Clerics in Felmoor

One of my favorite roleplaying podcasts, “Game Master’s Journey,” has been recording a series of episodes about the relative unpopularity of the cleric class, and how GMs can make clerics more enjoyable to play. They’ve echoed some of my own observations, and helped me think a little more clearly about what I wanted to accomplish when I created my own pantheon.

I think roleplaying works best when players feel that they have at least a minimum of orientation towards the world before they begin playing. Certainly, for me, I have never felt attracted towards a cleric or warlock character for that reason. D&D is fairly vague and careless in it’s attitude towards religion, deities, and the way that those concepts interact with the world and it’s inhabitants. Both the cleric and the warlock are conceptually dependent on a defining relationship with a supernatural world that is not clearly drawn.

In list form, here are some of the questions I thought it was pretty important to answer, and the answers:

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Player Character Race: Half-Dwarves

Along with Human, Half-Dwarves are a really simple option. They take their flaw from humans, and their perk from the dwarves.


Size: More or less human-sized.
Speed: 30ft.

Most half-dwarves are slightly on the shorter side, but like most folk, they are a diverse bunch. It is not uncommon for a half-dwarf to grow taller than a human. They are known for a tendency to grow into extremely tough, strong-willed individuals, and there are many legends told of half-dwarves who withstood an astonishing amount of punishment.

Max ability scores
22 18 22 20 18 20

Perk: Stone in the blood
At level 1, Half-dwarves gain a +1 bonus to AC. They gain an additional +1 bonus at levels 10 and 20.

Flaw: Broken spirit
The race of man was at the epicenter of the fracture, and they are still suffering the effects. Half-dwarves inherit this penalty and suffer a -1 penalty on all saving throws Vs. Magic.

Skill: An unknown destiny
1 free proficiency or feat or language.

Player Character Race: Dwarves

craft_pointsDwarves should be clever; not necessarily wise, or even particularly intelligent in the conventional sense, but clever. It’s a subtle distinction but important, I think, to their character.

Dwarves are not mundane. They are not merely small men (certainly not the stocky, angry, inexplicably Scottish men that modern pop culture has universally made them out to be.) What’s missing in most depictions of dwarves is an essential magic, an elevated, supernatural cleverness. We get our notion of dwarves mostly from Tolkien, of course, but they’re much older than that. In Norse mythology, the dwarves are closely related to dark elves, the Svartalfar. Like any good myth, dwarves are a metaphor: they fascinate because they represent the spark of creative, destructive magic. They combine intemperance with wonder and amazement.

The Norse dwarves were dangerous, sharp-minded, over-eager to invent, to dig deep, but they also were unattached. They didn’t belong in Midgard. I think Tolkien realized that and created a story for them which gave them an authentic connection to the world. My dwarves are definitely thematic relatives of the norse dwarves, but I’ve taken a page out of Tolkien’s book as well. The story of the dwarves is a developing tragedy; slowly, they are falling asleep and returning to the stone that they were illegitimately hewn from. If your connection to the world is a tenuous one, then a threat to that connection makes it all the more important. I’ve got a short story on the way that goes into it a bit.

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Weapon Power & Pricing

Warning: this post contains math.

At the beginning of my campaign, the PCs get an opportunity to go shopping for equipment and supplies they will need for their first adventure. I’ve been populating  the starting city of Saragnor with interesting shops, and I was having difficulty pricing a lot of the unique items. Somehow, my frustration grew and morphed into this big chart full of terrifying numbers. Check it out.

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Summer classes started a couple weeks ago, and I’ve been incredibly busy. Between working, studying, sleeping, and just generally staying alive, I haven’t had time to post. I AM still thinking, writing, and working on Felmoorish matters, but the going is a bit slow.

I have good news, however. The dwarves and half-dwarves are coming very soon. I also have some campaign mechanics to post about (a reputation system, and an item-pricing system for the DM.) All that should be up before the end of the week. Finally, I’ve been working hard to populate Saragnor – which will be a kind of home base for the adventurers in this campaign – with NPCs and interesting stores to shop at, but that’s a little farther off.


DM References & Cheat Sheets

I’m gearing up to DM (first time) with a group of friends so I’m reading over the rules again and looking for cheat sheets. I ordered a DM screen, and I think maybe I’ll tape them to the inside of it.

The conditions were one thing I wanted to have on hand. 5E’s conditions are a little bit messy, and there’s a lot of different kinds of information involved, so it’s not an easy thing to design a single chart to help a DM quickly find the relevant bits. I ended up making my own, but this guy did a great job, (Thanks R. Donoghue!) I just completely ripped off his chart’s organization. Also, his blog pointed me at, which is just amazing.

I also found this interactive quick-reference guide. It’s fantastic, but I don’t really want to have a laptop open on the table while I’m DMing. It covers a lot more than just conditions, and I might adapt some of it for myself later.

my charts under the jump. Here’s a link to the google doc

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Vision and Light

The Ramaki PC race has some mechanics that are dependent on light levels, so I’ve been reading up on the rules surrounding vision and light. Someone has made some really great charts that cover all of it. When I finally start getting ready to actually DM, I’ll definitely have a copy of these in my binder.

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