SURVIVORMAN EPISODE GOOD DM SOURCE!

If you are playing through Tomb of Annihilation (or planning to do so) you should watch this episode of Survivorman from the Grenada Jungle. Excellent source material for ideas while your players have their characters within the Chult jungles!

 

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BIG RICH’S TAKE ON … HOLY WATER

 

In Catholicism, Anglicanism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy and some other churches, holy water is water that has been sanctified by a priest for the purpose of baptism, the blessing of persons, places, and objects, or as a means of repelling evil. Many religions use holy water for cleansing, protection, and blessing. It is usually sanctified by a priest or similar position in a church and is only holy water if it is sanctified. “Holy” means to be sanctified. So we also call it “Sanctified Water.”

In Biblical Greek, the transliterated word is hagiazó (hag-ee-ad’-zo) which means “to make holy, consecrate, or sanctify.” The original word is ἁγιάζω which is a verb.

According to the Catholic Company, there are eight proper ways to use holy water, and you can read about them right here. Now, when we talk about using Holy Water in the fantasy role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) we can easily refer the Basic Rules to find that it is a piece of Equipment usually stored in a flask. The flask of Holy Water can be used as follows:

As an action, you can splash the contents of this flask onto a creature within 5 feet of you or throw it up to 20 feet, shattering it on impact. In either case, make a ranged attack against a target creature, treating the holy water as an improvised weapon. If the target is a fiend or undead, it takes 2d6 radiant damage. A cleric or paladin may create holy water by performing a special ritual. The ritual takes 1 hour to perform, uses 25 gp worth of powdered silver, and requires the caster to expend a 1st-level spell slot.

 

 

TPKO – THE NEW TPK

 

 

INTRODUCTION

Characters die in the world of Dungeons & Dragons. This isn’t Scooby Doo. Sometimes a knife in the dark, a well placed arrow, or the grinding teeth of a monster puts an end to the bold deeds of our mighty heroes and murder-hobos. Yet, the greatest risk is when a situation becomes so bleak that it escalates to the possibility of not one party member dying, but the entire adventuring party. This is the Total Party Kill or TPK.

The TPK is nothing new to players of role-playing games, especially those who play Dungeons & Dragons, any edition. There are plenty of reasons that a TPK may happen in a gaming session, however the most insidious and sometimes petty occurrence is when a Dungeon Master (DM) decides to do it just for bragging rights. This should never happen. A DM is a storyteller and arbitrator for the game. The goal of a good DM should never ever be to simply seek to kill playing characters.

As the DM, you have the most important role—facilitating the enjoyment of the game for the players. You provide the narrative and bring the words on these pages to life. You should always gauge the experience level of your players (not the characters), try to feel out (or ask) what they like in a game, and attempt to deliver the experience they’re after. Everyone’s character should have the opportunity to shine. Everyone should have fun.

I’m not saying that a TPK can’t be fun. Being a part of a TPK can be a great experience. As I have said many times before, I remember many of the characters who died during gaming sessions more often than those who survived. In fact, my very first character was a Ninja in AD&D Oriental Adventures who died by being stomped to death by an Ogre with Boots of Speed. The same Ogre hunted us all down and murdered us all. It was exciting, fun, and best of all: memorable. So the key is that a TPK should be fun and exciting. A good DM will make sure that a TPK serves a purpose in the storytelling aspect of the game and campaign.

ART OF THE TPK

Sometimes the TPK is planned and other times it just happens. But as the DM, you can choose to fudge or jut let things unfold. There will be times were a player’s character will die through no fault of his own. He or she will have done everything correctly, taken every reasonable precaution, but still the unpredictable roll of the dice will kill the character. Many times the DM should just allow this to happen because on the flip-side, the PCs will from time to time manage to defeat a monster or Big Bad through the same sort of freaky roll. But as the DM you do have the right to arbitrate the situation.

You can rule that the PC, instead of dying, suffers some sort of injury (minor or major) that may inflict more harm and annoyance in the long run than would a character’s death. The 5th edition Dungeons Master’s Guide (DMG) suggests possible “Lingering Injuries” on page 272. Alternatively, you could mix it up by using the Injury charts provided in Critical Hits Revisited or even spend less than a dollar for access to the Dynamic Critical Hit Table from the DM’s Guild. I’d also suggest using “The Critical Hit Table” or “Good Hits & Bad Misses” from Dragon magazine.

It is very demoralizing to the players to lose a cared-for-player character when they have played well. When they have done something
stupid or have not taken precautions, then let the dice fall where they may! Again, if you have available ample means of raising characters from the dead, even death is not too severe; but remember that the Resurrection Machine is a danger for any campaign.

TPKO, THE NEW TPK

I have been playing the 5th edition of D&D since it’s beginnings as D&D Next. I have found that the Total Party Knock Out is just as effective as the TPK during gameplay. The best part about it is that the characters are knocked unconscious instead of killed so there isn’t the difficulty of seeking resurrection or outright making a new character. Essentially, as written in the Basic Rules, When you drop to 0 hit points, you either die outright or fall unconscious.

Massive damage can kill you instantly. When damage reduces you to 0 hit points and there is damage remaining, you die if the remaining damage equals or exceeds your hit point maximum.

For example, a cleric with a maximum of 12 hit points currently has 6 hit points. If she takes 18 damage from an attack, she is reduced to 0 hit points, but 12 damage remains. Because the remaining damage equals her hit point maximum, the cleric dies.

If damage reduces you to 0 hit points and fails to kill you, you fall unconscious. This unconsciousness ends if you regain any hit points.

Whenever you start your turn with 0 hit points, you must make a special saving throw, called a death saving throw, to determine whether you creep closer to death or hang onto life. Unlike other saving throws, this one isn’t tied to any ability score. You are in the hands of fate now, aided only by spells and features that improve your chances of succeeding on a saving throw.

Roll a d20. If the roll is 10 or higher, you succeed. Otherwise, you fail. A success or failure has no effect by itself. On your third success, you become stable (see below). On your third failure, you die. The successes and failures don’t need to be consecutive; keep track of both until you collect three of a kind. The number of both is reset to zero when you regain any hit points or become stable.

When you make a death saving throw and roll a 1 on the d20, it counts as two failures. If you roll a 20 on the d20, you regain 1 hit point. If you take any damage while you have 0 hit points, you suffer a death saving throw failure. If the damage is from a critical hit, you suffer two failures instead. If the damage equals or exceeds your hit point maximum, you suffer instant death.

The best way to save a creature with 0 hit points is to heal it. If healing is unavailable, the creature can at least be stabilized so that it isn’t killed by a failed death saving throw. You can use your action to administer first aid to an unconscious creature and attempt to stabilize it, which requires a successful DC 10 Wisdom (Medicine) check.

stable creature doesn’t make death saving throws, even though it has 0 hit points, but it does remain unconscious. The creature stops being stable, and must start making death saving throws again, if it takes any damage. A stable creature that isn’t healed regains 1 hit point after 1d4 hours.

GO FORTH AND MULTIPLY

So now you just have to give it a try. Understand that players who come to believe their characters are invincible and unstoppable because of very low risk of character death begin to play D&D vastly differently than those who believe that in any encounter their character might be outright murdered. Your players should know that within your game death is possible and they should fear it. If your players don’t fear death for their characters there is no adrenaline rush when they’re in knee deep in crap during a big battle. That rush is something you can’t replace. Your players WILL catch on to you going easy on them. SO DON’T. Challenge them. And if the TPKO happens, so be it. If it turns into a TPK … that’s the life of an adventurer. If there wasn’t danger involved then every buck-toothed farm boy would be wading into the dungeons, right?

 

SPECIAL ARMOR

 

Hooked Armor

This leather armor is festooned with multiple hooks and cleats. These gripping protrusions grant the wearer a +5 bonus on Dex checks when climbing. This armor grants a +3 armor bonus to AC. Max Dex Bonus is +4.

×
Mechanus Gear Armor

This heavy armor is composed of multiple
gears, cogs, plates, and other metal mechanical contraptions.
It grants an armor bonus superior to all other armors,
but it reduces the wearer’s speed more than other types of
heavy armor do. Armor Bonus is +8 and Max Dex bonus is +0.

×
Sectioned Armor

The owner of this specially constructed
masterwork full plate can remove several of the
large plate sections from it, reducing it to medium or
light armor, so that he or she can sleep more comfortably
or move more freely while retaining some of the armor’s
defensive bonus. AC bonus is +8 and max Dex bonus is +0.

 

 

ADVICE FROM AN OLD FARMER

Advice from An Old Farmer

Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.
Keep skunks and bankers at a distance.
Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.
A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.
Words that soak into your ears are whispered… not yelled.
Meanness don’t jes’ happen overnight.
Forgive your enemies; it messes up their heads.
Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.
It don’t take a very big person to carry a grudge.
You cannot unsay a cruel word.
Every path has a few puddles.
When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.
The best sermons are lived, not preached.
Most of the stuff people worry about ain’t never gonna happen anyway.
Don’t judge folks by their relatives.
Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
Live a good, honorable life… Then when you get older and think back, you’ll enjoy it a second time.
Don ‘t interfere with somethin’ that ain’t bothering you none.
Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a Rain dance.
If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin’.
Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.
The biggest troublemaker you’ll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin’.
Always drink upstream from the herd.
Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.
Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin’ it back in.
If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around..
Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.
Don’t pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he’ll just kill you.
Most times, it just gets down to common sense.

UNDERDARK STONE

“The dwarves of yore made mighty spells,
While hammers fell like ringing bells
In places deep, where dark things sleep,
In hollow halls beneath the fells.”

The Underdark is a cruel, strange, and mysterious place. Many parts of the Underdark of Faerûn are suffused with a magical radiation that the drow call faerzress. A remnant of the mighty forces that originally shaped the terrain of the Underdark, faerzress distorts and interferes with certain types of magic. It also changes things, mutating them into the odd and wonderous. Below are a few examples of materials within the Underdark that have been altered due to their fusion with faerzress.

 

 

SICKSTONE

Originally discovered by the ancient sage James Jacobs, sickstone is found deep within the tunnels and caverns of the Underdark. The radiation of the faerzress has permeated the stone itself, sickening it on a primeval level. Sickstone is found in large deposits and veins, easily identifiable by its glimmering silvery-green color. The illumination provided by sickstone radiates to a distance of 40 feet, and those within its glow feel a sense of dread and unease. If a living being remains within the glow of sickstone for more than one minute, saving throws are required. A living creature must succeed at Constitution Saving Throw (DC:13) or become affected by the Poisoned condition. A poisoned creature has disadvantage on Attack rolls and Ability Checks. Every hour that the creature remains within the illumination provided by sickstone after becoming Poisoned, the creature temporarily loses 1d2 Constitution points as its health, stamina, and vital force are sapped. Creatures that are immune to disease are immune to the debilitating effects of sickstone. Apart from its glow and sickening aura, sickstone should be treated as normal stone, with the exception that natural sunlight causes it to crumble to chalky, inert powder in a matter of seconds.

SOURSTONE

Sourstone is identified by its color and smell. A being coming into contact with sourstone will notice that it glows with a faintly lavender hue and smells of soured milk. It has a bitter taste and is unpleasant to consume. As with sickstone, the illumination of sourstone is debilitating. Remaining within 10 feet of sourstone’s glow causes a living creature to slowly become exhausted. After being within 10 feet of sourstone for a full hour living creatures must succeed at a Constitution Saving Throw (DC: 15) for become affected by the Exhaustion condition, level 1.  Every additional hour of exposure threatens to increase this condition to a deeper level, ending in death at level 6. Every hour after the creature becomes Exhausted due to sourstone, the creature must make another Constituion Saving Throw (DC:15) with a -1 to the roll. Each additional hour adds another -1. Failure adds another level of Exhaustion. The effect of this condition cannot be ended without leaving the area of sourstone.

Exhaustion Effects
Level Effect
1 Disadvantage on Ability Checks
2 Speed halved
3 Disadvantage on Attack rolls and saving throws
4 Hit point maximum halved
5 Speed reduced to 0
6 Death

SHIP’S CARGO CHARTS


On the high seas, an encounter
with an alien merchant ship leads to a brisk battle, after which the victorious
party examines the cargo hold to determine their booty. This
captured treasure can turn out to be either highly valuable or next to
worthless.

Small merchant ships can hold up to
twelve units of cargo, while large merchant ships can hold up to thirty
units. Roll 1d12 for each kind of treasure possible. The DM should determine how many units will be awarded to the playing characters based on the size of the ship.


HIGH SEAS CARGO CHART (1d12)

  1. COOKING SPICES: Bags of Pepper, Cinnamon, and Cloves worth 500 gold per unit.
  2. SILK: Rolls of fabric worth 1000 gold per unit.
  3. PRECIOUS STONES: Small sacks of Amber, flint, jade, marble, and emeralds worth 1000 gold per unit.
  4. TEAK: Bundles of precious wood worth 300 gold per unit.
  5. BARLEY TEA: Barrels of tea leaves worth 350 gold per unit.
  6. COTTON FABRIC: Bolts of fabric worth 250 gold per unit.
  7. FLOUR: Bags of fine flour worth 200 gold per unit.
  8. BITTER ORANGES: Baskets of oranges worth 250 gold per unit.
  9. CABBAGE: Baskets of cabbage worth 150 gold per unit.
  10. COOKBOOKS: Boxes of these books worth 750 gold per unit.
  11. HERRING KIPPERS: Boxes of seafood worth 350 gold per unit.
  12. SALTED MEATS: Hung by hooks, this meat is mainly Peafowl worth 300 gold per unit.