Saturday, 21 February 2015

D&D 5: Beginner Spellbooks 2 (Now With Names!)

I just happened to look back at my old post about creating some simple, pre-defined spellbooks for beginning wizards to choose from, and it occurred to me that it'd be nice if they had cool, evocative names. It sounds much better to say that your 1st level wizard carries a copy of "the codex of fire & force" than that he has a set of evocation spells. Right?

 (In general, I like the idea of wizards owning several -- indeed, many! -- spellbooks, rather than a single one, and that many of those books would be classics in the field and have names that other wizards would recognise.)

So how about these:

The Silver Folio (Abjuration)
Cantrips: Blade Ward, Light, Shocking Grasp
1st Level: Alarm, Grease, Mage Armor, Protection from Evil and Good, Shield, Sleep

The Libram of the Fecund Void (Conjuration)
Cantrips: Acid Splash, Mage Hand, Poison Spray
1st Level: Burning Hands, Find Familiar, Fog Cloud, Grease, Tenser's Floating Disk, Unseen Servant

The Eye of Time (Divination)
Cantrips: Light, Prestidigitation, True Strike
1st Level: Charm Person, Comprehend Languages, Detect Magic, Identify, Magic Missile, Unseen Servant

The Mutable Mind (Enchantment)
Cantrips: Dancing Lights, Friends, Prestidigitation
1st Level: Charm Person, Chromatic Orb, Expeditious Retreat, Feather Fall, Sleep, Tasha's Hideous Laughter

The Codex of Fire and Force (Evocation)
Cantrips: Fire Bolt, Light, Shocking Grasp
1st Level: Burning Hands, Chromatic Orb, Mage Armor, Magic Missile, Thunderwave, Witch Bolt

The Tome of Shadows (Illusion)
Cantrips: Dancing Lights, Minor Illusion, Prestidigitation
1st Level: Charm Person, Color Spray, Disguise Self, Illusory Script, Silent Image, Thunderwave

The Black Book of Llaregubb (Necromancy)
Cantrips: Chill Touch, Mage Hand, Ray of Frost
1st Level: False Life, Fog Cloud, Protection from Evil and Good, Ray of Sickness, Sleep, Unseen Servant

Matter Mercurial (Transmutation)
Cantrips: Mending, Message, Prestidigitation
1st Level: Burning Hands, Disguise Self, Expeditious Retreat, Feather Fall, Jump, Longstrider

Fundaments of Practical Sorcery ("Standard" / Mage)
Cantrips: Mage Hand, Light, Ray of Frost
1st Level: Burning Hands, Charm Person, Feather Fall, Mage Armor, Magic Missile, Sleep

From the Vats: Illustrations Needed!

The layout of From the Vats is basically finished now, and I can now see that there are some gaps which would be perfect for filling with some visual bio-gore. There are a couple of medium-large slots, which would be best filled with illustrations related to the content on the page:
  1. A sahuagin adventuring party, exploring the submerged lair of an insane vivimancer. [TAKEN]
  2. A golem constructed from the corpses of stillbirths. [TAKEN]
  3. A crown composed of the fused neural fibres of several heads.
  4. A depraved blend of human & arachnid (cenarch).


Then there are also a bunch of smaller, horizontal spaces which could be filled with any kind of small details: organs, blood vessels, slime-ridden webbing, egg sacs, or any other weird biological illustrations.

Then of course there's the cover. A big blank space of A5 waiting for a cool idea! (I'm very much open to proposals on this one, as I don't have anything specific in mind yet.)

Anyone up for it? This is a non-profit project, so no money's involved, just the pleasure of collaborating with other creative minds and producing something fun.

Send me a message on google+ or via email (see right) if you're interested, and I'll give you more details about the exact dimensions of the spaces and longer descriptions of the things to be illustrated.

D&D 5 Basic: Halfling

The next in my series of basic classes for D&D 5 (see the dwarf and elf classes I made previously), I present the Halfling.




You can download it as a PDF here.

Notes:
  • This is a lightfoot halfling with the charlatan background, all rolled together.
  • I was a bit torn with the halfling as to whether to go for the burglar archetype, the Bilbo Baggins-esque bumbling adventurer, or the stout sheriff.
  • Some of the text was based on Konstantin M's marvellous condensed basic rules
[All D&D 5 basic classes: Elf, Dwarf, Halfling.]

From the Vats: Adventures & Monsters!

I've been doing a bit more work on the layout of From the Vats this morning, normalising the stat blocks of the monsters from the various contributors. (See my post from a few weeks back for an example of the monster layout I'm using.)

This section is now complete! Here's the list of monsters:
  1. Ambulator (Walker)
  2. Apparition Shrimp
  3. Arboreal Cattle
  4. Body Stealer
  5. Cenarach
  6. City Walker
  7. Cornucopia Beast
  8. Ctenophoric Maiden
  9. Fishing Elephant
  10. Goit
  11. Gliding Beast
  12. Great Ape
  13. Jelly, Luminous
  14. Jelly, Muscle
  15. Necrohandler
  16. Nervous Engine
  17. Sanguinary
  18. Sentry Bee
  19. Smoak
  20. Star Maw
  21. Succubus Crab
  22. Tentacled Guardian
  23. Watch Hound
The supplement also contains three adventures:
  • The Submerged Spire of Sarpedon the Shaper, by Ben L.
  • The Sepulchre of the Clone, by Alex Schröder.
  • In Corporis Malum, by Anders Hedenbjörk Lager.
Thanks again to everyone for their submissions!

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

D&D 5 Basic: Elf

Following on from my last post about a basic Dwarf class for D&D 5, here's my take on an Elf race-class.



You can download it as a PDF here.

Notes:
  • This is a high elf eldritch knight with the noble background, all rolled together.
  • Again, I replaced some of the equipment choices with suitably elfish options, in order to reduce the number of choice points.
  • Likewise, I pre-selected dragon chess as the tool proficiency, as that seems the most suitably fey / noble.
  • I made a small change to the mechanics of the class, removing the restriction on only choosing spells from certain schools at certain levels. I felt this was unnecessarily complicated and it would have pushed the description over onto a second page, which I wanted to avoid.
  • Some of the text was based on Konstantin M's marvellous condensed basic rules.

I notice that I feel much happier about the PHB, with all its options and lengthy descriptions, now that I see it's possible to also distill the material down to something simple and suitable for new players or just people who don't like spending hours crafting a character.

[All D&D 5 basic classes: Elf, Dwarf, Halfling.]

Sunday, 15 February 2015

D&D 5 Basic: Dwarf

I mentioned recently on google+ that I've been a bit frustrated by the complexity of character creation in D&D 5. Though they've eliminated much of the complexity of equipment selection (a very welcome change, in my books!), there's still a lot of different stuff to choose, which can be very overwhelming for new players.

I had a few ideas about how to remedy this: making some very simple summaries or conglomerations of all the choices during character creation, or maybe bringing back race-classes.

Just to see how feasible this might be, I had a quick attempt at making a description of a race-class (the dwarf) which fits on a single side of A4 and includes all of the relevant options, including a background.

Here's what I've come up with:

You can download it as a PDF here.

Notes:
  • This is a mountain dwarf fighter with the soldier background, all rolled into one.
  • The only thing that I left out was the background flaws, bonds, etc. I figure players can just make stuff like that up.
  • I replaced the "choose two weapons" in the equipment section with suitably Dwarfish weapons, just to reduce the number of choices required.
  • I made a single small change: adding Medicine to the list of skills. (I found it odd that the soldier background lists "healer" as a posibility, but the Medicine skill wasn't available.)
  • Some of the text was based on Konstantin M's marvellous condensed basic rules.
[All D&D 5 basic classes: Elf, Dwarf, Halfling.]

Sunday, 18 January 2015

From the Vats: Monster Layout

Firstly on the topic of From the Vats (the community-sourced vivimancer supplement): I feel really bad that it's still not finished! I've had all the material for ages (a year?) and have just not been able to find the time to collate, edit, and layout. Mea cupla.

But, the good news is that it's not forgotten and is indeed progressing!

Today I had a little play around with possible layouts for monster stat blocks. The bulk of the supplement consists of adventures (including Ben L's wonderful Submerged Spire of Sarpedon the Shaper) and monsters (around 20 or so, I think). I've never been that keen on the "standard" monster layout -- a big, vertical block of stats, usually with a lot of dead space on the right, followed by the description -- so wanted to try out something a bit different for the stats.

Here's an example of what I'm playing with.

I'm quite pleased with the readability, relative compactness, and exhaustiveness of it.

Any thoughts?