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Dungeon Master Assistance

A place to share thoughts and ideas about Dungeons and Dragons

D&D 5E – Combat Tracker

Download free Combat Tracker sheet (PDF) here.

My friend Nicholas sent me this excellent combat tracker. If anyone knows who created it, please let me know so I can give credit to him or her.

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Session Notes

Sheet for taking notes during your gaming session.

Download your copy here.

Thanks to Eleanor Saunders who posted this on the “Dungeon Master Paul Weber” Facebook group.

D&D 5e spells by level

donjon.bin.sh is an online collection of random generators and other tools for pen-and-paper role-playing games. Check out all of these excellent generators. The reason for this post is to recommend their fifth edition spell list that can be accessed here:

5e Spell Sheet

You can quickly sort by class, level, which book it is in, etc. Also, if you click on the spell name you get a pop-up with the spells Casting Time, Range, Components, Duration, and (if it is in the SRD) a description. I find it easy to use and very helpful.

Truly Different Magic Systems in RPGs

If you are only familiar with Dungeons and Dragons, you may not be aware of the way magic is handled in other RPGs. Here is an excellent overview:

https://restinford.wordpress.com/2018/10/31/magic-systems/

D&D 5E – Combat Cheat Sheet

A thanks to seddonym over at reddit for his original post HERE, and to mikr_ack for putting it in this very useful format HERE.

And a big thanks to Nicholas for turning me on to this. He also wanted me to share these sites that he found useful:
https://orcpub2.com/
http://hardcodex.ru/

D&D 5E – Spellcasting – Components

My thoughts on Components.

First, here is what it says in the Player’s handbook:

Components

A spell’s components are the physical requirements you must meet in order to cast it. Each spell’s description indicates whether it requires verbal (V), somatic (S), or material (M) components. If you can’t provide one or more of a spell’s com ponents, you are unable to cast the spell.

Verbal (V)
Most spells require the chanting of mystic words. The words themselves aren’t the source of the spell’s power; rather, the particular combination of sounds, with specific pitch and resonance, sets the threads of magic in motion. Thus, a character who is gagged or in an area of silence, such as one created by the silence spell, can’t cast a spell with a verbal component.

Somatic (S)
Spellcasting gestures might include a forceful gesticulation or an intricate set of gestures. If a spell requires a somatic component, the caster must have free use of at least one hand to perform these gestures.

Material (M)
Casting some spells requires particular objects, specified in parentheses in the component entry.
A character can use a component pouch or a spellcasting focus (found in chapter 5) in place of the components specified for a spell. But if a cost is indicated for a component, a character must have that specific component before he or she can cast the spell.
If a spell states that a material component is consumed by the spell, the caster must provide this component for each casting of the spell.
A spellcaster must have a hand free to access a spell’s material components — or to hold a spell-casting focus — but it can be the same hand that he or she uses to perform somatic components.

There are some monsters which can cast spells with their innate spellcasting ability they do not have to provide any components. Unless stated otherwise if you cast a spell from an item you can do so without any components.

V – Verbal: Most spells require the chanting of mystic words. Chanting is by definition a clearly audible sound. A sorcerer with the subtle spell meta-magic, or a level 20 druid with the Archdruid class feature can ignore the verbal component when casting a spell. My house rule is that it must clear and a voice that can be heard from at least 20 feet away in normal circumstances. It cannot be whispered.

S – Somatic: Spellcasting gestures might include a forceful gesticulation or an intricate set of gestures. This requires a free hand and will be clearly visible. A sorcerer with the subtle spell meta-magic, or a level 20 druid with the Archdruid class feature can ignore the somatic component when casting a spell. Any spellcaster with the War Caster feat can use hands occupied by a weapon or shield.  My house rule is that because of the exaggerated gestures required, you cannot cast a spell that requires a somatic component if your hands bound or tied together.

M – Material: If you have a component pouch or a spellcasting focus (which may be a holy symbol depending on your class), you can ignore all material components which have no indicated costs. The Ranger is notable for not having access to a spellcasting focus, and will always need a component pouch or the specific component. A free hand is needed here. If you cast a spell from a spell scroll you do not have to have the material components. A way of the four elements monk does not have to provide material components for their elemental spells.

My house rules regarding material components:
 1)            Component pouch or spellcasting focus.
                This must be presented boldly.
 
2)            Material component with no cost listed.
                These are not needed if you are using a component pouch or spellcasting focus. If you are using the material component then I will assume that you stock up on these during your downtime but only if you are in a location where you would have access to them.
 
3)            Material component with a listed cost.
                Your PC must have procured the item and have it listed on his character sheet. If not, you cannot cast the spell. I will make an exception for low cost items (typically less than 100gp value). For these I will assume that your character purchased them during his down time and you can simply deduct its value from your character sheet at the time you cast the spell.

4)            Rare or uncommon components.
                There may be, from time to time, a spell that requires a rare, uncommon, or even unique component. You must, of course, have that component before you can cast such a spell.

 

 

D&D 5E – Dinosaur Minis

My D&D Scale Dinosaurs.

I finely got all of the dinosaur minis that I need for Tomb of Annihilation. The hardest thing to do was to get the models in the correct size for playing on a one inch grid. I was determined to use the sizes they have in the monster stats. The only one that I couldn’t find at the proper scale was a Hadrosaurus.
So here they are:

 

Allosaurus – Painted Toy that I mounted onto a 2″ base.

 

Allosaurus, Young – Painted Toy that I mounted onto a 1″ base.

 

Ankylosaurus – Painted Toy that I mounted onto a 3″ base.

 

Brontosaurus – Toy that I painted and mounted onto a 4″ base.

 

Deinonychus – Prepainted mini by HeroClix.

 

Dimetrodon – Toy that I re-painted and mounted onto a 2″ base. This should have been on a 1″ base, but only smaller one that I could find didn’t look as good.

 

Plesiosaurus – Toy that I re-painted and mounted onto a 2″ base.

 

Pteranodon – Toy that I re-painted and mounted onto a 1″ base.

 

Quetzalcoatlus – Painted Toy that I mounted onto a 3″ base. (I really like this one. Notice that it even has a smaller dinosaur in it’s mouth!)

 

Stegosaurus – Painted Toy that I mounted onto a 3″ base.

 

Triceratops – Toy that I painted and mounted onto a 3″ base.

 

Triceratops, young – Toy that I mounted onto a 1″ base. (I can’t remember if I painted this one or not. I am thinking that I did, but the paint job is really bad.)

 

Tyrannosaurus Rex – Toy that I re-painted and mounted onto a 3″ base.

 

Tyrannosaurus Zombie – A mini by Dungeons & Dragons – Collector’s Series Miniatures that I assembled and painted.

 

Velociraptor – A pre-painted mini by WizKids.

For those of you that are interested, here is where I found these:

Tyrannosaurus Zombie
by Dungeons & Dragons – Collector’s Series Miniatures

Velociraptor
By WizKids

Deinonychus
by HeroClix

Brontosaurus, Allosaurus and Ankylosaurus
by Emorefun

Quetzalcoatlus
by Collecta

Triceratops
by Jesse

For all of the others, I didn’t keep any records. I found them at various local stores.

Thanks to Zee Parks for his “Miniature Lineup (1in=5ft) Scale Template“.

D&D 5E – Adding new characters to the Party

This is an expansion to a previous post. You may want to first read [D&D 5E – Creating the Party] before trying to make any sense out of this.

If you are using my “Creating the Party” rules to create your party, what if a new player joins the group?

The process will be similar to “Creating the Party” rules, but the other players will suggest his role and relationships.

NEW PLAYER

The new player selects preferred Race and Class. Then all of the existing players have input regarding his role in the group and his relationships with the existing PCs.

First, have each of the existing players describe his character, its role in the group, its relationship with the other characters and its conflicts.

1) Role

The group decides what role they would like for the new Player Character to assume in the party. If the new player would prefer to take on a different role then it is discussed and a mutually acceptable role will be agreed upon. The new player can change his selection of Race and/or Class at this time if he chooses to. He should also choose his character’s name.

2) PC’s relationships

The DM will ask for one of the existing players to come up with a relationship that his Character has with this new Character. If no one volunteers, the DM will randomly select someone. The group can all chime in with suggestions. It is okay if more than one existing Character has a relationship with this new Character.

3) Conflicts

If you are using this optional rule then, as with relationships, the DM asks for some player to come up with some trait or something from the new character’s past that his Character is uncomfortable with. Again, if the new player objects then it is discussed among the group until an agreeable conflict is selected. As with relationships – additional conflicts are okay.

4) Roll-up the character

Like everyone else did, using the role, relationships and conflicts as a guide for abilities and background.

REPLACEMENT CHARACTERS

If an existing player needs to roll-up a replacement character (if for instance his original character died), use the same process listed above, but allow that player to select a role, a relationship or two, and a conflict or two.
Because the player has been playing with the group, he already knows the relationships and conflicts that exist within the group so he can create a new character that can fit in well. Of course, encourage group discussion of his suggestions and allow the other players to suggest different options.

FINAL NOTE

Refer to [D&D 5E – Creating the Party] for examples of Character Roles, Character Relationships and Objectionable Character Traits or Past actions.

The Player of this new Character can object to any of the other player’s suggestions and make counter suggestions of his own. The DM has final approval. Try to remember that this new Character must be fun for the player to play, if he has strong feelings for or against anything the others may want, you should typically allow his wishes to prevail – within reason.

Last Minute Rolls

I ran across this over at “Dark Eagle Games”. I think I will start using this rather than passive perception whenever PCs are checking for traps.

One of my best tricks as a GM is to wait until the last-minute to make any dice roll. I do not pick up the dice until the roll has immediate effects. I cannot always do this, but one place I can is…

Source: Last Minute Rolls

D&D 5E – Sedan Chairs

The Sedan Chair

This are my house rules for sedan chairs.  Sedan chairs are essentially carts carried by strong humanoids, referred to as chairmen. All sedan chairs have silk tarps and heavy leather curtains to protect against snoops or the weather.

These portable covered chairs sport side windows and a hinged door at the front. Sedan chairmen insert long wood poles into metal brackets on either side of the chair. The poles are long and springy and provided a slightly bouncy ride. They are arranged in such a manner that the chair will remain in a horizontal position as the chairmen climb up steps or steep slopes. Passengers enter and exit between the poles.

For the more ornate sedan chairs, painters will create beautiful scenes on panels mounted on the sides, and many are extravagantly upholstered in silk on the inside. The less affluent have plainer, leather covered chairs.

Because these portable chairs can be carried inside buildings, people can be transported around the city without being identified. This makes it easier for people who were evading the law to go about their business, or for public personages to carry on trysts.

Chairmen have to be strong, fit and healthy as they are often standing outside in all weathers.

Cost for chairmen.

Permanent employ: 10 gp per week (5 gp for each chairman)

Per day: 2 gp per day (1 gp for each chairman)

Speed: The chair weighs 60 lb. If the total weight carried is under 200 lb. then the speed is 30 ft. If the total weight carried is 200 lb. or more, the speed is reduced to 20 ft. (Unless both chairmen have a strength of 20 or higher.)