5e Grognard

5e Grognard

Old school ideas, new edition rules.

A non-prophet organization.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

In Review: March 7th-19th

I should know better than to try to start something and call it the Week in Review. In what would have been week two of a new (hopefully) regular feature, I missed it. So let's just call it In Review and leave it at that.

If you follow me on Google+ or Facebook, you've seen these links before. But here I talk about them!

First, this picture came up on my Google+ feed. #itswizardtime

Next we will delve into some Dyson Logos' maps. 
First, Gateway to the Valley of Revelations, an entrance to a secret valley with stepped farms.

Gateway to the Valley of Revelations

The Fortress of Diane the Thrice Damned is a small fortress surrounded by water on three sides.

Fortress of Diane the Thrice-Damned

The Secret Codices of the Emerald Hawk Society is the headquarters of a "secret" organization that includes a "hidden" library that might hold the bits of forgotten lore your players are searching for.

Secret Codices of the Emerald Hawk Society

Dyson also took a break from mapping and gave us a collection of 5e magic items that he made for his table.

I have two from Tribality this time. Shawn Ellsworth gives us 16 Dangers of the Riftlands introduces some variable terrain types that I feel I could just slide right into my World of Eska.

Factions are part of D&D's Organized Play, Shawn also gives us a great article about Using Factions in Your Campaign, including some factions he made for his game.

I've also pulled a post from Kobold Press' blog, another from the Out of the Frying Pan series. The Fugitive of Hammerfall is a trio of encounters with dwarven slaves culminating in an encounter with a void dragon from the Tome of Beasts.

I've used products from Raging Swan Press in my games, and have even talked about them here before. They also put out tons of great random tables in their Free Resources. This time Creighton Broadhearst gives us two sets of tables, 20 Things to Find in a War-Ravaged Village, and 1,000 Abnormal Hill Giants.

I've been a big fan of the World of Farland. While I won't be running any games there, S. Baker produces plenty of usable content, and updates monthly. I'm a fan of this month's monster, the Burned Dead, a zombie variant that explodes when killed!

Speaking of monsters, here's a bunch of new demons to populate your Abyss, by DG Scott.

The last monster entry will be the Nightshades, from James Introcaso for his World of Enora. I have plans to run a game on Enora soon. While James seems to be focusing on creating content for the surface world, I plan to run a sky pirates game in the floating cities that escaped the undead hoards that have taken over. 

I've recently begun playing a play by post game over at Tavern Keeper. While still just getting started, I'm enjoying this alternate way to game, that fits in well with my schedule. To aid that, I found some great Play by Post: Advice on Characters from Joel Priddy.

I've also have become a fan of Johnn Four at Roleplaying Tips, though I am a bit behind. Spinning Up the Idea Machine talks about prepping for your next game based on asking your players what they plan to do next at the end of each session.

Speaking of DM advice, DM David gives us suggestions on What to Do When a Player Interrupts a Role Playing Scene to Start a Battle.

Jon Gazda at Medieval Melodies not only spells his first name quite well, but had two shareable posts. Sneak Through the Jungle, with an alternate take on group stealth, and he continues his breakdown of the classic Tomb of Horrors with Take Me to Church, which deals with the False Crypt. 

In our "That's Gamable!" category, I found an article on Mental Floss about a mysterious 19th century "princess" who fooled a town in England.

I'll end this roundup with a comic, from "Jester" David, at 5 Minute Workday

"I can also do this in dungeons, through crowded hallways as I ignore cover. And in a nice vaulting arc too despite the 10 foot tall ceilings in every chamber."

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Please check out my DMs Guild titles!
Airs of Ages Past, Nine magical harps from the Forgotten Realms
By Magic Masked, Nine magical masks from the Forgotten Realms
Grognard’s Grimoire: Sorcerers, Player’s options for the sorcerer class.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Entering Orod'tal

Orod'tal, is the capital city of the Mith'edhel, or the gray elves of Eska. It was once the capital of all of Eska, before the Kinslayer Wars.

Dome Cityby Ishutani

Located in the upper reaches of the Earka'orod Mountains, it began as a grand domed city. As the capital of an empire, it flourished rapidly despite it's remote location. A vast city spread out around the original dome. As Orod'tal grew, only the grey elves were allowed to live in the dome proper, and only those non-Mith'edhel of high rank or special privilege are allowed entry.

The outer city is as bleak as it's surroundings, but the inside of the dome is almost another world entirely.

The entry to the dome is thru a tunnel of flowers. Even in the depths of winter, the tunnels feel like a warm spring day.
Inspired by the Wisteria Tunnel at Kawacha Fuji Gardens.

Follow me on Google+ or Facebook

Please check out my DMs Guild titles!
Airs of Ages Past, Nine magical harps from the Forgotten Realms
By Magic Masked, Nine magical masks from the Forgotten Realms
Grognard’s Grimoire: Sorcerers, Player’s options for the sorcerer class.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Week in Review: February 27th - March 6, 2017

I'm going to try something different. I'm just not feeling like going thru old Dragons looking for crunch to convert. I have a play report half written, but I'm burned out on doing those. We've been playing a whole lot more Magic: The Gathering than D&D recently.

I have been keeping up on reading blogs and message boards, though. So here's a collection of my favorite blog posts this week.

If you follow me on Google+ or Facebook, you've seen these links before. But here I talk about them!

I'm going to start out today with some maps. I'm a huge fan of Dyson Logos' maps. I will reshare just about every one of his. It's just not the cartography, though. It's the little story that comes with them. Just enough to spark the imagination.

 Secret tunnels beneath the graveyard     The Breached Fortress of Anoros

 Crypts and Tombs Beneath a Graveyard     Behind the Fallen God

Tribality is one of my favorite pages to go to. Excellent team of writers that cover a breadth of topics. Brandes Stoddard's New Collection of Homebrew Content sent me down the rabbit hole!

That Tribality page added some to blogs to my feed. I ended up digging thru a bunch of pages of stuff at Kobold Press.
For a magic item, I really liked the Silver Hatchet, by Davide Quatrini, It's inspired by Baron Munchausen.
Trapmaster: The Woodpile, by Michael Allen is a classic "Think it Thru" trap. Deadly if you barge right in, harmless if you figure it out.
Out of the Frying Pan: Loyalty Beyond Death by James Haeck is a great collection of recurring encounters with an undead knight.
I'm also a big fan of random tables that make things interesting. 50 Treasures of the Southlands, by Richard Pett (part 1, part 2), has a nice collection of pseduo-Egyptian loot for your treasure piles!

Another new page for me was Tales of the Monkey King. Lee Hammock had a useful write up of barter-based economies.

Jeremiah McCoy's The Basics of the Game brought an interesting post on Rules for Spell Books. His examples of the Ivory Tome and the Scrolls of Ignatius have been added to my treasure list.

I've long had a fascination with the fey market, or the goblin market. I've been wanting to have a game set in the feywild for quite awhile, but it just never seems to happen. Stephen at System Sans Setting had a great three-part series on these mysterious bazaars with Come Buy, Come Buy. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

Middle Finger of Vecna consistently churns out crunch for 5e. Weird West is another genre that I hope to use someday. The Finger has posted a new class, The Gunslinger. MFoV also makes their stuff available as a PDF, which I am a fan of!

Black Shark Enterprises is known for their pirate and seafaring content, but this week Mark S. Cookman gives you another rabbit hole, with A Few Online Tools to Help You Run Your Game.

Trey Causey's From the Sorcerer's Skull is one of my long time favorites. His adventure idea for Strange Stars, The Wreck of the Golden Dawn, is fantastic.

I have saved the best for last, Hack and Slash's  Courtney Campbell's musings On the Dead.

Don't forget to follow me on Facebook! and Google+
Please check out my DMs Guild titles!
Airs of Ages Past, Nine magical harps from the Forgotten Realms
By Magic Masked, Nine magical masks from the Forgotten Realms
Grognard’s Grimoire: Sorcerers, Player’s options for the sorcerer class.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Shattered Tower

My posting schedule continues to be erratic. Back to work after my recovery time, and my body is adjusting to being active again. I have my good days and bad days. I've lacked the motivation to work on crunch, and I still have a small backlog of play reports, so I want to catch up on those.

I've also been distracted by some other things gaming related. Magic: The Gathering has continued to replace some of our D&D time at home. I've also been working on various digital and online aspects of gaming.

First off, 5eGrognard now has a presence on Facebook! For those that follow me on Google+, it will be much of the same. I'll be promoting my blog posts, as well as posts from other bloggers. If it's something I would use at my table, it'll be posted at both places. Since I am new to the Facebook D&D community, I've yet to follow anyone there. Please, follow me on Facebook, and if you have a gaming presence there, or know of some communities that I could join, please let me know!

I also have an old desktop that finally died. No major loss, since it had been replaced with several Chromebooks in the house. That leaves a pretty nice monitor that is going unused. I've been playing around with Roll20 to use the monitor to replace the battle mat at the table. I'm still a novice at it, and have yet to use it during actual play.

Finally, I've been checking out Play by Post options. Those of you that have been reading here awhile may remember some of the Fellowship play reports that I had posted. Brian, my oldest friend and the one that introduced me to Dungeons and Dragons around 35 years ago, played some with him as the DM, and me playing a party in a Play by Post game. We used a shared Google Docs to play, but that had some limitations. He's been wanting to take a go at being a player. We live in different time zones, and have wildly different work schedules to boot (I work nights), as well as family obligations, so Play by Post works best for us. I've been checking out options there as well, and am starting us out at Tavern Keeper.

My tabletop gaming group is my three children. My 16 year old daughter and 11 year old twin boys. That's the play reports that I've been posting, both the Age of Worms and Eska groups are them. My daughter lives with her mother, and is only with us every other weekend. Those weekends she is not with us, my boys still want to play D&D. We've put together a few characters, and with our Session Zero, they decided they wanted to play as pirates. Simple sailing ships on the ocean wasn't enough for me. I wanted to turn that idea up to eleven. As luck would have it, James Introcaso over at the wonderful World Builder Blog has introduced his mini setting, Enora, the Bound Sky. I've been playing around at using his setting for my sky pirates. I don't know what kind of rules for flying ships James plans on using, but I'll be using modified Spelljammer ships. I'm still not sure how we are going to start off this group, but the time has come.

So, on to the play report. I have a fascination with towers in gaming. One of my favorite tropes. One tower I have been dying to use, is Dyson Logos' Shattered Tower. I filled it out my version of Abstract Dungeon's playtest adventure, The Broken Tower. Seems like The Broken Tower pdf is no longer available on their site. I'm not familiar with the Abstract Dungeon rules, but like most adventures, I found it fairly simple to convert to 5e D&D on the fly.

Leaving the Crypt of Memory, our group was headed back to Orod'tal.

Speaking of our group, they are all 6th level and consist of:

Ash. She's a fire genasi valor bard with the entertainer background.

Tulgasora. Originally a half orc bull totem barbarian with the bounty hunter background. Since there are no orcs on Eska, but my son liked the half orc mechanics, we reskinned him as a "savage hobgoblin", and not from one of the organized troops.

Pyro. Aasimar celestial sorcerer with the tinkerer background.

While on the road, they ran into a hobgoblin patrol. Seems like a landslide has blocked the main road back to the city. The patrol was backtracking and on their way to set up a roadblock to detour traffic onto a seldom used pass. They told the party that another patrol should be heading from Orod'tal up the other pass. Since the party would be the first group thru, that they should report to the second patrol the condition of the detour when they meet them. Eager to enhance their reputation with the powers that be in Orod'tal, the party agreed.

The journey was uneventful, until in the distance, they spotted a peculiar ruined tower.

The tower was shattered in the middle, with only what appeared to be a rope ladder connecting the top and bottom portions. Not wanting to pass such an obvious adventuring hook, they decided to investigate. The doors at the base were made of sturdy bronze, and resisted all attempts to open them. Pyro pulled out the group's Rope of Climbing and after a short debate, decided to send it up to the top of the tower, instead of the opening in the middle. Tying enough rope to the end, they had enough to scale the tower.

Most of the upper reaches were typical dungeon ruins. Hazards and traps to be negotiated. Some minor loot was found, including some clockwork body parts, but most interestingly, several silver keys with distinctive symbols. Ash gathered several of the clockwork parts.

Most of the lower reaches were likewise uninhabited, but towards the bottom they discovered the Great Hall. A grand dining table dominated the room, and sitting around it was five clockwork automatons, and a silver raven. Looking like the members on an adventuring party, our trio figured that each of the symbols on a key corresponded to one of these clockwork adventurers! Inserting and winding the keys, these clockworks came to life!

Seems that these are what remains of a centuries old adventuring group. Seeking immortality, they were able to transfer their consciousness into these clockwork bodies. Beldin, the wizard leader of the group thanks them for reactivating them, but tells the party they know too much! The clockwork adventurers attack!

This was a great fight, Pyro started throwing out his fire spells, and Ash complimented these with heat metal. Beldin used his wand of wonder, and the result...rain! A torrential downpour started in the Great Hall, cooling off the heat metal, and putting a perceived damper on fire spells. Tulgasora was going toe-to-toe with a clockwork dwarf fighter and a cleric, while Ash and Pyro were having a spell duel with Beldin, and a clockwork druid. A clockwork goblin rouge kept making sneak attacks, before hiding under the table with each attack.

Pyro cast earth tremor, which turned the floor to rubble, knocking down several of their opponents. Tulgasora, after destroying the dwarf, went to pursue the cleric that had disengaged and fell back to the others. The hobgoblin jumped up on the table. The ancient wood, already leaning because of the crumbled floor, broke under his weight! A loud crash, with the sounds of clanging metal and grinding gears spelled the end for the goblin rogue hiding underneath!

The momentum quickly turned towards our heroes, and they ended up leaving the five opponents in twisted, broken masses. Pyro claimed the clockwork raven, which operates as a silver raven figurine of wondrous power.

After the battle, the damage from the earth tremors, as well as the lower levels filling with rain caused the already damaged tower to creak and moan loudly. The great bronze doors, still stuck, thwarted their chances of a quick escape. The group was forced to run up several levels, while the tower began crumbling around them. They made it to opening in the middle, and each made the leap to their rope of climbing, still hanging in air beside the tower. They barely made their escape before the lower levels of the tower crumbled. The upper section still hangs, floating in midair.

For the clockwork adversaries, I used NPC stat blocks, and just gave them some damage and condition immunities in line with other constructs.

That brings up mostly up to date! The party now is a couple sessions into the iconic White Plume Mountain, which we are having great fun with.

Don't forget to follow me on Facebook! and Google+
Please check out my DMs Guild titles!
Airs of Ages Past, Nine magical harps from the Forgotten Realms
By Magic Masked, Nine magical masks from the Forgotten Realms
Grognard’s Grimoire: Sorcerers, Player’s options for the sorcerer class.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Crypt of Memory - Review

I was wanting to move onto doing some more crunch conversions, but I have a backlog of play reports that I want to get out. I've been doing much more playing than crunch work recently, and that is a good thing. Sure, I get more hits with my crunch, and it can also be collected to DM's Guild products. This blog also serves my gaming group's history, and that part requires the attention at this point.

I've almost always run published adventures. My creativity lacks the spark to come up with an idea to make a new creation, but I am good at taking something someone else wrote and changing it to fit my own purposes. As you no doubt seen, I like to pull from disparate sources to base my games on. I am going to do something a bit different this time. I'm not going with a play report, just a review of the product. I feel that a play report would give too many spoilers to the adventure.

Crypt of Memory

Crypt of Memory is a D&D 5e Adventure for a 5th level party set in the World of Farland. The adventure itself is genre neutral, though, and quite easily drops into whatever location you want.

I will start out by saying that I like Farland quite a bit. A dark world ruled by evil. Plenty of 5e crunch available on the website as well. I've pretty much lifted the Herbs and Herbalism rules wholesale for use at my table, though I've added other herbs and concoctions from around the interwebs.

The adventure starts off simply enough, with a single hook. The players are in a seedy town and witness an old dwarf being mugged in broad daylight. If rescued, the dwarf rewards the party with the object that the muggers were after, the map to the Crypt of Lazaghan, an ancient dwarf burial site.

The journey to the Crypt is straightforward as well. It's a week's journey, and a random encounter chart is provided. Once at the location, finding the entrance is not so easy, and requires a successful Nature or Survival skill check.

Upon entering the Crypt, you are presented with the obligatory undead encounter, though this one has a twist. A checkerboard floor with part of the grid magically trapped, and the zombies make use of the Shove action to push characters into the trap.

After this things start to get really interesting. The next chamber has two main doors, one leading to the treasure, and the other to certain death. A riddle on the wall explains the rules to making the correct choice, with six other doors leading to clues to solve the puzzle.

Each of the six clues lead to a featureless room that leads to a flashback of Lazaghan's life. I like the way the flashbacks are worded, so that each player imagines themselves in Lazaghan's shoes, while their companions are imagined as other dwarves. That way each player feels like the "star" of the flashback.

Each of the six flashbacks start the same way, "You see a bare stone room with a single stone sarcophagus at the far end. Then the scene suddenly changes. You find yourself...". While it gets repetitive, my players found it somewhat fun, reciting along with the narrative on the fourth, fifth, and sixth rooms. It ended up as as an inside joke by session's end, and is one of the lasting memories of this adventure.

Each of the flashbacks involves a milestone in Lazaghan's life, which the players had to solve. Succeed and you get the clue, fail and a wraith rises from the sarcophagus in the empty room who you have to overcome...who gives you the clue when you defeat it.

The six milestones provide a nice mix of challenges. Two combats, two mini skill challenges, a wrestling match, and a straight up riddle to solve. My players love riddles, and one of the two fights proved memorable. The wresting match and skill challenges gave each of the three characters I ran through an opportunity to shine and fell right into their strengths. Each player really got a chance to shine while collecting their clues.

The clues make solving the puzzle easy, though it requires the correct organizing of the clues, which all my players put their heads together to solve. With the correct solution, they chose the door that led to Lazaghan's sarcophagus. Once there, they find that Lazaghan is one of the restless undead, a new creature provided, a memory wraith. Lazaghan can be fought, but this adventure also provides a great role-playing opportunity. Lazaghan starts with a short monologue, which lets the players "talk him down" using the knowledge they gained in the flashbacks. My player's did, and Lazaghan found peace with their answer, and allowed them to take his treasure.

The loot is appropriate to 5e's scale. A decent amount of coins and gems, a potion, and a battleaxe +1. I expanded upon Lazaghan's Axe using the tables in the treasure section of the DMG, rounding it out and making it unique. Tulgasora now wields this axe in Eska.

Some further hooks are provided in the "Concluding the Adventure" section, if players are wanting to look for ruins of things they learned about in the flashbacks.

Crypt of Memory was a good length for a single session of play. Fills and afternoon or evening perfectly. A nice mix of challenges to overcome, hitting the Three Pillars of Play, socialization, exploration, and combat. Everyone in my group felt like they had a chance to shine.

It was easy to run. Layout was good. Fit the standard two column with boxed text format. Instead of monster stats, it provides a page number in the Monster Manual for reference. The artwork is minimal, and the cover is generic to all of the Farland Adventures. The book ends with a nice collection of maps to the adventure, as well as a player handout for the clues.

The only real drawback was that it was a railroad. Not much player agency to how the adventure proceeds. It is a small enough location that it doesn't really matter, though. Also the fact that you got the clue if you succeeded in the challenge or not was a bit cheesy. If I were to run it again, I wouldn't give up the clue if the party had to fight the wraith. The challenges are easy enough that they will have most of the clues, and maybe having to guess at one or two will only heighten the tension, and not detract from the game.

Overall we had a great time playing Crypt of Memory.

Please check out my DMs Guild titles!
Airs of Ages Past, Nine magical harps from the Forgotten Realms
By Magic Masked, Nine magical masks from the Forgotten Realms
Grognard’s Grimoire: Sorcerers, Player’s options for the sorcerer class.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Bowl of Stars, play report and review

Working for UPS, I fully expected for the blog to "shut down" for the month, like it often does this time of year. With the overtime that I accumulate this month usually involves me going to work, coming home, and going to bed. Life has a way of throwing unexpected twists your way. One week ago, shortly after punching in to work, I got dizzy and my heart was racing. I had trouble catching my breath. This resulted in an ambulance ride and a couple days in the hospital. The official verdict was a pulmonary embolism with deep vein thrombosis.

For those of you that don't speak doctor, a blood clot had developed in my leg. Part had broken off and moved, blocking the artery to my lungs. Being generally young and in overall good health, I showed none of the warning signs, and overall the cause has my doctors stumped. Now that I'm on blood thinners, they can't run the tests that would determine if this is the result of something genetic. At least until they determine the clot has gone away so that I can go off the medications and let them run the tests.

So it seems like I am now off of work until the end of the year. Instead of piling up the overtime checks, I now await the uncertainty of short term disability checks. The silver lining is that I get to devote extra time to D&D and my blog! Over the summer and early fall we played a lot, so I have a backlog of play reports to catch up on. I'll have to do a bunch from memory, because my laptop died around that time, and I lost some of my digital notes.

This session we played Bowl of Stars, by Vance Atkins. This is Vance's entry to the 2016 One Page Dungeon contest.

This is the first time that I've one a one page dungeon. Overall I really enjoyed it. While this is not a dungeon, it is more of a one page hex. I placed this in as part of a journey. We hit several random wilderness encounters before we got to Bowl of Stars.

When we last left our group, they had cleared out Khaldun's crypt. Wanting to collect the bounty on their goblin prisoner, Striliax, they loaded up their giant lizard mounts and set off for the gray elf capital city of Orod'tal.
Giant Lizard, by Eldecrynn LeRoy

Speaking of our group, they are all 5th level and consist of:

Ash. She's a fire genasi valor bard with the entertainer background.

Tulgasora. Originally a half orc bull totem barbarian with the bounty hunter background. Since there are no orcs on Eska, but my son liked the half orc mechanics, we reskinned him as a "savage hobgoblin", and not from one of the organized troops.

Pyro. Aasimar celestial sorcerer with the tinkerer background.

Before the Adventure
On to the random encounter portion of our session. After several days of journeying, they set up camp early one day before attempting a river crossing. That evening, they heard sounds of a struggle in the distance. Ash and Tulgasora went off to investigate, while Pyro stayed to guard Striliax. They met up with Asef, a trapper who was out checking his lines. Seems that he had caught a giant weasel, but had already dispatched it by the time Ash and Tulgasora found him. They made friends and shared their fire, while he fed them with his catch. They parted ways in the morning and continued on.

A couple of days later, they were attacked by a pack of death dogs. Surrounded by the pack, Pyro started off with some flashy, fiery spells, killing one death dog. The rest of the pack fled, not liking their chances. Unfortunately, Tulgasora had already fallen victim to a death dog bite, and was poisoned. They needed to get him to a healer!

Since Tulgasora had the smilodon pelt made into helmet / cloak, Ash salvaged the death dog pelt and has since had it made into a cloak for herself, with a head resting on each shoulder.

Overall, I liked the way the random encounter tables worked for me. So far the party has encountered a sabertooth tiger, a giant weasel and death dogs. I also threw in the giant lizard mounts. I really think this helps add to the gonzo feel I was aiming for with Eska. The players are only helping by wearing some of their prizes. This certainly fits in with my head cannon for the setting. I found some great 5e random encounter charts online, but I lost the links in my laptop crash, and have not yet had to look for them again.

Bowl of Stars
Journeying onward, they were closing in on the village of Fel's Thorpe, and the area covered in the Bowl of Stars. Crossing a ridge, they could see the village in the distance, and a bright light streaking across the sky. Seeing meteors streak across the sky is common on Eska, but this one was close. In fact, the party saw this one break apart and impact! One in the fields near Fel's Thorpe, and the other in the woods across the river Ildny.

Riding down, they found some farmers already investigating the piece that had crashed. They wanted to take it to Father Fry in the church in town. The party used it mounts to help pull it out of the earth. Luckily for them, not only was Father Fry interested on the glowing meteor fragment, but also possessed a knowledge of healing herbs that was able to help cure Tulgasora after a few days of rest and treatment. During this time, strange things started happening. Father Fry has felt nauseous since investigated the meteor, and has developed painful lumps. Hunters have reported killing strange creatures in the woods, and some foragers have gone missing.

It was during one of these nights while Tulgasora was recuperating, that Ash and Pyro were awakened by noises in the back of the church, where the meteor was stored. The two went to investigate, and stopped a group of cloaked, bronze-scaled kobold that were attempting to steal the bowl shaped meteor fragment! They pleaded that they needed the bowl to hold the star egg, and that Zyvas has given birth to terrible grubs. Confused by the story, the group sets off in the morning, accompanied by the kobolds to meet the kobold's master.

Zyvas turned out to be a young brass dragon, who found the glowing core of the meteor where it struck in the burned out portion of the woods. Dragging the treasure back to it's cave, it rested upon the radioactive fragment as part of it's treasure horde. Doing so has caused the fragment to fuze to it's body and weird mutant "grubs" have since spawned from the dragon's body, and have filled the lair, which the party managed to hack thru. Zyvas is unconscious and can't be woken. The kobolds are quite concerned. They feel that if they can find the two halves of the bowl, they can enclose the "star egg" and Zyvas will recover.

Our heroes agree to help, and the kobolds think that the other bowl has fallen somewhere to the north in the mountains. With some kobolds in tow acting as guides, they head into the mountains. After some exploring, they see some aarakocra circling overhead. A trio land nearby, while others swoop around menacingly. The leader of this group introduces himself as Aial, and demands to know why they have intruded upon their land.
Aarakocra by Christopher Burdett

Once they explain they are looking for a piece of the meteorite, Aial looks relieved. It seems that their leader, Salleek, and become infatuated with his "star nest". It's causing him nausea and to loose feathers, but he won't give it up. Our heroes are ready to help get it from Salleek, though the kobolds are not welcome to come along. To keep them occupied, Ash pulled out some of her performing costumes for the kobolds to play "dress up".

Once at the lair, Ash, Pyro and Tulgasora convinced the tribe to throw Salleek a grand party and feast. I forget the exact plan, but using the feast as cover, they stole the "star nest". Not wanting to earn Salleek's (and the aarakocra tribe's enmity) they left a pile of gems in it's place before sneaking out.

Gathering both halves of the outer shell of the meteorite, they returned with the kobolds to Zyvas' lair. After fighting off a new batch of mutant grubs, they enclosed the core back into the shattered halves. After a few days, Zyvas recovered enough to regain consciousness. With the help of the kobolds, Zyvas clears out his treasure hoard, and pulls down the cave, burying the radioactive menace.

Zyvas sets off with his kobold minions to find a new lair. Ash, Pyro, and Tulgasora not only get a reward from the brass dragon, but also several potential new allies. They resumed their journey to Orad'tal.

The Review
The group all really enjoyed the Bowl of Stars. My kids are my players, and at 16, 11, and 11 all still relatively new to D&D. Putting our Age of Worms game on hold and moving to Eska has really helped them blossom as players. I have really wanted to play Eska as a sandbox, and wanted to present something different than an Adventure Path. I've left hooks and hints for them that they've ignored, or not cared about, and others that they bit on. Bowl of Stars they dove right into.

Like I said before, I've never run a one page dungeon. I do like the format. Gives you a basic outline to run with to build upon as you see fit.

For me, the meteor strike fit right into what I imagined happening on Eska. When a meteor strikes, everyone goes out to gather the pieces. This one has a nice twist with it being radioactive and causing trouble. The dragon lair has a nice table to generate random mutant grubs.

This all played out in a single session, so it's a great length. Ample opportunity to fight or negotiate your way thru this adventure.

Overall we had a great session with this.

Please check out my DMs Guild titles!
Airs of Ages Past, Nine magical harps from the Forgotten Realms
By Magic Masked, Nine magical masks from the Forgotten Realms
Grognard’s Grimoire: Sorcerers, Player’s options for the sorcerer class.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Cobra Dragon

The major focus of this blog from its beginnings have been converting crunch from old Dragon Magazines to 5e rules. Dragon has not been that cooperative with me. Issue #127 was the last one that I got some useable crunch out of, until today's post which pulls from Issue #146! In all fairness, this was during the 1e/2e changeover, so I think they were playing it safe with their content.

It is one of my favorite covers, though.

Dragon Magazine #146 is the 13th Anniversary issue and one of their traditions was to include new dragons. Today's post pulls from that fine tradition. With that I bring you the cobra dragon, originally by Randy Johns.

Dragon Cobraby damein1234

Cobra Dragon

A cobra dragon is gloss black, with an orange underbelly. On either side of its neck is a large hood of skin that resembles that of a king cobra. Legend holds that certain king cobras of great age transform into cobra dragons.
Morbid Collectors Skull collecting is a favorite pastime of cobra dragons. Skulls of powerful monsters and rare creatures are highly prized. Favorite skulls include those of cave bears, dinosaurs, dragons, giants, and unicorns. Humanoid skulls are deemed interesting but of little value since they are so easily obtained. The offering of a rare skull as a gift when attempting to converse with a cobra dragon aids considerably in gaining the dragon’s favor.
Faithful Followers Due to its charisma, power, and cunning, a cobra dragon of adult age and beyond attracts a small number of intelligent creatures who search for a leader to serve. Goblins, lizardfolk and yuan-ti commonly are found in service of a cobra dragon.

A Cobra Dragon's Lair

Cobra dragons live in caves and underground caverns in tropical and subtropical environments. They dislike swamps. Like other dragons, a cobra dragon lays claim to an area of land surrounding its lair, ferociously driving off all other creatures. Intrusion by another cobra dragon is only tolerated during the spring mating season. The mating ritual involves the male and female entering non-injurious combat that results in a fiery display.

Lair Actions

On initiative count 20 (losing initiative ties), the dragon takes a lair action to cause one of the following effects; the dragon can't use the same effects two rounds in a row.
  • Magma erupts from a point on the ground the dragon can see within 120 feet of it, creating a 20-foot high, 5-foot-radius geyser. Each creature in the geyser's area must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw, taking 21 (6d6) fire damamge on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
  • The dragon creates a cloud of thick, billowing smoke as though it had cast the fog cloud spell. The smoke lasts until initiative count 20 on the next round.

Regional Effects

The region containing a legendary cobra dragon's lair is warped by the dragon's magic, which creates one or more of the following effects.
  • Water sources within 1 mile of the lair are supernaturally warm and tainted by sulfur.
  • Clouds of black smoke lightly obscure the land within 6 miles of the dragon's lair.
If the dragon dies the smoke fades within 1 day. The other effects fade within 1d10 days.

This is the first time I've used The Homebrewery, so it's pretty bare bones. As I get more comfortable with it, I'll be filling in the dead space a bit better.

Please check out my DMs Guild titles!
Airs of Ages Past, Nine magical harps from the Forgotten Realms
By Magic Masked, Nine magical masks from the Forgotten Realms
Grognard’s Grimoire: Sorcerers, Player’s options for the sorcerer class.