Dungeon Master Assistance

A place to share thoughts and ideas about Dungeons and Dragons

Tag Archives: D&D Next

D&D 5e – Animal Companion / Familiar Character Sheet

Fillable Animal Companion / Familiar Character Sheet for the 5th Edition of Dungeons and Dragons

Critter_SheetClick on the image above for a form you can print out and fill in by hand.

For a Fillable PDF version click here: 5.0 CRs – Animal Sheet – RRH – fillable

Enjoy!

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Threat creation using bounded accuracy

TrapThis is an expansion of an idea presented by the “Thinkerer GM” here: http://thinkerergm.wikispaces.com/Threat+creation+using+bounded+accuracy

He says: “This system allows to create a threat (monster, trap, etc) by extending the Difficulty Classes to apply it to other characteristics. ”

You can use these guidelines for monsters and traps that you can’t find in official sources, such as monsters that you are converting from an older module, or one of your own design.

Here is his table

Extended Difficulty Classes Table

Difficulty\Characteristic AC Attack
Bonus
HP Damage Save DC CR
Very Easy (DC 5) 8 +2 5 2 (1d4) 11 0
Easy (DC 10) 10 +3 10 4 (1d6) 12 1/4
Moderate (DC 15) 12 +4 20 8 (2d6+1) 13 1
Hard (DC 20) 14 +5 40 16 (2d10+5) 14 3
Very Hard (DC 25) 16 +6 80 32 (2d10+21) 15 5
Formidable (DC 30) 18 +7 160 64 (2d10+53) 16 7
Nearly Impossible (DC 35) 20 +8 320 128 (2d6+117) 17 9

 

This is the idea for Traps:
How hard is it to notice? [DC for WIS (Perception) check]
How hard is it to locate? [DC for INT (Investigation) check]
How hard is it to avoid? (If it is activated.) [Attack bonus]
How hard is it to deactivate? [DC for DEX (Disable device) check]
How hard is it to destroy? [Hit Points]
How hard is it to hit? (in the proper location or with enough force to cause it damage) [AC]
How hard is it to save against? (for poison and the like) [Save DC]
How hard is it to endure? [Damage]

Answer each of these questions with “very easy”, “easy”, “moderate”, “hard”, “very hard”, “formidable”, or “nearly impossible”, and look up the difficulty class table above.

Add all of the DC’s together and divide by 8 to get the average DC for the trap. Use this DC for the traps Challenge Rating (CR).

The idea is very similar for monsters:

How hard is it to detect? [DC for WIS (Perception) check]
How hard is it to avoid? [Attack bonus]
How hard is it to hit? [AC]
How hard is it to destroy? [Hit Points]
How hard is it to save against? (for poison or spells) [Save DC]
How hard is it to endure? [Damage]

Add all of the DC’s together and divide by 6 to get the average DC for the monster. Use this DC for determining the CR if the monster is encountered singly. Use the next higher DC for an encounter with two of these monsters. Increase the DC by one additional level for each doubling of the number of monsters in the encounter. For example, a DC 10 monster becomes DC 15 it there are two of them, DC 20 for 4, DC 25 for 8, etc.

For DCs above 35; For each additional level, increase the DC by 5 and increase the CR by 2.

When determining how hard it is to do these various things, you should be thinking about a single, 0 level commoner. This is what bounded accuracy is all about. Each activity is hard or easy regardless of the level of the characters attempting it. To determine how difficult an encounter this will be for your group use the CR and adjust for the number of PCs.

For Experience Points, you can use the XP values of similar CR monsters as a guide.

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D&D 5E – Quick Reference – Combat

Combat-main_FullThe combat rules for 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons are much simpler than previous editions. This is a quick reference guide to the new rules. Refer to the complete rules (which can be downloaded for free here) for more detailed information. This is my own interpretation of those rules. Refer to the DM notes at the end for my house rules.

Each round represents 6 seconds in the game world. Anything a person could reasonably do in 6 seconds, your character can do in 1 round.

Each round, during your turn, you can move and take one action.

• You don’t have to move, but if you choose to, you can move a distance up to your speed. You can move before or after you take an action, or you can move first, take an action, and then move again, as long as the total distance moved doesn’t exceed your speed.
• You don’t have to take an action during your turn, but if you choose to, you can attempt to do anything that could be accomplished in 6 seconds or less. The most common action taken in combat is the attack action. See below for a list of actions that can be performed in combat.
• If your action permits multiple attacks, you can move between attacks so long as you haven’t used all of your move distance based on your speed.
• Your move can include jumping onto or off of things, jumping over things, climbing walls or ropes, swinging on ropes or chandeliers, or moving in any way that your character is capable of such as swimming or flying for example.

You can interact with one object as part of either your move or your action.

You can manipulate the object in an uncomplicated way. Some examples include:
•    Draw or sheath a weapon
•    Draw Two One-Handed Weapons [You can normally draw only 1 weapon for free on your turn. Dual Wielder lets you draw 2.]
•    Transfer an item from one hand to the other
•    Load a crossbow
•    Retrieve or put away a stored item*
•    Pick up an item
•    Move an object
•    Open a chest
•    Open a door
* You may only retrieve an item if it was stowed for easy access. If you must dig through your backpack to find something inside, it may require use of an action to retrieve it.
Doing more than one of these things requires the use of an action.

As part of your move or your action, you can do things that take little or no time and don’t interfere with your movement.

These activities take very little time, though there may be limits to the number you can perform in a turn. Examples include:
•    Drawing ammunition for use with a ranged weapon (such as arrows, bolts, sling bullets, or shuriken).
•    Dropping an item to your feet or within 5 feet of your current location.
•    Dropping to a prone position. (Standing up from prone, however, takes half of your movement for the turn.)
•    Speaking (you can always speak, even when it isn’t your turn – within reason.)

You may be able to take an additional, bonus action.

• A special ability, spell, or other feature of the game may allow you to do something as a bonus action. You are only allowed one bonus action in a round.
•    Example: If you have a short sword in one hand and dagger in the other, after using your action to attack with the sword, you can use a bonus action to attack with the dagger (refer to the rules on two-weapon fighting.)

You are allowed one reaction each round.

A reaction is an action that is triggered by an external event.

• A special ability, spell, or other feature of the game may allow you to react to a specific triggering event.
• If an opponent attempts to move past you or attacks you and then attempts to move away, you get a free swing at him. This is called an opportunity attack, and it is the most common reaction.
• Another example would be a wizard’s feather fall spell that is triggered when the wizard is pushed over a cliff, or steps into a pit trap.
• Your reaction does not have to occur during your turn, but can occur at any time during the round. If it occurs during another’s turn, his turn is suspended until your reaction is resolved.

Surprise

If surprised, you lose your turn for the first round of combat. This includes loosing use of any reaction for one round, measured from the beginning of combat until the start of your turn on round two.

Actions in Combat

During your turn in a combat round, you can perform any one of the following actions.

Attack

You can make one melee or ranged attack. Some features may allow you to make more than one attack with this action.

Cast a Spell

You can cast any spell that you are capable of casting that has a listed casting time of one action.

Note regarding components: Retrieving the required material (M) component from a pocket or pouch is included in the “Cast a Spell” action. If the spell also has a somatic (S) component, you can perform the required hand gestures while holding the material component in that same hand. Therefore, if you are holding two weapons, or a weapon and a shield, at the beginning of your turn, you can sheath one weapon (refer to “interact with one object” above) and then draw the material component and cast the spell all in the same round. [A material component is not consumed with the casting of the spell, unless the spell description specifically says that it is.]

Dash

Rather than performing any other action, you spend the entire round moving. This allows you to move twice as far this round. It is effectively a double move action.

Disengage

If you start the round within 5 feet of an opponent that can see you, you can use this action to move away from him without provoking an opportunity attack.

Dodge

This is a total defense action. You spend the round trying to avoid being hit. Until the start of your next turn, any attack roll made against you has disadvantage if you can see the attacker, and you make Dexterity saving throws with advantage.

Help

You can use your action to help an ally attack an opponent within 5 feet of you. You don’t make an attack yourself, but when your friend attacks, his first attack roll is made with advantage.
Or you can help him with any other task. If you are in position to do so, and your assistance could reasonably be seen to be of help, he will gain advantage on his ability check to accomplish the task.

Hide

The act of hiding requires an action to attempt. You must make a Dexterity (Stealth) check to see if you successfully hide from your opponents.
Additional information regarding the hide action here: Stealth and Hiding

Ready

Rather than taking and action during your turn, you wait for some specific event and then take your action as a reaction. You can still move up to the distance indicated by your move rate, but you can take no other action this round. You must specify two things –
1) What the triggering event will be.
This can be anything you think might happen that you can observe. If the event occurs before the start of your turn on the next round you can perform your readied action at that time. Some examples could be: If the sniper sticks his head up, If more Orcs come around the corner, If the rope brakes, If the water level rises, If the evil magic user starts to cast a spell, If the guard spots the thief, If the prisoner attempts to escape.
2) What action you will take.
This can be any of the combat actions.
Note that this action will be a reaction and you can only have one reaction per round. This means that if you take another reaction, you lose your readied action. Conversely, if you use your readied action you can have no other reactions this round.
• If the triggering event occurs, you can choose to not take your readied action.
• If you choose Dash as a readied action, you can move up to your move rate.
• If you choose Cast a Spell as a readied action, you cast the spell during your turn but hold off on releasing the energy of the spell until the triggering event occurs. You must concentrate to hold the spell’s energy. Anything that breaks your concentration before the final release of the spell’s energy results in the loss of the spell. If the triggering event doesn’t occur this round, you can continue to hold the spell with continued concentration into the following round, or you can cast it as an action on your next turn, or you can lose it.

Search

You can use your action to attempt to find something. The DM might require you to make a Wisdom (Perception) check or an Intelligence (Investigation) check.

Use an Object

An object may require an action for you to use it, or you may need to use this action to interact with more than one object in a round.

Improvised Action

There are many more things that a combatant could do during a round than can be accounted for in the above actions. When you want to attempt something that is not covered by any of the above actions, you can use an improvised action.

Examples of an improvised action:

“I want to pull the rug out from under that guy.”
“I want to jump on the monster and attack him with my sword while I ride on to his back.”
“I want to talk them into surrendering.”
“I want to break that flask the bad guy is holding.” (attack an object)
“I want to slide down the stairs on my shield while I fire arrows at the enemy.”
“I want to intimidate then into running away.”
“I want to grab that piece of folded parchment that is sticking out of his vest pocket.”
“I want to slide under the table and stab that guy in his ankle with my dagger.”
“I want to sheath my sword and walk up to that guy and tweak his nose.”
“I want to hit that rope with my arrow in such a way as to cut the rope and let the body that is hanging from it fall to the ground.”
“I want to disarm my opponent.” (This could be a called shot to the hand, shattering an opponent’s weapon, severing a spear shaft, entangling a sword arm, or using the flat of a blade to smack a weapon from an enemy’s hand.)
“I want to push him into the pit.” (Use the rules for “Shoving a Creature” – this could include shield bashes, tackles, bull rushes, overruns, tables hurled into enemies, doors smashed into opponents on the other side, and so on. Generally speaking, this could be any attempt to use brute strength to move an opponent. Any attempt to shove creatures off a nearby cliff, through a railing, out a chapel’s stained-glass window, and so on will allow the creature a dexterity save.)
“I want to trip that guy.” (This could be any attempt to knock an enemy off its feet. Whether it’s hooking an enemy’s leg, stabbing a kneecap, knocking an opponent off-balance, hurling an enemy away, sweeping an enemy’s legs, or some other maneuver, this improvised action would allow the warrior to knock an enemy prone.)

The following rules apply to improvised actions:
1. You must explain the improvised action to the DM. The DM may rule that what you want to do will require more than one round, or that it is simply impossible (you can’t fire an arrow into the sky and hit the moon). He may ask you to be more specific regarding the action you want to take and how the action will achieve the results you want.
2. The improvised action can also include all or part of your move. Successfully jumping on – or diving into a creature will give you advantage on the attack roll. A failed attempt results in your move stopping at the point there the attack takes place and may grant your opponent an advantage on his next attack against you.
3. To perform the improvised action the DM will normally have you make an ability check. The DM will assign an appropriate difficulty class and will explain possible consequences if the attempted action fails. For example, if you attempt to jump off of the balcony onto the monster in the center of the room and miss you may end up prone.

Most improvised actions can be resolved as simple contests.
Player: “I want to try to [describes some form of physical contest other than an attack roll].”
DM: “Okay, make a Strength (Athletics) check.”
DM compares result to opponent’s Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check, perhaps giving someone advantage or disadvantage.

DM Notes: Some of the information above deviates somewhat from the official rules. You can consider these to be my House Rules.
Retrieving a stored Item – This should only be allowed as part of your move or action if you don’t have to dig through your backpack to find it.
Speaking – Should be allowed at any time
Disengage – I will only allow this action if you are currently engaged in combat and want to withdraw without provoking an opportunity attack.
Help – It only makes logical sense to be able to help another if there is some action that you could take that might possibly be of help to him.
Improvised action – I got rather wordy here, but I think these should be encouraged.

D&D 5E – Character Sheet

Sheets

Download the newest Autofill version HERE

Download this fillable character sheet here:  5.0 CRs – Character Sheet – RRH-fillable – Rev1

Here are some ready-to-play first level character sheets: D&D 5E – Quick Play Character Sheets

I really like the new fifth edition rules, but I am not a big fan of the character sheet provided by Wizards of the Coasts in The Basic Rules for Dungeons and Dragons, so I created my own. I found several others that fans have created, but I don’t care for them much either.

This has everything the player needs for combat on the front or first page and everything else on the back or second page. There is a third sheet for spell casters.

Revision:

I revised the file somewhat. I added lifestyle expenses to the second page and made a few other minor changes. It fills in the current date and calculates ability modifiers. You can click on the date and change it. If you delete the date it fills in with the current date. If you don’t want any date printed, you can delete the date and add a space. I also added a “Clear” button on the first page. It doesn’t print, but be careful with it because it clears all of the information you have added to all three pages. I purposefully did not calculate any skill or saving throw bonuses. Typically, your skill bonuses will be your ability modifier. Put a check mark in the little box next to a skill if you are proficient in that skill and add your proficiency bonus to your ability modifier. I didn’t calculate this, because there are situations where some characters have a larger bonus than this.
Many thanks to George Karas for his help and suggestions. He felt that the spell list needed more room for more lengthy spell descriptions. For simplicity sake, I decided not to do that. My feeling is that if you want a more complete spell description you could copy the descriptions onto cards (that is what I would do) or add another sheet.
The border is wider on the left on page 1 and on the right on page 2. The reason for this is for those of you that want to print your character sheet on two sides of a single sheet of paper. There should be a wide enough border that you can punch holes on the side to put it into a three ring binder.

D&D 5.0 – Weight of Standard Equipment Packs

Nodwick

The Basic Rules for Dungeons and Dragons are available as a free pdf download from Wizards of the Coasts. If you don’t have yours yet they are available here. I am very excited about these and will post a full review later. For now, here is something I hope you will find helpful.

The rules for encumbrance is a variant. However, if you choose to use them it would help if the weight of the various equipment packs were listed in the D&D Basic Rules. I have added up the weight of each of the individual items in each pack and have listed them here. These weights assume a full waterskin, for the packs that contain one. You can subtract 5 lb. for an empty waterskin.

Just out of curiosity, I also added up the cost of the packs if the items were purchased separately. It turns out that most of them really are a bargain, so if you like most of the items they contain, you may as well go with a pack.

Burglar’s Pack (16 gp): Total Weight 46.5 lb (Over 21 gp. if purchased separately.)

Diplomat’s Pack (39 gp): Total Weight 46 lb (Slightly over 39 gp. if purchased separately.)

Dungeoneer’s Pack (12 gp): Total Weight 61.5 lb (Over 17 gp. if purchased separately.)

Entertainer’s Pack (40 gp): Total Weight 38 lb (Over 63 gp. if purchased separately.)

Explorer’s Pack (10 gp): Total Weight 59 lb (Same cost of 10 gp. if purchased separately.)

Priest’s Pack (19 gp): Total Weight 25 lb (Over 27 gp. if purchased separately.)
The Priest’s Pack contains items that are not listed for purchase separately. Here are the values I used.
alms box, [a well-made small wooden box about 1 gp and 1 lb.]
2 blocks of incense, [2 smaller blocks of cheap incense should cost about 1 gp, the weight is negligible]
censer, [a light weight brass censer and chain should be about the same as a holy symbol 5 gp 1 lb]
vestments, [Fine clothes cost 15 gp and weigh 6 lb. so we can use that]

Scholar’s Pack (40 gp): Total Weight 11 lb (Cost of a little over 40 gp. if purchased separately.)
This assumes a small knife cost 2 gold pieces and a little bag of sand is 1 lb.

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5th Edition D&D – For Free

Dragon_5th

I am very pleased, and presently surprised, at Wizards of the Coast releasing the core rules for 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons as a free PDF download. They are calling this “Basic Rules for D&D” and it is scheduled for release on July 3, the same day as the release of the Starter Set.

Mike Mearls said on “Legends & Lore” today, “For the D&D basic rules, our initial release will include character creation. It features the human, elf, dwarf, and halfling for races, along with the cleric, fighter, rogue, and wizard classes, all from 1st level to 20th level. As the Monster Manual and Dungeon Master’s Guide near completion, we’ll add to the basic rules with more material to grow it into a complete game. Our goal is to continue to make updates to the basic rules for D&D until the end of the year, at which point it will be feature complete.” (Read “A Bit More on the Basic Rules for D&D” here.)

So we will have to wait until the end of the year for the full version that will include more monsters and more information on running your own campaign.  I can hardly wait to download this.

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Time Travel – for D&D Next

Download a free copy of Time Travel for D&D [ here].

This is a complete re-write of the Time Travel supplement to third edition Dungeons & Dragons that I published [here] in 2012. This completely abandons those rules in preference to these new simplified rules and brings them in line with D&D Next (the current playtest version of v5.0). You can use these rules with v3.5 with a little adjustment.

Consider this an interim version of these rules. I will make any needed tweaks to them and re-publish them when the official v5.0 rules are published.

I got a lot of good information from “Chronomancer” published by TSR in 1995. I am using it’s concept of Temporal Prime as a tool for time travel. I also used some of the spells presented there, with a little modification.

As always, all comments are welcome.

Enjoy!

Mass Combat Rules – for D&D Next

Download a free copy of D&D Wsrs for D&D Next here [D&D Wars Next].

This is a complete re-write of the D&D Wars supplement to third edition Dungeons & Dragons that I published here[D&D Wars] in 2012. This re-write simplifies those rules and brings them in line with D&D Next (the current playtest version of v5.0). You can use these rules with v3.5 with little or no adjustments.

Consider this an interim version of these rules. I will make any needed tweaks to them and re-publish them when the official v5.0 rules are published.

As always, all comments are welcome.

Enjoy!

Addendum: On page 13, it says” For every 10 points healed, a counter is added back to the unit.” That should instead say “A counter is added back to the unit every time the number of hit points healed is equal to the maximum number of hit points in one counter.”

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Winged Fiend – A New D&D Next monster

I  created this monster for my Fires of Hell module. It is included in the module but I thought that I would also post it here. You can send in a LOT of these little guys to give your players a hard time. Individually they are laughably easy to kill and do a tiny amount of damage, but in large groups they can be quite nasty.It helps if you have a lot of 20 sided dice (I know that I do). Once you figure what you must role to hit, roil your handful if to-hit dice (up to 16 Wing Fiends can attack a single opponent) but you don’t have to roil damage because each hit inflicts only one point of damage.  I had to add a smaller size category to those included in the play test rules.

Enjoy!

New Module – “Fires of Hell” for D&D Next

Download a free copy of this adventure here [Fires_of_Hell-Nextl].

This is a complete re-write of the module I posted last year. I updated the entire module to work with D&D Next rules. It also includes converted monster specs – on new color reference sheets.

This  adventure (like the 3.5 version) takes place after a Total Party Kill (TPK).  I modified an old AD&D adventure (The Fires of Dis) to accommodate a group of DEAD PCs to earn a second chance by fighting their way through the first layer of Hell to retrieve a stolen artifact.