horror. Essentially there are changes to how AC, Hit Points, Damage, Critical Hits, and Healing function within the game. $1 download at DM’s Guild:


Long before the Great King Egg bequeathed Nod to the aristocratic lord Richard Xagyg, its lands had been home to the tribal nations of Elves who enjoyed the forested mountains, bountiful rivers, and beautiful valleys. When the first explorers arrived in Nod during the 17th Age, they found the Elves to be peaceful and willing to trade. The Five Nations of Elves welcomed the strangers with open arms.

The explorers were mainly Humans who discovered that the native Elves were weakened from warring with tribes of Goblins, Orcs, and other Goblinoid races. The Elves were suffering from measles and smallpox, diseases tat had slowly crept up from the Everdark. The explorers saw an opportunity here and made pacts with the Elves to help fight against the Goblinoid armies in exchange for permission to establish a small village defended by a fort. This was the first Human community established in Nod but it would not be the last.


In the LAND OF NOD, East of EDEN, is a small region named SEVEN TOWNS. South of SEVEN TOWNS lies the DARK WOOD. It is a malignant place where the PLANE OF SHADOW seeps in and poisons all that is good and right.

These Goblins use the same statistics in games of Dungeons & Dragons as those listed in the 5th edition Monster Manual. However, when these creatures are encountered the DM can use the chart below to determine what the individual Goblins look like due to their mutations.

% Roll Deformity
01-03 Slits for Eyes
04-07 Albino Skin
08-10 Cone Shaped Head
11-13 Way Too Skinny
14-15 Short Legs, Big Bod
16-17 Goat Horns
18-20 Bulging Eyes
21-23 Pimples and Boils
24-26 Beak For Nose
27-29 Brightly Colored Skin
30-32 Very Large Ears
33-35 Shark-like Maw Mouth
36-37 Arms Drag on Ground
38-41 Enormously Obese
42-44 Scorpion Tail
45 -47 Big Red Eyes
48-51 Eyestalks
52-54 Feathers For Body Hair
56-58 Drooling Acid
59-60 Prehensile Tail
61-62 Four Legs
63-66 Smells Really Bad
67-68 Flesh Flakes Off
69-70 Two Heads
71-72 Gaping Mouth
73-75 Big Head
76-78 Hunchbacked
79-80 Missing Limb
81 -82 Long Tongue
83-84 Tentacles
85-87 Head Like A Fish
88-90 No Body
91-93 Wings
94-97 Really Long Fingers
98-99 Hairy
100 Roll Twice


The GRIMDARK system is my attempt to create “gritty” rules for #DnD 5th edition that emulates dark fantasy and horror. Essentially there are changes to how AC, Hit Points, Damage, Critical Hits, and Healing function within your game of 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons.

Critical hits are more frightening in GRIMDARK. Page 106 of the 5th edition Player’s Handbook discusses the standard rules for Critical Hits. However, in GRIMDARK things transpire a little differently.


Yes, because in GRIMDARK the monsters already have enough advantages in that their stats are calculated normally as per the 5th edition Dungeon & Dragons rules. The monsters will have a higher Armor Class, more Hit Points, and all that jazz. They don’t need critical hits. Sorry, DM, that thrill of rolling a “20” is now reserved for your players. So don’t be a turd! Celebrate with them when they roll a Critical Hit. Give them high fives, shout with joy, or do whatever it is that you are your friends do when that “20” shows up.

So, when a “20” is rolled on an Attack roll, the hit is automatically a Critical Hit. A Critical Hit always deals more damage, even more so in GRIMDARK, called “Critical Damage.” When you score a Critical Hit, you roll extra dice for the attack damage against the target. Roll all of the attack’s damage dice twice and add them together and DOUBLE it. Then add any relevant modifiers as normal.

For example, Shimmershine scores a Critical Hit with his dagger.  Normally the dagger would inflict 1d4 damage so a Critical Hit scores as 2d4 instead. Rolling 2d4, Shimmershine’s player gets a result of “5”. The “5” is doubled to 10. Since Shimmershine has a STR modifier of +1, the “10” becomes an “11.” The Critical Hit with the dagger inflicts a total of “11” Critical Damage points. 

Although we won’t get too far into it right now, it’s important to separate Critical Damage from normal damage. Why? Because in GRIMDARK a character cannot use Recovery Time to heal Critical Damage. This sort of damage has specific rules for healing and recovery. More on that is discussed in the Recovery section of the Grimdark document.

But HOLD ON, we’re not done yet. Getting a Critical Hit is a BIG DEAL in the GRIMDARK system so it is given a spotlight. The fun continues with a second roll after the total Critical Damage, in this case, “11” is determined. This second roll is not an actual attack, but instead referred to as a “check.” Roll normally as if making an attack and if the roll comes up as a “20” again, this is referred to as a “CRITICAL CRITICAL.”  Yeah, it’s silly. But say it often enough and it’s fun. Shout it and it’s even more fun. “Critical Critical!” GO ahead, try shouting it now. You know you want to. 

TIME SAVER TIP: If you’re a DM like me, you want to consolidate time as much as possible. You can always do the check right away after the Critical Hit is rolled. Simply have the player make the check right away while the adrenaline is pumping and the players at the table are celebrating the Critical Hit already. 

Anyway, when a “Critical Critical” happens, it’s a REALLY BIG DEAL. When a player pulls off rolling two “20’s” in a row, that’s amazing. In such a situation,  the enemy suffers SYSTEM SHOCK. Refer to page 273 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide for the chart used with determining the effects of SYSTEM SHOCK. 

Now that’s pretty awesome, but “Critical Criticals” don’t happen all the time. That’s why there’s more to it than just that. So your player scores a Critical Hit applies the damage, and checks for a Critical Critical.  In any case, the playing character gets to make a new Attack Action as a result of rolling so well. Yes, this is a whole new Action, not just an attack. So if the PC gets three attacks an Action, it’s party time as he or she gets three more swings at the bad guy.

So that means Shimmershine (a fighter who has two attacks for each Attack action) makes another two attacks. If another Critical Hit is scored, the process is repeated until either the target is defeated or no more Critical Hits are scored.

So that’s Critical Hits work in the GRIMDARK system. The idea here is to make Critical Hits even more exciting for the players and combat even more dangerous against the monsters who already have a bit of more of an edge on the PCs. Remember D&D is all about having fun, so loosen up and let the dice fly. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the GRIMDARK system, please check it out at the DM’s Guild:  — you can download the bare bones sneak peek document for $1.00 right now.