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D&D 5E Free 60+ page Guide to Sword & Sorcery for 5E D&D

CapnZapp

Legend
Actually when I think about it - it would not be inappropriate to let S&S heroes purchase Inspiration (or similar) points with gold (between adventures)!
 

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CapnZapp

Legend
One solution to the "rolling on between-story tables is great except when you don't like the result" problem is to add a mechanism where you can spend gold to influence the result (by rerolling or simply modifying the outcome).

Anything that makes players actively want their characters to risk life and limb for cash - despite the genre trope pre venting you from hoarding it - is a good thing!
One thing I would absolutely allow is for players to purchase the power to turn the downtime result into the next adventure.

For instance, Korgoth successfully finishes the latest scenario. Now he rolls 16 on whatever between-stories table you use and gets the result

"You hook up with what you believe is a local girl that turns out to be the princess slumming it anonymously. You were caught in flagrante by her father the King and had to leave everything and escape the city. You have just reached the next city over, without knowing the princess is searching for the father of her unborn child..."​

Korgoth spends X gold to say "Actually that sounds great and I want that story to be the next adventure". The GM goes "okay, you meet up at the Hornless Unicorn as usual when you spot a beautiful girl..." (It goes without saying the ending is now not predetermined).

If more than one player gets a result they want to experience interactively (perhaps in order to get a different outcome) the GM simply has them outbid each other :devilish:
 
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xoth.publishing

Swords against tentacles!
Actually when I think about it - it would not be inappropriate to let S&S heroes purchase Inspiration (or similar) points with gold (between adventures)!
Note that depending on culture, you can already do this using the rules from the Player's Guide. Examples include (GMs can of course elaborate as they see fit):
  • Civilizeds get inspiration for spending money to impress peers or superiors
  • Enlighteneds get inspiration for spending money on (futile) esoteric research, or maybe buying ancient figurines and pottery shards, etc.
  • Decadents get inspiration for spending money on drugs, alchohol, slaves, etc
  • Degenerates get inspiration for destroying treasure that comes from that hated high civilization that drove them away
That leaves Savages and Nomads. You could simply say that money means little to these (and the concept of "personal property" is strange to a nomad), so give inspiration to players who simply refuse to take their part of the treasure in the first place. (It will probably be picked up by other party members, though, but you can simply raise the cost of inspiration for them if they always get a bigger share.)
 

ART!

Hero
"Scene Transitions"
This is another "two birds with one stone" thing:
1) My ideal sword-and-sorcery campaign would consist of self-contained adventures all over the world, without my having to necessarily do all the travel and other "filler" in between. You know, like Conan
2) There's the problem (in all RPGs) of what to do with your loot.

My idea here is a kind of down-time minigame where you roll on tables and a narrative unfolds of what happens in between your adventures. How do you lose all that gold? What happened to your weapon? What allies/enemies did you make? How did you go from carousing in a seaport to becoming a pirate captain 1,000 miles away?

I think it would be a blast for the dice to basically generate those scene transitions we read in the Howard stories, so that I can start off the next adventure in the right place, probably once again penniless. The more gold you ended the last session with, the more starting benefits you are likely to have in this one, perhaps in the form of a quality weapon or particularly good horse, or maybe some specific story "cards" that you get to play once. E.g., "Ally in an unexpected place" or whatever.
I like this a lot. Like, A LOT a lot!
 

One solution to the "rolling on between-story tables is great except when you don't like the result" problem is to add a mechanism where you can spend gold to influence the result (by rerolling or simply modifying the outcome).

Anything that makes players actively want their characters to risk life and limb for cash - despite the genre trope pre venting you from hoarding it - is a good thing!

Yes this is exactly what I'm imagining. Although more "bid" than "spend"...I would want there to be some risk involved.

Maybe even structure it as if it were some kind of gambling game you'd be playing in a tavern.
 


Just keep in mind it's easy to get carried away and end up designing entire mini-games in of themselves. When I play rpgs I want the focus on the rpg.

Cheers

Yeah, and that's totally fair.

I don't have as much time to play RPGs as I used to, and I actually don't want to spend whole sessions negotiating for passage on a ship or having a keep built. I want to get straight to the action.

I'm imagining this subsystem not as a requirement, but something totally optional for people who want to encapsulate their adventures more.
 

On the weapon damage thing, I've got a few permutations of the following, but I think this version is the simplest and cleanest:

Weapons have a quality rating from 1-6. (6 is basically unheard of. Think Excalibur or Mjolnir.). When you suffer a crit you can block with your weapon, rendering it a normal hit. Then roll a d6: if you roll under your weapon's rating, it's unaffected. Otherwise it goes down one grade. At zero it breaks.

A quality of 3 or 4 might be the highest achievable by mortal smiths.
 

Fafnir_

Villager
Note that depending on culture, you can already do this using the rules from the Player's Guide. Examples include (GMs can of course elaborate as they see fit):
  • Civilizeds get inspiration for spending money to impress peers or superiors
  • Enlighteneds get inspiration for spending money on (futile) esoteric research, or maybe buying ancient figurines and pottery shards, etc.
  • Decadents get inspiration for spending money on drugs, alchohol, slaves, etc
  • Degenerates get inspiration for destroying treasure that comes from that hated high civilization that drove them away
That leaves Savages and Nomads. You could simply say that money means little to these (and the concept of "personal property" is strange to a nomad), so give inspiration to players who simply refuse to take their part of the treasure in the first place. (It will probably be picked up by other party members, though, but you can simply raise the cost of inspiration for them if they always get a bigger share.)
Alternatively, Savages and Degenerates could get inspiration for squandering treasure in heedless debauchery.

About Nomads, I'm reading Wolf of the Steppes by Harold Lamb, and I think it offers good roleplaying cues. Khlit and his Tatar friend/foes are not indifferent to treasure. Quite the opposite; they are avaricious hoarders. Khlit is proud of the treasure trove he amassed and boasts about it. He is described to be "thirsting for gold". The hidden treasure trove of Genghis Khan is also an important element of the stories. Thus, in my Xoth campaign, I'll award Nomad characters for hoarding treasure in a safe location.
 

xoth.publishing

Swords against tentacles!
Alternatively, Savages and Degenerates could get inspiration for squandering treasure in heedless debauchery.

About Nomads, I'm reading Wolf of the Steppes by Harold Lamb, and I think it offers good roleplaying cues. Khlit and his Tatar friend/foes are not indifferent to treasure. Quite the opposite; they are avaricious hoarders. Khlit is proud of the treasure trove he amassed and boasts about it. He is described to be "thirsting for gold". The hidden treasure trove of Genghis Khan is also an important element of the stories. Thus, in my Xoth campaign, I'll award Nomad characters for hoarding treasure in a safe location.
Good points. I have a bunch of Harold Lamb books and I've read several of the Cossak/Mongol stories. While they are what I would call "swords & just a touch of sorcery", they are excellent inspiration for adventures in Xoth or any other classic S&S setting. (y)
 


Fafnir_

Villager
Good points. I have a bunch of Harold Lamb books and I've read several of the Cossak/Mongol stories. While they are what I would call "swords & just a touch of sorcery", they are excellent inspiration for adventures in Xoth or any other classic S&S setting. (y)
They are very good. The best historical adventure fiction I've ever read. No wonder REH described Harold Lamb as one of his favourite writers.
 
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CapnZapp

Legend
The Minion rule is straightforward. But if you want to jazz up Fighters a little bit (they can use some extra jazz), you could say that Fighters (and only Fighters) who kill a Minion with a hit, immediately get another attack against a Minion within (melee) range, up to a maximum number of extra attacks equal to their Fighter level, and no moving allowed between these attacks. So, for example, a 5th-level Fighter could possibly kill up to 6 Minions in one round. That's some serious carnage! :cool:
Personally I don't like preordaining some creatures as "lesser", and I never enjoyed the blunt 4E implementation.

I fully embrace the fact that mooks are a trope, though. Just that I prefer a rule such as "Fighters instagib lower-levelled creatures on a crit".

The difference is that the scenario (or me the GM) don't point at a given creature beforehand and say "when and if the heroes kill you they shall be robbed of any sense of accomplishment, for I'm removing your ability to represent a true threat for your level".

That is, I prefer it when it is the adventure that determines which creatures turned out to be mooks and which creatures that surprises the heroes with their resourcefulness and luck*. That is, everybody starts out at first level, heroes and monsters alike, and who "grows up" to become a high-level hero is only revealed during play.

Zapp

*) fans of Under Siege will appreciate the time when the players attacked the goblin tribe (or was it some Underdark race, can't remember) and their cook enjoyed incredible luck, never getting killed and also being able to escape to fight another day... the players became fascinated with that individual, giving it a name, and cheering on when I upgraded it. They almost felt sad when they finally killed it :cool:

Wonderful stuff like that can't happen if the game or the GM has predetermined "you're only a mook, you have zero prospects". And the point is: such mook rules simply aren't needed in any iteration of D&D where low-level creatures have so few hit points that a few hits kills them anyway. In other words: the problem is with hit point inflation and designs like 5E where too many monsters are just big bags of hit points.

tl;dr: Much better than mook rules are games where low level creatures simply fall to a few swings from high level creatures
 

xoth.publishing

Swords against tentacles!
There is a new update of the Player's Guide available (version 1.14).

The changes in this version include:
  • Lowered prices for alchemical powders.
  • Incorporated bane/bless effect directly in description of Invoke Akhlathu.
  • Masterwork weapons and shields now have a small chance to resist destruction when used to block critical hits.
Enjoy! :)
 

Fafnir_

Villager
There is a new update of the Player's Guide available (version 1.14).

The changes in this version include:
  • Lowered prices for alchemical powders.
  • Incorporated bane/bless effect directly in description of Invoke Akhlathu.
  • Masterwork weapons and shields now have a small chance to resist destruction when used to block critical hits.
Enjoy! :)
Thank you!

Would it be possible to have bookmarks added to the PDF for ease of use?
 



CapnZapp

Legend
Unfortunately, this does not seem possible in the tool I'm using (MS Publisher). Would love to be proven wrong!
I know nothing about this particular product and a quick googling around could not find any immediate indications you're wrong.

Publisher does appear to support hyperlinks though. Think how ebooks (not pdf) allow you to jump around in a document much like web page links. Not sure if that's good enough for you aesthetically though.
 

xoth.publishing

Swords against tentacles!
I know nothing about this particular product and a quick googling around could not find any immediate indications you're wrong.

Publisher does appear to support hyperlinks though. Think how ebooks (not pdf) allow you to jump around in a document much like web page links. Not sure if that's good enough for you aesthetically though.
Yes, I noticed I'm able to create hyperlinks, for example in the Table of Contents on page 2, which can then be clicked to jump to a specific chapter. But not sure how useful this is, as you need to go back to page 2 to navigate somewhere else. "Real" bookmarks are better, as they typically show up in an always-visible sidebar in the PDF reader.
 

Fafnir_

Villager
My detailed feedback of the Player's Guide, section by section:

Introduction
It sets the mood very well. I can just ask my players to read this and they'll get a good feel for the campaign. The quotes are a very nice touch too.

Some posters in this thread said that getting rid of alignment isn't necessary as it isn't tied to game mechanics the way it used to be in previous editions. I disagree because alignment still provides roleplaying cues that are foreign to the conanesque sword-&-sorcery vibe. S&S heroes are morally ambiguous.

Some of the other extra rules outlined I like, some I don't, but that's okay, as it's the purview of the DM to decide which to include in their campaign, so providing a bunch of optional rules is fine.

I do agree with some of the posters that Deadly Criticals isn't a very good fit for S&S - to my mind, it'd fit a gritty, low-fantasy, grimdark setting better, like Warhammer. And the DMG already includes options that achieve similar results, see Cleaving through Creatures and Massive Damage options (DMG, pp. 272-273). If I want to make combat deadlier, I'll include these.

One tiny bit of inconsistency is that Deadly Criticals says "optional" in brackets while Full Hit Dice Recovery on Long Rest does not, but the text does describe it as optional.

About Inspiration, I'd remove the Lucky feat as it's superseded by the extended Inspiration mechanic. Everyone is lucky!

Summary of Character Creation
One bit of clarification I'd include is that human characters do not gain the Human benefits described in the PHB.

Cultures & Races
Perfect. I'm in love with this.

Classes
Also very well done. I think Thulsa managed to meet his design principles, so this still feels like D&D but infused with a strong S&S vibe.

Swords of Xoth
Some good extra options and items. I especially like the Alchemical and Herbal Items section as it's really bringing the conanesque vibe.

Sorcery of Xoth
A well-though-out chapter and cool new spells. I don't find the Druid and Warlock spell lists too useful since they don't include the non-SRD spells, so my players will need to cross reference with the spell lists in the PHB to see all their options. I'll provide my players with a list of the barred and new spells instead, and refer them to the PHB for the spell lists.

Warlock​

Barred spells: 1st level – Comprehend languages; 2nd level – Invisibility; 3rd level – Fly; 4th level – Dimension Door; 7th level – Plane Shift; 9th level – True Polymorph

New spells: 2nd level – Incantation of the Broken Limb; 4th level – Curse of Green Decay; 5th level – Curse of Double Death, Lifeleech, Lover's Curse; 7th level – Soul Vulture

Druid​

Barred Spells: 1st level - Create or Destroy Water, Cure Wounds, Detect Magic, Healing Word; 3rd level - Water Breathing, Water Walk; 4th level – Polymorph; 5th level – Mass Cure Wound, Reincarnate; 6th level – Heal, Wind Walk; 7th level – Plane Shift; 8th level – Animal Shapes; 9th level – Shapechange, True Resurrection

New Spells: 4th level – Drums of Panic; 5th level – Snake Staff; 6th level – Stick to Serpents; 7th level – Raise the Ancient Lizard-Gods, Sorcery of the Skull;

Cults, Legends and Lands of Xoth
Some more addictive lotus juice. Amazing stuff.

So overall this is amazing stuff. I'm looking forward to my Xoth campaign. I know it will provide countless hours of fun for our group.
 

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