#5e #DnD Calculating Character Sheet #RPG

I’ve done a bit of tinkering with the 5th Edition D&D character sheet, adding some basic calculations. The trick with Adobe files is that it’s not a database, and so there’s no (reasonable) way to include everything a full-fledged character builder would have, and it’s tough to produce a truly idiot-proof version that prevents all user mistakes. That’s quite a disadvantage considering that’s the entire point of adding calculations to it. Even where it’s possible to make a change, I might not be able because it would be unnecessarily restrictive (q.v.). On the other hand, it’s free 🙂 (unless you want to contribute voluntarily to my work by making a payment via PayPal).

So, here are my design notes. Please let me know if you have any suggestions for changes.

  1. Your ability score modifiers are calculated automatically. That was an easy one, though you may not like how I use the textboxes. I prefer that the ability score bonus be the bigger of the two numbers.
  2. Inspiration is now a checkbox (i.e., either on or off). Also easy.
  3. Unfortunately, you may select only two classes. In hindsight, I can fit a third in there, so I will on my next edit.
  4. I fixed the “tab order” for pages one and two. Maybe one day I’ll take the time to fix page three (which is a mess), but I doubt it. Tab order is a pain in the neck in Adobe, and any fixes I make are often undone by the program. I’m not inclined to spend all that time fixing the tab order on page three only to have it screwed up again through no fault of my own.
  5. Classes, backgrounds, races, and alignments are now “drop-down textboxes.” You can select an item that I’ve provided for you, but if an option you need is missing, you can instead type whatever you want.
  6. Skill bonuses are now calculated for you based on your level and relevant ability score. When I referred to things as “unnecessarily restrictive” above, this is a great example. There are a ton of exceptions to the general rules that could impact your score, and I can’t consider them all. Accordingly, I’ve added a drop-down textbox where you can select whether you’re not proficient, you add only 1/2 your proficiency (e.g., bards), you’re fully proficient, or you add twice your proficiency bonus (e.g., rogues). That sure beats a checkbox, but it doesn’t quite cover everything. Next to the proficiency drop-down textbox, I added a field where you can simply enter a number that gets added to your skill bonus. In most cases, this number is 0, so the character sheet is still saving you some brainpower. However, even where you have to enter a number, it serves as a reminder that you’ve got something going on there, perhaps reducing the possibility that you’ll forget a bonus you earned with a feat or class feature.
  7. I may not have fixed the tab order on page three, but at least now the spell save DC and spell attack bonus are calculated. I’m worried these might also be unnecessarily restrictive (e.g., there’s some feat that gives you a +2 to your spell attack bonus), so if I need to add something in order to account for exceptions to the general rules, please let me know. I know of no instance where a spell uses Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution to determine your DC or attack bonus, but you can do that in case either I’m wrong or the rules are changed one day.

Now, there’s some good news about page three. I think it sucks, so eventually I’ll replace it. It doesn’t allow for multiple spellcasting abilities, which, unless I’m wrong, is necessary for multiclass spellcasters. That is, I believe that a Wizard 3/Bard 2 would use Intelligence for Wizard spells but Charisma for Bard spells. (My PHB is in my car, and I’m too lazy to go get it right now.) At the very least, you need to provide spellcasting DCs and attack expressions for all relevant spellcasting. I also would like for you to be able to select durations, targets, etc. from drop-down textboxes. In other words, I’d really like to change page three, but don’t hold your breath waiting for me to do so, and when I do, don’t expect it to be artistic. I’ll probably look like a raw spreadsheet when I’m done.

In case you missed the link above, here it is again: Form-Fillable Character Sheet with Calculations.

EDITS:

10/23/2016Calculating Character Sheet v1.1 (added builds to classes drop-down textboxes; deleted blank page 4)

As always, please provide any suggestions you have, and happy gaming!

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One-Stop 5e D&D 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 the statistics of legendary creatures.
  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). There are some that are even bigger. 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.
  1. The further I went into the Monster Manual, the bigger the stat blocks became. High-level casters have a lot of spells.
  1. I added a suggestion for using a slaad in an otherwise boring encounter. I’ve had some fun with it and hope you do as well.
  1. For the final version, I’ve made several changes. Mostly they were pagination choices, but I had to fix my screwed up dryad (forgot some spells), and I had to correct all of the spell descriptions for Suggestion (adding the save). If you find any errors, please let me know.
  1. There’s a discussion about these stat blocks on ENWorld here. I’m making several changes based on the feedback I receive there. If you want the latest, greatest document, bookmark that discussion or this page.

And so, here is the complete set of one-stop stat blocks for 5e:

Completed October 26, 2015

Edited 10/31/2015: Added appendix showing all changes I made to stat blocks. Added a table of contents. Every stat block starts on a new page. Corrected several typographical errors due to copy-and-paste errors, including (among other things) missing powers, extraneous powers, and incorrect to-hit and damage expressions.

Edited 11/1/2015: Corrected cut-and-paste errors appearing in Hill Giant stat block. Added Hill Giant’s Rock power to errata.

Edited 11/1/2015: Added a date and time stamp so you can make sure you have the latest version. Added a spellcasting sheet for hag covens.

Edited 11/7/2015: Added the spellcasting variant of the Vampire. Corrected a typo in the Pixie stat block.

Edited 11/23/2015: Corrected the Archmage stat block to reflect that Fire Bolt as a cantrip.

Edited 12/05/2015: Corrected the Yugoloth: Nycaloth stat block to reference itself rather than the Lamia in the Mirror Image spell.

Edited 12/06/2015: Corrected the Yugoloth: Nycaloth stat block to reference itself rather than the Lamia in the Mirror Image spell (there were two errors, one of which was missed in yesterday’s edit).

Edited 12/26/2015: Incorporated the Official Monster Manual Errata from Wizards of the Coast. Corrected the Drow Elite Warrior to include poison damage in the shortsword attack.

Edited 06/01/2016: Corrected the typo in a Dao’s feature.

Edited 06/17/2016: Corrected the Fire Giant’s Burning Hands spell.

Edited 10/29/2016: Corrected both mind flayer stat blocks to reflect the property creature type (aberration) and alignment (lawful evil). 

The most recent version: One-Stop Stat Blocks – Monster Manual

A “Pure” version of this document can be found here: Pure One-Stop Stat Blocks

Remember, if you like what you see and want the upcoming Kobold Press bestiary to use this stat block format, pummel Wolfgang Baur with tweets saying so! He’s at @MonkeyKing on twitter, and Kobold Press is, not surprisingly, at @KoboldPress.

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.

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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#GenCon Indy, 2013! #gaming #games #RPG #TDA CC: @Luddite_Vic

For the first time, I’m going to GenCon and not working for Baldman Games. (You should work for them if you like Dungeons & Dragons. They give great rewards for running games.) I’m just going to play (though I’m running four slots). I’m honestly not sure how much gaming I’ll want to do. I might get bored and do something else. In any case, like all the other con-goers, I sat there at my computer just waiting for the countdown clock to strike zero at noon. I was lucky enough to be assigned #738 in the queue. Anything under 1,000 is lucky as all hell, and as a result, I got everything I wanted. This includes two puzzle-oriented True Dungeon adventures and a few role-playing games, none of which I’ve ever before played. Isn’t that what GenCon is supposed to be about: Trying new games? That’s my philosophy. I bought an extra ticket for each of the True Dungeon adventures, so I can help out a friend get into the game.

My current GenCon schedule is below. I have absolutely no complaints.

Wednesday: Fate Core (RPG1345241) at 8pm

Thursday: Dungeon World (RPG1341359) at 1pm, then the One Ring (RPG1343873) at 8pm.

Friday: True Dungeon (Lycan’s Afoot, TDA1348116) at 9:37am, then running the Gamers’ Syndicate new living campaign adventures at 1pm (RPG1343708) and 7pm (RPG1343710).

Saturday: True Dungeon (Golembane, TDA1348648) at 9:39am, then running the Gamers’ Syndicate new living campaign adventures at 1pm (RPG1343709) and 7pm (RPG1343711).

Sunday: A seminar on game design (SEM1346700) at 10am, then Far Trek RPG (RPG1342003) at noon.

This schedule lets me sleep in for the most part, and gives me plenty of time to roam the halls and keep myself fed. Let me know if you’re in any of my games.

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#ADnD Mod B1: In Search of the Unknown Free PDF Download #WotC #DnD #RPG #Loremaster

C’mon; admit it. He looks like a “Norrin.”

I case you didn’t hear: You can now download PDFs of prior edition Dungeons & Dragons materials over at http://www.dndclassics.com/. My first mod, B1: In Search of the Unknown, is free to download … 100% legal. With that, I point you appropriately to my article from Loremaster.org, The Rise and Fall of Norrin the Barbarian.

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Rotting Toes: An #Orcish Dice Game #DnD #4e CC: @Erik_Nowak

Yeah, this game is probably fair.

This is a guest post from DM extraordinaire, Erik Nowak. I was one of the players in this game and have used Rotting Toes in the last season of D&D Encounters. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

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In a recent D&D 4E session set in Neverwinter, the players needed access to the city’s orc-controlled River District. They approached a gate guarded by several bored orc soldiers. Some of the orcs were lightly dozing, while others were gambling, playing a dice game in the dirt. It was to be a simple role-playing exchange: the orcs act tough and demand 10 gold pieces per character to enter their territory – either the heroes paid, or they act tough and refuse and a fight breaks out. Instead it went like this:

“Can I make a check to see what game they are playing?”, one player asked.
[Rolls a skill check; super high result, of course.]

I responded, “Um… sure. It’s called, uh, rotting toes.” That sounded fittingly orcish.

“How is it played? And can we join in?”

“Sure, the orcs are happy to take your gold.”

Then I found myself in a pickle: I needed a dice game! I don’t know any dice games other than craps, and I didn’t want to use that.

So I made one up on the spot.

The first thing I thought of was the old school AD&D method of rolling for ability scores: roll 4d6 and drop the lowest die. I started there and was able to tie it in with the name by thinking that the die-dropping represented a toe rotting away from a diseased foot. Then I made the rest up right there and let the players have a go!

History

The game has its root in the story of an orc warrior who was suffering from a wasting disease of the foot that resisted magical healing. A shaman of Yurtrus, the orc god of death and disease, told the warrior that his fate was in the hand of Yurtrus alone, and the inscrutable, silent god would do as he pleased, unmovable by deed or prayer. All the other orcs could do was bet on whether or not the warrior’s toes would rot off.

(What happened to the orc, you ask? His toes all rotted off. Then his foot, followed by the rest of the leg. Then he died. Orc tales don’t have happy endings, people.)

Pictured: Someone who didn’t take the feat, Skill Training: Math.

Playing the Game

To play rotting toes, you need 4 six-sided dice and a group of several players with coin, one of whom is the Hand of Yurtrus, or “the Hand” (the dice roller). The role of the Hand switches to a new player each round.

The Hand places a bet, typically 1 gold piece. Other players place bets on whether the Hand will lose or win (“rot” or “not”). The Hand has three chances to roll doubles in 2 separate throws of the dice. If 2 throws yield doubles, the Hand wins, and the players who bet on a loss lose their coins, which are distributed evenly amongst the Hand and the players who bet on a win. Otherwise, the Hand loses, and his coins, plus the coins of the players who bet on a win, are evenly distributed amongst the players who bet on a loss.

Order of Play

1)      First Throw: The Hand rolls 4 dice, looking for any set of doubles. Regardless of whether or not doubles were rolled, the lowest die is removed from play (a “toe” has “rotted away”), and the Hand rolls again.

2)      Second Throw: The Hand rolls 3 dice, again looking for a set of doubles.

  • If doubles were rolled previously, and doubles are rolled here, the round ends and the Hand wins.
  • If neither throw yielded a set of doubles, the game ends and the Hand loses.
  • If doubles were rolled in one of the throws, play continues to a third throw with the lowest die removed from play.

3)      Third Throw: The Hand rolls 2 dice, again looking for a set of doubles.

  • If doubles were rolled previously, and doubles are rolled here, the round ends and the Hand wins.
  • If a second set of doubles is not rolled, the Hand loses.

Playing Rotting Toes in Your Campaign

To play rotting toes in your D&D game, have a PC take the role of the Hand and place a bet. Allow other PCs to make win or lose bets as well, but these bets are optional.

The Hand then rolls the dice until he wins or loses, as outlined above. For ease of use, I didn’t bother recording the number of actual rotting toes players or how each one of them bet. I simply said that when the Hand won on a 1 gp bet, he gained 2d4 gp to represent the winnings taken from the pot. Anyone betting on the Hand to win gains the same amount. If the Hand loses, any PC who bet on the Hand to lose gains 2d4 gp.

Cheating

One character in my game – the rogue, of course – asked if he could cheat. I allowed for it, but due to the number of eyes on the dice, it would be difficult to do unless the cheater brought his own weighted dice – which the orcs would never allow! To cheat, the Hand throws the dice and makes a Hard DC Thievery check. On a success, the Hand may change the result of one die thrown. A failed check makes the other players suspicious, and the DC for future checks increases by +2. A second failed check confirms the players’ suspicions, and will get the thrower ejected from the game (at best), or attacked. When playing with orcs, a Hand caught cheating is very likely to be killed immediately.

Additionally, it is a little-known fact that when playing with orcs, winning too many times as the Hand will also arouse suspicions of cheating, whether the winner actually cheated or not. Typically, if a player wins more than 3 times in a row as the Hand, he is given a savage beating – even if there is no evidence at all of cheating – just for being “too lucky” and making a mockery of Yurtrus’ judgment.

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