Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Lego Minifigs

I got called out in this thread about cheap miniatures to use while you build a collection.  My group (14 year old daughter and twin 9 year old boys) has built Lego Minifigs to represent their characters.  They bought some accessories from Brick Forge.  My daughter has hers, so I won't be able to post them until this weekend.

I also use printable figure flats, and have included a pic of them at the end.  The party has several henchmen as well, which also have minifigs.  You can read about their first adventure here.

Jackson, the human earth wizard.  Quarterstaff has light spell cast on the end.  Backpack and potion.

Narcisso, the half-elf cleric and Dravin the human druid.


Kargash the half orc ranger and Rurak the dwarf barbarian.
 Rurak, being a dwarf has "short legs", so he measures up properly in relation to the half elf.
 Rurak in a rage, facing an orc, an orc chieftan and an orc shaman.

These last few are from the Lost Mines of Phandelver, which my daughter is running us thru.  We've only had one session, so I forget their names.

 This dude wields a BIG EFFIN HAMMER!

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Monday, September 29, 2014


Dragon Magazine issue #89 has proven to be a deep source.  I still have a few shields and a handful of monsters to finish up, but today I'm going to convert a NPC class into a new fighter archetype, the Sentinel, originally by Andy Pierce.

The sentinel is a fighter whose job it is to defend against both open and surprise attacks.  Their primary purpose is to detect approaching invaders or assailants, and to then sound an alarm and hold off the enemy until help arrives. To accomplish this, sentinels have trained themselves to be exceptionally alert.  An inner sense sharpened by years of practice, a veteran sentinel will notice a sharp intake of breath, or the position of a weapon or the stance of a would-be opponent.

Defensive Superiority

When you choose this archetype at 3rd level, you learn maneuvers that are fueled by special dice called superiority dice.

Maneuvers.  You learn two maneuvers of your choice, which are detailed under “Maneuvers” below.  Many maneuvers enhance an attack in some way.  You can only use one maneuver per attack.

You learn an additional maneuvers of your choice at 7th, 10th and 15th level.  Each time you learn new maneuver, you can also replace one maneuver you know with a different one.

Superiority Dice.  You have three superiority dice, which are d8s.  A superiority die is expended when you use it.  You regain all of your superiority dice when you finish a short or a long rest.

You gain another superiority die at 7th level and one at 15th level.

Saving Throws.  Some of your maneuvers require your target to make a saving throw to resist the maneuver’s effects.  The saving throw DC is calculated as follows:

Maneuver save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Strength or Dexterity modifier (your choice).

At 3rd level, you gain proficiency in your choice of Wisdom (Perception) or Intelligence (Investigation).  You can also use either proficiency to detect lies, such as if someone were to use Charisma (Deception) or Charisma (Persuasion), giving them disadvantage on those skill checks.

Starting at 7th Level, you gain blightsight 60 ft.

Improved Alertness
At 10th level, you can no longer be surprised.  In addition, you gain advantage on all Wisdom (Perception) and Intelligence (Investigation) checks.


Starting at 15th level, you gain truesight 60 ft.

The maneuvers are presented in alphabetical order.

Disarming Attack.  When you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you can expend one superiority die to attempt to disarm the target, forcing it to drop one item of your choice that it is holding.  You add the superiority die to the attack’s damage roll and the target must make a Strength saving throw.  On a failed save, it drops the object you choose.  The object lands at its feet.

Intimidating Stance. You enter the intimidating stance by spending a superiority die when you make an attack. Roll the number, and set it aside. While you are in this stance, the target of your attack must make a successful Wisdom save to move. If the save succeeds, your stance is also broken (though you can adopt it again). If the stance is broken, the creature that breaks it takes damage equal to the number you rolled on your superiority die. If the triggering attack was a melee attack, add Strength to this damage; if it was ranged, add Dexterity. While you are in this stance, you cannot be in any other stance.1

Parry.  When another creature damages you with a melee attack, you can use your reaction and expend one superiority die to reduce the damage by the number you roll on your superiority die + your Dexterity modifier.

Protector's Stance. You enter the protector's stance by spending a superiority die on your turn and selecting a target ally. Roll the number, and set it aside. While you are in this stance, your ally cannot be attacked directly unless the attacker makes a successful Wisdom save to do so. If the save succeeds, your stance is also broken (though you can adopt it again). Even if your stance is broken, your ally has an AC bonus against the attack that breaks it equal to the number you rolled on your superiority die.1

Trip Attack.  When you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you can expend one superiority die to attempt to knock the target down.  You add the superiority die to the attack’s damage roll, and if the target is size Large or smaller, it must make a Strength saving throw.  On a failed save, you knock the target prone.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Creature Catalog part 8, Glasspane Horror

Back to the Creature Catalog from Dragon Magazine #89, this time with the Glasspane Horror.  The Glasspane was later republished in the 2005 Dragon Compendium Volume 1.  I worked off of those stats since they were easier to convert.

The Compendium has it listed as an aberration, but I felt that it could also be an elemental creature, so I listed it as such, since that is how I started writing it before I found that listing.

Glasspane Horror
Large elemental, lawful neutral (shapechanger)
Armor Class 16
Hit Points 76 (8d10+32)
Speed 30 ft.

16 (+3) 14 (+2) 18 (+4) 11 (+0) 13 (+1) 10 (+0)

Damage Resistances (whilrwind form only) bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons
Condition Immunities exhaustion, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, unconscious
Spell Immunities The glasspane horror is immune to all illusion (pattern) spells, spells with the words color or prismatic in their names, and spells with the light subtype.

Senses tremorsense 60 ft., passive Perception 11
Languages Terran, telepathy 60 ft.
Challenge 3 (700 XP)

Shapechanger.  The glasspane horror can use its action to polymorph into a humanoid creature seemingly hewn from scintillating gemstones, a sheet of clear glass, or a whirling funnel cloud of stinging, crushed gems.  Its statistics are the same in each form.

False Appearance.  While the glasspane horror remains in it’s sheet of glass form, it is indistinguishable from an normal window.

Blinding Light (humanoid form only) Once per round as a standard action, the glasspane horror can emit a burst of light that blinds all creatures within a 30-foot spread who fail a DC 15 Dexterity save. This blindness lasts for 1d4 minutes.

Air Form. (funnel cloud form only) The glasspane horror can enter a hostile creature’s space and stop there. It can move through a space as narrow as 1 inch wide without squeezing.

Multiattack. (humanoid form only)  The glasspane horror makes two slam attacks.

Slam. (humanoid form only) Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.
Hit: 7 (1d8 + 3) bludgeoning damage.

Trample. (funnel cloud form only) Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.
Hit: 13 (2d6 + 6) bludgeoning damage

A pane of glass nearby suddenly cracks and appears to crumble.  As the pieces of glass tumble they stop in mid-air, rising slowly and beginning to form into a glittering whirlwind.

Glasspane horrors make excellent guardians, and many powerful wizards and nobles seek them out as guards. The horrors consume gems to survive. Thus, a wealthy merchant can offer a glasspane horror a steady diet of high-quality diamonds, emeralds, and so forth in exchange for its service. Once a horror enters a contract, it does its best to live up to its bargain. A glasspane horror might wait patiently within its hidin
g place for days. While in its glass form, it is almost utterly inert. It can survive for years without feeding.

While glasspane horrors are faithful servants, they are by no means bound to give their lives for their masters. A severely injured (10 hit points or less) horror flees to warn its master of any intruders. If a horror's employer is slain, the creature is freed from its bond. In many cases, a glasspane horror's agreement with a master includes a stipulation that it is to hunt down and attack those responsible for the master's death. The horror does not fight to the death to fulfill this agreement. It usually flees if severely injured, but it does do its best to launch at least one ambush or attack.

If encountered while between masters, a glasspane horror attempts to parlay with intelligent creatures. It offers its services as a guard in return for gems, although it cares little for work that does not allow it to rest in place and guard a static position, treasure, doorway, and so forth.

Glasspane horrors prefer to attack from ambush. When hired by a master, it usually insists that it be given an appropriate place to assume its inert form and ready itself to attack intruders. The horror might take a position with a glass case used to store a treasure, a skylight situated above an important item or doorway, and so forth.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

September Blog Carnival

I've been doing this for about a month now, and have started reaching out to the greater blogosphere.  I've been reading a pile of blogs for awhile now.  Always been a fan.  Never thought of starting one until recently.

What changed?  5th Edition D&D.  I'm a big fan of the new edition, but here at the beginning of its life cycle we are short on crunch.  Those fiddly bits that all DMs love to add to their game.  A new spell cast by the necromancer that is terrorizing town.  That unknown monster lurking in the shadows, that rare magical item that is only known of in legend.  We didn't have enough of those.  So I set about doing what I did in my early days of gaming, going thru Dragon Magazine and adding the cool bits to my world.

I figured if I went thru all that trouble, the least I could do was share it with others, considering I have so shamelessly stolen so many ideas from the blogs that I read, the least I could do was give back.

So in the spirit of this month's Blog Carnival, check out those blogs I have listed in the Blogs I Read sidebar.  There is some great stuff in there.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Six Very Special Shields, part 3, Hawkstone's Bulwark

Another installment of unique magical shields from The Forgotten Realms, from Dragon Magazine #89.

Hawkstone’s Bulwark
Unique magic armor (shield)
The ranger Hawkstone bore this shield in his war against the giants of the Great Glacier and the beast-men (ogres) of Thar.  Some time after his death, his grave was violated and all his treasures stolen, among them the blade Durelva and this shield, known in ballads as Hawkstone’s Bulwark.  It is generally believed that Hawkstone won this shield from the hoard of the black dragon Yrindoth. Its origin is as unknown as its present fate.

The shield is a single slab of 2-inch-thick, polished steel of a beautiful blue hue, a fine metal unique in its quality in the Realms. It has the usual two straps within, of black bullhide, and weighs no more than a wooden shield. It has the abilities of a +2 shield, and upon command the shield grows magically into a bridge. (The command word, known through lore but not written anywhere on the shield, is “Bulwark.”) The shield will disappear from the bearer’s possession and reappear at the start of the following round as a 5-inch-thick span of line steel, 2’ wide by 60’ long. Its length is not variable, and the change is not always automatic; if the command word is spoken when the Bulwark doesn’t have enough room to expand, the power will simply fail to function. The bridge will extend out in the direction the bearer of the shield is facing, beginning just in front of the bearer’s feet. Once placed, the bridge cannot be moved (although it can be shrunk back to a shield and re-expanded in a different location). It will support up to 5,000 pounds of weight at one time; exceeding that limit will cause it to collapse back into a normal shield (see below), leaving the creatures and objects upon it without any visible means of support.

If its weight capacity is not exceeded, the bridge will remain in that form for 33 days, or until the bearer of the shield holds onto one of the straps and utters the reverse-command word “Krawlub.”  (When it is in bridge form, the shield’s straps are located on the top surface of the bridge at either end.) The shrinking process works essentially the same as the expanding process: the bridge disappears upon utterance of the command word, and at the start of the following round the Bulwark reappears at the bearer’s feet in shield form.

No magic short of a wish will cause the bridge to shrink, shift, break, or otherwise move (although the ground on which it rests could well be affected by disintegrate, dig, or similar magic).  The bridge will conduct heat, electricity, and other similar forms of energy, and in such respects acts as normal metal does.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Elemental Specialist Wizards

I've long been a fan of specialist wizards.  Ever since 2nd Edition AD&D introduced them I've used them, and even expanded it to elementalist wizards.  Back then it was easy.  All you had to do was make a new spell list.  All fire spells went into the fire list.  Sometimes you had to reskin a spell.  Mage armor?  Now it's stone armor.  Magic missile fires bolts of air, ect.

5e adds some new challenges, with specialists gaining special abilities.  I've been tweaking and trying to come up with some ideas.  What I have below is more of a rough draft than anything.  I'm not completely happy with what I have, not sure how it all balances out with all the other specialists.  So I welcome feedback to push this into final form.

Specialists gain powers ar 2nd, 6th, 10th and 14th level.  I've done a bunch of googling and finding other versions for other editions.  I've cherry picked ideas that I liked and seemed to fit in with the power levels.  At some levels I have more than one option.  Not sure if I want to leave choices or which one I like better.  Here they are in rough form, in some cases just copy and pasted from other sources.

Of course, like the other specialties, they all get the savant at 2nd level, where cost and time for writing spells in your book are half.

I have the evocation abilities in as reference.

Air feather fall at will -or- breathless, don’t need to breathe
Earth immune to prone -or- fast healing, +level to hit die rolls when in contact with earth or stone
Fire produce flame at will
Water create or destroy water at will
Evocation sculpt spell
Air levitate at will -or- gust of wind at will
Earth acid cloud
Fire lingering flame (can maintain fire spell 1 additional round)
Water create wave, knocks victims prone
Evocation expanded cantrip
Air fly at will -or- gaseous form at will
Earth earth glide, move thru earth
Fire dancing flame, moves fires
Water water walk at will -or- control water at will
Evocation +int mod to spell damage
Air Elemental shape
Earth Elemental shape
Fire Elemental shape
Water Elemental shape
Evocation overchannel


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

New format

Just a change to the template.  While the last one was dark, like my soul, I'm hoping this one is easier to read.  I'll change up the font color on some of the old posts as time goes by.

I'll get back to getting some more crunch going as well.  Had a busy week with some family from out of town visiting.  Also working on a 5e version of elementalist wizards, which I shall be posting soon.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Fellowship, Part 2

Been awhile since I posted a play report.  We'll pick up another episode of the Fellowship as they continue along the Crypts of Motha the Bloody.  My play as the group is in red, Brian, the DM is in black.

Legolas, level 1 elf fighter
Gimli, level 1 dwarf cleric
Frodo, level 1 halfling theif
Gandalf, level 1 human wizard

Part 1 is here.

Gandalf will carry the loot.  After tending their wounds and a short rest, the group will head back, in marching order.  At the T, they will head right, away from the smell…

You head right and turn another tunnel to the left.immediately in front of Frodo stands a large wooden door…

Instead of sword and shield, Legolas will wield the staff from the statue.  Frodo will listen at the door...

Pressing his ear,Frodo hears absolutely no sound on the other side…

Frodo:  “Sounds empty, unless there is more undead just sitting.”
Legolas opens the door.  Him and Gimli enter first, with the other two close behind…

You enter a medium sized stone room with headless statues scattered throughout the floor.on the other side you notice a dais with a tapestry hanging above it showing a grotesque ghoul/ victim scene. Rats dart here and there.no other doorways are visible…

Frodo and Gandalf check out the dias and tapestry while the other two check around the statues.

The tapestry is very old and frail but looks worthless. The dais is cracked but unassuming. All the statues also appear very old and useless…

Anything behind the tapestry?...

Gandalf peers behind the tapestry and notices a wooden door…
Frodo listens…

Putting his ear to the door, Frodo quietly listens but does not hear a thing…

Gimli and Legolas enter first, followed  by the other two
The door opens easily outward into a musty corridor which immediately turns right to a dead end. At the end on the left is another wooden door. Dried blood is splattered throughout the small corridor and onto the door to the left. A couple skulls are in the corner across from the door along with several other bones…

Frodo listens at the door while Legolas pokes through the skulls and bones with the staff…
As Frodo presses his ear against the door, a loud thud can be heard, and Frodo is stuck in the neck on both sides with two protruding darts. Frodo starts to get weak and slowly is slumping to the floor.
Legolas  finds nothing of interest in the bones, and Frodo has taken 2 points of damage. His skin is getting pale and he starts to gasp the words “poison…..”. Frodo must save vs. poison to keep the poison from running its course and killing him….
Well, I rolled a 4...with halflings +3 vs poison, that makes 7.  Not enough, though.  His saving throw number is 13.  Everyone else is at the ready.  Gandalf kneels to aid Frodo…

Gandalf sees that Frodo is sweating profusely. Gandalf says "I'm not sure how long he will live". A ruckus can be heard on the other side of the door now, followed by a lot of pounding on the other side of it as if somebody wants to knock it down. It sounds like there is more than one person or creature on the other side…

How sturdy is the door?  Does it open into the hall or into the room?  Legolas and Gimli try to hold it closed…

After about a minute the door is slowly starting to come off its hinges. legalos and Gimli need to make a roll against their strength to see if they can hold it shut.Frodo is getting worse....

on a d20 I rolled 4 for legolas, and a 3 for Gimli.  Gandalf checks out the potion that we found earlier.  Any hint if he tastes it?  What spell does Gandalf have?...

Gandalf tastes the liquid in the vial. It is sweet.Gandalf must roll against intelligence to determine if he recognises the liquid. Meanwhile, the door that Gimli and Legolas are trying to hold starts to break free from its hinges. Its hard for them to hold it shut due to the crowded area.Frodos eyes are glassy and starting to close,his body becoming limp...

Gandalf rolled a 1.

He pulls Frodo away around the corner to the door by the dias room.  Gimli and Legolas jump back from the door and draw weapons, I rolled a 2 for initiative...

Gandalf immediately recognises the potion as a stronger version of a healing potion. He pulls Frodo away to the other door,his body now completely still,eyes closed. Legolas and Gimli see what appears to be two zombies bust the door down,arms slashing away at the two defenders.they are rather slow,so Legolas and Gimli win the initiative…

Gimli rolls a 18 to hit, and 2 for damage.
Legolas drops the staff and draws his sword.  Rolls a 1 to hit.
Gandalf will throw daggers if he gets a shot.  Daggers have a rate of fire of 2.  5 to hit with 1 damage, and 4 to hit with 4 damage…

Gimli manages to slice a zombies arm in two,blood flies in all directions, and it continues to attack.both zombies roll a 6 and 2. Gandalf will get a chance to attack next round due to moving Frodo and getting his daggers ready. Out of the corner of his eye,Gandalf sees that Frodo is completely motionless,but doesn't have time to see if he's still breathing.
Its the next round, and your party automatically wins initiative. …

Press the attack.  Gandalf rolls 6 to hit with 1 damage, and 14 to hit with 3 damage.
Legolas rolls a 21, with 3 damage.
Gimli rolls 5 with 7 damage (too bad that’s probably a miss.)...

Legolas and Gandalf manage to stop the attack. The zombies are motionless on the ground. Blood is everywhere...

Gimli checks on Frodo.  Gandalf checks the zombie corpses.  Legolas picks up the staff and looks into the room…

Gimli notices very slight breathing in Frodo. He's still alive but barely.the corpses are nothing more than the grotesque remains of  undead creatures.The room is rather large,around 60 by 80 feet.from where Legolas is standing,only the remains of broken furniture can be seen,along with the mangled body of what looks like a fresh corpse lying in the center of the floor...

Gimli casts cure light wounds on Frodo.  Healed 8 points of damage.  Any exits from the room?  Legolas and Gandalf enter and check out the room.  Legolas checks out the corpse...

You are working with only infravision  now as the lantern has been extinguished.  In the darkness,Gandalf can hear the faint mumbles of Frodo,slowly regaining his composure and whispering for water. Gimli can feel large amounts of sweat on his face after applying the cure spell. Legolas notices nothing unusual about the room through his infravision, but with closer inspection can see an exitway  on the wall to the left.Legolas notices the corpse is mangled, and cleary female,her midsection ripped apart by the flesh of the undead. Her body is laying on top of scattered gold coins apparently ripped from the coin purse that is visible on herself.Along the same wall you came through,to the left,Legolas also sees a portcullis that is down,another exit...

We regroup in the hallway, with Gandalf relighting the lantern.  Gimli finds Frodo’s waterskin and hands it to him, as well as some food.  After Frodo is up to it, they move into the room.  Legolas approaches the portcullis, trying to peer through. He stays about 5’ back.  “Gimli, do you see and levers or anything to raise this gate?”  Gandalf loots the body while Frodo picks around the rubble...

It will take a full round to regroup and allow Frodo to get his mind back in the game. Gimli notices a small lever to the left on the wall. Frodo doesn't find anything but busted up furniture and Gandalf counts 72 gold coins underneath the corpse.Legolas peers into the portcullis and sees a hallway turning right...be sure to check off rations as they are consumed...and adjust hp as well...

Is frodo at full hp?  He checks for traps on the door.  If he doesn’t detect anything, he’ll cautiously listen.  If no noises, Gimli will open the door.

Frodo is at full hit points.is he checking the doorway to the left? That is an open doorway that is arched at the top.there is no door there.there is a doorway that is arched to the left,and a portcullis down to the left on the same wall you came in.sorry,I should have been more clear....what is Gimli doing? The text is cut off…

ok, yes the doorway.  go through the doorway, Frodo in the lead, standard order…

You travel through the doorway and immediately turn left.a long corridor is ahead with an unidentifiable smell piercing the air. After about 50 ft,you turn left again,then quietly make a right after a short time. The passage turns right again almost immediately.you slowly proceed ahead and turn right again after around 50 more ft.Ahead,on the left about 20 ft,is a large wooden door.the corridor proceeds further ahead,with drag mark blood stains on the floor,and the horrid stench of more feces.its unsure how far ahead it goes from where you stand...

Is it possible for you to give a simple sketch of what we would’ve mapped so far?  My first one doesn’t seem to match up, I got corridors running into each other.  I read thru it again, and got a different map, but it still seems wrong.

The drag marks, do they come from behind the door or start in the hall?

Frodo will check the door for traps and will listen...
The drag marks start about 20 ft from the door,and from your lantern light,you see it goes into the darkness ahead.Frodo does not detect anything unusual about the door…

Gimli opens it, with him and Legolas entering first, followed my Gandalf and Frodo…

You enter a large square room,at least 80 ft x 80 ft. A large chandelier hangs from the middle of the ceiling, with a small table underneath it. On top of the table, there appears to be an object. Two doors are spaced out on the wall to the right. Besides cobwebs and a foul odor, nothing else appears to be in the room...

Legolas walks closer to the table to look at the object and chandelier. Gandalf goes with him, buck stays back.  Frodo checks for traps and listens at both doors, while Gimli watches his back…

Frodo doesn't detect anything wrong with either door,and all is quiet behind both. Legolas steps toward the table and sees the chandelier is large,round,and possibly made of iron. Old candles with dried wax running down the sides still remain in the chandelier. Immediately Legolas recognises the object on the table as a mace. Before he can get a decent look at it, Gandalf shouts" Legolas, back away!".The chandelier starts to fall from the 12 ft ceiling, and Legolas needs to roll against his dexterity to back away in time before getting hit. Frodo needs to roll against constitution to ensure he is good to continue after his traumatic experience earlier, and see if he can continue with no problems.

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