We recently started playing a swashbuckling pirate themed campaign set in Forgotten Realms called “Really Bad Eggs.” Since I enjoy using random charts to hand out treasure, I created two different downloadable charts that you can add to your collection if you like.
Here’s an example of one of the charts:
LOOT THE BODY d6
75 cp, 55 sp, 22 ep, 15 gp, and a Gold Earring set with a tiny ruby (30 gp).
180 sp, 130 gp, and a silk pouch containing five carnelians (10 gp each), two peridots (15 gp each), and one pearl (100 gp)
Scroll of charm person and a scroll of fireball.
Leather bag containing 35 sp, 20 ep, 20 gp, 5 pp, one pearl (100 gp) 5 55 cp, 75 sp, 22 gp
Wizards of the Coast has had a lot of surveys, and the one thing I always make sure to address in my comments is … GAME BLOAT!
Back in 2000, Wizards of the Coast released the Third Edition of Dungeons & Dragons … and it was a good thing! They also released an Open Content third party rule system called “The D20 System.” This was a new an exciting way to allow other publishers to make “official” D&D Third edition sourcebooks and material. It made sense, because back in the days of AD&D there were always some companies making AD&D books that were “unofficial” supplements to the game. For example, Role-Aids jumps to mind with their yellow corner shouting that it is compatiable with AD&D.
So anyway, the D20 license comes out and suddenly all these Third Party companies are making books for D&D Third Edition. At first it seemed great! It was a unprecedented phenomenon. Suddenly the market was flooded with all kinds of adventures and sourcebooks for use with D&D Third. We had companies like Necromancer Games, Malhavoc Press, Green Ronin, Goodman Games, and Mystic Eye pumping out all kinds of (usually affordable) books that flooded the market.
… FLOODED THE MARKET AND BLOATED THE GAME …
And FEATS were the worst part of it as far as I am concerned. There were a gazillion books that added a gamillion feats and they were usually absolutely terrible and annoying. It made the job of a Dungeon Master more difficult because players wanted to use all these KEWL POWERS that made the game unbalanced and less fun.
I remember sitting down with a player who wanted to make an Eldritch Knight. When we got together to create the character, he slapped down ive different Third Party books along with the Player’s Handbook. By the end of the session, I wanted to strangle him. It was horrible.
In fact, at one point there was an entire marketing campaign by D20 Monkey to create a Character Builder that allowed you to make a character for D&D Third using all the Core and Third Party publishers. It literally took a computer program to sort through all the nonsense a make a single character. By the time a player had a character built, and a DM could actually run a game it was obvious that there would be no killing that character within the storyline. I mean, who wanted to kill a character off and have to go through all the trouble of making another FREAKING character with that Character Builder program??! It suddenly made sense why Marcie was so upset. She didn’t want to have to use the D20 Character Builder to remake Black Leaf.
After a few years the D20 System wasn’t that awesome anymore. It actually started to become associated with licensed garbage. If you saw the pretty like white and red D20 symbol the first thing that came to mind was “yuck.” Most of the products being released were half-assed and absolutely horrible. “Oh look,” I’d think to myself. “The D20 Book of Half-Gnomes. Just what I wanted to go with the D20 Book of Erotica and the D20 Ultimate Guide to Treasure #5.” These low quality products filled the marketplace with junk and annoying material, including rules that were poorly tested and not thought out for game balance. All it was for these companies was a money grab with twenty sides.
Don’t get me wrong, some of the D20 products were great. I loved just aout everything that was put out by Necromancer Games, Swords & Sorcery, and Malhavoc Press. Rappan Athuk, Iron Heroes, and Blackmoor are some of my favorite D20 books. I also was happy to see D20 versions of Call of Cthuhlu and Star Wars but only so I could loot the contents and add things to my games of Dungeons & Dragons. If I wanted to play either of those games, I’d be playing the Classic version. For example, there is no better game of Star Wars – in my opinon – than the classic d6 system games! And I really enjoyed games lke D20 Modern and Dark*Matter. But the low quality of these other Third Party companies gave the impression that the D20 product line was garbage.
I’d like to point out books like “Good” and “Evil” by Alderac Entertainment Group. I admit that I did buy their “Dungeons” book but it was regretful to be honest. They literally just released a series of ONE WORD BOOKS with mostly fluff material and some half-hearted artwork.
As a Dungeon Master, I was happy to see that there were a lot of adventurers hitting the scene with the D20 System. There were awesome ones like the Rappan Athuk series.
But in the end there was just too much crap out there and the game suffered for it.
I’m glad to see that for the past few years, Wizards has introduced a good amount of material for D&D 5th edition without creating BLOAT. I like the idea that Wizards is working hand in hand with companies like Kobold, Sasquatch, and Green Ronin to produce materials. I’m happy that they made the DM’s Guild to allow folks to create materials under a license that it’s like the D20 license. And I’m really glad that Wizards is being smart in playtesting additions to their game through the use of articles and surveys.
Hopefully in 2017 the game continues to expand without BLOAT.
When you create your character, you receive equipment based on a combination of your class and background. Alternatively, you can start with a number of gold pieces based on your class and spend them on items from the lists in this chapter. See the Starting Wealth by Class table to determine how much gold you have to spend.
(It might be a good idea to check with your DM too!)
You decide how your character came by this starting equipment. It might have been an inheritance, or goods that the character purchased during his or her upbringing. You might have been equipped with a weapon, armor, and a backpack as part of military service. You might even have stolen your gear. A weapon could be a family heirloom, passed down from generation to generation until your character finally took up the mantle and followed in an ancestor’s adventurous footsteps.
A lot of times your starting equipment includes a least one tool.
A tool helps you to do something you couldn’t otherwise do, such as craft or repair an item, forge a document, or pick a lock. Your race, class, background, or feats give you proficiency with certain tools. Proficiency with a tool allows you to add your proficiency bonus to any ability check you make using that tool.
Tool use is not tied to a single ability, since proficiency with a tool represents broader knowledge of its use. For example, the DM might ask you to make a Dexterity check to carve a fine detail with your woodcarver’s tools, or a Strength check to make something out of particularly hard wood.
In the picture above, the playing character is choosing to flee rather than fight. Maybe because his companions are all fallen, victimds of the vile undead chasing him. Maybe because he wants to get the high ground to cast a spell or Turn Undead, Or maybe he’s just smart enough not to try to fight those things in that environment. Either way, he’s using tools to escape!
See that rope? Yeah. We always have rope, right? Rope. Rope, whether made of hemp or silk, has 2 hit points and can be burst with a DC 17 Strength check.
∇ Climbing, Swimming, and Crawling ∇
While climbing or swimming, each foot of movement costs 1 extra foot (2 extra feet in difficult terrain), unless a creature has a climbing or swimming speed. At the DM’s option, climbing a slippery vertical surface or one with few handholds requires a successful Strength (Athletics) check. Similarly, gaining any distance in rough water might require a successful Strength (Athletics) check.
And he’s got a torch! Seeing is a good thing. Torch. A torch burns for 1 hour, providing bright light in a 20-foot radius and dim light for an additional 20 feet. If you make a melee attack with a burning torch and hit, it deals 1 fire damage.
∇ Vision and Light ∇
The most fundamental tasks of adventuring—noticing danger, finding hidden objects, hitting an enemy in combat, and targeting a spell, to name just a few—rely heavily on a character’s ability to see. Darkness and other effects that obscure vision can prove a significant hindrance.
A given area might be lightly or heavily obscured. In a lightly obscured area, such as dim light, patchy fog, or moderate foliage, creatures have disadvantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight.
A heavily obscured area—such as darkness, opaque fog, or dense foliage—blocks vision entirely. A creature in a heavily obscured area effectively suffers from the blinded condition when trying to see something in that area.
The presence or absence of light in an environment creates three categories of illumination: bright light, dim light, and darkness.
Bright light lets most creatures see normally. Even gloomy days provide bright light, as do torches, lanterns, fires, and other sources of illumination within a specific radius.
Dim light, also called shadows, creates a lightly obscured area. An area of dim light is usually a boundary between a source of bright light, such as a torch, and surrounding darkness. The soft light of twilight and dawn also counts as dim light. A particularly brilliant full moon might bathe the land in dim light.
Darkness creates a heavily obscured area. Characters face darkness outdoors at night (even most moonlit nights), within the confines of an unlit dungeon or a subterranean vault, or in an area of magical darkness.
Always make sure you check out what is included in your character equipment packs! It may mean the difference between life and death for your character:
Clerics are intermediaries between the mortal world and the distant planes of the gods. As varied as the gods they serve, clerics strive to embody the handiwork of their deities. No ordinary priest, a cleric is imbued with divine magic.
Not every acolyte or officiant at a temple or shrine is a cleric. Some priests are called to a simple life of temple service, carrying out their gods’ will through prayer and sacrifice, not by magic and strength of arms. In some cities, priesthood amounts to a political office, viewed as a stepping stone to higher positions of authority and involving no communion with a god at all. True clerics are rare in most hierarchies.
When a cleric takes up an adventuring life, it is usually because his or her god demands it. Pursuing the goals of the gods often involves braving dangers beyond the walls of civilization, smiting evil or seeking holy relics in ancient tombs. Many clerics are also expected to protect their deities’ worshipers, which can mean fighting rampaging orcs, negotiating peace between warring nations, or sealing a portal that would allow a demon prince to enter the world.
Most adventuring clerics maintain some connection to established temples and orders of their faiths. A temple might ask for a cleric’s aid, or a high priest might be in a position to demand it.
My group just finished off a fairly long running campaign where the characters were predominately evil aligned characters. Many of the players intended their characters to be other alignments, but their actions within the game defined them otherwise.
Most of the moments within the game that made me realize they were playing Evil characters revolved around pivotal moments when they could have chosen to show mercy or restraint, and they chose instead to act with decisive cruelty and outright malice. It all really came down to culpability in a given situation.
And seriously, sometimes it’s fun to play the bad guys.
When we consider alignment, we’re talking about ETHICS.
It is simply a moral philosophy that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct.
A creature’s general moral and personal attitudes are represented by its alignment. Alignment is a tool for developing your character’s identity. It is not a straitjacket for restricting your character. Each alignment represents a broad range of personality types or personal philosophies, so two characters of the same alignment can still be quite different from each other. In addition, few people are completely consistent when playing make-believe characters. Alignment should influence a player to add depth to the character.
When we consider the differences between Good and Evil, we must remember that we are speaking of a game with a central setting that Humans are the “main” race and society. If that is indeed the case, then everything to follow is reasonably correct. Because let’s face it, D&D has always functioned within the idea that characters are interacting in a mostly Human world. Therefore, if your campaign setting is set within Menzoberranzan then perhaps you would have to reconsider the alignments reflecting the culture, society, and beliefs of the Drow rather than the Human world.
Good characters and creatures protect innocent life. It implies altruism, respect for life, and a concern for the dignity of sentient beings. Good characters make personal sacrifices to help others. Generally, it assume that the Good character is taking actions that are generally intended to help others rather than harm them.
“Evil” actions implies hurting, oppressing, and killing others. Some evil creatures simply have no compassion for others and kill without qualms if doing so is convenient. Others actively pursue evil, killing for sport or out of duty to some evil deity or master.
Beings who are neutral with respect to Good and Evil have compunctions against killing the innocent but lack the commitment to make sacrifices to protect or help others. Neutral people are committed to others by personal relationships. And even then, relationships may not be enough to carry them through to the end.
Being Good or Evil can be a conscious choice. For most people, though, being good or evil is an attitude that one recognizes but does not choose. Being neutral on the good-evil axis usually represents a lack of commitment one way or the other, but for some it represents a positive commitment to a balanced view. While acknowledging that good and evil are objective states, not just opinions, these folk maintain that a balance between the two is the proper place for people, or at least for them. This is where the need for “Neutral Good” and “Neutral Evil” comes into play.
Most beings are not simply “Neutral” “Unaligned” or “True Neutral.” Such an alignment would only really be applicable to beings of an alien nature or animals. Animals and other creatures incapable of moral action are neutral rather than good or evil. Even creatures or monsters that eat people are neutral because they lack the capacity for morally right or wrong behavior.
To be Evil, one must be profoundly immoral and malevolent. It embodies the desire to advance oneself at the cost of others. It deals with a level of culpability in action that causes the most harm in any situation where a different solution might have been available or even more reasonable. To these beings, they use their power and ability to cause pain, misery, and suffering.
Evil beings can even be trustworthy for extended periods of time when a larger goal is at stake or their interests or goals overlap with others. If someone pleases them and seems nonthreatening, they may look after that person, possibly even becoming protective, though with a tendency toward possessiveness and manipulation.
It is important to recognize that Evil does not have existence in and of itself within the Balance of all things. It cannot be removed or eradicated. Rather, it only exists as a privation on that which is Good. It exists in the same way that a wound exists on an arm or as rust exists on a car. The rust cannot exist on its own any more than cold can exist without the existence of heat or darkness can exist without the existence of light.
Most D&D players began their gaming careers with taking their characters a few hesitant steps into a dark dungeon somewhere in the myriad of gaming universes. Although later adventures took them through vast wildernesses and teeming cities, it is to dungeons that adventurers often long to return.
Although one type of underground environment might seem to be pretty much like another, especially when a character cannot see his nose in front of his face, a wide variety of locations await the character willing to explore his surroundings and press on into deeper and uncharted passageways.
Sometimes equipment can make the difference between survival and death.
In my local game, we have been using Psionics since the beginning of 5th edition as House Rules. These are some of the rules that we have been using during our games. These are based heavily on the 3.5 rules for D&D.
To use a psionic item, it must be activated, although sometimes activation is accomplished simply by picking up an item or putting it on. Some items, once they are attuned, function constantly. In most cases, using an item requires either a normal Action. This, of course, is at the discretion of your Dungeon Master.
Activating a psionic item is a standard action unless the item description indicates otherwise. The manifesting time of a power is the time required to activate the same power in an item, whether it’s a power stone, a dorje, or a psionic tattoo, unless the item description specifically states otherwise.
The four ways to activate psionic items are described below.
Power Completion: This is the activation method for power stones. Activating a power completion item is a normal Action. The idea behind this is that the power within the stone is missing only the final part to manifest the power. The user must simply manifest the power. Powers stored in power completion items are usually not augmented, because the manifester level of such an item is assumed to be the minimum necessary to manifest the stored power.
Power Trigger: This is the activation method for dorjes and psicrowns. It requires the special knowledge of power manifestation that a character of the appropriate class would know, and the formation of the appropriate command thought. If a power is on a character’s power list, the character knows how to use a power trigger item that stores that power. The user must still determine what power is stored in the item before she can activate it. Activating a power trigger item is a standard Action
Command Thought: If no activation method is suggested either in the psionic item description or by the nature of the item, assume that a command thought is needed to activate it. Command thought activation means that a character mentally projects a thought, and the item activates. No other special knowledge is needed. Activating a command thought psionic item is a standard Action. Sometimes the command thought to activate an item is mentally imprinted within it and is whispered into the mind of a creature who picks it up. Other items are silent. These items usually require attunement through study.
Use-Activated: This type of psionic item simply has to be used to activate. Use activation is generally straightforward and self-explanatory. Many use-activated items are objects that a character wears. Some items made for wearing must still be activated. Although this activation sometimes requires a command thought, usually it means mentally willing the activation to happen and does not require an Action. The Action will be used in actually using the item. These types of items are usually limited in nature and have “charges” that diminish as the item is used, and the item hen crumbles to dust on the last use of a “charge.”