Optional Rule

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The Return of the Write Spell - A Nostalgic Callback or Unnecessary Complexity?

As fans of Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition, we’re always excited to see what new playtest material the developers come up with. Recently, there’s been a proposed change to how wizards scribe spells into their spellbooks that has stirred up some debate in the D&D community. The change involves introducing a spell called “Scribe Spell” to handle the scribing process, a concept that harkens back to an earlier spell called “Write” from the first edition of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the history of these spells, their potential purpose in the 5th edition, and whether they add value or just unnecessary complexity to the game.
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Injured Condition For Lasting Damage

Injuries in Dungeons & Dragons are important for two reasons: they add realism to the game and they can be used to add humor. By making injuries last longer, it gives the players a sense of realism and danger that they may not feel if they simply healed back up to full hit points after every battle. It also allows for some interesting role-playing opportunities, such as a character with a permanent limp trying to negotiate a difficult terrain. Finally, it can be fun to see how creative the players can be in dealing with their injuries and add depth to a game.
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Tavern Games - Darts for your D&D Game

Mini-games can be fun distraction for your players in any TTRPG campaign. Downtime or social sessions can create a lot of opportunities for this in your game. With the release of The Wild Beyond the Witchlight adventure, players have asking about mini-games to use. So I thought I’d share the rules for my simple mini-game for Darts.
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Perilous Journeys in 5e Part 2

Exciting journeys in 5th edition engage the party and give them meaningful actions as part of the adventure. Last week I posted Perilous Journey’s Part 1, which turns travel into a series of encounters like any other dungeon. This week, I’ll look at defining some ways that party members can take meaningful actions during journeys. These Journey Actions provide gameplay for the travel experience, as well as create dependencies between members of the party.
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Perilous Journeys in 5e Part 1

Perilous journeys are a mainstay of fantasy literature and adventure, yet 5e provides little game play in the way of travel and discovery. This is primarily because the system focuses on encounters per day, which limits long form narrative game elements. First, the long rest reset means encounters or delays seem little more than annoying distractions. Second, characters have little in the way of meaningful game play to engage them in travel. or interact with one another. These rules present a few simple modifications to add some game play spice back into your journeys to help make the exploration pillar exciting again.
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Gritty Healing in 5e Part 2: Spells

Earlier in the week I posted some rules for Gritty Healing & Survival in 5e. These work for group looking for that kind of long-term resource management and play. However, it leaves a bit of a gap when it comes to healing spells and magic. In fact, most gritty mechanics suffer from the problem of setting up a system for persistent injuries, then introduce magic that lets you skip past it. Also, it suffers from the problem of turning the cleric into the heal-bot for a party, making sit out of the action during encounters to heal everyone later. So having some way to align the leaning mechanic with the core idea of recovery as a central design principle is important. Without it, you end up with the same effect as healing overnight but force the healing PC to burn all their resources and sit most encounters out.
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Gritty Healing & Survival in 5e

The heroic playstyle of 5e D&D is a lot of fun, but it’s focused on the encounter for resource management and pacing. Sometimes players want to break things up with more of a gritty or survivalist style. This means adding gameplay elements that focus on attrition, strategic resource management, mitigation, and lean into the fragile nature of health. In other words, it extends gameplay into longer term campaign elements, rather than containing it to individual encounters. As a result of Matt Colville’s recent twitch hangout, I was inspired to write down my own thoughts on gritty rules for 5e.
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April 2021 Experimental House Rules

Like most 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons DMs, I’m constantly tinkering with the rules in hopes of improving the experience at the table. But it takes a bit of time and testing before I consider an idea worthy of officially adding to my game. As such, I’ve been testing out some ideas on Twitter for feedback. These are the various rules I’ve thrown out for feedback during up through the end of April 2021. After a time, if they seem worthwhile I’ll officially add them to my own house rules list.
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When Failure Isn’t an Option in 5e

Handling failure is something people seem to struggle with in 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons. When to fail, what happens when you do, and how to keep the game moving are constant topics of discussions. In my view, Progressive Failure and Rising Tension is a very useful technique, but it’s just one of many in the DMs toolbox. As a discussion topic, people often seem to misunderstand the role of failure in RPGs. Worse, a small sub-population has begun to take terms like ‘failing-forward’ to mean failure shouldn’t be possible. So taking a moment to consider the options and tools available can make even failure a fun experience in TTRPGs. Failing to Fail
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Mounted Combat in 5e

Few things are more iconic than the image of someone charging into battle on horseback. Yet, 5e doesn’t have satisfying rules to make mounted combat a fun part of play. So I created these rules to provide thrilling options for mounted combat by players, while maintaining balance with existing rules and abilities. As with all rules, these are guidelines and the DM should do what is fun and fast, using what adds to the game, and ignore the rest.