Running 5e published adventures
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  1. #1
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    Running 5e published adventures

    I've mostly either played games (both in person and on fantasy grounds) or run home-brewed games. I'm going to start a Yawning Portal game (that might morph into Strahd at some point). And I'm starting to think about prep. Is there any pre-done work that has the monster stat blocks grouped by encounter? I've traditionally just printed the monsters I was planning on using for that day. But the published games tend to have a wide variety of baddies with stat blocks spread out all over the place (okay, just the YP and the MM, but flipping around isn't appealing).

    What do people do? I can go through and create a pdf with each encounter and the monsters for that encounter. But that seems like a ton of work that someone else might already have done. I'm guessing the lack of OGL would make sharing such a thing a violation. But man, it seems like a ton of work that I really don't want to do (thus using the published modules to keep the workload down).

    I've been playing YP on fantasy grounds and *that* appears to be really easy. Stat blocks and maps all done for you. Huge win. I'd like to get to something that feels like that for an in-person game.

  2. #2
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    Grandfather of Assassins (Lvl 19)



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    You can always use fantasy grounds or Roll20 in an in person game too. They are just even better for remote games.

    Still here is what I've found is easiest. I use my phone to take pictures of the statblocks I want for an encounter, and save them in Google Drive/Dropbox etc. Then I can easily put them in a single PDF if I think that will be helpful (especially if I want to print it out), but I run most games off of my laptop anyway so separate pictures isn't that big of a deal.

  3. #3
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    The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)



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    Yeah - if you're running paper & pencil then unless you have D&D Beyond on a tablet you're going to have to put the prep in.

    Myself I've been transcribing (and abbreviating) monster stat blocks into a master PDF and then copy/pasting from that into what I need for the anticipated encounters in the next session.

    There is a benefit to the labor and that is getting familiarized with the capabilities of the monsters before the session begins. So it's not a total waste.
    XP guachi gave XP for this post

  4. #4
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    I put in small post-it like tabs into my books to make flipping to stat blocks easier. It's not ideal, especially now that there are 3 different monster books I use. But for me it's bearable as I typically design encounters with only a few types of creatures involved.

    In the past I've taken cell phone pictures of stat blocks and stuck all the images I needed into 1 image for reference.

    DND Beyond has a number of monsters that you can access with just the free account. If you have access to a laptop/tablet when you run you can open up a bunch of monsters in their own tab. I wish I could register my physical copies of Volo's and Mordenkainen's to my account to get access to those in digital format, but such is life.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by brehobit View Post
    I've mostly either played games (both in person and on fantasy grounds) or run home-brewed games. I'm going to start a Yawning Portal game (that might morph into Strahd at some point). And I'm starting to think about prep. Is there any pre-done work that has the monster stat blocks grouped by encounter? I've traditionally just printed the monsters I was planning on using for that day. But the published games tend to have a wide variety of baddies with stat blocks spread out all over the place (okay, just the YP and the MM, but flipping around isn't appealing).

    What do people do? I can go through and create a pdf with each encounter and the monsters for that encounter. But that seems like a ton of work that someone else might already have done. I'm guessing the lack of OGL would make sharing such a thing a violation. But man, it seems like a ton of work that I really don't want to do (thus using the published modules to keep the workload down).

    I've been playing YP on fantasy grounds and *that* appears to be really easy. Stat blocks and maps all done for you. Huge win. I'd like to get to something that feels like that for an in-person game.
    I use a combo of my own shorthand & this handy form-fillable encounter sheet pdf. Not perfect, but pretty useful for putting pertinent info on one page.
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  6. #6
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    I hate the fact that 5e adventures don't have inline monster stats so much I don't run 5e published modules. I just convert older modules and just combine my conversion time into adding concise monster stats to an Excel spreadsheet and I print the stat block up separately for each encounter. It also serves as a convenient place to track HP, too.

    Yes, it takes time. But my time at the table (which this saves) is more valuable than my time in prep. Another benefit is that typing out the abbreviated stat block and treasure list is that it gives me a much better grasp on the encounter. I get a much better feel for encounter difficulty this way. I've only ever seriously misjudged one encounter - with three hellhounds.

    LOL - I just realized I said basically the same thing @robus did.
    Laugh robus laughed with this post

  7. #7
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    I despise the way they lay these things out that you have to put legwork into playing a premade adventure

  8. #8
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    The Great Druid (Lvl 17)



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    If you already have FG, just use it in person. I do it all the time. So do lots of folks. You can search the FG forums and find pictures and advice etc.

    I don't set a TV flat on the table to use as a battlemap, but some do. I just hook up my TV as a second monitor and run a second instance of FG as a player on that screen. You can turn on manual die rolling if your players don't have a laptop to use, or if they are sharing etc. Sounds like you have the tools, just have to realize you can use them creatively.

  9. #9
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    Grandfather of Assassins (Lvl 19)



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    I read the intro of the chapter then just read along as the PCs go where they go.

  10. #10
    I don't have computers at the gaming table (we play at a Uni club with no wifi access).

    I put monster and npc stats on 150x100mm index cards in a box. At the beginning of encounters I pull out the cards I need and clip them to the gm screen or lay them flat on the table.

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