Dungeon Master Assistance

A place to share thoughts and ideas about Dungeons and Dragons

D&D 5E – Metals

metals

Value of Metals in D&D

Metal Cost per lb. Ferrus? AC Description
Adamantine 5,000 gp ferrous 23 An alloy of adamant (a strong but brittle metal), silver and electrum. Adamantine  is black,  but  has  a  clear  green  sheen  in  candlelight – a  sheen  that sharpens  to  purple-white  under  the  light  given  off  by  most  magical  radiances  and  by  will-o-wisps.
Brass 3 sp Non-ferrous 16 A yellow-ish metal that somewhat resembles gold. An alloy of copper and zinc.
Bronze 4 sp Non-ferrous 18 A red-ish brown metal. An alloy of copper and tin
Cold Iron 4 sp ferrous 20 Cold iron is iron found in a pure state (either meteoric iron or an especially rich ore) and is forged at a lower temperature to preserve its delicate properties.
Copper 1 gp Non-ferrous 16 This well-known pure metal has a distinctive pinkish sheen.
Electrum 25 gp Non-ferrous 20 A natural alloy of silver and gold.
Gold 50 gp Non-ferrous 15 This well-known pure metal is the softest of workable metallic substances.
Iron 1 sp ferrous 19 Iron is a silver-white malleable metal that readily rusts in moist air, occurs native in meteorites and combined in most igneous rocks. It is the most used of metals.
Lead 2 sp Non-ferrous 14 Lead is a heavy, grey, soft, malleable, metal.
Mithral 2,500 gp Non-ferrous 21 This silvery-blue, shining metal is derived from soft, glittering, silvery-black ore.
Platinum 500 gp Non-ferrous 20 This light gray metal with very slight bluish tinge is strong, difficult to melt, and resistant to most chemicals.
Silver 10 gp Non-ferrous 17 This relatively common valuable metal is the most associated with and suitable for magic.
Steel 5 gp ferrous 19 Steel is an alloy made out of Iron and Carbon.
Tin 3 sp Non-ferrous 12 A soft, silvery-white metal that is often combined with other metals or used as a layer to protect various metals.

Most of the following information is from “VoLo’s Guide to All Things Magical”.

 Adamant

This is the pure metal form of the hard, jet-black ferro magnetic ore known as adamantite, from which the famous alloy adamantine is made. Adamant is rarely found in nature, but when it is, it is always be in large spherical pockets in hardened volcanic flows. Adamant is one of the hardest substances known, but it is also brittle. A sword made of adamant could slice through most metals but would snap off if struck by another blade or even a smartly wielded wooden cudgel.

Adamantine

This alloy, of five-eighths adamant to two-eighths silver and one-eighth electrum (itself a natural alloy of silver and gold) retains the hardness of adamant, but combines it with a rugged durability that makes adamantine so hard to shatter that it is the favored substance for the making of war hammer heads, the best nonmithral armor, and harbor chains. (By one of the miracles granted by the gods, adamantine can also be derived by combining steel and mithral if one knows how. Adamantine is black, but has a clear green sheen in candlelight a sheen that sharpens to purple-white under the light given off by most magical radiances and by will-o-wisps.

Adamantine is tricky to make, and must be forged and worked at very high temperatures by smiths who know exactly what they are doing and who have access to special oils to slake and temper the hot metal in. Almost all such expert smiths are dwarves, as the Deep Folk guard the secrets of working adamant jealously, but a priest or wizard seeking to enchant items can make use of finished adamantine items and need not necessarily have to work with a smith to create an adamantine work anew.

Copper

This well-known pure metal, with its distinctive pinkish sheen, is the best widely available purifier and amalgamator among metals. It is soft and easily worked, widely known. The wizard and especially the priest seeking to work with a substance or item not suited to his or her faith or purpose can make the offending item usable by adding at least half the item’s weight of copper to the item. (For example, by sheathing it in copper or adding a longer handle plated in copper, or similar means.) Holy or unholy water should not be stored for any length of time in copper vessels, because the metal will neutralize either in a few months, changing them to normal water.

Gold

This well-known pure metal is the softest of workable metallic substances, and one of the best conductors among them. Despite its high value, it is relatively common and is favored for use in ornamentation in the making of magical items, often being used as an inlay in graven runes or inscriptions, where meld magics can keep it from being damaged or falling out through rough handling. Gold has the important ability to hold multiple enchantments, even conflicting ones, and keep them from affecting each other or the stability of the gold-adorned item.

Mithral

Known as truemetal to the dwarves, this silvery-blue, shining metal is derived from soft, glittering, silvery-black ore found in rare veins and pockets all over, from the depths of the Underdark to surface rocks. Mithral can be combined with steel (varying alloys of iron and carbon) to derive adamantine if one has no access to adamantite ore, but this process is both difficult and known only to a very few dwarves, who do not perform it for nondwarves unless there is a very good reason.

Mithral is the lightest and most supple of metals hard enough to be used in the making of armor; it is extremely valuable.

Silver

This relatively common valuable pure metal is known to the elves as “the sheath and shield of Art” because, of all metals, it is the most associated with and suitable for magic. Many dwarves use silver in various alloy formulae of their own devising or that have been handed down through clans for generations. Most of the beauty of metalwork down through the ages has been associated with the gleam and hue of mirror-polished, untarnished silver, and it has always been associated with the adornment of magical items.

Campaign Website

alabaster-portal

The Alabaster Portal

I thought you might like to see the website I am using to manage my tabletop game. I call it the Alabaster Portal. It is a free, private, google site that I set up for my players and me to use for our game. I looked at the popular Obsidian Portal and decided that I wanted a little more control over my site that that allowed.

Many thanks to sharklops over at Reddit for his Pathfinder RPG Campaign Website Template. I started with that then modified it extensively to work with my 5th edition campaign.

I set up a WIKI ten years ago and never used it much. I liked the idea, but it wasn’t very “pretty”. Google sites allows me to set page level access permissions, so I can set the permissions for each player to modify and add to his character’s information and also edit pages such as the adventure log. It has been popular with my players so far.

I had a request to make my site available as a template. If you want to create your own, similar to mine – you can use this template :

https://www.sites.google.com/site/5etemplatesite/

What do you think? Do you use a WIKI or Obsidian Portal, or something else, or is this all too much work for something not very useful?

 

D&D 5E – Picking Locks

thievestools

How to Pick a Lock

There is some confusion on what the rules are for picking a lock. It all depends on whether or not you have a set of thieves tols and if you know how to use them. There are six different possibilities.

  1. You have Thieves’ Tools and are proficient with them. You can attempt to pick the lock and get to add your proficiency bonus to the (Dex) check.
  2. You have Thieves’ Tools and have expertise with Thieves’ Tools.  You can attempt to pick the lock and get to add twice your proficiency bonus the (Dex) check.
  3. You have Thieves’ Tools but you aren’t proficient with them. You can still attempt to pick the lock but you don’t get to add your proficiency bonus (since it’s a bonus you only get when you are proficient with something).
  4. You don’t have any Thieves’ Tools so you improvise some (with your DM’s approval) but you aren’t proficient with Thieves’ Tools. You can still attempt to pick the lock but with disadvantage.
  5. You have improvised tools and you have proficiency with Thieves’ Tools. You have disadvantage on picking the lock, but you do get to add your proficiency bonus.
  6. No Thieves’ Tools and no improvised tools. Take a strength check to throw the closest party member through the door or crowbar the lock. Basically, look for another way to get past it because you can’t pick it.

 

Starting a new campaign.

Starting new 5th Edition D&D group Sat October 1st, 2016

If anyone knows of someone who would be interested in joining a new group, I will be starting a new campaign at my house on October 1st. I live in Colorado Springs, near I-25 and Fillmore St.
We will be playing the published “Age of Worms” adventure path using 5th edition rules in the World of Greyhawk campaign setting. I would like to have a full table with 4-5 players. The group will meet on Saturday afternoons. Diversity and a mix of genders, age 21+, is the intention.
If interested go to this site for more information: https://sites.google.com/site/alabasterportal/

 

(I will be out of state for the next week, so I may not respond to comments until after Sep. 15th.)

D&D 5E – Time Tracking Tool

Tine-Tracker

DM Tool for Tracking Time

Download your free copy here.

I have tried several different ways to keep track of time in a dungeon. Years ago I even wrote a “Time Tender” software program. I was thinking of getting a toy clock, or a broken clock that I could turn the hands on. Thinking of clocks, I came up with this simple idea, and it works! Download and print as many of these as you may need. The idea is that you use a pencil to mark off the time as your players explore the dungeon.

 

Each clockface represents one day. One sheet can track 4 days. The hours are marked around the sides. Midnight is at the bottom and Noon is at the top. There are 6 little boxes between each hour. Each box represents 10 minutes. I fill in each box as time passes in the adventure. I find this works well. I say it takes 10 minutes to search a room. I mark off 10 minutes after each combat for searching bodies, recover arrows, clean up, etc. Moving along a cooridor doesn’t take much time unless it is very long or they are being slow. I also mark time for other activities as well: one hour for a short rest, eight hours for a long rest, overland travel time, etc.

There is plenty of blank space to scribble notes.

Enjoy!

Minions and Hordes

The player characters are surrounded on all sides. Orcs and goblins press in, pushing them further and further from the salvation of the cave’s exit. Blades, javelins, and arrows fly in from all directions, battering and hammering against the shimmering magic barrier that protects them. The mage looks like he’s about to faint. The hordes…

via D&D 5e Hack: Minions and Hordes — Wisdom Save

Check out this excellent post on minions and hordes from Wisdom Save. I will definitely be using this!

D&D 5E – DM Screen – portrait version

DM_Screen_P--01

DM_Screen_P--03

DM_Screen_P--02

Vertical 5E – DM Screen

Download your free copy here.

This is for John Edmond and anyone else that prefers a vertical  DM Screen.

You can still get my horizontal version here.

D&D 5E – Condition Cards

Condition Cards

Download your free copy HERE.

I re-did my condition cards. I added backs and put them all in one PDF file.

I had a good time designing the smiley faces. I hope you get a kick out of them.

The fronts are form-fillable so you can make changes to them if you want. That allows non-English players to change them to read correctly in their language. Also you can make changes to allow for house rules, or other gaming systems.

When I print them on my ink-jet printer I can’t get the backs to line up exactly with the fronts, so if it doesn’t work for you the only thing I can suggest is to print the backs on separate sheets and put the fronts and backs together some how (paste or clear sleeves?). They are only off about 1/16″ when I print them, so I will just live with the fronts being a little off centered.

I added a “Hidden” and a “Temporary Condition” card. If you play 5E you know that there is no “Hidden” condition. This card can still be used as a reminder that someone is trying to hide. The “Temporary Condition” card is for things like spells that add to armor class or hit points, or some such. It is a catch all for any conditions that you may want to keep track of during combat.

The colors I used match the colors of a set of “ponytailers” that I picked up at Walmart for about $2.00. They are fabric covered rubber bands about 1″ in diameter that can be put around the figures on the battle mat. I used light gray for white and dark grey for black.

Enjoy!

D&D 5E – Tracking Time in a Dungeon

Time

Gary Gygax said “YOU CANNOT HAVE A MEANINGFUL CAMPAIGN IF STRICT TIME RECORDS ARE NOT KEPT.

I almost didn’t post this for fear of it being misused. Please don’t simply look up the parties travel pace below, determine what was found, mark off the time and move on. This is a role playing game after all. The following is intended as an aid in Dungeon Mastering a game, not as a substitute for it.

Time in a dungeon is measured in minutes – switching to 6 second rounds when there is an encounter.

The following is my interpretation of the official rules and a few of my house rules mixed in, presented here as advice to Dungeon Masters. Where I refer to “you”, I mean the DM. This is specifically for a dungeon crawls, but most of it applies to all similar situations. This is intended as a guide for tracking time passage in a dungeon and also for a guide in deciding when to use a character’s passive perception score or to roll a perception check.

The Dungeon Master describes what the PCs can see, hear, etc. Most of the time you can expect that the PCs are being observant so if they could notice something, they will notice it. So don’t wait for a player to say his character is examining the floor, or looking for footprints to tell them that there’s an obvious set of footprints on the floor in front of him. Players can ask questions or tell you what their PCs are going to do (or attempt to do). Players should never have to refer to skill names to do this. You decide if they need to roll an ability or skill check and which one. To keep the game moving at a reasonable pace, I recommend that you keep the die rolling to a minimum. If a player’s character would most likely notice something or recognize something or understand something based on his abilities and background, no roll is required. Just tell him.

The DM will roll all of the PCs search checks in secret and tell the players what, if anything, their characters found. That way, if they don’t find anything, they won’t know if there wasn’t anything there or if there was something and they didn’t find it. Another advantage of rolling behind your DM screen is that you can ignore the roll when necessary.  If you want them to find something (or not find it), ignore the roll and tell them what they found (or that they didn’t find anything).

Ask them for their marching order, but don’t ask if they are moving at a “fast pace”, “normal pace” or “slow pace”. That makes it sound too much like a computer game. Instead, simply ask them what they are doing. Use their answer to determine their pace and use that to help you determine how long it will take and what they do or do not notice.

In addition to the fast pace, normal pace and slow pace listed in the Player’s Handbook, I have added a “very fast” pace and an  ”extremely slow” pace.

Overview:

1)         Moving at a very fast pace they automatically fail all perception checks. If they say “We are getting out of here as fast as we can” they are obviously not going to take the time to check for traps or secret doors so they are moving at a very fast pace (600 feet per minute).

2)         Moving at a fast pace uses their passive perception scores with a -5 penalty. If they say “We are going to move through here as quickly as we can and still be on the lookout for traps”, you can say to yourself that that sounds like a fast pace (400 feet per minute).

3)         Moving at a normal pace uses their passive perception scores. If they don’t give you any indication of how fast or cautiously they are moving through corridors, assume that they are moving at this pace. If they say “We are going to be watching for hidden monsters and checking for traps and secret doors as we proceed cautiously down the corridor”, you know that, even though this sounds like it might be a slow pace it is actually the normal way adventurers would explore a dungeon so it is a normal pace (300 feet per minute).

4)         Moving at a slow pace they can be stealthy or search for things. If they don’t give you any indication of how fast they are searching a room, assume that they are moving at this pace. They make a Dexterity (Stealth) check if they are hiding or being stealthy. Make a Wisdom (Perception) check for them if they are searching for secret doors or traps. If not actively searching, they use their passive perception scores. If they say “We are trying not to be noticed as we proceed cautiously down the corridor” they are being stealthy and can only move at a slow pace (200 feet per minute).

5)         Moving at an extremely slowly pace they will automatically find anything that can be found. If they say “We know there must be a secret door in this corridor, so we are going to search until we find it”,  you know that they are going to keep looking until they find it if they can, so they are traveling at a extremely slow pace (30 feet per minute).

The times listed below are the suggested minimum times required. Additional time may be required depending on circumstances and PC actions. Anything found (secret doors, traps, treasures, and especially monsters) will add to the listed times below as they take the time to deal with what they have found.

    • If they find a secret door they may then attempt to find a means to open it.
      • I might have the searcher make an Intelligence (Investigation) check and subtract the results form 20 minutes for low long it takes. I will never let them find a secret door and never find out how to open it!
    • If they find a trap they may then attempt to disarm or avoid it.
      • It takes 5 minutes to disarm traps or pick a lock if proficient with thieves tools; 10 minutes otherwise. This assumes fairly straightforward mechanisms, not complex puzzles
    • If they find a treasure they may then check it for traps.

I typically check for wandering monsters every 10 minutes (dungeon time).

 

Details:

Traversing corridors, stairs, and other passageways:

  • When moving at a very fast pace (600 feet per minute), all attempts to notice any secret doors, hidden monsters or traps will fail. This speed is equivalent to the Dash action.
  • When moving at a fast pace (400 feet per minute), passive Wisdom (Perception) scores, with a -5 penalty, will be used to see if they notice any secret doors, hidden monsters or traps.
  • When moving at a normal pace (300 feet per minute), passive Wisdom (Perception) scores will be used to see if they notice any secret doors, hidden monsters or traps.
  • When moving at a slow pace (200 feet per minute), the characters can attempt to hide or be stealthy. If hiding, Dexterity (Stealth) checks will be used against the Wisdom (Perception) checks of any monsters that are actively searching for them, and against the passive Wisdom (Perception) scores of any monsters that aren’t searching. Moving at this pace they can actively search for hidden doors or traps. Roll a Wisdom (Perception) check for the searchers and let them know if they found anything in this 200 foot length of corridor. Let the single roll be for detecting hidden doors and/or traps regardless of what they say they are searching for. Note that if they say they are being stealthy, but don’t express an interest in watching out for traps or finding secret doors, only roll Dexterity (Stealth) checks and use passive Wisdom (Perception) scores. Conversely, if they say that they are looking for traps, or secret doors but don’t seem interested in being stealthy, roll Wisdom (Perception) checks only.
  • If the party intends to take as much time as required to thoroughly search a section of corridor, the party will be moving at an extremely slowly pace (30 feet per minute). This represents that the character is being extremely cautious and diligent in his searching. At this pace that character will automatically succeed at finding any secret doors, hidden monsters or traps that can be found by that character. [The DMG says “In some cases, a character is free to [retry a failed ability check]; the only real cost is the time it takes[…] To speed things up, assume that a character spending ten times the normal amount of time needed to complete a task automatically succeeds at that task.” This is the 5e equivalent to the 3.5e “Taking 20” rule.]
    • One character can search the walls, floor and ceiling of a 5 foot wide passage, or one side of a wider passage out to 5 feet from the wall.
    • 2 characters can cover a 10 foot wide passage.
    • Characters that are searching can perform no other activities.
    • Characters that are not searching can be on the lookout for monsters. For large parties they may need one lookout near the front and another one in the rear. If a monster approaches the group from a direction that is being watched, the Dexterity (Stealth) check of that character will be used against the Wisdom (Perception) checks of any monsters that are actively searching for them, and against the passive Wisdom (Perception) scores of any monsters that aren’t searching.

Searching a Room:

If the party opens a door but doesn’t enter a room and only observes it from the doorway it doesn’t take any additional time to be able to map its location and general notes about it, but not its exact size or anything about the room that cannot be quickly seen. A detailed description will require that the party enters the room.

After they enter the room, describe what they see and ask what each character is doing.  Describe the results of their activities. If they say “I am searching the room”. Don’t ask “What are you searching for?” rather say something like “What does searching the room look like? Describe exactly what your character is doing.” If they say “I am looking for secret doors.” Don’t ask which 5 foot section of wall he is searching, rather assume he will search all of the walls and use the travel paces descried below to determine his success or failure. If it makes a difference, or if you simply want him to think it might, you could ask where he is starting his search and which direction he will be searching from there. A room can be memorable and fun if you can get them to describe how they are interacting with the objects in the room.

The party may have a different travel pace for rooms than it does for corridors. Their pace may change in a room if they discover something interesting (or dangerous) but I wouldn’t normally mark off more than 10 minutes per room unless they slow to an extremely slow pace. Your players should be able to search as much as they want. Just warn them of the consequences (time passing, wandering monsters, etc.) ahead of time.

How pace of travel effects checking out rooms:

  • Very fast pace (600 feet per minute – measured from entrance to exit by the shortest path). Treat these rooms like corridors. They are almost running through the rooms and won’t notice anything much more than their size and location. They automatically fail all perception checks. They will be surprised by any monsters waiting for them. They may surprise monsters that aren’t expecting them.
  • Fast pace (1 minute per room). They are mostly just passing through. They can note what is in the room, its size, number and location of its exits. The Passive Wisdom (Perception) scores of the searchers, with a -5 penalty, will be used to see if they notice any secret doors, hidden monsters or traps. They are moving through the room too fast to search for any hidden treasure but will notice things that are in plain sight.
  • Normal pace (5 minutes per room). Use this pace if they want to search the room but want to be quick about it. The passive Wisdom (Perception) scores of the searchers will be used to see if they notice any secret doors, hidden monsters or traps. At this pace they can make a quick search for hidden treasure at a disadvantage using their Wisdom (Perception) scores.
  • Slow pace (10 minutes per room). Use this pace if they don’t give you any other indication of how fast they are searching a room. Use this pace if they want to loot the room, or if they want to be stealthy. Roll the Wisdom (Perception) checks of the searchers to see if they notice any secret doors, hidden monsters, hidden treasure or traps. If they are being stealthy, their Dexterity (Stealth) checks will be used against the Wisdom (Perception) checks of any monsters that are in the room or that enter the room and that are watching for them, and against the passive Wisdom (Perception) scores of any monsters that aren’t.
  • Extremely slowly pace (1 hour per room). At this pace they can carefully examine every inch of the room. At this pace they will automatically succeed at finding any secret doors, hidden monsters, hidden treasure or traps that can be found by their characters. If there is something in the room that they wouldn’t be able to find even if they rolled a 20 on an ability check and added all of their bonuses, it is beyond their ability to find so it will remain hidden.
    • The times above represent at least 2 characters searching.
    • Two characters can search the walls, floor and ceiling and everything inside of a room up to 30’ x 30’. Larger rooms, or rooms with a large amount of “stuff” may take longer. Rooms smaller than 30’ x 30’ still take the indicated time to search.
    • A single character searching the same room will take twice as long.
    • More than two characters searching the room do not reduce the time any further unless it is a very large room.
    • Characters that are searching can perform no other activities.
    • Characters that are not searching can be on the lookout for monsters. One character can watch only one entrance without penalty. If a monster approaches the group through an entrance that is being watched, the Dexterity (Stealth) check of that character will be used against the Wisdom (Perception) checks of any monsters that are actively searching for you, and against the passive Wisdom (Perception) scores of any monsters that aren’t searching.

D&D 5E – Condition Cards

Condition-1

Condition Cards

Here is a set of generic cards that I have filled in with all of the conditions listed in the Player’s Handbook. They are on two separate PDFs. page1 and page2

They are form-fillable so you can make changes to them if you want to and there are a couple of blank cards on page 1.

Enjoy!