Friday, November 11, 2016

More 5e Material!

Dyson Logos' "Lair of the Frogs" 04 pdf 
Lair of the Frogs Monster Stat Blocks 5e 03 pdf

If you're strictly "old school", then you should absolutely continue reading this post. 

Actually, I don't even know what "old school" really is, aside from basic descriptions and loose definitions, my play style is indeed - "Old School". I have a definite idea what should happen in any D&D session, whether its a one-shot, multiple session dungeon crawl, or even a years long campaign, and that is considered to be "old school". 

I like to call it "Old Skull", since I like players who not only think, but think outside the box. Maybe that box has grown to the size of a trunk now, but that's besides the point. Onward!

The "more" 5e material I refer to in the title of this post is actually a revision and addition to Dyson Logos' excellent mini-dungeon "Lair of the Frogs". The first attempt was a hastily thrown together outline of ideas for what constitutes a dungeon full of frawgs. This attempt, (Lair of the Frogs-04) is a major revision in terms of nomenclature, but the basic dungeon key remains fairly unchanged. 

The wonderful and dreadful thing about D&D is that it is constantly changing, updating, outdating, redundant, and evolving. That remains so for my beloved (by me only, it seems) "Lair of the Frogs" dungeon module. (Am I the only one who still calls these things "modules" and not "Adventures"?) 

Actually, the only major change to inhabit this version of LoF is the inclusion of the Monster Stat Block 5e document. The stat block is derived from the beloved stat block of auld:

(AC, Spd, HD, hp, Special Abilities, #ATT, (type of attack(s), BAB, damage, +specials, etc), Save As, Morale (ML), Alignment (AL), Challenge Rating (CR), xp value, and Monster Manual page #)

Between the 03 and the 04 versions, you may also notice an increased page count, but this is not due to extra/added material, but increased font size, flailing eyesight, and possible old age. I've had to increase the font size in order to find & read the right sections on cue, a problem with my accursed yearly, and free VA glasses prescription - now invisaligned bifocal contraptions that only focuses on materials I want to read by throwing my head back as far as my neck will pinion, or lowering chin so far into my chest that beard and chest hairs are now contemplating a singles bar to easier facilitate mingling, intertwining, copulation, and possible multiplication,

However, the game of updating and revision is a never-ending one, much like a true game of D&D - I am already writing updates to this version, and within a few months, this one will be redundant, it is already lacking in my eyes, and once you look closely at it, you may consider labelling it so as well.  

You may note the addition of an "old school" Saving Throw Table towards the end of this version of "Lair of the Frogs" (or was it already part of the 03 version?), and this is not for the players, but for the DM to find those pesky DC #'s that I have yet to find in the 5e versions of the DMG, PHB, or MM. This is NOT the same Saving Throw Table found in 0e, but one closely based on it.

This has already been superseded by my own version of the Saving Throw Table for monsters. This one is also loosely based on the 0e Saving Throw Table, but instead of class and level, the table goes straight for the monster types: Aberration, Beast, Humanoid, Monstrosity, Undead, etc., and assigns DC #'s based on the "old school" saving throw types: Spells, Staves, Rods, Wands, Poison, Death Magic, Polymorph, Paralysis, Petrification, and Dragon Breath, and also distinguishes between Enchantment and Charm spells separately from other types of Spells. 

This gives me room to allocate saving throws based on 5e's Saving Throw types based on Ability Scores (Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom AND Charisma). 

One of these days, I'll take pictures of my hand-written copy of "Reference Booklet For Near-Sighted DM's" and post that as a PDF, but there are a lot of other materials that I can post links of before I ever get to this one. I only note this one item specifically because it has a clever little table in it that links the Abilities to the specific old school saving throws, as I understand them. 5e rules may indeed say that all Poison saves must be Constitution Saving Throws, but my table suggests that only MOST Poison & Death Magic saves are augmented by Constitution score bonuses and/or penalties. 

My table does however go on to establish a link between all saves to a specific ability score: Poison & Death Magic to Con, Spells & Staves to Wisdom, Rods & Wands to Intelligence, Petrify, Paralysis & Polymorph to Strength, Breath Weapons to Dexterity, and Enchantment/Charms to Charisma.

However, this system is only used when the source of the magic is not specified within the context of 5e rules. These are for general saves, not specific saves, like the kind of sources that are rampant in 5e rules - namely the Player Characters themselves.

Yes, for those of you not familiar with 5e, all spellcasting PCs in 5e have their own source code for saving throws. Basically, spells are automatic, requiring no roll at all to activate, or require a successful attack on a target, or all targets must make a successful saving throw to avoid - totally nullify or halve the effects. 

Player Characters, and by inference - NPC spellcasters set their own DC #'s (taking the place of the old school Saving Throw Table) by virtue of their spellcasting level, and spellcasting ability score bonus.

Spellcasting abilities are based on specific spell-casting classes: Clerics & Druids use Wisdom (thus they use their Wisdom score bonus as a modifier to their Spell Save DC), Wizards and Eldritch Knights use Intelligence (thus they use their Intelligence score bonus for their Spell Save DC), Sorcerers use I-don't-know-what, and Warlocks and Bards use Charisma (they use their Charisma score bonus for their DC).

So, if a monster must make a Saving Throw based on the PC's Spellcasting DC Saving Throw, that # would be used instead of the general Saving Throw Table DC #. 

All of this is still under the design phase, and has not even been play-tested yet. As you can see in the "Lair of the Frogs Monster Stat Block-03 pdf, all monster saves are based on Character Class, as they were in old school Basic/Expert D&D rules. You may remember, alas - still PLAY under these honourable rules where Goblins save as Normal Men, Orcs save as Fighter 1, Hobs save as Fighter 2, Gnolls save as Fighter 3, and so on.

I want to take this a step further into 5e territory and have monsters save as their monster types: Aberration, Monstrosity, Beast, Humanoid, Undead, etc. I want to make them their own monsters, unbeholden to character classes meant for player characters. Its nice to be able to compare monster abilities to character abilities based on level, but this isn't really doable as easily as it was in earlier editions. 

For one thing, the equation of Level = Hit Dice is no longer true. Monsters really don't have Hit Dice equatable to character level in 5e. The disparity between any monster's given HD, (with hit point kicker) and comparing that to it's Challenge Rating will boggle your old skull way of doing things.

So with all that explained, I sum up with: There is more 5e to come from me. If anyone thinks this shit is good enough for the official 5e DM's Guild, or whatever it's called, please contact me with an offer to help /guide me to convert it into whatever format the 5e DM's Guild material needs to be in for publication. Any kind of offer like: I do the primary writing & new rules ideas, you do the formatting, and final rules polishing is absolutely welcome. 

Otherwise, I'll continue to (eventually) put this stuff up for everyone to read (for free), and risk someone copying & copyrighting it without my express consent, etc. I don't mind my stuff is for free for like - the rest of time, but I definitely do not want someone stealing an original kernel of an idea of mine and making money off of it. That's dirty buggery.

That, and, if you know of any Linux experts close to North Platte NE, send that person my way. I am completely computer illiterate, and deathly afraid of doing anything to my laptop lest I delete all my (half-assed) work done so far. If I could get my computer updated, that would go a long ways towards me being able to download & use stuff that would help me be a little more independent and copyrightable. 

'K, Thanks-Bye!