Dungeon Master Assistance

A place to share thoughts and ideas about Dungeons and Dragons

Tag Archives: Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition

D&D5E – Character Sheet [rev7]

7 Page Character Sheet

Download your free copy here.

I cleaned up my 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons auto-fill Character Sheet and added some pages. I received comments that there wasn’t enough room on the old sheets to enter all of the needed information.
The original 4 pages haven’t changed much, other than adding room for a few magic items and for spell descriptions. I added a full sheet for more spells and their descriptions. There is also a sheet for Traits, Feats and Features. And another one for Magic Items.

The biggest addition is below:

Class Feature Sheets

One page for each sub-class for each of the classes in the Player’s Handbook.

I created these for an easier way for the players to remember their class features/abilities without having to write everything down. You can print off a sheet for each sub class so you don’t have to try and remember all the features or fill in your character sheet with features when it eventually becomes overloaded.

Barbarian (includes Berserker an Totem Warrior)
Bard (includes Colleges of Lore and Valor)
Cleric (includes the Domains of Knowledge, Life, Nature, Tempest, Trickery and War)
Druid (includes the Circles of the Land and the Moon)
Fighter (includes Battle Master, Champion and Eldritch Knight)
Monk (includes Ways of Shadow, the Four Elements and the Open Hand)
Paladin (includes Oaths of Devotion, the Ancients and Vengeance)
Ranger (includes Beast Master and Hunter)
Rogue (includes Arcane Trickster, Assassin and Thief)
Sorcerer (includes Draconic Bloodline and Wild Magic)
Warlock (includes the Archfey, the Fiend and the Great Old One Patrons)
Wizard (Includes the Schools Adjuration, Conjuration, Divination, Enchantment, Evocation, Illusion, Necromancy and Transmutation)

Download your free copies by clicking on the links above.

Each pdf file contains a separate page for each of the sub classes. For the sub classes that don’t require a full sheet, I included spaces for you to add information for more traits, feats or features.

The information on these sheets is intended as a reminder of the major effects of each of the features. As such, the feature descriptions are abbreviated. Please refer to the Player’s Handbook for the full descriptions. One abbreviation I should explain – When it says (1/rest), that indicates that it can be used one time between a long or short rest. (1/long rest) is one per long rest.

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DM Tips

How to be a Better Dungeon Master

Having just finished one campaign and preparing to start another one, I felt that it was time to review my weaknesses as a Dungeon Master. Thanks to an excellent post on “The Angry GM” site, and a candid review of my own DM style by Tim, a former player, I have compiled this list that I intend to re-read before and after each gaming session.

BE PREPARED!

1) Pre-read enough to make the game day run smoothly.
2) Have figures set aside for upcoming encounters.
3) Have monster stats printed out for the inevitable encounter.

RUNNING THE GAME

Running a D&D game is a storytelling craft on top of die rolls, which makes the DM chair the most difficult but often most entertaining of the game.

There’s two aspects of the game to manage, the character experience, and the player experience.  All the players need their characters to have their moment to shine.

Provide variety in how NPCs/monsters interact with PCs.  The encounters need not always be a fight to the death.

Always appeal to the players’ sense of sight, smell, touch, taste, and sound when narrating.

RUNNING COMBAT

TRANSITIONS

Begin and end each players turn with narration.

Each turn follows a simple process.

  1. The GM Transitions Into the Players’ Turn
  2. The Player Asks a Question or Declares an Action
  3. The Action is Resolved
  4. The GM Describes and Applies the Results
  5. The GM Transitions Out of the Players’ Turn

After every transition you need a bit of scene setting. Even if it’s just a single sentence. In fact, that’s all it should be. At the start of every turn in combat, you should say a few words (and NO MORE) about what’s going on in the scene right now, specifically to the person whose turn it is. Even if all you do is remind the player of what just happened.

The transitions out of one turn and into another meld together. The resolution of one action sets the scene for the next.

Create Urgency

As a GM, it’s your job to bring the combat to life. To make it feel like an emergency, like a life or death situation.

At the start of every player’s turn, you need to point out where they are and what emergency is happening right now, either to them, or right near them.

Create Exigency

In a life-or-death battle, the proper feeling for a player is near-panic. Players should feel panicked and rushed in combat because the characters are panicked and rushed in combat. When it is a player’s turn, they need to begin speaking immediately. And if not, you need to prompt them.

“What do you do? You need to decide or you’ll lose the turn to indecision.” Assume they take the Dodge action (attacks against him have disadvantage).

A GOOD EXAMPLE

GM: Alice, four goblins are charging the party. What do you do?”
Alice: I’ll run up and hit the goblin with my mace. 15.
GM: Damage?
Alice: 6 bludgeoning damage.
GM: You charge the goblin and smash it with your mace, bringing it to a stop. It’s allies are hesitating. Bob, you’ve got an opening…

…..

GM: The goblin leaps aside, dodging your axe. He tries to dart past you to close with Dave. You get an opportunity attack. Roll it.
Bob: 11.
GM: The goblin dodges that too and dashes forward, lunging at Dave with his shortsword. Dave, what’s your AC?
Dave: 13.
GM: Ouch. He stabs you in the side for 6 piercing damage, sending you stumbling backwards while the other two goblins draw to a stop and face Alice and Bob head on. Alice, the goblin recovers his breath from your blow and thrusts his shortsword. A crit! You take 12 damage.
Alice: Damn it! I’m really hurt!
GM: The other goblin closes with Bob as he’s trying to stop the one getting past him. But… Bob sees him coming and dodges the blow. That’s a miss.
Bob: Phew.
GM: The goblins range themselves in front of Alice and Bob while a third goblin is ready to strike another blow at Dave. Carol, they seem to be ignoring you. What do you?

D&D 5E – Fillable Spell Cards – by class

Fillable Spell Cards w/ Backs

Each class is on a separate PDF file – download for free here:

Generic  Bard  Cleric  Druid  Paladin  Ranger  Sorcerer  Warlock  Wizard

Enjoy!

D&D 5E – Nautical Adventures – Italian

Viaggi, Avventure, Abbordaggi e Combattimenti tra le onde dei sette mari
(Travel, Adventures, Boardings and Fighting between the waves of the Seven Seas)

You can get your free copy of this here: http://homebrewery.naturalcrit.com/share/BJL8XcjyZ

Luke translated my D&D 5E – Nautical Adventures into Italian and created this amazing version. It is an excellent example of what can be done with the homebrewery site. http://homebrewery.naturalcrit.com/

 

D&D 5E – Simplified Rules

5.0-EZ

Download your free copy here.

I just updated the pdf file. The main change is in the explanation of how spellcasting works. This new file name is 5-0-ez4.pdf

If you sometimes feel that the fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons rules are too complicated, this is for you. I created this set of house rules to simplify character creation and advancement among other things. It also introduces a whole new way to select and track the casting of magic spells.
One thing I tried very hard to do was keep the characters levels and power as close as possible to the Player’s Handbook characters so that if you play using these rules, you can still use published 5th edition adventures, and the monsters will require little or no modifications.

Here is what is on the EZ character sheet.

D&D 5E – Schools of Magic

Schools of Magic

Here is a cheat sheet for when a PC uses an identify spell on a magical item in your dungeon. You know what it does, but when they ask what school of magic it is, do you know? Remember that some magic, such as some potions, aren’t associated with any school.

Abjuration “Protectin’ stuff” (Abjure: to renounce)

They create magical barriers, negate harmful effects, harm trespassers, or banish creatures to other planes.

Examples: Alarm, Protection from Evil and Good, Arcane Lock, Glyph of Warding

 

Conjuration “Makin’ stuff” (Conjure: to create)

Spells involve the transportation of objects and creatures from one location to another. Some spells summon creatures or objects to the caster’s side, whereas others allow the caster to teleport to another location. Some conjurations create objects or effects out of nothing.

Examples: Entangle, Fog Cloud, Dimension Door, Cloudkill, Teleport, Wish

 

Divination “Knowin’ stuff” (Divine: discover or learn)

Spells reveal information.

Examples: Identify, Speak with Animals, Detect Thoughts, See Invisibility, Scrying

 

Enchantment “Convincin’ stuff” (Enchant: to cause someone to act in a way it usually wouldn’t)

Spells affect the minds of others, influencing or controlling their behavior.

Examples: Charm Person, Sleep, Hold Person, Zone of Truth, Power Word Kill

 

Evocation “Makin’ energy stuff” (Evoke: cause an effect)

Spells manipulate magical energy to produce a desired effect. Some call up blasts of fire or lightning. Others channel positive energy to heal wounds.

Examples: Fire Bolt, Light, Cure Wounds, Heal, Magic Missile, Spiritual Weapon, Earthquake, Telepathy

 

Illusion “Trickin’ stuff” (Illusion: a deception)

Spells deceive the senses or minds of others.

Examples: Invisibility, Magic Mouth, Simulacrum

 

Necromancy “Dead stuff” (Necro: death)

Spells manipulate the energies of life and death. Such spells can grant an extra reserve of life force, drain the life energy from another creature, create the undead, or even bring the dead back to life.

Examples: Chill Touch, Spare the Dying, False Life, Blindness/Deafness, Gentle Repose, Resurrection

 

Transmutation “Changin’ stuff” (Transmute: to change)

Spells change the properties of a creature, object, or environment. They might turn an enemy into a harmless creature, bolster the strength of an ally, make an object move at the caster’s command, or enhance a creature’s innate healing abilities to rapidly recover from injury.

Example: Mending, Prestidigitation, Darkvision, Knock, Polymorph, Time Stop

 

D&D 5E – The Nature of Magic

What is Magic? How does it work?

I was trying to figure out how (in 4th and 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons) a character could learn all there was to know about a magic item by simply examining it for an hour. This wasn’t possible in earlier editions. You could only learn about an item by trial and error or by some magical means. It is only now coming up because I never played 4th edition, and this is the first time I have been the DM running a 5th edition game.

After a lot of research (Google is my friend) I finely came to the realization that the nature of magic has changed. To make logical sense out of it all (assuming you can apply logic to the rules of magic in a fantasy game), this is what I came up with.

Nothing below is official. It simply represents my ideas and house rules.

The Source of Magic

Behind reality as the player-characters know it, there is a sort of internal “skeleton”, over which reality exists like skin atop muscle and bone. This “skeleton” can best be envisioned as an unseen essence that pervades all parts of the multiverse, directly linking everything to every other thing. This is the source of all magic. When you cast a spell, you actually create a specific alteration in the local essence, which then causes the spell effect you wanted in the ‘real’ world. Some call this essence “Mana”. In the Forgotten Realms it is called the “Weave”. If the Weave in an area is damaged or destroyed, magic is unreliable or impossible – that’s what creates Wild Magic and Dead Magic zones in the Realms.

All the physical laws of the universe are simply reflections of the true, background laws that govern this universal essence. The average person can only perceive normal reality, but some creatures are born with the ability to sense the universal essence.

All magic-using beings share an innate ability to manipulate the essence. Likewise, almost all those “gifted” with these abilities must receive training in arcane (wizardly) or divine (clerical) magic in order to learn how to manipulate the essence with finesse.

Bards learn that words and music are not just vibrations of air, but vocalizations with power all their own. They learn to untangle and reshape the essence in harmony with their wishes and music.

Clerics and Paladins are conduits for Divine magic, the power of the gods. Divine casting is done by channeling the essence provided by their deities and forming spells out of that.

Druids and Rangers revere nature above all, and can draw essence from the land, gaining their spells and other magical powers either from the essence that flows through nature itself or from a nature deity.

Monks make careful study of the essence that flows through living bodies. Most monastic traditions call this ki.

Sorcerers learn to harness and channel their own inborn magical abilities. They gather the essence to them from force of will.

Warlocks receive their magical abilities from a pact they made with an otherworldly being. This is similar to the way gods channel essence through divine casters.

Wizards create elaborate mental structures within the mazes of their own minds, traps which funnel magical essence like a roof collects rainwater for a barrel, stored and ready to be used over the course of a day.

Detecting Magic

This magical substructure to the universe, this unseen essence, can be manipulated by users of magic. It can sometimes be concentrated and placed inside a creature or object. Examples would include casting a spell on a creature to make it resistant to fire, or creating a ring of protection. These magic infused creatures or items emit a type of magical radiation. A creature with the ability to sense the universal essence can detect this magical glow, but it is invisible to all others without some magical way to detect it.

The “Detect Magic” spell:

Magical radiation is similar to light in that it is dimmer the farther you are from it. It can pass through most objects, but is blocked from most forms of detection by 1 foot of stone, 1 inch of common metal, a thin sheet of lead, or 3 feet of wood or dirt. For the magic radiation to be strong enough to be detected by the “detect magic” spell, you must be within 30 feet of the magic creature or item. If you sense magic in this way, you sense the presence of magic, but can’t determine in which direction, or how far away the magic item is. Anytime during the duration of the “detect magic” spell, you can take an action to see if there are any specific items or creatures within sight that you can identify as magical. You will see a faint aura around any visible creature or object in the area that bears magic. If you don’t see an aura around anything, then the magic that you sense must be out of sight. It could be one or more items or creatures that are invisible or hidden. For instance, they could be behind a door or in a box or under a secret panel in the floor.  If you do not see it, you do not see the aura. This also means you cannot use this to locate invisible creatures or objects. Any aura detected can only be seen by the spellcaster. The color of the aura corresponds to the object’s school of magic. If the item has no particular school then the aura has no color. The brightness of the aura indicates the relative strength of the magic.

Unless the magic item is invisible, you can see it if it is within range but behind a transparent barrier, such as glass. You also perceive its magical aura. This includes potions that are in glass bottles. If the potion is in a container that is not see-through you will not see the aura unless you remove the cap and look directly at the potion.

Identifying Magic

If you were to touch a creature that possesses magic, you would not typically feel the magic. But if you were to hold a magic item for a few seconds (a round), you would feel the magical radiation generated by the item effecting your body and/or your mind in some way. The sensation will differ depending on the magic contained within the item. If you continue to hold the item and concentrate on it for a short rest, “At the end of the rest, the character learns the item’s properties, as well as how to use them.”

“Potions are an exception; a little taste is enough to tell the taster what the potion does.” You can’t hold a potion in your hand. The bottle isn’t magical, just the liquid it contains. You could stick your finger into it, and leave it there for an hour, but a drop on your tongue is much faster. A taste is not enough to receive the effects of the potion. If it is poison, a taste is not enough to do harm to the taster. When tasting it, the magic of the potion enters your body and instantly reveals its nature.

Magic items want you to know their properties! The magic is alive! Or, rather, it contains a life force. All life has magic flowing through it to some degree, and all magic has some degree of life flowing through it. This explains why some powerful magical items possess sentience. The item’s creator forced so much magical essence into the item that it became sentient. This also explains why magical essence tends to be attracted to living creatures (and sometimes to dead creatures). And why magic can create or destroy life.

The Identify Spell

This spell makes you more receptive to the magical essence of the item. To identify the magic in an object with this spell, you must remain in physical contact with it for at least 1 minute. “If it is a magic item or some other magic-imbued object, you learn its properties and how to use them” (That much is the same as you can get from examination alone. But with the spell you also learn) “, whether it requires attunement to use, and how many charges it has, if any. You learn whether any spells are affecting the item and what they are. If the item was created by a spell, you learn which spell created it.”

To use this spell to identify a potion still requires one minute, but you must come into physical contact with the potion, not just the bottle it is in. A drop on your tongue or on any spot on your exposed flesh is enough.

The identify spell won’t trigger a curse, but it also doesn’t tell you if an item is cursed. There is no easy way to know if an item is cursed except by trial and error. Even the legend lore spell may only hint that it may be cursed. The curse on an item may cause you to misidentify it.

D&D 5E – Falling Times & Distance

How fast do you fall from heights?

The PHB says you get 1d6 points damage from a fall of 10ft + 1d6 additional damage for each 10 feet if fall after that, to a maximum of 20d6. (See my post on falling damage.) But if you are falling from a  great height, you may have a few rounds to do things during the fall. So the question is, how long does it take me to hit the ground? The DM usually knows how far you will fall. Any fall of less than 500 ft will take less than one round. You can use these tables to determine how long it takes to fall greater distances.

In Stable Free Fall Position (lying belly-to-the-earth)

Rounds Total Distance
1 500 ft
2 1,500 ft
3 2,500 ft
4 3,500 ft
5 4,500 ft
6 5,500 ft (A little more than a mile)

each round thereafter you fall another 1,000 ft.

-or- five rounds for each additional mile

 

Uncontrolled fall or if you are attempting to go faster by taking a more aerodynamic, diving position.

Rounds Total Distance
1 500 ft
2 2,500 ft
3 4,000 ft
4 5,500 ft (A little more than a mile)

each round thereafter you fall another 1,500  ft.

-or- four rounds for each additional mile

 

Gliding

You can’t glide if you are uncontrolled, or attempting to fall faster. You also can’t glide if you fall less than 500 feet. But if you fall more than 500 feet, and you are in Stable Free Fall Position your maximum a glide ratio is 1:1 (or 1:2 if wearing a wingsuit) which means that you could glide a maximum of one foot for each foot falling. (Or a maximum of two feet for each foot falling if wearing a wingsuit.)

D&D 5E – Abilities Explained

I found this online a while back. Thought I would share.

D&D Stats Explained

  • Strength
    • 1 (–5): Morbidly weak, has significant trouble lifting own limbs
    • 2-3 (–4): Needs help to stand, can be knocked over by strong breezes
    • 4-5 (–3): Knocked off balance by swinging something dense
    • 6-7 (–2): Difficulty pushing an object of their weight
    • 8-9 (–1): Has trouble even lifting heavy objects
    • 10-11 (0): Can literally pull their own weight
    • 12-13 (1): Carries heavy objects for short distances
    • 14-15 (2): Visibly toned, throws small objects for long distances
    • 16-17 (3): Carries heavy objects with one arm
    • 18-19 (4): Can break objects like wood with bare hands
    • 20-21 (5): Able to out-wrestle a work animal or catch a falling person
    • 22-23 (6): Can pull very heavy objects at appreciable speeds
    • 24-25 (7): Pinnacle of brawn, able to out-lift several people
  • Dexterity
    • 1 (–5): Barely mobile, probably significantly paralyzed
    • 2-3 (–4): Incapable of moving without noticeable effort or pain
    • 4-5 (–3): Visible paralysis or physical difficulty
    • 6-7 (–2): Significant klutz or very slow to react
    • 8-9 (–1): Somewhat slow, occasionally trips over own feet
    • 10-11 (0): Capable of usually catching a small tossed object
    • 12-13 (1): Able to often hit large targets
    • 14-15 (2): Can catch or dodge a medium-speed surprise projectile
    • 16-17 (3): Able to often hit small targets
    • 18-19 (4): Light on feet, able to often hit small moving targets
    • 20-21 (5): Graceful, able to flow from one action into another easily
    • 22-23 (6): Very graceful, capable of dodging a number of thrown objects
    • 24-25 (7): Moves like water, reacting to all situations with almost no effort
  • Constitution
    • 1 (–5): Minimal immune system, body reacts violently to anything foreign
    • 2-3 (–4): Frail, suffers frequent broken bones
    • 4-5 (–3): Bruises very easily, knocked out by a light punch
    • 6-7 (–2): Unusually prone to disease and infection
    • 8-9 (–1): Easily winded, incapable of a full day’s hard labor
    • 10-11 (0): Occasionally contracts mild sicknesses
    • 12-13 (1): Can take a few hits before being knocked unconscious
    • 14-15 (2): Able to labor for twelve hours most days
    • 16-17 (3): Easily shrugs off most illnesses
    • 18-19 (4): Able to stay awake for days on end
    • 20-21 (5): Very difficult to wear down, almost never feels fatigue
    • 22-23 (6): Never gets sick, even to the most virulent diseases
    • 24-25 (7): Tireless paragon of physical endurance
  • Intelligence
    • 1 (–5): Animalistic, no longer capable of logic or reason
    • 2-3 (–4): Barely able to function, very limited speech and knowledge
    • 4-5 (–3): Often resorts to charades to express thoughts
    • 6-7 (–2): Often misuses and mispronounces words
    • 8-9 (–1): Has trouble following trains of thought, forgets most unimportant things
    • 10-11 (0): Knows what they need to know to get by
    • 12-13 (1): Knows a bit more than is necessary, fairly logical
    • 14-15 (2): Able to do math or solve logic puzzles mentally with reasonable accuracy
    • 16-17 (3): Fairly intelligent, able to understand new tasks quickly
    • 18-19 (4): Very intelligent, may invent new processes or uses for knowledge
    • 20-21 (5): Highly knowledgeable, probably the smartest person many people know
    • 22-23 (6): Able to make Holmesian leaps of logic
    • 24-25 (7): Famous as a sage and genius
  • Wisdom
    • 1 (–5): Seemingly incapable of thought, barely aware
    • 2-3 (–4): Rarely notices important or prominent items, people, or occurrences
    • 4-5 (–3): Seemingly incapable of forethought
    • 6-7 (–2): Often fails to exert common sense
    • 8-9 (–1): Forgets or opts not to consider options before taking action
    • 10-11 (0): Makes reasoned decisions most of the time
    • 12-13 (1): Able to tell when a person is upset
    • 14-15 (2): Can get hunches about a situation that doesn’t feel right
    • 16-17 (3): Reads people and situations fairly well
    • 18-19 (4): Often used as a source of wisdom or decider of actions
    • 20-21 (5): Reads people and situations very well, almost unconsciously
    • 22-23 (6): Can tell minute differences among many situations
    • 24-25 (7): Nearly prescient, able to reason far beyond logic
  • Charisma
    • 1 (–5): Barely conscious, probably acts heavily autistic
    • 2-3 (–4): Minimal independent thought, relies heavily on others to think instead
    • 4-5 (–3): Has trouble thinking of others as people
    • 6-7 (–2): Terribly reticent, uninteresting, or rude
    • 8-9 (–1): Something of a bore or makes people mildly uncomfortable
    • 10-11 (0): Capable of polite conversation
    • 12-13 (1): Mildly interesting, knows what to say to the right people
    • 14-15 (2): Interesting, knows what to say to most people
    • 16-17 (3): Popular, receives greetings and conversations on the street
    • 18-19 (4): Immediately likeable by many people, subject of favorable talk
    • 20-21 (5): Life of the party, able to keep people entertained for hours
    • 22-23 (6): Immediately likeable by almost everybody
    • 24-25 (7): Renowned for wit, personality, and/or looks

D&D 5E – Weight of Bolders

I found this on-line (I forget where). Thought I would share.  [If you know who created the original, please let me know so I can credit them.]