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Website User Account Self-Registration Now Re-Enabled
by admin published Nov 14, 2015 last modified Nov 14, 2015 05:30 PM — filed under:
We had some technical issues requiring disabling of users creating new accounts. We believe those issues are now resolved. You can now create your own accounts on the website so that you can participate in the forum, comments, uploads, etc. Thank you for your patience and support!
The Adventurers Guild
by admin published Jun 21, 2015 last modified Jul 09, 2015 08:12 PM
Here is a list of all the video episodes and related resources for the Adventurers Guild on the Spartan Show. Watch the full character creation process, and several episodes of adventure...
Adventurers Guild
by admin published Jun 21, 2015 last modified Jun 21, 2015 01:18 PM
See all the video episodes and resources from The Spartan Show's Adventurers Guild, with Dungeon Master Hawke Robinson in his Worlds of Beru campaign using the 5th edition D&D rules.
by admin published Jun 16, 2015
Test policy page
Comment Re: Hawke's d20 Crit System for Any Version d20 / D&D
by admin last modified Jun 01, 2015 11:39 PM
Posted by Hawke at October 05. 2014 Version 20141005c - Updated. Now includes Leg and Arm hit location and results severity tables. More on the way. Attached as PDF.
Located in Forum / RPG Rules Discussions / Hawke's d20 Crit System for Any Version d20 / D&D
Comment Hawke's d20 Crit System for Any Version d20 / D&D
by admin last modified Jun 01, 2015 11:38 PM
Hawke's no additional rolls d20 hit location and critical hit rules for all versions of d20 / Dungeons & Dragons ted by Hawke at October 05. 2014 Hawke's No Additional Rolls Critical System for d20 (All Versions) Based on AD&D; 2nd Edition, but modified to not add any additional Rolls Beta Version 20140926a Though I run d20 games regularly, I miss the days of Role-master and MERP with the detailed critical systems. However, they required extra rolls, and were arbitrary in hit location. I have wanted to have hit location and critical details for d20. I have used the old Original D&D; rules from the Blackmoor Supplement with percentile for hit location. And some of my players that later have become DM's adapted that as well, having their players roll a d20 with percentile simultaneously. But it still lacked details for critical hits (other than just plain multiplying of damage). I do not care for hit points just being totally abstract and not reflecting overall health (as 5th edition really emphasizes, and takes to an extreme that I totally disagree with, allowing them to completely restore all hit points from a single long rest!), and prefer something with some detail. For decades I have just arbitrarily had players (and myself) add details to the attacks when they hit, describing a slash across the chest, or crunching sound to the arm, etc. I also looked at Monte Cooke's d20 3.x publication best of d20, but that too was very lacking. During the 1980s I pretty much bought every single AD&D; 1st edition product ever made, then they started the whole process over again with 2nd edition, and I stopped buying TSR products until moving to Spokane in 2004. Meanwhile I played many other RPGs; MERP, Rolemaster, Twilight 2000, Call of Cthulhu, Star Wars, Star Trek, and scores of others, and not a single TSR/Wizards product during the interim. So I never actually played much of 2nd edition (other than the first players hand book, DMG, and MM when they first came out), and missed all the other supplements. In recent years, as I have been working on my RPG Research project, I have been picking up used copies of 2nd Edition AD&D; for very little money $2 to $9 per item typically. I recently started looking through them and stumbled across the combat screen, that included the rules from the supplement Players Options: Combat Tactics. And within was a critical hit location system. I read the relevant section of the book, and realized here was something that possibly could work with all versions of d20, but it needs some improvements from the original. The original just sets a wider crit range, but with more requirements, and then if a critical hit, then rolling to see which location is hit (1d10) between arms, legs, abdomen, chest, and head, and then again to determine the severity of the hit (determined by earlier rolls). It kind of works, but after play testing it with a few groups, it significantly slowed down combat situations, and not only made encounters take longer, it also slowed down the action so that players became less interested, rather than more. Once again that balance between detail and speed.... So, I thought about trying to make the system work without adding ANY rolls. I have been through other variants with only one roll (hit location for example) and that is okay, but the current beta versions I am testing requires ZERO additional rolls from the standard d20 to hit, and then damage dice. This still has some problems that I am trying to work out, but the basic version is working well both with 1st Edition AD&D; and with 3rd edition and 5th edition (I haven't ever found anyone willing to play 4th edition). How many times have you rolled that d20, added the bonuses, and had an awesome total (though not a “Nat 20”), and thought “What a waste of a great roll” because then you just roll your normal damage dice. Wouldn't it be nice if the greater the d20 hit roll, there would be a gradient of increasingly more severe consequences to the target being hit? Of course, this works both ways, the PCs are at greater risk as well, which for my style of play/GM emphasizing R-O-L-E-playing over R-O-L-L-playing (aka hack 'n' slash, min-maxing, munchkin play, IMNSVHO) encourages players to find non-combat solutions since the risk of combat is more deadly to all parties invovled. The basic premise is that there is a quick math calculation used multiple times, instead of multiple rolls. Here is the basic version (still needs work): An attacker rolls a standard d20, applies any to hit bonuses, for the total to hit roll. If the total is less than is normally requires to hit, nothing is different. If the total is exactly the amount needed to hit, the attacker just rolls hit points (it is 0 above the necessary to hit roll). If the attack total is 1 or more above the necessary amount, then it registers on the hit location chart. For those of you that do not have the 2nd Edition screen with the crits, I am including them here, but modified for my tastes (borrowing from RM/MERP and such). The type of weapon determines which of three weapon charts are consulted; Piercing, Bludgeoning, Slashing. All three use the same hit location, but have different detailed descriptions for specific wounds based on the critical type. Change hit location as follows to make more sense in combat and without rolling hit location: From most likely to be hit (and least likely to be fatal), to least likely/most critical (head). Try different direction in calculation. Use Total -10 for hit location, and use total modified to hit roll difference as severity determination, that makes more sense yes? These rules are expressed in terms that can work with any version of d20, whether OD&D;, AD&D; 1st, AD&D; 2nd, D&D; 3.x, D&D; 4, or D&D; 5th edition. With OD&D; through 2nd Edition, it is based on charts and THACO, while D&D; 3.x+ is based on the DC number for AC, either way, the key is simply knowing what the normal number needed to roll to hit is, and then just calculating the difference. Formula: Target Number (TN) needed to hit. D20 Actual Roll (AR) before modifiers. Total Hit Roll (THR) (d20 roll + modifiers). Difference to Hit (DR) THR-TN=DR if DR=0, just roll normal HP damage if DR=1-3, just calculate hit location and normal HP damage, but do not calculate Severity Results. If DR=4+, calculate hit location, Severity Results (SR), and total HP damage (in this order). Hit Location (HL) = AR-10, reference Chart #1 for Hit Location. Hit Severity (HS) = THR-TN=DR, reference appropriate critical hits chart (bludgeon, piercing, slashing), appropriate to the already calculated Hit Location. Don't worry about the abbreviations, it is just for expressing the formula. What all this really means is that there are ZERO additional rolls for this system, just some quick and simple math calculations and simple chart consultation. The first step is to determine if the hit was successful, if it exceeded the minimum to hit, and by how much. If the total modified roll result is equal to the hit roll needed, then the hit only causes just normal damage (difference between to-hit number, and to-hit roll is 0). If the difference is 1-3 above the necessary total to hit, then determine hit location and HP damage, but no need to calculate severity. If the difference is 4+ above necessary total to hit, then determine hit location, hit severity, and HP damage. Hit Location – Chart #1 So, if needing to determine hit location (if 1+ above needed to hit), it is calculated by subtracting 10 from the actual rolled d20 amount (without modifiers): 0-1 Arm (shield/off) 2-3 Arm (weapon) 4-5 Leg (shield/off/leading leg) 6-7 Leg (weapon/rear leg) 8 Abdomen (or lower back) 9 Torso (or upper back) 10 Head This approach will ALWAYS yield a result between 0 to 10 (or a negative inverse). If they rolled 9 or lower (and somehow still hit due to bonuses, prone, etc.), just use the negative number in the inverse, so if result is -3, would be. Examples Example 1 Need 15 to hit, roll 13, with a +2 combination of modifiers to hit for a total of 15. Difference is 15-15=0. Do not determine hit location or severity, just roll normal HP damage. Example 2 Need 15 to hit. Rolled 13 with a +4 combination of modifiers to hit for a total of 17. The difference is 17-15=2. This qualifies for hit location determination, though severity calculation is not necessary. Hit location = 13-10=3, which would be the target's weapon arm. Then roll normal HP damage, though narrating that it hit their arm (or arm armor), the target may grunt in pain, and maybe have a minor cut, abrasion, or bruise, but without any bleeding or breaking of bones or tendons, etc. Example 3 Need 20 to hit. Rolled 19, with +9 total modifiers, for a total of 28. This is 8 above needed hit number, so definitely qualifies for both hit location and effects calculation. Hit location Is 19-10=9, which is Torso (or upper back). Hit Severity Effects Cross reference effects for appropriate weapon type (bludgeon, piercing, or slashing), under the Torso chart. The total difference to determine severity is 8 above needed to hit, so it would be result 8 on the chart (we'll use piercing in this instance): Torso injured, Major Bleeding, ½ move, -4 penalty to all actions. Example 4 Need 23 to hit. Rolled 18, with a total of +19 in total modifiers (higher level), for total of 37. This is 14 above needed hit number, so definitely qualifies for both hit location and effects calculation. Hit location Rolled 18 so 18-10=8, which is abdomen. Hit Severity Effects In this case using a bludgeoning weapon, cross reference for the Abdomen, the total difference between the total needed to hit, and actual total calculated roll is 14, so consult the 13+ Effects result: “Abdomen destroyed, victim killed”. Optional Rule for Fatal Hit Severity Effects If not comfortable with being able to kill a target in a single (exceptional) blow, can optionally just use the next less-severe result, but keep the triple damage result to differentiate from a weaker hit. Optional Rule for Called Shots Called shots = penalty to hit is equal to the higher hit location number? For example if calling shot on shield arm, a -1, if weapon arm -3, if off leg -5, if weapon leg -7, if abdomen -8, if torso -9, if head -10. This can be interpreted as a minus to the attackers roll, or as a bonus to the target's total armor class. If the attacker calls the shot, AND beats the modified total, then they get the critical result for that targeted location calculated as normal but at the desired location. If they do NOT beat that total, then the COMPLETELY MISS. If this gets too easy to hit the critical parts (abdomen, torso, or head), the consider simply adding 4 to the modifier, or doubling the modifier.
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Comment Re: D&D 5th Edition - Toning down Cantrips
by admin last modified Jun 01, 2015 11:37 PM
Posted by Hawke at October 15. 2014 Just a reminder to those new to 5e, it includes ritual casting now (I've used that for years thanks to Thieves' World campaigns), so be sure to read about how that works when weighing the variables.
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Comment Re: D&D 5th Edition - Toning down Cantrips
by admin last modified Jun 01, 2015 11:37 PM
Posted by Hawke at October 14. 2014 My philosophy, for what it is worth, regarding party balance, is that the party is balanced by the variety of character personalities, backgrounds, skills, equipment, etc. allowing opportunities for at least one PC to have some exceptional ability for different circumstances. Of course players can choose what they like, I generally do not restrict the choices the players make, I just try to encourage a lot more of a ROLE-playing approach than a lot of D20 players these days seem to consider. In some situations some characters will have a chance to shine, while others will have to hold back. I don't want players and scenarios to be limited to cliche's and archetypes, but I'll use a few to illustrate some points... When in the High Elven royal court, the barbarian half-orc should probably remain silent while the party's Elven Cleric or Diplomat or other characters with similar negotiation skills does most of the talking. When confronted with complex trap-puzzles, the rogue-types and/or thinkers should probably step up rather than the hack and slashers. When trying to sneak in and steal the Prince Kadakithis's royal sceptre, the stealthiest and quietest members would be best engaged in the activity, and the other party members will have to either act as back up or stand down and wait When someone needs to wade through ancient tomes of forgotten lore, finding key clues that will change the course of the party's goals, maybe even impact the future of the entire kingdom, what backgrounds, connections, abilities, and skills do you want brought to bear in such a situation? Though there might be combat solutions, that is probably not the optimal approach. What the 3rd, 4th, and 5th edition successive increases in combat use of cantrips does is completely change the attitudes of spell casters, especially novice players, to use less creative and thoughtful approaches, and act more like a hack and slasher. Which, for hack and slash players is just fine. That just isn't my style. The original use of the "role-playing spells" known as cantrips, in 5th edition become just another bashing combat tool, diverting that much further away from the desired R-O-L-E-playing and focusing more on R-O-L-L-playing's emphasis on combat capabilities rather than much more varies non-combat capabilities. If you want a lot of combat and action in your campaigns, and are bored with complex character interaction, lots of dialogue, diplomacy, politics, puzzles, riddles, avoiding combat whenever possible, etc, then you will be bored with what I have lined up in most of my campaigns. There are lots of opportunities to get into fights, but that will likely be suicide in either in the short term or longer term if that is the approach you want to take (looking for trouble). There _is_ combat, but that is probably only about 10-20%% of my campaigns at most. So for every 10 hours of gaming, there would only be about 1-2 hours of combat (about one combat per game session with game sessions averaging about 4-5 hours each). This varies of course, but seems to hold up in general. The "spellcasters" have the visible powers of their great magics, but should also have many other abilities based on their Intellect, Wisdom, Charisma, including persuasion, herbalism, knowledge, professions, lore, lore, and more lore. PC's aren't limited to this approach, but neither are they limited to just being spell-casting hack-and-slashers. They don't have to become "dead weight" just because they are out of combat spells. Quite the contrary, many of the greatest solutions to challenges come from ideas, not brute approaches or even necessarily magic approaches, and typically spell casters have either superior intellect, wisdom/intuition, or charisma/persuasiveness on their side beyond their spell casting to help come up with creative solutions to stay "in the action". I recently played a spell caster, and I went with zero combat spells, and I was more actively engaged in helping the party, then ever the other spell casters were that used combat-focused spells. They "ran out" of blasting spells, and didn't have much to fall back on due to that mentality. I was able to keep constantly contributing to the good of the party, some with magic, but often through other abilities, ideas, and actions. All of the above said, I don't usually require the party to have any "required" archetypes, I've had groups of all Elf-rangers, or a gang of rogues, or a band of warriors, though each had distinctive backgrounds that gave them some unique history/abilities/perspectives that would be of use. How they ROLE-play is more important than their mechanics. I totally understand those who do not agree with my approach, and there is nothing wrong with the differences they have for those DM's and players that prefer to implement the D&D; rules as written, and don't mind generally more hack and slash approaches to RPG. Personally, after playing 3 groups through 5e, the cantrips issue totally changed the dynamics in (my view, for what it is worth) a negative way, encouraging spell casters to become "blasters" rather than "thinkers" or "intuiters" or "persuaders". I hope this helps explain in an effective way to you why I take the proposed approach with the house rules. My goal is to encourage as much ROLE-play as possible, without using a completely different system. There is no problem with disagreeing, I welcome it (as long as in-game it doesn't interfere with game-play) and I do intend to make additional "tweaks" to the house rules (Especially the combat crits) as game play sessions provide additional information to help guide the process. What do you think? Happy Gaming!
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Comment Re: D&D 5th Edition - Toning down Cantrips
by admin last modified Jun 01, 2015 11:37 PM
d by Hawke at October 12. 2014 One of the comments on my youtube channel put it succinctly regarding our shared attitudes about what has happened to cantrips: "cantrips are the role playing spells". More wonderfully entertaining clever stories have been told and retold generated from a creative use of "firefinger" and other "useless" cantrips than ever have been with the extremely over powered zero level spells.
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Comment D&D 5th Edition - Toning down Cantrips
by admin last modified Jun 28, 2015 05:08 PM
Posted by Hawke at October 05. 2014 Attached as PDF for easier readability and print-ability *pdf file link is at end of this posting (scroll down). Hawke's Modifications to D&D; 5th Edition Cantrips In my opinion (such as it is), the cantrips in 5th edition are too powerful to be listed as cantrip/orison, and violate the original intent of cantrips when first introduced in the AD&D; 1st Edition Unearthed Arcana, “Cantrips are the magic spells learned and used by apprentice magic-users and illusionists during their long, rigorous, and tedious training for the craft of magic-use.” “Most cantrips are simple little spells of no great effect...” “All cantrips are 0 level, have a 1” range, have a generally small area of effect, require only soft, simple verbal and somatic components, and are cast in a very short time (1/10 to ½ segment). Only those which involve living creatures afford any saving throw.” “The effects of cantrips, and the people and items affected by them, radiate a very faint magical aura.” “Note that despite their simple components and short casting times, only two cantrips can be cast during any round by a single magic-user or apprentice.” - Unearthed Arcana, p 45, 1985. 5th Edition tried changing the definition of cantrips to “simple by powerful spells that characters can cast almost by rote” 5th Edition D&D; Player's Handbook p. 201, 2014. This of course didn't just start with 5th edition, but it was taken even further than previous editions and inflate their effects even more. Instead, I have taken the list from 5th edition, (this same exercise could also be applied to previous editions effectively too) removed all the spells that are “too powerful” to be cantrips and have the moved to 1st level, retaining as cantrips those that qualify to only “have 1” range, …. small area of effect”. If the cantrip was previously a 1st level spell, that is an automatic change back to first level spell isntead of cantrip. Additionally, I have brought back into the list those cantrips from the old UA, and that were the seeds for some great clever uses in ROLE-playing situations, including my personal favorite, firefinger. Criteria for deciding if a cantrip should be a 1st level spell instead: f the cantrip was previously a 1st (or other) level spell, then it is automatically switched back to 1st level. If the cantrip has information that increases its effectiveness when the spell caster is a higher level, then that also should become a spell instead. If the cantrip has more than a 1” range it should be considered as a possible candidate to become a first level spell instead. If the spell can stop or cause more than 1 hp of damage (any kind, including but not limited to non-lethal, psychic, lethal, etc.), then it should not be a cantrip.   Alternate rule: If the larger variety of cantrips you feel is not sufficient, as some people argue that having such powerful cantrips in 3rd through 5th edition help keep spell casters in the battle longer, whereas in the “old days” they would cast, especially at low level, 1 or 2 or 3 spells, and then be spent. That could be considered by some to be a valid point, but they have overcompensated with the cantrips beginning in 3rd edition and incrasingly inflated with 5th edition. To compensate for moving all the powerful cantrips (back) to first level, though 5th edition has already added additional first level spell slots for some classes, DM's may opt to allow 1 or 2 (or more, DM's discretion) additional spell casting slots at first level (only), to help them have a better start.   Cantrips Lists With notes whether to keep as cantrip or move to 1st level instead: If no mark in front, then it is a cantrip as per the 5th edition rules. → An → (arrow) indicates this cantrip should be treated as a 1st level spell (many/most of them were first level spells in previous versions of D&D;), rather than as a cantrip. ± If there is a ± (plus/minus) sign, this is a cantrip from other sources (such as AD&D; 1st Edition Unearthed Arcana) and can be optionally added (or not) depending on DM preferences. ² A numerical super script indicates a footnote number indicates some note for that spell that is recommended to be different than the default as listed in the 5th Edition Player's Handbook. ? A ? (question mark) indicates I am not fully decided on this spell, for not treat as cantrip, but might be modified in the future pending play testing and feedback from others. ¹ Source is Unearthed Arcana. ³ Source is D&D; 3.5 Player's Handbook. 3b Source is D&D; 3.5 Spell Compendium   Alphabetical Cantrips List (5th Edition Only) → Acid Splash → Blade Ward → Chill Touch → Dancing Lights ? Druidcraft → Eldritch Blast → Fire Bolt → Friends ? Guidance → Light Mage Hand → Mending ? Message → Minor Illusion → Poison Spray → Produce Flame Prestidigitation → Ray of Frost ? Resistance → Sacred Flame → Shocking Grasp Spare the Dying → Shillelagh ? Thaumaturgy ? True Strike → Vicious Mockery   Alphabetical Cantrips List (Complete) (5th Edition plus Unearth Arcana 1st Edition and others) → Acid Splash ±3b Amanuensis ±¹ Bee ±¹ Belch → Blade Wrd ±¹ Blink ±¹ Bluelight ±¹ Bug ±¹ Change ±¹ Chill → Chill Touch ±¹ Clean ±¹ Color ±¹ Colored Lights ±¹ Cough ±¹ Creak ±¹ Curdle ±¹ Dampen → Dancing Lights ±3b Dawn ±¹ Dim ±¹ Dirty ±¹ Distract ? Druidcraft ±¹ Dry ±¹ Dust ±¹ Dusty → Eldritch Blast ±¹ Exterminate → Fire Bolt ±¹ Firefinger ±¹ Flavor ±¹ Footfall → Friends ±¹ Freshen ±¹ Gather ±3b Ghost Harp ±³ Ghost Sound ±¹ Giggle ±¹ Gnats ±¹ Groan ? Guidance ±¹ Hairy ±¹ Haze ±¹ Hide ±¹ Knot ±³ Know Direction → Light Mage Hand ±¹ Mask → Mending ? Message ±3b Minor Disguise → Minor Illusion ±¹ Mirage ±¹ Moan ±¹ Mouse ±¹ Mute ±¹ Nod ±¹ Noise ±¹ Palm → Poison Spray ±¹ Polish → Produce Flame ±¹ Present Prestidigitation ±¹ Rainbow ±¹ Ravel ±¹ Rattle → Ray of Frost ? Resistance → Sacred Flame ±¹ Salt ±¹ Scratch ±¹ Shine → Shocking Grasp ±¹ Smokepuff ±¹ Sneeze ±¹ Sour Spare the Dying ±¹ Spice ±¹ Spider ±¹ Spill ±¹ Sprout → Shillelagh ±3b Silent Portal ±3b Sonic Snap ±3b Stick ±¹ Stitch ±¹ Sweeten ±¹ Tangle ±¹ Tap ±¹ Tarnish ? Thaumaturgy ±¹ Thump ±¹ Tie ? True Strike ±¹ Tweak ±¹ Twitch ±¹ Two-D'lusion ±¹ Unlock ±¹ Untie → Vicious Mockery ±¹ Warm ±¹ Whistle ±¹ Wilt ±¹ Wink ±¹ Wrap ±¹ Yawn Link to PDF of these rules: Link to all the rules modifications: rules-mods/
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