Rogues at Full Volume. Back from the holidays and having posted my OC D&D memes archive, this week I want to share the initial version of my first homebrew path for D&D 5ePlayers: the Breacher Rogue, who specializes in blasting open dramatic entrances and exits. I’d love your feedback, particularly on damage scaling, so that next week I can do the full NaturalCrit Homebrewery & DndBeyond postings for this homebrew path. Special thanks to Bruno of Neves for the image permission, and to Falibrand for their Sapper path on D&D Beyond, which I drew inspiration from in working on the Breacher.
Monstrous Mindscapes. Have you ever struggled to roleplay intelligent creatures and NPCs in Dungeons & Dragons, or to fully understand their thought processes and strategies? After a brief detour in Tactical Roles & Creature Niches, this week I finish my D&D 5e series tackling guidelines for running hyper-intelligence. I detail various aspects of that and articulate how behavioral traits emerge as INT scores progress, concluding with my Intelligence Index graphic. And I flesh out my Intellect Archetypes system more, beginning to envision monstrous mindsets in detail. Using real D&D 5e creatures, not just conjecture. Let’s dive in!
Tactical Roles and Creature Niches. Want to play your D&D 5e creatures and characters more tactically? Ever wonder what creature archetypes haven’t been filled yet? Look no further. While I continue to work on my series on roleplaying intelligent creatures, I let my Patrons vote on what to cover in the meantime. This week I introduce a system for mapping physical combat roles, and a handy chart of associated creatures. Theory and practice. Check it out!
Monstrous Mindscapes. Have you ever struggled to roleplay creatures in Dungeons & Dragons, or to fully understand their thought processes and strategies? After working on my D&D 5e Resource Compendium the last couple weeks, this week I decided to kick off a D&D 5e series tackling guidelines for running intelligent creatures, starting with low and moderate intelligence then working our way up. I’ve developed an Intelligence Index detailing various aspects of intelligence and articulating how behavioral traits emerge as INT scores progress. And I’ve started an Intellect Archetypes system as well, beginning to envision monstrous mindsets in more detail. Let’s take a look!
Difficulty, Danger, and Death. Have you ever played Dungeons & Dragons, like D&D 5e, and noticed how Monster Encounter Difficulty becomes increasingly unpredictable at high-level? Ever wondered why? Conversely, ever had a low-level Total Party Kill (TPK)? The traits that really make encounters in D&D 5e difficult or dangerous, don’t always boil down to Challenge Rating. What makes for Deadly Encounters? Using this guide, you as a Dungeon Master can better balance encounters, or just adjust difficulty up or down dramatically. And you as a D&D Player can approach the game more tactically. I contrast Apparent Challenge Rating and Actual Challenge Rating, and discuss Challenge Rating Instability. Beyond just Action Economy Parity, inspired by projects like The Monsters Know, I examine how Supplies, Schema, Status, Space, Structure, and Strategy all shape Game Balance.
Grimdark. Grit. Glory. Welcome back, Outlander. Now that I’ve finished my series on the Occult, I want to share with you some thoughts I’ve stewed on for awhile on how Dungeon Masters can use aesthetics, settings, and themes for grittier gaming in D&D 5e, as well as mechanics and monsters that further this. Grittier worldbuilding and roleplaying. For this piece, I’ve focused on a dozen elements. Aesthetics: Garbage, Grime, Germs, and Gore. Settings: Goth, Ghosts, Gristle, and Grease. Themes: Grief, Gloom, Guts, and Glory. Many of these relate to one another, and the divisions may sometimes seem arbitrary, but stick with me here, you’ll find a lot to work with!
Will. Witchcraft. Counterculture. Chaos. Greetings once more, Outlander, for Part 4 of my series on D&D 5e Plot Hooks from the Western Esoteric and Occult traditions, how they shaped Dungeons & Dragons (particularly D&D 5e) over time, and how Dungeon Masters, worldbuilders, and D&D players can incorporate Occult themes. This week we arrive at the Modern and Postmodern Periods. Let’s learn about Thelema, Reconstructionist Neo-Paganism, Wicca, New Age Spirituality, and Chaos Magick!
Secret Societies and Hidden Powers. Black Magic and Forbidden Lore. Greetings again, Outlander, for Part 3 of my series on D&D 5e Plot Hooks from the Western Esoteric and Occult traditions, how they shaped Dungeons & Dragons (particularly D&D 5e) over time, and how Dungeon Masters, worldbuilders, and D&D players can incorporate Occult themes. This week I’ve updated the format to add thoughts on WHY and HOW to involve each tradition in your game. Let’s finish the Renaissance and enter into Modernity. Let’s learn about Rosicrucianism, Freemasonry, Ceremonial Magick, Luciferianism, and Anthroposophy!
Reality. Miracles. Infinity. Ascension. Welcome back, Outlander, for Part 2 of my series on D&D 5e Plot Hooks from the Western Esoteric and Occult traditions, how they shaped Dungeons & Dragons (particularly D&D 5e) over time, and how Dungeon Masters, worldbuilders, and D&D players can incorporate Occult themes. This week we kick down the door straight through Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages into the Renaissance and Early Modern Period. Let’s talk about Gnosticism, Thaumaturgy, Kabbalah, Cunning Folk, and Theosophy!
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