I recently started aggregating some data I’ve gathered about spells from 5e Dungeons & Dragons. Primarily, this has been for fun and to see if I’d find anything surprising or interesting. Additionally, I wanted to get some numbers to help me assess additional spells or subclasses for my home game. So I hope you’ll find this fun and interesting yourself and I would love to hear any observations you have.
Taking down monsters in 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons is arguably what you will spend the most time doing in game. Defeating a creature isn’t just a matter of damage, as many monsters will also have Weaknesses (W), Resistances (R), or Immunities (I). Monster with a particular weakness takes double the amount of damage from that type of attack. Likewise, a foe with resistance will only take half the amount of damage from that particular damage type. And in some cases, an enemy that is immune to a particular effect will take no damage at all from it. Therefore, understanding resistances can be a critical element to surviving as an adventurer or planning as a DM.
Many monsters in 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons list a language in their stat block. Aside from its ability to hurl insults in combat, sharing a language can open options for lore or negtiation during play. But which languages to most monsters speak and understand? This isn’t an easy question to answer because DnD does not provide their monster stat blocks in an easily parsable format. So I found The Great DnD 5e Monster Spreadsheet online, cleaned up the data and began to parse out some of the the answers.
I greatly enjoyed my recent interview on the podcast, Thinking Critically: A D&D Discussion. We talk about agency in games in all it’s many forms, what agency is and isn’t, where it ends, how it’s traded, and how it interacts with game mechanics. I highly recommend the podcast for anyone running tabletop RPGs of any kind.
Surprise is one of the most consistently asked about elements of 5e Dungeons & Dragons, and a source of constant confusion. This is partially because surprise ran differently in previous editions of the game. But also, the narrow examples and explanation make it unclear when surprised would be a factor. Lastly, the way surprise works with the imitative system can seem odd and counter-intuitive to many players. The solution is to break down surprise for what it is, and step away from the individual rolls to understand encounters holistically instead of procedurally.
Evocative artwork and imagery is a great add to any 5e fan resource, but finding usable images can be a challenge. I aggregated this list of resources for myself to help navigate the the different resources for potentially usable artwork in RPGs. I also asked some followers on twitter for their recommendations and aggregate all of those together here. I hope you’ll find something useful to help you create more works and honor the artists who put so much work into their own creations.
Optional Rule Hat and one handsome fella.
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.
Planning for how quickly players gain levels in 5e Dungeons and Dragons is a key element of campaign preparation. Using milestone advancement, the DM can select when and how a party levels up. However, in experience based systems this is generally a matter of the number and difficulties of encounters. Therefore, knowing how quickly players gain levels at different points in the game lets the DM plan better in advance. This means DMs using experience based leveling can anticipate how encounters drive the pace of their campaign.
It’s a weakness of experience based advancement in 5e D&D that it directly addresses only one of the three pillars of play, combat. This forces DMs to either ignore advancement through social interaction and exploration, or create some way to include it. Ignoring it seems a bad option for a ‘pillar’ of play and creates a sense of wasted time. Likewise, a poorly crafted experience system for these pillars messes with pacing and play balance. Therefore, a simple, clear, and consistent method for including all pillars helps diversify play without sacrificing progress. In this post, I’m going to talk about how I do that with the social interaction pillar. So this is how I award experience for roleplaying in my campaigns.