On the 5e core book set

Dialogus creaturarumSo now we’ve had the D&D Fifth Edition core books for a bit. Many bloggers have written many words about their impressions and evaluations, sometimes in great detail. But as I look at the shelf to my right, one of the three stands out more than the others.

The Player’s Handbook covers the core mechanics of the game and does a lot of things well. But, by its nature, the vast majority of the book only applies to this one game. Appendix B, “Gods of the Multiverse”, has some cool material for campaign development. Appendix E, “Inspirational Reading”, does a great job of carrying on the legacy of the original Appendix N. (And if “E” alludes to “E. Gary Gygax”, that’s a nice touch.) I use this book the least, though.

I love the Monster Manual as a general fantasy bestiary and art book in addition to its utility for 5e. The stat blocks tend to run a little long for my taste and could probably have used a slightly more minimalist approach. As a DM, I love some of the actions and special abilities of some of the monsters. “The goblin attacks with its Scimitar” gets old very quickly, but “That zombie keeps going [due to Undead Fortitude]” does not. When I want to enjoy a glass of bourbon in my hand, pore over some fantastic monsters, and read a few words about their mythical backgrounds, this book provides plenty of material.

The Dungeon Master’s Guide has both fantastic art and great non-edition specific advice. Mike Schley and the other artists have provided evocative maps and illustrations. Many of the magic items appear in lots of different editions and even games, so having the illustrations and histories makes up for the fact that they take up about a third of the book. (Those same features probably explain that page count issue, too.) Again we have appendices that we will use many times in the future for creating dungeons. Appendix D, “Dungeon Master Inspiration”, completes the PHB Appendix E.

The Monster Manual is my favorite of the three 5e core books. I will use both it and the DMG even when running other games, but only the MM truly satisfies that non-game reading itch. Open it to a random page and spend 10 or 15 minutes appreciating that one monster. I’d love to find more bestiaries like it and A Practical Guide to Monsters that accomplish that so well.

Discovery versus design

In a discussion over in the D&D Next community on G+, I wrote:

 Drying scaffoldPlayers should understand that the creation of an interesting character happens primarily through gameplay, not backstory. They should write just enough backstory to give them a scaffold upon which they can build. Everything else should come during the campaign . Otherwise they risk having the most interesting part of a character’s story happen offscreen, which defeats the purpose of the game.

I know this insight isn’t unique or even particularly new. But a lot of us tend to forget from time to time. The Backgrounds in D&D 5e only provide handles for the characters before they start adventuring. Nothing that happened in their lives before the game should outshine what they do once it starts. Back when I played Star Wars Galaxies, I thought of this as a question of discovering or designing characters.

The most interesting things their characters do should happen in the world during play. By the same light, the most interesting things that happen in the world should involve the characters. Note that “world” here refers to the campaign itself. The players may or may not alter the course of civilization. In a city-based campaign, the campaign events should be the most dramatic events in the city during that period.

The entrance to the castle, main square, Camelot Theme ParkDon’t fall into the trap of creating a theme park for your campaign. Players should do more than get on some rides and see some shows. They deserve the opportunity to make meaningful choices. Otherwise they can just read a book or see a movie. The pre-eminent virtue of tabletop roleplaying is that the characters can try to do anything. And if their attempts don’t even matter, then why bother?

Heavy metal inspired quests

Ronnie_James_Dio_TombA few weeks ago, I set up a Pandora station called “OSR Radio“. It plays music my buddies and I listened to while playing RPGs in the wayback. Think Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, etc. Lots of the songs sound like they could inspire some fun D&D adventures. I have tried to avoid the most iconic works because many of us already have very strong associations with some very popular songs. Nothing feels more D&D to me than remembering the first time I heard Black Sabbath and “Iron Man” in my best friend’s bedroom about 1am, reading D&D books that our parents didn’t allow us to have. And Metallica’s powerful “Wherever I May Roam” describes a party of chaotic “murder hoboes” better than anything else I can imagine.

Whether all the groups  cited below qualify as “heavy metal” or belong to a particular period is beside the point in this particular case. The themes matter more than the specific musical genres. But in all honesty, you could just point at a random song in the discography for either of those bands, or Iron Maiden, or Judas Priest, or Megadeth, or Dio, or some other metal band I don’t even know about but you totally love. And from that random finger wiggle, you’ll generate d4 adventures just like that. You probably have ideas right now from thinking about your favorite song and have stopped reading. I could be writing “titty sprinkles” here and nobody would notice because you’ve already got your notebook open and have started scribbling ideas furiously.

So here I’ve listed a few ideas resulting from a fusion of Pandora selections and perusing the D&D 5e Monster Manual. Hopefully one or two of these can provide some inspiration for you. If nothing else, go listen to some tunes.

Continue reading

Hiring and followers in Fifth Edition

Gishi Shozo Sanshi (Annotated Portraits of Loyal Retainers)In my last play session, we noted that the players probably need to hire torchbearers or similar companions. I took a look at the rules in 5e and some other games before deciding what to do, and ended up merging them into a simple system that I hope will work for us.

D&D Fifth Edition

The hiring rules[0] in 5e left me feeling really underwhelmed. And after I compared them with the rules in a number of other games, I felt even more underwhelmed. “Skilled” cost 2 gold pieces per day, and “unskilled” cost 2 silver pieces per day. I’d increase that significantly for NPCs asked to go into harm’s way, like torchbearers in a dungeon. Note that this only means hired workers, not “retainers” or “low-level followers”. In those cases, they get a share of treasure and experience points. They make good replacement characters when a regular player character dies, too.

Page 93 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide provides a nice loyalty system tied to the Charisma score of the party. The NPC’s Loyalty score starts at half of the highest Charisma in the party, with that Charisma being the maximum. When you help them achieve a bond or do something really nice for them, the loyalty increases by 1d4. A corresponding decrease of 1d4 occurs when the party members do something that runs against the NPC’s alignment or bond, or 2d4 if they’re mistreated for selfish reasons. When the loyalty score reaches 0, the disloyal NPC either leaves or undermines the party. If it reaches 10, they will risk their lives for the party members.

Other games

Basic Fantasy RPG lists three types of companions. It provides “retainers”, who go into dungeons, participate, and get a share of the rewards. “Specialists” don’t go on adventures but perform other sorts of services (like a sage doing research or a sailors on a character-owned ship). Finally, “mercenaries” typically get hired as units and might provide security at a stronghold or similar. Labyrinth Lord has almost the same setup.

Swords & Wizardry does not have the concept of “retainers”. It has one page for hiring followers of various types, including “Man-at-Arms (Soldiers)” and “Man-at-Arms (Adventuring)”. The latter category probably comes closest to retainers. Another category covers “Torchbearer (or Other Adventuring Non-combatant)”. In this regard, it looks a lot like 5e.

Lamentations of the Flame Princess handles this with its characteristic balance between simplicity in exposition and detail in requirement. In fact, it seems to envision that adventuring parties become “expeditions” with all sorts of followers. For example, once characters acquire strongholds, accountants and similar become really important. For my purposes, the most relevant types include “Guides” who help the party avoid becoming lost, “Henchmen” (retainers), and “Laborers” & “Linkboys” (treasure carriers and torchbearers). All followers also earn a death benefit payable to family or a magistrate if they die during the course of the adventure.

My system

We will have three classes of NPCs for adventuring. Note that I don’t have any campaigns with players ready to run a stronghold or similar, so I don’t have to think about that yet.

  1. Followers. These correspond to “retainers” in most systems: classed, lower-level characters that get a share of the rewards. Players can create and run them during an adventure if they desire to use them as potential replacement characters if their main characters die. A character needs to reach fifth level before finding a follower, though.
  2. Mercenaries. These don’t get a share of rewards but only fill specific roles (e.g. they can apply healing kits or other special expertise). The DM runs them but they should never take the spotlight for fear of becoming “DMPCs“. If the PCs want the mercenaries to accompany them into a dungeon or into some other type of battle, they earn 10 gp/day. Otherwise they cost 2 gp/day as for skilled workers in the PHB.
  3. Attendants. Torchbearers, animal handlers, and so forth earn 2 sp/day just to accompany the party. But if they have to go into a dungeon, they earn a full gold piece per day.

Mercenaries and attendants earn a death benefit payable to their families or the guild. This comes to 100 days of hazard pay, so 1000 gp for mercenaries and 200 gp for attendants. I want the players to view these NPCs as actual characters, not furniture.

Further, the 5e loyalty system applies, but I want to import the morale system from the Mentzer Basic Dungeon Masters Rulebook. When appropriate, the NPC rolls 2d6 against their loyalty score. If the result exceeds their loyalty score, they flee or otherwise stop helping. If the loyalty score reaches 12, then the NPC doesn’t have to roll. But in all cases, if the NPC feels abused, Bad Things may happen.

[0]: I hate the word “hirelings” with a burning passion even more than I hate the term “human resources”.

Play Report: Relic Hunters Guild Session 3

The Relic Hunters returned to Dyson’s Delve Sunday afternoon. As usual, they made a quick pass around the first level to ensure they wouldn’t have any nasty surprises running them. (That’s mostly due to one very vocal player.) When they returned to the second level, they had the idea of finding the goblin they’d taken prisoner on a previous run and making friends with him or recruiting him. So every time they found goblins, the duelist shouted the name he’d given them to see if he’d throw down his scimitar to run and hug them or something. That’s going to provide a really fun hook later.

Tactical goblins

Goya - CaprichosI’ve started playing the goblins a bit more thoughtfully. They watch for the adventurers to make mistakes. For example, the duelist carries a kerosene lantern, but because he has to fight with one hand free, he sets it down on the floor when a fight starts. So of course a hobgoblin reached out to kick it over, spilling the burning fuel everywhere. (I have suggested they hire torch bearers for the next session.) Later, when almost all of the goblins in an encounter fell to the bard’s sleep spell, the remaining hobgoblin focused on waking up its comrades rather than try to take on the adventurers by itself.

They also use their Nimble Escape feature more frequently, forcing the adventurers to consider how to block them. A monk went around a corner during a fight to get some range and ran into another goblin. They scuffled for a moment, then the goblin fled to another room. That put the inhabitants of that room on alert. Once the adventurers reached that room, they realized they didn’t have a thief to pick the lock. The dwarven bard used his racial knock spell (back up 15 feet, then charge and headbutt the door). At that point, he realized he had a problem, surrounded by two hobgoblins and three goblins. I almost got a TPK out of it, not due to any maliciousness on my part but just because the adventurers didn’t proceed with caution. However, in the end they all survived. Level 3 awaits, and level 4 has even more fun.

Roll20 problems

Last week, I upgraded my Roll20 account from Subscriber to Mentor. On Friday night I implemented power cards and macros, generally getting familiar with new aspects of the system. Unfortunately, on Sunday, most of that didn’t work.

For future reference (largely for myself): I fixed the turn counter problem by deleting all existing turns. And it turns out that they had some sort of system problem which logged an error in a console outside of the game (“Sandbox closed due to error.”) By hitting “save” on my API script, it seems to work again.

That process should probably generate an in-game error to let the user know something is wrong. A slightly more verbose error message would help, too.

Clunky mechanics in 5e

Steam velocipde Knights Mechanical DictionaryDuring Sunday’s session, I took notes on game mechanics and 5e rules that felt clunky or don’t work well in my view. I will likely write house rules for them, but first I wanted to see what others might be doing. Likely other DMs have already found better solutions than what I imagine.

  1. Stealth: I don’t like having players roll their own Stealth checks. The characters think they’re being stealthy, of course, but that leads to too much metagaming. (“Oh, I rolled a 6 for Stealth, guess I am not doing this after all.”) I can roll it for them, although that might take away too much player agency. In this case, they would at least deserve feedback in case of a natural 1 (fumble).
  2. Missiles: A character shoots at an arrow. It misses the enemy. Does it hit the character (player or non) behind it? I could roll d20s for each successive target in the line of fire against that target’s AC. Or maybe a Dexterity saving throw.
  3. Attacks of Opportunity: According to RAW, these only get provoked when a character leaves an enemy’s reach, but in some situations this feels inadequate. They’re on one side of an enemy, then move “around” it to the square opposite them. I can instead say an enemy gets to make an AoO if they move more than one square while inside an enemy’s reach without Disengaging. While I don’t want to get too tactical, 5e uses 6 second rounds and that means characters move fairly quickly.

Do these make sense? Do you have better ideas?

Losing ruleset weight: evaluating older RPG games

D&D 5e has started to frustrate me. I feel like I spend way too much time looking stuff up when running a game. Some of that comes from poor information organization in the core books. This leads to too much time looking up spells and so forth. Another large chunk results directly from the amount of rules: conditions, cover, grappling, etc. Wizards of the Coast has made the business decision not to provide us with electronic materials. As a result, we have to depend on books, player-generated material that lawyers don’t take down, or our own preparation efforts. The amount of time taken by data entry in various applications and private documents doesn’t help.

As the DM, I can decide to change the rules, of course. But I want to take care when doing so. DM fiat shouldn’t frustrate players more than absolutely necessary. That doesn’t even include the optional rules I’ve chosen to exclude, like multiclassing and feats. Some of the things that take more time than I’d like actually include some of the most fun bits, like the different monster abilities and features.

Switching to another simpler game could certainly work. I don’t care one way or the other about labels like “OSR” (including whatever the abbreviation actually means to someone). But I do like the balance between crunch and freeform play in older games and “retroclones“, which I lump together here for this purpose.

Game analyses

A sorcerer comes to a peasant wedding. I’ve been re-reading various versions of a number of games. As much as I like Microlite20 and Microlite74, they just don’t seem to have much traction in terms of finding groups. For players, this choice might look like a distinction without a difference. None of the systems differ in large ways. Find a group you like on Roll20 and use what they use, since the DM will probably have tons of house rules anyway. But as a DM myself, I need to choose a place to begin. All three of these systems have tremendous community support. In addition, they are cross-compatible with each other and lots of other older games or clones (which is largely the point).

Dungeons & Dragons

OGL-based games constantly refer to “the Original Fantasy Roleplaying Game”, or  they use some other euphemism for actual Dungeons & Dragons. Wizards of the Coast has made available legitimate (non-infringing) electronic copies of older editions. This includes 3.5e and 4e, editions I prefer not to play, but also B/X and AD&D. A little time and effort can find actual books for sale on Amazon, eBay, and other places like that. Used bookstores and local gaming stores also carry them at times. The organization and lack of clarity in some of these editions has left me a bit cold, though I have some of this material for reference as needed.

In the meantime, my campaign in 5e will continue. I still plan to finish running Dyson’s Delve with the Relic Hunters Guild if the players keep going. I also play in a meatspace 5e game and find the new Dungeon Master’s Guide useful for everything, not to mention that gorgeous Monster Manual.

Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game

Basic Fantasy has something of an “Acme Industries” vibe to it. It focuses on doing what it does very well, including mechanics as well as production value, without embellishment to the point of distraction. BF uses ascending armor class, which I like, but it also has the older-style saving throws (“Dragon Breath”? “Wands”?). These never made much sense to me. It also uses the modern separation of race and class. I’ve never used the older approach of race-as-class and would like to experiment a bit, but I don’t know how players typically feel about that.

Labyrinth Lord

Labyrinth 28, etching, aquatint, soft-ground etching, mm.180x330, Engraved and designed by Toni Pecoraro 2007.Labyrinth Lord supports race-as-class directly in the core book. It seems closest to the older edition it seeks to emulate, including descending AC and all the old saving throws. This system has a bit more heft to it, though in this case that means “completeness” rather than rules-heaviness. I’ve joined a campaign using LL rules on Roll20 that will start in the new year, but this time I’ll get to participate as a player rather than DM. We will play in a really unusual campaign setting: the Anomalous Subsurface Environment. I have high hopes for that!

Lamentations of the Flame Princess

Lamentations of the Flame Princess has a beautiful approach in terms of its simplicity (e.g. the silver standard) and just enough “weirdness” to make it stand out. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed reading an adventure as much as I did Death Frost Doom. It uses race-as-class & ascending armor class and has extensive domain management rules. The old-style saving throws are a turn-off, as is the fact that, for reasons I do not understand at all, James Raggi has blocked me personally on Google+. I’ve never had any interaction with him that I recall, so it strikes me as somewhat odd.

Swords & Wizardry

Swords & Wizardry seems the most hackable. It supports both ascending and descending armor class. Since I prefer ascending, this helps a lot. A single number for saving throws might go too far in the other direction from the original game. In fact, D&D 5e probably does this in the way that makes the most sense to me, tying saving throws to ability scores. SW does modify certain types of saves based on character class, though, which helps. And it has both “race-as-class” and the more modern approach available depending on which edition you use.

What’s next?

For now I will start from S&W, though I have much love for all the systems above in their own ways. This will immediately require a few small tweaks, such as bringing in Advantage/Disadvantage. I also have taken some cues from Microlite74 OSS and some rules variants in 5e regarding skills. Characters who specify a particular skill or background at creation time will get advantage on relevant attempts. I will also use some of the material in Lamentations of the Flame Princess, like the extensive support for strongholds and hirelings.

In reality, no two RPG campaigns truly use the same system once you include house rules and such. Systems like these, all based on more or less the same game, just provide a framework from which we can begin.

Time to do work.

Play Report: Temple of K’thu’uk

Ta Prohm is a temple in the Angkor complex built in the late 12th century by King Jayavarman VII. Large tree roots now cover much of this amazing jungle temple..I don’t know why I keep forgetting how dangerous D&D Fifth Edition can be to level 1 characters. Last night I ran a small one-off adventure based on the Temple of K’thu’uk from Robin V. Stacey (of Microlite20 fame). You can find my conversion notes, including a new 5e monster, at the end of the post.

Session

Out of the folks who signed up, four players came. “Kogrosh” the half-orc barbarian, “Tegid” the dwarven bard, “Leon” the tiefling rogue, and “Alston” the gnomish wizard.

I explained that the forested area around the village of Alston had originally belonged to a tribe of kobolds. As time went on, the humans logged the forest and turned the area into farmland, driving the kobolds further and further back into what remained of the forest. When the adventure begins, only a relatively small thicket remains. Humans who enter the forest to hunt (whether game or kobolds) sometimes don’t come back. The local sheriff has therefore offered a bounty on the kobolds to get rid of them once and for all. He noted that they have a primitive temple built into the side of a hill and that the adventurers should focus on clearing it out.

For the initial approach, I didn’t really use a battle map. I showed a top-down view of a forest and we just roleplayed their tracking, including several times when the barbarian thought he found a trap. At least once he didn’t find it, but he did manage to grab on the lip of a pit before falling in. For some reason, the use of traps by kobolds surprised them even OOC. Adventurers should never underestimate the opposition.

Once they arrived at the dungeon, the four kobolds in first room nearly managed in a TPK. In part, the dice just did not work in their favor and in part their tactics lacked a little finesse. Also, because the bard (and wizard) went down hard, they lacked any healing. After some difficulty, the remaining party members managed to stabilize them and they waited there in the entry hall for the unconscious folks to wake up.

While they waited, though, that gave me lots of opportunities to roll for wandering monsters. A couple of giant rats snuck in just as the bard awoke (while the wizard still lay on the floor). This fight ended up harder than I expected again, but I’d modified almost all the creature abilities to roll in the open. Everyone could see how the dice conspired against them. Then their greed took over and they tried to break off an arm from the jade statue of a kobold warrior. They all failed – the half-orc even fumbled. This resulted in another pair of rats coming to investigate and another fight that didn’t go the adventurers’ way.

They decided they’d had enough and, since the bounty had a 3-day completion, returned to town for the night to rest and buy some healing potions. Those cost a decent chunk of change for fledgling adventurers, so we roleplayed out some “aggressive negotiations”. Town guards wandered in before things got too rough, but they managed to get a significant discount. The wizard ended up using mage hand and minor illusion to shoplift one more as they left.

After reaching the temple again, they tried a more tactical approach. To avoid attacks from the rear, they barricaded some doors they didn’t use. The wizard then used disguise self to look like a kobold and they tried to lure out a couple who squabbled in the next room. But speaking in Common made the kobolds a bit suspicious, so one went to check and the other hung back a bit. When the barbarian cleaved right through the lead kobold, the other one fled around the corner and through a door to wake up a group of sleeping friends. These kobolds knew something bad had happened yesterday when they’d found the decapitated bodies of their comrades in the front room. Now the monsters had come back and invaded the large storage room! They lay in wait while the adventurers kept trying to lure them out. Eventually the dwarven bard kicked in the rotting door, stepped inside, and belched a thunderwave that crushed their little reptilian bodies. One by one, the group started to clear the rooms. In fact, at one point, they opened a door to find a scared little kobold quivering in a corner. The dwarf thrust his rapier right through it (“shish kobold”, I called it).

At one point rocks fell on them. But unlike what one player thought, the rocks came from winged kobolds Rather than a case of “rocks fall, everyone dies”, it simply consisted of another small ambush that wore the party down even further. In another room, alligators lurked in relatively deep standing water. Nearby lay a half-submerged dwarven skeleton. Of course, dwarves being dwarves, the bard rushed toward it, heedless of the fact that they’d just seen the alligators slip into the water when they opened the door. This resulted in the dwarf and half-orc getting chomped and pulled under. It took a bit, but the party made it through and recovered a +1 war hammer and a magic circlet from the dwarf.

In the next room, the rogue – and only the rogue – saw three kobolds hiding under the tables, but everyone saw more gardening implements. They’d already found wheelbarrows and similar equipment in other rooms. So one of them made a History check to see what they might know about this tribe. I explained again that the kobolds hadn’t really troubled anyone. They only defended themselves when the humans started trying to kill them and cut down the forest where they lived. The party finally got the idea that the humans had just hired them to eliminate the tribe because they viewed the little reptilians as vermin, not “people”. How odd that the tiefling rogue should have a crisis of conscience and decide not to tell the others about the scared little creatures…

When they reached a food storage room, they found more giant rats infesting the food supplies. As the rats had plenty of food, they made no aggressive moves towards the party. But when the party started to move on, the barbarian did what barbarians do and jumped in the middle of a pack of rats to hit them with his sword. For this, he nearly died and the party decided that the best course of action was to head back with the kobold heads they’d already acquired. Some discussion about possibly killing the sheriff ensued. I made it clear that a frontal assault on law enforcement in town would probably not have the desired result. Anyway, by this point the session had run for four hours and I wanted to go to bed.

They never really got to the kobold’s “god” in the center of the temple. They did, however, earn a bit of coin (much of which they spent on those potions of healing), some decent experience, and a couple of magic items. I invited all of them to join the Relic Hunters Guild with their characters, so hopefully that will provide a good lead-in and recruitment tool.

Conversion

Most of this module requires little to no conversion. Almost every creature in the entire dungeon has an existing analogue in 5e except the eponymous K’thu’uk.

  • “Verdant kobold” as a kobold (Monster Manual p. 195).
  • “Assassin vine” as a vine blight (MM 32).
  • “Slumberspore” as a myconid adult (MM 232).
  • “Dire rat” as a giant rat (MM 327).
  • “Small alligator” as a crocodile (MM 320).
  • “Klaldyk” as an acolyte (Hoard of the Dragon Queen supplement p. 4) For his spells, replace light with guidance and sanctuary with shield of faith.

However, for K’thu’uk, I rolled up an undead kobold magic-user based on the flameskull in Lost Mine of Phandelver. Feel free to grab the PDF and use as you will. As noted above, the group didn’t get this far in the dungeon. Therefore I have not yet had a chance to playtest it.

 

 

5e Monster: Cthurkey

Cthurkey by cobaltplasmaCᴛʜᴜʀᴋᴇʏ

Small aberration, chaotic evil

Armor class 13 (natural armor)
Hit Points 153 (34d6+34)
Speed 30 ft

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
10 (+0) 14 (+2) 12 (+1) 14 (+2) 14 (+2) 4 (-3)

Saving Throws Con +4
Damage Resistances poison
Condition Immunities blinded, charmed, deafened, frightened
Senses
blindsight 60 ft
Languages understands Common, Deep Speech, and Undercommon but doesn’t speak
Challenge 3 (700 XP)

Amphibious. The cthurkey can breathe air and water.

Sure-Footed. The chturkey has advantage on Strength and Dexterity saving throws made against effects that would knock it prone.

Stench. Any creature that starts its turn within 5 feet of the cthurkey must succeed on a DC 14 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned until the start of its next turn. On a successful saving throw, the creature is immune to the cthurkey’s Stench for 24 hours.

Aᴄᴛɪᴏɴs

Multiattack. The cthurkey attacks with its tentacles. If that attack succeeds, it can make one attack with its bite on the same turn. It can only bite Grappled targets.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +2 to hit, reach 5 ft, one target. Hit: 7 (2d6) piercing damage.

Tentacles. Melee Weapon Attack: +2 to hit, reach 5 ft, one target. Hit: 11 (2d8+2) bludgeoning damage, and the target is grappled (escape DC 12). Until this grapple ends, the creature is restrained, and the chturkey can’t constrict another target.


The cthurkey has the body of a large bird without feathers, the tentacles and mouth of an octupus, and the legs of a crab. Ancient legends teach that it once was offered as a burnt sacrifice to unknown gods of gluttony, then consumed by the supplicants.

 

Campaign Reorganization

Curious Bronze Relic found near the Estuary of the River Findhorn engraving by William Miller after Sir Thos Dick LauderNB:I posted a version of the below to my campaign forum on Roll20.

My megadungeon campaign, the Relic Hunters Guild, has had some problems lately. Sessions don’t happen because folks who’ve said they want to play don’t show up. That means that those of us who do show up have wasted our time. If only one or two players come, the group just doesn’t have enough.

In an attempt to address this, I’ve started to reorganize things a bit.

1. If a player says they’re coming but doesn’t show up, they may get removed from the group. Of course emergencies may happen from time to time. But in general, it’s not fair to other people who set aside time from family or other games or whatever. No problems if they just don’t sign up for a given session or if they cancel with lots of notice

2. Showing up will always result in XP. If the session doesn’t happen for some reason, I will grant the characters some decent XP. This might just be a boon or we might RP out a small side quest in the city. (Hopefully more of the latter.)

3. Originally this was going to be a one shot adventure. However, it has turned out more fun than I had expected (above frustrations notwithstanding). So I will convert to a sort of open table campaign with sign up sheets for each session. It will also be a bit more sandbox oriented. I hope we can still focus to a great degree on the megadungeon. But I have created a region around the area and am happy to incorporate character backstory and players’ own bits of world building.

I hope this campaign can continue, because it has been tremendous fun for everyone when it’s happened. If any of my readers have an interest in playing, check out our LFG listing.