Thursday, June 23, 2016

D&D 5e: The Goblin Personality



I've been working for a good while now on unique personality features for each race. The exact implementation of these ideas is left to each DM - maybe you pick two or so of these and the rest from your actual Background, maybe you get additional personality features. The DMG is pretty loosey-goosey on how you gain Inspiration, so I don't feel too bad about doing the same here. Anyway, this post covers goblins, because I'm guessing they're one of the most popular "monster" races to play as a PC.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Treasure Distribution for the Low-Prep DM

Note the paltry amount of filthy lucre. The piece is "Dragon Slayers and Proud of It," by Larry Elmore.


Last month, I talked about six different approaches to distributing cool treasure in tabletop games. Today I'm looking at the same question from a different angle. Let's say you've figured out what's going to be available to the players. How do you record it in your DMing notes, and how do you put it into player hands?

Monday, June 6, 2016

D&D 5e Playtest: Feats


I am amused to discover that, just over 24 hours after I posted about feats and feat design (and how the fanbase is calling for more feats), the new Unearthed Arcana does the same. The article opens with a discussion of feat design philosophy, which I think is excellent, and continues into several use cases - a total of eight feats and one discarded draft. At five pages, the article is short enough that I can do a pretty deep dive.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

D&D 5e: New Feats for Spellcasters

I've created a lot of content for 5e in this blog, but only a tiny number of feats. That's because feat design is one of the hardest things to do well in this edition: far from the wild and woolly, anything-goes atmosphere of 3.x and 4e feats, WotC's feat list is scanty, but each feat has several moving pieces that fit together precisely. Of the feats in the Player's Handbook, only five directly involve spellcasting (Elemental Adept, Magic Initiate, Ritual Caster, Spell Sniper, War Caster), and two of those are "entry level" to being a spellcaster in the first place (Magic Initiate, Ritual Caster). To that end, I set out to write a few more feats to support spellcasting.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Setting Design: An Officer and an Adventurer


In my Aurikesh campaign, all of the characters belong to the Gallant Shields of Chardecum Mercenary Company. This is not very much like the private security companies of the modern day, and not (currently) all that much like the condottieri of Renaissance Italy that are their more direct inspiration. Instead of working on an army scale, they behave more like an adventurer's guild, but with some of the trappings of a for-hire military organization to dodge some of the silliness that I perceive in the concept of an "adventurer's guild." Come to think of it, it really operates a bit more like Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters...


Thursday, May 26, 2016

D&D 5e: The Tiefling Personality



This is the eighth article in my series on personality traits, ideals, bonds, and flaws for the PC races of D&D 5e. Along with dragonborn, tieflings are one of the more divisive races of D&D, with plenty of grognards insisting that any races introduced after 1979 or so are right out. On the other hand, they've been immensely popular with the rest of the community, as they've gradually gone from their introduction in Planescape (in 1994) to a core "monster" and a Forgotten Realms player race in 3.0, (2001), to a core player race in 4e (2008) and 5e. They've always been the exotic, edgy ones, giving us a clear place (other than the half-orc) to talk (ham-handedly) about fantasy racism and whether evil is inherent or learned.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Give Your PCs Treasure With These Six Weird Tricks


I've been doing some hard work on magic item design over in Tribality, and I've talked a bit about the two 5e campaigns I play in, so in this post I'm looking at different approaches to magic items in roleplaying games. I've identified six so far, which is my justification for the clickbait title (also, I want to see if it draws in readers); if you think of meaningfully different approaches, I want to hear about them.