A place to share thoughts and ideas about Dungeons and Dragons
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Like everyone else did, using the role, relationships and conflicts as a guide for abilities and background.
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.
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.
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
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.)
Here is another simplified set of fifth edition rules. It is quite good.
Source: D&D 5e Story Mode
How do the PCs Come Together and Stay Together?
After watching this video “The coming revolution in role-play games? ” I started thinking that, when I begin a new Fifth Edition Dungeon and Dragons game I could do my character creation in a similar method. The reason that I might want to do this is that in many games the PCs don’t seem to have any good reason to be together, much else to function as a group. I have tried different things to encourage this, but borrowing some ideas from “Hillfolk” (a DramaSystem game) might work out well.
The idea behind DramaSystem is to build a varied and nuanced character with connections to other characters. This is not the sort of game that you go into with a preconceived notion of your character. Your character will change as you intuit the group’s overall build and decide that you would fit better in a different way. Then play takes place as a series of scenes. Each scene is determined by a player and may or may not include all of the other players. As you see, this is definitely not D&D.
DramaSystem is a true “role playing game”. D&D says that it is a role playing game, but it is primarily a “fight the monsters, get the treasure, save the world and get out alive” kind of game. I have no desire to turn it into an “explore your character’s true motivations and come to grips with your inner conflicts” kind of game. That being said, it wouldn’t hurt to start the game with the PCs having closer relationships with one another. So I borrowed heavily from DramaSystem to come up with this idea for running a session zero.
This is simply getting the group together before the first gaming session to roll characters together and talk about what kind of game it will be. It is not required and many DMs skip it altogether, or simply include it at the beginning of the first session.
Session zero usually involves the group meeting to discuss and establish the following.
What I am suggesting here only addresses the last bullet point, Character creation.
Here is how I suggest that you as the DM might run a session zero.
The players may want to decide on their character’s race and class beforehand but otherwise they should not create their characters before they come to session zero.
You should start by describing the Campaign that you have in mind. Among the things you should explain to the players will be the level of magic and the overall theme of the campaign. Will it be mostly Gothic horror, nautical adventures, airships, a traditional dungeon crawl, or what? Then tell the players that they already know each other and have come together to form an adventuring party to rid the world of evil (or to explore ancient dungeons and get rich, or to find out what is causing all of the cattle to die, or to rescue the princess, or whatever the overarching theme is for your campaign).
Read aloud to the players, or paraphrase everything in maroon below, starting with:
You are not only creating your individual characters, but also their relationships with each other in order to create a group that can better function as a team. As you develop your PC each other player will build on that to develop his PC.
Have each player roll a d20. This will be a special initiative roll, but with no modifiers. Let ties be resolved by another roll between the tied players.
In initiative order describe your character including name, race, sex, class and what role your character will play in the group. Feel free to ask other players for ideas or suggestions. You should stop at that and not describe your character any further at this time. Specifically, you should not give your character any background information. That will come later. [Some examples of possible character roles are listed at the end of this page.]
Group participation is encouraged. By default, the first character to select a role to take in the group should get it, however if two characters both want to fill the same role, the other players can chime in and you can work it out as a group to everyone’s satisfaction.
If you are sitting around a battlemat; Write your character’s name in front of you on the mat, in large letters so everyone can see.
Still in initiative order, explain your character’s relationship to one of the other characters of your choice. If possible, you should select a character that has not yet been selected, and that hasn’t selected you. How do you know that character? How did you meet? How long have you known each other? Tell us of some interesting event in your past that the two of you shared. [Some examples of possible character relationships are listed at the end of this page.]
We are just making stuff up here. The story you are telling about your character’s past is also helping to define the background of other characters in the group. If another player objects to what you say about his character’s background, he will say why he objects and suggest an alternative story. The group will decide what story they like best. I (the DM) will be the final arbitrator and can veto any story that I feel doesn’t fit into the campaign that I have in mind.
If you are sitting around a battlemat; Draw a line connecting your character’s name to the name of the character that you have a relationship with. Write a word or two along the line as a reminder to everyone as to what that relationship is.
If every character has a relationship with every other character or has a relationship with someone that does, you can continue on to step 3. In other words, if you can trace a path from everyone to everyone else that connects directly or goes through no more than one other character. If not, repeat step 2. Only add; This time you can select any other character that you want. It is okay if some characters are picked more than others.
After step 2, you can quit this and have everyone finish creating his or her character as you normally would. Or for a little more interaction between PCs, continue on with this final step.
On your turn in the new initiative order, select someone else’s character. This does not have to be a character that you have a relationship with. Come up with one thing that your character doesn’t like about that character, or that makes your character uneasy. This can be something that he has done in the past, or some mannerism or personality trait. [Some examples are listed at the end of this page.]
Again, if the other character’s player objects, the group gets to decide if this would be fun for the group and the DM gets the final verdict.
Have everyone roll-up his character as you normally would, but they should use the partial background just created as a jumping off place to assign ability scores and to fill in their character’s background. If there are backgrounds in the Player’s Handbook (PHB) that fit with what was discussed, he can choose one of those. If not, work with him to create a background that is unique to his character. Refer to “Customizing A Background” on page 126 of the PHB.
The idea here is to produce a Player Character Party where the individual members know each other better. Hopefully it will result in more personal interaction and cooperation between PCs than the typical “My character is an orphan. I just met these other guys. I couldn’t care less about them. I just thought I would have a better chance to survive if I wasn’t alone.”
EXAMPLES of CHARACTER ROLES
Some examples of what your character’s role in the group might be include:
the dealer with undead
the magical blaster
the magical buffer
the moral compass
the ranged support
the skill monkey
the spell caster
the trap finder
EXAMPLES of CHARACTER RELATIONSHIPS
This can be a family relationship such as wife, husband, father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, cousin, etc. Or it can be a longtime friend. Some examples using the name “Fred” as the PC you have a relationship with:
“I am from a large family. We lived just outside of a large city (the DM can insert the name of a big city here). When I was just a lad, we were attacked by goblins and they almost wiped out my entire family. My brother Fred and I were the only survivors.”
“I met Fred when I as a temple guard. He was a raw recruit and I taught him everything I know about enforcing the law.”
“Fred is several years older than I am. He caught me stealing fruit off an apple cart. He took me in and taught me everything I know about being a thief in the big city.”
“Fred and I just happened to be at the same bar when we were both impressed into the navy. We served on the same ship for three years and became fast friends.”
EXAMPLES of OBJECTIONABLE CHARACTER TRAITS or PAST ACTIONS
I don’t like the way he:
Looks down on people that are of a higher (or lower) class than he is.
Looks at me.
Thinks he is smarter than everyone else.
Eats his food.
Is never around when there is work to be done.
Treats (one of the PC’s).
Drinks too much.
Eats too much.
Is always primping.
Is always daydreaming.
Can never sit still.
Is always sharpening his weapon.
Talks too much.
Stole something from me.
Beat me in a contest.
Saved my life.
Stole the love of my life.
Played a practical joke on me.
Watched while I almost died.
Wouldn’t share his food when I was starving.
Borrowed money from me and has never paid his debt.
Broke my heart.
Nearly killed me.
Saved someone I love.
Whatever trait you choose, fill in some specific details like who, what, when and where?
This site now has a new domain name.
You may notice that this site has changed a little. The main difference is that if you enter the old site name “olddungeonmaster.wordpress.com” you will instead be redirected to my new site name “olddungeonmaster.com”. Nothing else has changed.
I just didn’t want any of my followers to freak out and think that my site had been hijacked. Any link that you may have to any of my posts or any of my files should automatically be redirected to the new address. If you have any trouble at all in that regard, please let me know as soon as passable so can get it fixed.
The reason for the upgrade is simple. I have been using a free WordPress blog. WordPress was displaying adds on my site, which were for the most part reasonable adds. Most of them had something to do with RPG games in one way or another. By upgrading to a custom domain and enrolling in something called WordAdds, when you now see an add on my site, I will get a small compensation.
This came up recently in a game I was running. I handled it with a decision at the table. After more thought, this is what I came up with.
First, I don’t allow you to cast a spell that you mumble under your breath. In air, You must say the magic words (the verbal component) in a clear and forceful voice that can be heard from at least 20 feet away.
Here are my house rules regarding speaking and casting spells with a verbal component while you are underwater.
1) After 1+(con bonus) minutes of holding your breath underwater you begin to drown. Each round that you speak or attempt to cast a spell with a verbal component takes 30 seconds from the time you can continue holding your breath. If you are just talking, this can be a simple sentence no more than about 10 words.
2) You are harder to understand when you talk while underwater. There is a 50% chance that you won’t be understood when speaking, and a 50% chance that your spell will fail when uttering the verbal component.
3) Sound travels further underwater, so she verbal component of a spell will be heard at least 40 feet away. The same for normal speech. If it can be understood, anyone further than 40 feet away will have to succeed in a perception check with a DC = the number of feet beyond 40 feet.
4) You can’t whisper or yell underwater.
5) If you are underwater, no one that is not in the water will be able to understand anything that you are saying.
6) If you can breath underwater you can talk and cast spells without restriction.
You may also want to see to my post regarding drowning here.
I thought you might like to see what files were the most popular downloads on this site in 2017.
Below is a list of the Fifth Edition D&D File downloads for the year 2017. They are in order of the number of downloads. I rounded the number of downloads to the nearest 500. It lists all fifth edition files with more than 250 downloads.
35,000 Player Character Sheet (rev 6b)
7,000 Vertical DM Screen (rev3)
7,000 Blank Spell Cards (8 cards on a sheet)
6,000 Animal Companion/Familiar character sheet
5,500 Spell Cards (4 cards on a sheet)
4,500 Animal Companion/Familiar character sheet (fillable)
4,000 Character Creation reference sheet
3,500 Combat Reference Sheet
3,500 Multi-color Spell Cards (8 cards on a sheet)
3,000 Blank Spell Cards (8 cards on a sheet)
3,000 Player Character Sheet (rev 4d)
3,000 1st level Character Sheet – Human Barbarian
3,000 “Nautical Adventures” (Rules for a seafaring campaign)
3,000 Generic cards (8 cards on a sheet)
2,500 1st level Character Sheet – Human Fighter
2,500 Vertical DM Screen (rev4)
2,500 1st level Character Sheet – Elf Ranger
2,500 Player Character Sheet (rev 7)
2,500 1st level Character Sheet – Half-Orc Barbarian
2,000 Character Creation reference sheet (Letter sized sheets)
2,000 “Fires of Hell” Adventure Module
2,000 1st level Character Sheet – Human Paladin
2,000 1st level Character Sheet – Human Rogue
2,000 “Skyships” (Rules for ships that fly and travel in space)
2,000 1st level Character Sheet – Elf Rogue
2,000 1st level Character Sheet – Dragonborn Paladine
2,000 1st level Character Sheet – Human Raqanger
1,500 1st level Character Sheet – Human Wizard
1,500 1st level Character Sheet – Elf Wizard
1,500 1st level Character Sheet – Dragonborn Fighter
1,500 1st level Character Sheet – Human Bard
1,500 1st level Character Sheet – Human Cleric
1,500 1st level Character Sheet – Tiefling Warlock
1,500 1st level Character Sheet – Dwarf Fighter
1,500 Initiative Cards
1,500 1st level Character Sheet – Dragonborn Barbarian
1,500 1st level Character Sheet – Halfling Rogue
1,500 1st level Character Sheet – Human Monk
1,500 1st level Character Sheet – Dwarf Barbarian
1,500 “Rules of War” (Rules for mass combat)
1,500 Condition Cards
1,500 1st level Character Sheet – Dragonborn Sorcerer
1,500 1st level Character Sheet – Dwarf Cleric
1,000 1st level Character Sheet – Half-elf Rogue
1,000 Business card Character Shet
1,000 Player Character Sheet (rev 1)
1,000 1st level Character Sheet – Tiefling Rogue
1,000 1st level Character Sheet – Half-elf Bard
1,000 1st level Character Sheet – Human Sorcerer
1,000 1st level Character Sheet – Half-elf Ranger
1,000 Time Tracking Sheet
1,000 1st level Character Sheet – Elf Sorcerer
1,000 1st level Character Sheet – Elf Druid
1,000 1st level Character Sheet – Human Warlock
1,000 4×6 monster Card
1,000 1st level Character Sheet – Half-Orc Fighter
1,000 1st level Character Sheet – Tiefling Sorcerer
1,000 1st level Character Sheet – Dwarf Paladin
1,000 1st level Character Sheet – Halfling Bard
1,000 1st level Character Sheet – Elf Cleric
1,000 1st level Character Sheet – Gnome Wizard
1,000 3×5 Monsters Initiative Card
1,000 1st level Character Sheet – Tiefling Bard
1,000 1st level Character Sheet – Half-Elf Sorcerer
1,000 Class Feature Sheet – Rogue
1,000 Class Feature Sheet – Barbarian
1,000 1st level Character Sheet – Dragonborn Warlock
1,000 1st level Character Sheet – Elf Bard
1,000 1st level Character Sheet – Dragonborn Rogue
1,000 1st level Character Sheet – Elf Fighter
1,000 1st level Character Sheet – Elf Warlock
1,000 1st level Character Sheet – Gnome Rogue
1,000 1st level Character Sheet – Half-Elf Warlock
1,000 Class Feature Sheet – Fighter
1,000 1st level Character Sheet – Dragonborn Ranger
1,000 1st level Character Sheet – Gnome Bard
500 “5.0-EZ” (rev 4.1)
500 Class Feature Sheet – Ranger
500 1st level Character Sheet – Human Druid
500 Spell Cards – Generic
500 1st level Character Sheet – Dragonborn Wizard
500 1st level Character Sheet – Dragonborn Monk
500 Class Feature Sheet – Bard
500 Class Feature Sheet – Cleric
500 Class Feature Sheet – Wizard
500 Class Feature Sheet – Ranger
500 1st level Character Sheet – Elf Monk
500 1st level Character Sheet – Half-Elf Paladin
500 Class Feature Sheet – Paladin
500 Class Feature Sheet – Druid
500 Spell Cards – Wizard
500 1st level Character Sheet – Dragonborn Cleric
500 1st level Character Sheet – Elf Paladin
500 Class Feature Sheet – Warlock
500 1st level Character Sheet – Half-Orc Paladin
500 “Filling in the 5e character sheet box-by-box”
500 Class Feature Sheet – Sorcerer
500 1st level Character Sheet – Tiefling Wizard
500 Class Feature Sheet – Monk
500 1st level Character Sheet – Dragonborn Bard
500 1st level Character Sheet – Half-Elf Wizard
500 Dire Rat 3×5 Card
500 1st level Character Sheet – Half-Elf Cleric
500 Spell Cards – Cleric
500 Character Sheet on Credit Card (sheet)
500 1st level Character Sheet – Tiefling Ranger
500 Spell Cards – Bard
500 1st level Character Sheet – Gnome Barbarian
500 1st level Character Sheet – Dwarf Bard
500 1st level Character Sheet – Dwarf Rogue
500 1st level Character Sheet – Tiefling Monk
500 Condition Cards (version 1)
500 1st level Character Sheet – Halfling Ranger
500 1st level Character Sheet – Dragonborn Druid
500 1st level Character Sheet – Tiefling Paladin
500 1st level Character Sheet – Half-Elf Druid
500 1st level Character Sheet – Tiefling Fighter
500 1st level Character Sheet – Dwarf Fighter
500 1st level Character Sheet – Gnome Druid
500 1st level Character Sheet – Tiefling Barbarian
500 1st level Character Sheet – Gnome Ranger
500 1st level Character Sheet – Tiefling Cleric
500 1st level Character Sheet – Half-Elf Fighter
500 Spell Cards – Druid
500 Spell Cards – Sorcerer
500 1st level Character Sheet – Gnome Cleric
500 1st level Character Sheet – Elf Barbarian
500 1st level Character Sheet – Halfling Cleric
500 1st level Character Sheet – Half-Elf Monk
500 Spell Cards – Ranger
500 Spell Cards – Paladin
500 Spell Cards – Warlock
500 “Time Travel for D&D” (rules for time travel)
500 1st level Character Sheet – Dwarf Wizard
500 1st level Character Sheet – Half-Orc Monk
500 1st level Character Sheet – Dwarf Monk
500 1st level Character Sheet – Halfling Monk
500 1st level Character Sheet – Half-Orc Rogue
500 1st level Character Sheet – Gnome Sorcerer
500 1st level Character Sheet – Gnome Warlock
500 1st level Character Sheet – Half-Orc Ranger
500 1st level Character Sheet – Gnome Monk
500 “Cranium Rat” Monster Sheet
500 1st level Character Sheet – Half-Orc Bard
500 1st level Character Sheet – Half-Elf Barbarian
500 1st level Character Sheet – Dwarf Druid
500 1st level Character Sheet – Halfling Druid
500 Condition Cards (version 2)
500 1st level Character Sheet – Dwarf Warlock
500 1st level Character Sheet – Half-Orc Cleric
500 1st level Character Sheet – Gnome Fighter
500 1st level Character Sheet – Halfling Wizard
500 1st level Character Sheet – Dwarf Sorcerer
500 1st level Character Sheet – Halfling Sorcerer
500 1st level Character Sheet – Gnome Paladin
500 1st level Character Sheet – Half-Orc Warlock
500 1st level Character Sheet – Halfling Warlock
500 1st level Character Sheet – Halfling Fighter
500 1st level Character Sheet – Halfling Paladin
500 1st level Character Sheet – Half-Orc Wizard
500 Player Character Sheet (rev 2)
I’m hoping to have some more good stuff for you in 2018.
Download your free copy here.
A supplement to fifth edition dungeons and dragons for those who prefer simpler rules or want an easy way to introduce the game to new players.
This version is a major re-write after play-testing the previous version. The changes mainly relate to bringing the rules more in line with those in the Player’s Handbook to make it easier for a new player to transition from this to the full set of rules found there.