Sunday, October 19, 2014

5E Barrow Wight

This 5E conversion is of the barrow wight monster found in Greg Gillespie's Barrowmaze megadungeon moduleI extrapolated the Wight monster stat block from the 5E Monster Manual and made changes based on the monster's abilities in Barrowmaze.

Barrow wights are a more powerful form of wight that are found near barrows, crypts and grave-sites.  Barrow wights have thin pale skin pulled tight over the bones, abd often wear funerary shrouds which hang in tatters.  Their eyes burn with a hatred of the living, a hatred so fierce that it can burn into the mind of those who gaze upon it and drive them insane.

Medium undead, neutral evil
Armor Class: 11 (natural armor)
Hit Points: 62 (6d8+38)
Speed: 30 ft.
  STR        DEX       CON       INT        WIS       CHA
18 (+4)    14 (+2)     18 (+4)   10 (+0)   14 (+2)   15 (+2)
Skills: Perception +4, Stealth +4
Damage Resistances: necrotic; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing
from nonmagical weapons that aren't silvered.
Damage Immunities: poison
Condition Immunities: charmed, exhaustion, frightened,
paralyzed, poisoned
Senses: darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 14
Languages: the languages it knew in life
Challenge 4 (1100 XP)
Sunlight Sensitivity. While in sunlight, the barrow wight has disadvantage on attack rolls, as well as on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight.

Insanity Gaze.  When a creature that can see the barrow wight's eyes starts its turn within 30 feet of the barrow wight, the barrow wight can force it to make a DC 14 Intelligence saving throw if the barrow wight isn't incapacitated and can see the creature.  If the saving throw fails, the target is driven insane. An insane creature can't take actions, can't understand what other creatures say, cant read, and speaks only gibberish.  The DM controls it's movement which is erratic.  The insanity lasts until the creature is freed by the greater restoration or
heal spell.
   Unless surprised, a creature can avert it's eyes to avoid the saving throw at the start of it's turn.  If it does so, it can't see the barrow wight until the start of it's next turn, when it can avert its eyes again.  If it looks at the barrow wight in the meantime, it must immediately make the save.

 Life Drain  Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5ft., one target. Hit: 10 (1d8+6) necrotic damage.  The target must succeed on a DC 14 Constitution saving throw or it's hit point maximum is reduced by an amount equal to the damage taken.  This reduction lasts until the target finishes a long rest. The target dies if this effect reduces it hit point maximum to 0.   A humanoid slain by this attack rises 24 hours later as a normal wight under the barrow wight's control, unless the humanoid is restored to life or it's body destroyed.

5E Iron Cobra

Small construct, unaligned
Armor Class: 19 (natural armor)
Hit Points: 9 (1d6+6)
Speed: 30 ft.
  STR       DEX       CON      INT      WIS        CHA
10 (+0)    18 (+4)   13 (+1)    8 (-1)    10 (+0)     3 (-4)
Skills: Stealth +4
Damage Resistances: bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing
from nonmagical weapons.
Damage Immunities: poison, psychic, necrotic
Condition Immunities: charmed, exhaustion, frightened,
paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, stunned
Senses: darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 10
Languages: understands the languages of its creator but can't
Challenge 1 (200 XP)
Magic Resistance.  The iron cobra has advantage on saving
throws against spells and other magical effects.

Spell Immunity.  The iron cobra is not affected by the Web spell.

Deadly Strike.  If the iron cobra surprises a creature and hits it with an
attack during the first round of combat, the target takes an extra 1d3
damage from the attack.

Limited Poison.  The iron cobra's fangs has a limited poison capacity.  Once it has successfully made 3 poisonous bite attacks, it's poison supply will be empty and it's bit attack will only do piercing damage.

 Bite Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d3+2) piercing damage, and the target must make a DC 12 Constitution saving throw, taking 3 (1d6) poison damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

5E Caryatid Column

Medium construct, unaligned
Armor Class: 12 (natural armor)
Hit Points: 28 (3d8+16)
Speed: 30 ft.
  STR       DEX      CON      INT      WIS       CHA
14 (+2)  10 (+0)   16 (+3)  10 (+0)  10 (+0)   10 (+0)
Damage Resistances: bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing
from nonmagical weapons.
Damage Immunities: poison, psychic, necrotic
Condition Immunities: charmed, exhaustion, frightened,
paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, stunned
Senses: darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 10
Languages: understands the languages of its creator but can't
Challenge 2 (450 XP)
Magic Resistance.  The caryatid column has advantage on saving
throws against spells and other magical effects.

Weapon Breaking.  Any weapon, magical or otherwise that hits
the caryatid column has a 25% chance to snap and break, rendering
it useless.  This chance is reduced by 5% per magical 'plus' of the weapon.

 Longsword Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5ft., one target.
Hit: 8 (1d8+4) slashing damage.

Friday, October 10, 2014

[5E] Alternate Fighter Archetypes

I did not like the Fighter Archetypes for D&D 5th Edition.  When I think of an archetype, my mind does not envision the choices that WOTC created, which was essentially a 4th Edition Warlord and the Eldritch Knight (which was a Prestige Class in previous editions.).  I think the Fighting Styles that fighters can choose as part of their class, would have made ideal Archetypes in their own right (i.e. Archer, Defender, Duelist, Two-Handed Fighter, Two-Weapon Fighter.)

I took two Pathfinder Archetypes from the Advanced Players Guide, the Mobile Fighter and the Phalanx Soldier and made a D&D 5th Edition version for each.  These I feel are better examples that exemplify types of fighter than what appeared in the Players Handbook.  Let me know what you think.


This fighter focuses on speed and swiftness to move across the battlefield, leaving a trail of destruction in his wake.

Beginning when you choose this archetype at 3rd level, you have Advantage when making a Dexterity saving throw against effects that cause you to become paralyzed, slowed or restrained.

Starting at 7th level, when you move at least 5 feet prior to attacking, you have Advantage on attack rolls.

Starting at 10th level, you can move up to twice your movement (as if you performed the Dash action) and can make an attack at any point along that movement.

Starting at 15th level, your movement increases by 10 feet. Any checks made to Strength (Athletics) or Dex (Acrobatics) are at an additional +2 proficiency bonus.

Starting at 20th level, when you use your Action Surge, you may make an attack action against every enemy withing your reach that turn. This ability over-rides your Extra Attack ability. Each enemy within your reach can only be attacked once.


The phalanx soldier specializes in defensive tactics, using his shield to guard himself and allies

Beginning when you choose this archetype at 3rd level, you have Advantage on saves against Shoves.

At 3rd level, when you wield a shield, you may use any polearm or spear as a one-handed weapon.

Starting at 7th level, when you ready an action with your polearm or spear to anticipate a charging attack from an enemy, you can score a critical hit on a 19-20 against that charging enemy.

Starting at 10th level, you become a master of using your shield to protect you. Your AC improves by an additional +1 when using a shield.

Starting at 13th level, you have Advantage on Shoving an opponent when using your shield.

Starting at 15th level, when you are using your shield, all adjacent allies will benefit from your shield AC bonus until the start of your next turn. You cannot move during your turn when using this ability. If any ally moves away from being adjacent to you, they immediately lose to AC bonus.

At 20th level you can gain Evasion (as per the Rogue ability) to yourself when using a shield. In lieu of movement during your turn, you can grant Evasion to all adjacent allies until the beginning of your next turn.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Pathfinder Xhuul: Game 2

Two weeks ago, on Saturday, our group got together to continue the Pathfinder campaign set in my home-brew world of Xhuul.  When we last played, the game ended with the group deciding that since some of the characters were low on hit points and spells, they were going to hole up in one of the rooms and rest.  I knew as a GM that it was a terrible idea, given that they had not cleared out the first level which was the home of a group of Kobolds.  I gave them hints that trying to set up a camp in an active monster lair would not be conducive to resting comfortably.  The group agreed and decided to exit the Emerald Spire and head into the ring of jungle that surrounded it and made a camp.  Malik the Fighter made a high Survival roll, so I determined they found a good spot that provided them with decent cover and a elevated spot so that the daily rain showers that lasted  3 or 4 hours would not flood them out.  The rest of the day and night passed uneventfully.

The next morning, the party re-entered the Emerald Spire.  The human cleric, Arkon cast several Light spells on everyone, in order to enable everyone to see in the dark.  There is a magical effect that suppresses any light source to a 5-foot radius, so it helps a little.  The party learned that they all had to stay within 5-feet of each other in order to "chain" the overlapping Light spells to get a line of sight of each other and anything they were next to.  Only, Brogan the dwarf Rogue wasn't affected because he has Darkvision.  Kord, the gnome sorceror cast his Mage Armor spell before they entered.  Arkon entered first and tripped a wire that caused a string of metal shards to ring out an alarm!  The Kobolds had set up this warning system to alert them of intruders after they discovered their slain comrades killed by the party the day before.  Immediately, they were attacked by 2 Kobolds firing arrows from another doorway to the east.  They were of course hidden in the darkness and beyond the range of the Light spells.  Another two Kobolds stealthily squeezed through a barricade that blocked off the south part of the room, that was to the rear of the party, and attacked Arkon, armed with spears.  Brogan set off a trap that dropped a vial of acid to the floor.  He nimbly avoided it, but some of the acid splashed and hit Malik.

The party made quick work dispatching 3 of the 4 Kobolds.  The remaining Kobold, retreated to the room where the party discovered the trap which would collapse a large section of rubble on top of anyone from the day before.  The party did not follow tise Kobold because they figured he was going to set off the trap if they did (they were right). The party decided to head to a set of double doors that Brogan lead them to using his darkvision.  They entered the guard room that Brogan discovered last time when he traversed the secret tunnel the day before.  This room was empty, except for a table and four chairs.  Just then, the Kobold who ran away from them emerged from the secret tunnel and took a shot at Arkon but missed.  The party killed the Kobold quickly as it was wounded from the earlier fight.  They searched the area and found nothing of value.  At this time they decided to go back and do another sweep of the rooms they had cleared earlier.  They found another acid vial trap that they did not trigger.  Brogan managed to disarm it and retrieved the acid flask.  Then they returned back to the room guard room.  There was a door to the south and a 5-foot wide hallway leading west which contained a door on the north wall of the hallway and a pair of double doors directly opposite on the south wall, with the hallway continuing west past the doors, leading to a larger chamber beyond.

The party investigated the door on the north wall in the hallway and discovered it was locked.  Brogan did not spot any traps and managed to pick the lock after two tries.  The door opened to a 15' by 15' store-room containing supplies and weapons.  Most of the weapons where of poor condition and made for a small-sized humanoid.   The supplies were contained in several boxes and crates and mostly held food-stuffs and general supplies, like rope, tools and trail rations.  They searched the room, but did not find anything of any great value.  They party determined if they could load the contents of the room in a cart or wagon, it might fetch 100gp back in Throxia.

Next, the party decided to check out the double-doors across the hallway.  Determining that the doors were not trapped, Brogan opened one of the doors, which opened into a 10' x 10' landing with a set of stairs curving downward and was immediately attacked by two Kobolds armed with spears.  Behind these two Kobolds were another two armed with bows, who fired arrows.  Brogan got hit several times to zero hit-points, staggered but standing.  Arkon cast an Obscuring Mist spell that helped level the playing field a little between them and the Kobolds, by impairing their vision.  This effectively impaired the Kobolds with the bows as they could not see beyond 5 feet in front of them due to the Obscuring Mist and since they were stuck behind the ones armed with spears, they really couldn't do anything else.  The party eventually killed the Kobolds and they investigated the stairs, but made the decision not to go down until they cleared the 1st Level.

They discovered that the circular wall to the left side of the stairs that spiralled downwards was made of a glowing translucent green stone that was different than the greenish stone that the rest of the structure they had been going through was made of.  They found a strange glyph carved into the stone above the landing.  It detected as magic and a read magic spell translated the marking as the number "One".  They made a copy of the glyph and proceeded into the large chamber at the end of the hall.

At this point we ended the game as we usually only play for 4 hours and it was our usual ending time.  At this point they have explored about half the structure, and they have earned enough XP to be about 2/3rds the way to Level2.  There are a couple of boss fights upcoming and now that the place has been alerted to the party's presence, they'll be brought into play sooner and in different locations than where they normally would be encountered.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tyranny of Dragons Minis

For my birthday I received an Amazon gift card.  I bought a booster box of the new Tyranny of Dragons minis from Wiz-Kids.  I also purchased the first module of the new Pathfinder Iron Gods Adventure Path titled "Fires of Creation".  The premise of the adventure path is the introduction of technological items into the Pathfinder world of Golarion.  A massive starship crashed in the barbaric land of Numeria some time in the distant past and it has altered that land in strange ways due to radiation, leaked chemicals and rogue robots and androids.  This really hits my Gamma World buttons and I love it.  Because it is set in a land of barbarian tribes and warlords, it's really screams Thundarr the Barbarian to me.  You can even see some influences from the old TSR module "Expedition to the Barrier Peaks".

But anyway, back to the minis.  I received the minis today and opened the box.  I received a Huge Stone Giant, a Human Paladin (which I am going to get good use out of since I am playing one in a Rise of the Runelords game), a Wood Elf Druid and a small Mane Demon.  These minis look good and my only gripe is that you can't read the label that identifies the mini on the underside of the base.  Only the Huge mini is readable because for some reason Wiz Kids put the label in white ink, but didn't do so for the other minis.  Very strange.  At least the Pathfinder Battles minis are consistent that all of the labels are readable in white lettering.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Thinking About D&D 5th Edition

So, I downloaded the free PDF of the D&D Basic Rules for 5E and read through it.  I was skeptical about this new version of D&D and I did not participate or read about any of the play-testing, so I was curious about how it all turned out.  I like what I see, especially that combat has been stripped down and using a grid is optional.

One of my gripes about Pathfinder is the tactical miniatures play and how long it takes to get through a combat encounter.  Things really slow down because players spend so much time optimizing their position on the board for the best combat advantage and reducing their risk (I'm looking at you Attacks of Oppurtunity!).  It's almost like playing chess sometimes and I don't like my role-playing games devolving into a board game.  But given that the combat section discusses movement and some class abilities trigger when allies or enemies are withing 5 feet of you, I wonder if the game can truly be played gridless?

A lot of people out there in the blog-o-verse are playing 5E and the general consensus is that they are liking the game and it is fun to play.  Sure, it has its faults, but I think those are easily remedied with house-rules.  I'm enjoying reading other people's play-reports to see how the game runs.

A friend of mine let me borrow copy of the new Players Handbook to read.  There looks like some good stuff in it.  I'm not sure about the Feats.  If I were to run a game, I would want to keep it as simple and fast to play as possible.  Once you start introducing more options, it can start to drag things down.  Those fighter archetypes of Eldritch Knight and Battle Master (4E's Warlord) I was disappointed by.  You would think that Wizards could have come up with better archetypes for the fighter instead of using it for a vehicle to shoe-horn in previous edition Prestige Classes and Classes as a sub-class.  Some of the other classes suffer from this as well, such as the Rogue's Arcane Trickster archetype.  I never really liked the Warlock class.  Why introduce yet another arcane spell-using class?  What, the Wizard is no longer viable anymore? 

Frankly, I think sticking with the Basic Rules and using the Backgrounds to flesh out the character is good enough than adding more classes.  Want to play a Ranger?  Pick a Fighter and take the Outsider Background.  Play a Bard?  Pick the Rogue and the Entertainer background. Done and Done.

I may post more thoughts on 5E in another post.