Game of Thrones Outrage #GOT

Game of Thrones went too far last night. I can handle rape, murder, disembowelment, decapitation, immolation, etc., but good gravy, leave the children out of it. Allow them their childhood. Until they’ve grown up and made their own choices in life, don’t subject them to this cruel world.

That being said, am I angry at the actors? The screenwriters? The author? No, I’m angry at the characters, because this isn’t real. It’s a TV show.

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One-Stop 5e Stat Blocks

As a 4e player, I find the 5th edition stat blocks a major step backwards. The idea of having to comb through multiple spell descriptions in the PHB while trying to run an NPC is unappetizing to say the least. I preferred the self-sufficient stat blocks of 4e. I know there’s a lot of hate for 4e out there, but even the most hateful edition warriors might be able to appreciate one-stop stat blocks. Well, here they are. I’ve gone through the 5e Monster Manual and expanded the stat blocks so that you need nothing more than the stat block to run the creature.

Well, that’s not 100% true. If you want your NPC to shove another creature, then you’ll still have to look up the rules on shoving. However, those rules are the same for all creatures, easy to memorize, and in some cases not used very often, so they’re best left for ad hoc reference to the PHB.

Here are some notes:

  1. In most cases, the basic idea is to expand the spell-like abilities, providing a full description for each. This could get insanely long, so I used some shorthand. A min/maxer would be able to manipulate this language to his or her advantage, but you’re the DM. I doubt that’s your goal.
  1. In addition to making the stat blocks self-contained, I also tried to make the monsters more interesting. In quite a few cases, the stat blocks follow a specific, boring pattern: “Multiattack, Bite, Claw, Claw” or “Multiattack, Melee weapon.” The giants, for example, are remarkably similar. The only difference between the hill, fire, frost, and stone giants are reach and resistance. So, even for a CR 2 NPC like the Azer, it made sense to give it Innate Spellcasting. This gave it an underpowered ranged attack, making the Azer more interesting without making it overpowered.
  1. I’ve noticed that the player power curve beings to distance itself from the NPC power curve by 5th or 6th level. This isn’t surprising in light of the fact that the table on page 274 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide, Monster Statistics by Challenge Rating, requires higher damage expressions for many higher-level monsters than what appears in the Monster Manual. My stat blocks reflect what’s in the Dungeon Master’s Guide, so expect tougher monsters. Note: I did not increase monster AC or hit points, because I didn’t want NPCs that would create seemingly interminable encounters.
  1. Legendary creatures are, across the board, interesting and well-stated out. I haven’t made any changes to legendary creatures so far except for the Solar (angel). Although it’s a legendary creature, it has innate spellcasting, and I somehow managed to keep it to a single page.
  1. The couatl is an example of a stat block that requires some discussion. Despite not being a legendary creature, when I converted the stat block to my format, it was over a page long (9-point font, 1/2” margins). This can be seen as a failure of monster design (i.e., it’s too complicated to expect a DM ever to use it as written) or a success of monster type. By the latter I mean that the full stat block should be seen as a starting point. You can delete spell-like abilities that you’re never going to use, leaving a smaller, more manageable, and more practical stat block. When you’ve deleted certain spell-like abilities, what’s left could be a couatl that focuses on healing, focuses on damage, or is best suited for a role-playing challenge. Or not. If you want to run it as written, go for it. I’m not barking out orders; I’m just providing some options.

Not all stat blocks require changes based on #1 and #2. For those blocks that require no more than changes to damage expressions, I won’t be taking the time to convert them. Here’s what I’ve done so far:

Updated August 25, 2015: Bestiary for 5th Edition DnD A-F

Hopefully, I’ll get your feedback before I finish so I can edit these as needed and convert future stat blocks based on good feedback.

Happy gaming!

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Special thanks to Mike (@SlyFlourish), Vic (@Luddite_Vic), Erik (@Erik_Nowak), John (@GOPCyclist), and Rob Oz (too good for Twitter) for their insights.

Ghost Tower of Inverness, Part 5e @1d4con #DnD #RPG

I’ll be running the Ghost Tower of Inverness this weekend at 1d4 Con. Yes, I’m a broken record about this mod, but this post is here just to provide some resources for those that will be playing on Saturday.

Pregens

Discinque, Drow Rogue (Thief)
Frylock, Half-Elf Fey Pact Warlock
Hodar, Tielfing Necromancer
Lembu, Human Fighter
Li-Hon, Halfling Monk
Ovak, Half-Orc Barbarian
Zinethar, Half-Elf War Domain Cleric

Item Selection

Item Selection

Not that it will ever come up in the game, but Lembu and Ovak know the Orc dice game, Rotting Toes. The write up for that game is available here: Rotting Toes: An Orcish Dice Game.

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C2: The Ghost Tower of Inverness Encounters for 4th Edition #DnD #ADnD #RPG

As a follow up to yesterday’s post providing the converted pre-generated characters, I provide you the encounters for Ghost Tower of Inverness converted to 4th edition. Note that these encounters are designed using my dungeon crawl system for 4e.

Due to copyright law, only the mechanics of the encounters are presented. The only creative content you’ll find within is that which I created myself to update the encounters to 4th edition, but those are very few in number. This is the best adventure every written for D&D; it didn’t need my help.

Click here for C2: The Ghost Tower of Inverness

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C2: The Ghost Tower of Inverness Pregens for 4th Edition #DnD #ADnD #RPG

Don't say no.

Don’t say no to this guy.
Copyright (c) Wizards of the Coast

Any gamer that knows me well knows that Allen Hammock’s Ghost Tower of Inverness is my favorite RPG adventure of all time. Allen wrote it for the AD&D tournament at Wintercon VIII. I’m arranging to run my 4th Edition D&D conversion again, and that inspired me to post my versions of the pre-generated characters for that game in case my players, or anyone, wants to use them. As 4th edition is often played with 6 characters, I created my own character, Three, which I’ve provided as well. I also took some liberties with the races of the characters for the sake of stirring the pot and updating to the modern gaming community. These were created some time ago, and I’m no min/maxer, so you might want to make some modifications if you’re going to use them.

Discinque, Drow Rogue (Thief)
Hodar, Tiefling Wizard (Mage)
Lembu, Dwarf Fighter (Knight)
Li Hon, Halfling Monk
Three, Warforged Hybrid (Artificer|Swordmage)
Zinethar The Wise Half-Elf Cleric (Warforged)

If you’d like the character builder files, just let me know. WordPress won’t let me upload them here.

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