FGS1 – Shrine of Maglubiyet

I like to present to you my first adventure in the Sidequest adventures series, Shrine of Maglubiyet.

My first adventure Sickness of the Gnarley Forest of the adventure path series was a success with over 100 downloads in the first three days! Thanks to everyone for the nice words and encouragement.

Shrine of Maglubiyet is an adventure for 4-6 players of 2nd level and starts around the City of Greyhawk but it is easily converted into any homebrew session. It is a good one-shot to teach newer players the ropes of D&D.

Adventure Synopsis

The adventurers travel to the Free City of Greyhawk when a group of bandits attack two other travellers. After they fend them off they are introduced to Kaloran, the grandson of a professor at Grey College.

Together they make their way to the institution and meet Professor Jusidan, the sage specialised in goblinoid creatures. The party finds out about a lost forgotten shrine to Maglubiyet, a hobgoblin deity, in midst of the Cairn Hills.

Equipped with a map the professor wants to investigate the holy place. He hires the adventurers to accompany him and his grandson. On the way through the Cairn Hills they encounter two twin ogres and the new inhabitants of the cave to the shrine, a xvart tribe.

But that is not all, a student of the professor’s knows about the shrine and promises a gang of thugs all the riches in the world could be found. Amidst all these sources of danger the party needs to protect professor Jusidan, an old man of 80 years. So he can see the wonders of the shrine of Maglubiyet.

Content

The 20-page book consists of a detailed description how to run this adventure. Additionally, 2 battle maps, 1 map of the Domain of Greyhawk, 1 new magical item and two detailed Random Encounters tables (day and night) for the Cairn Hills are provided.

Downloads

FGS1 – Shrine of Maglubiyet.pdf

FGS1 – Maps

Fellows Friday: Melf in 5e

Welcome to this week’s Fellows Friday where we take a look at a specific NPC in the World of Greyhawk, look a the information from previous versions and see how we can fit them to th 5th Edition of D&D.

Then we are going to flesh out the characters personality and create three plot hooks to put them in your game.

Today we are looking at Melf, Prince Brightflame. He was the originally played by Luke Gygax. The son of Gary Gygax, the inventor of Dungeons & Dragons. His name comes from “Male Elf” because Luke didn’t name him the first sessions and had to come up with a name on the spot.

Like always, we will assume the timeline of “From the Ashes”. So we are looking at the iteration on the 1st of Coldeven 585 CY.

Short biography

Melf is from the Faerie Kingdom of Celene and was a member of Mordenkainen’s Citadel of Eight.

Shortly after their disbandment the ruler of Celene, Queen Yolande, was convinced by her consults to commit to full neutralism for the kingdom.

Since then Celene doesn’t interfere or help any of their neighbours in the upcoming war. Melf, a distant cousin of the queen, decides to join the Knights of Luna and becomes one of the members in the innermost council of the group.

Arguably most members of the group see Melf as their leader and some want to see him on the throne. The thought troubles Melf as he hopes that mediation is the key to success.

Melf is now in exile and lives most of the time in the City of Greyhawk.

Appearance

Melf is an elf of around 200 years and 5’8″, but he appears to be in his late 20s in human terms. He is often changing his appearence as he pleases but he is originally a gray elf.

Special properties of the old versions

We are looking at the Melf stat block from the From the Ashes boxed set. Most notably, Melf is a multiclass between Fighter and Mage. Multiclasses worked differently in 2nd edition as characters would choose to be a multiclass at level 1 and then level them simultaneously. He also posesses an Elven Chainmail that doesn’t exist in 5e in this form.

The new stat block for 5th Edition

Some changes have to be made when converting a character from 2nd to 5th edition. Melf’s ability score is kept unchanged but he lost his 13th Fighter level. Instead, he is a pure Bladesinger Wizard. His Elven Chainmail is replaced with an Elven Chain but with the new Bladesong ability his AC is almost unchanged.

So here is my personal Melf stat block:

E5 ij Melf
Melf in 5e

Additionally, he possesses the following magical items:

Personality

Melf is almost naive, believing that you just need to collect all the good rulers and sense would prevail and order will be established.

He has links to many important figures like Mordenkainen, King Belvor of Furyondy and the rulers of Highfolk, Dyvers and Greyhawk itself. Most of those links are secret.

Plot hooks

Melf doesn’t trust adventurers. They must be recomended by one of his allies, for example the Fellowship of the Torch. He has a lot of jobs for high level characters as he has knowledge about fiends and evil artifacts, that he wants to get handled.

  • The knowledge of the location of an evil artifact has surfaced. The players are asked to retrieve the item before others do.
  • Melf knows one of the high council member of an important country is secretly a Scarlet Brotherhood spy. The players’ task is to find a way to prove it.
  • An evil fiend is imprisoned in Oerth and the players need to journey to the place to banish it back to his outer plane before someone else uses its power.

I hoped you liked my iteration of Melf in 5e. Next week we are going to look at Nerof Gasgal, mayor of Greyhawk.

Please leave any comments or feedback below.

See you in the Green Dragon Inn,

Frogsama

Mechanics Monday: Downtime in 5e

Welcome to this week’s Mechanics Monday where we take a look at a specific mechanic in the 5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons, compare it to the 2nd Edition and see which version works best for the setting of Greyhawk.

If the 5e version is suboptimal we try to homebrew a better version for our campaign.

Today’s Mechanic:

Today we talk about Downtime. After we lengthened the time between adventures with our homebrewes Rest system, we need to figure what the player characters can do in their non-adventuring time.

Mechanic in 5th Edition

The Downtime system in 5e is simple. The players can use the time to craft an item, recuperate from injury, to research, practice a profession or train. Training means finding a tutor to gain a tool proficiency or learn a language over time.
While the system exists it doesn’t get used in most campaigns as especially the 5th Edition prewritten modules all have a sense of urgency. There is simply no time in the story to do any downtime.

How it’s used to be in 2nd Edition

There are no downtime rules per se, but there exists a really interesting optional training rule. In the rule player can’t advance instantly when gaining experience. They have to pay a tutor and then succeed on Wisdom or Intelligence checks every week to determine if they advance.

While the idea is nice, in my opinion the necessity of a tutor and the randomness how long a training takes, makes it flawed.

What is better

While the systems are quite similar they have one major difference. Experience points have to be earned over time in 2nd edition while in 5th you practically get them immediately. It goes so far that when you oblige the standard encounter rate in 5th edition, you would reach level 20 after 37 days.

In my opinion, this obliterates verisimilitude and needs to be adressed. People in Greyhawk see Mordenkainen as the strongest mage in the world, a one in a million human being. Our players shouldn’t become this strong in half a year, yet alone 37 days.

Now let’s see what we can do for 5th edition to improve it for our campaign.

How we tweak it

I would like to reintroduce training to convert your experience points back to 5th Edition. In order to level up a character shouldn’t just kill enemies and immediately become stronger. They need to reassess what they have learnt in battle. Compare it to anything in life.

A body builder won’t become stronger the moment he lifts weights. His body needs time to build up the strength he gained from training.

So how do we introduce a mechanic that serves our purpose and keeps the DM from unnecessary bookkeeping? Let’s do the following:

The amount of time a character has to train is proportional to the level he tries to gain. For example, getting from level 4 to 5 takes five weeks of training.

The character should do an activity that promotes his field of expertise at least two hours per day. A fighter trains combat, a bard plays his instrument, a monk meditates and a warlock contacts his patron.

The experience points have to be gained before but adventuring days count as training days.

Let’s play out an example:

Kevin is a level 1 fighter. He needs 300 XP to reach level 2. Divided by two weeks Kevin can convert 21 XP per day. On his adventuring day he killed two goblins and frees a princess. He escorts her to the village and delivers her safely after three days. The DM gives Kevin 100 XP for the goblins and another 100 XP for saving the princess. On the fourth day he delivers the princess and gets another 100 XP. This is his mapped out experience conversion:

  • Day 1: 200 XP gained, full conversion (approx. 21 XP)
  • Day 2: full conversion
  • Day 3: full conversion
  • Day 4: 100 XP gained, full conversion

The next ten days Kevin celebrates the rescue of the princess in town, while training 2 hours per day to convert his experience points. After Day 14 he reaches level 2.
Interestingly enough the player can also roleplay in which direction he wants his character to go in the downtime. Maybe Kevin’s player wants Kevin to be a Battle Master so he gets trained by a retired veteran on court who shows him his first maneauvres.

With this system it would take a player character to advance from 1st to 20th level in minimum of 1.463 days, little more tha 4 in-game years.

The rest of the downtime activities can be used as written in the 5th Edition Dungeon Master’s Guide. Just don’t forget this important paradigm: Adventuring should always be more profitable then downtime.

I hope you liked today’s episode of Mechanics Monday. If you have any feedback or own idea how to tackle this mechanic, comment down below.

For the next episode we will look at the Potion of Longevity.

See you in the Green Dragon Inn,

Frogsama

Fellows Friday: Mordenkainen in 5e

Welcome to this week’s Fellows Friday where we take a look at a specific NPC in the World of Greyhawk, look a the information from previous versions and see how we can fit them to th 5th Edition of D&D.

Then we are going to flesh out the characters personality and create three plot hooks to put them in your game.

Today we are going to look at Mordenkainen, the most famous wizard in all of Greyhawk. He was the favorite character of Gary Gygax, the inventor of Dungeons & Dragons.

Like always, we will assume the timeline of “From the Ashes”. So we are looking at the iteration on the 1st of Coldeven 585 CY.

Short biography

Mordenkainen was born in 509 CY in an unknown birth place. He adventured with his friends, with whom he formed the Citadel of Eight. They were an elite group consisting of strong wizards, fighters and alike. Their base was the Obsidian Citadel in the Yatil Mountains.

The Citadel of Eight weren’t always on the same page as Mordenkainen who favors neutrality over impacting the world most of the time.

In 569 CY one of the members, the cleric Serten, died in the Battle of Emridy Meadows. Shocked by the death the group disbanded.

Mordenkainen saw the problem in the group in its composition and founded the Circle of Eight two years later consisting exclusively of spellcasters. At the end of the Greyhawk Wars, at the day of Signing, one of the members, Rary, betrayed the group and killed two other members, Otiluke and Tenser.

In the present day, Mordenkainen has a lot on his plate. He needs to find replacements for his dead friends. Also, he is observing what Rary is doing after he fled to the Bright Desert. Lastly, the war might be over but no one knows how long the peace lasts.

Appearance

Mordenkainen is 74 years old an 6’2″ tall, but he appears to be in his late 40s. He is bald and has a black beard. He often dresses as a humble merchant when he is travelling, othereise he is favoring brown or black robes with silver linings.

Special properties of the old versions

We are looking at the Mordenkainen stat block from the City of Greyhawk boxed set. Most notably, Mordenkainen possesses rather standard magical items with focus on Pearls of Powers and defensive AC buffing equipment. Lastly, he is a level 20 mage.

The new stat block for 5th Edition

Some changes have to be made when converting a character from 2nd to 5th edition. Ability scores were capped at 18, in 5e we can get them as high as 20. For spells, we have a great workaround. Mordenkainen plays a small part in the Curse of Strahd where they gave him archmage stats and provide a list of prepared spells, that we can use.

So here is my personal Mordenkainen stat block:

Mordenkainen in 5e
Mordenkainen in 5e

Additionally, he possesses the following magical items:

Personality

Mordenkainen is a stubborn, difficult man who doesn’t tolerate fools. In discussion, he will listen more than he talks but when he does speak his judgements are authoritative and rarely disputed.

His self-proclaimed duty as the keeper of balance of power is a huge burden. Nevertheless, he isn’t active much himself and many adversaries tend to do his work.

Plot hooks

Mordenkainen would only invite the player characters to his Obsidian Cathredal if they are of very high level and proved their worth in the past. Here are some missions he coukd entrust them with.

  • Rary is planning something in the Bright Desert and Mordenkainen needs a capable group to spy on him.
  • The Valley of the Mage is always a focal point in Mordenkainen’s studies. Jaran Krimeah, the Mage of the Vale, is dabbling a lot in the Plane of Shadow. Mordenkainen instructs the players to find out what Jaran is planning.
  • The players get the mission to retrieve a valuable magical artifact for Mordenkainen, laying in the depths of a dungeon.

I hoped you liked my iteration of Mordenkainen in 5e. Next week we are going to look at Melf, leader of the Knights of Luna.

Please leave any comments or feedback below.

See you in the Green Dragon Inn,

Frogsama

Mechanics Monday: Rest System in 5e

Welcome to this week’s Mechanics Monday where we take a look at a specific mechanic in the 5th Edition of Dungeon & Dragons. We compare it to the Advanced D&D 2nd Edition and see which version works best for the Greyhawk setting.

If the 5e version is suboptimal we try to homebrew a better version for our campaign.

Today’s Mechanic

Today we talk about the Rest System in 5e, specifically how health and spells recharge over time.

Rest System in 5th Edition

In 5th Edition we differentiate between short rest and long rest. Here is a short summary of the important parts:

A short rest takes at least 1 hour where the players regain some racial or class abilities. They can also use Hit Dice to regain a tremendous amount of health.

A long rest takes at least 8 hours where the player characters have to rest or only do light activity. They regain all racial and class abilities and all health points.

How it’s used to be in 2nd Edition

The system was entirely different.

Racial and class abilities recharge once per day similar to a long rest. But spells are not included. To regain spells as a wizard you need to get a full night sleep. Afterwards you need to memorize the spells you want to use. Memorizing a level 1 spell takes 10 minutes while a level 5 spell takes 50 minutes. Important to note: You have less spells in total, no cantrips and can only cast spells you memorized. (e.g. to cast two fireballs you would have to memorize it twice in advance)

When the character doesn’t do anything for a day you regain 1 hit point. Additionally, if the character lays in bed for the whole day he would regain 3 hitpoints. If he lays in bed for a full week he can add his Constitution bonus to the 21 healed hit points.

What is better?

The 5th Edition version is clearly meant to make it easier to play. Fast healing, simple recharging abilities are for sure more attractive than the clunky memorize system and bookkeeping exercises in 2e.

But, the verisimilitude truly suffers. Characters heal way too fast in 5th Edition and in my opinion spellcasters are way too powerful. Someone could have close to death in 5th Edition and would be by full health the next day.

Wizards run around (especially) on higher levels like superheroes being able to have a solution for every problem overshadowing other classes.

Furthermore, downtime becomes obsolete. This can be a huge issue for good story progression.

Now let’s see what we can do for 5th Edition to improve it for our campaign

How we tweak it

Luckily, 5th Edition has a solution: Gritty Realism

Basicly a short rest will now take 8 hours and long rest takes 7 days. I think it is a nice change but here is what I prefer:

We differentiate between 4 types of rests:

Rally short rest: Similar to the former short rest, simulates fast patching up in a stress situation. Can only be done once before the next short rest. Everyone needs to succeed a DC 10 Constitution save or gain 1 level of exhaustion.

Gritty short rest: Works like the gritty short rest, recharges the rally short rest. Optional: Lose the exhaustion of the rally short rest.

Rally long rest: Similar to the former long rest, simulates bandaging and night’s rest to push through a hard situation. Can only be done once before the next long rest. Everyone needs to succeed a DC 10 Constitution save or gain 1 level of exhaustion.

Gritty long rest: Takes a week, regain all hit dice, health points and lose all exhaustion levels. Optional: Gritty long rest takes only 64 hours (8 hours times 8).

Conclusion

In my opinion this method gives players enough tools to push through hard dungeons while at the same time gives DM’s enough opportunity to squeeze in downtime and progress the story.

I hope you liked today’s episode of Mechanics Monday. If you have any feedback or own idea how to tackle this mechanic, comment down below.

For the next episode we will look at Downtime in 5e.

See you in the Green Dragon Inn,

Frogsama

Free D&D 5e Adventures – Sickness of the Gnarley Forest

Free D&D adventures 5e
“Redwoods” by tahewitt, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (edited by Frogsama)

I proudly present the first adventure in my adventure path “In the City’s Shadows” for D&D 5e the first of many adventures on this website.

“Sickness of the Gnarley Forest” is the start of an epic campaign in the world of Greyhawk. It is made for a party of 4-6 players of 2nd level and is great to introduce players into the Greyhawk setting.

Don’t hesitate to take a look for your homebrew campaign as the adventure can be easily converted to any setting.

Adventure Synopsis

A new lumberyard was established in the Gnarley Forest, but the morale of the workers is low because of recent attacks by orcish raider.

The party is hired to protect the workers and kill the attacking orcs. On the journey to the lumberyard the group encounters interesting people of the world and the new Fordkeep settlement.

Protecting the lumberjacks proves easier than thought. The orcs are weakened by a mysterious disease. They beg the party to help their tribe to find a cure in exchange for treasure and safety for the lumberyard.

The party, together with an orc ranger, sneaks past a big group of undeads to find a hidden base. The cult of Incabulos is training new people. What devilish plan are they following?

Adventure Content

The 45-page book contains detailed description how to run the adventure as well as 8 battlemaps and 1 overview map of the Domain of Greyhawk that can be used separately for your own campaign. Additionally, 9 different NPCs are introduced with original stat blocks for 5th Edition. They contain personality traits, ideals, flaws, bonds and tips for roleplaying. Perfect for Dungeon Master’s who want a deeper story behind their NPCs.

Lastly, I hope you guys enjoy the adventure and I appreciate any type of feedback and critic. Make sure to download the map pack with unmarked maps to print or use for your online campaign.

Download this free adventure

FGA1 – Sickness of the Gnarley Forest.pdf

FGA1 – Maps

Other Adventures

You can find my other adventure here.

Blog - Page 3 of 3 - Frogsama's Greyhawk Adventures

FGS1 – Shrine of Maglubiyet

I like to present to you my first adventure in the Sidequest adventures series, Shrine of Maglubiyet.

My first adventure Sickness of the Gnarley Forest of the adventure path series was a success with over 100 downloads in the first three days! Thanks to everyone for the nice words and encouragement.

Shrine of Maglubiyet is an adventure for 4-6 players of 2nd level and starts around the City of Greyhawk but it is easily converted into any homebrew session. It is a good one-shot to teach newer players the ropes of D&D.

Adventure Synopsis

The adventurers travel to the Free City of Greyhawk when a group of bandits attack two other travellers. After they fend them off they are introduced to Kaloran, the grandson of a professor at Grey College.

Together they make their way to the institution and meet Professor Jusidan, the sage specialised in goblinoid creatures. The party finds out about a lost forgotten shrine to Maglubiyet, a hobgoblin deity, in midst of the Cairn Hills.

Equipped with a map the professor wants to investigate the holy place. He hires the adventurers to accompany him and his grandson. On the way through the Cairn Hills they encounter two twin ogres and the new inhabitants of the cave to the shrine, a xvart tribe.

But that is not all, a student of the professor’s knows about the shrine and promises a gang of thugs all the riches in the world could be found. Amidst all these sources of danger the party needs to protect professor Jusidan, an old man of 80 years. So he can see the wonders of the shrine of Maglubiyet.

Content

The 20-page book consists of a detailed description how to run this adventure. Additionally, 2 battle maps, 1 map of the Domain of Greyhawk, 1 new magical item and two detailed Random Encounters tables (day and night) for the Cairn Hills are provided.

Downloads

FGS1 – Shrine of Maglubiyet.pdf

FGS1 – Maps

Fellows Friday: Melf in 5e

Welcome to this week’s Fellows Friday where we take a look at a specific NPC in the World of Greyhawk, look a the information from previous versions and see how we can fit them to th 5th Edition of D&D.

Then we are going to flesh out the characters personality and create three plot hooks to put them in your game.

Today we are looking at Melf, Prince Brightflame. He was the originally played by Luke Gygax. The son of Gary Gygax, the inventor of Dungeons & Dragons. His name comes from “Male Elf” because Luke didn’t name him the first sessions and had to come up with a name on the spot.

Like always, we will assume the timeline of “From the Ashes”. So we are looking at the iteration on the 1st of Coldeven 585 CY.

Short biography

Melf is from the Faerie Kingdom of Celene and was a member of Mordenkainen’s Citadel of Eight.

Shortly after their disbandment the ruler of Celene, Queen Yolande, was convinced by her consults to commit to full neutralism for the kingdom.

Since then Celene doesn’t interfere or help any of their neighbours in the upcoming war. Melf, a distant cousin of the queen, decides to join the Knights of Luna and becomes one of the members in the innermost council of the group.

Arguably most members of the group see Melf as their leader and some want to see him on the throne. The thought troubles Melf as he hopes that mediation is the key to success.

Melf is now in exile and lives most of the time in the City of Greyhawk.

Appearance

Melf is an elf of around 200 years and 5’8″, but he appears to be in his late 20s in human terms. He is often changing his appearence as he pleases but he is originally a gray elf.

Special properties of the old versions

We are looking at the Melf stat block from the From the Ashes boxed set. Most notably, Melf is a multiclass between Fighter and Mage. Multiclasses worked differently in 2nd edition as characters would choose to be a multiclass at level 1 and then level them simultaneously. He also posesses an Elven Chainmail that doesn’t exist in 5e in this form.

The new stat block for 5th Edition

Some changes have to be made when converting a character from 2nd to 5th edition. Melf’s ability score is kept unchanged but he lost his 13th Fighter level. Instead, he is a pure Bladesinger Wizard. His Elven Chainmail is replaced with an Elven Chain but with the new Bladesong ability his AC is almost unchanged.

So here is my personal Melf stat block:

E5 ij Melf
Melf in 5e

Additionally, he possesses the following magical items:

Personality

Melf is almost naive, believing that you just need to collect all the good rulers and sense would prevail and order will be established.

He has links to many important figures like Mordenkainen, King Belvor of Furyondy and the rulers of Highfolk, Dyvers and Greyhawk itself. Most of those links are secret.

Plot hooks

Melf doesn’t trust adventurers. They must be recomended by one of his allies, for example the Fellowship of the Torch. He has a lot of jobs for high level characters as he has knowledge about fiends and evil artifacts, that he wants to get handled.

  • The knowledge of the location of an evil artifact has surfaced. The players are asked to retrieve the item before others do.
  • Melf knows one of the high council member of an important country is secretly a Scarlet Brotherhood spy. The players’ task is to find a way to prove it.
  • An evil fiend is imprisoned in Oerth and the players need to journey to the place to banish it back to his outer plane before someone else uses its power.

I hoped you liked my iteration of Melf in 5e. Next week we are going to look at Nerof Gasgal, mayor of Greyhawk.

Please leave any comments or feedback below.

See you in the Green Dragon Inn,

Frogsama

Mechanics Monday: Downtime in 5e

Welcome to this week’s Mechanics Monday where we take a look at a specific mechanic in the 5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons, compare it to the 2nd Edition and see which version works best for the setting of Greyhawk.

If the 5e version is suboptimal we try to homebrew a better version for our campaign.

Today’s Mechanic:

Today we talk about Downtime. After we lengthened the time between adventures with our homebrewes Rest system, we need to figure what the player characters can do in their non-adventuring time.

Mechanic in 5th Edition

The Downtime system in 5e is simple. The players can use the time to craft an item, recuperate from injury, to research, practice a profession or train. Training means finding a tutor to gain a tool proficiency or learn a language over time.
While the system exists it doesn’t get used in most campaigns as especially the 5th Edition prewritten modules all have a sense of urgency. There is simply no time in the story to do any downtime.

How it’s used to be in 2nd Edition

There are no downtime rules per se, but there exists a really interesting optional training rule. In the rule player can’t advance instantly when gaining experience. They have to pay a tutor and then succeed on Wisdom or Intelligence checks every week to determine if they advance.

While the idea is nice, in my opinion the necessity of a tutor and the randomness how long a training takes, makes it flawed.

What is better

While the systems are quite similar they have one major difference. Experience points have to be earned over time in 2nd edition while in 5th you practically get them immediately. It goes so far that when you oblige the standard encounter rate in 5th edition, you would reach level 20 after 37 days.

In my opinion, this obliterates verisimilitude and needs to be adressed. People in Greyhawk see Mordenkainen as the strongest mage in the world, a one in a million human being. Our players shouldn’t become this strong in half a year, yet alone 37 days.

Now let’s see what we can do for 5th edition to improve it for our campaign.

How we tweak it

I would like to reintroduce training to convert your experience points back to 5th Edition. In order to level up a character shouldn’t just kill enemies and immediately become stronger. They need to reassess what they have learnt in battle. Compare it to anything in life.

A body builder won’t become stronger the moment he lifts weights. His body needs time to build up the strength he gained from training.

So how do we introduce a mechanic that serves our purpose and keeps the DM from unnecessary bookkeeping? Let’s do the following:

The amount of time a character has to train is proportional to the level he tries to gain. For example, getting from level 4 to 5 takes five weeks of training.

The character should do an activity that promotes his field of expertise at least two hours per day. A fighter trains combat, a bard plays his instrument, a monk meditates and a warlock contacts his patron.

The experience points have to be gained before but adventuring days count as training days.

Let’s play out an example:

Kevin is a level 1 fighter. He needs 300 XP to reach level 2. Divided by two weeks Kevin can convert 21 XP per day. On his adventuring day he killed two goblins and frees a princess. He escorts her to the village and delivers her safely after three days. The DM gives Kevin 100 XP for the goblins and another 100 XP for saving the princess. On the fourth day he delivers the princess and gets another 100 XP. This is his mapped out experience conversion:

  • Day 1: 200 XP gained, full conversion (approx. 21 XP)
  • Day 2: full conversion
  • Day 3: full conversion
  • Day 4: 100 XP gained, full conversion

The next ten days Kevin celebrates the rescue of the princess in town, while training 2 hours per day to convert his experience points. After Day 14 he reaches level 2.
Interestingly enough the player can also roleplay in which direction he wants his character to go in the downtime. Maybe Kevin’s player wants Kevin to be a Battle Master so he gets trained by a retired veteran on court who shows him his first maneauvres.

With this system it would take a player character to advance from 1st to 20th level in minimum of 1.463 days, little more tha 4 in-game years.

The rest of the downtime activities can be used as written in the 5th Edition Dungeon Master’s Guide. Just don’t forget this important paradigm: Adventuring should always be more profitable then downtime.

I hope you liked today’s episode of Mechanics Monday. If you have any feedback or own idea how to tackle this mechanic, comment down below.

For the next episode we will look at the Potion of Longevity.

See you in the Green Dragon Inn,

Frogsama

Fellows Friday: Mordenkainen in 5e

Welcome to this week’s Fellows Friday where we take a look at a specific NPC in the World of Greyhawk, look a the information from previous versions and see how we can fit them to th 5th Edition of D&D.

Then we are going to flesh out the characters personality and create three plot hooks to put them in your game.

Today we are going to look at Mordenkainen, the most famous wizard in all of Greyhawk. He was the favorite character of Gary Gygax, the inventor of Dungeons & Dragons.

Like always, we will assume the timeline of “From the Ashes”. So we are looking at the iteration on the 1st of Coldeven 585 CY.

Short biography

Mordenkainen was born in 509 CY in an unknown birth place. He adventured with his friends, with whom he formed the Citadel of Eight. They were an elite group consisting of strong wizards, fighters and alike. Their base was the Obsidian Citadel in the Yatil Mountains.

The Citadel of Eight weren’t always on the same page as Mordenkainen who favors neutrality over impacting the world most of the time.

In 569 CY one of the members, the cleric Serten, died in the Battle of Emridy Meadows. Shocked by the death the group disbanded.

Mordenkainen saw the problem in the group in its composition and founded the Circle of Eight two years later consisting exclusively of spellcasters. At the end of the Greyhawk Wars, at the day of Signing, one of the members, Rary, betrayed the group and killed two other members, Otiluke and Tenser.

In the present day, Mordenkainen has a lot on his plate. He needs to find replacements for his dead friends. Also, he is observing what Rary is doing after he fled to the Bright Desert. Lastly, the war might be over but no one knows how long the peace lasts.

Appearance

Mordenkainen is 74 years old an 6’2″ tall, but he appears to be in his late 40s. He is bald and has a black beard. He often dresses as a humble merchant when he is travelling, othereise he is favoring brown or black robes with silver linings.

Special properties of the old versions

We are looking at the Mordenkainen stat block from the City of Greyhawk boxed set. Most notably, Mordenkainen possesses rather standard magical items with focus on Pearls of Powers and defensive AC buffing equipment. Lastly, he is a level 20 mage.

The new stat block for 5th Edition

Some changes have to be made when converting a character from 2nd to 5th edition. Ability scores were capped at 18, in 5e we can get them as high as 20. For spells, we have a great workaround. Mordenkainen plays a small part in the Curse of Strahd where they gave him archmage stats and provide a list of prepared spells, that we can use.

So here is my personal Mordenkainen stat block:

Mordenkainen in 5e
Mordenkainen in 5e

Additionally, he possesses the following magical items:

Personality

Mordenkainen is a stubborn, difficult man who doesn’t tolerate fools. In discussion, he will listen more than he talks but when he does speak his judgements are authoritative and rarely disputed.

His self-proclaimed duty as the keeper of balance of power is a huge burden. Nevertheless, he isn’t active much himself and many adversaries tend to do his work.

Plot hooks

Mordenkainen would only invite the player characters to his Obsidian Cathredal if they are of very high level and proved their worth in the past. Here are some missions he coukd entrust them with.

  • Rary is planning something in the Bright Desert and Mordenkainen needs a capable group to spy on him.
  • The Valley of the Mage is always a focal point in Mordenkainen’s studies. Jaran Krimeah, the Mage of the Vale, is dabbling a lot in the Plane of Shadow. Mordenkainen instructs the players to find out what Jaran is planning.
  • The players get the mission to retrieve a valuable magical artifact for Mordenkainen, laying in the depths of a dungeon.

I hoped you liked my iteration of Mordenkainen in 5e. Next week we are going to look at Melf, leader of the Knights of Luna.

Please leave any comments or feedback below.

See you in the Green Dragon Inn,

Frogsama

Mechanics Monday: Rest System in 5e

Welcome to this week’s Mechanics Monday where we take a look at a specific mechanic in the 5th Edition of Dungeon & Dragons. We compare it to the Advanced D&D 2nd Edition and see which version works best for the Greyhawk setting.

If the 5e version is suboptimal we try to homebrew a better version for our campaign.

Today’s Mechanic

Today we talk about the Rest System in 5e, specifically how health and spells recharge over time.

Rest System in 5th Edition

In 5th Edition we differentiate between short rest and long rest. Here is a short summary of the important parts:

A short rest takes at least 1 hour where the players regain some racial or class abilities. They can also use Hit Dice to regain a tremendous amount of health.

A long rest takes at least 8 hours where the player characters have to rest or only do light activity. They regain all racial and class abilities and all health points.

How it’s used to be in 2nd Edition

The system was entirely different.

Racial and class abilities recharge once per day similar to a long rest. But spells are not included. To regain spells as a wizard you need to get a full night sleep. Afterwards you need to memorize the spells you want to use. Memorizing a level 1 spell takes 10 minutes while a level 5 spell takes 50 minutes. Important to note: You have less spells in total, no cantrips and can only cast spells you memorized. (e.g. to cast two fireballs you would have to memorize it twice in advance)

When the character doesn’t do anything for a day you regain 1 hit point. Additionally, if the character lays in bed for the whole day he would regain 3 hitpoints. If he lays in bed for a full week he can add his Constitution bonus to the 21 healed hit points.

What is better?

The 5th Edition version is clearly meant to make it easier to play. Fast healing, simple recharging abilities are for sure more attractive than the clunky memorize system and bookkeeping exercises in 2e.

But, the verisimilitude truly suffers. Characters heal way too fast in 5th Edition and in my opinion spellcasters are way too powerful. Someone could have close to death in 5th Edition and would be by full health the next day.

Wizards run around (especially) on higher levels like superheroes being able to have a solution for every problem overshadowing other classes.

Furthermore, downtime becomes obsolete. This can be a huge issue for good story progression.

Now let’s see what we can do for 5th Edition to improve it for our campaign

How we tweak it

Luckily, 5th Edition has a solution: Gritty Realism

Basicly a short rest will now take 8 hours and long rest takes 7 days. I think it is a nice change but here is what I prefer:

We differentiate between 4 types of rests:

Rally short rest: Similar to the former short rest, simulates fast patching up in a stress situation. Can only be done once before the next short rest. Everyone needs to succeed a DC 10 Constitution save or gain 1 level of exhaustion.

Gritty short rest: Works like the gritty short rest, recharges the rally short rest. Optional: Lose the exhaustion of the rally short rest.

Rally long rest: Similar to the former long rest, simulates bandaging and night’s rest to push through a hard situation. Can only be done once before the next long rest. Everyone needs to succeed a DC 10 Constitution save or gain 1 level of exhaustion.

Gritty long rest: Takes a week, regain all hit dice, health points and lose all exhaustion levels. Optional: Gritty long rest takes only 64 hours (8 hours times 8).

Conclusion

In my opinion this method gives players enough tools to push through hard dungeons while at the same time gives DM’s enough opportunity to squeeze in downtime and progress the story.

I hope you liked today’s episode of Mechanics Monday. If you have any feedback or own idea how to tackle this mechanic, comment down below.

For the next episode we will look at Downtime in 5e.

See you in the Green Dragon Inn,

Frogsama

Free D&D 5e Adventures – Sickness of the Gnarley Forest

Free D&D adventures 5e
“Redwoods” by tahewitt, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (edited by Frogsama)

I proudly present the first adventure in my adventure path “In the City’s Shadows” for D&D 5e the first of many adventures on this website.

“Sickness of the Gnarley Forest” is the start of an epic campaign in the world of Greyhawk. It is made for a party of 4-6 players of 2nd level and is great to introduce players into the Greyhawk setting.

Don’t hesitate to take a look for your homebrew campaign as the adventure can be easily converted to any setting.

Adventure Synopsis

A new lumberyard was established in the Gnarley Forest, but the morale of the workers is low because of recent attacks by orcish raider.

The party is hired to protect the workers and kill the attacking orcs. On the journey to the lumberyard the group encounters interesting people of the world and the new Fordkeep settlement.

Protecting the lumberjacks proves easier than thought. The orcs are weakened by a mysterious disease. They beg the party to help their tribe to find a cure in exchange for treasure and safety for the lumberyard.

The party, together with an orc ranger, sneaks past a big group of undeads to find a hidden base. The cult of Incabulos is training new people. What devilish plan are they following?

Adventure Content

The 45-page book contains detailed description how to run the adventure as well as 8 battlemaps and 1 overview map of the Domain of Greyhawk that can be used separately for your own campaign. Additionally, 9 different NPCs are introduced with original stat blocks for 5th Edition. They contain personality traits, ideals, flaws, bonds and tips for roleplaying. Perfect for Dungeon Master’s who want a deeper story behind their NPCs.

Lastly, I hope you guys enjoy the adventure and I appreciate any type of feedback and critic. Make sure to download the map pack with unmarked maps to print or use for your online campaign.

Download this free adventure

FGA1 – Sickness of the Gnarley Forest.pdf

FGA1 – Maps

Other Adventures

You can find my other adventure here.