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 game-icons.net, 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

Continue reading “DM References & Cheat Sheets”

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.

Continue reading “Vision and Light”

Heromachine

I love having a character portrait, but I can’t draw. Heromachine was probably invented for people like me. Its a custom character creator. It has a little bit of a learning curve, but it gives good quick results.

This is Luxo Avrice Welsley. He’s a cheating merchant/rogue. He likes treasure. Who doesn’t, you say? True, but Luxo REALLY loves treasure. Like, a LOT. More than you do, probably.

heromachine screenshot

This is Lizzy the barbarian halfling. She’s into booze, gambling, and RAGE.

Lizzy took a little longer to make. A gnome or a half-ling would have more child-like proportions, I thought; bigger head relative to body, etc. so I spent some time nudging the proportions. She used to look squashed. Now she only looks slightly squashed. I call that a success.

lizzybarb

It’s fun and quick and free. Give it a try next time you need a new PC or NPC portrait.

Player Character Race: Gresh

8aabb3d70c2c0d0bddf37ea231a10929
Like this guy, but without the tail and the wings.

I grew up in Japan, and I speak a fair bit of the language, so I wracked my brain and did some research while I was naming these guys, trying to think of something I could use or adapt from Japanese legends. The problem is that nothing sounds right.

The obvious thing to name them is Ryujin, which literally means “dragon-people” But the “ryu” sound is pretty tough for English-speakers to say. There’s this flippy thing that happens with your tongue, which takes practice. “Tatsujin” would be equally appropriate, but again, the “tsu” sound is tough.

There are plenty of things I could name them that are NOT hard to say, but just don’t sound right. Although we don’t often think about it, languages are often limited to a small number of familiar syllables. Most people and places in Felmoor have names that should be pretty memorable for westerners, because the syllables and rhythms combine in familiar ways. I think you start to have problems if you carelessly disrupt that familiarity.

bearshark_approves_by_asylumattendee-d48gjxp
Kumawani was exactly 33% more awesome than this.

But then again, maybe I’M the problem. See, the temptation in English is to inject an accent somewhere in the word. Kumawani, for example. (Kuma, means bear, or strong. Wani can mean shark, or alligator. Oddly enough, there is a legend about an ocean dragon named Kumawani, so I guess he was a bear-shark-dragon, which is a whole lot of awesome.) An English speaker sees the word on the paper, and reads it as “KOOmuhWAni.” There’s a natural tendency to read it as syllable pairs, either as iambs or trochees. Japanese doesn’t do accents in the same way that English does, it’s much flatter. When I see “kumawani” my brain goes into Japanese mode. I hear 4 unaccented consonant-vowel pairs: “Ku ma wa ni.” The dissonance would bug me, but it wouldn’t necessarily bug anyone else.

I ended up with “Gresh.” It’s short, it’s English-speaker friendly, it’s a little bit growly, and a little bit hissy. Problem solved!

Continue reading “Player Character Race: Gresh”

Player Character Race: Humans

finn_the_human_by_krystal_the_hedgehog
“Hoomun”

Humans should be really basic and open-ended, and I think that’s what I’ve ended up with.  It makes sense to offer at least one choice that represents a very well-rounded,  middle-of-the-road type of character.

I gave some thought to letting them just be a blank slate, but in the end I couldn’t let Felmoorish humans go without something that sets them apart from other fantasy humans: something unique and appropriate to the specific world they live in. So, they do have a lore-appropriate perk and a lore-appropriate flaw. Humans are planestrange, like the Ramaki, and most of what makes them unique stems from that.

Humans have a perk that lets them ignore material components for spellcasting, like the Mountain Quyg; just another way players can work around those rules if they choose to.

Continue reading “Player Character Race: Humans”

Player Character Race: Ramaki

main_11
Tieflings are the closest analogue for the Ramaki in vanilla D&D. They’re both charisma-based races with miscellaneous magical advantages.

The Ramaki are the second planestrange race, along with the humans; that’s just a way of saying that they don’t belong in Felmoor, they fell from the sky during the upheaval of the fracture. While humans are nominally associated with Ull, the Ramaki come from – unsurprisingly – Rama, the celestial plane.

From a mechanical standpoint, the Ramaki are pretty flexible, but slightly prejudiced towards spellcasting/ranged roles. They have the potential to develop into really great bards or sorcerers thanks to their high charisma cap, but there’s nothing in their design that pushes them in that direction from the start They don’t come with any ability score bonuses or penalties at all.

yvaine-shines-stardust-13114059-604-251
Yvain, from “Stardust” was pretty much a Ramaki.

 

Continue reading “Player Character Race: Ramaki”

Felmoor

Hi! I’m almost brand-new to pen-n-paper roleplaying, but I’ve decided to write a Dungeons and Dragons fifth edition campaign setting, and sort-of concurrently, an actual campaign. Crazy! Yes, I know, but what the heck. I’m having fun, I’m learning stuff, and you might learn something too.

I’m calling it Felmoor. I’ll be posting new stuff as I write it, and I’ll also share some of the tools and resources I find. If you’re interested in DMing, Roleplaying, or even just world-building I hope you’ll enjoy following along. I’d love to hear from you in the comments. Feel free to educate me if you know more about this stuff than I do (you probably do!)