Tag Archives: Fifth Edition

Episode 16: World Building Part 1

Here’s a pretty lengthy rant about how I’m going about making my D&D/OSR/whatever world.

And here’s the “working” map of Zoong including mistakes and other sloppiness. But it works for a DM’s notebook. Where are the Elves and Halflings from? Hasn’t came so haven’t worried about it yet.

And here’s the zoom in hex map from the 5E Campaign. You may recognize some thinly veiled hints about what modules I had on tap.

And you know the drill. Subscribe to the podcast. I don’t always post every I say over here and vice versa. And if you’ve already subscribed. Thanks.

Primeval Thule for 5E

OK, yeah. I was a little rough on Primeval Thule for 5e in the last podcast. But there’s some good things too. And being forever the tinkerer of rules, I’ve got a few ideas for what may in the future become my next 5e campaign.
Off that bat. Races. It’s still a big no on Elves, Dwavres and Halflings. Just humans. That’s enough to keep things interesting. Use the normal human character rules.
Classes. OK. They threw the kitchen sink in there. But to keep to the low magic and Sword & Sorcery vibe. Reduce classes to Fighter, Barbarian, Rogue and Warlock. That’s it. Drop an class specializations that cast spells like the Arcane Trickster and Eldritch Knight. And there some good class specializations in the book. For the Rogue, there’s the Poisoner and for Barbarian, the Slayer. For the Warlock broaden the spell list and include many of the spells from the Wizard and Sorcerer lists plus many of the spells from Primeval Thule. I’d probably limit the Patrons to Fiend, Great Old One (which is awesomely augmented in Primeval Thule) and Hexblade. No I haven’t done THE spell list yet. That’s for the hurried campaign prep stage of things. What about healing? Now, those short rests are much more important. And with standard 5E healing, you get all your HP back overnight. I know this ain’t grimdark gritty but without Mr. Cleric Healbot along for the ride, it’s one of those things I could live with. Additionally, there a couple of ways to get some healing in Thule without the cleric.
Background from the Players’ Handbook. Drop them. Because Primeval Thule did it better with “Character Narratives”. Just what are Character Narratives? Like Background, you get a couple of skills. But in Thule, you also get some neat special level-based abilities. For most of them, the abilities at 6th and 10th levels aren’t that great. So I’d probably drop those. But the first level one’s are pretty cool. You notice there aren’t Rangers mentioned as a class. No prob. Take Hunter. No cleric. There’s a healer that gets 3 HP/level of healing sort of like a Paladin’s lay on hands. I’d say my two favorites are the Soothsayer and Bearer of the Black Book. So for Soothsayer, you can tell a character fortune. The mechanics are simple Roll 2d20 and write those numbers. Those numbers can each be used once to replace the character’s roll or an opponet’s attack roll. Bearer of the Black Book. Cool. You have an Artifact. You gain a spell slot. And there’s good chance somebody is going to try to pry it out your cold dead fingers.
For Feats, there’s some good one’s in the book that keep the vibe going. Use those too.
So overall. Inspirational and useful. But like so many things, I’d house rule the heck out it. Sure there are more cool bits and pieces but those are the highlights.
Roll Dice. Kill Monsters. Take Their Stuff. And Have Fun.

Weird Alchemical Ingredients

So a player in my Dungeon Crawl Classics game wants potions and other cool stuff but he knows that his character is as dumb as a rock. So he found a marginally sane and reputable alchemist, “Dr Omnibus” (Thank you Matt Finch!). Said character has volunteered to gather whatever crazy ingredients that the alchemist wants. So I made a random system-neutral table.
Weird Alchemical Ingredients
Oh and the poor fool volunteered to be guinea pig too. Mwah! Ha! HA!

The OSR and 5 E

So maybe this turning into a dead horse but a few things have gotten me thinking again. There’s plenty about both that should be cross pollinating. Let’s get the great big game mechanics elephant out of the way. They are two different game styles and rules but still close enough that many concepts and adventures can cross over. Heck, I ran Death Frost Doom for 5E and converted it on the fly. And the Advantage/Disadvantage mechanic, I think most folks think it’s a pretty good idea. So there’s that.
5 E has put D&D back into the mainstream spotlight again and not in a Satanic Panic sort of way. So that’s good for everybody. More fans means more folks who might wander from 5e over to other games. Be they OSR or even other things like Savage Worlds, d6 or whatever. But there’s a good chance if they’re D&D fan the OSR stuff just might have some allure.
On the flip side, I’ve way too many youtube videos (too many to mention here just google in on your own) about how DM, how to make adventures and so on. You know things that the old hats have been talking about literally for decades. More often than not I say to myself, “Isn’t that just like an article or blog post that I read years ago?” What a lot us old grognards have is experience. And you should know better than to be a jerk about it. (Since this on the Internet I need to throw in silly disclaimers like that now and then.) Crap. The whole OSR thing grew because of sharing ideas.
Oh yeah. And one final thought about RPG Communities. The most important RPG Community is the people around your table.

The Sword of Champions

I was thinking about my first/original D&D campaign the other day and then remember this magic item that I did way back when. So I figured what they heck share it. And I realized that this fun (for me any way) little can be easily used no matter what flavor D&D you like.
So here you go.
The Sword of Champions appears and basically functions as a normal +2 Dancing Long Sword. But like any cool magic item, there’s a catch. If an opponent incapacitates the wielder then the Sword of Champions switches sides. Because if somebody beats you then you ain’t the Champion. If the wielder is killed then that character cannot be raised because the Sword of Champions consumes his life force. The Sword creates a pool of Hit Points equal to the dead wielder’s maximum HP which can be used to heal the new wielder. When found the Sword of Champions will have a pool of 3d6 HP.
So short and sweet and a little nostalgic memory from my high school days.
Remember kids. Roll dice. Kill Monsters. Take their stuff. And have fun!

Some More Random Thoughts On O5R

Yeah, O5R or making Fifth Edition D&D a little more old School. The last post I did on this was all about mechanics and some are my DM is going to use in his next campaign. This post is more of rant about mind set and fluff.
So much of the OSR style of play centers around the players not being limited by the rules. That may sound crazy. Old School games don’t have every little thing spelled out on how to handle a character trying something. So the players tend to try crazier and more outlandish tactics. They will try to find new uses for anything including spells. This is where that whole rulings not rules thing comes in. Don’t let the rules stop you from trying something. Doesn’t mean you will succeed but try any way. The DM needs to learn how to wing it and when to yes or yes but.. And as a DM, keep your job simple. Don’t worry about every little bit of rules minutia (unless you have someone who just loves being a rules lawyer and that’s a whole other problem). Let the players have fun and try those crazy plans.
Now the other thing is fluff. Reading thru the Players Handbook, Monster Manual and the splat books, you’ll notice that everything is tied to Forgotten Realms. As DM, let the players color outside of the lines. If they want to have their character be something and there isn’t exactly that class. Find the closest mechanically and change the fluff. The same goes for things like spells. Don’t have change the mechanics just fluff. I had an idea for Yuan Ti Druid. For Good Berry, instead of conjuring berries; how about a handful of lethargic mice.
I don’t mean to say to anyone, “You’re playing it wrong.” And I know that YMMV depending on the group and its dynamic and the experience of the DM and players. But I do have these bits of wisdom. Roll dice. Have fun. And don’t be afraid to color outside the lines now and then.

Some Hacks on 5E

Yep, I like OSR stuff and I like 5E D&D too. (Pathfinder 2nd Ed. Meh.) Anyway, I was thinking of some hacks on 5E to make a little more OSR-like. Now, I know on a lot of these things I colored outside the OSR lines. But those are things that I’m willing to live with so YMMV. Nor am Edition Warring or any of that other stuff. I like to hack rules and this is just list of ranting ideas. So there I know I’m ranting
Ability Scores: Just use whatever old-school method you want. 3d6 in order. Go for it.
Races & Classes: I got nothing against the horde of races and classes. Heck, the LBB’s even say it’s possible to play a dragon with GM approval. The subclasses in 5E do add some flavor however even this early in the game’s life it’s getting a little bloated. Keep to the core and be very selective on what’s allowed.
Skills: So yeah, Skills aren’t old school except for thieves. But you know that’s one thing that I’m totally willing to live with. And once again there’s a “but”. Cut them down even more. Merge Arcana, Religion, and History into one skill and call it Lore. Merge Nature into Survival. Merge Deception, Persuasion, and Insight into one. Call it some like Social.
Feats: OK. Feats got really crazy in 3.x/Pathfinder. A whole chain just to gain the ability to find your ass with both hands. Don’t have the feat tough. 5E is better but still Feats are not old schoolish. But I do like the idea behind them as a way to customize a character more. So here’s the deal. Totally drop the humans get a free feat at first level. Take the core option granting the Attribute boosts. But every player character gets a Feat at 1st level but it’s the only Feat they are going to get. That’s right one Feat to help specialize the character.
Proficiency Bonus: This is a simple little mechanic but lacks some personality. The answer is right there in the DMG. Use the Proficiency Dice option. Plus it reminds me of the Deed Die for Fighters in Dungeon Crawl Classics so that’s cool too.
Cantrips: Spamming spells is not old school. So a simple fix. If it deals damage then it ain’t a Cantrip any more. The others are fine. I would make two exceptions to this. The Warlock’s Eldritch Blast because it’s like their thing. And the Bard’s Vicious Mockery. Take the damage away but let it still but the target at Disadvantage.
Hit Points: This is if I really want to go hardcore. OK, fine you get max HP at 1st level. But after that go with a “White Box” method. Instead of rolling your HD and adding each level. Re-roll all of the HD apply the modifiers. If it’s more, then congrats, you gained some HP. If not tough luck, kid. Things are going to get dangerous.
Like I said. YMMV and this is just a bunch of ideas that have been bouncing around inside my head. Play how you want and have fun. That’s cardinal rule.