Dungeon Master Assistance

A place to share thoughts and ideas about Dungeons and Dragons

Category Archives: Playing Aids

D&D 5E – Astral Adventuring Revisited

An unofficial suppliant to the 5th edition D&D book Astral Adventurer’s Guide with ship-to-ship combat rules and other enhancements. Download your free copy HERE.

Last month (August 2022) Wizards of the Coast brought Spelljammer into the fifth edition when they published Spelljammer: Adventures in Space. This, for the most part, is very good. However I was disappointed in the lack of information and rules needed for actually conducting a spelljamming campaign. Specifically I was expecting clear descriptions regarding how the spelljamming helm functions and better rules for conducting ship-to-ship combat. The “Ship-to-Ship Combat” section includes boxed text with 3 sentences on “Shipboard Weapons”. Other than that, the entire section on ship-to-ship combat consists of 4 sections; “Starting Distance” (1 paragraph and a table), “Initiative” (1 sentence), “Moving and Steering a Ship” (2 paragraphs), and “Boarding” (2 paragraphs).

This document has two purposes:
1. This is an attempt to make sense out of the Astral Adventurer’s Guide for D&D players that are new to Spelljamming. Some of the terminology and many of the descriptions have been reworded to make it easier for players new to the topic to understand. It also includes a few alternative rules you may want to use in your Spelljamming adventures.
2. To make Spelljamming combat more fun this supplement provides a complete set of spelljamming ship-to-ship combat rules along with new ship statblocks, ship outlines at 1″=20′ scale, and rules that make each of the players active participants in ship-to-ship combat.

D&D 5E – Isle of Dread

Running Goodman Games “Original Adventures Reincarnated #2: The Isle of Dread”.
Available HERE

One of my all time favorite published adventures was “The Isle of Dread” which was originally published in 1981 for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D). I ran it for my players back then, and I found a fan conversion of it that I ran a couple of times in D&D 3.5.
In 2019 Goodman Games published “Original Adventures Reincarnated #2: The Isle of Dread”, a 328-page hardback which contains reprints of the original 1981 “blue cover” edition and the 1983 “orange cover” printing, as well as an interview with “Zeb” Cook (one of the original authors), and a 5th edition conversion of the adventure.
I am just finishing up with running this adventure for my current group. I thought I would provide you with some of of my notes and comments. Perhaps it could help if you plan on running this for your group.
First of all, this is big. You could easily take a group from third level through seventh level. They could become level 8 when they finish if they explored the entire island. They will also end up with a lot of treasure, which was common in AD&D.
Second, there is a temple that contains the primary “dungeon” on the island. The original adventure contains several corridors that were left unfinished, for the DM to design additional adventures if they chose to. The folks at Goodman Games have flushed out these unfinished areas. I highly recommend that you use these. I always thought that the final room in the dungeon was a little anti-climatic. This has been fixed. The only problem is that they kept the original conversion together and put the parts that they added in additional chapters at the end. When playing, this requires a lot of flipping back and forth through the book. I found the easiest thing to do was to use the maps (which are all keyed correctly) and refer to a Map Key listing all of the numbered areas on the map with a page number for where that area can be found in the book. There is no such key in the book so I created my own. I put that key along with a few other tips you might find useful into a PDF you can download HERE.

I hope this helps. Let me know your opinion of this adventure.

Something I forgot to include in my PDF:
It has always bothered me that in the original maps (Temple Level 1: map T-1 and Temple Level 2: map T-2) there is no way to go from level 1 to level 2 or back short of going through one of two pit traps. Even with the expanded maps provided by Goodman Games it will require a long and convoluted path which takes you first down through a vast underground cavern and then back up to Level 2.
To correct this I recommend adding a secret door on the west wall of the corridor just west of pit trap 7 on Temple Level 1 that opens to a spiral staircase that does down to a secret door that opens on the west wall of area 1 on Temple level 2.

 

D&D – Business Card Dungeons

If you are a Dungeon Master, you may have business cards that you give to your players. Here is a way to improve them. Give people a reason to keep your cards, and even collect them, by printing dungeon maps on the back!

These aren’t new, but they are new to me. I just ran across these the other day. They are excellent business card sized dungeon maps. When printed on business cards, each card can be placed next to any other card to create a random dungeon. There are 20 different images. and you can print them on the back of your business cards. I printed mine on my printer and cut them apart, but you can use MOO Business Cards and they don’t charge extra to print a different image on the back of every card!

Get these images from “Dyson’s Dodencahedron” Blog. There are 5 maps in each set, and instructions on how they might be used.

Set 1

Set 2

Set 3

Set 4

D&D 5E – Pre-made Character Sheets

I just discovered this great resource from the Digital Dungenmaster. He has made available Pre-made Character Sheets for levels 1-20, every class and every archetype.

You can find them HERE.

D&D 5E – 3D Distances Table

How to easily determine the distance between points in 3D space.

“My character is 50 feet away from the base of a 60 foot cliff and firing my shortbow (range 80/320). How far away is the target standing on top of the cliff? Do I have to roll at disadvantage or is it still short range?”
“I have a fly speed of 60 feet. My opponent is flying 45 feet away (as measured on the battlemat) and is also 25 feet higher than me. Can I fly to within 5 foot of him on my turn?”

I have been using a simple technique to quickly determine the distance at my table. First I determine the horizontal distance and the vertical distance. Take 1/2 the shorter of the two (rounded down) and add it to the longer. When all of these distances are in 5 foot increments and the distances are less than 50 feet it works fairly well, but it obviously has its limitations.

Another option is to use the Pythagorean theorem, but my math isn’t all that good.

You could have a calculator at the table. One with trig functions would be useful.

Some people keep a link to a Pythagorean Theorem Calculator website on their device. Here is a good one:
https://www.omnicalculator.com/math/pythagorean-theorem

I decided that the easiest way for me would be to have a simple look-up table printed out and available at the table when we played, so I created this one.

Download your free copy HERE

D&D 5E – Multiclass Spell Slot Calculator

I ran across this excellent spell slot calculator and felt like I had to share it. I don’t know who created it, if anyone knows, please let me know so I can thank them give them credit.

The link to the site is HERE

D&D 5E – Quick Play Character Sheets – rev. 8

races

Ready-To-Play First Level Character Sheets

If you want a ready-to-play first level character for fifth edition dungeons and dragons, simply select your character sheet below. Pick the race and class you want, download the filled-in character sheet and you will be ready to play.

This is an update to the Quick Play Character Sheets I posted in 2014 (find them HERE). I completely overhauled them, primarily by putting them onto the latest version of my form-fallible character sheets (find them HERE). While I was at it I corrected mistakes and added more information. I also gave each character a name, added the Artificer class and added a character sketch (from images I found freely on the internet – I make no claim to them).

I used the suggested quick build from the Player’s Handbook as a guide to fill in the information.

You can change any of the information and continue to use the sheet as your character advances in level. You can find box-by-box instructions HERE.

Changing the level will only update the next level XP goal, the proficiency bonus and all of the fields that are effected by the changed proficiency bonus. You will have to make all other adjustments that may be needed for the new, higher level character.

I used the standard array [15, 14, 13, 12, 10, and 8] for ability scores. I placed the first two scores in the abilities as suggested in the Player’s Handbook for the quick build for the class, and I put the others where I thought best for the class. I then adjusted them based on the character’s race.

For all the rest of the information, I used my best judgment to create what I thought would be a “typical” build for each race and class.

Dragonborn:

Artificer, Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard

Dwarf

Artificer, Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard

Elf

Artificer, Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard

Gnome

Artificer, Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard

Half-Elf

Artificer, Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard

Halfling

Artificer, Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard

Half-Orc

Artificer, Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard

Human

Artificer, Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard

Tiefling

Artificer, Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard

Enjoy.

D&D 5E – Artificer Character Sheet

ARTIFICER

Download your free Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition Artificer Character Sheet HERE.

This is  a form-fillable character sheet I created for the Artificer Class published in “Eberron: Rising From the Last War“.

You can find box-by-box instructions on how to fill out this and download Character Sheets for the classes found in the Player’s Handbook HERE.

Class Feature Sheet: This contains one page for each Artificer sub-class, Alchemist, Artillerist and Battle Smith. The information on these pages is intended as a reminder of the major effects of each of the features. As such, the feature descriptions are abbreviated. Please refer to “Eberron: Rising From the Last War“ for the full descriptions. download it HERE:

Update #1: 6/4/2020 Revised Artificer Character Sheet
Added “Spells Prepared” to page 4.

D&D 5E – Fillable Monster Cards

Download your free fillable cards HERE.

Top Dog Games makes an excellent set of monster cards that they call “Stat Trackers”. I bought a set and I love them. They come with several blank cards that you can fill in by hand and you can buy more. You can find their site HERE.

And you can find then on Amazon HERE.

I made a PDF form-fillable version and I thought I would share. There are three cards on one 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheet.

I filled in One card as an example (a Guardian Naga doesn’t really have a swim and fly speed). On the original cards the Monster name is repeated at the top and turned upside down so it can be seen by the players when you fold the card and hang it on your DM screen. I’m not doing that so I made it a blank area where I can draw or insert an image of the monster. Even if I was using it as intended, I don’t always want the players to know the name of the monster, so I could put the image upside down if I wanted to do that.
I made the bottom two large text areas as editable text areas so you can change all, or any part of the text to bold, italic, underline, or a different color, or change its size. Also, the ability modifier is calculated for you when you fill in the ability score.

Enjoy.

D&D 5E – Revised Character Sheets are Coming

This is the first of my newly revised Character Sheets. This one 4 pages and is for Clerics only. You can download it HERE.

UPDATE: The new character sheets are available now. For the most recent auto-calculate Character Sheets click HERE.

I will be posting all of the new character sheets in another post as soon as I have them ready.

It is well past time for an update to my form fillable character sheets. (You can find that version HERE.) They are in need of several minor changes and fixes but they have always had a couple of major flaws that the new ones are addressing. The biggest problem is that they have a single sheet for all spellcasters to use for tracking their spells. In trying to handle all classes it doesn’t do a very good job for any specific class. Also, each different class has different things that need to be tracked (such as KI points for Monks or Rages for Barbarians). The other problem is that it doesn’t handle multiclass characters well.
To fix those problems and others I am in the process of creating a separate character sheet for each character class and another one for multiclass characters.

I will be creating a new “Filling in the 5E Character Sheet Box by Box” post for the new character sheets (you can find the existing one HERE.) In the mean time, if you are going to be trying out the Cleric sheet, here are a few changes you need to know about:

  1.    You can’t enter your characters speed directly on page 1. You must go to page 2 and enter the base speed under “Race”. This speed will be displayed in the box labelled “speed” on page 1. Under that box is a grey rectangle where you can enter any adjustments to the base speed.
  2.     Also page 2 is where you do your armor class calculations. Put a check by No Armor, Light Armor, Medium Armor or Heavy Armor and enter the armor class adjustment that your specific armor provides. Your base Armor Class will be calculated. If you are using a shield, put a check there and your shield will be added to the total armor class. That will be shown on page 1. Under the shield you can list a couple of protective items and their boost to your armor class. These will also be added to the AC that shows on page 1. On each type of armor (or no armor) you can add any magical or miscellaneous adjustments.
  3.     I have added a grey rectangle beside each ability’s saving throw where you can enter modifiers that will be applied to those.
  4.     I darkened the grey ability names (STR, Dex, etc.) so they could be more easily read and added a grey rectangle next to them where modifiers could be added at Proficiencies, Passive Perception and Initiative modifier.
  5.     I added a place to enter your current Initiative next to Inspiration. Don’t confuse this with the box labelled Initiative that is next to the box for speed. That box is for your Initiative modifier.
  6.     I added a permanent “coin purse” to the “Other Equipment” list. This will calculate the weight of all of the coins you enter in the “Treasure” box. 50 coins = 1 pound.
  7.     I added a check box (actually a circle) for each line of equipment. Only items that are checked will be used to calculate the “Total Weight Carried”. That should make it easier to track items you have but are not carrying, or perhaps they are inside a bag of holding.
  8.    The biggest change is on Page 4. This page will be different for each Class. It will calculate Spell Slots, Cantrips Known, Spells Prepared, Spell Save DC, Spell Attack Modifier and other things for other classes. I am no longer trying to provide room for spell descriptions. These are best handled with spell cards, or in some cases a printed spell book (refer to my posts HERE and HERE.) I have tried to leave enough room for more than just the spell name. What I would do is enter a symbol to indicate if the spell is (C) concentration, (R) ritual, or sometimes (T) casting time. There is also room to indicate which book the spell is found in if it isn’t from the PHB. For the Cleric and some others, when you get to higher levels there may not be enough room to list all available spells, but there should be enough room to list all of the spells you might want to use. Please let me know if this becomes a problem.

For those of you who are interested, please give this a hard palytest. Try to break it. Let me know if something doesn’t work, needs improvement or if you just have a question. Thank you.

I will try to get the rest of these finished and posted as quickly as I can.