A place to share thoughts and ideas about Dungeons and Dragons
May 19, 2015Posted by on
What is your Favorite PC Race / Class ?
Last October I posted set of pre-made first level character sheets – one each for every Race/Class combination (you can access that post here). I thought it would be interesting to see how many of each have been downloaded. This is very nu-scientific, but I think it is a good indication of winch combinations are the most popular.
May 5, 2015Posted by on
Rules for conducting a seafaring campaign in D&D. Including rules for Ship-to-Ship Combat.
You can download a free copy here: 5E_Nautical_Adventures.pdf
This is a complete re-write of the Ship to Ship Combat rules I published before (3.5 version here).
In keeping with the spirit of 5e, this is not about conducting massive sea battles, moving small model ships around on a hex battle map exploring tactics and the intricacies of wind and sail. Rather this is about what the PCs can do with ships. Ship-to-ship battles do take up the majority of the pages here, but the battles are from the point of view of the player characters on board their ship. Care has been taken to assure each payer has something to contribute each round of ship-to-ship combat. Each player controls one of their ship’s officers. That officer can be his or her PC or it may be an NPC and he has several actions available to him that are specific to that officer.
I copied liberally from Wizards of the Coast’s 1997 publication “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons of Ships and the Sea”. I also got a lot of good ideas from Pathfinder’s “Skull and Shackles” (their “Wormwood Mutiny” adventure path will work with these rules for those of you who want a good Pirates campaign.)
I also found a lot of good information in Kenzer and Company’s “Salt and Sea Dogs”.
May 3, 2015Posted by on
I haven’t posted here in a while. I have been working on 5E Ship-to-Ship combat rules. They will be finished soon. In the mean time here is part that may be of general interest.
Drowning Rules for D&D 5E
Falling Off the Ship
Rough water adds 5 to all the following DCs except for saves made when more than 5 feet under the surface. Flotsam or other floating items grant advantage to saves to stay afloat.
This can be hazardous to your health. If you fall overboard you will splash down 1d6+5 feet from your ship. If you are pushed overboard you will fall 2d6+5 feet from your ship. If you jump or dive into the water you can enter the water at any point up to the maximum distance you can jump (refer to the Jumping rules in the Player’s Handbook). If you fall or are pushed overboard, you must succeed on a DC 10 Dexterity (Acrobatics) check to enter the water without damage. Otherwise you receive 1d6 hit points damage from the fall.
Each foot you swim cost you one extra foot of speed. If you are within 5 feet of a moving ship (or one that has been involved in a ramming or grappling maneuver), you must make as DC 10 Strength (Athletics) check. Failure means that you cannot move this round, you are using all of your strength to simply keep your head above the waves. Once you reach the ship, you must make as DC 15 Strength (Athletics) check to climb back onto the ship. Failure results in you falling back into the water.
You can swim underwater as long as you can hold your breath (see “Drowning” below). Your underwater swimming speed is the same as your surface swimming speed. You can swim straight down at half that speed. You can swim straight down at 15 feet per round if holding the equivalent of medium armor, or 25 feet per round if holding the equivalent of heavy armor. If unencumbered, you can swim straight up at 20 feet per round.
In general, heavy armor is not terribly common on ships. The weight tends to be the most prohibitive factor – falling overboard in 65-pound full plate normally results in death. Occasionally, combat Infantry will don light or medium armor for a battle, but most of the time sailors go unarmored. A lucky few (usually the PCs and important NPCs) have magic items that improve their AC, but most sailors rely on their natural Dexterity.
Attempting to swim while wearing light armor requires that you make a DC 10 Strength (Athletics) saving throw each round. Failure means you have a speed of 0 as you go under water for that round and loose one carried item, shield or weapon (your choice as to what you drop).
If you choose to remove your armor after entering the water, it will take one minute (10 rounds). A successful DC 15 Dexterity (Acrobatics) save will cut that time in half. During this time you cannot swim or take any other actions. You make a DC 10 Dexterity (Acrobatics) saving throw each round. Each round that you succeed you keep your head above water and counts as one round of the rounds required to remove your armor. Failure means that you went under water this round and made no headway in removing your armor. After 3 failures you receive one level of exhaustion.
You can attempt to swim while wearing medium armor, but you must make DC 15 Strength (Athletics) saving throw each round. On a success, if you are on the surface at the beginning of the round, you stay on the surface. Each foot you swim cost you two extra feet of speed and you can take no other actions besides shouting and stowing a weapon. Failed save means you sink 10 feet and lose any still-carried shields or weapons. On the round following a failed save you are under water. After that, on a successful save you can swim toward the surface at a rate of 15 feet per round. On failure you sink another 10 feet.
You can attempt to remove your armor, but you will be sinking at a rate of 10 feet per round during this time. It normally takes 5 minutes (50 rounds) to doff your armor, but a successful DC 15 Dexterity (Acrobatics) save will cut that time in half. Without your armor you can swim toward the surface at a rate of 20 feet per round.
You cannot swim while wearing heavy armor, giving you an effective speed of 0. Whenever you are in water, you lose any carried shields and weapons and begin to sink. You make a DC 25 Strength (Athletics) saving throw each round. Success keeps your head above water, or if you start the round under water you can swim 15 feet toward the surface. You can take no other actions. Failed save means you sink another 20 feet.
You can attempt to remove your armor, but you will be sinking at a rate of 20 feet per round during this time. It normally takes 5 minutes (50 rounds) to doff your armor, but a successful DC 15 Dexterity (Acrobatics) save will cut that time in half. Without your armor you can swim toward the surface at a rate of 20 feet per round.
After 1+(con bonus) minutes of holding your breath underwater you fall unconscious, your hit points fall to 0, and you begin making your death saving throws as per the standard rules. However, if you become stable there is a problem. If you are still under water you can’t remain stable. So you must start making death saving throws again. This continues until you die unless you are saved in some way.
February 14, 2015Posted by on
Okay, now what do we do with this Character Sheet?
Filling in the 5E Character Sheet Box by Box
These instructions are for use with the character sheet you can download HERE. You can print a blank Character Sheet and fill it out by hand using these instructions. If you fill it out on your computer, the boxes that will be filled in for you are shown in red.
Player: This is you
Campaign: This is the name of the campaign. Ask the DM.
Character Creation Date: The date that you create this character. [Believe me, years from now, when you find this sheet among your old D&D stuff, you will want to know this.]
Current XP: Your character starts off at first level and with 0 experience points. You will be earning experience points as you adventure. Your DM will tell you how many experience points your character earned at the end of each different adventure, and occasionally more often. You can keep a running total here.
Next Level Goal: This is how many experience points you need to advance to the next level. Refer to the table in the PHB. You need 300 points to advance from first level to second level.
Name: This is your Character’s name. If you can’t think of a name ask the DM for advice.
Race: Enter your character’s race here. It can be Dwarf, Elf, Halfling, Human, Dragonborn, Gnome, Half-Elf, Half-Orc, or Tiefling. Check with the DM first, he may not have all these races in his campaign world.
Sex: M or F –your choice, there is no in-game advantage to either sex.
Alignment: Your character can be any alignment you choose but your DM may not allow evil aligned player characters. The possible alignments are: Lawful good (LG), Neutral good (NG), Chaotic good (CG), Lawful neutral (LN), Neutral (N), Chaotic neutral (CN), Lawful evil (LE), Neutral evil (NE), and Chaotic evil (CE).
Class: Enter your character’s class in this box. You may choose from Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer, Warlock or Wizard.
Level: This is your character’s current level. You start out at level 1. For multi-class characters, this is the total of all their levels in all of their classes. A character’s level can never exceed 20. If filling this out on your computer, many of the fields on the sheet will be filled in when you enter a number here.
Size: This depends on your character’s race. Gnomes and Halflings are small (S), all other standard races are medium (M)
Height: Select any height that is appropriate for your race.
Weight: Select any height that is appropriate for your race.
Speed: This is the number of feet you can move in one combat round. Dwarf 25 (not reduced by wearing heavy armor), Elf 30, Wood Elf 35, Halfling 25, Human 30, Dragonborn 30, Gnome 25, Half-elf 30, Half-Orc 30, Tiefling 30.
If your character is wearing heavy armor, and his strength score is less than the minimum listed for that armor, his speed is reduced by 10.
Initiative: This is your initiative modifier. When you roll for your character’s initiative at the beginning of combat, you add this to your initiative roll. Unless you have some feature or ability that affects this, your initiative modifier is the same as your Dexterity modifier.
Ability Score: Using a method approve by your DM, determine your character’s ability scores, modify them according to your character’s race and enter the scores in the corresponding boxes.
Ability Modifier: For each ability, the modifier is determined by subtracting 10 from the ability score and then dividing the result by 2 (rounding down). Or you can simply look it up on the table in the PHB.
Saving Throws: This is the saving throw modifier for each ability. It is the same as the ability modifier, unless your character is proficient in that ability’s saving throw. This is typically a proficiency you get because of your race. If you are proficient, check the small box and add your proficiency bonus (see below) to the ability modifier to get your saving throw modifier.
Armored: This is typically 10 + armor bonus if wearing armor + shield bonus if using a shield.
If wearing light armor add your Dex modifier.
If wearing medium armor add your Dex modifier up to a maximum of +2
You don’t add your Dex modifier to your armor class if you are wearing heavy armor.
Without Armor: 10 + Dexterity modifier (unless a class feature overrides this). Note that if your Dexterity modifier is negative, it lowers your armor class.
This box is where you list your maximum hit points. At first level this will be the highest roll of your hit dice (see below) plus your Constitution modifier.
Hit Dice: Here you enter the type of hit die your character uses and the number of hit die of that type you have. At first level your character has 1 hit die. The hit die type depends on your character’s class; Barbarian 1d12, Bard 1d8, Cleric 1d8, Druid 1d8, Fighter 1d10, Monk 1d8, Paladin 1d10, Ranger 1d10, Rogue 1d8, Sorcerer 1d6, Warlock 1d8, Wizard 1d6.
Current Hit Points: As your character takes damage, he loses hit points. You can use this box to track the damage.
Temporary Hit Points: Some magic spells or other game effects can grant your character what are called “temporary hit points.” You can list these here and track their loss. You lose these before you lose regular hit points. You lose any remaining temporary hit points after finishing a long rest.
Available Hit Dice: You have one hit die for each level. At the end of a short rest, you can roll one or more of these hit die and, for each die rolled, recover the indicated number of hit points plus your character’s Constitution modifier. You can use this space to keep track of the number of hit die you have left to use for healing. After a long rest, you regain a number of hit die equal to half your total number of them, or a minimum of one hit die.
Death Saves: When you start your turn with 0 hit points you make a death saving throw. You must roll 1d20 and on a roll of 10 or higher you succeed, otherwise you fail. On your third success you become stable, on your third failure you die. A role of 1 counts as two failures. A roll of 20 counts as two successes. You can use this space to track your progress.
Place a check in this box when you get inspiration. Remove the check when you use it. You either have inspiration or you don’t. Your DM can award your character inspiration, typically for good (or entertaining) roll playing. If you have inspiration, you can spend it to get advantage on any attack roll, saving throw, or ability check. You can give up your inspiration to another character if you think he deserves is.
You can use this area to keep track of your character’s level of exhaustion. Your DM will tell you when your character is susceptible to a level of exhaustion.
List your proficiency bonus here. It starts out as +2 at first level and increases as you advance in level.
PASSIVE WISDOM (PERCEPTION)
This is your Wisdom modifier + your proficiency bonus +10.
Skills: Your character will have proficiency in certain skills (refer to Page two). For each skill he is proficient in, place a check in the box by that skill. Add your proficiency bonus to the associated ability modifier to determine the bonus you apply to these skill checks. When he attempts to perform a skill that he is not proficient in, it becomes a simple ability check, so enter the ability modifier for that skill’s ability.
Saves: List any ability or other saves (such as poison for example) where your character would receive a proficiency bonus to his saving throw.
Tools: If your character is proficient in the use of any types of tools, list them here.
Weapons: List the type of weapons your character is proficient with.
Armor: List the type of armor your character is proficient with. If you wear armor that you lack proficiency with, you have disadvantage on any ability check, saving throw, or attack roll that involves Strength or Dexterity, and you can’t cast spells.
Other: This is a catch-all for anything that your character has proficiency in that doesn’t fit into any of the other categories.
There is room to list up to 5 different weapons. If you have more weapons than this you can print additional sheets.
Weapon: Enter a description for the weapon. Note that if you are filling this out on a computer, the calculated fields for this weapon will remain blank until you enter some text on this line.
Reach or Range: Melee weapons have a reach of 5 ft. unless they have the “reach” property and then it becomes 10 ft. Weapons that can be thrown and all ranged weapons have a normal and maximum range.
Type: The type of damage; bludgeoning (B), Piercing (P), or slashing (S)
Ability (STR or DEX): Most melee weapons use your Strength modifier, and most range weapons use your Dexterity modifier. If it is a melee weapon with the Finesse property, you can choose to use your Dexterity modifier. If it is a range weapon with the Thrown property, you can choose to use your Strength modifier. Check the box next to the ability you will be using.
Proficiency: If you have proficiency with this weapon. Check this small box and enter your proficiency bonus in the large box.
STR/DEX: Enter the appropriate ability modifier in this box. If you are fighting with two weapons, and this is your second light weapon, you don’t get an ability bonus to damage with this weapon so remove the check between the attack and damage boxes and do not enter the ability modifier for damage.
Magic: If the weapon receives a magic adjustment, enter this in both the attack and damage rows.
Misc. Enter any additional bonuses (or penalties) to attack and/or damage.
Attack Bonus: Add up all the attack adjustments and enter the total here. You will add this bonus to your attack rolls.
Damage Bonus: Add up all the damage adjustments and enter the total here. You will add this bonus to your damage rolls.
Damage Dice: Enter the number and type of die to roll for damage. For weapons with the Versatile property, also ether the damage if the weapon is used two handed. For instance, for a Longsword you could enter 1d8 (1d10).
Ammo: For weapons that use ammunition, you can use these boxes to check off your ammunition as it is used. If you take the time after a battle, you can normally recover half of your expended ammunition.
This is for any notes you may want to add to help you remember details about your character. There may not be enough room here to describe all of his special abilities in detail, but you could list them here and keep the details on a separate sheet, or look them up in the Players Handbook, until you have used them enough to remember how they work. For example, for a first level Dwarf Fighter you might note that he has Darkvision, Dwarven Resilience, Dueling, and Second Wind.
If you are filling this out on your computer, there are two non-printing boxes at the bottom of page one.
Update Calculations: All of the information filled in automatically for you should update whenever you make any change. Sometimes it doesn’t. You can press this button to force the form to update all of the calculated fields.
Clear: Be careful to not press this unless you want to erase everything from all of the fields on all pages. If you press it by accident, you may be able to recover the lost information if you press CTRL Z. This button is useful for clearing all fields and starting over, or before printing a blank form to fill out by hand.
The first page contains everything you may need to reference during combat. The second page contains information about your character’s personality, his physical description, his background and his equipment. There is a wider margin on the left side of the first page and on the right side of the second page, so if you print them on the front and back side of the same sheet there should be room to punch holes for a binder.
If your character normally wears armor, list the type of armor here.
Armor Class: List the armors armor class (AC) here
Category: This will be Light (L), Medium (M) or Heavy (H)
Don and Doff: The amount of time it takes to put on (don) and take off (doff). Refer to the PHB page 146.
Strength: Only used if the armor is in the heavy category. This is the minimum strength to use this armor without receiving a -10 ft penalty to your speed.
Weight: How much the armor weighs.
If you have a shield, list if it is wood or metal.
Weight: All standard shields weigh 6 lb.
AC: All shields provide +2 to your armor class.
This is where you can keep track of magical items that provide a bonus to your armor class. If the item requires attunement, you can only be attuned to 3 magic items at the same time, so you may want to keep track of attunement here as well.
For tracking items that your character owns. You can get the weight for standard equipment packs HERE. For higher level characters, you may only want to list items here that your character always carries with him.
Carrying Capacity: This is your Strength score X 15.
Push, Dag, or Lift: This is twice your Carrying Capacity.
Total Weight Carried: Simply add up the weight of everything listed above.
Lifestyle: Your downtime, between adventures, lifestyle can be Wretched, Squalid, Poor, Modest, Comfortable, Wealthy, or Aristocratic. If everyone in the party wants to stay together between adventures they should all have the same lifestyle.
Expenses/day: This depends on your lifestyle. Refer to the PHB page 157.
This area is for keeping track of your character’s monetary and magical possessions. You can track the number of Copper Pieces (CP), Silver Pieces (SP), Electrum Pieces (EP), Gold pieces (GP) and Platinum Pieces (PP). [More information on coins in the post HERE.]
There is a space for Jewels & Gems [More information on gems in the post HERE], Magic items, and Other items.
Age, Height, Weight, Eyes, Hair, Skin: Use the description of your character’s race in the Player’s Handbook as a guide.
Gender, Handedness: your choice. There is no game advantage or penalty regardless of your choice.
Physical Description: List distinguishing features- scars, tattoos, etc.
Draw a picture of your character in the frame. If you are using Adobe Reader, you can click on the image area and it will pop-up a “Select Icon” menu. You can use this to browse your computer for an image to place in this area. There are many good character sketches available on-line. The image must be in PDF file format. There are free utilities available that you can use to convert image files into PAF format. You may find one that you like HERE.
Languages: List the languages your character knows in this box. Unless you choose otherwise, your character can read and wright any language that he can speak.
The rest of this page is straight forward. All of this information is useful in role playing your character. You may want to glance over this whenever you are trying to decide what your character would do in a particular situation.
PAGE 3 – SPELLCASTING
This page is obviously for spellcasters. If your character can’t cast spells, there is no reason for you to print this sheet.
Primary Ability: This your character’s primary spellcasting ability. This will be Intelligence, Wisdom or Charisma – depending upon your Class.
Spell save DC: This is 8 + your proficiency modifier + the ability modifier for your primary spellcasting ability.
Spell attack modifier: This is your proficiency modifier + the ability modifier for your primary spellcasting ability .
Number of Cantrips Known: This number depends on your class and level.
Spell Slots and Castings
Enter the number of spell slots you have available in the space next to each spell level. As you expend spell slots to cast spells, you can check off the used slots in the boxes below.
Spellbook / Known Spells
If your character’s spellcasting class uses a spellbook, you can use this area to list the spells that it contains. If your class requires that you know a certain number of spells, you can list them here.
Use the checkbox next to a spell to indicate a spell that you have prepared. List cantrip’s as Level 0. There isn’t enough room here for full spell descriptions, so you can use the description space to list the major spell effect. For easy reference to the full spell descriptions, you may want to use spell cards, available HERE.
The main thing to remember is that the character sheet is yours. Use it in any way that makes sense to you. You can write outside the boxes, use circles and arrows, scribble in the margins, or use it in any way that you choose. Also, you don’t have to completely fill out every box before you start playing. If you never decide on your character’s eye color, it won’t effect the game. [As a DM, I do strongly recommend that you give your character a name before your second gaming session. I have played too many times with one or more “no name” characters. This can be a distraction.]
Here are a couple of tips:
First, use pencil instead of ink. Many things can happen during an adventure that can cause things to change so keep an eraser handy.
Second, I find it useful to apply 3M brand “magic mending tape” over the areas that I know will be changing often, such as current hit points. You can write on it with a pencil and it stands up to frequent erasures without leaving a hole in the paper.
Now that you have filled out your Character sheet, let the game begin!
January 31, 2015Posted by on
Rules for conducting massive battles in D&D.
You can download a free copy here: D&D Wars 5E.pdf
This is a complete re-write of the rules I published before (3.5 version here) (Next version here). In keeping with the spirit of 5e, these are simpler and play faster than any of my previous attempts.
D&D Wars is a supplement to fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons that provides a set of mass combat rules for conducting battles with units as small as one to armies numbering in the thousands. D&D Wars are not simply armies making battle with each other. It is armies intermixed with monsters and NPCs. Added to this mix is a group of PC heroes doing what they can to change the tide of the war.
– The rules are compatible with Dungeons and Dragons version 5E.
– There are rules for creating armies comprised of units of various sizes and compositions.
– It has consistent rules for scaling the battle from a small group of villagers with torches and pitchforks all the way up to epic battles with thousands of soldiers on both sides.
– The rules accommodate individual monsters wandering across the battlefield as well as other NPCs and PCs that are not part of the units.
– It uses standard combat rules without modification as far as possible.
January 25, 2015Posted by on
Time Travel Rules for Fifth Edition D&D
You can download a free copy here: Time Travel for DnD 5E.pdf
I finally updated my Time Travel rules for 5E. They aren’t much different than the rules I made for D&D Next (here), but I have expanded them and added a section with ideas on how to incorporate these rules into a Time Travel Campaign. I also added a Forgotten Realms timeline to which I added some Pre and Post history for use in a time travel campaign.
January 4, 2015Posted by on
My plans for this blog for 2015.
Now that the fifth edition is here, my goal for the coming year is first to convert all of my previous rule supplements to D&D 5E. I have already done this with my module “Fires of Hell” and Chase rules. Still to do are Ship to Ship Combat, Time Travel, Mass Combat, and Skyships (rules for battles in the air and in space). If you have a need for one of these, let me know and I will try to do it first. I will also continue to add chapters to my novel “Dragon Hunt“. As ideas come to me regarding playing aids, I will add them.
As I have mentioned here before, 5E is the version I had hoped 4E would have been. If it had been, I would have never created “Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 – Lite“. I will leave it here for any of you who may be playing with those rules, but I will not be making any future changes or revisions to it.
If there are any areas of the game not covered in the Player’s Guide or the Dungeon Master’s Guide that you would like for me to address, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Here’s hoping you each have a wonderful year. Happy Gaming!