Thursday, 6 November 2014

My D&D 5e Morale System 2.0

I wrote a Morale system that seems to be getting a fair amount of traffic and i've had a chance to test it at the table, played some internet games with it, and some meatspace games too. I hate it. It's shit.

There's too much of a pause in my brain, having to think about assigning a DC, based on the motivations of the Random Orc #4 my players are merrily cleaving through - fuck it. So. Back to the drawing board, here's my ultra-lightweight 5e Morale System:

Its built upon the same core idea as the last one, but instead of assigning a DC based on the morale of the combatant, its based on their important to my game.

DC6 = Villain/Major Badguy
DC11 = Lieutenant/Underboss
DC16 = Mook/Hireling

This way there's almost no conscious thought about what DC to use, I already know how important someone is, and crucially whether it really matters if they are putting up a fight and getting 'screen-time'.

Furthermore, i'm scrapping any stat bonus to the roll. Just a raw d20. It will still give a nice curve of randomness, and it's another modifier that I don't have to flip through shit to get to. Maybe you could give your BBEG advantage on the roll, or let players intimidate and roleplay to give them disadvantage too?

I'll give this a test in tonights Roll20 game, hopefully we wont see v3.0

Monday, 3 November 2014

Where Adventure's At

All the fantasy films I used to watch as a kid involved a journey, usually long and with some mild peril (unless its 'Water-ship Down' then its not mild peril, its childhood scarring fuck-uppery) It seems to make good sense, the reason the journey was long, and perilous - is that the location itself is hard to find or get to. Duh.

So heres a generator to find out where "that thing the heroes need to get to" is. I've called it, as the post title suggests - Where Adventures At.

Click here to find out 'Where Adventure's At' 

Monday, 20 October 2014

66 Weird Folk for your game

Here are a whole bunch of character traits, designed for NPC's in a dark yet quirky and humorous tone game.
  1. A pig nosed local, mind twisted - opposes any and all change.
  2. Well mannered civil servant. Parents are Psychopaths.
  3. A perfectly normal gentleman, just escaped forced captivity - dressed in grass skirt.
  4. Short and Gaudy, obsessed with toads.
  5. Bright rosy cheeks and underbite, has OCD.
  6. Has a twin sister, they know a secret about everyone in town.
  7. Well meaning simpleton - wants to be a fireman.
  8. Condescending and contemptuous social worker, obsessed with quills.
  9. Brow beaten intellectual with depression. Actually a secret agent.
  10. Prone to fits of black rage - his best friend slept with his ex-wife, his boss is now married to her.
  11. His wife hates him - but he loves her. He also fancies Liam.
  12. Pious and Cynical, takes perverse pleasure in humiliating people.
  13. Incredibly old and rude - obsessed with bags.
  14. Scruffy and unkempt connoisseur of plays - wont watch anything with less than 37 killings.
  15. Disturbing Salesman with numerous 'wives' - fingers always covered with mud.
  16. Closeted priest - Wife is a vampire.
  17. Charming Troupe actor, has been plucked for stardom - Is having same sex relationship with boss.
  18. Aspiring mummer - cannot deliver any line without fucking up.
  19. Is renowned doctor, wont treat anyone unless they play boardgames at his house.
  20. Sweet, hapless widow(er) - pathologically incapable of political correctness, despite best efforts.
  21. The inappropriate mortician.
  22. Obese debt collector - childish and in constant need of food.
  23. Young man - prone to stealing, takes his job far too seriously.
  24. Old and mad - runs a zoo with a pig, goat and a chimp.
  25. Backstreet butcher - his produce gives amongst other effects, nosebleeds.
  26. Unlucky and lonely - able to predict misfortune, yet never avoid it.
  27. Thinks every situation, no matter how serious - can be solved by getting a pint.
  28. Withered bore, claims to have performed every profession mentioned to him.
  29. A doppleganger stuck in the role of a vintage mummer - jokes are awful, the audience love him.
  30. Interfering know-it-all tavern drunkard, can never win a bet.
  31. Ageing and feckless - extremely bad cough.
  32. Youthful and vibrant, declares everything to be 'brilliant' or 'fantastic'.
  33. Believes even the most mundane objects to be magical.
  34. Deaf daredevil - always gets instruction wrong.
  35. Claims to be incurable kleptomaniac - people think he's joking.
  36. Unfunny and irritating - changed their name because it rhymed with a rude word.
  37. Unnecessarily competitive - especially with his children.
  38. Despite rough demeanour and lavish lifestyle, is improbably concerned about saving the planet.
  39. Personality is serious and overbearing - changes to soppy and giggly when dealing with opposite sex.
  40. High-bred idiot - concerned about his reputation despite incessant galavanting.
  41. Fat, sweaty copper.
  42. Every idea they have will be roundly ignored - only to be re-presented favourably by someone else.
  43. Prone to faux-pas, cannot find coat.
  44. Claims not to be pissed, clearly steaming.
  45. Will ask any for their opinion on how they look - overly concerned about the size of their bum.
  46. Will only eat one thing - this thing changes weekly.
  47. Soft gentle artist - will fall into a dramatic fit of despair at the mention of the word 'black'
  48. Keen observer of mens fashion, will bombard people with sexual innuendo. 
  49. Pretentious and Laid back - listens to experimental and avant-garde music.
  50. Starts every insult with 'No offense' - looks like a dried up orange.
  51. A teenage parent - wont tell anyone who the father/mother is.
  52. Tells far-fetched stories and benefits from great luck and success - doesn't seem to truly understand the gravity of said events.
  53. High confidence and self esteem - utterly useless.
  54. Speech is utterly inherent except for choice words or phrases. Very, very drunk.
  55. Smug battleaxe - berates spouse for embarrassing behaviour.
  56. Proclaims everything to be 'rubbish'. Except for ageing troubadour called Les.
  57. Smarmy salesman - compares everything to the art of lovemaking.
  58. Passes comment about every thing - regardless of personal or sensitive nature.
  59. Cannot follow instructions - will attempt something 'even better'.
  60. Answers all questions like a politician on damage-control mode.
  61. Jubilant yet emotionally imbalanced - loves tales of cruelty.
  62. Vampire who sneaks into peoples houses to give them betting advice.
  63. Ardent football fan - knows nothing about the game.
  64. Constantly running from one destination to another whilst shouting 'Run!' 'Come on!'
  65. Perpetually engaged in lude and graphic behaviour - unaware of social discomfort this causes.
  66. Inept - perpetually disgusted with every facet of their life, rendering them useless.
: More on running NPC's here, and more about creating them here and here :

Sunday, 19 October 2014

A Random Esoteric Tome Generator for D&D

“It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it.” 

Click to Find out what Volume you Find..

Book Rules

Here's how books work in my game, these are WIP as i'm still trying to find out a nice and interesting method for research and discovery of shit the players may want. (If you have any good suggestion, please do let me know)

Every book can be studied for a period of 4 hours (as a base, the quality of the book will affect this), after which a character will have advantage on the first skill roll they make in the subject matter of that book. Every book has two distinct qualities i'm concerned about:

  • The Quality of Authorship - This measures an authors ability to write in a coherent or manner conducive to learning. Rated on a scale from 1 to 6, 1 being barely readable, if at-all, ramblings of a madman. 6 is the works of a gifted scribe with a mind for beautiful and engaging prose.
1-2 - Rambling and Incoherent (Takes 6 hours to read)
3-4 - Moderate to Skilled Author (Takes 4 hours to read)
5-6 - Superlative Masterwork (Takes 2 hours to read)

  • Knowledge contained Therein - This measures the amount of actual useful information a reader can garner from a volume, this property gives a number that indicates how many times a volume may be read before the reader can no longer gain more information from it. They have read it cover to cover and digested every word.
Pamphlet - This can be read 1 time.
Minor Essay - This can be read 2 times.
Lengthy Dissertation - This can be read 4 times.
Collection of Works - This can be read 8 times.
Academic Study - This can be read 16 times.
Encyclopaedia Volume - This can be read 32 times.

You can randomly roll all that information, plus a subject matter (as related to the skill list- I think at some stage i'll expand or change this part) Roll it Here.

Friday, 17 October 2014

What's odd about that character..

Shameless re-post from Grog of Substantial Whimsy. I've barely read a fraction and some of them are so good - I couldn't not create a generator and keep them in a place where i'll seem them again. Here some I picked out form the first 300 (700 more to read) Personally i'll be bending these into weird NPC traits.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Fillable D&D 5e Encounter Crib Sheet

Here is a handy Fillable D&D 5e Encounter Crib Sheet, go ahead and download it here. I use these all the time to write notes for the 13th Age campaign I ran last year and thought now i'm starting a 5th edition game - i'd do the same for that.

Drop any comments and ideas for improvements here or over at G+.

Happy Gaming.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Retro Games Workshop Colour Generator

Not sure why you would want this, or why I put it together - its cool none-the-less. Mostly early 90's GW paint colours and some others I picked up from around the web.

Friday, 10 October 2014

NPCs for easy use behind the screen (or how I learned to prepare for being unprepared)

There are a couple of good resources for preparing to improv. I recommend putting this in a blender, making a digestible soup out of it - pour it in a bath and absorb it through osmosis.

One of my favourite parts of this, is Robin D. Law's essay: Improvising Dialogue Sequences. Summary: Every meaningful interaction with an NPC has both a Petitioner (someone wishing to get something) and a Granter (someone who has the power to fulfil those wishes)

In order to satisfy the criteria a Granter imposes, the Petitioner needs to use leverage. Robin list several useful methods - I figure that each NPC will have a preferred method of leverage, that will unlock their ability to grant the petitioners wish. We can go further than that, why not give each NPC a secondary preferred method of leverage - using this will unlock their ability to grant wishes, but with a cost or at a reduced efficiency. Also they should have a method of leverage that will make unlocking their wish fulfilling potential harder - or - impossible.

Here's a rough example:

Village Burgomeister
Primary Leverage
Appeals to Duty

Secondary Leverage
Seeking Approval

Adverse Leverage

So now we have a quick guide how to run this guy when he meets the players, these rules work if the burgomeister is both Petitioner or Granter. You could create two lists for each, but for my purposes this is simple enough. Furthermore i've put together a nice randomiser, so should I need motivations on the fly I can get them. *If you get multiples (you-will) re-roll*

Alius Inviso : Goblins

The 5e Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual doesn't have enough subtle variation on monsters, rather than improv them at the table - i've done tried to fix this ahead of time. Here's Goblins.


Goblin Soldier

Small Humanoid, Chaotic Evil
Armor Class : 17
Hit points : 11 (3d6)
Speed : 30ft.

8 (-1)
14 (+2)
10 (0)
10 (0)
8 (-1)
8 (-1)

Skills : Stealth +6
Senses : Passive Perception 9,
Languages : Common
Challenge Rating : 1/2 (100XP)

Cunning Footwork. If the goblin warrior has moved at least 20ft, it deals an additional 1d6 damage to its next attack made during its turn.


Spear. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 10ft, one target.
Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) piercing damage.

Shortbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, 80/320ft., one target.
Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) piercing damage.

Goblin Sneak

Small Humanoid, Chaotic Evil
Armor Class : 14
Hit points : 11 (3d6)
Speed : 30ft.

8 (-1)
14 (+2)
10 (0)
10 (0)
8 (-1)
8 (-1)

Skills : Stealth +6
Senses : Passive Perception 9,
Languages : Common
Challenge Rating : 1/2 (100XP)

Backstab. Once per turn the goblin sneak can deal an extra 1d6 damage to one creature it hits with an attack if it has advantage on the attack roll or there is an ally within 5ft of it.


Crooked Shank. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5ft, one target.
Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) piercing damage.

Shortbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, 80/320ft., one target.
Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) piercing damage.


Goblin Soldiers are the 'lucky' ones who prove themselves and survive the harsh conditions conscription into a Hobgoblin horde submit them to. Many never survive the camp, let alone the first conflict - those that do quickly pick up the militarised and regimented tactics common to Hobgoblin and other Humanoid armies. They trade their makeshift crude blades for the weapons of a soldier, a spear and shield - and learn to use them with great effect.

Goblins who live long within their tribe are often referred to, in the common tongue as 'sneaks'. Size will get you noticed, weakness will ensure you serve. In order to remain free, or as free as a goblin can, one must avoid the attention of the malicious tribal leaders. The strongest goblins are thrown against the tribes enemies, better they die than the boss, and those that survive are often taken by Hobgoblins to swell their ranks. This leaves only the cunning and the ones willing to wait in the darkness for the right moment to strike.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

My D&D 5e Morale System

*Reader beware, I have given this homebrew an overhaul - I recommend reading this next*

There are plenty of Morale systems, whilst I like the simplicity of the OD&D d6 roll I want something thats more cohesive with the 5e rules. That means I want a d20 roll, no modifiers and something that's easy to remember.

Fortunately we have a static DC scale that I can use all the way to level 20, i'll use that to determine a combatants 'flee' threshold, or quality of their morale.

DC5   = Virtually unbreakable
DC10 = Resolute in the face of danger
DC15 = Strong willed
DC20 = Weak willed
DC25 = Craven
DC30 = Mortally afraid

Like most systems theres a few conditions that will provoke a morale check, even though i'm usually good at sensing when the tide of battle has turned. These are borrowed and modified from the Metzner Basic set (my favourite old-school edition)

When the creature is first hit (taking 1 or more hit points of damage)
When the creature is reduced to 1/2 of its starting hit points

Groups of creatures, a Morale check is made for the entire group :
When the first death occurs
When half of the monster are not free to act - killed, magically asleep or controlled, etc.

A morale check is an ability score check, either wisdom or intelligence - possibly even constitution for 'non-intelligent' creatures. Also should a creature be a minion or servant of another combatant, its master may make a charisma DC10 ability check, if successful the creature making the morale check does so with advantage. If its master is killed, it makes all morale checks with disadvantage.

As always YMMV and i'll no-doubt tweak in play, but should be solid enough as is.

'till next time.

Friday, 8 August 2014

5e PHB

So i've purchased the D&D Players Handbook, i've had an afternoon to read and partially ruminate and what follows here are my initial thoughts. Im tempted to do an in depth review however Rob Donahue will do a better version that I. I haven't through linked here as as far im aware he been doing the reviews 'blind' with no prior knowledge or spoilers of the product - you'll have to do a google search for 'The Walking Mind' blog.


Books solid, hardcover - looks like it could take a beating. Cover illustrations is gorgeous - that pretty much goes through out, and thats at the centre of my initial reaction. Wow. This thing looks amazing, and not just the cover - everywhere is sprinkled with interesting pieces of art. Looking at the art direction for the book you cant really see the philosophy of the designers to cherry pick all the editions. The layout is akin to 3e, a faux book (where 3 went as far as to create a faux fantasy cover) The illustrations are digital paintings, they remind me of artwork that featured on the covers and pages of the TSR era AD&D (2nd to my mind) The rules, well they're basic with traces of 2nd 3rd and 4th

Im surprised at the number of classes. The earlier editions had less, if I recall - 4th I know for sure, ill maybe check 2nd and 3rd but, anyways - they've got pretty much every major class - even warlocks and monks. This brings me hope that we'll see less option based splat books and more adventure/campaign/fluff.

My major hope is for the DMG. This is where i'm hoping we'll see major elements (the modularity Mearls talked about) that mutate the game and allow us to turn it into what we want to play. Thats really what i'm looking forward to.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

GM Kit : NPC Generator

Here are all the necessaries for random npc's


Human Name
Elven Name
Dwarven Name
Half-elf Name
Half-orc Name
Halfling Name
Gnome Name
Tiefling Name
Dragonborn Name



Combat Stats

For Minions - Divide HP by 4 and damage by around 50%, For Large Creatures - Double the HP and Damage, Huge creatures - Triple HP and Damage.

Level 0

*i'll add more levels as i get time, will be done before next weeks game*