Thursday, September 14, 2017

Brenton's Isle

Here is a 3-hour, 5th-edition D&D adventure I ran for my brother and his 3 friends, none of whom had ever played a pen-and-paper game before.

We had an email thread beforehand to make 1st level characters. There is still a lot to figure out for character creation in 5th edition. Some influences as to what D&D might look like were Record of Lodoss War and some images from the grindhouse edition of Lamentations of the Flame Princess.

The characters were all great, with interesting backstories and personalities that were not overbearing. It was a group of naturals. Maybe it helps that they all play Gloomhaven a lot?

My brother had also mentioned the desire to do an "iconic" adventure as his first. After discussion with some friends, and the email thread, I decided D&D couldn't get more iconic than a dragon in a dungeon. So here it is - maybe it will be a first adventure for someone else.

Cartography by Dyson Logos is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Social and Personal Alignments

Give characters and intelligent monsters two alignments.

Their Social Alignment is how they behave due to culture or obligation. It's mostly a role-playing aid and somewhat subject to change based on circumstance.

Their Personal Alignment represents their core beliefs. This is how they'll act in times of stress, low morale, or surprise. It is their "true colors", and if your game has alignment-detection spells, what they will reveal.

If an NPC has conflicting alignments, as a GM you can play them off each other to create a more nuanced interaction with relatively little effort.

For PCs, this can present another convenient role-playing aid. I think a lot of players do this implicitly for their characters, anyway.

Non-intelligent creatures, or those strongly associated with a particular alignment, like angels and demons, probably still only have one alignment. Sometimes multiple alignments could still make sense in this case. The trope of the fiend who acts civilized but descends into a fury when their plans are thwarted could be represented by a Lawful Evil social alignment and a Chaotic Evil personal alignment.

You can tack this onto pretty much any game that uses an alignment system. Maybe not LotFP, or other games where alignments are cosmic forces.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

More Magic Bottles

A continuation of this post for some reason.


An unremarkable brown clay pot. Anyone viewing it for more than a few moments is in danger of becoming infatuated with it, and anyone possessing it is compelled to display it proudly and prominently.

Decadent deca-ant decanter

Fancy stoppered bottle gives a crawling sensation when held. It contains 10 ants which will grow to giant size within one round when removed from the bottle - no special control over these vermin is granted by the bottle, however.

Essence Flacon

A delicate rose-glass bottle with a detachable gold-and-silk atomizer. When a coin-sized amount of any substance is placed within and the atomizer squeezed, the sample is dispersed as a cloud of scent. Anything can be thus processed, and the smell will be recognizable even for things normally without scent. A mist of diamond will smell like diamond.

Alchemist's Paraphernalia

Each of these oddly shaped flasks and tubes holds a different minor enchantment. When filled with water, they will cause the following purely cosmetic effects for a day. Just the thing no self-respecting alchemist can be without upon their shelves.

A … liquid with... That are... and...
1 red stripes clear sediment
2 orange abscesses pearly filaments
3 yellow whorls glowing specks
4 green rushes twitching bubbles
5 blue frescoes hissing froth
6 purple blooms vacancies yine

Thrential's Infuser

The sage Thrential was, according to himself, an "explorer of the spirit", and according to his associates, a drunk. He commissioned the creation of this lens-like bottle to allow the extraction of interesting flavors into pure grain alcohol.

In addition to its mundane functions (which it performs superbly), if the center chamber is filled with a potion and the device is left to work for a week, there is a 1-in-6 chance the resulting liquor can function as two doses of the potion. Though the original potion is never ruined, any potion resulting from this process has a 6-in-6 chance of getting the imbiber ruinously drunk.

Trollskin Wineskin

Any liquid stored in this warty green leather pouch will remain fresh and unspoiled indefinitely.

Bottle Rocket

A clear glass bottle full of violently darting, glowing motes. Functions as a wand of magic missiles, but also sheds light as a torch until the last charge is spent.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Keeper & Son

This is a 5th-Edition D&D encounter set to The Shape by Dance With The Dead.

Since the action moves with the tracks, it's built as a Google Presentation where each slide should have all the information needed to run the fight for that track. A lot of the undead abilities unlikely to come up in the scenario have been tweaked or omitted to try and speed up play.

It's probably for levels 5-7, and is a place to stash the McGuffin of your choice behind a fun, combat-heavy encounter set to music.

Keeper & Son (slides)