Optional Rule

RPG Resources

Progressive Failures and Rising Tension in 5th Edition

5th edition Dungeons and Dragons has a bit of a rough patch with its skill checks model. Given the variability of a d20, all or nothing skill checks can be a fairly harsh mechanic. Indeed, there’s some evidence all or nothing checks is not the designers intent. The DMG Chapter 8 provides some alternative methods to consider with skill resolution under Resolution and Consequences which all hinge on a single die roll mechanic. In cases, there may be some utility using a progressive success or failure system instead of a single checks. Particularly in non-combat encounters, it is best to build skill checks in a way to build tension from failure rather than a collapse. DMDavid sparked a thought after a specific example posted on twitter, how to handle falling with failed climbing checks. Progressive failure and rising tension meshes well with the Thrilling Heroics Rules I posted awhile back. In fact, it compliments it enough that I thought it useful to post some examples here.

D&D Livestream Discussion

Livestream of my discussion on 5e D&D campaign prep, talking about Failures and Rising Tension, creating Thrilling Heroics and more. Join me every Saturday at Noon EST on Twitch and YouTube to join in the conversation.

Tools to Affect Rolls in D&D

Owing to a small thread on twitter earlier this week, I listed out the options 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons provides for effecting rolls. This is useful for creating your own roll effecting homebrew rules, if you want to understand the relative power level compared to other elements in the ruleset.

RotF Remix: Lake Monster

This post contains the remixes and changes I used for the Lake Monster quest picked up in the town of Bremen in Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden. It runs similarly to what is written in the module with a different backstory, delivery and climax. You can likely use this remix as an independent encounter in any game, but to get the most out of it you will need the module.
RPG Resources

Thrilling Heroics Rules for D&D 5e

Thrilling heroics have always been an important part of adventuring in table-top roleplaying games. The rules of 5th edition are great for covering most basic action but occasionally players want something more exciting to happen. The swashbuckler may want to distract opponents by kicking the table at them, or the cavalier leaps from their charging horse to make a more devastating attack, this is all part of thrilling heroic action at the heart of adventure based roleplaying games.

No, racism is not required in a fantasy world

I had one of those unpleasant exchanges on a Dungeons & Dragons 5e group the other day, where you offer some resource that works for you and someone comes out of left field and goes on a racist tirade. It’s social media and I’m pretty good at ignore things like that personally, but the idea that folks new to the hobby might not realize the cheap tactics and toxic behavior behind replies like the one I got.

Rime of the Frostmaiden Remixes

Remixes have become a great way for DMs to talk about how they are using published content in the wild for their actual 5th edition games. It focuses on how you arrange or change the elements to suit your individual game and style, and avoids the o-so-very-internet thing of labeling things as broken or awesome.

D&D Essentials Kit Giveaway!

This giveaway is now concluded, congratulations to the users selected. Follow me on twitter and watch this blog for future giveaways.
RPG Resources

Character Voices Reference

Doing in-character voices is a hit or miss prospect for some games, and by no means required in a table-top RPG. As a DM that enjoys doing voices for various NPCs in my world I find this table helpful to develop different inspiration for voice types I might use, and having a reference like this lets me make a quick note so I can be sure to use the same voice next time. I compiled this list from a few descriptions for theater actors around the web and hope you’ll find it useful for your game as well.

Icewind Dale NPC: Beldora Nine-Dogs

An NPC I fleshed out for my Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden campaign. She is the silent and secretive leader of The Harpers in Icewind dale, dedicated to keeping the faction members safe in the wake of assassinations years ago.