Friday, September 18, 2020

Best of the Web - Drow Agriculture, and Adding Adventures to Dread

In his post The Drow Have Discovered Agriculture! Martin 0 of Goodberry Monthly talks about post apocolypse Drow society and how the invention of agriculture changed them. It's an interesting post that got me thinking. I've always thought of the Elves as being Herbivores. Not vegetarians but outright herbivores but I never really thought of what this would mean for Drow. I don't like the idea of them eating mushrooms all the time so I started to think about hydroponics and folks I knew in college that grew plants in their dark closet.  So if you had water, and a continual light spell above, you could have an interesting crop cave. Probably with tiered walls of some kind to maximize the growing space. Although Drow dung probably works as decent fertilizer I'd like something else that might create better fertilizer, maybe something left behind by Xorn or even Purple Worms that the Drow collect or pay others for.

The 3 Toadstools had a post called Adding a few basic adventures to the Isle Of Dread which is an idea I think TSR should have embraced long ago. Take a sandbox adventure such as Isle of Dread and then use that as a location for following modules, populating out the sand box. The post suggests Forbidden City and B4, both of which work nicely as jungle ruins.

In the comment section of a blog I found a link by Lich Van Winkle to a post by Detect Magic titled Describing Terrain Features, Illustrated. This post has a nice set of examples of features on topo maps with photos of those same features. Less useful now that I'm older and have seen all this stuff and worked for a few years at a mapping company but this would have been gold when I was younger. Still a good post that most people should check out.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Bestiary - Orcs

Art taken from Warhammer Armies
and used without permission
Along with their brute strength and comparatively low intellect, the primary difference between orcs and the civilized humanoids is their attitude. As a culture, orcs are violent and aggressive, with the strongest ruling the rest through fear and brutality. They take what they want by force, and think nothing of slaughtering or enslaving entire villages when they can get away with it. They have little time for niceties or details, and their camps and villages tend to be filthy, ramshackle affairs filled with drunken brawls, pit fights, and other sadistic entertainment. Lacking the patience for farming and only able to shepherd the most robust and self-sufficient animals, orcs almost always find it easier to take what someone else has built than to create things themselves. They are arrogant and quick to anger when challenged, but only worry about honor so far as it directly benefits them to do so. Yeah the proceeding was from Pathfinder.

Orcs were not conquered and forced into the horde, they joyfully joined for the chance to kill and maim and in general be horrible. They form the backbone of the Hordes armies being large and semi-smart they make good troops. Their horribleness is not limited to attacks on Elves and Dwarves and such, they'll gladly bully Goblins or smaller Orcs if given the chance, a trait that is generally tolerated.

Physically they are green skinned beasts with short pointed ears and tiny noses. An adult orc is roughly 6 feet tall and 210 pounds. They are also prone to mutations (see mutation table).

Orc members of the Horde are Chaos Worshipers (see Chaos Gods table).

Proficiency Bonus +2
Proficiencies: All Armor, Martial Weapons
Aggressive. As a bonus action, the orc can move up to its speed toward a hostile creature that it can see.
Speed 30 ft.
Senses darkvision 60 ft.,
Passive Perception 10
Languages Common, Orc

To see my enemies driven before me and to hear the lamentation of their women!
Destruction of all Elves and Dwarves!
Defend the Orc Nation from Elves and Dwarven aggression!
Might is right, and the Horde is mighty!
Power. I could run things better and I'll do what I can to prove it.
Tear down the old to make room for the new!

My loyalty is to the Warboss. I'll do whatever commanded... within reason.
My life is dedicated to my Chaos Lord, I'll do as the Shamans says even if it goes against the Warboss's wishes.
The Orc nation is the most important thing. I want to be be powerful when I return so I can slaughter enemies and take command of a clan.
I hate Dark Elves and their endless, pointless war. Of course I'd never say so out loud but that's the way I feel.
The Ogres have rarely beat me and I'll side with over my own if forced to make a choice.
Treasure, treasure equals security and that's the one thing missing in the Warband.

Dislike Dark Elves and I'd probalby knife one if i could get away with it.
Never been able to read anything or even count without using my fingers, and when I lost a finger even that became confusing.
Can't swim, don't care.
Don't really hate the Elves or Dwarves even though they keep saying I'm supposed to. I do what I'm told but there is no real hate there.
Really hate the traitorous Half-orcs who joined our enemies. I'll gladly kill any I meet.
Meet gives me bowel issues and I really prefer bread and fruits. Other Orcs give me grief over it but my squad is happy to trade rations so it works out.

Two horns on head.
Row of horns from forehead to nape.
Large lower tusks.
Long arms and short legs.
Snout-like nose.
Nothing unusual, just an Orc

Chaos God
Cthulhu the Great Old One
Dagon, Prince of the Sea
Hastor the Unspeakable
Jubilex the Faceless Lord of Slime
Nyarlathotep the Crawling Chaos

Orc Hero
AC: 18 (Mail + shield) HP: 22 
STR 18 (+4) DEX 13 (+1) CON 16 (+3)
INT 12 (+1) WIS 11 (+0) CHA 17 (+3)
Battleaxe. To hit +6, Damage 1d18 + 4
Handaxe (x3). Melee to hit +6, Damage 1d6 + 4, Range to hit +1, Range 20/60), Damage +1

Orc Hastor Shaman
AC: 13 (hide) HP: 12 
STR 09 (-1) DEX 14 (+2) CON 10 (+0)
INT 15 (+2) WIS 18 (+4) CHA 15 (+2)
Mace To hit +1, Damage 1d6 -1

Hastor Shaman Spells
Light, Mending, Resistance, Thaumaturgy
Detect Good, Protection from Good, Sanctuary
Augury, Enhance Ability, Warding Bond
Bestow Curse, Tongues

Orc Big One
AC: 18 (Mail + shield) HP: 20 
STR 17 (+3) DEX 12 (+1) CON 16 (+3)
INT 10 (+0) WIS 11 (+0) CHA 13 (+1)
Scimitar. To hit +5, Damage 1d12 +3

Orc Grunt
AC: 18 (Mail + shield) HP: 18 
STR 16 (+3) DEX 12 (+1) CON 16 (+3)
INT 07 (-2) WIS 11 (+0) CHA 10 (+0)
Intimidation +2
Glaive. To hit +5, Damage 1d12 + 3
Javelin (x2). Melee to hit +5, Damage 1d6+3/Ranged to hit +3, Range 30/120 ft., Damage 1d6 + 1

Orc Hunter
AC: 13 (hide) HP: 15 
STR 10 (+0) DEX 14 (+2) CON 12 (+1)
INT 10 (+0) WIS 14 (+2) CHA 10 (+0)
Shortbow (x6). To hit +4, Range 80/320 ft., Damage 1d6 + 2

Orc Bonded
AC: None HP: 16 
STR 14 (+2) DEX 11 (+0) CON 14 (+2)
INT 08 (-1) WIS 08 (-1) CHA 05 (-1)
Javelin (x2). Melee to hit +2, Damage 1d6 +2: Ranged to hit +0 Range 30/120 ft., Damage 1d6

Wednesday, September 16, 2020



If you read my old post Thoughts on 5E Backgrounds you'll note that I like the Backgrounds but think they should be by race and not job. Backgrounds, customized for a campaign world, provide nice insight into the world, yada, yada, yada. So I was thinking that might be useful for the nasties as well. I'm not suggesting a DM should roll up an Ideal/Bond/Flaw for every encounter but if the players start to have a conversation the DM can roll them up and have the basics of the humanoids personality.


I haven't really worked on this one yet but I'd like to have an old school 2d6 Reaction table with run away on the low end, and fight to the death on the high end, with talk it out in the middle. Then each humanoid, or possibly each 'type' could have a modifier. Ogres might be +4 to ensure they are more likely to fight, Goblins could be -4 as they are more likely to run away. Then have the rule that the highest modifier in a group is used for that group. If that 'leader' dies the next highest rolls. Could also have each number more or less than the opposing group act as a modifier. So if the Adventurers have 5 people and the Goblins have 6 the Goblins get +1 on their reaction roll, something like that.

Anyway I'm still thinking this out.


One of the big improvements that 4E added to the game (in my humble opinion) was the introduction of various types of each monster. Each with a slightly different statblock. So you'd have Goblin Cutters, Goblin Blackblade, Goblin Warrior, Goblin Sharpshooter, Goblin Hexer, Goblin Skullcleaver, and Goblin Underboss. It reminded me of the Warhammer Armies book which I adore even though I've never played Warhammer Battles. These types makes it easy for a DM to add variety to their Goblin encounter. 5E took a step back with just Goblin and Goblin Boss (and the SRD didn't even include the Boss). Anyway, I think a truly useful Bestiary should include multiple 'types'. You might have only three types of dogs, but you should have more than a few for each humanoid and they should have a variety of weapons/armor to help differentiate them from their fellows.

Also the statblocks in the srd are overly complex. Dice required to roll Hit Points, multiple weapon options, and a blurb saying how to work out proficiencies but not actually saying what they are proficient in (we can assume the provided weapons but really). I decided I'd create stats for the four humanoid races of the Horde and I'd give the different Armor and weapon proficiencies to make each feel different.

Also the statblock should be made easy for a GM to copy/paste.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Six-Pack - Ogres

AzugStereotypical Ogre the other ogres look up to him. He has been known to head butt the shields of others  as he works himself into a frenzy prior to battle, this often results in a face covered in blood which adds to his fearsome visage. 
Badezug - Female Ogre. Nobody taunts her except fellow Ogres. She was beautiful, by Ogre standards, once. She will settle for respected and feared now. Her band enjoys talking Orcs, who generally take her for another Orc, into various challenges that will lead to a fight. 
BlerotClaims he has the ability to change into a wolf. Everyone believes it is because of a wolfpelt he wears but it is not. He's not a werewolf or a Druid or anything but is totally insane.
Drekeg Strawdeath  Extra violent, almost deranged while in a frenzy. Got the nickname because he fears nobody can kill him in battle and he’ll end up dying in bed. 
Giruk CrackjawBroken jaw never healed fight giving him an unbalanced appearance.
Gogruk the Goader - Known for provoking others into fighting. Most of his band are aware of his games and won't be provoked. 

Names generated using the fantasy name generators.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Six-Pack - More Goblins

More Goblins
Beardung Halfman -  Female Goblin who dresses and acts like a man. Looks a lot like one as well, but then thats her goal. Taunted by crew occasionally. 
Beetle Goatsnore - Very popular but nobody wants to sleep near her. 
Bon Dragonbreath - Infamous for her bad breath and body odor.  
Burti Woadface  Applies captured woad as war paint prior to battle. The woad is not-magical but she's been convinced it is.
Gun the Scrounger - Able to procure just about anything, anywhere, either through theft or barter.  
Louse Rockswimmer - Because of a curse she sinks like a stone in water, even without armor. Naturally she never goes in deep.  

Names generated using the fantasy name generators.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Best of the Web - High Lethality Role Playing

Found an old post by Jeff Rients about the D&D Next playtest being overpowered called Dude, where's my first level?. The post was interesting, the comments more so. He followed up with another one called Why low level, high lethality?

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that Lapidary Ossuary's post High Lethality as Game Balance directed me to Jeff Reint's old posts. That sort of thing is one of the great things about the internet and why I prefer everyone blogging instead of forums and/or the vile Twitter.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Six-Pack - Goblins

Bagdo Chewshield - Not a berserker (obviously) but he very badly wants to be. He chews his shield rim prior to battle trying to work himself into a battle frenzy but usually ends up with splinters in his lips.   
Cab The Younger - Younger brother of Chewshield. X has yet to earn a nickname. 
Jichik Cowhead - Saved a band member by wrestling a bull to the ground. Was thanked by the gift of a helmet with the bulls horns attached. Most of the crew think the helmet looks silly but the Goblin wrestled an angry bull to the ground so nobody is going to say anything. 
Murkknuckle the Reader  His father taught him to read and write in three languages and now he is forced to translate everything and deal with the playful taunting each time from the mostly illiterate Horde. 
Peon Hollowleg - Famous for consuming massive amounts of ale. Drinking champion of the band winning head-to-head challenges three times in a row.
Piggab the Kettlepot - Cook who can turn anything into a stew.  

Names generated using the fantasy name generators.