Dungeon Master Assistance

A place to share thoughts and ideas about Dungeons and Dragons

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What is D&D?

How do I win this game?

How do you explain this game to someone who has never played? Here is what I say.

I usually tell my players, before they even roll up their characters, that the thing that I like best about Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) is that it is different from most games. In almost every other game, for me to win, you have to loose. D&D isn’t like that. You play a character that adventures with other characters. At its simplest, you go into a dungeon, find treasure, fight monsters, and try to get out alive. All of the characters help each other, and it often requires the help of each other for any of you to survive.

The Dungeon Master (DM) is kind of like a referee. He knows the layout of the dungeon and where all of the monsters and traps are and describes to you what your character can see. You come up with a character that you want to take on the adventure. In every situation, you tell the DM what you want your character to do, and he does it. If there is any question as to whether your character can accomplish what he wants to do, the DM decides how easy or hard this would be and you roll dice to determine success or failure.  Most of the rules are to keep the DM’s decisions from being arbitrary and to provide a framework for deciding how difficult it might be for your character to do things and what the result of success of failure might be. But the rules do not limit what your character can attempt.

D&D 5E – Mana-Based Spellcasting (Variant Rule)

There has always been a lot of discussion regarding the magic system used in Dungeons and Dragons. It doesn’t seem to be very “logical” and there are other systems that might be better. This is my attempt to address this with an alternative to the “spell slots” system that fifth edition uses. This uses the same spells and everything else as presented in the Players Handbook (PHB) except for replacing its “spell slot” system with a “mana” system. There are several systems out there that use Mana or Spell Points for magic. Let me know what you think of mine.

Magic Points – Mana

Each day a spell casting character has a magic threshold. We’ll call these mana points.

The mana cost of a spell is equal to the spell’s level. So to cast a 2nd level spell would require deducting 2 mana from a character’s mana points. Casting the spell does not remove the spell from the spell casters memory, and the same spell can be used over and over as long as there are mana points in the character’s mana pool. Spells that can be cast at higher levels require one additional mana point for each additional level.

Cantrips use a negligible amount of mana and do not deduct from a character’s mana points. Refer to the tables in the PHB for the number of cantrips each class receives based on their level.

To recover mana a character must rest. All spell casters except for Warlocks recover 100% of their mana after a long rest. Warlocks recover 100% of their mana after a short or long rest.

Wizards

You cannot cast a spell that you have not memorized. To memorize a spell it must be in your spellbook. You prepare the list of wizard spells that are available for you to cast. To do so, choose a number of wizard spells from your spellbook equal to your Intelligence modifier + your wizard level (minimum of one spell). The spells must be of a level that you can cast.

Bards, Clerics, Druids, Rangers, Sorcerers, and Warlocks

You prepare the list of spells that are available for you to cast, choosing from the spell list for your class. When you do so, choose a number of spells equal to your primary ability modifier + your spell caster level (minimum of one spell). The spells must be of a level you can cast. The primary ability for Bards, Sorcerers, and Warlocks is Charisma. The primary ability for Clerics, Druids and Rangers is Wisdom.

Paladins

You prepare the list of spells that are available for you to cast, choosing from the Paladin spell list. When you do so, choose a number of spells equal to your primary ability modifier + half your Paladin level (minimum of one spell). The spells must be of a level you can cast.

All Spell Casters

You can change your list of prepared spells when you finish a long rest. Preparing a new list of spells requires at least 1 minute per spell level for each spell on your list.
When you gain another level in your current spell casting class, you can replace one spell that you know with another that is on your list and that is of a level you can cast.
Spells of 6th level and higher are particularly taxing to cast. You can only cast two spells each of levels 6th and 7th, and one spell each of levels 8th and 9th. You can’t cast another spell of the same level until you finish a long rest.

Multi Class Spell Casters

You add your total mana points from all your classes. Multi class Warlocks only recover mana points equal to their mana points as a Warlock during short rests.

Mana Points Table

The maximum number of mana points a spell caster can have and the maximum level any spell can be is listed on the following table:

Bard, Cleric, Druid, Sorcerer, Wizard Paladin, Ranger Warlock
LVL Max. spell level Mana LVL Max. spell level Mana LVL Max. spell level Mana
1 1st 2 1 1 1st 1
2 1st 4 2 1st 2 2 1st 2
3 2nd 8 3 1st 4 3 2nd 4
4 2nd 10 4 1st 4 4 2nd 4
5 3rd 16 5 2nd 8 5 3rd 6
6 3rd 20 6 2nd 8 6 3rd 6
7 4th 24 7 2nd 10 7 4th 8
8 4th 28 8 2nd 10 8 4th 8
9 5th 36 9 3rd 16 9 5th 10
10 5th 42 10 3rd 16 10 5th 10
11 6th 48 11 3rd 20 11 5th 15
12 6th 50 12 3rd 20 12 5th 15
13 7th 54 13 4th 24 13 5th 15
14 7th 58 14 4th 24 14 5th 15
15 8th 62 15 4th 28 15 5th 15
16 8th 64 16 4th 28 16 5th 15
17 9th 72 17 5th 36 17 5th 20
18 9th 76 18 5th 36 18 5th 20
19 9th 82 19 5th 42 19 5th 20
20 9th 90 20 5th 42 20 5th 20

Plans for 2017

Thoughts on 2016 and Plans for 2017

2016 was good for me as far as gaming goes. I was able to start playing again after a long time away from the table. I am now playing in a Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition game every Tuesday night and running one every Saturday. On Tuesdays, I am playing an orc barbarian in a Hoard of the Dragon Queen campaign. (I was playing a human bard until she got killed.) On Saturdays, I am the DM for an Age of Worms campaign. It was written for 3.5 but I am running it converted to 5th edition.

Earlier in 2016, I subscribed to Dungeon Crate and I have just started a subscription to RPG Crate. So far I like Dungeon Crate and will let you know what I think of RPG Crate. Reading the reviews, I have high hopes for it.

The response to this blog has been very encouraging. In January 2015 I had 58 followers. I now have 265 followers. Thank you very much! I will be adding my thoughts and ideas as well as reference material and updates to my player’s sheet. I didn’t work on my “Dragon Hunt” novel much last year, but I intend to get back to work on that this year. I expect there to be a lot of new material published for 5th edition this year. I am sure that I will be getting copies of all of the supplements, adventures, and expanded rulebooks, but I will continue to focus this blog on the Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide and Monster Manuel.

Happy new year. I hope all of your rolls are successes!

D&D 5E – Item Weights

weights-common

Weights for a Few Common Items

The equipment tables in the Player’s Handbook don’t quite cover everything a character might decide to pick up and carry. Here are weight figures for a few such items.

Armchair 20 lb.
Chair, simple 5 lb.
Door, iron (2 in. thick) 3,200 lb.
Door, stone ( 2 in. thick) 2,200 lb.
Door, simple wooden (1 in. thick) 150 lb.
Door, good wooden (1 1/2” thick) 225 lb.
Door, strong wooden (2 in. thick) 350 lb.
Footstool 2 lb.
Petrified creature x8 lb.
Spirits, cask 18 lb.
Spirits, hogshead 750 lb.
Spirits, keg 90 lb.
Spirits, barrel 375 lb.
Statue, Gargantuan 19,200 lb.
Statue, Huge 8,100 lb.
Statue, Large 2,400 lb.
Statue, Medium 300 b.
Statue, Small 40 lb.
Statue, Tiny 3 lb.
Table, banquet 225 lb.
Table, small 60 lb.
Tapestry 100 lb.
Workbench 300 lb.

Table Notes
Here are a few notes to clarify the table entries.

  • Armchair: This entry assumes fine hardwood construction and a leather or cloth cover. The weight given is for a chair built for a Medium creature. Cut the weight in half for each size category below Medium and double the weight for each size category above Medium.
  • Chair, Simple: This is a plain chair made from inexpensive hardwood, and it has no arms. See the armchair entry to adjust the weight for larger or smaller creatures.
  • Doors: All doors are assumed to be 7 feet high and 4 feet wide. The listed weight includes hinges, handle, and lock appropriate for the door’s overall construction.
  • Footstool: This assumes a plain, wooden stool about 6 inches high, with a round top about 18 inches across.
  • Petrified Creature: To calculate a petrified creature’s weight, multiply the creature’s normal weight by 8 and add the weight of any gear the creature was carrying at the time of petrification. When a creature is magically turned to stone, it and all its gear turn to stone. This tends to make metal gear weigh a little less, but nonmetal gear gets heavier, so the two tend to average out.
  • Table, Banquet: This table is built to comfortably seat twelve Medium creatures (about 4-1/2 feet wide and 8 feet long). See the armchair entry to adjust the weight for a table built to seat larger or smaller creatures.
  • Table, Small: The represents a plain wooden table that might be found in a modest home or merchant’s shop. It’s big enough to seat six Medium creatures (about 3-1/2 feet wide and 7 feet long). See the armchair entry to adjust the weight for a table built to seat larger or smaller creatures.
  • Spirits: The spirits entry assumes a barrel-shaped container made from hardwood staves and iron hoops. A cask contains 2 gallons of liquid, a hogshead holds 88 gallons, a keg holds 10 gallons, and a barrel holds 44 gallons. You can use these figures for any liquid-based contents. Containers with dry contents might weigh anywhere from one quarter to two-thirds as much.
  • Statues: The statues are assumed to be made of hollow metal construction (bronze) or of solid stone (marble). A statue of solid metal will weight 4 times this amount. Statue sizes refer to creature sizes as listed in the Player’s Handbook and in the Monster Manual, and they represent figures in the mid-range for each size category. A statue of the listed size could easily weigh anywhere from one half to twice the listed weight. All statue weights include an attached base or pedestal. For statues made of other materials adjust the weight based on the relative weight of that material. Refer to the material weight table here.
  • Tapestry: Assumes a woven wool tapestry about 10 feet square and about 1/4 inch thick. You also can use this figure for carpets or rugs.
  • Workbench: This is a bench about 3 feet high, 3 feet wide, and 8 feet long, with sturdy legs and top and a shelf or footrest below.

D&D 5E – Weights of Materials

weights-cubic

Weights of Materials

“Wow – we got this great new thing. What does it weigh?”

Metal

Weight per cubic foot

Weapon or Armor weight*

Adamantine

400 lb.

Same as steel

Brass

550 lb.

Same as steel

Bronze

550 lb.

Same as steel

Cold Iron

500 lb.

Same as steel

Copper

550 lb.

Same as steel

Electrum

900 lb.

Twice that of steel

Gold

1,200 lb.

2 1/2 times that of steel

Iron

500 lb.

Same as steel

Lead

700 lb.

1 1/2 times that of steel

Mithral

250 lb.

Half that of steel

Platinum

1,350 lb.

Three times that of steel

Silver

650 lb.

Same as steel

Steel

500 lb.

PHB metal weapons and armor are steel

Tin

450 lb.

Same as steel

Material

Weight per cubic foot

Weapon or Armor weight*

Acid

90 lb.

Same as steel

Alcohol

50 lb.

Brick

100 lb.

One quarter that of steel

Cereal

40 lb.

Clay

150 lb.

One third that of steel

Coal

80 lb.

Earth, Dry

90 lb.

Earth, Mud

110 lb.

Fat

60 lb.

Flour

30 lb.

Glass

150 lb.

One third that of steel

Granite

170 lb.

One third that of steel

Graphite

130 lb.

One third that of steel

Gravel

100 lb.

Hay

20 lb.

Leather

60 lb.

Lye

100 lb.

Marble

170 lb.

One third that of steel

Masonry, Rubble

140 lb.

Mortar

100 lb.

Oil

60 lb.

Paper

40 lb.

One tenth that of steel

Pitch

60 lb.

Plaster

140 lb.

Pumice

40 lb.

Rubber

90 lb.

One third that of steel

Sand, Dry

100 lb.

Sand, Wet

120 lb.

Sandstone

150 lb.

One third that of steel

Slate

180 lb.

One third that of steel

Snow, Freshly Fallen

10 lb.

Snow, Wet

50 lb.

One tenth that of steel

Soap Stone

170 lb.

One third that of steel

Soda Ash

70 lb.

Sodium

60 lb.

Sulphur

120 lb.

Tar

70 lb.

Water

60 lb.

Water, Ice

50 lb.

One tenth that of steel

Wood – Green

50 lb.

One tenth that of steel

Wood – Dry

30 lb.

One tenth that of steel

Wool

80 lb.

One tenth that of steel

* To calculate the weight a piece of armor or a weapon would be if made of one of these meterals, look up the weight of that item in the PHB (Player’s Handbook). Then find the material in the above table and look under the “Weapon or Armor weight” column. If it says “Same as steel” then it will weigh the same as the one in the PHB. Otherwise change the weight as indicated.

There are 1,728 cubic inches in a cubic foot. We can round that off to 2,000.

To make a quick estimate of the weight of an item, it is often easer to work in cubic inches than it is to work in cubic feet. Divide the weight per cubic foot for the material (in the table above) by 2,000. Then multiply the resulting fraction by the number of cubic inches of material in the item. Round this down to an even pound.

For metals, you can get the value of the item by multiplying the weight of the item by the metal’s value per pound (here).

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?

 

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.)

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!

THE NINE ALIGNMENTS

Check out this excellent post on “Keep Rolling Sizes”

Alignments can be confuzzling. Let’s try to put a spin on them.

Alignments have always been a headache for me in D&D. However, this method seems to be effective for determining alignment in playing characters. And since the words associated with each alignment are easily understood, it sometimes helps the players define their characters easily. Alignments have their place in D&D … so let’s find a way to make them useful to advance role-playing.

Read more: THE NINE ALIGNMENTS

Favorite Race / Class ?

race-class

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.

Any comments?

human_fighter.pdf 522
elf_ranger.pdf 438
human_paladin.pdf 391
human_cleric.pdf 382
human_ranger.pdf 353
dwarf_cleric.pdf 341
dragonborn_paladin.pdf 325
human_rogue.pdf 324
dwarf_fighter.pdf 313
human_wizard.pdf 310
elf_wizard.pdf 295
human_bard.pdf 293
human_monk.pdf 292
dragonborn_barbarian.pdf 287
halfling_rogue.pdf 282
dragonborn_fighter.pdf 281
elf_rogue.pdf 255
dwarf_barbarian.pdf 254
elf_druid.pdf 251
human_warkock.pdf 244
half-orc_barbarian.pdf 242
human_sorcerer.pdf 211
dwarf_paladin.pdf 194
tiefling_warlock.pdf 190
elf_cleric.pdf 182
human_druid.pdf 176
dragonborn_sorcerer.pdf 174
half-elf_ranger.pdf 174
elf_monk.pdf 165
gnome_wizard.pdf 158
half-elf_bard.pdf 153
elf_fighter.pdf 153
elf_sorcerer.pdf 151
dragonborn_warlock.pdf 142
elf_warlock.pdf 141
elf_bard.pdf 139
dwarf_ranger.pdf 138
dragonborn_monk.pdf 138
halfling_bard.pdf 137
tiefling_rogue.pdf 136
elf-sheet-front.pdf 136
human-sheet-front.pdf 135
dragonborn_cleric.pdf 135
half-orc_fighter.pdf 126
half-elf_rogue.pdf 125
dragonborn_wizard.pdf 124
gnome_rogue.pdf 123
elf_barbarian.pdf 122
elf_paladin.pdf 119
dragonborn_druid.pdf 118
dragonborn_ranger.pdf 116
halfling_barbarian.pdf 112
half-elf_warlock.pdf 107
dragonborn_rogue.pdf 106
gnome_barbarian.pdf 105
tiefling_sorcerer.pdf 105
dwarf_monk.pdf 104
half-elf_sorcerer.pdf 102
dwarf_rogue.pdf 101
dwarf_bard.pdf 99
dwarf_wizard.pdf 99
half-elf_cleric.pdf 99
dragonborn_bard.pdf 99
halfling_ranger.pdf 97
half-elf_paladin.pdf 96
half-orc-sheet-front.pdf 96
gnome_warlock.pdf 96
half-elf_druid.pdf 95
half-elf-sheet-front.pdf 95
gnome_sorcerer.pdf 93
dwarf_druid.pdf 93
human-sheet-back.pdf 92
gnome_druid.pdf 91
dwarf_warkock.pdf 91
halfling_cleric.pdf 90
half-elf_wizard.pdf 90
tiefling_bard.pdf 89
halfling_monk.pdf 87
gnome_bard.pdf 86
gnome_cleric.pdf 86
gnome_ranger.pdf 86
tiefling_druid.pdf 85
tiefling_barbarian.pdf 84
tiefling_paladin.pdf 84
dwarf_sorcerer.pdf 81
gnome_monk.pdf 80
halfling_fighter.pdf 75
tiefling_wizard.pdf 75
halfling_wizard.pdf 74
halfling_paladin.pdf 74
halfling_druid.pdf 74
half-orc_paladin.pdf 74
half-elf_monk.pdf 72
tiefling_monk.pdf 72
halfling_warlock.pdf 72
half-elf_fighter.pdf 70
tiefling_cleric.pdf 70
halfling_sorcerer.pdf 67
gnome_paladin.pdf 66
tiefling_fighter.pdf 65
gnome_fighter.pdf 63
half-orc_ranger.pdf 63
tiefling_ranger.pdf 62
half-orc_rogue.pdf 62
half-orc_wizard.pdf 56
half-elf_barbarian.pdf 53
half-orc_monk.pdf 53
half-orc_cleric.pdf 53
half-orc_warlock.pdf 52
half-orc_druid.pdf 50
half-orc_bard.pdf 48
half-orc_sorcerer.pdf 45

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