More from the DMG!

Well here is another round-up of the sneak peeks from the upcoming DMG !  I missed out on the post they tossed up while I was at the conventions but with today’s update I will get everything back up to speed.  So here we go with this round-up. I think we might see one more of these come down the pipe before it hits the shelves.

dmg_race

 

Right out the gate Let me say YES ! Thank you. Stats for Eladrin and Aasimar ! I know they come from goodie goodie stock.. but why is it that Tieflings are playable races straight up in the PHB. But The Good races were no were to seen.  It is nice to see this addressed in the upcoming book. I also like the fact that there are rules for custom building races. This for DM’s like me is welcome news for my home-brew world.

dmg-npc1    dmg-npc2

 

I like this set of pages here on NPC. This is a good little tool. Not all GM’s are good at adding personality to their NPC’s And in a pinch even good GM’s often can use a quick table like these to round out the personality of the people in the world that your group encounters. Also that ART ! How often do you get that good of a look at Beholder snacks !

And lastly we have more Magic Items.

kz3bdrvanuhnea8sx4ad   eks1ft6w7pgo7jxt85cx

dmgmi (1)

Always the fan of Magic Items It’s nice to see a deeper look into the treasures that are out there to be had. Not to mention that the I have always wanted an Apparatus of Kwalish.  We also have received a good look at a few of the magic item tables and By the looks of it we will see all of our favorite old school magic items ! I mean Really Why is this book not out yet !
villain1  villains2

And we wrap up the pages they have shown us thus far with a glimpse at the Evil Domains and Villainous Class options.
Enjoy.

The Imp

Ah the Imp, The little lawful Evil 2 foot talk Extra Planer schemers. Wild little Devils of the least order. They do their masters bidding searching out souls to corrupt.  Most all imps are terrible cowards but that does not make them any less dangerous.
Imps can often be found in the service of powerful evil wizards.
Imps will only attack if they are sure that they can safely retreat or overcome their foe. Add to that most Imps will rely on their wicked stinger. Imps have a long scorpion like tail that can deliver powerful venom. Back in 1st edition this stinger was ridiculously brutal as a Save or Die attack, Yikes!  Later in 3.5 it was toned down but still very lethal with it being a Dex damaging attack.  In 4th it just became an ongoing poison effect. None the less deadly but far easier to get by then just falling over dead.  Now we see the Imp in its 5th incarnation and his sting deals a brutal 3D6 Damage ! Impressive.

Now as a Devil even a very minor one the Imp he enjoys all of the perks of his fellow Devil kind. Advantage on most damage attacks in 5E and a wide-set of DR in 4E and 3.5. Gives the annoying little creature the chance to slip away and let his poison do its work while running to the side of his Master.  And if you don’t get him in that one swing  you might get. He will probably get away to sting you another day.  As all Imps can become invisible at will.

Fun Plot Idea for a one night session.

Best Seller:

A cult on the outside of town, based in a near by mausoleum complex that is in search of a lost tome containing a summoning scroll to call on more powerful demons.
The town of Stolish (or any name in your game) is looking for volunteers to look into a string of arson in the city. Three buildings have been set fire in as many weeks. What are the connections between the three ?
Run this game as a mystery and give your players 3 clues.
Clue 1> Leads them to a local Thieves guild and proves wrong.
Clue 2> Leads them to a local  Wizard who recently had dealings with two of the three owners of the burnt buildings.  His house is the next to burn and he ends up murdered.
Clue 3>  A Scrap of Moss that grows only near old graveyards near swamps. Out of place for the local area.

Hobgoblin

Hobgoblin’s have been a part of D&D since the beginning. Their appearance has not changed much over the editions either, nor has their attitude. They are lager more wicked and menacing goblins. Another thing that has remained a constant since their introduction war. Hobgoblin’s are constantly at war with any other race. And they view all other races on the battlefield as inferior to themselves. Gladly even residing as officers over other races as leaders on the battle field.
One of the biggest fears that you can face when combating Hobgoblin’s is that they attract other more powerful races to their causes. Trolls, Ogres, Hill Giants and Barghast’s can and have all been seen with Hobgoblin’s on the field of battle. This gives Hobgoblin’s tremendous flexibility on the battlefield to use unorthodox tactics as they wage war.
As a Lawful Evil society they have a strict military code. Among Hobgoblins nothing goes to waste. Captured enemy’s are sold for better equipment. Captured Equipment is used to replace lesser valued gear. Everything about the Hobgoblin exist for war. Their villages are built as castles with tower and high walls. Their family units are born and raised for war. They strive for a state total fearlessness and lack of emotion in combat. All the lands that they control are forfeit for their engine of war as well.

85935fb726531df156fb2f338c463994In short Hobgoblin’s when found should be down right Scary ! But often I feel this race is often overlooked as a big well armored goblin. And they are so much more than that. They Take great care and pride in their weapons. As military leaders they can be powerful NPC Villains. And if used well in a game as a recurring villain they can threaten to grow an entire army to support them. With the fact that Hobgoblins also can and do attract more and more powerful creatures to their ranks. As the party levels up So can your NPC. Maybe after a defeat the Hobgoblin rally’s his allies and returns to a group of Ogres and Trolls next time he faces off with the players.

Hobgoblin’s In 5E.. are no less as scary in ability as they are in description. They have the ability when fighting in rank and file with their Allies to level brutal blows on their opponents. You will see them early enough in the game with a CR of 1/2  and a cool ability called “Martial Advantage” This allows them to gain an extra whopping 2D6 Damage on their attacks on targets within 5 Feet of their ally’s.
Hobgoblin Captain add’s to this Leadership. A recharging ability that add a D4 to an attack or saving throw. Lastly the Hobgoblin warlord is a wrecking machine. With Martial advantage, Leadership, Multi Attack and Shield Bash ! And a hefty CR of 6 !
These are baddies you can have your players face off against for a very long time and be a Solid threat !
That being said I personally like that very much. Your game can progress but you can remain fighting what use to be perceived as low-level monsters for long periods of time in the leveling process. Instead of decelerating the XP crawl. The monsters can rise to meet the challenge. and become stronger and stronger encounters.

Tackling RPG Cliches: The Caravan

Last week I began to tackle a very sensitive subject to some. Gaming clichés. Maybe I should have stated I was addressing this line of posts to the new or novice Game Master. it’s the little things like starting locations or introduction of a game session that potentially hang your game up or derail it all together for inexperienced GM’s. These are subtle little things that many GM’s find as a difficulty stepping stone in the journey to becoming a good GM. But I chose not make this distinction with my last blog because it’s a good reminder that we all sometimes forget and can let the quality of our game’s slip.

Some Readers felt I was being negative or was suggesting not to use clichéd locations for introductions of a game. To the contrary I encourage new game masters that might be hesitant to use a cliché location to do just that. Take a few moments pay attention to the details of that location. Don’t let the encounter become a “briefing room” style introduction. Adding a few notes of flavor differentiating the location from a standard cookie cutter location will make your players take notice and assist in drawing them into the story.

Moving on another clichéd starting location. We will look at the caravan. This cliché is often more used than the Tavern. The problem with the caravan is often a new GM will go to a caravan because he knows or has thought about the cliché of the tavern. When in fact what often happens, is now the GM has not only chosen a cliché location. He has potentially locked his party into that location for extended encounters. Now if you’ve still given more players 8 “briefing room” style flavor to your initial setting everything comes across as a bland. We’ve all been there, you sit down the game ready to play. New character in hand and excited.
The GM begins,

You all are on caravan guard duty…

Or

you have been hired to take the supplies to town X

And lastly

due to recent caravan attacks you’ve taken on a job as caravan guards

Again I want to emphasize that I’m not saying these are bad clichéd encounter settings to begin a game . Rather I am encouraging GM that would use this cliché for their game to take a few extra moments to make the setting stand out. Slightest bit of extra work for you take in the beginnings of that game can make all of the difference between having an excellent session, or losing your players interest for your first game. All GM and players alike don’t want a have to hear their GM say at the end of the night ” I’m sorry for the slow game but that’s what happens when you start a new game often”

But really like every GM’s when I have my first game I want to set the hook, I want my players to be excited from the beginning to the end of that first session and look forward to what is coming what is it they have just gotten themselves into.
So how do we address this  How do we solve this? Some would say just don’t start adventure from a caravan. I disagree, caravans great vehicles for story much like taverns. Why is that? Because because caravans are part of the fantasy world highways and byways. Any well-traveled road in your fantasy world is going to have at least one merchant or family of farmers traveling up and down its roads daily. Fantasy economies from city to city rely on caravans.
The idea here is not to just drop your players into caravan guard duty cold. As much as it is to use to get your players to take the job in join the caravan of their own volition. Much like with the Inn where colorful description and unique elements can make that encounter more palatable and enjoyable. The caravan has to be treated in a similar manner.

Take into account what each of the party members are playing, And what they would bring to a caravan.  Obviously if your group has a bard in it he more than likely wasn’t hired to be the guard maybe he’s the hired  entertainment for the guards in the evenings. A ranger might be the advanced scout for the group. A barbarian might fit in this role as well.
I would encourage as a GM not to have your party be standard guards on a caravan. Most merchants would understand the skills set that an adventuring group brings to the table. Why hire these warriors as common guards , or a little extra muscle? Does the merchant know something more?

So here are a few ideas that I might use when running a caravan adventure starting point or beginning location.

Each of the party members find themselves in a town with no available work. It’s time to move on to greener pastures and there’s a caravan leaving town today. Might as well get paid while on the road. If you hurry you might catch the Road boss before they leave, after all there is safety in numbers.

Or

you set out on the road to be in your travels, an hour or so has passed when you come upon a caravan heading in the direction of your travels. The head driver waves to you and motions you to come talk with him. He recognizes you from the town you just left and offers you position in the caravan if you’re heading the same direction. And interested in the coin.

One thing I like about the second description is it gives the party more of a feeling that they have options and they’re not being railroaded into joining the caravan. Given the second option the players might turn down my job offer to be a part of the caravan but I’ve had a flavorful encounter and now I can have the caravan master possibly divulge information that could be useful to the party in directing my adventure the way I was hoping to take it.
Another opportunity to use a caravan in a different creative way if the party has the ability to travel faster than a caravan might be for a caravan master to hire the party as advance scouts. Hiring them to travel ahead of the wagon train looking for danger or fording river passes, Checking bridges for safe crossing. Visiting towns ahead on the trail to inquire what towns are in need of what supplies, Giving the wagon master time to decide which fork in the road will make him the most profit. Checking passes for danger and scouting known monstrous tribes that may work close to the road sides and clearing them out so that the caravan can move forward unaccounted.
Many of these things are more exciting than waiting on the back of a caravan wagon or walking along side of it wondering when your GM is going to spring the ambush and the combat begin.
These suggestions might not only make a clichéd cavern starting point more enjoyable. But if well received could even springboard into an entire mini campaign as your adventures travel from locale to locale looking for the riches and adventure. Just turning your caravan into a mobile based town of sorts.

Monster Manual Reviewed.. And I am Jealous.

Not having my hands on this book yet is killing me almost as much as not having the DMG.. Maybe more. But until then here is an awesome review on the MM.  After reading it I have the itch…I Do not know how much longer I can wait for my copy !

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/tabletop/reviews/12252-D-D-5th-Edition-Monster-Manual-Review-for-Dungeons-Dragons

Ettercap

As a GM setting a good scene can elevate an encounter from standard to something very memorable.  When dealing with an experienced group of role-players this becomes more and more difficult. Another tool that can be used to make encounters rich is misdirection. And this is wonderfully where the Ettercap falls neatly into both of these categories.
Ettercaps are typically 6 feet tall and weigh about 200 pounds of creepy arachinidlike humanoid ugly. They are solitary creatures and rarely group with others of their kind, even to mate. When they do group, they tend to attract a variety of different spiders, forming a strange collective of ettercaps and arachnids. Ettercaps are known for building cunning traps out of webs and other natural materials, using them to trap prey. They build shelters out of webbing, and use monstrous spiders as lookouts and guardians.
ettercap_by_jbilodo-d61z6y7Whenever a giant spider encounter seems too carefully planded out,  or the PCs fall prey to a deadfall in the deep woods, it’s a safe bet an Ettercap is involved. If you have a Higher level party you can even spice up the encounter and make your Ettercap a leveled Druid with one of his Giant Spiders for an Animal Companion.. Shudder.
If you decide to have your players stumble on an Ettercap lair. Try not to give it away too soon keep  your players guessing. Soften them up with a few Giant spiders. Utilize sneak attacks and traps. Maybe your Ettercap has a potion of invisibility hes acquired from a corpse of a fallen adventure.  Attack from behind or above.  attempt to single players out by screening off one Party member from the others with spiders so the Ettercap can incapacitate the weaker members of the group.

Play to the Ettercaps strengths. Web often with his Web attacks and with the Giant spiders in his lair as well. Take advantage of  their Traps and poisons. Have no fear to prolong fights with an Ettercap. move into combat and poison a party member and then move to cover.  If played well not only can an encounter with an Ettercap be fun and exciting but a terrifying battle that your players will not forget any time soon !

#RPGaDay 26 Coolest character sheet

#RPGaDAY

 

Well I have this one picked hands down. Glen Angus put out a series of Character covers before he passed away. There were more than 75 sheets in the collection. Years ago I lost the file that were on a laptop. And to this day I have been trying to track the collection down since his passing. Here is a glimpse of his work from the two issues that were featured in Dragon Mag.  I bet I could make these work for 5E easily now.. Bummer.
enjoy.

Female Sheet   Mage Sheet