Join 533 other subscribers
Where anyone over 18 can share thoughts and ideas on RPGs.
Tag Archives: dungeons and Dragons
August 23, 2022Posted by on
I am sure you have seen the announcement by now. If you missed it, here is a link:
This is all in preparation for the new version of D&D that is scheduled to be released in 2024. They are calling it “ONE D&D” for now. They are getting away from release or edition numbers. If you are familiar with the software AutoCAD, they did the same thing some years back. After release 14 of AutoCAD came AutoCAD 2000, then AutoCAD 2002, etc. It looks like this is what they will be doing with Dungeons and Dragons. They may also change the official name from “Dungeons and Dragons” to “D&D”. I noticed that they are now referring to the fifth edition Player’s Handbook as the 2014 Player’s Handbook.
Note regarding Editions: Not referring to different releases of D&D as editions is not a new idea for D&D. The current 2014 version of the Player’s Handbook has no mention at all of any edition. We players are the ones that have christened it 5E. Looking at the covers of earlier editions I can only find two that have any mention of an edition or version: the “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, Second Edition, Players Handbook” (1989), and the “Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook, Core Rulebook 1, v.3.5” (2003). The others simply refer to it as “Dungeons & Dragons” or “Advanced D&D”.
They seem to be bending over backwards to insist that the new rules will be comparable with the current edition of D&D. There are some very good marketing reasons for this and I hope they make using existing books with the new release as painless as possible, but the new release is looking to me a lot like it should be thought of as D&D 6E. Not that that is a bad thing. I prefer the majority of the proposed new rules to the existing ones – so far.
They have started play testing the new rules, a few rules at a time. If you would like to participate in the play testing, or simply see what the new rules may look like, The first set of rules that have been released is called “Unearthed Arcana 2022 Character Origins”. It is in the form of a PDF file you can download a copy by logging into D&D Beyond. If you aren’t a member of D&D Beyond you can access it HERE.
This 21 page PDF contains new rules for Character Races, Character Backgrounds, Starting Languages, Feats, and in what they call a “Rules Glossary” where they list rules and terms that are new or changed.
Here is a quick overview:
It takes special note of the fact that each of these races have a “Creature Type” of Humanoid. Obviously, this anticipates the future inclusion of other creature types.
It looks like they will be listing Human first, which makes sense for new players. The new list of available races are Human, Ardling (a new race), Dragonborn, Dwarf, Elf, Gnome, Halfling, Orc (another new race), and Tiefling. Notice that Half-Elf and Half-Orc have been removed, but your two parents can be any available huminoid race. You get the size, speed, and special traits of one parent and mix and match visual characteristics you want from your two parents.
Your character’s race no longer gives you any ability score increases.
They are no longer divided into “common” and “uncommon” races.
There are no alignment suggestions for your race.
Subraces are being replaced by Lineages.
The speed for each race is now the same, 30 feet (exception: the wood elf speed is 35 feet).
All races get the Common language. Dragonborn also get Draconic. All other races get a language provided by their background and can choose one additional language. You don’t automatically get Dwarvish, Elvish, Goblin, Halfling, or Orc just because you happen to be that race.
Here is a list of what I see as the biggest change for each race. There are other changes as well.
Humans can be Small or Medium. There is no longer a variant human option. Feats are no longer an optional rule. Everyone gets a 1st-level feat based on his background. Humans also get one additional 1st-level feat.
Ardling (A new Player Race)
Ardlings can be Small or Medium. An Adling is kinda like the opposite of a Tefling. Rather than their heritage tied to the Lower Planes, an Adlings heritage is tied to the Upper Planes. Their head resembles an animal, has some innate spell casting ability, resistance to radiant damage, and can sprout spectral wings and fly a number of times equal to your Proficiency Bonus per long rest [ I will be referring to this as (PB/LR). It looks like this is replacing things that were renewing after a short rest.]
They now get Darkvision. Their breath weapons have changed a little.
You don’t get any weapon or armor proficiencies. They are moving all of those to your background. The Stonecutting feature has been improved to give you Tremorsense out to 60 ft. for 10 minutes (PB/LR).
You get a cantrip at first level and a spell at 3rd and 5th level. You can cast each of these once per long rest for free, or you can use any spell slots you may have to cast them.
You now have Advantage on all Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma saving throws (not just against magic). They replaced the Speak with Small Beasts trait with the Speak with Animals Spell and replaced the Tinker trait with the ability to create a Tiny clockwork device that can produce an effect from the Prestidigitation cantrip.
No more Lightfoot or Stout. No more hiding behind other creatures – you get Naturally Stealthy but it only gives you Proficiency in the Stealth Skill.
Orc (A new Player Race)
Orcs have darkvision, can Dash as a bonus action (which gives then temporary hit points PB/LR, count as large carrying capacity and push, pull, drag or lift, and drop to 1 point instead of 0 once per long rest.
Tieflings can now be Small or Medium. You get the Thaumaturgy cantrip. Like the Elf, you also get a cantrip at first level and a spell at 3rd and 5th level. You can cast each of these once per long rest for free, or you can use any spell slots you have to cast them.
This says nothing regarding Alignmant, Ideals, Bonds, or Flaws. It would be okay with me if they dropped Ideals, Bonds, and Flaws but they may show up in a future Unearthed Arcana.
Although the current Player’s Handbook has rules for customizing your background, not many players do that. These new rules makes building your own background the preferred method but also provides some pre-made backgrounds that you can use, or modify using the provided rules.
The rules to create your background are simple.
Abilities: You get 3 points to add to your ability scores, add one to 3 abilities or 2 to one and 1 to another.
Skills: You get proficiency with 2 skills.
Tools: You get proficiency with 1 tool.
Language: You get one language from your background.
Feat: you get 1 first level feat.
Equipment: You buy whatever you want. You get 50 gp to buy it with. You keep any coins that you don’t spend.
After creating your characters background you can add one aditional language. Common Sign Language has been added as a standard language and Thieve’s Cant has been added as a rare language.
The document defines several first level feats. Each feat has a level, some have prerequisites, and some can be taken more than once (repeatable).
None of the first level feats add to your ability scores.
I may give my thoughts on the new and revised rules and game terms in a future post.
One last comment:
Don’t forget that everything in “Unearthed Arcana 2022 Character Origins” is for playtesting. These are proposed new rules that they are requesting we users try out and report back to them. Based on your feedback any or all of these may change before the new Player’s Handbook, Dungeon MAster’s Guide and Monster Manual are published in 2024. There will be many more of these, possibly several different versions.
Tell me (or, more importantly, tell Wizards of the Cost) what you like or don’t like about any of this and why.
June 26, 2021Posted by on
Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) is a game where players sit around a table and roll dice. They create characters and go on adventures led by a dungeon master (DM), who controls non-player characters (NPCs), monsters and events in the world.
How many D&D editions are there?
I have listed here the major editions. For any edition there may be multiple printings and different covers. There are also many variations and supplements. For most editions there were three core books; a Player’s Handbook, a Dungeon Master’s Guide and a Monster Manuel.
0.0 – Original Dungeons and Dragons (OD&D) 1974
A small box set of three booklets. The original game had only three classes (Cleric, Fighter, Magic User). Cleric spells up to 5th level, Magic user spells up to 6th level. Every attack except for certain monster abilities did 1d6 damage if it hit.
0.5 – Basic Dungeons & Dragons (BD&D) 1977
Playing a Race meant playing a class. For example a Dwarf used only the Dwarf Class. The first Basic Set was available as a 48-page stand-alone rulebook, or as part of a boxed set, which was packaged in a larger box that included a set of polyhedral dice and supplemental materials.
1.0 – Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D) 1978
The most popular version of older edition D&D. Bonuses for characteristics roughly go up to +4 and are capped at 18 except for exceptional strength. Characters select a race and a class. Non-human race can multi class which involves splitting experience between multiple classes. Non-humans were generally limited to a max level (often low).
2.0 – Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition (AD&D 2 or 2nd Ed) 1989
Still basically AD&D 1st Edition but the rules have been reorganized and rewritten for clarity. Introduced THAC0 (To Hit Armor Class 0). Some content like half-orc, demons, and assassins were removed or changed due to media pressure. Character customization was expanded by using non-weapon proficiencies as a skill system and by allowing characters to take kits that confer various benefits. Combat has been redesigned.
3.0 – Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition (D&D 3 or 3E) 2000
The first edition created by Wizards of the Coast, 3rd Edition took the idea of Skill and Powers and developed a cleaner system for customizing characters by designing the classes so a level of one class can stack on top of another class. A single level chart was introduced and at each level a character could take a new class or add another level of a class they already had.
In addition feats were added to allow characters to further customize their abilities. A true skill system was introduced and integrated into the game. The underlying d20 system worked by rolling equal to or higher than a target number and adding various bonus.
3.5 – Dungeons & Dragons v.3.5 (Revised 3rd Edition or D&D 3.5) 2003
This edition featured only small changes to the core game (and was mostly-but-not-entirely compatible with books written for 3rd Edition), but had its own extensive line of supplements which magnified the role of feats, prestige classes, and multiclassing in character customization.
4.0 – Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition (D&D 4E) 2008
This edition is a completely new game with only a few game mechanics carried over from the 3rd Edition. It has a simple set of core rules and defines all character and monster abilities as exceptions which are described in standard terms. Higher level combat has been simplified, and class has been designed to have specific roles in combat. Every classes has a diverse set of combat options to use.
5.0 – Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition (D&D 5E) 2014 The current edition of D&D.
Skills, weapons, items, saving throws, and other things that characters are trained in now all use a single proficiency bonus that increases as character level increases. Multiple defense values have been removed, returning to a single defense value of armor class and using more traditional saving throws. Saving throws are reworked to be situational checks based on the six core abilities instead of generic d20 rolls. Feats are now optional features that can be taken instead of ability score increases
The “advantage/disadvantage” mechanic was introduced, streamlining conditional and situational modifiers to a simpler mechanic: rolling two d20s for a situation and taking the higher of the two for “advantage” and the lower of the two for “disadvantage” and canceling each other out when more than one apply.
January 16, 2017Posted by on
Looking for Inspiration?
I ran across this Facebook site. Whenever you, as a DM, are trying to think of an original location for your next adventure, just browse through the photos on this “Abandoned World” site.
December 30, 2016Posted by on
Classes with Class
In 2004 and 2005 Skip Williams (co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition) put a series of articles on the Wizards website with tips on playing each of the various character types. Wizards of the Coast has moved them to their D&D Archives, but you can still find them there if you are diligent in your search.
These are an excellent reference. They were written for D&D 3.5 but even if you are running a fifth edition game you will find then a useful reference.
Here are direct links to them:
And here is a link to the 3.5 D&D Archives page:
November 14, 2016Posted by on
The Alabaster Portal
I thought you might like to see the website I am using to manage my tabletop game. I call it the Alabaster Portal. It is a free, private, google site that I set up for my players and me to use for our game. I looked at the popular Obsidian Portal and decided that I wanted a little more control over my site that that allowed.
I set up a WIKI ten years ago and never used it much. I liked the idea, but it wasn’t very “pretty”. Google sites allows me to set page level access permissions, so I can set the permissions for each player to modify and add to his character’s information and also edit pages such as the adventure log. It has been popular with my players so far.
I had a request to make my site available as a template. If you want to create your own, similar to mine – you can use this template :
What do you think? Do you use a WIKI or Obsidian Portal, or something else, or is this all too much work for something not very useful?
April 16, 2016Posted by on
Pitchlight spent all morning going from cartwright to weaponsmith to armorer and to several others in an attempt to re-provision the dragon hunt. In every case they required gold coin on the barrelhead. He was unable to get any of them to accept a share in the dragon treasure for more than face value. The gold pieces struck specifically to be exchanged for a share in Abraxas’ treasure could not be exchanged for more than the value of the gold that they contained. Some even refused to accept them at all. A rumor was spreading that Abraxas would single out anyone that possessed such a coin and that they would be the first to die on his next attack.
He couldn’t blame the citizens of Rockport. They were frightened. He had already spent all that the church of Heironeous had provided for the hunt, and quite a bit of his own personal funds as well. As it now stood, the poorly provisioned campaign could be ready in about a week. It would take that long to build or repair the wagons and assemble the meager provisions.
He left the merchant district and walked through the crowded streets of Rockport to the temple district and to the temple dedicated to his deity. As he walked he passed children playing in the streets and he found himself thinking back on the days of his childhood. Both of his parents died when he was young, leaving him and his three older sisters to be raised in an orphanage ran by the Heironeous church. Their days there were divided into 4 equal parts; rest, study of holy texts, meditation and weapon training. This left little time for play. His teachers were impressed with his understanding of the Heironean Code and tried to persuade him to take an active role in the church, but at that time he was more interested in swords than in holy script. When he came of age, he joined the king’s guard and quickly advanced in rank. One day, when leading his squad against a marauding group of goblins, something happened that changed the course of his life. After bringing down the last goblin with his own sword, he was struck by lightning.
The holy symbol of Heironeous is a fist holding a lightning bolt. Lightning has special meaning to his worshipers. Anyone killed by lightning must deserve his fate. Anyone that is struck by lightning and survives is deemed blessed by Heironeous. Pitchlight remained unconscious for 14 days. When he awoke he found himself in the temple of Heironeous on the isle of wonder being measured for a custom suit of plate mail. From that day forward he has traveled the world as a cleric of Heironeous seeking out and destroying evil.
As he approached the temple of Heironeous he was wondering if the key to defeating Abraxas was in understanding him better. He would ask Heironeous himself for help. He passed quickly through the main entrance of the worship area and arraigned with the head of the church here to have the clerics prepare the inner sanctum for a major ritual. The High Priest that ruled this temple out ranked Pitchlight in the church hierarchy but adventuring clerics were considered “the tip of the spear” in the battle against evil. While the room was being prepared, Pitchlight bathed and dressed himself in his finest suit of plate mail.
All Heironean temples are built on the same basic ideas of presenting a façade of strength and power and providing a strong and easily defensible fortress. Each individual temple varies in design to reflect the specific taste of its priest and the perceived threats that it must defend against. Each temple size is also limited by the funds available for construction. The temple at Rockport was typical for a town of this size. One thing that all these temples have in common is a room near the center that is reserved for meditation, prayer and casting of spells. The room is sanctified and blessed. Anyone not dedicated to Heironeous is forbidden entrance. At this temple, the inner sanctum was a round room 20 feet in diameter with a flat ceiling 10 feet overhead. The room was windowless and contained no furniture other than tall iron candelabrum spaced 5 feet apart around the perimeter of the room, each with four burning candles, and a brazier in the center of the room. When Pitchlight entered he was met with the sweet smell of shagbark smoke, the embers of which were glowing in the brazier. He placed a handful of the most expensive incense onto the coals and began slowly walking around the room sprinkling holy water as he strode and began the incantation to invoke a commune spell, but at the point where the spell requires the asking of questions he fell to his knees and offered up a diamond valued at 1,000 gold pieces if Heironeous would but appear to hear his questions directly.
After an hour of praying and burning of over 500 gold pieces worth of incense, his meditation and prayers were interrupted by the sound of the creaking hinge on the room’s only door as it opened. He turned and saw a priest entering the room. Angrily, he shouted, “I left express instructions that I was not to be interrupted!”
As the man entered, Pitchlight tried to place him. He was sure that he had not seen this particular priest before. He was much taller than any he had seen here in Rockport. As the priest came closer it became clear that the short robe that he was wearing under his cloak was not of cloth as he had first thought, but was indeed made of the finest chainmail. He wore no holy symbol and carried no shield. His only weapon a great battleaxe. He wore no helm. His reddish-brown hair was short and rather unkempt. His face was clean shaven and his skin was the color of burnished copper.
The stranger stopped a few paces in front of Pitchlight. The door closed of its own accord. He spoke in a very calm voice saying, “Have you forgotten how to cast a commune spell, or have you gone completely mad?”
Pitchlight felt the blood drain from his face and his anger was replaced by awe as he realized he was in the presence of his god. He fell to his knees. “Pease forgive me, but my need is great and the commune spell is so limited. This one time, I need more than riddles or cryptic answers to my three questions.”
“Have I not always answered your questions truthfully?”
“Of course, and I am more than grateful, but if you could, just this one time, answer me more fully, so that I might understand. I seek answers regarding the dragon hunt we are about to commence.”
The tall man was indeed an avatar of Heironeous. He was silent for a few moments, studying the pleading face of his cleric. “You have been good and faithful. Rise to your feet and ask your three questions. My answers will be as full and complete as possible. However, you must understand that I do not take this lightly. You must not presume that I will come to your call at your every whim. I am not your servant. You are mine.”
Pitchlight nodded his head in acceptance and paused to think for a moment before he asked his first question, “Will we succeed in defeating Abraxas?”
“You will have the resources, but to succeed you must have the wisdom to use them.”
Pitchlight wasn’t completely satisfied with that answer, but he continued on to his second, “What is this gem he seeks and why is it so important to him?”
Heironeous smiled and replied, “I will be tolerant with you, but you must not break the rules. You must ask that as two separate questions, or rephrase the question.”
Pitchlight thought for a moment. Perhaps he could get the answer he was seeking if he asked it another way, “How was the gem stolen?”
The room became dark and Pitchlight thought for a moment that he had angered Heironeous in some way. Then the darkness lifted and he found himself standing outside in what was obviously the main square of a small village. The square was empty of people and horses, which was unusual for any village in the middle of the day. The only thing in the square was a large open chest that appeared to be about half full of bags, boxes, gilded armor, mirrors, and other items that may have represented the entire wealth of the village.
Then what he thought was a small child darted past him to the chest. Pitchlight quickly recognized that this was not a child, but rather a gnome who climbed into the chest and concealed himself under the treasure as fast as he could. Then a shadow passed over him as a gigantic red dragon landed in the square and dropped a small pouch into the chest. He started to draw his sword when he realized that the dragon could not see him there. It took only a moment to realize that this was only an image being shown to him by Heironeous. The dragon turned his massive head slowly in all directions, looking at all there was to see. He must have decided that this was all the treasure this village had to offer so he closed the lid on the chest, uttered some magical words, and it vanished, leaving only a print in the dust where it had been resting.
Darkness descended upon Pitchlight once again. This time when it lifted, he found himself in a huge underground cavern. The air was hot and damp. There was a lake of molten lava that provided the only light, bathing the rocky walls and stalactite covered ceiling in a pulsating reddish light. He was on the broad shore of the magma lake and standing near a large pile of coins. There was also many treasures of every description. As he was looking at what must have been a dragon’s horde accumulated over the centuries, the chest that he had seen earlier appeared on a patch of clear ground near the treasure. A few moments later the lid began to open, slowly at first, only an inch. The gnome then lifted it the rest of the way open and crawled cautiously out. Once the gnome was confident that he was alone, he closed the chest and began to examine the great volume of treasure. He was very cautious not to move or disturb any of the treasure in any way. After nearly an hour of examining the pile of coins, the many gilded and enameled armors, the fancy dress weapons, the piles of jewels, royal coaches and other valuable items too numerous to quickly tally, a single gem mounted in a simple silver medallion began to shine with a reddish glow. The gnome made his way over to the medallion which was hanging by a simple silver chain on a rocky outcropping on the cavern wall. Pitchlight moved closer for a better view and as they were looking at the gem it began to glow more brightly. As its brightness approached that of a burning torch he heard the unmistakable sound of leather dragon wings echoing off the cavern walls. The gnome quickly dashed into a deep crevice, wedging himself as far back out of site as he could.
The dragon landed more gently than one would expect possible from a creature so massive. He smelled the air and closely examined his treasure. Once satisfied that all was as he had left it, he opened the chest and began the process of lovingly emptying it of its contents, placing each item in its proper place according to some sorting process that only the dragon could fathom. When he was finally satisfied with the distribution of his latest take, he curled himself a tight ball perched on top of the pile of coins. With a contented breath he closed his eyes, and with a final snort of sulfurous smoke he appeared to fall asleep. A couple of minutes passed before the gnome again appeared. Keeping one eye on the dragon he creeped cautiously from his hiding place and made his way over to the shining gem. He tucked it under his shirt and began to make his way quietly along the cavern wall.
Everything went dark and the cleric found himself back at the inner sanctum standing again before an avatar of his deity. Heironeous spoke, “And what is your third question?”
Still dizzy from his view into the past, Pitchlight took a few seconds to remember that everything he had just seen was an answer to his last question. He braced himself for whatever he might be shown next and asked “What is Abraxas’ greatest weakness?”
Heironeous smiled and said, “Arrogance”. Then he turned and disappeared as he walked away.