Mar 15, 2018

Play This Character: Grave Cleric

The problem with being a DM is that I don't get to play characters too often. I get a lot of concepts floating around in my head that never get used, I don't want some sugar-coated DMPC tromping all over the fun of my players, so I thought I'd write this one out.

My cleric was convicted of a crime, before the became devout, and sentenced to a life in the Monastery of the Death God. She started with the grim, reclaiming bodies from war, plague or nature, burial duties and general clean up duties around the morgue. They soon realized that not only did she have the stomach for such repulsive work, but she was beginning to embrace it. She was promoted to work with those living near death, hospice shifts and taking care of the dying outside of the monastery. After years of increasingly reliable actions, learning rites and rituals, becoming more devout, her belief in her god solidified. All these thing led up to her training to become a monastic representative, a cleric of the god of death.


A lot of races work well with this idea in mind, numerically only a few give points to wisdom, Aarakocra, Protector Aasimar, Hill Dwarf, Wood Elf, Firbolg(+2), Water Genasi, and Half Elf or Human. Unofficially there are Zendikar Elves (+2, Planeshift: Zendikar) Pacifier Bearfolk, Centaur, Gearforged, Savage Gnolls and Nightwhisper Trollkin (All from Midgard Heroe's Handbook)

I tend to like Aasimar and Half Elves, but again, +1 wisdom is not all that much depending on your stats and how you get them. I'm going to appeal to as many people as I can  and stick with PHB+1, so we'll go with something out of my comfort zone, Hill Dwarf. I'll choose mason tools, maybe she was a white collar criminal forging carvings.


Using point buy, Strength 12 for a bit of melee, 14 Dexterity max bonus with medium armor, 14 Constitution (+2) for HP and concentration checks, Intelligence 8 dump, Wisdom 15 (+1) main stat, and Charisma 8 dump. Again these are going to be different if you don't want to min/max; but why not be the best?


We'll be using the Grave Domain from Xanathar's Guide to Everything. We get 2 proficiencies, I'll pick Insight and Medicine both wisdom. 


Acolyte background gets us Religion, and I'll choose Survival to help me live in between adventures. Two languages useful to your campaign. I'll take Giant and Celestial from my studies. TraitsI’ve spent so long in the temple that I have little practical experience dealing with people in the outside world. and I see omens in every event and action. The gods try to speak to us, we just need to listen. Ideals: Tradition. The ancient traditions of worship and sacrifice must be preserved and upheld. (Lawful) I can relate this to my Giant language and studies. Bonds: I owe my life to the priest who took me in when my parents died. I'll change priest to temple and dead parents into incarceration. I owe my life to the temple that took me in when I was incarcerated. Flaws: I put too much trust in those who wield power within my temple’s hierarchy.

Alignment: Lawful Neutral, lifestyle: Poor.


Warhammer is better than mace, scale for armor, a light crossbow is better to use because of our dexterity, a priest pack, and a shield and an amulet for my holy symbol. Acolyte gives us some more choices, I'll take a reliquary and prayer wheel to keep in it. I like to have some standard adventuring gear, ball bearings, pitons, rope, 10 ft pole and grappling hook totaling 4g 1s.


Since we're in XGtE, we'll take Toll of the Dead, but chill touch is another great thematic choice for damage. Thaumaturgy is a must as is Mending (now we can cut up that 10' pole into manageable parts!) Guidance and light are also some go to cantrips. Cure wounds Healing Word, and Bless are staples of this class, in addition I will grab Protection from Good/Evil for the undead theme.

And there we have it, my take on the Grave Cleric.

Dec 12, 2017

Making Cities

I was really inspired by Great GM's video to work on this.

It's taken me a while to be able to sit and work on this, the first part is a resource table. Depending on what hex your settlement is located in roll on the table below; d12 green (grass, scrub, forest, swamp or jungle), d10 desert (tundra, broken/barren, volcano), d8 hills (mountains). River settlements can always have some sort of fishing in addition to the results on the table.

green desert hills
Herd Animal 1 1 1
Stone/Marble 2 2 2
Gems/Metal 3 3 3
Coal 4 4 4
Sugar 5 5 5
Incense 6 6 6
Wood 7 7 7
Cotton 8 8 8
Silk 9 9
Salt 10 10
Fruit 11
Wheat 12

Midpoint and defense settlement don't need to roll on the resource table as their function is based on another factor. More to come as I slowly plug away on this. This was the hardest part, whittling down and organizing.

Oct 9, 2017

I made this Turn Tracker google docs messed up the formatting, but it looks nice if you download it. It has two sets of boxes for hours (8 per line) and days (10 per) and 30-some monster lines for sessions and quick reference to past games.

Aug 23, 2017

Carousing for a non partying party

I'm taking some in game downtime to have my group research the location of their next 2 adventures. Of all the activities I am offering, carousing seems like the worst choice for my group, so I am making a non-alcoholic carousing table. Like O'Doules, but better.

It's only a google search away from some inspiration, there's this PbtA chart and this one I really like. One of my player's character, Losten, really wants to steal some cash for a Hat of Disguise, so thieving is going to be my theme.

Most of the tables I've been looking at have had lower numbers be bad and higher numbers be good. I like the way that works with bonuses and minuses, also, you can throw extra money at the table for bonuses. Looking at the Ability Modifier Table (Did I mention we're playing D&D? We're playing D&D.) the max natural bonus (for a twenty) is +5 so I want that to almost cancel out the bad things. Its nice to be rewarded for doing the basics instead of fancy feats. So our table will look like (using SW style outcomes):

1-2       Failure with Despair
3-4       Failure with Threat
5-6       Failure with advantage
7-8       Failure with Triumph
9-10     Failure
11-12   Success
13-14   Success with Threat
15-16   Success with Despair
17-18   Success with advantage
19-20   Success with Triumph

Ok, so what do these look like? Well, success and failure are pretty straight forward, so looking for info and establishing an alibi are the two things Losten is looking to do. So someone helps or nothing happens. on the success side, there are two negatives, I'm thinking blackmail and the person is a squealer. Now that I type that out (The person who helped you will crack under any pressure from the law) I'm thinking it might be more of an overall negative thing, so I'll move that down to 3-4. I'll change 15-16 to "You get wrong information," meaning that there is a miscommunication of some sort; wrong time for alibi, someone will be in the house, etc. In fact, I like that wording better. Now the good stuff, the best one has to be a direct link, I know the guy or I'm on the inside kind of thing, and I wanted on of the to be "You made a new contact," because Losten's player mentioned that. OK, top half done, now whats the worst thing that could happen? Jail, easy, of course you can bribe your way out. Losten has around 300g, so 100g per level seems steep, lets go with 1d6x10g per level he's level 7 so 7x3.5=24.5 or 245g. Perfect, he can do the time if he rolls high. Now failing with advantage should be a wasted effort with success on the next try, so a +5 to the roll should cover that. Failure with triumph will be a different way to do it, so maybe this guy already has a plan and needs some help. OK, now our table looks like this:
1-2       Jailed for 1d6+1 days or a fine of 1d6x10g per level
3-4       The person who helped you will crack under any pressure from the law
5-6       nothing, +5 to next roll
7-8       the person won't help you, but has a job for you.
9-10     Nothing this time
11-12   Someone is able to help you
13-14   The person who helps you seeks to use it against you
15-16   There is a miscommunication with the person
17-18   You made a new contact who can help you.
19-20   Person has a direct link to what you are asking.
Time to spruce it up, remember we're role playing here.

1-2       What? I'm a constable, come with me. Jailed for 1d6+1 days or a fine of 1d6x10g per level.
3-4       Sure I can help you, as long as no one asks any questions.
5-6       Not me, but I know some people on the other side of town that do that kind of thing. +5 to next roll
7-8       Sorry, can't help you, but I have some work that you might be interested in.
9-10     Nothing this time, no one seems to be able to help.
11-12   Sure, I got your back.
13-14   I'll help you, for an unnamed favor to be used later.
15-16   Yea, sure, what was that? Yea, yea, yea sound like a plan, I got to run.
17-18   I like the cut of your jib, I'm in and why don't you look me up if you need anything else.
19-20   You're kidding, I was just thinking of what I was going to do with this information!
Boom, carousing table for assistance in criminal activities. Next project is the actual crime.

After testing this out a couple times, I've tweaked the numbers to reflect the typical DCs in the DMG.

1-3       What? I'm a constable, come with me. Jailed for 1d6+1 days or a fine of 1d6x10g per level.
4-6       Sure I can help you, as long as no one asks any questions.
7-9       Not me, but I know some people on the other side of town that do that kind of thing. +5 to next roll
10-12   Sorry, can't help you, but I have some work that you might be interested in.
13-15   Nothing this time, no one seems to be able to help.
16-18   Sure, I got your back.
19-21   I'll help you, for an unnamed favor to be used later.
22-24   Yea, sure, what was that? Yea, yea, yea sound like a plan, I got to run.
25-27   I like the cut of your jib, I'm in and why don't you look me up if you need anything else.
27-30   You're kidding, I was just thinking of what I was going to do with this information!

Aug 16, 2017

D&D - Adventures in Lorin - Session 1/2

Dearest Hansel,

   It has been a while since I have written, I am traveling to find you. I thought I saw you board a carriage that was going towards the school. I found some people to travel with. There were problems before we could proceed, so I joined a posse and went after the red glove band. I thought i killed you in the field, but it was just a goblin wearing your clothes. Weird, right? We found a sepulchre and our brave leader was knighted by some skeleton dude. I did it to, I got a sweet broach!

   The next day we traveled to the last castle in the kingdom, a keep on the borderlands if you will. The magistrate had heard of our exploit and charged us with rescuing the child. As she breathes! It was certainly fortunate The Rescuers were on the caravan.

    We traveled to the meet and crashed through the door. There was a dark druid there who melded into stone! It reminded me of that thing you used to do when we were kids and my parents would come home. Well, I saved that kid and we got him back. By the light of the dark one, it turned out to be the duke’s son! We were invited to dinner and met a whole cast of characters! It was amazing, a meal where we were surrounded by what is to come! I met my teacher. He was swell.

   Well, we are going to be on our way soon. You know what that means, I'm finally going to find you, I've been waiting years for this.

Your cousin,


Aug 9, 2017

RPGaDay 8 & 9

Best 2 hour RPG
Best 10 session RPG

I'm behind, but this is a perfect twofer. I play a lot of D&D, so there is my answer. Only 2 hours, grab some premades, an AL mod (or roll your own), and get to playing. 10 sessions is a bit vague, 20-60 hours, but you can run an arc in 3 sessions, making 3 arcs and an epilogue; perfect for any story!

RPGs are what you make them, so my experiences with D&D may not be the same as everyone elses, but whatever your favorite RPG is I'm sure you can do the same with that. Tomorrow's question is less vague, so I'll be back with a few links for you to follow.


Aug 8, 2017

RPGaDay Day 7

Better late than never!

My most memorable gaming moment was years ago in a Vampire: The Masquerade game. It was the final session of a campaign that had gone on at least a year, one that had spanned the reaches of my circle, and my main world for anything set in the The World of Darkness setting. A ghoul retainer of one of the players had grown tired of the promises he had made to turn her into a vampire and discovered (through an adversary) that being his ghoul was not the path to vampirism. She cut her wrists and begged him to turn her. He let her die and watched the sun rise with her body in his arms.

Aug 6, 2017

RPGaDay Day 6: You can game every day for a week. Describe what you’d do!

You can game every day for a week. Describe what you’d do!

Well, since we are fantasizing here, because I have too much going on to game for seven straight; I'll assume I can convince my friends to play or run whatever I want and that the sessions would be at least 4 hours.

Sunday would be someone running Blades in the Dark. I really want to play this game and would love to get a chance to play before I run it. It looks like a gun and run game that wants you to think before you prepare. I love the idea of, "Well yeah, I would have that," kind of play. I often assume a lot of things for my players. Traveling for a week together with 3 rogues they would have worked out hand signals kind of things.

Monday would be my regular D&D group. Yeah, I love this game. Running in my home brew that gets bigger over time. I've started to run smaller groups through the same world building story and setting for the main game. Tomorrow's game is going to be great.

Tuesday I'd put that play into action by running Blades.

Wednesday would be Dungeon World with the kids. Both my older boys (17 and 12) like to DM, the oldest dislikes playing as much as me, so I think that they would enjoy adding their own to the story. I just need to hide the Interfere rule!

Thursday would be Sword and Wizardry, its the OSR I have hanging around, so why not use it? I have some starter stuff I've been dying to use, so my fantasy group would get to put that to the test! I like my fantasy gritty and grim, which leads into...

Friday, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, man, what can I say about this? Great system, easy encumbrance, fatal mods. I'd run a classic like Death Frost Doom, or maybe try out Maze of the Blue Medusa.

Saturday I play in a regular group. I love my crazy druid healer.


Aug 5, 2017

RPGaDay day 5

Which RPG cover best captures the spirit of the game?

My first choice is the 1st Edition original cover for the players handbook. I was 8 and all I really wanted to do was get me some treasure, in fact most of the early games I played revolved around treasure in some way or other.

A very close second is the 1st edition second cover for the dungeon masters guide; ironically the two books I had the covers were reversed (2nd cover PHB and 1st cover DMG)! It screams, "Welcome to <em>my</em> world!" I really loved being the DM once I was confident enough to do it. It helped that I taught my step father (and most of my friends) to play, and playing is what he preferred to do. I grew into leading the groups I played with and to this day prefer to GM instead of play, although I do play from time to time.

I also found this site with great acrylic reproductions of the 1st edition original covers while looking for pics.


Aug 4, 2017

Which RPG have you played the most since August 2015?

I think I have only played D&D 5e since then, there are a lot of systems I am learning right now; Vampire 5e, Dungeon World, Blades in the Dark are a few I would love to run, but I need time and interest.

I am plan to start a group for short campaigns and one shots, but until then I may have to force my kids to play!