Save Versus

RPG observations, wisdom and tools from an early adopter

Month: September, 2014

Insanity & Stress – D&D 5e Houserule

mental

I had originally put this together for 13th Age. Here is the D&D 5th Edition version.

Stress & Insanity  

A PC exposed to extreme mental exertion, soul-shivering horror, torture or bearing witness to unspeakable acts or sights can potentially suffer Stress. Some environmental effects can inflict Stress, such as surviving a particularly nasty battle, or spending several days without food.  Stress can also be generated by encountering certain creature types. Aberrations, Dragons, Fiends, high level Undead or creatures that are at least 5 CR levels higher than the PC can generate Stress for the PC.

If a PC has acquired between 3 – 4 Stress they will suffer a d4 penalty to their attack rolls and skill checks. If a character has 5 – 6 Stress they will suffer a d6 penalty to their attack rolls and skill checks.  Once a PC acquires his 7th Stress point, he must roll an INT check of DC 10.  If the save fails, the PC must then roll on the Severity 1 Insanity Chart and suffer a random Insanity.

If the PC continues to acquire Stress, he must make additional INT checks of increasing difficulty. For every point of Stress over 6, the DC check will increase in difficulty by 1 per point.  Note that the PC’s Stress is not lost if an Insanity is acquired.  The player should keep that condition a secret and role-play accordingly. Stress can be removed by the following methods.  Spending a hit die to remove 1 Stress or taking a long rest. Healing magic does not remove Stress. Insanities can only be removed by a number of castings of Greater Restoration, equal to the severity level of the insanity.

Insanity Chart – Severity 1

Roll               Type                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              01-03          Agoraphobia: Fear of being outdoors. You must make every effort to remain or move indoors. Failure to do so inflicts 1d4 stress per day. This stress is acquired after being outdoors more than 4 hours.                                                                                                                                                     04–06            Alcoholism: Addiction to alcohol. You must make every effort to consume alcohol on a daily basis. Failure to do so inflicts 1d4 stress per day. This stress is acquired after failing to consume alcohol after 8 hours.

07–11       Anxiety: Fear of failure. Every miss in combat inflicts a -1 penalty to future attack rolls during this encounter. If the total penalty reaches -3, the PC also suffers 1 stress. Once the encounter is completed, the penalties are removed, but not the stress.

For the rest of the tables, I have provided a link.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1oJE5-NRSk5lY1yycEBR7vVzrW4dIOSRMCebXGuAEduM/edit?usp=sharing

 

Crown of the Golden Stag – D&D

antlered crown

I’m currently running Encounters; “Hoard of the Dragon Queen” and one of the potential scenarios involves a Golden stag with antlers of platinum.  The stag is in truth, a cursed elven lordling that is seeking to be rid of said curse. If the group is able to complete this task, I plan on rewarding them with the item.

Crown of the Golden Stag – While wearing this crown, you have a +3 bonus to your AC while you wear no armor and use no shield.                  Requires attunement

Stag Form – Once per day as an action you may transform into a stag with a golden hide and antlers of a brilliant platinum hue.

You can stay in this form for no longer than 1 hour and can revert to your normal form as a bonus action on your turn. You automatically revert to your true form if you fall unconscious, drop to 0 hit points or die.

While you are transformed, the following rules apply:

Your statistics are replaced by the statistics of a stag (noted below), but you retain your alignment, personality and Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma scores. You also retain all of your skill and saving throw proficiencies, in addition to gaining those of a stag.

When you transform, you retain your own hit points you had prior to transforming and if injured while in stag-form you don’t gain any hit points when reverting back to your natural form.

You can’t cast spells, or use any ability to speak or take actions that requires hands.

Your equipment merges into your stag-form.

Stag                                                                                                                          Large beast

Armor Class: 10                                                                                                                                                                                     Speed: 50 ft.

STR: 16 (+2)   DEX: 10   CON: 12 (+1)

Charge.  If you move at least 20 feet straight toward a target and then hit it with a ram attack on the same turn, the target takes and extra (2d6) damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 13 STR saving throw or be knocked prone.

ACTIONS

Ram. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target, Hit: 1d6+3 bludgeoning damage

Hooves. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one prone creature, Hit: 2d4+3 bludgeoning damage

Draugur – Battleaxe – D&D 5e

battleaxe

I’ll be slipping this into tonight’s session.

Draugur  +2 Battleaxe

A seemingly brittle, ancient and rotted weapon; Draugur derives its power from the spirits of those it has slain.  These same spirits can also drive the wielder mad with battle fury as they coalesce around the blackened and pitted core of the weapon into a shimmering spectral axe.

As an Action, you must call upon the spirits of the past wielders of Draugur to infuse the weapon with their rage and power. Once this has been completed, Draugur becomes a +2 Battleaxe with the following powers.

Damage Advantage against armored opponents (This does not apply to natural armor or magical warding such as Mage Armor). Roll damage twice and apply the larger result.                                                                    On a Critical Hit, add another d8 if wielded single-handed or another d10 if wielded in two hands.

Haunted by the souls of those it has slain, the wielder may slip into a Battle-Madness after 1d6 rounds of combat on a failed DC 12 WIS Save. This Battle-Madness lasts for 1d4+1 rounds and the wielder must only attack with Draugur while in this state. You can’t cast spells or concentrate on them while in this state.

Battle-Madness

You throw aside all caution and attack with a fierce single-mindedness. You have Advantage on attack rolls with Draugur but attack rolls against you have Advantage.

All aboard the Railroading Express or Story-boarding: A GM’s friend and duty.

rails

I’m currently running “Hoard of the Dragon Queen” at my local game emporium and as many have already realized with this adventure, there is a lot of “open-endedness” to much of the content. RPGs by their nature have an unpredictable nature to them that makes every single session different.  It’s similar to a sporting event; the rules are in place but one never knows where the ball is going to bounce or who is going to step up and make a big play. Every group of players going through this adventure will have a different experience based on the GM’s style, experience and interpretation of the adventure. Then you have the infinite variety of players and what they bring to the table and then all the choices of classes, races, backgrounds, etc. It’s a beautiful thing.

However, RPGs are also equally about story-telling. Sprinkling encounters together without purpose is not story-telling. A GM should know where he wants his PCs to end up and he should also have a good idea on how they will get there and what they might encounter along the way. A GM should think of himself as equal parts editor and author. You’re all writing a story and it’s the GM’s job to weave it all together in a believable fashion. Too many rescues from NPCs/? the story becomes unbelievable and all tension is drained away. “We’re always going to be saved!” will be the refrain from your players and then you have players taking ridiculous risks with their characters as there is no worry about death or loss.  Make things impossible and watch your table lose heart if beloved characters are slain. Avoid TPKs as much as possible because they are story-killers.  Only George R.R. Martin can get away with a TPK now and then.

While running HotDQ, the adventure warns the GM that there is a strong chance that the PCs might get captured.  Sure enough, my group did get themselves captured, but not all of them. The adventure does not mention this as a possibility nor should it. How can there be an answer to every potential possible outcome? This is where the GM has to be prepared to “fill in the blanks” and keep the story moving. Do you spend time thinking about possible outcomes? You should as it makes your job as GM infinitely easier.

Midway through the adventure the PCs are supposed to be hired on as caravan guards and there are a variety of “encounters” provided.  However, the order in which they are presented is up to the GM to decide. I took a look at them, opted to skip a few and add in some of my own instead and then story-boarded out how they will be encountered.  This could be construed as “railroading” by some, but in truth it’s just making sure the story works in a logical fashion.

Take a few index cards and note what encounters will happen in what particular order. Make some notes on each encounter to speed up your session so you’re not continually flipping back to the book and reading box text or checking  on the contents of the room.  Your players will remain focused on the game if you’re organized and your pacing is steady.  Slow down too much and their phones will come out. If I see players with their phones out, I know I’m losing the table. Sure, things will crop up and the order may change slightly, but ultimately you will get your PCs to the destination, next chapter, goal.

So when you’re prepping and planning for each session don’t think of what you’re doing as railroading, it’s story-boarding and it’s what all authors and directors do.

 

 

Fumble Charts – D&D 5th Edition

missed Now for the bad stuff. Fumbles, critical failures, epic fails; whatever you want to call them.  I’ve put together some tables that provide results on a 1, or in my case, two 1s coming up on a attack roll with advantage or disadvantage. Melee with weapons, unarmed melee/natural weapons, ranged attack with weapon and spell attack tables are provided for your pleasure and pain.  The link to all 4 is below the sample for Melee weapons.

 

Melee with weapon                                                                                                                                                                                                        D100                                                            

01 – 05Slipped. You must make a successful DC 10 DEX Save or immediately fall prone.

06 – 09Pulled up lame. You must make a successful DC 10 CON save or your speed is halved until the end of the encounter..                                                                                      

10Something in your eye. Your melee attacks only do half damage for the remainder of the encounter.

11 – 15Wicked backswing. You strike yourself slightly on your backswing and take 1d8 damage.                                                                        

16 – 19Wind knocked out of you. You become exhausted to level 1 of that condition.                                                                                    

20Loss of confidence. You gain disadvantage for your attacks against this opponent for the remainder of the encounter.                                                                                   

21 – 25Shook yourself up. You are stunned for 1 rd.                                                                                                                       

26 – 29Give them hope. Your target’s allies within 30 feet gain a d6 inspiration die that can be used during this encounter.                                                    

30Panic attack. You must make a successful DC 10 WIS Save or become frightened for the remainder of the encounter.

31 – 35Dropped weapon. Your drop your weapon and it falls 10’ from your location in a random direction.                                                                                                                     

36 – 39Discombobulated. You become incapacitated for 1 rd.

40You’ve fallen and you can’t get up. You immediately fall prone and lose all movement this round.

41 – 45Bad timing. You drop to last in the imitative order for the combat but do not act again this turn.

46 – 49Broken bone.  You break a bone in your hand. You suffer disadvantage for the rest of the encounter and take 1d6 damage every rd. until healed.

50Easy prey.  Allies of the target within 20’ will attack you with their next turn, unless they would suffer an Attack of Opportunity to do so.

51 – 55Exposed defenses. Your swing unbalances you so much that your target may take one melee attack against you as a reaction.

56 – 59Your own worst enemy. You suffer the effects of a bane spell for the remainder of the encounter.                                                        

60Unguarded.  All adjacent allies of your target may immediately take an attack of opportunity against you.                                                              

61 – 65Costly mistake. Your target may reroll all 1s and 2s on the damage roll for his next successful melee attack vs. you.                                                                                                  

66 – 69Revealed intentions. You and your allies all suffer disadvantage for your next attack.

70Wrong target.  You mistakenly strike an ally adjacent to you with your attack.

71 – 75Lodged weapon.  Your weapon becomes stuck in the floor or a nearby object. You must make a DC 14 STR check to remove it as an action.

76 – 79Devastating error. As a free action your opponent may immediately make one melee attack with advantage against you as a reaction.                                                       

80Shattered.  Your weapon breaks if it is non-magical. Enchanted weapons must make a DC 8 Save and get a +1 to their roll for every + of the weapon.

81 – 85Thrown weapon. You lose your grip and throw your weapon. It lands 30’ from your location in a random direction.                                                                                                                     

86 – 89Panic attack.  You immediately suffer the effects of the Confusion spell for 1 rd.

90Horrible aftermath.  Roll twice on this chart and apply both effects to yourself.

91 – 95Self-inflicted wound.  Your attack ricochets back and you hit yourself. Roll your damage as if you had hit your target and apply it to yourself.

96 – 99Did you see that?  Your attack ricochets back and you hit yourself. Apply the maximum damage to yourself as if you had hit your target.

100No!  Your attack ricochets back and you hit yourself. Apply the maximum critical damage to yourself as if you had hit your target.

 

 https://docs.google.com/document/d/1U_PIwaQvyIPZpI2TO-UXKE8rEt7-tMMbAHrjpBOMpFQ/edit#

Crit Charts – 5th Edition D&D

Gersdorff_Wound Man While I’m not quite ready to institute these crit rules into my 5th edition game, I’m certain I’ll eventually do so.  Crit charts are a familiar house-ruled mechanism for RPGs that I used extensively back in the 2E hey-days. I’ve gone all out here and created a crit chart for every damage type listed in 5E. Slashing, Piercing, Bludgeoning, Acid, Fire, Cold, Poison, Necrotic, Radiant, Lightning, Psychic, Thunder and Force.  Take a look and offer your suggestions/tweaks.

Some rules I’ll be instituting to go along with these crit tables.

1) Roll on these only when 2 20s appear on an attack with Advantage.

2) Roll standard crit damage first and then roll on the appropriate Crit table for an additional effect.

Here is the Slashing Chart as an example but I have provided the link to the originals that are on my google drive.

Slashing                                                                                                                                                                                                        D100                                                            

01 – 03Gruesome slash. The target must make a successful DC 10 CON Save or receive disadvantage for its next attack.

04 – 06Debilitating cut. Roll one extra die of the weapon’s damage to the target.                                                                                                                   

07 – 09Vicious laceration. The target must make a successful DC 10 CON Save or suffer an additional 1d8 damage.                                                 

10Horrific gash. The target loses its next attack as it staggers in shock from its wound.                                                                                                        

11 – 13Brutal wound. The target must make a successful DC 10 CON Save or its speed is halved for the remainder of the encounter.

14 – 16Nasty slice. Reroll all 1s and 2s on the damage roll for this attack.                                                                                                                         

17 – 19 • Savage chop. The target is also knocked prone.                                                                                                                          

20Inspiring stroke. Your allies within 30 feet gain a d6 inspiration die that can be used during this encounter.                                                    

21 – 23Ruthless assault. As a free action you may immediately make one melee attack vs. the same target.                                                      

24 – 26Nicked an artery. The target must make a successful DC 12 CON Save or suffer and additional 1d8 damage every rd. until it saves.

27 – 29Bloody trauma. The target’s melee attacks only deal half damage for the remainder of the encounter unless it makes a DC 10 CON Save.

30Cleaving hack. One adjacent ally of the target is also struck by this attack and suffers the equivalent of half the inflicted damage.

31 – 33Blood-curdling attack. The target becomes frightened for the remainder of the encounter.

34 – 36 • Nauseating injury. The target is stunned for 1 rd.                                                                                                                   

37 – 39Flesh-rending strike. The target is now vulnerable to slashing damage for the remainder of the encounter.

40 • Monstrous damage. The target suffers triple damage.                                                                                                                     

41 – 43Torturous impairment. The target becomes incapacitated for 1 rd.

44 – 46Shocking violence.  You receive advantage for all melee attacks vs. this opponent for the remainder of the encounter.

47 – 49Traumatizing pain. The target becomes exhausted to level 4 of that condition.                                                                             

50Severing strike. The target’s off-hand is cut off. The target has disadvantage for the remainder of the encounter and 1d10 damage every rd. until healed.

51 – 53Hellish distress. The target suffers the effects of a bane spell for the remainder of the encounter.                                                

54 – 55Grievous hurt. Roll twice on this chart and apply both effects to the target.                                                                                

56 – 57Wicked mutilation. The target suffers a permanent -1 loss to its CHA due to horrible scarring.

60Calamitous blow. The target must make a successful DC 10 DEX save or it drops whatever it has in hand.                                                     

61 – 63Heinous punishment. The target’s allies all suffer disadvantage for their next attack.

64 – 66Vile suffering. The target must make a successful DC 15 CON Save or receive disadvantage for its next attack

67 – 69Ruinous harm. The target must make a successful DC 14 CON Save or suffer an additional 1d12 damage.                                               

70Slow and agonizing death. The target must make a successful DC 15 CON Save or suffer an additional 2d8 damage every rd. until it saves.

71 – 73Dire consequences. Your allies receive advantage on all attacks vs. the target until the start of your next turn.

74 – 76Excruciating damage. Reroll all 1s and 2s and 3s on the damage roll for this attack.                                                                                                  

77 – 79Vexing anguish. You receive advantage for all melee attacks vs. the target and the target has disadvantage for the remainder of the encounter.

80Maimed. The target’s arm is severed. It suffers disadvantage for the remainder of the encounter and suffers 2d10 damage every rd. until healed.

81 – 83Gutted.  The target suffers triple damage and is incapacitated for 1 rd.                                                                                                                    

84 – 86Gaping wound. The target suffers the damage rolled for the attack each round until healed.

87 – 89Harrowing disfigurement. The target suffers a permanent -2 loss to its CHA due to horrible scarring.

90Severed limb. The target’s arm is severed. It suffers disadvantage for the remainder of the encounter and suffers a 50% HP loss every rd. until healed.

91 – 93Rent armor. The target’s AC is reduced by 2 for the remainder of the encounter.

94 – 96Disemboweled. The target has disadvantage for the rest of the encounter and suffers the damage rolled each rd. until healed.

97 – 99Devastating cost. As a free action you may immediately make one melee attack with advantage vs. the same target.                                                       

100Decapitated. The target is slain.

Crit Chart – slashing

 

Myconid – Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition

myconid

 

I’m running Tyranny of Dragons at a local game store and I’m finding that I need some additional content. Myconids are an old favorite of mine from the classic “Slave Lords” modules. While I’m on the subject of that series of modules, I think I’ll have to whip up some Aspis in the future too. I’d like to see those monsters make a return.

 

Myconid                                                                                                           Medium plant, unaligned

Armor Class 12

Hit Points 38 (6d8+8)

Speed 20 ft.

STR          DEX      CON          INT       WIS         CHA

14 (+2)     10 (−)    13 (+1)     11 (−)     12 (+1)    10 (−)

Condition Immunities poisoned

Senses blindsight 60 ft. (blind beyond this radius),                                       passive Perception 10                                                                                Languages Myconid, Telepathy

Sunlight Sensitivity. While in sunlight, the myconid has disadvantage on attack rolls, as well as on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight.

 ACTIONS

Spore Cloud (Recharge 5-6). The myconid expels a cloud of poisonous spores, centered on itself and extending out in a 5 foot radius. Any creature caught in the spore cloud must make a DC 10 Constitution saving throw, taking 6 (2d6) poison damage or half that amount on a successful save.

Dominating Spores (Recharge 5-6). Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, range 5 ft., one target. Hit: The target must make a DC 10 Wisdom saving throw or become dominated by the myconid per the Dominate Person spell for 1 turn.

Multiattack. The myconid makes 2 hammering fist attacks.

Hammering Fists. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 10 ft., one creature. Hit: 4 (1d6+2) bludgeoning damage.

Ironscale – 5th Edition Monster

Arachnid-Concept-Art-11photo (2) For anyone that picked up the board game “Myth” recently, you will be familiar with these critters.  Called Arachnids in that game,I’ve opted for a new name since in my mind, they are not spider-like at all. I’m dubbing their D&D version, Ironscales.  The minis are too nice not to use in D&D so here’s what I’ll be inflicting on the PCs soon. There are 2 types of these creatures, one has poison sacs on the side of its head while the other does not and has slightly larger claws near its mandibles.

Ironscale, soldier
Medium beast, unaligned

Armor Class 16 (natural armor)

Hit Points 24 (4d8+4)

Speed
30 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
14 (+2) 14  (+2) 14  (+2) 2 (-4) 9 (-1) 4 (-3)

Senses Blindsight 10 ft., Darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 9

Spider Climb. The ironscale can climb difficult surfaces, including ceilings without ability checks.

ACTIONS
Vise Grip. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d8+2) piercing damage and the ironscale attaches to the target. While attached, the ironscale doesn’t attack. Instead, at the start of each of its turns, the target loses 4(1d4+3) hit points due to the creature rending it with its mandibles. The ironscale can detach itself by spending 5 feet of its movement. A creature, including the target, can use its action to detach the ironscale

 

Ironscale, bombadier
Medium beast, unaligned

Armor Class 14 (natural armor)

Hit Points 18 (4d6+4)

Speed
40 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
10 (+0) 16  (+3) 12  (+1) 4 (-3) 9 (-1) 4 (-3)

Senses Blindsight 10 ft., Darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 9

Spider Climb. The ironscale can climb difficult surfaces, including ceilings without ability checks.

ACTIONS

Glob of Poison. Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, range 30/60 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d6+2) poison damage and the target must make a DC 11 Constitution saving throw, taking 4 (1d6+2) poison damage on a failed save, or half on a successful save. If the poison reduces the target to 0 hit points, the target is stable but poisoned for 1 hour.

 

Crime & Punishment – D&D/13th Age

stocks In my first session DMing Encounters, I had a relatively new RPG player pick-pocket a major NPC.  The NPC was the mayor of a large town and as I prepared to deal with that resultant dice rolls, I found myself quickly wondering, “How am I going to punish this guy if he gets caught?!”  Committing a crime (and getting caught) is a situation that many a player will do with little thought to the repercussions.  Here’s a short guideline of how to handle your criminal PCs.

Crime Punishment
Arson Heavy Fine + Imprisonment, Hard Labor
Assault Imprisonment + Hard Labor
Breaking and Entering Imprisonment + Potential Flogging
Corruption Imprisonment + Hard Labor
Disturbing the Peace Minor Fine
Forgery Standard Fine + Potential Branding
Heresy Branding + Exile, Execution
Kidnapping Imprisonment + Hard Labor
Manslaugter Imprisonment
Murder Imprisonment – Potential Branding, Exile, Enslavement or Execution
Sedition Enslavement
Smuggling Value of Item x 5
Theft – Under 50 GP value Value of Item X 2
Theft – 50 – 500 GP Value Value of Item X 3 + Potential Flogging
Theft – Over 500 GP Value Value of Item X 5+ Potential Disfigurement, Branding, Flogging or Imprisonment

 

Branding The convicted is branded with a visible mark denoting his crime.
Disfigurement Removal of an appendage, eye or tongue, depending on the crime.
Enslavement You are sold into slavery.
Execution Death
Exile Forced to leave the city/society/region where the crime was commited. Usually for life.
Flogging Public whipping. Reduced to 1/4 of HPs and unable to buy or sell in this community for six months due to negative stigma.
Hard Labor For every 6 months of Hard Labor, your Constitution will permanently drop by 1 on an unsuccessful Constitution save of DC 10.
Heavy Fine  Typically 5x the value of the item/property in question.
Imprisonment Length of sentencing will vary between 1 month to life, depending on severity of the crime committed and other modifiers.
Minor Fine Typically no more than 50 gp.
Standard Fine Typically 3X the value of the item/property in question but never more than 500 gp.

 

Modifiers
Foreigner If you are not a local citizen,
Social Standing If you are of a lower social standing,
Language Barrier If you can’t speak the local language,  the severity of your punishment will increase.
Charisma If your Charisma is under 10,
Race If your race is not typical of this community/region/society,