A place to share thoughts and ideas about Dungeons and Dragons
The people that run Skull Splitter Dice not only sell nice dice but they provide some good information for players of my favorite role playing game.
They have some well written guides for the different D&D classes and some other guides for Fifth Edition of Dungeons and Dragons as well.
Here are some links:
What is Dungeons and Dragons?
How to Play D&D 5E
A Guide to Surviving the Underdark
DnD 5E Character Sheet for Beginners
Five Best Free Places to Find a D&D Dungeon Adventure
Best DnD Map Making Tools
Barbarian Class Guide
Wizard Class Guide
Rogue Class Guide
Fighter Class Guide
Monk Class Guide
Sorcerer’s Class Guide
Cleric Class Guide
Paladin Class Guide
Druid Class Guide
Ranger Class Guide
Warlock’s Class Guide
Bard’s Class Guide
I want to send out a big thank you to Skull Splitter Dice for providing all this great content. You may want to get onto their email notification list for future free content. Also, did I mention that they sell dice?
Here are some useful web sites that I have ran across over the last couple of years. Perhaps you will find some of these useful as well.
ORC PUB version 2. Here you will find an excellent set of tools. These include a Character Builder, Race Builder, Background Builder, Spells, Monsters, Items, Combat Tracker, Encounter Builder, Monster Builder, Spell Builder, Feat Builder, Class Builder and more.
This is a Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition Encounter Calculator.
This is a good 5e Random Generator. It has traps, treasure, lots of different items, magic and downtime events.
Redkat’s 5E D&D Tools also has a great set of random generators.
This is a good 5th edition SRD (System Reference Document).
These are rules that I find very useful for Converting D&D3.5 Monsters to 5e
I found a lot of excellent resources on this donjon site.
Merric’s Musings has an excellent list of Dungeons & Dragons 5E Adventures by Level
I haven’t use this NPC Generator, but it looks like it could be useful.
Here is another spell list. It is great at allowing you to sort this list in many different ways.
Create your own document. This allows you to create beautiful documents that look very professional and very D&D like. It requires a steep learning curve, but the final results can be fantastic.
For background music – here is an excellent playlist for Dungeons and Dragons provided by MightyBenj.
Here is an encounter builder by the Kobold Fight Club.
Here are some great DnD 5e Monster Cards by Almega-3 on DeviantArt.
Speaking of Monster Cards. Not a pretty, but here you can customize and print out what you need.
Here is a “create your own RPG cards” site.
Need an interactive map of Faerun?
I’ll finish this list with a reference page I found useful. All About Scales.
PS In case you missed it, I have added a “Buy me a coffee” tab to the page links at the top of the screen.
First, here is what it says in the Player’s handbook:
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.
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.
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 see the D&D universe as a pre-Newtonian world. Very much controlled by something similar to Aristotle’s Laws of Motion. At least, that is the way that the most intelligent thinkers of the time believe that it works. All spells that affect the target’s speed or location, such as fly, levitate, teleport, etc. cancel all current forces acting on the target and replaces them with the effects of the spell.
So first I will present the laws of motion as known by most magic users in the D&D universe.
This is how it might be explained to you by the smartest man in the kingdom. [Please understand that the ideas below may represent a view of the world similar to that held in 300 BC, but was later replaced by Isaac Newton’s much more accurate laws of motion.]
“Objects in the heavens (the celestial sphere) move in circular motion, without any external force compelling them to do so. Objects on Earth (the terrestrial sphere) move in straight lines unless forced to move in a curve.
First, although most commoners think that the Earth is flat, it is indeed spherical. You know. Round like a ball. It only appears to be flat because it is so large. The Earth is in the center of the universe. It is surrounded by the celestial sphere, where lie the sun, the moons, all of the planets and the stars. All of these celestial bodies circle the Earth. The apparent motions of the fixed stars and planets are accounted for by the fact that they are embedded in rotating spheres made of an aetherial, transparent fifth element (quintessence), like jewels set in orbs. The fixed stars do not change their positions relative to one another because they are on the surface of this single starry sphere.
The stars, Sun, Moon, and planets are all made of fire. But whilst the stars are fastened on a revolving crystal sphere like nails or studs, the Sun, Moon, and planets, and also the Earth, all just ride on air like leaves because of their breadth. And whilst the fixed stars are carried around in a complete circle by the stellar sphere, the Sun, Moon, and planets do not revolve under the Earth between setting and rising again like the stars do, but rather on setting they go laterally around the Earth like a cap turning halfway around the head until they rise again.”
“To the motion of non-living things, such as a stone dropped from the hand, is explained by two principles; Natural Motion and Violent Motion.”
“The 4 elements [earth, air, fire and water] tend to seek their natural place in the order of things. So earth moves downwards most strongly, water flows downwards too, but not so strongly, since a stone will fall through water. In contrast, air moves up (bubbles in water), and fire goes upwards most strongly of all since it shoots upward through air. Most materials that you see around you are mixtures of elements. For example, wood has both earth and air in it, since it does not sink in water.
Natural motion causes undisturbed inanimate objects to travel in a straight line either toward the center of the Earth or away from it. Left undisturbed, a pure Earth would consist of an inner ball of earth surrounded by a shell of water over which would be a layer of air and above all would be an outer layer of fire.”
“Things also move because they are pushed. A stone’s natural tendency, if left alone and unsupported, is to fall, but we can lift it, or even throw it through the air. We call such forced motion “violent” motion as opposed to “natural” motion. The term “violent” just means that some external force is applied to it.
Heavier things fall faster, the speed being proportional to the weight. The speed of fall of a given object depends inversely on the density of the medium it is falling through. So, for example, the same body will fall twice as fast through a medium of half the density.
For violent motion, the speed of the moving object is in direct proportion to the applied force. This means that if you stop pushing, the object will soon stop moving.”
So the magic caster thinks that a body in motion only stays in motion as long as the force causing it to move continues to push it. Otherwise, it will eventually slow to a stop. So for teleportation – when the subject of the spell arrives at its new destination all external forces stop acting on it and it arrives at its destination as intended. External forces, in this case, would include what we refer to as inertia.
This also makes answering questions like this much easier:
“What if the PC walks through a teleportation gate and arrives at another location thousands of miles away?” Think of the actual, physical conditions. The Earth is spinning about 24 thousand miles per hour from West to East. Depending on where on Earth the other portal is located, inertia could be a big problem. Not to mention orientation.
Even something a simple as a feather fall ring. “What if the wearer was shot out of a cannon?” At the top of the arc, he would begin to fall. So feather fall kicks in and he begins to fall slowly. If inertia is still in effect he will travel much farther and still hit the ground at the speed that he was shot out of the cannon. This is obviously not the intention of the feather fall spell. If on the other hand, inertia and gravity are no longer pushing on the PC and are replaced by the magical feather fall rules, he floats gently down from the point where he begins to fall.
“If you are flying through space on a sailing ship that has a magical gravity bubble surrounding it, what happens if you fall overboard?” I would say that you fall as if you were on earth until you reached the edge of the gravity bubble and then slowly stop when the force of the magical gravity stops pulling you down.
Having just finished one campaign and preparing to start another one, I felt that it was time to review my weaknesses as a Dungeon Master. Thanks to an excellent post on “The Angry GM” site, and a candid review of my own DM style by Tim, a former player, I have compiled this list that I intend to re-read before and after each gaming session.
1) Pre-read enough to make the game day run smoothly.
2) Have figures set aside for upcoming encounters.
3) Have monster stats printed out for the inevitable encounter.
Running a D&D game is a storytelling craft on top of die rolls, which makes the DM chair the most difficult but often most entertaining of the game.
There’s two aspects of the game to manage, the character experience, and the player experience. All the players need their characters to have their moment to shine.
Provide variety in how NPCs/monsters interact with PCs. The encounters need not always be a fight to the death.
Always appeal to the players’ sense of sight, smell, touch, taste, and sound when narrating.
Begin and end each players turn with narration.
Each turn follows a simple process.
After every transition you need a bit of scene setting. Even if it’s just a single sentence. In fact, that’s all it should be. At the start of every turn in combat, you should say a few words (and NO MORE) about what’s going on in the scene right now, specifically to the person whose turn it is. Even if all you do is remind the player of what just happened.
The transitions out of one turn and into another meld together. The resolution of one action sets the scene for the next.
As a GM, it’s your job to bring the combat to life. To make it feel like an emergency, like a life or death situation.
At the start of every player’s turn, you need to point out where they are and what emergency is happening right now, either to them, or right near them.
In a life-or-death battle, the proper feeling for a player is near-panic. Players should feel panicked and rushed in combat because the characters are panicked and rushed in combat. When it is a player’s turn, they need to begin speaking immediately. And if not, you need to prompt them.
“What do you do? You need to decide or you’ll lose the turn to indecision.” Assume they take the Dodge action (attacks against him have disadvantage).
A GOOD EXAMPLE
GM: Alice, four goblins are charging the party. What do you do?”
Alice: I’ll run up and hit the goblin with my mace. 15.
Alice: 6 bludgeoning damage.
GM: You charge the goblin and smash it with your mace, bringing it to a stop. It’s allies are hesitating. Bob, you’ve got an opening…
GM: The goblin leaps aside, dodging your axe. He tries to dart past you to close with Dave. You get an opportunity attack. Roll it.
GM: The goblin dodges that too and dashes forward, lunging at Dave with his shortsword. Dave, what’s your AC?
GM: Ouch. He stabs you in the side for 6 piercing damage, sending you stumbling backwards while the other two goblins draw to a stop and face Alice and Bob head on. Alice, the goblin recovers his breath from your blow and thrusts his shortsword. A crit! You take 12 damage.
Alice: Damn it! I’m really hurt!
GM: The other goblin closes with Bob as he’s trying to stop the one getting past him. But… Bob sees him coming and dodges the blow. That’s a miss.
GM: The goblins range themselves in front of Alice and Bob while a third goblin is ready to strike another blow at Dave. Carol, they seem to be ignoring you. What do you?