In most games death sucks, so lets look at softening the blow. This was written with Lamentations of the Flame Princess in mind, but will work with any D&D style game. If people are interested I could look at moves for different classes.
Final Strike – As you die make a counter-attack on the creature that killed you – Roll <your level>d6 and apply this as damage to the creature.
Cleansing Fire – Your patron god delivers a vengeful fire through your body in your last moments – Roll 1d6 those of your alignment gain that many hp, those of other alignments lose that many.
Screaming Fissure – Upon your death the chaotic forces you’ve kept at bay break free, centered on your body a dark fissure appears in space and time. Everyone in the area roll vs Paralyze, those that fail are sucked into the fissure and deposited somewhere else.
Always Prepared – Upon your death roll a dice:
Odd. A scrap of paper with the blueprint of a possible trap falls from your pocket
Even. The key to a unknown lock falls from your pocket
Do you do anything to soften the blow of death?
I can also suggest this from James Young: Funerals for the Fallen.
This is something I plan to use as well.
Sometimes you want your players to have a little something that has no declared mechanical effect, but could be introduced and defined as the story develops. This was created with Lamentations of the Flame Princess in mind, but will be fine in any fantasy RPG.
||Small Bag of Bones
||Pouch of Grey Powder
||Vial of Yellow Liquid
||Small Animal’s Foot
||Two Metal Cubes that Attract Each Other
||Two Smooth Stones
||Book Written in an Unknown Language
||Small Crystal Ball
Do you use any trinkets? Or do you give your characters anything beyond the books?
If you’re a fan of comics and Savage Worlds I’d like to make a suggestion to look at the new comic strips from Up to Four Players, Crystal Heart. The idea of the game is that its set in a world where people can replace their hearts with Crystals that give them abilities with some minor hindrances linked to them. They’re also working on teaching Savage Worlds mechanics via the comic as it progresses, at which they’ve been doing a really good job.
The authors suggest a long term goal to publish a supplement for the setting as they’re now officially licensed with Pinnacle Entertainment Group. Which I’m very excited for.
If you like it you like it, if not, no harm.
3 Roadside encounters for your fantasy game
Taking a path the party has taken a dozen times, they find themselves outside a town that has never been there before. Everything about the places looks normal other than one or two strange things, candle flames are green, the cats are the size of dogs, etc. Little do the party realise they’ve crossed the veil to another world.
Perhaps a powerful spell was cast here weakening the veil between the worlds or maybe there is a strange alignment of the planets that will pass and trap them here.
We’ve all started a campaign with the group sitting around a table in a tavern, it’s one of the ultimate cliches of the hobby; along with rescuing princesses from Dragons (the classic quest) or my parents and everyone who knows who I am is dead (the birth of the murder hobo).
Sometimes people don’t know where to go from here, so here are some thoughts if you find yourself drawing a blank about where to go next.
As the party are in the middle of getting to know each other characters, there is a smash behind them. It was the window, someone has thrown a flaming torch through the window, outside in the flickering light of flaming houses; tribal raiders. The door is smashed down and 6 raiders pour in the door, roll for initiative.
You’ve jumped almost straight into the action, your players have had a little time to chat and then the adventures comes running through the door, armed and hairy.
I’ve shared some advice for game masters to take some of the crunch out of our game; this makes everyone’s life a little easier. Now let’s look at things players can do to make life easier for the game master and make your game better.
This might sound weird, but don’t just roll; you break the flow of the game. It should go, GM describes the situation, players describe their actions and if rolls are necessary then the GM will call for a roll. Following this guide you don’t have situations like:
GM: You enter a 20 x 20 room, it is completely empty.
Player: *rolls a 20* I am doing perception to see what’s in the room.
GM: The room is completely empty, walls, floor, ceiling and you.
Player: But, but I rolled a 20.
All this leaves us with is a frustrated GM, frustrated player and a wasted crit.
Let’s continue to make our lives a little easier.
If you haven’t read part one you can find it here: Making Your Game Less Crunchy
I hate the action economy, it’s brought my games to a hold so often. I know it’s a key part of the mechanics of the game, but why does it take us two turns to put one weapon away to draw another. Bugger that, let your players swap from their long sword to long bow with one interaction, then next turn let them go back again. Players who use multiple weapons or have two handed foci like the bard will love you for this. No longer will they have a turn where they can’t attack as they have to swap back to their sword. Flip side of that, when the party run from a greatsword wielding maniac, the maniac can swap to their bow and take shots at their backs in one turn.
Weapons of Myth is going to be a series of posts on various weapons from myth and legend. We’ll discuss their origins, where they have appeared in popular culture and end with stated item for our game.
Our first few will be weapons from Irish Mythology, being Irish I wanted an excuse to look into these weapons more. So today Fragarach, or commonly known as ‘The Answerer’; which is connected to one of its abilities. It was said that if Fragarach was held to your throat you could not lie (I feel this would be true of most blades, but that’s just me). The weapon was crafted by the gods and wielded by Manannan Mac Lir the sea god (Mac Lir meaning “son of the sea”). Fragarach tended to move around and at one time found its way into the hands of Cúchulainn, Ireland’s answer to hercules.
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Arthur C. Clarke
This quote carries a lot of weight as we discuss Super-Science and Sorcery, I don’t think we would need to go back very far into our past with a smart phone before we’d be getting burned at a stake for turning on the torch; let alone playing music. Maybe there isn’t a difference between the two and our understanding of which side of the coin an event falls is decided by our advancement. I know, I know, I’ve kinda stretched that quote into a paragraph, but I wanted its point to be clear.
Let’s talk about making D&D 5e less crunchy and a little bit smoother.
We’ve all brought new players into the fold over the years and we want to maximize their enjoyment, the way I like to do this is remove the crunchiness that I don’t think adds anything to the game. Feel free to pick and choose the ones you feel will make your life easier and decrease the admin work. I myself pick and choose based on the feel of game I’m going for.