So, Inkwell Ideas has started a biweekly dungeon geomorph contest, and they've gotten some great results already. The idea is, they give a theme every two weeks, and you have those two weeks to submit up to 3 geomorphs; it looks like they're giving away nice prizes, too, such as their DungeonMorph Dice, or Chubby Monster Games’ Moleskin Maps. I thought I'd play along.
May 4, 2015
Apr 30, 2015
So, I was directed to this cool site recently: Tabletop Audio. It's a site with many ten-minute soundscapes to play during games. The site tags them pretty well, as to whether they've got ambience (i.e., rattling chains, water dripping, etc.), minimal music (nothing with voices), or both. The list of soundscapes is pretty extensive, everything from Sleeping Dragon, to Strangers on a Train, to Warehouse 13. I've been trying it out, and it's easier than making my own playlists of sound effects using Softrope, which is what I had been doing. The soundscapes are 10 minutes long, and loopable.
So this year, I had several really good ideas for my One Page Dungeon Contest submission. Sadly, my imagination was captured by the material in the thread "Ten Foot Poles: How Do They Work?" on RPG.net, and especially the idea of the Most Ancient and Worshipful Order of Roodsmen and Pole-Tenders that we developed there. As I was driving one of my DMs home last week, I suddenly had the idea for my submission -- the Vault of the Pole, the testing ground for apprentices of the Guild who seek to become journeymen. I pictured apprentice pole-tenders (called "tenders") frantically trying to overcome the obstacle course in a series of dungeon rooms while a deep sonorous bell tolls every minute or so. And so, that's what I went with.
Dec 19, 2014
One of the fun things to play in 1E D&D was a half-ogre. Basically, the archetypical half-ogre was big and dumb, and you're only job was to hit things. Locked door? Bash it open. Hobgoblins threatening the party? Hit them until the fall down. Subtlety was lost with this character; but that was the point -- if you DMed a game, and someone wanted to play a half-ogre, you knew they didn't want to talk to the townsfolk or rub elbows with the nobles; they were only here to kill things and take their stuff.
Dec 2, 2014
A lot of people on various game message boards seem to think that D&D 5E's de-emphasis on magic items means problems for Eberron. From what I can see, nothing could be farther from the truth.
Dec 1, 2014
Sep 24, 2014
Magic is the lifeblood of Eberron, encircling it like the Ring of Siberys and seeping up through the earth from the bones of Khyber. Perhaps the clearest manifestation of this pervasive magic is the appearance of dragonmarks among seven of Khorvaire’s common races. Dragonmarks are elaborate skin patterns—more intricate and colorful than birthmarks, more distinctive than any tattoo—that also grant their bearers innate magical abilities. There are twelve families of dragonmarks, each one associated with a number of closely related manifestations. A thirteenth mark, the Mark of Death, has faded from history, and no living creature on Eberron carries it.
When it is used, a character’s dragonmark grows warm to the touch. It becomes fever hot when its spell-like abilities are used up for the day, and must be allowed to cool before its power can be drawn upon again.
You were born to one of the thirteen dragonmarked houses that wield enormous power throughout Khorvaire. Perhaps you have manifested one of the magical dragonmarks that showed your descent from a house member, or were born to someone who was granted member-ship or married into a house; regardless, you have lived a life of privilege and responsibility.
The dragonmarked houses are deeply entrenched in the economic and social ecology of Khorvaire. All guild monopolies are controlled by the houses, which fix prices and maintain quality standards. Although the houses are forbidden from holding lands or political office by the Korth Edicts, many dragonmarked heirs have great influence in politics due to their affiliations and personal power.
EDIT: So, Warforged were supposed to be in the Dungeon Master's Guide, but were cut for space. I had posted a preliminary version, based on an update of the playtest version. However, I've since seen a version done by Keith Baker for a one-off character for a 5E game he played in, with input from designer Rodney Thompson. While Mr. Baker states quite clearly that he hasn't done any testing, and that this isn't in any way official, I like it quite a bit, so this is what I'm using for my game. I cleaned up Mr. Baker's paragraphs into the standard format.
With shifters, the problem is the new edition's focus on simplicity. Shifting changed your characteristics, and if you wanted your shifting to become really good, you had to take a tree of shifter feats. There were builds focusing entirely on maximizing your shifter advantages. The new edition doesn't really do temporary ability score changes in the same way -- the barbarian's rage, for example, gives a boost to damage and hit points, but doesn't require recalculating your character's abilities. Similarly, the gauntlets of ogre power/amulet of health/headband of intellect change the impacted ability score to a flat 19 -- a +5 bonus that's easy to plug in, and lasts indefinitely as long as you leave the item on. So I decided that 5E shifters should get their +1 stat bump from their trait, and tried to make the traits (which I had to rename "legacies" because "trait" in 5E is a very specific thing) almost as powerful as a feat, so that I could make an "Extra Shifter Legacy" feat.
The main deal with changelings is their Shapechanger power. In 3E, they could assume Medium forms only. Why do halflings and gnomes get a break from one of the setting's core elements, namely rampant, justifiable Paranoia? In Eberron, you should never be quite sure that you know who you're talking to, no matter if they're a human, bugbear, or gnome. Also, in 3E you could assume Small forms as well with a feat, and the new edition has a completely different feat economy. Anyway, I used the wording from the Doppelganger in the DM Basic Rules document v.0.1.
Sep 19, 2014
So, the new edition of Dungeons & Dragons has started dropping (Player's Handbook last month, and I got my Monster Manual last night). I've been running this on Wednesdays at 7:00 PM at Maplewood Hobby for the last two years (three years in February) during the playtest, and as time has gone by I've been more and more impressed with it. It's very similar in feel (to me, anyway) to the original Basic Set D&D (and I'm talking about the purple box with the Erol Otus cover, so B/X for any OSR people) which was the most "fun" version. But the mechanics are very streamlined and simplified -- gone are different-methods-for-different-tasks, instead we're using the d20+bonus>target number method, which makes things easy.